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shifting to organic on 1.5 acres  RSS feed

 
                                  
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I'm also new to organic gardening and lawn care. I've been using the dreaded chemicals for years. However, my lawn is in pretty good shape. It's a mixture of blues, fescue's and ryes, it's thick and there are very few weeds.
This year I fertilized with some SCU, and put a heavy coating of team to control the crab grass, which comes up no matter what I do.

My soil structure is poor and I have an irrigation system installed. Adding more top is simply out of the question due to the size and irrigation system The front yard has two inches of new topsoil (5 years ago) but the rear is just what was there, rocky loose junk. The PH is good, around 6.5 +/- .1. The kicker is the grass is about 1.5 acres. It's an easy mow, I have a 60" deck on my kubota.

So how do I start to improve the soil. I have been bagging grass since i started it, but I can easily get a mulching attachment for my deck. Besides this what can I do?

Thanks 
 
paul wheaton
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(buddy, you added this to another thread, but I cut it out of there and started this brand spanking new thread)

What is "SCU"?

put a heavy coating of team to control the crab grass


What is "team"?

Get that mulching thing and start doing that.

How high will your mower mow? 

 
                                  
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SCU+ Sulfer coated urea

Team is a preemergant

I can mow 4"

Any advice?
 
paul wheaton
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have you read my lawn care article?

Normally I would say to mow at 3 inches.  But for an acre and a half, I'm gonna say you should mow at 3.5 inches.

No more "team". No more "SCU".

Get the mulching blade stuff and leave all the clipping on the grass.

Can you attach a pic?
 
                                  
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paul wheaton
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That is just creepy. 

This fall you should plant some crocuses in that. 

And some yarrow and chamomile would be fun too.

 
                                  
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What's creepy??
 
paul wheaton
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The grass.

It looks so artificial.  You just know that loads of toxins are used to have it look that way and then you have kids playing on it. 

The bright side is that now that you are moving to something organic, you can mix in some interesting plants to have it be healthy and diverse.  Some mowable wildflowers, some spongy-soft-on-the-feet yarrow.  Some roman chamomile to make it smell nice when you mow.  Some crocuses to pop up at the first of spring before the grass starts to grow.





 
                                  
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I'm really not into all that stuff.  I just want to move completely away from using all the chemicals and have grass. Mily spore and or nematodes for the pests and mulching the clippings is a good start. I was thinkiong about spreading compost every year after a core aeration.

I'm doing the same thing with my flower beds. No pesticides fertilizers or herbicides, just pure home made compost, neem oil and organic additives when needed.

The irony of all this is that I mistakenly composted grass with some red thread, and plants with blight or rust and contaminated the entire pile. Lost several plants this spring because of it. ops:
 
jeremiah bailey
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I'd suggest fertilizing with the organic foods such as Ringer Lawn Restore, or Scotts Organic Choice. They will help keep your grass strong and better able to out compete any weeds that might start. The compost, while not a bad idea, is a lot of work for the amount of gain. But the backyard, due to the poor soil, would probably gain quite a bit from a year or two of top dressing. I've decided for my own lawn to limit compost topping only to trouble areas as needed. Much less work that way. Making you own is the way to go, although I have bought bulk from a local producer with known practices. The mulching attachment will start building your soil. Remember that the bulk of the plant is derived from gases in the air, not from the ground. You just need to provide a few nutrients and some water for the grass, and return the clippings to the soil. They'll decompose and return to the soil. You can kind of think of it as the grass is turning air into soil. Now that you've stopped killing your earthworms, they'll increasingly aerate the soil for you, so you don't have to. Mechanical aerating is a way of making up for chemicals poisoning the soil's natural way of aeration. The worms also help in turning the clippings into soil. It takes a while to get used to, but organic growing is a whole new game.
 
                                  
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jeremiah bailey wrote:
I'd suggest fertilizing with the organic foods such as Ringer Lawn Restore, or Scotts Organic Choice. They will help keep your grass strong and better able to out compete any weeds that might start. The compost, while not a bad idea, is a lot of work for the amount of gain. But the backyard, due to the poor soil, would probably gain quite a bit from a year or two of top dressing. I've decided for my own lawn to limit compost topping only to trouble areas as needed. Much less work that way. Making you own is the way to go, although I have bought bulk from a local producer with known practices. The mulching attachment will start building your soil. Remember that the bulk of the plant is derived from gases in the air, not from the ground. You just need to provide a few nutrients and some water for the grass, and return the clippings to the soil. They'll decompose and return to the soil. You can kind of think of it as the grass is turning air into soil. Now that you've stopped killing your earthworms, they'll increasingly aerate the soil for you, so you don't have to. Mechanical aerating is a way of making up for chemicals poisoning the soil's natural way of aeration. The worms also help in turning the clippings into soil. It takes a while to get used to, but organic growing is a whole new game.


What I find interesting is that the rear, with the lack of soil (mostly rocks) has greener healthier grass than the front which has 2" of top soil.. Can't figure out why...
 
paul wheaton
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We can only speculate. 

One reason would be that your "topsoil" is actually dirt mixed with a "compost" that is actually a mixture of industrial wastes.  Usually this mix contains cow manure from heavily medicated cattle - and those medications toxify the microorganisms in the soil that make for a healthy happy soil.  Adn the mix usually also contains coniferous wood duff which has a variety of downsides also. 

 
                                  
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Thanks Paul,
  I was thinking along those lines too. The landscaper that layed it was not one I'd recommend for that and many more reasons   
 
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