Question Regarding Organic Method

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Msteele, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Msteele

    Msteele LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    As I see it, based on little bit of reading, organic lawn care looks to be a very important part of the forseeable future of commerical lawn care. With that being said I think it is time for me to edecuate myself a bit more on the subject and consider its place in my business model over the next few years. I have a simple question that I think would help me digest infromation If anyone has the time.

    If a home sits on a site that was striped of most of its topsoil during the construction process, then sod was layed on the clumpy porly drained clay
    soil and the turff was sastuained through chemical application and heavy irrigation what would you do to condition the soil and approximatly how long would it take to condition soil that is mostly clay backfill?

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Aerate and topdress with a sandy compost for as much as it is worth. When the lawn is still healing up from the last aeration , add the sandy compost.

    Forget the fertilizers until you get enough soil structure for the roots to be deep enough to feed on something more than suface water and ferts. Let the soil dry out adequately b4 the next irrigation cycle. Of course leave the clippings.
  3. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,121

    Compost does a soil good.
    I beat ya Kiril! :laugh:

    Also add earthworm castings. When you're ready for organic based ferts, let me know. :)
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    :laugh: Yes you did.
  5. Msteele

    Msteele LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    When you say a "sandy compost" I am assuming the sand is to help the compaction that you see in heavy clay soils, this maybe a stupid question but is a sandy compost regular compost with sand added? Also as far as compost goes I would guess its most profitable to make your own compost, however until I can make a good compost in the nessecary volume does anyone have any suggestions on where to buy bulk compost or advice on making it. If it helps I am located in central IN.

    Thanks Agian
  6. Msteele

    Msteele LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I took a quick look at your site and at first glance am impressed Ill give you a call when I have some more time after the holidays. Thanks
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    When I get to a different part of the country my first interest is to, visit the local garden centers. Even if it is a box store you can find someone that is pleasant to chat with. In those locations I have always found bagged compost, made of materials, derived from local farms.

    Until you find a good bulk source you can always do the bags. You really do not need the - uniform 1/4 inch covering. [That's a lot] Rather -- Kind of similar to the concept of Terra Preta, the microbes, just need a place to thrive. Any amount of compost is going to be a plus. When dairy farms use sand for 'bedding down' the cows, you end up with a lot more sand than compost.

    Yes, it really will be better than compost alone in clay. JMHO. :)
  8. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Being from the mid west you will probably find many local industries where waste almost runs their business. Arborists, cattle farmers, Milk farmers, horse paddocks, local dump, etc. all of these industries have waste streams that are not part of the business model. meaning you can normally get the waste for cheap or for the cost of hauling it away.

    Some folks take it a step farther and compost the waste stream and sell it to companies like yours. If you look around you will find many sources of compost. Just a note, In almost every state that we have spoken to, when someone is selling bulk compost they must have an analysis available for the buyer, meaning the seller has tested the compost for macro/micro nutrients as well as heavy metals. If the company does not have them, run...... to the next composter that does
    They are breaking the law, in most cases, if they are selling a soil amendment without an available analysis

    There was an incedent on here where a company picked up what looked like great finished horse poop compost, after application the sites started to look like they had been burned by Nitrogen. Indeed they were, the analysis came back at a little over 11% nitrogen, not the sign of a good finished compost.

    Finished compost has little to no Nitrogen

    He was able to water himself out of the problem but certainly not a profitable job

    This brings up an interesting point, a finished compost, properly composted, has plenty of nitrogen in it, just not nitrate or plant available nitrogen. The nitrogen is released over time as the organic matter is broken down and turned into plant available nitrogen.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  9. Yard.Barber

    Yard.Barber LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    A bit off topic.

    If you use organic for lawns, trees etc.. Do you still need a license for this or can I offer it as an option to my lawn care service and be okay??
  10. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795


    When I first glanced at your post my eyes fell on this;

    and I thought 'boy I gotta give Bill a good verbal spanking for that" then I read through the whole post and saw;

    and realized no reprimand is in order.

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