I Need help getting lawns looking really nice

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by recycledsole, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. BlazersandWildcats2009

    BlazersandWildcats2009 LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Messages: 197

    Like I said I learn something new hear everyday. I guess I was basing my water calculations more off readings rather than doing the correct calculations. It's great you pointed that out. As for learning about turf and soil, it's a hobby aside from school. I'm planning to finish with Web Design school so hopefully I can make some websites for some of you guys, but would also like to learn about soil and turf so maybe I can do some side work for myself later on. You know right after you mentioned that, an add popped up for a degree in Landscaping. I think after I finish with what I'm doing, I might have to do some studies, but I just love learning about lawns/soils for some reason and have a passion for it. I ran that schedule up and down and changed many things hour after hour, but I feel I should be getting about just the right amount of nitrogen, or I'm very close in the ball park range. I don't think I'll see anything but positive benefits to the soil structure with the added organic materials, but like you said would be a very slow process. I think if I can get in the right % ball park range of OM in the soil than, the yard would be less susceptible to disease, especially with the composting rate I have the compost spaced out throughout the hottest part of the weather, in theory I think this will help fight against the fungus, along with addition to the CM. I will also be monitoring closely for any disease or sign of disease, in that case I will try to work around the summer application of nitrogen and replace with something better suited. I found the Lesco 15-5-10 to be formulated well for us; after reviewing it's ingredients and feel that it is well balanced and includes sulfur, iron, and some possible ingredients that can be beneficial to the grass here. I think the amount of organic material should keep the micro's in the soil if steady supplied and moving around under my turf through the warm months, and will also contribute to possibly lower watering needs. I plan to aerate in the spring. I think I have enough nitrogen to keep it the right color and balanced throughout the spring, summer, and fall, while I think with the amount of OM being applied, I should be able to have a fairly balanced soil within a few years. One thing when playing around with designing schedules, we all know not to trust on the weather. But researching the almanac and learning average temperatures for each month can play a big roles into nitrogen applications. Thus, why I covered the heavy spring applications, low summer application, add the organic material to help fight disease (we'll see), and then come back with a lb of nitrogen as soon as the weather starts cooling off, but not before it's too late. For the water, I hadn't actually calculated that number, I still had that factored by readings and research, but as you can see I'm still making changes by the minute. I clearly see what you see after I look more deeply into the numbers. My theory with the bio-stimulate is that yields the best results if applied right before a plant is "shocked". Our temperatures shouldn't spike until December, thus, I believe the bio stimulate will best benefit if applied 30 and 60 days before the cold moves in. I completely understand where your coming from on the water now and I'm grateful you pointed that out. I look forward to seeing some more of your useful post around whenever you got time on your end.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    B&W,,, have you looked at the root zone of your Zoysia, yet??? Have you noticed the soil's texture and structure with its reaction to irrigation or rain???
    Organic matter deep in the roots will continue to feed the plants if the moisture/air ratio is maintained in a healthy balance... I can not speak for Zoysia but if Agrostis, says too much water will weaken the plants, I would say the same thing about KBG,,, especially on heavy soils...
    The microbes in the soil use air and water much the same way the plants do... I have one client that may have all the same microbes in his lawn that are living in the swamps... needless to say that the compacted dead zones of bare dirt, speak to the consequences of, Not Enough Air...
    It is one thing to assume the amount of water needed it is better to see for yourself how much is needed by looking at it personally... :)
  3. BlazersandWildcats2009

    BlazersandWildcats2009 LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Messages: 197


    You have a very valid point. I can defiantly see the microbes in the soil utilizing the nutrients and water in the same way which the plants do. A common law of nature, I see it as you have to take care of and preserve the soil and it's micro's as if they were a human. Just like in our lives, the more healthier practices we have, the better we have a chance of fighting of diseases, sickness, and so on. If we have enough healthy micro's in the soil that are steadily getting fed a steady supply of nutrients, the good micro's will be there to take care of the bad organisms that can in fact cause "sickness" or "diseases" in our turf. However, the question boils down to something similar to the nature of humans. How much nutrients is needed to keep the soil healthy? How much is a healthy balance of water? While keeping a steady supply of OM in the soil, I tend to think the life under the soil will be much healthier, especially during the "thriving" months, as oppose to if I would have spread the OM material out over a longer period or a more gaped period, I believe it would be just like ensuring we have plenty of food in our belly, then me deciding to starve myself. Which in theory, would make me susceptible to sickness or "illness", which would kill the good micro's in the soil that's needed. I believe if you keep a constant supply through the "thriving" months the soil structure will gradually become healthier. Where does the water come into play? Just like humans, water is healthy for us, while we can also drown ourselves or become "bloated" from too much water. Which not only becomes bad for the grass itself, but also for the soil as you said. Of coarse water is a needed nutrient, but too much will indeed make less available oxygen, which explains the areas of compacted dirt, which would also kill off the needed organisms in our soil. I think having the correct or sufficient amounts of nutrients in the soil during the thriving months will indeed be very healthy to the soil and it's structure, while you most defiantly have to make the water/oxygen levels balanced, without "stressing" or making the soil structure become "ill." I can clearly understand both your standpoint and agrostics standpoint, too much water can be just as detrimental to the grass and soil structure as too little water. As you stated, the best way to check and keep this balance in line, is by checking the soil yourself. When I created my schedule, I tried to balance out the nutrients through the "most needed" times of the year in order to balance the nutrients under the soil and keep the needed micro's alive throughout the year, which indeed I believe will lead to a more disease resistant and healthier turf. While I did create a schedule, I clearly understand a schedule can never do a lawn justice, because the soil needs to be monitored constantly to clearly see exactly what is needed, just similar to having a small child in the house. We become accustom to knowing when our children our hungry or thirsty, the same goes with the soil. We must become accustom to knowing the needs of our soil and how much water is needed to create that "healthy" balance. While I agree, in my "draw up schedule", I had too much water, however this is an outline, I will be indeed watching the soil much more closely than simply looking at a "schedule" or piece of "paper."

    Another thing I've learned is while the soil structure and the grass on top "work together" to create a beautiful art piece, they function together, but more more or less have their own "duties". Without balancing out the nitrogen for beautiful "art" we see, the art won't be so beautiful. But without the proper balance of nutrients in the structure below that piece of "art", that "artwork" won't look so healthy, and most importantly will NOT be healthy or very disease resistant, which is what we need to fight off all of them things we dread, brown patch, fungus, and the list goes on.

    So as I stated earlier, it all boils down to the soil structure, available nutrients, too much water, too little water, you see how a little or too much of either contributes to such a substantial difference in the health of our lawn, thus why we see so many turfs inquire so many different problems. There's a broad spectrum of balancing and understanding of soil structure to preserve a healthy turf and simply following a schedule won't do justice, but following an ideal schedule, while closely monitoring the soil and understanding the needs of our "baby" will provide a healthy, beautiful, and disease resistant piece of "art."

    It's excellent to have a place where people take so much of a passion in what they do and especially that don't mind sharing their knowledge and perspective of things. Living in different climates we all agree, we will encounter different "needs" to build a healthy overall structure, there also will be same basic principles we have to follow, the same thing with raising our younger children, we have to fill those "basic" needs in order for them to survive. Children have been around for a long time and mostly everyone understand their basic needs, sometimes it takes others who think the same way with our lawns + soils to understand the "basic needs" of our lawns, soils, and the living things under our soils to live and work effectively. I appreciate you guys sharing your views, pointing things out, problems you encounter, and most importantly sharing your "knowledge and views."

Share This Page