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Molasses Rates, Techniques, Timing?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by bicmudpuppy, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    I'm asking, not telling here. I've applied 4 apps of molasses on my bentgrass golf greens so far this year. I missed the app last week and this week because (1) we aerified this week, and (2) no follow up app this week because the high today was at 7 this AM @ 42 and the projected high tomorrow is 45. Will be back to 60 by monday and I'm planning on continuing. Suggestions here will help me modify the program.

    @ first sign of green up (3 days of 70 degrees first week of Feb) I acquired 17.5 gallons of feed grade molasses (methanol added to winter blend). Weight of molasses was 217#'s or 62#'s / 5 gallons.

    First application was 2gallons molasses with 100#'s of Ammonium sulfate / Acre
    Second application was 5 days later @ 1 gallon of molasses with 50#'s of Ammonium sulfate / Acre
    Third application one week later @ 1 gallon of molasses with 25#'s of Ammonium sulfate / Acre
    Fourth application one week later @ 1 gallon of molasses with 25#'s of Ammonium sulfate / Acre

    I have read from other Supt's that 1 gallon/A of molasses works. I've also been read and told that your not actually adding enough carbs at that rate to do any good. Thoughts??
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Sound to me like the microbes might still be a little chilly, and have you had enough water and air to digest that much stuff, even if it was warm?
    Just a thought - we are looking at several more weeks before molasses, in this neck of the woods. On average.

    That stuff may just all erupt at once. :laugh:
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

  4. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    The irrigation is ON :) I was so glad to see water in the ditch to re-fill the pond on the 11th!! Watering fairly heavily. The deep soil is dry. I started watering the top the second week in February with irrigation. I would have to pull the run logs and combine the manual runs from when the computer was down, but I have probably applied 6-8" of water to the 2A of greens already this year. To water those 2 A's, I also water another 2 A of surrounding turf. Without the other areas on, that additional 2 A's only gets a half rate. So, lots of water and soil temps were near 60 prior to this cold snap this week. I am seeing turf response, and the turf is growing. lateral growth is more pronounced than vertical still at this point (typical of early spring and late fall), but solid growth. Is the response more the 1# of N as amonium sulfate /m ? or is the molasses having an effect? I just don't know. The hand I had running the aerifier tells me he hasn't seen roots like that when aerifying here, and he has been here, on and off, for 5 years. The root growth is not the molasses, but I think it is related to my "style" and how we handled going into winter.
  5. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Not that I find. Those in the golf industry that use molasses, swear by it, but no research has been done that will back it up. The research all seems to lean the other way. The research is all done by synthetic types though. We can't "prove" anything. The doses are so small they shouldn't make a difference.........

    But, some of the best claims for molasses and similar additives all recommend small doses vs heavy applications. I measure N needs on my greens by the amount of vegetation we remove on a daily basis. Not as reliable as repeated soil tests, but IMO, very reliable. The source and method for applying N depends on what soil test show was needed beyond N. I like to spoon feed. If I only have 1/4# of N/m in the tank mix, and I see a spot I am worried about, there is no harm in over lapping or making an extra pass on that area. The other aspects of the tank mix are usually not going to be anything I can't double up on either. Applying every other week, or even weekly is extra labor, but it gives me control. I NEED to get back to work on the CT brewer. I NEED to turn my compost and see what it is looking like. I also need a cloning machine, but.........yeah.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I don't imagine that the peer review studies would focus on whether or not molasses per se would do , thus and such or not...
    I think the concept of molasses is tied directly to the big picture of soil health and feeding the beneficial organisms. If you soil reaches the point that the organisms are only thriving because of the regular molasses then you may have modified your microbe population too much.
    Does that make any sense?

    Bic, with that much water on the greens it is difficult for me to imagine anything working other than hydroponically... :)
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Thanks for the input guys :)

    Now I will ask for my own curiosity... Do you consider molasses a synthetic product when reviewing how it is made/extracted?
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    No, but it is not sustainable either.

    ::ducks and runs for cover::
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    This is where my "reality" becomes so surreal to the rest of the industry. A sand based golf green is just that. A mound of SAND. How much water do you have to apply to keep the top 4" of a sand pile 6' high wet? If you can't get SOM up to a point that it holds moisture, you end up watering almost endlessly in my environment. This is why I "drifted" over here in the first place. Much of what you guys do, I can't. I can't apply compost to my greens except, possibly during aerifications. My greens are @.160" HOC now and the goal will be to get as close to .125"HOC as possible without them becoming so "fast" (ball speed) that the greens become unplayable. I am looking at CT and if I can pull enough time away to keep the project moving, hope to be doing some CT apps by mid to late April. My fairways and rough areas could take compost applications, BUT applying compost to 17A of .500"HOC KBG is another labor challenge. If I can get a screener included in my capitol budget, then mixing compost that is made on site with sand and screened appropriately becomes a very attractive proposition. Pushing the OM with molasses is an easy and cheap way to push start things. Notice I am still pumping things up with Ammonium sulfate. Most here would call that a "bridge". I consider it a crutch. If I could find a good, quality source of bio-solids, I would push that year round instead, BUT I have to have the program in place. Bio-solids/organic ferts are VERY slow release. Once you get the program in place, you have a healthier soil and turf with LESS, but you have to get there first. I want a soil profiler (deep tine aerator, 10-12" depth capable) almost as bad as I want the screener.
  10. hunter

    hunter LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 254

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