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Want to go organic but I can't yet claim "Jedi Master" organic

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Exact Rototilling, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    If I understand you correctly, that sounds like a maint. nightmare. I was thinking something like a trigger that would operate in timed association with the rotation of the core tubes. This would trigger a release of tea at approximately the time the machine is passing over the core hole. Or perhaps just a manually operated steady flow that is inline with your core tubes?
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Why won't a soil drench work? Seems to me pouring tea into holes is essentially the same as spraying it, and it will take less time. Difference is, it will take alot more tea to accomplish your goal.
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    When "spraying" compost teas the practice is usually done "until dripping". I'm not sure if that classifies as a spray or a drench but certainly the soil gets wet in the process. Some folks like to use much more water than others to get the good guys to infiltrate the top layer of soil. The water after all is just a carrier for the beneficial microorganisms. Some apply 1/2 gallon per 1000 square feet, some 2 gallons per 1000, some apply 5 gallons per 1000. It depends on the spray rig and the nozzles being used and how fast you want to walk or drive

    Mycorrhizae form a symbiotic relationship with the root of a plant. If the fungi are abandoned in the soil and can not form the relationship they eventually become part of the biomass of the soil and are recyled like most eveything else. I have "heard" 2 scenarios, but have no supporting data, that the fungi die off after 4 or 5 days, the other 3 to 4 months.
    If we can get the fungi, and all of the other good guys, down into the soil our ability to colonize an area with beneficial microrganism goes up dramatically. Microbes and such don't like to be on top of the soil but down in it where all of the food sources are, no food source they either go dormant or are recycled or both.

    I would assume, but again have no data, that spraying until wet with the holes open and the cores laying about that the beneficial microorganisms would be covering most everything, when you come back and put down a top dress and then smooth the area out that these benficials would be incorporated into the soil pretty well.

    I will have data back in the spring as to the effectiveness of the mycorrhizae colonization in the turf trials. The visual evidence is pretty substantial as, in this case burmuda on fairways, the color, density, depth and time to fill in bare spots were substantially different.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Yes, I think to the point of dripping could be considered a minor soil drench. :)

    I suppose with an irrigated system, you could reduce the amount of tea required as long as you closely follow your tea applications with a thorough irrigation.

    I wonder if anyone has tried "inoculating" their compost as it is being spread. For big operations that use a blower, this might be a feasible way to reduce your labor inputs.

    Are your studies going to be research quality?
  5. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    People do inoculate their compost, One company locally sprays their compost as it is coming off the belt from the tub grinder. They grind it several times and in the last process they spray it with their own compost teas. They also have gotten their compost teas into all of the mid atlantic wholefoods stores. Go get a loaf of bread, some organic bananas and a gallon of compost tea, kewl

    The golf course is working in conjunction with the University of Maryland. We also have trails on 2 courses in CT that are being done by our distributor up there working with the local turf associations. We'll see how "research quality" they are in late spring.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Keep us informed. There seems to be a dismal lack of field studies with CT. Here's hoping your studies are publication worthy. :drinkup:
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I've been thinking about this very thing myself lately.

    I've got an 'experimental' yard I want to try out some endomycorr spores out on, sometime in early March or so.

    This is a relative of mine, so it's a 'freebie' I agreed to do over the holidays...in exchange for another favor he'll do for me.
    (You know how THAT is...)

    So, he agreed to let me aerate and compost his entire front and side yards, and a little piece of the back; all of which is mostly mixed clay-based disturbed subsoils with an avg pH level of 7.3

    I'll be using the endo spores on 1/2 of the yard in between the thorough aeration and composting...( but I'll not be telling him on WHICH half ! )

    For this project, I planned on just getting a bag of 'EndoRoots', spreading it to specifications, and then taking a nice heavy 5' x 5' baseball field drag mat I have, and pulling it around to disintegrate the cores.

    Either that; or I could just take a hand blower, on very lowest idle, and slowly walk around and "push" the granules in the holes.
    That might be a good idea...so long as the surface is good and dry, and the holes are still moist inside; thus having hydrogen bond capacity to attract the particles.

    Either way...the more I think about it, the more I think any mycorr spore spray is less likely to make a direct contact with the turf's root system.
    It seems to me a much higher % of it would up on the foliage.

    The yard's 6000 sq. ft.
    I'll be doing about 3000 sq.ft. or so with spores.
    So I won't be spraying each aerator hole individually!
  8. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    That sounds like a worth while project

    In one spray product that I am intimately familiar with there are 7.2 billion bacteria and 1.2 Billion fungi per gram, that's with a "B". So if you think about it a little spray goes a long way.

    It is typical to dilute at 20 to 1 compost teas to water, so you can spray til drip and get much better coverage than a granular. every little droplet carries thousand if not hundreds of thousands of beneficial microorgansms.

    The roots product has been around quite a while (6 or 7 years) I'm glad to see it finally getting good distribution. They got bought out by Novazyme in europe and I thought the fertilizer products would go away but they didn't
  9. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    Your above paragraph is why I don't mess with mycho on lawns. If you had the time and equipment to soil inject and I think we're in business.
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I think you have this backwards? 20:1 -> water:tea.

    I think it is also important to consider the type of soil your dealing with. In a soil with high clay content, even spraying until it drips is not going to go very far in the soil. It will also depend on the moisture content of the soil to begin with. This is one reason why I suggested swapping the application of the tea (if you do apply it) and compost, so you give a place for the microbes to survive immediately. If you have an irrigation system, you can then use that as your carrier into the soil.

    I might also point out that the goal with Mycorrhizae is not to infect EVERY single root, just some of them. If you then provide conditions that promote the Mycorrhizae growth, the infection will spread throughout the landscape to susceptible plants. I believe the extent of infection would depend largely on how densely the landscape is planted. Given turf is densely planted, I think the infection rate would be relatively quick (1-2 years??).

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