Cracked Corn??

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by A1 Grass, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. woodycrest

    woodycrest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 435


    I am no scientist, and what is the inverse log of a hydrogen ion anyway???:confused: :dizzy:

    Certainly Canada is not Florida, I am experimenting to see what results i get in 'The Fertile hard pan soil of Canada ' How do you know you would require 4 applications at 40 lbs??
    Currently most of the turf on my experimental areas is brown and dormant, some of the corn i applied three weeks ago is still sitting where i tossed it, there is no smell, just dry corn sitting on the turf. If the corn gets water it dissappears very quickly.

    THe wildlife is certainly a my case the birds and squirrels have been having a field day. I think the wildlife would depend on where you live...i have no concerns about arrmadillos here. But again, if the corn gets watered in it quickly decomposes and is no longer a food source for wildlife.

    Here's the phone call i got ..''Dave, that stuff really works, put on some more!.''

    THe things i am writing about are observations, i am not an expert. My experiments are ongoing...
  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    It is late so I will try and keep it short. Thank you for the invite. I think we are talking two different products here Cracked corn is not Corn meal. Some of my objection would not apply.

    I would be very interested in seeing a fact sheet on corn meal. Is there a website with all the poop?

    As for the $25 per acre cost that would have to be applied weekly here in Florida. However that is at low maintenance rate on Blue Grass.

    You might want to realize that Florida consumes 25% of all the fertilizer used in the country. Reasons are many soil, year round growing season, amount of agri, and number of Golf Courses. We here in Florida are always open but cautious of new fertilizers.
  3. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I don't understand why it would take weekly applications of organic fertilizer? Are you using Lesco weekly now?

    Normally because organic fertilizers have to be digested in a complicated food chain before they start to work, it takes 3 weeks to show any improvement. So using it weekly would be a waste until you could see the improvement.

    I also don't understand the difference between cracked corn and corn meal? -unless you are talking about the size of the particles. Cracked corn usually is about 1/2 kernals, while corn meal is more like dust. Both started out life as whole kernel corn.
  4. ducky1

    ducky1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    I seen that in a earlier post you used vinegar for herbicide. How does that work?
  5. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Let's open an new thread to talk about vinegar.
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    "p" is a math symbol for the negative logarithm or inverse logarithm( same thing). "H" is the chemical symbol for Hydrogen. Therefore the inverse log of a hydrogen ion ( I should of added "in a solution") is written in short hand as pH. pH is a measurement of acid to base or acid to alkaline. Because it is the reverse logarithm the more Hydrogen ions the lower the pH value. The more Hydrogen ions the more acid the solution is.

    You question of why would I need 40 lbs a week is answered in my post about Florida uses 25% of all fertilizer in the country. However I would not need weekly apply.

    Partial size, shape, and density all play a part in the activity index. Therefore cracked corn and corn meal would have difference Activity index's. There is a move on now to put Activity index's on all Fertilizer labels. You can request an activity index from your fertilizer manufacture. Partial size also plays an important factor in distribution. Also partial size would make a difference in wild life nuisance, however Fire ants would love corn meal better. Wild life especially Birds carry disease. Birds eat twice there weight each day and that food after it is recycled though the bird is a diseased mess. A mess that I or my customers don't want.


    Do a search in the old organic thread. Tremor aka Professor Snake Oil Gave some interesting facts on the disease and pollution factor of organic fertilizers.

    Agronomy is a branch of agriculture dealing with plant production and soil management. Soil management is the key phrase here. In order to understand any of this you must first understand soil.
    The soil page on my website is down right now with server problems. I should be working on it instead of this. However I will try and post it here. It was written with the homeowner in mind so it is not very detailed, You might want to do a search under my name or Nitrogen. I started a thread about fertilizer but got PO with the dumb responses. I can not and will not teach a class on the Internet. I will get tier of this one very soon and stop giving you a hard time.
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    The below is copyrighted and posted here by the author. Any reprint without the express permission of the Author is strictly forbidden


    Soil is one of the most important factors in successful landscape. We use the soil triangle as a basic tool to understand soil. Sandy soil consists of large particles with large void spaces and water runs right through it. Clay soil has tiny particles with tiny void spaces and water is trapped by it. Loam or silt has medium sized particles with medium void spaces that both hold and drain water.

    Silt allows plant root to both drink and breath. It is important to remember. The spaces between soil particles, is where roots grow. These spaces should be 50% by volume. Therefore after free drainage soil should be 50% solid particles 25% air filled void space and 25% water filled void space. The more we know about soil the better able we are to grow plants. Soil is the environment in which plants live. We do not water or fertilize our plants. We water and fertilize the environment in which they live. We must understand the relationship between all of these factors of soil. Volumes have been written about soil. I only offer a very condensed version.

    The top 6 to 8 inches of the soil (rhizoshere) is where most landscape plants, from the mighty oak tree to a blade of grass, get their nutrition. The movement of air and water through this environment is important. Proper Drainage is as important as irrigation. Saturated soil does not allow air to get into the soil. Air is important to the roots of a plant as well as the beneficial aerobic microorganisms in the soil. Fertilizer, irrigation, drainage and Aeration help us manage this environment we call soil. This environment is complex and changing every minute. Spend the extra money for good topsoil on the final fill and grade if you are building a new house in Charlotte County. You will save that money many times over in water and fertilizer. Soil is one of the most important factors in successful landscape.

    How do we judge soil? By looks, what color it is. By smell, aerobic soil has a sweet smell. Anaerobic soil has a sour or foul smell. And by feel, sandy soil will not clump in our hand or form a ball. Clay soil will clump in our hand but not break apart. Silt will clump in our hand and break apart easily. That’s Qualitative; measurement differs individual to individual (Quantitative denotes scientific measurement). We give those measurements a name and can put numbers to them. For example pH., which measures how acidic or alkaline the soil, is. In Coastal Charlotte Co. our soil is alkaline so the last thing we want to do is add lime. Instead we manage the soil chemically with acid forming fertilizers. Physical properties of soil are measured in terms like texture, structure, particle size distribution, particle shape, density, infiltration, percolation, hydraulic conductivity, and water potential etc.

    Bulk density is the way we measure compaction. Compaction is why farmers plow their fields and core aeration is how we manage compaction on turf soils. Compaction of the soil closes the void spaces. Water, air, fertilizer, and roots need these void spaces for our plants to grow healthy. Chemical properties are measured in terms like cation & anion exchange, salinity, pH, redox potential, and volatilization etc. You don’t have to understand or know all of these term and reactions to have a nice yard, but the Farmer, golf course greens keeper and the nursery grower knows this science. It is this science that allows a few to feed the many.

    What is soil? It is a matrix of physically and chemically weathered parent material (rocks & organic matter) along with microorganism that forms an environment. This environment of a sand-silt-clay matrix containing living and dead organic matter together with varying amounts of gasses and liquids has physical and chemical properties. Sand and silt are the skeleton of soil while clay is the flesh that holds it. Living and dead organic matter help to add structure and nutrition. Soil particles have shape, size, weight, density, texture, and structure. The void spaces allow movement of air, water, microorganisms, insects, nutrition and root growth.
  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    The below is copyrighted and posted here by the author. Any reprint without the express permission of the Author is strictly forbidden

    What is fertilizer?

    It is Chemical elements whether it comes from nature or a chemical factory. We can dissolve it in water. Spray it on the leaves or roots (if exposed) of plants. We can microinject or macro inject it into sap of a Plant like I do on a sick plant (only two way I know of to by pass the soil) We can pore into soil as a drench. We can apply it in solid or granular form to the environment in which our plants live, SOIL

    There are 17 chemical elements used by a plant as nutrients to make there own food. The roots of a plant will only up take what it needs no matter how much is there. Fertilizer burn occurs when we apply too much in an un-useable form. Fertilizer chemicals must be broken down into a useable form in the soil by microorganism. Fertilizer burn occurs when water first activates it and energy in the form of heat is given off. Salts are also given off as these compounds break down. If we apply too much fertilizer we can in fact poison the soil with salt.

    The life cycle of the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom work together. We use oxygen (O2) and give off carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants use CO2 and give off O2. Plants make their own food from photosynthesis. That is the energy of the sun and the right temperature plus air and water to make carbohydrates. Therefore Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen are primary elements. Carbohydrates are the food and we can express this chemically: 6 H2O + 6 CO2 -----> C6 H12 O6 + 3O2

    Primary Elements

    Carbon, C, is used in photosynthesis. Plants get carbon from both air and soil. Carbon is essential for all life forms and is the key of organic chemistry.

    Hydrogen, H, is supplied by water. The inverse logarithm of free hydrogen ions, pH, is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution or mixture.

    Oxygen, O, is a part of water and air. Oxygen is used in respiration and transpiration by living organisms. Oxidation is a process of chemically breaking down other elements.

    Nitrogen, N, causes cell elongation and division (growth). It is important for the development of all tissue in a plant, but it is most important for leaf growth Nitrogen fully translocates systemically within the plant and leaches readily from the soil. Pound for pound it is one of the cheapest fertilizer chemicals to produce and shows the greatest response (green) in plants. For this reason fertilizer manufacturers overuse this product.

    Nitrogen Deficiencies, cause reduced growth rate of the entire plant, then loss of color on the older leaves. Then older leaves turn yellow and a general decline occurs on the entire plant.

    Phosphorus, P, is important in root development, flowering, fruiting, and germination. Phosphorus fully translocates systemically within the plant and is subject to leaching in the soil depending on its form. The Jacksonville area of Florida. has a problem with phosphorus contamination. Our area is rich in phosphorus and it has been mined here since the 1890s to the present. Most fertilizer blends sold in our area are low in phosphorus. The need for high phosphorus blend fertilizer is new sod, sod plugs, gardenias, and bird of paradise plants.

    Phosphorus Deficiencies, cause purpling of lower leaves first, then move on up the plant and reduce flower production.

    Potassium, K, develops vascular flow, which is important for flowering, stem strength, vigor, disease resistance and overall hardiness. Its most important contribution is root development for drought stress resistance. Potassium fully translocates systemically in the plant. Potassium leaches readily from the soil. I personally like to use potassium on a one to one ratio with nitrogen even though it is a more expensive fertilizer.

    Potassium Deficiencies, first cause yellowing between veins of older leaves, then yellow specks in the veins. Leaves finally turn brown on the outside margin.
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    The below is copyrighted and posted here by the author. Any reprint without the express permission of the Author is strictly forbidden

    Secondary Elements

    Macro Elements

    Calcium, Ca, is essential for plant strength. Calcium does not translocate within a plant, nor does it leach from the soil. Luckily our soil has more than its share of calcium. Calcium nitrite is the cure for weak flushes of growth and fruit rotting at blossom end. It helps high traffic area turf.

    Calcium Deficiencies, cause weak stem growth or growth of soft leaves.

    Sulfur, S. functions with nitrogen to produce growth and photosynthesis. Sulfur compounds helps to reduce pH. Acid forming fertilizers are important in our area and use sulfur or sulfur combined material. The label on fertilizer will state whether sulfur is free or combined. Sulfur does not translocate in the plant but does leach out of the soil.

    Sulfur Deficiencies, first cause yellowing on new growth then the entire plants slows its growth. Finally the plant goes into decline. If you have ever put fertilizer on turf and had areas grow but turn yellow, you have seen what a sulfur deficiency can do. Sometimes if we leave these areas alone they green up. The reason is that nitrogen breaks down in the soil first and is in useable form before sulfur.

    Magnesium, Mg. Commonly available as Epson's salt is more important in maintaining green on older leaves but also helps new tissue. It helps in photosynthesis and helps to green up plants. Magnesium is mobile in the plant or translocates. It also readily leaches from the soil I have personally found it to make strawberries sweeter but cannot prove that.

    Magnesium Deficiencies, cause older leaves to show yellowing between the veins. It looks like yellow triangles if you step back. On palm trees older fronds will yellow or brown early. Palm trees that have long ground sweeping green fronds do not have Magnesium or Manganese deficiencies.

    Micro Elements

    Iron, Fe. Plays a major role in photosynthesis and helps keep our plants green. Iron does not translocate in the plant. Iron will become soil bound in high pH soils and unavailable to the plant. Iron does not leach from the soil.

    Iron Deficiencies, first signs are lack of dark green color on new leaves. Lack of iron causes yellowing between veins of the newest leaves first, and the green veins appear narrow. Soils with pH of 6.5 or higher lock up iron and it is unavailable to the plant.

    Manganese, Mn. is used in photosynthesis and helps to keep our plants green. It is essential for new tissue development. It does not translocate in the plant and is stable in the soil. It does not leach.

    Manganese Deficiencies, also cause yellowing between the veins of new leafs. Veins appear wider than iron deficiencies. On palm trees frizzle top or yellowing on new fronds is the result of Manganese deficiencies.

    Boron, B, is essential to development of new tissues. It does not translocate in the plant. and does not readily leach from the soil.

    Boron Deficiencies, cause interveinal or tip and marginal yellowing on new leaves as well as distorted and brittle, small leathery leaves.

    Copper, Cu. is essential to development of new tissues. It does not translocate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil.

    Copper Deficiencies, cause young leaves to become cupped, wrinkled or roughened. New leaves yellow overall or between veins and tip burn can be present. New twigs die back.

    Zinc, Zn. is essential to development of new tissue. It does not trans-locate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil. Yes, this is word for word the same as B Cu and Mo.

    Zinc Deficiencies, cause yellowing between veins on newest leaves first. New growth is tiny pointed narrow leaves.

    Molybdenum, Mo. is essential for development of new tissue. It does not translocate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil.

    Molybdenum Deficiencies, lead to distorted new leaves and stems. B., Cu., Zn., and Mo. all show the same or similar signs of deficiencies. These elements are generally sold as a minor element package, either liquid, water soluble power or granular. It is not important to know which element is deficient. Only to, treat the signs with minor elements.

    Chlorine Cl. has only recently been found to be essential for plant life. Its primary function and how it works is not known. So we do not know what the signs of a deficiency are. Chlorine is a byproduct of the chemical manufacturing of fertilizer. Too much chlorine can poison the soil and burn plants. If you ever spill swimming pool chlorine on your yard you will see this for yourself. If you do not treat this with gypsum it might be a long time before you have grass. The lower the percent of chlorine in a bag of fertilizer, the better.

    Fertilizer Terms:

    Translocate, Refers to the plants ability to move elements or chemicals from one spot to another. This is an important concept in both fertilizer and pesticides.

    Fertilizer Blends, Certain ratios of elements have been found to respond better on different plants. The top 3 numbers on a bag of fertilizer stand for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. N-P-K These numbers are the percentage of elements in the blend. Popular ratios are 4-1-2, 3-1-2, 3-1-3, 4-5-5, 1-1-1, and 1-0-1.

    Acid forming Fertilizers, are blends which use sulfate formed compounds. As they break down in the soil, they form acid. Nitrogen source would be Ammonium Sulfate instead of Urea.

    Complete Fertilizers, have all three primary elements included in their blend.

    Balanced Fertilizers, have both Nitrogen and Potassium in equal parts. 1-0-1

    Straight Fertilizers, have equal parts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. 1-1-1

    Slow Release Fertilizer, There are two ways to cause granular to slow release. First is chemically form the compound in long chain bonds that take longer to break down into useable form. The second is to coat the each individual grain of fertilizer; this coating must wash away before the fertilizer is released.
  10. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Okay Ric. I've fallen for this diversion twice now. If you can't come up with better search criteria than Tremor and Organic, I'm not falling for it again :) I did read puhlenty of what Tremor has to say, though. He's a pretty bright guy but I didn't see anything on the hazards you mentioned.

    Next time you revise your website, you might tune up the soils part of it with the most current thinking on the organic fraction of the soil. You started to introduce a section but other than that you nearly totally left it out. I can help a little. I'm sure you have read Tremor's writings but for some reason his biological discussions never made it into your work. Still a lot of new science has been done since 2001.

    Soil is more than sand, clay, and loam. Recent DNA analysis has determined that each teaspoonful of soil is the home for billions of microbes falling into between 25,000 and 45,000 different species. These microbes can be classified as bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes (ak tin oh MY see tees), and other microscopic members of the animal kingdom. The purpose of these creatures in the soil is to decompose dead things that fall onto the soil and to convert the decomposed materials into usable materials for the other species living in the soil. The other species living in the soil include plants.

    Plants and soil microbes have developed a symbiotic relationship for hundreds of millions of years. The plants provide sugars, through the photosynthesis process, to the soil microbes, and the soil microbes provide plant food directly to the roots of the plants. In fact they provide nature's perfect plant food. They provide it specifically when the plant "asks" for it and they provide exactly the amount the plants ask for.

    How do plants ask for food? Typical cell walls have revolving doors in them as well as other chemical signaling methods. The revolving doors are a metaphor, but the idea is very close to what actually goes on. When a plant exudes a certain quality of sugar into the root, the revolving door picks up that chemical and literally transports it through the cell wall to the outside where microbes are waiting for a dose of sugar. The microbes pick up the sugar and in direct response, they give up a few molecules of plant food that corresponds to the chemical they received from the plant root. This method of transportation through cell walls is extremely common in all forms of life.

    What else do the microbes do? Bacteria are interesting in that they usually produce an excess of slime. Anyone who has handled a freshly caught fish knows what bacterial slime feels like. When that slime dries out, it forms an organic glue. When some of that glue gets on a soil particle (sand, loam, or clay), it sticks to it and the nearest other particle of soil. As particles of soil become glued together, larger and larger aggregates are formed. Eventually the particles become too big to resist other physical forces and they break back into an "average" size. These average sized conglomerations of soil particles are collectively called "crumb structure." If there are excessive forces applied to the soil, the crumbs can break back down to the original dust sized powder they started out as and the soil is said to have become compacted.

    What to the fungi do? Like bacteria they do many things. One of the interesting things some fungi do is to send out runners called hyphae into the soil. If these hyphae are left alone to grow, then can extend from an inch to yards out into the soil. These hyphae are attached to the plant roots at one end and extend down and out into the soil far beyond where the roots might penetrate. In essence these fungi become root helpers. When a signal for a certain nutrient is given by the plant (as described above) the fungus immediately starts to transport that material back to the home base at the root where the plant can take it up. Another interesting function these hyphae perform is to loosen the soil. When they become wet from irrigation or rain, they swell a little pushing the crumbs apart. Then when they dry out they shrink back away from the opened up crumbs leaving an air gap in the soil. As the hyphae penetrate deeper into the soil, the air gaps go deeper into the soil. Then when it rains again, the air gap fills with water before the hyphae swell up allowing water to penetrate deeper into the soil.

    Another "byproduct" of soil microbes are humic acids. Humic acids are highly buffered materials with a pH of nearly exactly 7.0 Buffered acids means that if you apply a very strong (pH 1.0) unbuffered acid to a buffered acid at 7.0, you can apply quite a bit of the 1.0 acid before the overall pH of the soil will change. The fact that living microbes are continually manufacturing humic acids is what gives soil the capacity to absorb seemingly strong acids with no change to anything at all. When a soil is continually washed with acidic rain or contains a lot of strongly alkaline materials (calcium), the soil pH will drift from the normal of 7.0. It is thought that the encouragement of the soil microbes with additional protein and sugar could be enough to restore the normal pH of the soil without the use of sulfur or lime products.

    This just about blows my wad on microbial benefits in the soil. I would suggest you look into these ideas and incorporate them into your next revision for your soil primer. Contrary to what many people believe, I believe it makes a difference whether a plant receives its nutrition from chemicals or from microbes. Microbes provide exactly the correct chemical nutrients, at exactly the right time, in exactly the right quantity/quality without me having to guess the specific timing. All I have to do is get close. Furthermore, the microbes provide growth hormones, and natural protection from disease that chemicals cannot do.

    Now let's say a few words about organic fertilizers. Pardon me but I will use a short excerpt from your copyrighted words for reference in my reply.

    Organic fertilizers do not dissolve in water, so this is a little correction you should look into. In the case of organic fertilizers, the chemicals used to make plant food start out as highly complex amino acids and cellulose. They are digested and redigested many times before the good plant foods are made. Fortunately Mother Nature provides us with billions upon billions of the microbes. Students of statistics will see right away that the theorem of central tendency comes into play and the perfect plant food is made in nearly every case. All we have to do is keep a supply of mulched leaves and protein coming to the soil surface to keep nature's cycle going. In the wild the leaves came from trees and shrubs everywhere and the protein came from dead animals and plants.

    I hope the originator of this thread and the list owner do not get irate but this topic is hopelessly hijacked.:)

Share This Page