Organic Lawn Fertilizers

saturn1956(6)March 2, 2014

I have been a chemical lawn fertilizer all my life using 4 step programs. I would like to try Organic but do not know much about them. I live in zone 6 mostly kentucky bluegrass fescue. Do Organic have 4 step programs or am I still in the chemical mindset. I have read about Milorganite do not know about many others. How do they control weeds, crabgrass, or does it specifically feed the soil and the grass takes care of the rest?

Organically a novice

Saturn

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tnjdm

Organically you can go with Alfalfa Pellets (or rabbit feed pellets), Soybean Meal, Cracked Corn, Feather Meal, and Milorganite (for the Iron) to name a few. Keep in mind, you are feeding the soil when you go Organic. There is no "4 step program". You can basically put down as much as your wallet will bear, avoiding smothering the grass.

Weed control is another issue. I still put pre-emergents down, but a thicker, healthier lawn will will allow less weed intrusion.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:18AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

There is an organic lawn care forum on this site, you may want to pop over there and read the FAQ.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:17AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Weeds are best controlled by proper watering (first), proper mowing (second), and proper fertilizing (third). This is true whether you use chemical or organic fertilizer

Proper watering is deep and infrequent. Deep means one inch all at one time. Measure with cat food or tuna cans placed around the yard. Infrequent means once per month in the cool weather and gradually moving to once per week in the hottest heat of summer. The Las Vegas to El Paso to Yuma, to Barstow area is the only exception to this in the summer. They can water once very 5 days if needed. Letting the soil surface dry out completely between waterings is what keeps the weeds away. Weed seeds need daily moisture to germinate. People who water daily either have a lot of weeds or a big herbicide bill.

Proper mowing is different for each grass; however, there are general guides. If you have bermuda, centipede, or bentgrass, then mow low from 1 inch to 2. If you have any other grass, then you can let it get as high as your mower will go. Tall grass helps keep weeds out by shading any seedlings that happen to sprout.

Proper fertilizer will help keep your turf dense and keep out weeds. Proper is a relative term. The year before last I fertilized once per month with a very high potency organic. My lawn was the best ever for me. Last year I did not fertilize at all. Toward the end of the season it was looking very thin and remains thin now. I'll get after it once we have a weekend with decent temps. Generally I recommend a federal holiday schedule for organic feeding. Unless you live in the deep south (influenced by the gulf winds and temps), then start on Memorial Day. Again on 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. If you live in the deeper south, you can start more like Washington's Birthday.

These are only weed control tips, but the last one sort of hints at the fertilizer routine. The general application rate for all the grain based organic fertilizers is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. You can start any time you want. Check out your local feed store for whole ground corn meal and/or alfalfa pellets (rabbit food). One commercially bagged fertilizer I'm going to try this year is Medina Growing Green. I like the idea of poultry litter as a fertilizer, so anything you can find like that should be good.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 8:33PM
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