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Hypothetical lawn install

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by dan deutekom, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    What is the "right organic stuff" for trying to grow turf? Anyone use wood? Wood is basically lignin, which takes a long time to decay compared to soft tissue. Just have to be careful with your C-N ratios. Best time to modify growing environment is before plants are installed.
  2. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Hand pull the weeds. Maybe on a 30' x 30' lawn but it isn't practical on a couple of acres of lawn. Live with the weeds. Life is to short to tolerate a poor lawn. I don't think my clients would be very happy spending thousands of dollars just to make a weed field. Sterilized soil....$$$$$$$$. Most topsoil around here is scraped off of new subdivision projects and then screened. Lots of weed seed. Besides dosn't sterilization defeat the purpose of organic care?

    It is amazing what 1 lawn spray can do to renovate a poor lawn. In fact I have turned rundown pastures into acceptable lawns by doing a couple of weed sprays, fertilizer program, and overseeding. After one season it looks like a proper lawn.

    PS: Would like to hear from some cool season grass guys. I don't have the luxury of having more than 5 months growing season:cry:
  3. Enjoy Life Ronnie

    Enjoy Life Ronnie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    My lawn is only 2,600 square feet so 50# should be a good start and at $4.50 a bag it's dirt cheap. I'm sure hoping for good results so I can have a nice lawn without really trying.
    I used a coffee can and just flung it everywhere. Do the rest of you use a spreader? I don't even have one.
    Regardless the result I intend to use cornmeal every 90 days for one full year to give it a fair test.
  4. Enjoy Life Ronnie

    Enjoy Life Ronnie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    About 40 years ago we used plain old dirt then added perlite, vermiculite and sand to make potting soil. I have no idea what they use now? But that would cost too much anyway. LOL

    About that same time (1964) I went to the sanitation dept. and they gave me a big old truckload of dried human waste. I spread it on my lawn and watered it in best I could. My next door neighbor had a swamp bucket cooler in his bedroom window and was a little upset about the smell. So I didn't use it again. But the tomatoes came up everywhere and the neighborhood kids
    found a lot of large balloons in my yard.

    But the grass didn't improve much so I just gave up and took up golf.
  5. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    "I used a coffee can and just flung it everywhere. Do the rest of you use a spreader? I don't even have one. "

    That's one of the cool things about organic fertilizers - you can use your hands! I have applied lots of comost and other stuff by hand. I usually put it in a 5-gal bucket and walk around throwing out handfuls.

    If you're just doing your own lawn and its not large, you don't need to buy a spreader. But for a larger lawn or lots of lawns or if time is an issue (like if you're getting paid) then it can be very useful to use a spreader. Also it is better to have an even distribution, which you can't easily achieve by hand. But this is not as important as it is with strong chemicals.

    But most spreaders are made to apply standard fertilizer pellets which are granulated to fit the spreaders. Lots of organic materials will not work in most spreaders. Every garage has one or two Scott's spreaders - usually not working. I couldn't bring myself to buy that plastic garbage for $29.95 so I paid a little more ($45.00) and got one sold by Fertilome. Works fine with stuff like Milorganite (if you remove the agitator pin) or anything that's granulated. Did OK with alfalfa pellets. But compost - no way.

    The A.M. Leonard catalog ( http://www.amleo.com ) has lots of commercial spreaders. They range from $50 to maybe over a $1000. There is one that they claim will apply anything that can be used on turf - the Spyker Mulch-n-More. It costs $560!

    There is some stuff sold around here called Humore, which is composted cattle manure and alfalfa. The company provides a special spreader to some of its dealers. It is a large metal cylinder with holes in it. You just pull it around and the stuff falls out the holes. I haven't used one.

    Grass seed can be broadcast by hand, but this is an example of something that is best applied in a very even, controlled way.
  6. Popsicle

    Popsicle LawnSite Member
    Messages: 189

    I would be one of those. :drinkup:

    I just applied cracked corn to a portion of a clients yard (with her approval, of course). I spread 500/f2 in the sun and another 500/f2 in the shade. Both areas have ajoining turf untreated for comparison. Though late in the season, I expect to see some results. We just started to get some much needed rain so that should help.
  7. My question is " what is topsoil"?

    I define topsoil " the soil thats at the top of the earth"

    could be pure sand to hard pan clay, so when buying topsoil, what are you buying?
  8. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    Fresh soil in a new yard?

    IF you have enough time, don't plant the seeds right away. Let the weed seeds germinate and grow, then they'll be easy to eradicate. Wait again until it's obvious the weeds seeds are taken care of, then seed with grass.

    Organic methods take more TIME...
  9. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Remember time matters
  10. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    Oops, sorry I missed that point in the original post...

    If time is the controlling factor, and if you want everything NOW, organics is NOT going to work well.

    The "I want it green tomorrow" mentality is what created the lawn chem business..

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