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I need a top-dressing mix / formula

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Five Diamond Lawns, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Five Diamond Lawns

    Five Diamond Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    I am going to start doing a lot of top-dressing of lawns and am looking for a good organic mix. What I have used up to this point is a mix my local distributer sells which is 50% topsoil and 50% GroCo ( 90% sawdust and 10% bio solids ) ( I think bio solids is the correct word, its processed sewage )

    I talked to a local Organic nursery to have them potentially sell my top-dressing service and his feedback was I need to change my mix to a more organic friendly mix. He said yes bio solids may be considered organic but he would not be comfortable recommending it. Also he said he would like to see pete moss instead of sawdust. That may be an availability problem for me.

    Thats enough from me you know my problem, What can you suggest.
  2. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I don't see the problem. Your customer is telling exactly what he wants. I don't agree with it but at least he's not insisting you add chemicals to it. For now I would get the ball rolling and give him what he wants. Later you might tell him you're getting good results with ONE change to the recipe. He's not going to go for biosolids, ever, so give up on that. Some people just have a Ewwww gene that gives them the creeps thinking about it. You don't have it but he does, so it won't sell in his shop. Try another. Besides biosolids are officially banned by the government in pure organic farms. I also disagree with his position on peat moss, but if I was trying to get something going, I'd either go with this guy's suggestions or try someone else. If he thinks the idea was all his, he'll sell the heck out of it.

    Tell your supplier what the client said and see what he can do to help you out.
  3. Five Diamond Lawns

    Five Diamond Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    In a lot of way I agree with you. The only part of this puzzle is he is only part of my projected sales( I'm hoping about 25% ). I may have to come up with a custom mix just for him.
    I'm still looking for a general mix I can sell as our normal and I'd like to be able to refer to it as Organic.
    In reference to the pete moss it looks like it would be too expensive for me to add ( would add about $20 a yard as it is trucked down from Canada ). Anyone know a substitute that's not sawdust?
  4. leaf compost!
  5. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Leaf compost is great. Another one that is just coming to the forefront is compost made exclusively from tree branches chipped by a run-of-the-mill chipper shredder. Know anyone in the tree trimming business that might pile up a few yards of their daily haul and let it rot for a year?

    The secret of this material working when sawdust does not is that the chipped wood is much greener than the wood from sawdust. Also chipped branches include lots of leaves and fresh stems where there apparently is an abundance of nitrogen (relatively speaking) to balance the carbon in the wood. So when you have the entire branch (under 2 inches in diameter) to compost or even apply as a mulch, supposedly it makes an incredible earth after a year. The other secret is that it takes fungi to decompose wood and fungi is what is short in most soils.

    Anyone want references to read more? Google on "ramial chipped wood."

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