Sustainable Methods For Managing Thatch

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Kiril, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Due to recent discussion, this would be a good time to start a thread with regard to sustainable/organic thatch management.

    There are 3 possibilities that come immediately to mind.

    1. Compost
    2. Compost tea
    3. Molasses or other appropriate microbial stimulant

    I see using the above, either alone, or various combinations, along with grass recycling, as a very effective means for managing thatch.

    I believe I have some papers on this somewhere if anyone is interested.

    Please feel free to contribute your ideas, experience and methodology.
  2. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    You DO like that word sustainable, don't you ;) One point we will never agree on. I'm here to provide a product, the only sustainable part of that is if people will dig down into that spot they keep their hard earned money in and part with it. Supply and demand will force "sustainable". I'm interested in the organic approach because I believe we have reached a point that is no longer optional. To be a "good steward", of both the land and the resources of the client, one must use the results that provide the best answers. AND, I know I've dropped in to visit in a forum where that statement will be taken politically. It wasn't meant to be. I have believed for years that an organic approach is better management. You won't find me going totally non-synthetic. Price per pound, managing 65 acres of golf turf, ammonium sulfate can't be competed with as a nitrogen source (maybe some of you can convince me I'm wrong, but don't just tell me I'm wrong)

    From an organic stand point, how many of you are familiar with Milorganite as a product or the very similar product (I can't remember the name right this instant) that comes out of Texas. It take a lot more product in an application, but I was pleasantly surprised last summer to find out that when doing the math as cost per pound of actual N, it was cheaper than almost all my other options. I wanted it for a fall/winterizing app that is traditionally a slow release product of some form. I felt that the Milorganite was an excellent option for that purpose. This is a thatch topic, my situation is fairly thick thatch from poor maintenance practices before me on a soil that is mostly sand.
  3. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,121

    We'd be glad to help you out with a good bridge product program. Also you might be interested in Aux-N-ite, biosolids with plant auxins.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Well, I'm not going to get into the sustainable talk with you again since we have already been down that path. The way I see it, if you are going to insist on maintaining a site that is inherently unsustainable, I might as well help you find the most sustainable way to do that. :)

    I use the word "sustainable" as a kind of buffer word between hard core organic and hard core synthetic. Will a "sustainable" solution always be "organic" ... not necessarily. Will an "organic" solution always be sustainable .... once again not necessarily.

    Now do you see why I use "sustainable"? My job is to find ways to manage land in the most sustainable fashion (i.e. lowest economic and environmental impact). As you know, this includes irrigation, but also includes soil and plant management.

    With respect to your biosolid question, I expect you will get multiple benefits from this (thatch reduction, N and other nutrients, increased soil fertility, etc...), and if it completely satisfies your N-budget, all the better.

    I would also consider mixing the biosolid with a locally produced compost to further reduce your overhead ..... and make it more sustainable ;)

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    aeration helps
  6. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Refrain from using pesticides that kill earthworms. If you must, spot treat.

    Avoid blanket treatment of fungicides.

    Rarely use preventative pesticides, especially insecticides and fungicides.

    Use herbicides that are proven susceptible to microbial degradation.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Apply fresh vermicompost containing worm eggs.
  8. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    Am I wrong that red wigglers commonly used in vermicomposting don't prefer the garden or lawn environment?

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    from what i have read they dont like it tooo dry
  10. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    I thought so too, but someone on this thread a while back mentioned it didn't matter?

    Maybe earthworm (nightcrawler) vermicompost? Harder to produce, but more applicable to an actual "thatch problem"?

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