Soil Conditions Matter???

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Jan 31, 2013.

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  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Should we consider different strategies for building the excellenct soil structure we'd like to see, in accordance with,,, different soil textures???

    Or,,, can we just go ahead and apply any of the long list of products(organic) and eventually we get the soil we want regardless of where we started from???

    Organic product salesmen give us the impression that it is just that simple, only it takes time...

    For those who would bash, then let's first answer the Y/N part of the question ,,, THEN,,, move on toward the Why/Whynot,,, part of the question,,, THEN,,, go ahead and bash, if you must... but this is a serious topic that REQUIRES serious thought... :)
  2. lawnsquadnc

    lawnsquadnc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Google and look at the soil survey for the area you are working to find out what you need to use to help the soil. If its your on property you could get a soil sample done.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Thinking more along the lines of building SOM and soil structure, but I have some lawns that are sandier than others and need to adjust accordingly... at least I believe I do...
    Recycling the clippings helps all of them but that goes only so far, and I've even gotten to the point that additional compost doesn't make a big difference anymore either...

    I've read a claim about soils structure under turf doesn't change easily and perhaps not at all, but I would like to see better perculation on some lawns and better water retention in others...

    Therefore wondering if anyone out there noticed if any changes were taking place in the soils in regards to product used... corn meal for exa., does it build structures in sandy soils??? I might give that a try this coming year to increase water holding capacity on one sandy lot... there's compost there already, but still unimpressive... :)
  4. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Grass types that produce more thatch. Some chickin do doo pellets. Can we make it any more simple???
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Thatch is a tight dense mat of living and dead roots and stems that grow above the soil... not a desirable scenario at all...
    On the other hand,,, soils that perculate adequately, allowing your water soluable ferts to work their way deeper into the rootzone is going to increase the mass of deeper roots, which means a lot better scenario...
    Would you agree with that? or do you intentionally grow surface thatch???

    Nothing wrong with chicken poo,,, but what does it do for soil structure???
  6. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,376

    Downward and expanding root development ability, is disabled by thatch which has caused uptake disruption in the poor root tissue sitting in the thatch. During drought conditions. Even with deep roots, water and nutrients trying to enter the plant are dismantled for proper feeding, it functions but it as if you were trying to eat while being CHOKED.
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  7. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    The chicken poo pellets would add N.

    The N would help stimulate the microbes that would work on breaking down the thatch/Carbon.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Actually it is the N being trapped at the surface that encourages roots to grow upward instead of down into the soil... that is why aeration is used to punch holes in the thatch and allow water and NPK to get down into the depths and feed the roots below the surface of the thatch layer...
    There might be confusion as to the definition of thatch and dead grass clippings... check this out...

    * "Thatch in lawns is often misunderstood; both its cause and control. Some lawns have serious thatch problems while others do not. Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter that occurs between the green matter and the soil surface. Excessive thatch (over 1/2 inch thick) creates a favorable environment for pests and disease, an unfavorable growing environment for grass roots, and can interfere with some lawn care practices. " *
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That's a pretty good mental picture in describing why thatch, once it starts continually build and eventually, ALL the food and water is consumed at the surface...

    How do you think that your irrigation strategy, of irrigating ONLY when water stressed,,, affects the development of the 'thatch' as described in the IL ext. article???
    And better yet,,, do you believe that this type of thatch can be remediated, by switching to your irrigation strategy??? :)
  10. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Improve soils low in organic matter with topdressed organic matter.

    Accelerate the breakdown of long chain carbon with nitrogen.

    Don't you think chicken poo pellets add both nitrogen and organic matter?

    Never had an issue in the past with Thatch thicker than 1/2 inch here in my neck of the woods, so I will not go into the issues that we do not have.

    I have seen lawns here with less than 1/2 inch of thatch all too often and believe too much N had broken down the Carbon in the soils resulting with too low levels ie. C/N ratios in favor of N. Not sustainable.........Remember the "Dust Bowl". (Thanks Joel from Earthworks)

    The Addition of organic matter in the form of Chicken poo or bio-solids can address the accelerated breakdown of C from too much N.

    Keep C/N ratios in balance.

    Soil conditions DO matter.
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