Starting from scratch..... question

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Microbe, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. Microbe

    Microbe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 172

    Hello all... I am new to this forum but have been reading for quite sometime. My question is... If you had to choose a method of installing a lawn, what would be the "perfect," or "almost perfect," way to do so? I'm talking about from incorporating organic nutes and soil ammendments... Soil conditioners. Basically from the ground up... From soil ecology and biology, to what seed, to technique.
    This may be a out of right field question... But I have been reading about Microbial action and how healthy soil full of orgaincs would produce very healthy microbes, in turn generating plenty of carbohydrates for the plants to consume.....
    It seems that most people on this forum have so many problems with there lawns, is it possible to truely grow a lawn that is almost problem free with the proper conditioning and preperation of the soil?
  2. nate1422

    nate1422 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    Get a soil analysis and include organic matter content for analysis. Follow recommendation of analysis by adding lime and fertilizer and probably a couple inches of compost. Incorporate this into soil by tilling to 6 inches. Rake out rocks and large clumps. Sow seed using broadcast spreader in two directions. Use a seed recommended for your zone at a rate recomended by seed manufacturer. Here in PA, I use a KB/Perennial Rye/red fescue blend at 4 lbs/ 1000 sq. ft. Add a starter fertilizer, probably also recommended by soil analysis. Lightly drag area, and roll with water fillable roller that is maybe 1/8 full, just enough to firmly bed seed. Keep seed wet but not drenched. Use Penn Mulch or something of that nature if you desire using mulch, but DO NOT use straw. Straw would be great for the first couple days if it magically disapeared but it doesn't. It interferes with grass that is germinating in the long run, blows around, and needs to be raked up when grass is too young for that kind of stress. With what is available today, straw should be banned and saved only for bedding animals or for compost piles.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Listed above is a good jumping off point for long term soil health I install fertilizer injectors on my properties. Then we apply "bridge products" through the injectors, these have a biological base of hum ates and enzymes to break down the soil (natural aeration). At the same time they provide a environment for natural beneficial microbes and bacteria to thrive. This allows the natural uptake of nutrients from the soil. Bridge products also have a small amount of synthetic fertilizer mostly because they have too. The synthetic's give you a quick pop and the biologicals make them even more effective. Organics are not the fastest acting products and when people spend $$$ they want results now. With all that said you need to have an irrigation system to use an injector, or you spray. see or I use both of these products. And a variety of fertilizer injectors depending on the application.
  4. Microbe

    Microbe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 172

    I have never seen somthing like that! I heard that at sod farms they use urea in there sprinklers to achieve that lush sod growth. That system looks amazing. Using a system like that doesn't overfertilize the property? How much does something like that cost for the average family?
    I see that most of the houses that you show are at least a couple million, is something like that affordable to the middle class family?
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    First you mentioned Urea, If you are just planting your new lawn stay away from the urea fertilizers. They have a tendencey to gass off and actuall kill the seed and or newly growing grass. The problem isnt as bad in cooler temperatures. but it has been proven that as little as 5 lbs of urea per acre, when placed in contact with the seed, will cause a reduction of yeild of 50%. If you must use urea you have to make sure it is watered into the soil to prevent gassing off. Maybe not a problem using injectors systems, I dont know.

    The procedures mentions above will work. A soil test needs to be the first step. Now way of knowing what admendments to apply without the soil test. Soil test recommendations also need to be adjusted for method of incorporation into the soil. The test results are meant for a full 6 inch incorporation into the soil. Using the full test recommendation without 6 inch incorporation means using more materials than is safe for the seed. Reduce the recommendations 15% for every inch you dont incorporate them into the soil.

    Uing organics doesnto mean a mainteanace free lawn. The microbs have to feed to. the level of tolerance is something to consider. Nature has been growing grass for years without any help from mankind, but to get the turff that most people think is healthy, one has to create an imbalance to increase microbe activity. This means feeding the microbes to give the lawn that dark green color everybody associates with a healthy lawn. This can be accomplished without chemical fertilizers. One must think in terms of calories instead of NPK because you are feeding microbes. The best sources for calories are usually high protein food sources. Plant sources of proteins are usually beter choices than animal protein sources. Slower release and dont contain as many harmful "bugs, fungus, microbes or what ever you wish to call them.
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I can install a Fertile Earth injector for 600.00 if the backflow meets code and there is nothing tied into the irrigation lines, ie.pond float, misters,auto animal watering dish etc. From there the sky is the limit after that I usually build my own with industrial components LMI pump, Signet flow meter and a 24 volt transformer, for these you haver to have electricity. They are about 2,000.00 including tank. If there is no 110 available you can also get water driven pumps Chemilizer and Dosatron are a couple of good brands, a little higher maintenance and just under 2,000 last time I installed one. I like the LMI because with the flow meter you can really dial things in, like one pulse every 30 gallons through the main line. A one acre property will cost clients avg 50-60 bucks per 12 months here. With a 12 month growing season.

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