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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Gerry Miller, Oct 23, 2007.
Compost tea for weed control, now that is a new one.
Hey Gerry, what do I need in a compost tea to get rid of the weeds in this lawn?
From Soil FoodWeb:
Weeds: Purselane can be used as a very short-canopy cover crop to maintain biology, maintain root mat to choke out other weeds, but senesces or goes-to-sleep when moisture is limiting. Mustards are only a problem if the soil is too bacterial * indication is to add more fungal foods, typically as a fungal compost in the fall. Downy brome indicates a soil chemistry imbalance, need to get Ca:Mg ratio corrected, need to have soil fungi improved. Goat grass- don't know this one, would have to get some experience.
Weeds: Foxtail indicates a lack of available Fe. Need VAM on roots to have plants obtain needed Fe and out-compete the foxtail. Kosha, sand burr both typically inappropriate balance of bacteria allows them to outcompete corn. Return to a 1:1 ratio of fungi to bacteria. Thistle indicates high nitrate levels, so need to drop nitrate additions and use molasses or corn gluten to remove excess nitrate, into the bacterial biomass. Then need to check balance on the protozoa and nematodes. Protozoan inoculum, compost or compost tea may be needed.
Weeds: Pigweed, grasses, foxtail. Reduce nitrate levels in the soil by adding corn gluten, molasses, or other bacterial foods to tie up excess N. Get VAM back into soil, pigweed will be outcompeted by the beans. Grasses * outcompete by balancing equal fug to bacteria.
You can alway contact Soil FoodWeb Labs and they can provide more information.
The pictures you provided looks like your typical sustainable landscape, weeds! Don't need to provide anything, all natural if you want it to look like this! That's why it's not so popular.
But if you really need help with weeds, here a place to start:
"Weeds: Control Without Poisons" by Charles Walters, Jr. of Acres U.S.A. is one of the few books that deals with non-herbicidal weed control through fertility management. There are two chapters in this book that go a long way towards describing why weeds may be controlled through the use of calcium-based materials.
Chapter 7, "The BE & CEC Concept" goes into the optimum ratio of plant nutrients in soil, interpreting soil test analysis, and cation exchange capacity. Carey Ream's theory says that weed control is best effected by maintaining plant nutrients at certain levels. These are, stated in pounds per acre, calcium, 2000; phosphate, 400; potassium,200; sulfate, 200; nitrate, 40; ammoniacal nitrogen, 40; iron, 40.
Chapter 8, "Fertilizing the Weeds" goes into bio-physics and energy levels in biological systems and describes radionics instruments and practices that reduce weed growth. Radionics is the use of electrical scanners to diagnose and influence subtle biological energy patterns.
"Weeds!!!Why?" is a booklet by Jay McCaman that deals with the specific conditions that influence weed growth, and practices that can be done to decrease their presence. It is comprised primarily of two tables. Table 1 is a listing of over 160 weeds indicating common soil problems associated with each. It states that the goal of an effective soil management program should be first to change the soil environment to a point in which the soil grows weeds indicative of a healthy soil. Secondly, it is to change the soil environment to reduce weed pressure to manageable levels.
Table 2 is a listing of weed response to soil applied products based on an electrical scanning device. The scanner measured the energy patterns of ten common weeds when compared to products like dolomite lime, high calcium lime, gypsum, 0-46-0, anhydrous ammonia, 0-0-60, soft rock phosphate, Lasso, and 2,4-D. The scanner was used to determine which products lowered or raised the energy pattern of the weeds. For example, velvetleaf started with a general vitality (GV) reading of 470. Muriate of potash (0-0-60) increased the GV to 740. Thus, McCaman says that muriate of potash would assist the growth of velvetleaf. High calcium lime, on the other hand, reduced the GV to 0. From this McCamon figures that high calcium lime does not assist the growth of velvetleaf but rather creates a soil "climate" which is antagonistic to the growth of velvetleaf.
Weed-control-through-fertility management are concepts and practices advocated by Dr. William Albrecht and Dr. Carey Reams.
For example, Reams stated that:
* grassy weeds are an indication of calcium deficiency
* broadleaf weeds are an indication of improper phosphate-
According to Dr. Arden Anderson, author of "Science in Agriculture calcium may be normal on the LaMotte soil test, but in fact be biologically unavailable due to high sodium, chemical toxicity, high magnesium, etc. To reactivate a soil like this, he suggests a mixture of liquid calcium, an enzyme product (like Nitron's A-35 or International Ag Lab's RL-37), humic acid, and sugar. This mixture will function as a stimulant to free up the calcium present in the soil. Additions of rock phosphate can also improve calcium availability according to Anderson.
Dr. Philip Wheeler also has extensive research in this area.
Weed control is not equivalent to weed eradication and your information has nothing to do with the problem presented to you.
I asked you how do I get rid of the weeds using compost tea, not why they are there. I know why they are there and I also know how to get rid of them permanently without pesticides.
This is just an example of some of the problems I face. Since your posts suggest your an expert on this issue, make a specific suggestion without using someone else's words.
Couple of other things to help you.
1) I would not consider this site sustainable, but instead poorly managed.
2) There have been very few fertilizer and pesticide inputs over the past 10 years, clippings are bagged. Last fertilizer input was about 4 years ago, some weeds were spot sprayed with roundup about 3 years ago.
3) The lawn in other areas of the site are managed exactly the same way, but have no problems with the weeds found in the area shown in the pics
4) There are 10-15 different types of weeds in this area, all are not shown in the pics and vary based on the season
5) General soil properties: pH 7.4-8.4, clay fraction 40-60%, CEC 35-50 meq/100g
Oh and BTW, another nice example of cut & paste without credit.
Again, you make more assumptions that are incorrect. I've never said I was an expert about weed control. Another attempt to put words in my mouth. More far left wing liberal nonsense. And part of the post I made before was from my notes and I did not keep where that info came from. Thanks for the classless remark. As far as your cut and paste remarks, you know what you can do with them. More of your nonsense and insults. Try to pay attention and keep your eye on the subject without your insults and without putting words in my mouth. And those pics look just like a sustainable landscape. What people don't want around their homes.
Weed control and AACT
The first thing that has to be understood is that weeds are a normal part of the process of building soil.
Nature uses weeds to get the process of soil building started. Land will be in the weed stage of succession until the soil food web builds soil structure, builds nutrient cycling, builds disease-suppression, water retention, etc to the point that the soil no longer supports the germination and growth of those weed species.
In general, ALL of the weedy species of plants that drive people crazy are plant species that need a soil habitat that is highly disturbed. When I say disturbed, I mean something happened to kill the set of organisms that perform the processes I listed above.
If herbicide is used, most of the time protozoa, who convert nutrients from a plant-not-available form into a plant available form, are killed. Use round-up, and you have set the stage for more weeds, because there will not be the needed nutrient cycling for your higher successional plant species to be able to survive. The stage has been set for.......more weeds.
Apply inorganic fertilizer (PLEASE pay attention to the term inorganic here, because this is not the case with ORGANIC fertilizers), and you are again setting the stage for MORE WEEDS.
All inorganic fertilizers are salts. Salts kill the beneficial organisms. It is a simple osmotic shock relationships.
What is osmotic shock? Let me explain by analogy.
If we drop you into a vat of salt, osmotic shock will occur. All the available water in your body will be pulled out by the salt. Simple osmotic diffusion will result in your body turning into a husk and you die, because of lack of available water. Not a pleasant way to die.
Exactly the same thing happens to all the "good guys" in your soil when you put more than a handful of any of the inorganic fertilizers, or salts, on your soil. It is the shock of having all the available water in their bodies pulled out of them that kills them.
Now, condition your soil slowly, over years time, to deal with that salt, and the impact is less. Species that tolerate salt can build up, and that's what happens in deserts usually. But that's not something we slowly but surely allow to happen in our urban or suburban environments.
So, what are the conditions that select for weeds, and not for the later successional plants that we want in our yards and ag fields?
1. High nitrate concentration. If nitrate is over 10 ppm in the soil, you are helping the weeds and not your desired plant species. So, remember that urea you put out? Guess what plant species you helped?
2. Lack of oxygen in the soil. Early successional plants put very little of their energy into production of roots. Weeds minimize root development in order to make SEEDS, thousands of seeds, which disperse far and wide. Soil structure has to be built to allow oxygen to move easily into the soil. Of course water can get in and be held properly then as well. If water can be held in the soil and not drain out, but not become anaerobic (good air passageways needed), then you don't have to water nearly as much in the summer.
3. Hard pan formation. Tillage of the soil means a compaction layer, i.e., hard pan, was imposed where the tillage plow share pushed on the soil below it. There is no tillage practice that does not compact soil to some degree. Spaders compact the soil below where the spade pushed on the soil in order to pick up the soil above the spade. But, a lot less compaction overall than than say a deep riper, or a chisel plow, or a disc plow, or mould board plow.
So, negative effects of tillage depend a great deal on the kind of tillage performed, and the time of year. Soil with more than 50% moisture should NEVER be tilled, because the soil balls up and the compaction is horrible. Why not just sow weed seed in your field if you decide to till when too wet? When the soil is dead dry, tillage doesn't do much damage - well, much.... that's a relative term too. Of course, if you till when it is dead dry and then the wind blows, guess where your top soil is going? Hello neighbors........
Quite a few weeds were designed by Nature to break through hard pans, because Nature does things to impose hardpans too. That last flood.......it left a layer of extremely disturbed soil materials in a layer on the surface of your soil. If there wasn't any good biology in that soil, then there's the hard pan starting.
Weeds that make deep tap roots do that in order to punch through the hardpan, and start the process of building soil structure. How long will it take for the dandelions in your lawn to punch through that hard pan enough times so that good soil structure can be built?
The more you are out there putting on herbicide to kill those dandelions, the longer it will take to build decent soil structure so that Nature isn't going to keep growing dandelions in your lawn to fix the problem.
Think about this....... when you are fighting Nature, who is going to win? Nature has more time than you do. You might be able to knock back 75% of the dandelion problem today but come next week or next month or next summer....... who won? Long term, who wins?
So, work WITH Nature. Get the organisms in the soil who will drop that nitrate level in your soil to below 3 ppm nitrate. Grow bacteria and fungi to turn that nitrate into an organic form of N. Then you need protozoa, beneficial nematodes, and microarthropods to cycle the organic N back into the plant-available N again, but localized in the root zone, and not out everywhere in the soil.
Build air passageways and water pools in the soil by allowing the organisms that build soil structure to do their job. STOP KILLING THEM!!!!!
Do these things, and you select for the later successional plant species, not the weedy species.
I would say that the soil in the photos is probably severely lacking in fungi. Compost tea would be one part of a program in establishing the soil and creating conditions for higher successional plants like the grasses found in turf.
Yet ANOTHER post that has nothing to do with the problem presented to you. You want everyone on this board to think your much smarter then they are, and yet when present with a real world problem, you dodge the issue.
And yet you have provided specific recommendations on how to manage them in this post.
The "weed stage of succession". ROFL
How about you define what a weed is?
Oh, and BTW, not all "inorganic" fertilizers are salts.
I can't read any further. There is so much B.S. jumping off the page it's knocking me over.
Are you going to step up and make a recommendation or not?
Considering the history of that area (several trees once located near the middle of the area), and the presence of toadstools in one corner of the area (top-left of pic 1), and the "shrubs" which used to be trees, I would suspect fungi are not lacking.
What exactly does this guy do for a living?