organic program w/ sythetic 1st app

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by way to grow, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. way to grow

    way to grow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    I have developed an almost completely organic program for my customers(except for spot weed control), and because customers want a quick green up in the spring I'm thinking of doing the first app synthetic. Maybe even with a synthetic pre-em? Is this going to have a huge adverse effect on the health of the soil and the microbes? If I use an organic with microbes for the 2nd application should that take care of it? Any advice you guys have would be great. I of course just want to have happy customers with beautiful lawns and healthy soil. Thanks for your help. You guys rock!
  2. I see no problem, see the thread, organic- is it the best? post by buckwalter
  3. way to grow

    way to grow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Thanks timturf, I'm still a little worried though. How long will the pre-em stay in the soil? I'm pretty sure it isn't exactly good for the biologicals.(microorganisms etc.)
  4. I wouldn't worry about it!
  5. sport70

    sport70 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1


    I'm new to this group. I have been working with organics for a few years now and have a good understanding how they work. I am forming a lawn company that is specializing in just that.

    From my own experience applying a good organic fertilizer with a nitrogen number around the 7-10 range you will get very good green up without the crazy leggy growth high nitrogen numbers cause. Your customers with probably appreciate the fact they don't have to cut their lawns 3 times a week also. With organic you get a good steady growth with a hardier blade and eventually a thicker lawn.
  6. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    A couple years ago I got unbelievable green-up using corn GLUTEN meal at 15 pounds per 1,000. I'm trying never to do THAT again - too much growth all at once. The only difference between the application of synthetics and organics is the organics should be applied 3 weeks before the grass starts to grow. That gives the microbes time to digest and do something with it.

    As someone pointed out with a grin on another thread, things happen earlier here in South Central Texas, but I applied my first fertilizer last weekend on Valentine's Day. I can guarantee you I will be mowing real grass (as opposed to weeds) by the end of March, a full month before the folks on the synthetic program have figured out what weeds they need to control. That's about the time they hit the lawn with weed and feed and screw up everything.
  7. way to grow

    way to grow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Thank you very much Mr. Moderator!! Do the results of an organic fertilizer (ex. corn gluten meal) have anything do with how much OM or microbial life is already in the soil? It seems like it would because those are the guys that are going to break the stuff down into usable food for the grass????:confused:
  8. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 720

    Has anyone really determined a rate of application for corn gluten?

    I'm seeing some interesting things happen now, just one month after application. One lawn, (buffalo grass - 2nd year using CGM, and fertilized last year with Milorganite, but somewhat weedy) has greened up nicely - thick and dense, but crabgrass has appeared, as well as some winter broadleaves. . .

    Another lawn, (Tif bermuda - no pre-m last year, Milorganite fert all last year - beautiful, virtually weed free) hasn't emerged from dormancy yet, and has been invaded by all kinds of winter broadleaves, some crabgrass, and poa annua.

    It appears to have no preemergent properties whatsoever at 15 lbs./1000 sf on either lawn.

    Too little? Too late? I'm confused and customers are annoyed.
  9. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Where do you live that you have crabgrass growing already? Usually that doesn't show up until late April or May even in Texas.

    If you want to fertilize with corn GLUTEN meal, the rate is more like 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If you want to control weed seeds with it, you need more like 40 pounds per 1,000. At a dollar per pound that gets very expensive. The results have something to do with the amount of microbes in the soil. I know one lady rancher who is applying 20 gallons per acre of compost tea to get her microbe count up.

    Buffalo grass is always weedy. Were your clients misinformed about that when they planted it? Winter broadleafed weeds are usually wildflowers that sprouted last October and remain nearly dormant until the days start to get longer. Those weeds can be plucked quickly and easily with a WeedHound (available at Wal*Mart and all the box stores).
  10. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 720

    There's crabgrass showing up here in Central TX now. Mild winter and very wet this spring.

    . . . 40 lbs/1000 sf for pre-m control . . . that's also 4 lbs. of N/1000sf . . . the entire year's amt of N.

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