Top dressing

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Grass Happens, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    My guess to why it greened up is soil temp, the thatch acted as a insulator. I'll bet if you measured the temp it would higher where you removed the thatch
    I think you are on the right track, make sure it is a finished compost that you are using. If it is warm or smells it is not finished

    Core aerate, overseed, top dress, rake. Barefoot James says he brings a wheelbarrow of compost in and turns on his leaf blower and blows it out. He says it works great and goes fast
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    That brought a tear to my eye. :cry:
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The cores either melt on their own over the top of the thatch, or you charge the client more time to go over and personally bust them up... so you can get them 'on top of the thatch'. Was the 'great opportunity' to pick up a few dollars more?

    If there is any microbrial activity going on, the decomp has already begun. Problem is - the roots continue to expand into the thatch layer, quicker than it is decompt. We want roots of KBG to grow downwardly lateral as opposed to upwardly lateral. That way - the thatch layer decreases rather than increases.

    Everyone has a theory about fixing the symptoms - rather than the cure, or prevention... address the roots growing upwardly...

    Question: 1). Does the thatch layer thicken from the top of the existing layer?
    -OR- Does thatch thicken from the bottom of the existing layer of thatch?

    Question: 2). Are there living roots and stems growing in the thatch layer?

    If the answer to question 1 = from the top and Anwser 2). = true... What does that mean??? :)
  4. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    Ok, so maybe I should just apply some molasses and or sugar down for now, and give it some time? I'll do a search on here for optimal rates a little later this afternoon. I do remember reading a thread here saying that molasses should be available at a co-op so I'll give them a call later too.

    Here are some pictures of the lawn after the raking, you should be able to see pretty clearly the areas I'm talking about.




  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

  6. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    I went by yesterday, and it looks about the same. Just the area surronding the porch had grown, everything else, not so much.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If it is really dead and not just - slow - in breaking dormancy , then you and I both have some real serious issues to contend with.

    My curiousity involves: "which genus/specie of grass is coming in so late and - why??"...
  8. RLawns

    RLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    How do you recommend fixing a thatch problem? apply molasses and then topdress?

    Thanks Rick
  9. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    The front is sod, KBG, cultivar? who knows!? Back yard is seeded, looks like some fescue in there, but again... Everything was done when she moved in. Yesterday and part of today it was warm and wet, (70s-80s), tonight, cold and wet (~40s) I'm going to wait till we have a stretch of warmth to see if we wake up some microbials.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I just spead about 20 lbs. of sugar on 2 lawns yesterday, in between rain clouds. Will want to topdress in the next couple of weeks.
    No N at this time, the grass color, vigor, and thickness are outstanding.

    This application should kick start the digestion of dead grass , surface debris, and feed it slowly to the plant roots, while in the meantime tying up surface N and forcing the roots to grow down for N below the surface.

    So yes, The ambition is to eliminate psuedo-thatch directly and real-thatch indirectly, with sugar/molasses and compost.

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