got the lawn now to bushes and trees

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Newby08, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    Not that I am claiming to be all knowing of how to use organics on the lawn I do think that I have the gist of it down.
    About those bushes. Do you suggest using the same fertilizers and organic chemicals that are being used on the lawn on the bushes and trees as well? I figure since we are treating the soil, it doesn't matter what is growing there because a healthy soil is a healthy soil. Whatever happens to be growing in the soil should be healthy also.
    Are there any special considerations when it comes to bushes and trees?
    Like my own back yard for instance... I have a couple of bushes that look similar to a gardenia but its not... they are just some cheap ugly trash the contractor put in. But its green and it takes up space. My problem is that they are kind of like a stairway going from tall to orphan. So, what kind of chems can I use to get it up and going, I also have a few other plants that are hurting in the same area. I have a feeling I might know part of the reason though... When I first bought my house I had to replace some plants that died in my front yard... and what do you know... I pulled out a whole construction site from water bottles to some white pasty stuff that reminded me of caulking that went all the way under the lawn. What a mess.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated as my brain is already overflowing with new info. But at least its interesting.
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Shrubs, woody plants and perennials like a fungally domanant soil, triple ground hardwood mulch is great to get in the beds as fungi like to eat it. Humates and woody composts work really well as a food for fungi as well. Fungi like cellulose foods

    Fungi really contribute to the biomass in the soil that these types of plants like. Most woody plants and trees like ecto mycorrhizae as well, some do not have a mycorrhizae symbiosis like rhododendrens I forget the others

    Turf and annuals like endo mycorrhizae and typically an even to slightly bacterial soil. Sugars support the bacterial numbers. I don't know if you saw it in another thread but someone said they were going to spray molasses on their lawn. That was to get the bacterial numbers up, fungi likes it too but bacteria really party if you spray complex sugars
  3. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    OK, so is there a formula I can make by adding all of that together? From what I understand I need triple ground hardwood mulch with woody compost at the base for food. Would the ecto mycorrhizae hurt the plants like rhododendrens or would they just not benefit from it?
    Could I mix the molasses in with it or maybe just add it to the compost before I put it down?

  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I personally do not think that shrubs and trees should have additional fertilizer added to them in that the excessive growth is weak, spindly, and more subject to disease and breakage.
    If you have a shrub that is consistantly doing poorly when others are doing well I would look at digging it up. Rebuild the hole with adequate drainage and some good compost around the root ball. I ususally dig 2 feet below the root ball and throw in wood chips or straw, leaves whatever then cover it with sand for drainage (I have heavy clay here as well). Replace the 2 feet of topsoil add compost around the root ball and flood it once a day for 3 days to get the air pockets out and settle the earth around the roots.

    The ability for water to soak in and drain through the root zone is what enables the woody plants to grow. Obviously you know what "flooding" means in your clay. If all the trash is cleaned up under the soil from construction drainage might be your issue for that one bush area.

    Everyone has a system this one is mine :)
  5. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    first you need to know the names of all the plants your dealing with,
    if you don't know what your dealing with how are you going to sound to a customer?
    all plant need different amounts of minerals and nutrition, once you know what the plant needs are you can go from there, grass if going to need more n then say a Japanese maple in a season so don't treat all plants the same, once you know the needs you can adjust nutrient cycling accordingly.

    also different plants have different accociation with mycorrhizal fungi so you need to find that out before you apply
  6. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    i know most of the plants in our area from when I had my landscape company, its just been a few years so a good walk around the local nursery a few times will put me right on track. Like I said though, this is cheap trash that the builder put in and I had never installed it myself. I know the rest of them are types of Barberry and a few hollies. Nothing special and very bare looking but I guess it will do the trick until I can talk my wife into letting me replace it all.
    As far as giving the plants what it needs where can I find the information about what plants need what to let them be as healthy as they can be?

  7. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    research,research,research, on line and books, go to the library and buy your own.
    nursery's are good too
  8. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    lol, I think I'm finding a trend with you.
  9. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    Hey growing,
    Been thinking about what you said about the research. I want to learn more about the soil food web and stuff and was wandering if you could point me toward some good places to learn more about it with correct info.

    And yes, I'll be googling it to see what I can find on my own... lol, just messing with you.

    Appreciate it,
  10. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    OK, let me rephrase that...

    What are some good places/books I can learn about the soil food web that are put in terms for someone like me to understand. A lot of the places I look use a lot of terms and names that I don't know and is really hard to follow. Remember, I'm a newb and am learning a lot of this organic stuff from scratch. So if we could start with the basics that would be cool.

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