What to expect in the transition....

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Pristine1, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Pristine1

    Pristine1 LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 81

    Ok, hypothetical situation:

    New customer, sick of the old chemical ways, no tolerance for weeds etc....typical customer!

    Since I really haven't changed anybody over yet, #1, what should I expect to run into on a lawn like this. The turf is in good shape (at the surface), low OM and little to no activity PH is fine. Pretty much being artificially sustained by synthetics. There is irrigation which I will monitor.

    My first action is soil test, aerate, compost. I'm thinking that I'll need to give it a shot of fert....to help get it through detoxification, so what could I expect to see.

    Oh yeah, typical cool season lawn....average sun, heavy on the bluegrass.
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Often on sites that have been on a fertilization program for years, the NPK will carry over for a year in the soil. You may have to add some, but only at 25% of ther labeled rate
    The biggest thing to consider is how much soil organic matter is there and begin the building process, 2% is absolute minimum and we like to see it at 5% to 7%
    over seeding
    compost tea
    top dress with compost
    in that order, it is rare that we are able to spray teas INTO the soil, so spray while the cores are still open and also on the seed. if you get some mycorrhizae in the mix as well, long term you will have some vey nice sites

    Almost every landscaper that has given up NPK that I see carries some amount of compost and a bag of seed in their truck every day. bare spot BAM....pull a weed.......BAM
  3. Pristine1

    Pristine1 LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 81

    ICT Bill a.k.a. lawn emeril! My thoughts were that I would aerate, overseed, and topdress all in one shot. should I then spray the tea, or wait until the turf starts to germinate and hit it then? Also, should there be a starter fert....up here I've been using 19-19-19 both for hydro and slit seeding.

    So this will get things going, but during this transition time, will the lawn get a little weak before it gets better, or will the overseeding take care of that?

    Good idea for the compost and seed. One could even pre-mix these so in one shot, everything is down. (Small amounts obviously!)
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    The seed will germinate pretty quick if left in a compost mix very long, high water percentage in compost so they are normally kept seperate

    i like to see compost tea applied on the seed and with open cores, before the top dress is applied. try it sometime you will be amazed how quickly it germinates and how quickly it gets established. do a side by side

    I cannot speak to other practices but in our experience you can cut your starter fertilizer by 50 to 75% if using an inoculum product with your seed. Our hydroseed product will get the germination rates way up and help with the long term health of the turf. The plant needs a little push after the seedling stage and before it can get established in the soil, at leat that is our experience with hydroseeding

    hey cutting fertilizer costs/application rates is a good thing all around
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,315

    This is all you need IMHO when dealing with class 1-3 soils. With a good bridge program you should not see any decline.
  6. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    yes thats just to start, no decline is the hot ticket. as bill pointed out most chem yards are easy nutrition wise to cross over, lots of locked up material. but the idea is to add and build the soil sort of like a bank account, yes there are expense's but try and put more than you spend in and after a while you have a saving going in your soil bank....
  7. Pristine1

    Pristine1 LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 81

    Could you define a "good" bridge program. My background is not in lawn care as much as maintenance and design install, so while I have a good knowledge, I need to drill down and get the meat and potatoes.
  8. Pristine1

    Pristine1 LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 81

    Gotcha....so by getting the "herd" going, it will free up the leftover nutrients, and by composting annually, I will be adding more nutrients to be used? Followed, of course, by lots of CT!
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,315

    Making use of what is already available in your soil while at the same time building up what is not. Do this until you have a balanced system that more or less sustains itself.
  10. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    the ct has some stuff other than the "herd"

    here is some compost #'s .......

    Boron, Total mg/kg 26.9 27.3 25.8 25.0 33.2 25.3

    Cadmium, Total mg/kg < 0.50 < 0.50 < 0.50 < 0.50 0.56 < 0.50

    Calcium, Total mg/kg27036 17106 14388 16415 46912 20477

    Chromium, Total mg/kg 4.8 4.1 4.4 4.5 6.7 5.8

    Copper, Total mg/kg20.3 24.3 37.9 26.4 22.8 16.8

    Iron, Total mg/kg2909 2481 2485 2663 3968 2480

    Lead, Total mg/kg17.8 15.2 18.6 16.7 17.5 14.9

    Magnesium, Total mg/kg2921 3171 2532 160 4220 2841

    Manganese, Total mg/kg180 175 160 2.0 213 211

    Mercury, Total mg/kg< 0.05 0.05 0.05 < 0.05 0.06 0.07

    Molybdenum, Total mg/kg1.0 1.2 1.4 2.0 1.8 < 1.0

    Nickel, Total mg/kg 5.4 4.6 5.0 4.6 7.5 4.8

    Phosphorus, Total mg/kg2848 2944 2539 2782 4042 2652

    Potassium, Total mg/kg12509 11565 10391 11063 13848 10496

    Sodium, Total mg/kg482 835 349 461 801 526

    Sulfur, Total mg/kg2179 2150 1906 2089 2680 1961

    Zinc, Total mg/kg 86 96 95 97 118 79.7

    Alkalinity, Total as CaCO3 mg/kg 24610 21200 22150 29340 29250 30210

    Chloride mg/kg3083 3142 3048 3456 2659 3572

    Conductivity mS/cm 0.01 Saturated Paste Extract 25.7 17.1 14.5 15.1 17.3 11.6

    Nitrogen, Ammonia as N mg/kg1938 2401 1807 4228 779 620

    Nitrogen, Ammonia + Organic as N mg/kg 49798 25238 25541 28694 22079 25620

    Nitrogen, Nitrate as N mg/kg 459 483 1074 915 491 543

    pH, Saturated Paste Extract 7.5 8.0 7.5 7.7 7.5 7.5

    Carbon / Nitrogen Ration (C/N) CALCULATED 10.4 10.6 9.3 9.3 11.3 11.5

    Solids, Total, % 49.42 48.03 46.38 47.54 65.36 53.40
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009

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