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On The right track?

 
                                
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Could use some experienced help to look over my plan to see if I’m on the right path to get my soil back in shape.

Background – 15,000sf lawn, 70% shade, Connecticut, do not water, spot treat weeds, started a serious lawn treatment plan two years ago with the Jonathan green “4 step lawn care program” Today my lawn is almost completely weed free and nice and green.

Problem – In some places the grass roots are very shallow, the soil is very dry and hard and the lawn develops yellow patches (dry) when it does not rain every couple of days.

Assumption – I am feeding the grass and killing the soil with my fertilizer routine.

Solution - Switch to organic fertilizer, aerate and top dress in the fall with peat moss, start making compost tea and apply 4 times per year.

For the fertilizer I’m thinking – J. Green Natural Beauty™ All Organic Lawn Fertilizer

Any advise is appreciated
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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David, I don't know about the peat moss.  It is very acidic and it might throw off your pH.  Better off using compost dressing and tea.  The JG 4 step is a takeoff on the Sc**ts' program and is probably just as bad.  I used the JG organic fert and found it to be good.  It has most of the same ingredients as the Ringer and is easier to find. 

Aeration has two schools of thought, that I have read.  Ones says it works, the other says is doesn't.  Personally, I passed on the aeration.

Don't expect miracles, especially in the summer.  Might have to wait till fall to start the program.



Al
 
                                
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Thanks Al.

You mentioned Ringer, is there really a difference in fertilizers as long as there organic.

I was thinking of peat because it should be very easy to work with. A nice and light / dry material would be very easy to top dress without leaving my grass buried. However, I've never made or worked with real compost.

Dave
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Paul W. recommends Ringer, and he most likely has good reason to do so.  I have found it impossible to get Ringer locally.  Internet ordering has a ridiculously high shipping cost to it so I felt comfortable with the JG organic.

I read to use peat moss in the planting of Blueberries because of the quick release of acid into the soil.  I would guess that it would do the same on the lawn.  If your pH gets out of whack because of it, you then have another issue to deal with.

Get started on that compost right away.  You may be able to at least get some tea from it by the fall if you use a tumbler composter to speed up the process.



Al



 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Are there any spots bad enough to deserve some attention with a post-hole digger and some yard waste? My rationale for possibly starting now is that if the bottom of the hole can be kept somewhat moist, the soil ecosystem will probably develop more quickly in warm weather. It sounds like you'll be able to replace a chunk of sod intact afterward.
 
                          
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David,

Swan Song for the Lawn with permaculturist Larry Santoyo might be a good reference that could lead to a new direction.  It also leads to other links.  Also consider that whatever you use on the lawn will go either directly to the water table or into the ocean as runoff .... no matter how far you are from the ocean ..... Just as the rainwater does when if falls.

Worms are a good soil amendment and worm towers work well.  Grazing chikens, geese, guinea hens and ducks will eat the insects and fertilize.  Some permaculture sites show how to use "chicken tractors", where the birds live in a mobile cage and can be place over areas that could  use fertilizer.....

If I remember right, Sustainablehabitats.org  has some info and photos  as well as other usefull info on chicken tractors.  Good lick.

Nyna
 
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