St. Augustine Organic's

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Landscape Poet, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    ICT Bill,

    Yes I have did several - roughly 20 soil test this past season for others - each of them show Ca/Mg being out of whack like that - seem pretty common and yes Mg is is usually deficient - I only had one that came back not, was being treated by a decent fert and squirt company, but even the others that are treated by fert and squirt companies showed deficiencies, even other lawns treated by same company. B and Cu deficiencies also appear to be common as most if not all had them, while P and Fe and Zn seem to be very staple judging from lawns that have not had any chemicals applied to them.

    So from either one of you (Bill/Kiril), would any organic practices lend themselves more than others towards helping build Mg, Mn, B and Cu deficiencies better than others.
  2. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    SAR = [Na+] / {([Ca2+] + [Mg2+]) / 2}1/2

    Just so you know that I am not waisting your time Kiril
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    First, Ca:Mg is not an indication of a deficiency, but rather an tool used to determine the "health" of the soil. Generally the ratio should be around 8:1.. Anything close to that is acceptable IMO, including the results you posted. Furthermore, Mg is not needed assuming the units carry though to the rest of the numbers posted.

    Second, IMO micronutrients should only be addressed when there is an observed deficiency. Use the soil report to help you identify potential problems due to micros, but I don't feel you need to adjust them (especially in a landscape) unless the plant(s) tell you they need some more.
  4. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    Kiril - I agree it is about soil health, but help me understand this -
    According to my Labs suggestion -
    Mg is needed for the aid the turf in plant light reaction photosynthesis aka production of oxygen and chlorophyll, which makes the plant look green. It is also not true that correcting lowers considered low will aid in preventing fungus development? The recommended 7.3lbs/1000

    Same hold true with the Copper and Boron - Copper recommend 0.1 lbs/1000 as 70% of copper is found in chlorophyll - deficiency can result in early aging and lowered levels of chlorophyll.

    Boron recommended .02 lbs/1000sqft - reason to help build cell wall of plants an and essentially making is stronger.

    So why would a lab make these recommendations if they did not feel they would be beneficial? Is this just a difference of opinion in how and what to address in a landscape? Tell me more about what you would consider to be a deficiency in these micros. You stated above if the plants were telling you.
    My recommendations were made to help control fungal disease - so would you consider that you plant telling you? Help me understand you point of few. By the way these have already been addressed and needless to say there is still fungal disease hence why I was looking for other options when I started reading about Organics. So tell me your thinking is here.
  5. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    I don't speak for Kiril, but I believe what Kiril is getting at is don'r chase a bunch of numbers, if things are pretty much in line, leave it alone

    kind of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"

    As far as fungal disease do we know which one specifically and is this happening on older varieties of turf and not on newer ones

    A lot of the real bad guys for turf are actually water molds and travel on the leaf of the plant and literally in the air on water droplets, so when disease is present in the area it can be raining fungal disease

    Great discussion on micro's thanks, I find the workings of the plant facinating
    My point is it may not be the soil as it can come in from everywhere, especially on the decks of lawn mowers
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Well, I can't comment on a labs recommendations without actually seeing the report. That said, lab recommendations are typically generic and intended as a guide only. They should never be considered a hard and fast rule to follow.

    Generally speaking, most soils have adequate micronutrients. Typically there is no need to concern yourself with managing micronutrients unless you visually see a deficiency. It is then your task to determine why the deficiency has occurred. It might be due to a low levels of the nutrient in the soil, or it could be due to other factors that can affect the availability of a nutrient (ex. water status, pH, other ions, CEC, etc...). I use a soil test results for micronutrients to refine my visual inspections of plant health. If the report shows low Cu .... then I know to keep an eye out for Cu deficiency .... etc.... etc...

    If you want a true representation of plant health, the best test to run is a tissue analysis. Soil sampling is a tool you use to manage your soils, soil resources and troubleshoot/avoid problems that are directly related to soil management. Tissue analysis however gives very specific information about the health of the plant. For example, a soil test might show adequate P, but a tissue analysis shows a P deficiency. The two together will hopefully provide you with enough information to make an informed management decision.

    With respect to fungal disease ... there are many factors that can lead to it, plant micronutrient status (or generally speaking plant health) is only one of them.
  7. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638


    Turf is still young imo - it is Floratam - 7 years old

    The part about coming form everywhere hit home so true - what I suspect is that since fungus is such a big issue in the turf down here that I am picking up and bringing home when I mow my own lawn. I tried for a long period of time to save my lawn for last so that I could do on weekend after cleaning the mower as usual but also doing it with a light bleach diliution. This did not appear to help. But again, something as the wind can move it, so with that being said it was save to say that at one point I would say 75% of the houses in my neighborhood had what appeared to be grey stripe during different periods, and on different degrees. Mine was very aggressive and made the turf almost look as if it was turning black before turning into a straw color. Each time the turf would recover and start to come around though.

    I agree with if it isn't broke do not fix it, but from my point of few the lab was saying it was broke so I tried to fix it, without much luck I guess. That was why I was inquiring about if certain organics would lean toward adding more Cu or Mg.

    At this point I have my game plan on for the start. Guess i will play with that and see what helps and what doesn't.

    Thanks for you input in this conversation Bill.
  8. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    Kiril, here what you are saying. I really appreciate the insight on the tissue test. Being a old farm boy the only thing I had done in the past was soil test, Grandfather never had a tissue test done on anything I can remember.Think that is route I am going try to maybe arm myself with a little bit more knowledge as I try to solve this puzzle. To be honest I never ever thought about the soil being able to have a element like P and the plant not. Interesting.

    So this is the route I am starting on - I guess I will just play with it and see what my results are - will try to keep a photo log too so I can share on here with any that are interested in Organics in my environment and want a visual and experience like I did.

    Starting out with Tea - Picked up the supplies today to make my own little 5 gallon brewer. Doing this now as I am just eager to play with and experiment.

    Next week or so will be laying down less that 1 yard per 1000 of plant based compost. If possible I may apply a little chicken litter compost in this blend or through a tea if I find a good chicken litter source close by.

    That is what I know I am doing for sure at this point - Like I said - will try to keep log and share with every one and gather more advice.

    To Kiril, Bill and all others who have put up with my ramblings and took the time to explain and kind of walk me through getting started, I appreciate your insight.

    Thanks again,

  9. FOL

    FOL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    I have been quite for sometime now, but this is the best thread I have read in months. Thanks everyone. Finally getting back in the swing of things. I feel so thankful, I can read this stuff sometimes. I am still a rookie but as for SA, I have excellent results with just keeping it simple with tea and compost app. But this is awsome hearing you all get so deep into this... Dont stop, LOL.. Hope everyone is having a great start to the year.
  10. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    FOL - glad to hear that you enjoyed the thread. I am in the process of taking pictures of lawn now, my homemade tea compost brewer etc. I plan on keeping a picture log and data log of my journey into organics on my own lawn.
    My get it started this evening, I am not sure, got company in town for the next few days and time is limited. I hope by doing such a thread those that are interested in Organics that come to the site will have some data and be able to see results. It appears that there have been several inquires about Organics on St. Augustine but the threads have came and died rather quickly. My goal is to give folks a area they can go and see results and get some answers to questions they may have.
    Keep a eye out for it as it appears that you have some experience in Organics in FL environment - your input would be appreciated.


    Thanks Michael

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