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What would work for sandy soils?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by CSRA Landscaping, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    Jim, I remember yopu posting about the wood chips before ... what would you think about topdressing in wood chips?
  2. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,339

    If you topdressed your lawn area with woodchips wouldn't that really screw up the C/N ratio in the soil and tie up nitrogen?
    How about a good irrigation system insted and mabey a wetting agent every so often. :)

    Pete D
  3. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Jeff, tried it once after a good aeration. Used finely ground chips - biggest pieces were 1/4 size of average fingernail, and the wood was well aged, so there was no worry about C/N problems. Just did strips of the lawn to see if it made a difference, and was going to run experiment for at least a couple of years. Got too busy to follow through, and did not see any benefit from the one application.

    I would not expect to see a surface application give the benefit of tilling it in 6".
  4. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    Ok ... I was wondering about that ever since I first read about the wood chips .. haha.

    What I'm wondering now, is what would be the best method for incorporating OM into an existing yard that is on a fert program? There is no particular yard in question here, just planning things out for the spring. I'm sure that we'll play around with different ideas as well.
  5. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    I would think that topdressing with OM after aerating would be the best.
  6. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    Has anyone on here ever dealt with humic acid, or is it a nebulous subject?
  7. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    I don't think humic acid has been studied in enough to make a reasonable recomendation on it. I've heard that it works and I've heard that it does not work. It is much like the organic end of lawn care - it needs more in-depth study. JMO.
  8. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    This thread is bouncing around a little. I'll try to cover the unanswered territory.

    Humic acid is a nebulous subject. One person's humic acid is another person's coal dust. I want a good definition of it before I start using it. Having said that, if you are using a product called humic acid (or anything else for that matter) and it is working for you, you're on to something. I've not used any humic acid that I could notice a difference from using.

    Tilling in wood chips is a bad thing. The wood chips require surface fungi with LOTS of air to decompose. If they cannot get nitrogen from the air, they will take it from the materials in the soil. You can shut down the microbes in you soil by burying wood chips or sawdust. Raw wood products should only be used as a topdressing. Then keep them damp if you want them to decompose.

    Topdressing with sawdust over the long haul is a good thing. I've read of folks with ceramic quality clay soil turning it around in a couple years. It should work for sand, too. Be sure you have no CCA treated lumber in the wood dust. Just a little of that can wipe out your soil for many years (voice of experience). Bare spots are embarassing.
  9. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    David, I appreciate your post but all I really see being said is "Find something that works." And about the wood chips - Jim made it clear that these were well-aged wood chips ... not raw wood. As far as one person's humic acid being another person' coal dust ... I just don't know about that. I have looked at some sites for humic acid and have talked with some folks about it that have used it and they were pleased. They said that it increased water retention by a great deal. I just wondered if anyone HERE had ever dealt with them but seeing as how most of you probably have clay or loamy soils, there wouldn't be any real need ...
  10. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Dave, is the mechanics of soil life and decay in TX that different from their northern cousins? I doubt it. My use of wood chips as ammendment for turfgrass growing medium came from the late Dr. Geoff Stanford, of the Dallas Nature Center.

    Of course, I'm not talking about the tree service refuse - those are too large to work with. It should be finely ground or shredded wood. And even green wood can be used, if you provide the extra N to get decay initiated without robbing it from rest of soil life and your desired turfgrass. The recommendation from our state soil scientists was 6# N per cubic yard of green wood chips. And you must monitor over the first year, additionnal N may be needed beyond what the neew lawn needs.

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