What's wrong with synthetic pre-emerges?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by replenish&subdue, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. replenish&subdue

    replenish&subdue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    What's wrong with synthetic pre-emerges? I am in the transition of switching from chemicals to organics and I'm not so confident in leaving the sure & instant for corn glutten. Corn glutten is expensive,takes several years to work and then it barely works. Is that not right? Help me now the old way is still kicking. Does pre-emerge mess up the soil food web and if not ,why not use it.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I only use pre-m on rotten granite walkways, driveways, and amongst shrubbery. Never on lawns. If there is room for crabgrass, there is room for fescue-kgb.

    With the cool weather grasses it is pretty easy to beat the crab grass with overseeding in the spring. Plus, overseeding can be done any time of the year with irrigation.
    Last year we reseeded ground stump areas in late July. By the time the weather cooled in late August you couldn`t even tell the difference any more. Always use some compost to protect the seed.

    I agree with your apprehension in the use of corn gluten. I believe it will cause more problems, when you do want to overseed. 100% organic is easy with low to medium maintenance lawns and gardens, but with high maintence areas, the hybrid program is the best that can be done. That is - until you have achieved your goals. Then organics can maintain it for you. IMHO.
  3. JWTurfguy

    JWTurfguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Well said, Smallaxe.

    One potential issue (not necessarily an insurmountable difficulty, but an issue, nonetheless) is that in order to properly use corn gluten for summer and winter annual weed-prevention, you need to make 2 applications per year (early spring and early fall, the fall app effectively killing your chances at reseeding in the fall). At the high, preemergent rate, 2 apps of corn gluten is about all the nitrogen you'd need for a season. So now the question: Do you make a seperate app for SOP? What about all your micros that you didn't include with the corn gluten apps? Remember, corn gluten is expensive to apply because of the amount of material you're using, so how much more money (especially in this economy) will your customer be willing to pay?

    Set your customer's expectations realistically, be prepared for regular overseeding, do soil tests and provide them with premium organic ferts (without the corn gluten).

    At least, that's my opinion.
  4. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    I use synthetic pre-ems, more specifically the Nutrients Plus with Cavalcade line. The simple reason is because about 75% of our customers don't mow their own lawns. While there are some good mowing companies out there, there are also a lot of bad ones too. I see way too many scalped edges and lawns mowed at 2 inches that I care to mention, and that's the reality of this business. A man, a mower and a trailer = a new business, and the cheaper you are, the worse you mow.

    The pre-ems will do some damage to the soil food web, but you have the rest of the season to bring the lost biology back. That's also one of the draws of the NP ferts. Adding organic matter while supplying the crab control at the same time. Come back with a mid-spring AACT application, then follow with a late spring organic fert.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    YOU CAN CUT WAY BACK ON PRE-M if you take good care of your lawn
    but the mowers bring in bad stuff all the time
  6. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    the pre M thing, some times you got to do what you got to do,

    that said in my area we do not seed at all, so a start up lawn, you may have to get under control from the start. then the there after....

    if the lawn is clean and weed ee to start and the beds are all good where are all the weed seeds coming from?? yeah I know some fly in and all that. but really how many are made on site?? then the next part of that is keeping them from sprouting with a proper water budget. if its too dry then nothing will take hold and have a chance. the are also cultural methods and organic selective post emergent weed killers that are good tools. and there is always the bend and pull or get the weed hound out for 10 minutes or so....

    but the reality of most lawns is that they are marginal at best, 30% and higher weed infestation and hard weeds like crab grass, nut sedge or spurge. and in our area weedilia, and now in some lawns mondo grass,and gly wont touch that stuff........

    so at what point you try and salvage a POS lawn is the key, can you kill and re lay lawn easier and better than trying to control something that is a hard control anyways, and will a renovation or partial renovation give better less costly remedy to the bad lawns??? how many dog spots or tire marks or islands of medic can you fix before its just as easy to spray the lawn and start over. most of you guys re seed any ways, some slit seed and other aerate.... why not spray the lawn with some low dose gly, seed the next day and in 2 weeks when the weeds turn punk the grass is spot on!!!, then start doing the organic thing??

    the CMG, it is almost a waste here, we have done some other things for a pre M but so far its hit and miss, works great for some things and not so good for others.

    for the most part it all comes down to having more grass growing than weeds, so get the weeds out and the grass in thick and it mostly under control then there will be very little to control.
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    You tell em' TG. :clapping:
  8. Pristine1

    Pristine1 LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 81

    I think I agree with smallaxe on this one. You have to keep your customers happy first and foremost, but as you further develop the soil and improve the growing conditions for the turf, the turf itself will out compete the crabgrass.

    I also read somewhere here about just treating the most crabgrass prone areas....along walks/drives/roads. That way you are not affecting the entire property and you can work hard to bring those areas up to snuff with good fall overseeding/composting.

    Just my $.02
  9. Pristine1

    Pristine1 LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 81

    TG must have posted 2 seconds before me.....so ditto TG!
  10. replenish&subdue

    replenish&subdue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    I should of directed my question to those down south because some do not understand that the south is not kind to fescue. Memphis is about as far as fescue will grow and it only grows (maintains) in the shade. Most all of our turf is bermuda or zoysia here. Therfore Nattylawn and Treegal apply. Natty,what is AACT?
    I heard following up with a compost tea treatment would restore any damage a pre-m might do? I am trying to keep this as simple as I can,there are a flood of products out there. So far I'm leaning to pre-emerges in spring followed by compost tea then a late spring organic fertilizer (any suggestions of what type & brand) then I guess another fertilizer or two? latter in the year then a fall pre-emerge.All new customers get a compost treatment in spring and fall and if they will go for it ,every year.Am I missing anything? I would start out with a soil test that shows also the microbe content.
    There are two organic companies nearby,others have come and gone.The one uses as fertilizer sustane.Can anyone give me their take on sustane(I think that is the spelling) or any they suggest?

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