Got My Soil Results - What's Next?

danielj_2009July 21, 2014

Yeah! That Logan Labs is really fast!

I was hoping to read a book that covers everything about proper lawn care, but apparently you guys haven't written it yet. So I now understand the basics of how to do it right, but there is much I still don't understand. I have another thread called Sod: How Green is Green, but it has gotten very long, and so I wanted to use this thread as a guide for me to keep my lawn going in the right direction.

Recap:
Property has been around for 60+ years, but in fall of 2013, well after house rebuild was complete, we finally started landscaping. This required a regrading of the property with heavy equipment, upsetting anything that was there before, which was mostly weeds and poorly kept grass. The landscaper incorporated topsoil into the existing turf, which was killed off and tilled under. The front yard was KBG sodded and the back was seeded with a standard mix for northern NJ.

Front Yard:

Back Yard:

My New Weed Control Technician, Maurice:

Logan Labs Results:

It is not surprising to me that the back yard results are not as good in some areas as the front yard. There are two probable reasons: 1) the back yard had more aggressive excavation of dirt for the new basement and also during removal of a massive tree, and 2) some of the rich soil from the sod farm was included in the front yard sample.

I have been generating a lot of questions, but instead of shotgunning a bunch of question, maybe morpeus, dchall or anyone else interested could interpret my lab results and give me a point in the right direction.

Thanks so much!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>Yeah! That Logan Labs is really fast!

Toldja so. :-)

>>Logan Labs Results:

I hate you. :-)

For starter results, these are extraordinarily good. There's some work to do, there always is, but this is not an uphill battle. Like I said from your initial photo, I didn't think you had a severe problem, but I never imagined it would be this close to perfect.

Let's begin at the beginning with full explanations since you've shown interest.

CEC 10.0 / 9.3: Combine this with your organic matter percentages and it says a sandy silt or silty sand (more likely the latter). This hovers very near the most workable range of 10-20, so no problems here. Your soil holds decent amounts of resources but is pretty easy to change if we want to.

pH: 6.1: Ignore. pH is not indicative of anything other than calcium, magnesium, potassium, hydrogen, and aluminum amounts. It's a symptom, not a cause, but people do expect to see it. If you set the other items correctly, the pH will naturally move toward its optimal point (normally 6.2 to 6.7 depending, but there are exceptions).

Organic matter 6.1 / 3.8: Excellent in the front, borderline good/fair in the back. OM varies from 0 to around 15%, and I consider anything above 6% excellent.

Consider organic treatments in the back with cracked corn for several years to bring that up. The front will benefit form it as well, of course, but if the budget won't stretch I'd rather see excess organics going into the back.

Always mulch mow every fall leaf. I've imported hundreds of bags worth from known-good lawns, spread, and mulch mowed in.

Sulfur 6 / 9: A touch trim, but nothing to worry about. One of my recommendations will add sulfur in a pH-neutral manner. I like to see 10-20 PPM minimum, 50 is OK but starting to push the top bracket.

Phosphorus 70-ish: Low. In recommendations below, I've recommended 3 bag rate apps of starter fertilizer (high second number, like 18-24-6 or 20-24-6) to raise this. 200 PPM is optimal for lawns and important for proper growth. P gets used in DNA structure, cell structure, enzyme production, and energy exchange (ADP/ATP energy reactions).

If you have gardens, apply it there as well, and you can start that process in July with no problems. Flower gardens prefer P levels near 1,000 (blooming is a phosphorus hog). Vegetable gardens prefer levels of 200 just like lawns.

** Now I jump around a bit. I don't care quite so much about the actual numbers for Ca, Mg, and K, I care more about the saturation percentages in the soil--but I still have to consider the numbers when doing the math, which I'll take care of behind the scenes for you. ***

Calcium 65.0 / 64.5: Almost exactly optimal, but I'd like to kick this up a little bit.

Encap or Mir-A-Cal or Mag-I-Cal (I always forget which name Jonathan Greene products is currently using) calcitic lime will fix this--NOT the cheap limestone, which is dolomitic (contains a lot of magnesium), very slow, and has stuff you neither need nor want as it'll toss off your Ca:Mg ratio.

Magnesium 13.0/13.3: Perfect. There's no need to adjust this (and if there were, I still wouldn't use dolomitic limestone--Epsom salts are faster and cheaper).

Potassium: 2.2 / 2.0: Technically OK as it won't cause too many problems right now, but this is going to fall off the cliff shortly (it's getting close in the back). Potassium is used in heat resistance, cold resistance, disease resistance, structure, water retention, and tons of enzymes and proteins.

Potassium sulfate can be a little tough to find, but most landscapers and specialty gardening stores can get it for you.

Sodium: 1.0 / 1.5: Fine. Sodium has limited use in plants, pretty much only for water retention. You don't want much and, in fact, as it approaches 3 it starts to become a toxin.

Hydrogen 13.5 / 13.5: This is the acidic part of your pH; hydrogen has no use to plant roots, and this is essentially the wasted part of your CEC. You do want some hydrogen, about 6% or so (give or take a lot), as resource absorption is optimal in a slightly acidic environment. My recommendations should toss out about half the hydrogen.

Trace elements, all except iron and boron: All in perfect range. Either your home was previously owned by a lawn nut, or you got luckier than you have any right to expect.

Iron 125-ish: Fine, but this won't produce the best color in most modern lawns. Use Milorganite several times per year to very, very slowly raise this. I have no specific target in mind, it's when the lawn color pleases you and doesn't fade out between Milorganite applications. For me, with elite KBG, that's happening around 300 PPM. KBG is an iron hog.

Boron 0.54 /0.54: Technically a little low, 0.7-0.8 is optimal. However, boron has a very, very fine line between optimal and toxic.

Personally? I'd adjust this as it's slightly impacting lawn quality (but not much). Apply 2 tablespoons of 20 Mule Team Borax per thousand square feet. 2 Tablespoons. Per thousand square feet. Do Not Screw That Up.

The easiest way to do this is to empty a bag of Milorganite into a wheelbarrow. Mix 5 Tbsp 20 Mule Team Borax into it, slightly dampening the Milo as you go with faint, rare sprays from a spray bottle. Keep mixing and damping until all the borax has adhered.

Put in spreader, spread over 2,500 square feet (exactly bag rate). Make very, very sure it's going down accurately.

Yes, I included a fair bit of wiggle room in my numbers above, so a "normal" mistake won't cause an issue. But I won't ever tell you how much wiggle room I just put in there.

Recommendations:

Early September: Apply starter fertilizer at bag rate.

Mid-September: Apply 3 pounds per thousand square feet of a good calcitic lime.

Late September: 2 Tbsp of 20 Mule Team Borax per thousand square feet if you wish to do so.

Early October: Apply starter fertilizer at bag rate.

Mid-October: Apply 2 pounds per thousand square feet of potassium sulfate.

Early May: Apply 2 pounds per thousand square feet of potassium sulfate.

Late May: Apply starter fertilizer at bag rate.

Mid June: Apply 2 pounds per thousand square feet of potassium sulfate.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

morpheus: Whatsa matter? Cat got your tongue? :o) Wow, what a great report to receive! I'm going to take my time and go through all of that more carefully when I have a little bit more time. I just wanted to thank you for the excellent recommendations.

I definitely have some follow up questions... to come.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

...and THAT is why you spend $25 per sample to go to Logan Labs. It's a good thing you didn't have a lot of problems or morph might have had to write a long reply, heh, heh! It's kinda like getting a sip of water from a fire hose.

Of course that's what you would have thought just reading it yourself, right Dan! Uh, me neither!! Morph is one of few who has a mastery of the Logan Labs soil test. He gives you the interpretation, amendments, cautions, and caveats.

Really, don't screw up the boron. Excess boron is a poison to all living creatures. As an example, search Google Maps for Boron, California (home of 20-Mule Team Borax). Zoom in on the town and some of the lawns. They can't grow grass (or anything) for anything there.

Morph, Dan had his yard scraped and new soil brought in, so kudos to the landscaper to spec'ed the soil. He did it right.

Dan do you know if there was any KBG in the back yard seed? I would expect if there was that there would not be any thin areas. At the same time as I look over the color splotches in back, it seems to me there must be some KBG causing the light colors from, I'm assuming, partial dormancy. Do you know what you have? Because if there is no KBG, you will need to overseed the thin spots next month or early Sept. If you wanted to have KBG, I believe you could add it this fall. Morph could advise better on that. A little goes a long way to filling in the thin spots.

Also morph mentioned Milorganite but didn't include that in his recommendations. The proper time to apply that is anytime you want to. It doesn't interact with anything else, so whenever you remember, use it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>Whatsa matter? Cat got your tongue?

That was the short version. :-)

>>Really, don't screw up the boron. Excess boron is a poison to all living creatures.

This. Actually, boron is required in plant diets, and seems to be slightly favored in animal diets (rats that are completely denied boron develop normally, reproduce fine, and live long and healthy lives--they're just a little smaller on average than rats that have boron in their diet).

You needn't fear that the 20 Mule Team Borax will poison you under normal application. It won't, we're very tolerant of borax and ingested it's about as toxic as table salt (I doubt you could choke down that amount of borax to begin with).

And the remainder of the box can be used to make your wash-day whites whiter than white (or just saved for next year when the same prescription will probably be required; I only gave the soil a nudge because that's all it needs...but nudges tend to be required on boron as it leaches out in rainfall).

>>Also morph mentioned Milorganite but didn't include that in his recommendations. The proper time to apply that is anytime you want to. It doesn't interact with anything else, so whenever you remember, use it.

Pretty much. In addition to some nice organic material, it'll supply a secondary, very slow source of phosphorus.

Honestly? The limiter in this lawn from the look and the report is phosphorus. The starter fertilizer, repeated three times, is really going to perk that right up--although correction is probably going to continue next year after the next soil test to reach 200 PPM.

The second limiter is potassium. Correct that and the few remaining problems should fade away, leaving only seasonal incidentals that everybody gets. It won't stop disease in its tracks, but it's going to be a lot less likely to do major damage (if any damage at all).

Boron is a distant, distant third. 0.54 is high enough for me to not expect any major changes. If it were 0.20, I'd be in "correct now" mode. And just that difference--0.3 PPM, or 300 parts per billion, should tell you how fine the lines are with boron. That's the equivalent of (calculator) five minutes...in 37 years.

The calcium is just to nudge out some hydrogen, raise the levels a little bit, and give some margin against leaching--and also to lighten and loosen the soil a little since we already have reports of compaction.

Why that works is quite another story...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

One thing I noted on review, I didn't include two things--a link to my soil test if you want to compare them (you effortlessly get numbers that I had to work for), and aluminum.

Aluminum 500-ish: Normal numbers. Aluminum is toxic to plants quickly and definitively in its ionic form. Fortunately, the ionic form doesn't present itself until the pH falls under 5.5, and doesn't become widely available until pH falls under 5. Toxicity usually shows under a pH of 5 if soil levels are high, or 4.5 at any reasonable soil level.

Your pH is at a good level, and none of your limited aluminum is available to plants

Sidenote: hydrangea sites often recommend aluminum sulfate to lower pH and change the color of hydrangea blossoms. It works, and hydrangea are aluminum-resistant, but it can mean that surrounding trees, shrubs, and plants die. It's smarter to use ferrous sulfate to drop pH instead as it's non-toxic until ridiculous levels.

You'll get exactly the same blue color without destroying the soil--but never add phosphorus to hydrangea even in extremely acidic environments or they'll turn pink again! I had fun last year playing with mine. Half was blue, half pink--but you have to play with the soil carefully and often to do that!

Here is a link that might be useful: My soil test

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
polyguy78(z8OR)

Wow! Impressive, guys.......there's nothing more to say except: Dan you spent $25 for a lab report and the guys responded with a $250 soil consultation. Very cool. I'd say money well spent!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

polyguy: ain't that the truth!

dchall:
Actually the landscaper did not remove any material, fwiw. He killed off the existing lawn, then mixed it in with about 2 inches of topsoil. I wonder how much of my good numbers are due to that, and how much due to just dumb luck. Of course the lawn has been there in some form or another for 60 years. Since we've been at this location since 1972 I guess you could say we had an organic lawn... as in we never did anything but mow it. Like many lawns, it barely got by as acceptable for a long time.

Also, dchall, the back yard was seeded with a more or less typical mix. They showed me what it was originally but I don't recall exactly. I'm pretty sure it was bluegrass, fescue, and rye. I hadn't considered that the blotchy color was caused by the various grasses. Most of the back yard is sunny enough that I think I could use KBG. Right near the house is shady most all the time, but it is still bright, and not a large area. I definitely need to go over the back yard fall care at some point.

The grass in the back yard is thin in some spots just because it didn't come in as well in some areas than others. The day after the seed was put down, there was a light rain. After that, there was not a single drop of rain for the next 6 weeks or more. My landscape designer said, "Don't worry about it, I'm going to water your grass and trees and make sure everything is just right." Of course he didn't water the lawn at all, so eventually I just got on it myself and took that responsibility away from him. That's prolly another reason for the thin spots.

How fast can KBG fill in thin areas?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 9:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>How fast can KBG fill in thin areas?

Very, if it's well fed. I filled in trashcan-lid sized areas where I knocked out P. trivialis in three months or so.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

KBG takes about 3 years to look really good. The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, the third year it leaps. With the installation as you have described it, it would be a miracle if you had any KBG in at all in the back. The color differences are between the rye and fescue. Neither of those would fill the thin spots. The rye/fescue/KBG combination is a sorry blend of seeds. Rye should just be left by itself. It germinates with barely any moisture and gives the inexperienced lawn installer (you, Dan) the idea that all the grass is sprouted. That's far from what happens. Rye will have 80% sprouted in a week. Fescue takes 2 weeks to see much sprouting. KBG takes 3 weeks of continual moisture to see the first germination.

If you seed KBG next month, you should have the thin spots mostly filled by late October. As the rye and fescue inevitably die out from one cause or another, eventually you'll have a 100% KBG lawn, except for the shady areas.

I hate seeing new topsoil being brought in willy nilly. Since this guy was a landscaper I can only hope he had a bonafide drainage reason for adding more soil. I misread your post about regrading it. It looks good...maybe about 2 inches too high in front ;-)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

morpheus: Thanks again for taking the time to give me the knowledge to achieve a great lawn. I'm sorry that even though I'm clueless, my dirt is smarter than yours! :o) Of course you must gain a much greater sense of accomplishment by bringing your lawn to the condition it now in, rather than lucking into perfect soil conditions from the start.

I understand the next steps you have recommended and will follow through on that. Can you advise whether I can/should apply the materials below and when:

1. corn meal (definitely have some brown spots/winter mold in the back yard).

2. alfalfa or soybean pellets (whichever is cheaper, all else equal I take it soybean would be better)

3. milorganite (ok to apply in the heat of summer even with the laced boron?).

4. shampoo

5. In general is it better to spread out when you apply the above items week by week, or can you just lay down the corn meal, then the alfalfa, then the milo and water it all in? Oh, my entire property is about 1/3 acre, so cost isn't that much of an issue.

6. I'm really interested that you collect neighbor's leaves and mulch them into your lawn. They must think you are nuts! You have to set me straight on something. Everybody says that large amounts of decayed leaves in the soil drops your pH. I understand your comments about getting the minerals right and the pH takes care of itself. However, if we are adding tons of leaves in the fall, does that have to be balanced out with something else in the spring, or have I fallen victim to a suburban myth?

Since it is usually pretty cold when the leaves are being mulched into the lawn, do they sit there until the spring? I guess fall lawn care is a topic in itself, but I had to ask when you said you dump extra leaves on your lawn. I love it!

I don't have any flowering plants just yet. We are thinking about doing some things in the back yard, but no set plans yet.

I guess that's plenty for now. I'm gonna go hunt for alfalfa and boron and fun stuff like that tomorrow. I can get corn meal from my wholesale food distributor. It's about $21 per 50 lb bag. Kinda high I guess, but not prohibitive.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

>> dchall: I hate seeing new topsoil being brought in willy nilly. Since this guy was a landscaper I can only hope he had a bonafide drainage reason for adding more soil. I misread your post about regrading it. It looks good...maybe about 2 inches too high in front ;-)

We rebuilt the house in 2008 - 2010 and extended the back of the house. They excavated dirt for the extended basement and left a 5' high pile there for a year. Eventually they flattened it out by just spreading it around. There is a gradual slope from backyard to front yard and there were issues with high and low areas due to previously removed trees and shrubs. So I opted to have the back yard graded to keep water away from the house and not forming puddles. For the most part, the water goes where it should. I think they did a good job with the "heavy equipment" part, removing a massive stump from the back yard and all, and I certainly can't complain about how they laid the sod. BUT, this is also the landscaper who said, "you can if you want to" when I asked about whether fall fertilization was a good idea for the lawn. I dunno, maybe he misunderstood me.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, the third year it leaps.

Well, if you're ditching organics, in September and October of the first year it sleeps. April and May are creep, but it's a fast creep--like a one year old up to no good.

It's first year anniversary marked the start of leap.

But you really have to feed it hard and often, organically, to achieve that--and have a well-tuned soil.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>morpheus: Thanks again for taking the time to give me the knowledge to achieve a great lawn. I'm sorry that even though I'm clueless, my dirt is smarter than yours! :o) Of course you must gain a much greater sense of accomplishment by bringing your lawn to the condition it now in, rather than lucking into perfect soil conditions from the start.

I actually started with what's called "collapsed" soil. Which means every resource in it has collapsed, leaving practically nothing in acceptable (or even tolerable) range, except manganese. I had tons of manganese.

The soil here had been corn field for as long as I can remember--or my parents could remember. Possibly as long as my grandfather could remember if he'd still been alive when we built here.

Consider yourself fortunate that you're not starting there. My pH was 4.4.

>>1. corn meal (definitely have some brown spots/winter mold in the back yard).

Whenever you like, except when the ground is frozen, to control fungi or just to condition the soil.

I find that one application in early May of about 20 pounds per thousand (I'm going to use pound per K from here on out) is enough to suppress fungal infections for the rest of the season except under extraordinary circumstances. This year is extraordinary.

>>2. alfalfa or soybean pellets (whichever is cheaper, all else equal I take it soybean would be better)

To feed, soybean is three times as good--and about the same price for me. Soy's 7-1-2 equivalent. Alfalfa is 2-1-2.

Don't ever apply more than 20 pounds of alfalfa per K a month. The growth hormones will become excessive and start to slow root growth.

You don't need more than 15 pounds of soy per K per feeding, and way more than that also isn't a good idea--because it smells terrible when decaying and wet.

Really, one drop of alfalfa a year in September, coupled with four drops a year of soy at 15 per K in May, August, September, and October will feed your lawn beautifully all year long.

Anything on top of that is gravy.

>>3. milorganite (ok to apply in the heat of summer even with the laced boron?).

No problems with this any time you want. Milo's a good feed at 5-2-0, and contains a lot of iron at 4%. Spring, summer, fall, it's all good for soy, alfalfa, corn, and Milorganite.

Post the first year, I'd lighten organic usage in summer. The grass really has no interest in feeding heavily, so 10 pounds per thousand of whatever you want to add is more than enough.

>>4. shampoo

Any time the ground isn't frozen; I've applied sodium laurel sulfate the last three weeks in the gardens to enhance the kelp I was also adding at the same time.

Limit application to 4 oz per K per month as a general rule, but don't go into hysterics if you accidentally go over this. It's no big deal.

>>5. In general is it better to spread out when you apply the above items week by week, or can you just lay down the corn meal, then the alfalfa, then the milo and water it all in? Oh, my entire property is about 1/3 acre, so cost isn't that much of an issue.

Whichever you like, it doesn't really matter. However, that having been said, when starting out the stench can be...well, you'll find out.

Spreading it out a bit is a good idea. And whatever plan you have may be modified by the smell. My first few months, I had a plan that went out the window while I waited for the soy to stop smelling.

For the first year, I dumped material and simply tolerated a slight miasma of decay over the property. The neighbors never noticed, it wasn't that bad, but I sure did.

You'll find what you wish to tolerate and work with that, and that's awesome.

Once the bacteria, insects, micro-arthropods, and fungi come up to speed you'll be able to dump more material more often without scent.

>>6. I'm really interested that you collect neighbor's leaves and mulch them into your lawn. They must think you are nuts! You have to set me straight on something. Everybody says that large amounts of decayed leaves in the soil drops your pH. I understand your comments about getting the minerals right and the pH takes care of itself. However, if we are adding tons of leaves in the fall, does that have to be balanced out with something else in the spring, or have I fallen victim to a suburban myth?

Victim. :-) Initial decay of most organic material is acidic (urea is actually alkaline). By the time it's done, the resultant overall pH change is negligible.

I've added...wow, er...calculator...no way. 2,400 pounds of organic material per thousand square feet over the last five years. My pH has been as stable as I would expect in eastern Pennsylvania, where normal pH is 5.0-5.5. Mine hovers near 6.1-6.3.

>>Since it is usually pretty cold when the leaves are being mulched into the lawn, do they sit there until the spring? I guess fall lawn care is a topic in itself, but I had to ask when you said you dump extra leaves on your lawn. I love it!

Nope, my lawn can easily chew up 8" of leaf mulch (leaves that have been multiply mowed until they're pinky nail sized or smaller) per season. The limit there is that's all I can haul without killing myself.

One fellow I met gives his that much per week--his lot is very heavily forested.

Once the fungi that decay leaves come up to speed, which does take a while (usually the second year), they'll accept and decay as much as you can throw at them.

The only warning is that there has to be sufficient nitrogen in the soil, although leaf decaying fungi usually associate with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Still, it's faster if they don't have to expend the energy to fix nitrogen.

Since I dump two organic feedings right on top of that leaf mass, nitrogen availability for the leaves and the lawn is certainly no problem.

>>I don't have any flowering plants just yet. We are thinking about doing some things in the back yard, but no set plans yet.

No problem, whenever. You don't have to rush ahead and start dumping starter fertilizer on your expected gardens. Whenever you start gardening is just fine.

The starter you add will go into solution and the plants get a (short) short at it before it soil binds. Since multiple (many) applications are necessary, they get lots of chances to pull it from the water before being forced to live on the soil resources.

If you saw my soil test, I went overboard on phosphorus in the lawn and the gardens. That's not a problem, but I'm avoiding phosphorus sources right now--P is a water pollutant if it erodes off. Fortunately, with this lawn and garden, erosion is a non-issue.

>>I guess that's plenty for now. I'm gonna go hunt for alfalfa and boron and fun stuff like that tomorrow. I can get corn meal from my wholesale food distributor. It's about $21 per 50 lb bag. Kinda high I guess, but not prohibitive.

Boron, 20 Mule Team Borax, is available in your grocery store in the laundry section. It's used as a laundry booster and most of it is mined in Boron, California.

No, I'm not kidding. It's home to the largest borax (boron) mine on the planet.

$21 per 50 lbs isn't all that bad this year, when corn is riding high on price again. I've gotten it as cheap as $9 per fifty, but that was several years ago before price manipu...I mean, before "harvests got weaker."

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Found this interesting organic fertilizer from big box stores.

It comes with myco fungi, bacteria and archae as well.

I've applied it once a year past 2 years for the fun of it.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 5:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

(cough) useless (cough).

I mean, if it makes you feel better, go for it. But the bacteria and fungi that live in our lawns are very, very common and will blow in on the wind in copious numbers.

Worst-case scenario, post a severe flood that keeps your property under water for several days, scatter around a few cubic feet of compost. That'll re-inject the appropriate bacteria and fungi. Or just wait for it to happen naturally, because it will.

Adding those is nice, I guess, but if you don't feed them pretty well, they'll spore up at best or die at worst.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 5:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Well, I had just moved into a brand new house... I had already went though all of it starting 2005 at another house that was a brand new house with terrible soil to work with (limestone rubble soil)... I'm pretty well familiar with everything. Just ask Dchall. That's how far we go back over this stuff. I did everything you have already did...

You didn't have to act like a jackass with the cough thing... Like I said I did it for the fun of it... I was pretty doing very well at the previous house with st augustine grass that everybody claimed that it needed watering too much but i proved them wrong by watering it every 10-14 days even at worst conditions. That's how good the soil has gotten with that terrible compacted soil I had to work with. Tons more earthworms too.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

That was a little abrupt, morph. That's how lou chooses to spend his hobby dollars. You spend yours on soap ingredients. I spend mine on feeding the poor in India (not at all, but...). There are many constructive ways to say the same thing. Too often I choose the wrong way myself - I consider myself a work in progress.

As I recall back to 2005 there was considerable discussion about using mycorhizae (my koh RISE ay) on bad soil back then. Those fungi start small and can get very VERY big. In a nutshell they are a fungus which attaches to the root system of a plant. The mycorhizae take sugar from the plant roots and grow outward exactly like an extension of the plant's roots. I've seen pictures of mycorhizae attached to no-till cotton plants where the fungus was much bigger than the plant and root system combined. They spread far, wide and deep. What they're doing is absorbing moisture and nutrients from far away and delivering it to the plants. Mycorhizal fungi are another reason you never want to rototill the soil.

After looking at many before and after pictures as well as side by side pictures, my opinion was, and still is, that normal soil does not need a mycorhizal booster. But there were too many pictures to deny the benefit in poor soils. Specifically there are pictures of desert golf courses created out of pure silicon dioxide and decomposed granite rubble where the mycorhizae fostered an oasis in just a few weeks. Side by side comparison pictures taken on the same project were very convincing. There is one golf course I am familiar with built in a large, sandy ravine. The ravine is subject to flash flooding when there is a prolonged tropical storm hovering in the area. When the flooding subsides you would never know there was anything but sand there. But they rebuild the golf course in just a few months. It's amazing to see, so I wonder if they use mycorhizae on those occasions.

Back to the topic...

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 7:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

That was humor. Picture a wry smile.

That having been said, there are no sterile soils except those that just came out of the kiln. And those stay sterile for about ten seconds after they drop under 160° (technically before that, but we don't care much about thermophiles). And bacteria and fungal spores do very well on the winds and in bird digestion or they'd never spread.

If you really want my opinion on it? Stop here if you're easily offended.

It's worse than useless, it's a false assurance that you're doing something worth doing, and an advertising gimmick. Soils contain at least forty thousand species of flourishing soil bacteria, and nobody knows yet how many fungi. This adds a few that aren't deficient in any soil I ever heard of--unless they aren't native there in the first place.

You run the risk of an imbalance in the former instance, but fortunately not much. The current bacterial balance will disallow changes by outcompeting the new bacteria, which aren't adjusted properly by depth, and haven't had the advantage of evolving for many generations in the same soil.

In the latter instance, you don't run much risk of an imbalance because they'll simply die, being inappropriate for their new locale.

In either case, it's like trying to correct starvation by taking a vitamin. You won't get scurvy or rickets, but that isn't much consolation as you starve to death anyway.

A better use of resources would be to pour organic material of whatever stripe and let the bacteria already native and coming in reproduce on their own. There aren't too many normal problems (eternal and regular flooding not being normal) that can't be solved by appropriately balancing the soil.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Hey morph I have a question about grass height for KBG. I read on another thread where you said you keep yours at 3" unless you expect drought, in which case you go up to 5". I've been mowing mine high, around 4" and plan to keep it that way at least until the fall per you recommendations. I notice that near my front walk way, up to about a foot in from the edge of the walkway, I can see that the sod is just a little dryer looking like it is considering going dormant. In comparison, after that first foot or so, the sod is lush and green. (Now, I'm not talking about along my driveway where there is a definite kill-off of some grass right at the edge). With all the rain we've had, and the soil still not dry, I am surprised to see this drying effect, admittedly slight at this point. Two questions:

1. Why do you maintain 3" even in summer heat (or do you?)

2. I have been assuming that my roots are well developed after a half season of growth after the installation last October. However, I didn't see much in the way of roots when I took core samples the other day. (Are roots too small to really see?) So do you think any of the slight drying of the lawn "around the edges" has anything to do with the age of the lawn (new)?

I guess that was more than 2 questions :).

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>1. Why do you maintain 3" even in summer heat (or do you?)

I do. The technical top deck on my robot is 3", although my Toro will go higher. I don't usually drag out the Toro unless I'm mulching leaves or mowing the back line (behind the Thuja where I don't see it).

I can finagle with a piece of hose, some duct tape, and a few bits and pieces to raise the deck to 3 1/2". I don't usually bother.

For an elite, 3" is already quite tall, so that's sufficient. For a non-elite, it would be an average height, although still taller than most people maintain it.

>>2. I have been assuming that my roots are well developed after a half season of growth after the installation last October.

You'd be surprised. :-) Full establishment on KBG can take years. Roughly, I'd say I saw habit and weather resistance changing through year four. The last few years have been pretty stable.

Most of it was certainly in place by the end of the first year, but it definitely did improve.

>>However, I didn't see much in the way of roots when I took core samples the other day. (Are roots too small to really see?)

During summer, grass has dropped a lot of its root mass--gone. That's called root sloughing, and it happens twice a year on northern grasses, June and (usually) December-ish, give or take a lot.

Most of the structural roots are still there, but the feeder roots get dropped. During summer and winter, they cost more energy to maintain than they're worth. Thinner structural roots are entirely capable of supplying water, just like a tap root for a tree.

So if the structural roots weren't down to the four inch level yet, it's because they're not yet that long. I have to pry mine up and break them to get soil samples, but I sure didn't do that the first few years!

>>So do you think any of the slight drying of the lawn "around the edges" has anything to do with the age of the lawn (new)?

Yes, in part. As time goes on, that tendency will lessen.

But the edges and borders of things do tend to go dry first. Walkways heat in sun, helping to evaporate water from the soil by warming that as well.

If you hear people complaining about their heck strip, the area between the sidewalk and street, this is part of the problem. It's getting warmed in two directions by large chunks of stone, plus the base underneath both is sand--which holds no water but does love holding heat.

The edges of driveways are famous for that I've pretty much given up on the first two feet to the north of my driveway (fortunately, a very short distance as it's mostly flower garden). It overheats, the grass blasts out, and there you go.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Dchall,

I've seen empty bags of myco fungi at golf course turf management a few months ago. It made me wonder why they use them. Excessive usage of chemicals? Soil compaction from carts, equipments, etc? It's not exactly a new course... more like 20-30 years old...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 6:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardtractor1

Dan,

On the topics of KB spreading and deep rooting:

Optimal soil temperatures for shoot and root growth is in the 55-70 F range. These temperatures usually occur late Spring and early Fall.

Rainfall is commonly more abundant in the Spring than in the Fall, so soil water content is easier to control in the Fall.

KB spreading appears most active in the Spring.

Cutting grass at 2-2 1/2" promotes spreading.

Root growth will continue to some extent until the soil freezes.

Taller cut grass promotes deeper rooting.

Root growth is more prolific in levels of soil where water and nutrients are present.

Turf grass will take the avenue of least effort/resistance.

It is easier to pump water and nutrients that are closer to the surface than from deeper depths.

When trying to promote a desired outcome, stack the cards in your favor.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

yardtractor: Thanks for the comments re root growth.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

I've been calling places trying to find availability of alfalfa pellets and also soybean (meal or pellets?). Anyway everybody has alfalfa and it looks like some have soybean meal or can get it. Is the soybean meal what I want, or some other form like a pellet? Also, morph says N is much higher in soybean, so I can use 15 lb instead of 20 lb, but is this the only benefit? ( I think I know the answer -- no, and it's more complicated that you realize!).

I don't know the cost of the soybean yet as I wasn't sure if it was the meal I could use. So if the cost is more or less the same either way is soybean the way to go, even if it is meal?

I know this has been covered before, but a lot of what I see is many years old and I wasn't sure if thinking on the subject has changed.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>Anyway everybody has alfalfa and it looks like some have soybean meal or can get it. Is the soybean meal what I want, or some other form like a pellet?

The meal is great. It's actually small bits of the bean, and flows through a spreader like a synthetic.

>>Also, morph says N is much higher in soybean, so I can use 15 lb instead of 20 lb,

Morph says a lot of things, but it's always wise to check. :-)

20 lb per K is the maximum for alfalfa because of the growth hormones (too much is far, far worse than none at all). To get the same feeding as 15 pounds per K of soybean meal, you'd actually have to use 50 pounds per K of alfalfa.

>>is this the only benefit? ( I think I know the answer -- no, and it's more complicated that you realize!).

It's much more complicated. NPK numbers don't relate all that well to organics. They don't leach out easily, and if you're mulch mowing the nitrogen recycles for a while.

I tend to shoot for the worst case scenario--nitrogen in organics being as easy to lose as in a synthetic. That isn't the case, but it absolutely assures that the lawn is getting the nitrogen levels it requires at all times. The worst case scenario never happens in nature.

Nitrogen does get lost out of the system over time. Later in the process, it can be leached out as it's in the soil solution just like a synthetic would have been--but smaller amounts are in solution at any one time. As the nitrogen changes form, it can gas out to the atmosphere. And plants are nowhere near perfectly efficient in its use, losing some to inefficiencies, to the air, and to insects and rabbits that are nibbling on them.

>>So if the cost is more or less the same either way is soybean the way to go, even if it is meal?

Most of the time. Once a year, as temperatures start to drop, I'd use alfalfa if you can get it easily and the price isn't ridiculous. The rest of the time, use soybean meal as it isn't loading the soil with growth hormones or anything overly odd.

It's strange to say, but soy has the advantage of not having any other advantages. Like corn (where the minor fungal defense doesn't cause a problem and doesn't over-build), it's something you can add any time you like.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK so I can pack a lot more N in the feeding with soybean (7 vs 2 I think you said) without worrying about growth hormones. Otherwise I assume they are about the same - both providing protein to the soil?

Which is the greater benefit of using alfalfa and/or soybean -- the nitrogen or the protein?

If am trying to increase my OM each year how much is coming from this soybean addition vs corn meal, grass clippings, fall leaves?

I ask these questions because I'm trying to get an idea of exactly why I am adding these things. N vs OM, etc... just getting a feel for things.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>I ask these questions because I'm trying to get an idea of exactly why I am adding these things. N vs OM, etc... just getting a feel for things.

OK, but could you please get the 500 watt spotlight out of my face. And why are you holding a heated fireplace poker? HEY! :-)

No biggie. There's a huge learning curve on all this and I'm thrilled you're interested. Some people just want a stable prescription and off they go. That's fine too, but knowing why you do something is always key to explaining it to somebody else.

>>OK so I can pack a lot more N in the feeding with soybean (7 vs 2 I think you said) without worrying about growth hormones. Otherwise I assume they are about the same - both providing protein to the soil?

Exactly. There are other considerations. The proteins are consumed and don't add much to the OM (but, indirectly and directly, they do add to it). Cellulose, lignite, and a dozen other things get added to soil OM in larger fraction.

>>Which is the greater benefit of using alfalfa and/or soybean -- the nitrogen or the protein?

Yes. :-) Protein is 7.25% nitrogen by weight, so adding protein is adding nitrogen. Soybean meal just happens to be nearly 50% protein by weight. Alfalfa is closer to 11-12%.

>>If am trying to increase my OM each year how much is coming from this soybean addition vs corn meal, grass clippings, fall leaves?

For most grains, about 20% of the final mass goes to OM directly. For Milorganite, it's around 10% (Milo has other advantages, most notably iron).

Fall leaves are high carbon already, so probably one third of their mass goes to OM, but the variance is very high.

Grass clippings always help, but they're wet. While ten percent of their dry weight goes to soil OM (they're light and easy to digest for the micros in the soil), if you measure as you mow that percentage is actually around three percent. Grass is mostly water.

All the above is the primary effect. However, increased OM and bacterial/fungal activity in your soil will increase grass growth--which means more clippings. So that soybean meal has to be amplified by the amount it added to growth.

The roots did the same thing (roots like airy, organic soils with lots of life). Those slough off twice yearly, adding loads of OM. So that helped too.

Bacteria and fungi don't live forever, and when they die they're consumed just like anything else. The remains of their corpses becomes more OM. Worms, same thing. Even the predatory robins help as they poo on your lawn, returning OM right back to the soil (and ultimately growing more worms).

It's a large and complex cycle from bacteriophages (usually viruses) and bacteria all the way up to the large hunting hawks that may occasionally snag a small mammal that's happily living on your rich green property.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

deleted double post.

I don't know why that keeps happening. I've never seen a double post on other forums.

This post was edited by danielj_2009 on Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 17:18

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 3:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Either I'm having a stroke or that's a double post?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 3:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardtractor1

If you throw a drift and it isn't caught, what happens to the drift?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Somebody else will always catch your drift. They can be redeemed for valuable S&H products!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Is it safe? Is...it...safe? Dunno how old you are, but that might give you an idea where things are headed if I don't get some good answers! ;o)

>> Some people just want a stable prescription and off they go. That's fine too, but knowing why you do something is always key to explaining it to somebody else.

I think it was Einstein who said if you can't explain something to your grandmother then you don't understand it well enough.

Thanks for the details you provided above. That clears a lot up. I hate to use something only to find out later I didn't really have a clue as to why I was using it. At least now I have a little clue.

I got a call back from a garden/feed store and they have to special order soybean meal. The price is $27 for soybean and $19 for alfalfa, so with the 15 lb/M vs 20 lb/M they are actually roughly equivalent in cost to treat the lawn. So I think I'll go ahead with the soybean meal.

Thanks again!

Oh yeah... Is...it...safe?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>Oh yeah... Is...it...safe?

Marathon Man?

>>I got a call back from a garden/feed store and they have to special order soybean meal. The price is $27 for soybean and $19 for alfalfa, so with the 15 lb/M vs 20 lb/M they are actually roughly equivalent in cost to treat the lawn. So I think I'll go ahead with the soybean meal.

And on the nitrogen measurements, the scale tilts definitively toward soybean in this particular case. That fifteen will provide 1 pound per K.

The twenty of alfalfa will provide 0.4 pounds N per K.

Over time, that will make a difference. A big difference.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

>> The twenty of alfalfa will provide 0.4 pounds N per K.

and you can't go more than this due to the growth hormone, or it just isn't practical? It seemed from your experience that it was hard to harm you lawn with too much alfalfa. At what levels do the hormones become a risk? (sorry if asked and answered already). I'm already sold on soybean, but I'm interested to know.

I just did a detailed measurement of my actual lawn area and it comes out to 9100 sf. So I figure at 15lb/1000sf I'm looking at just under 3 bags (50 lb ea.). For me that would be 3/4 bag front left yard, 3/4 bag front right yard, and 1.5 bags for the back yard. Average would be 16.5 lb/M.

Seems simple enough. Now if I can only figure out my Scott's spreader settings! A little trial and error I guess.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 6:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>and you can't go more than this due to the growth hormone, or it just isn't practical? It seemed from your experience that it was hard to harm you lawn with too much alfalfa. At what levels do the hormones become a risk? (sorry if asked and answered already). I'm already sold on soybean, but I'm interested to know.

About 20 lbs per thousand per month for northern lawns. I'm not sure what the limit is for southern lawns. At that point, you've overdone it and root growth will slow.

It's kind of like a little vitamin A is great. Too much and you turn orange and itch. Way too much and your liver shuts down (except that unlike you, it won't kill the grass, it just stalls).

When I was slamming the soil, I used cracked corn and soybean and Milorganite--never alfalfa as it's just too expensive for me. There were random things thrown in as I got them on sale, like oat hulls and whatnot.

>>Average would be 16.5 lb/M.

That's well within normal range, so no worries there.

>>Seems simple enough. Now if I can only figure out my Scott's spreader settings! A little trial and error I guess.

Every grind differs, and every crop differs, so you'll be figuring that one out every application for the rest of your life. :-) On my Scott's broadcast, I tend to sit around 7 1/2, but it varies a little every time.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

morph - a quick question about spreader settings:

I have a Scott's Edgeguard spreader. The bag of milorganite says to use a setting of 11.5. It also says to do 2 passes. Then there is another column for new lawns showing half the application lbs, and in parenthesis it says "2 passes." Anyway, the point is that I'm going to be lacing the milo with boron and I want to be sure I understand what I'm doing. Does the Scott's 11.5 setting mean that I will be able to make 2 criss-cross passes as the diagram on the bag shows, or is the 11.5 for one pass only? My guess is that 11.5 gives me enough time to do 2 passes as they recommend. What say you?

Again, I'm being extra careful because of the boron.

I laid down all my corn meal today. I found a fine ground meal at a much better price than the regular meal. It broadcast out just fine, and today was over 80% humidity. I also put down 4 oz soap/M today. It sure seems like a small amount! I think dchall recommended watering in 1" and then repeat a week later.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>Does the Scott's 11.5 setting mean that I will be able to make 2 criss-cross passes as the diagram on the bag shows, or is the 11.5 for one pass only? My guess is that 11.5 gives me enough time to do 2 passes as they recommend. What say you?

I also have the Edgeguard and a setting of 6.5 is closer to two passes on my spreader...but my mother's Edgeguard would be close to 9 (I've used both of ours).

Every spreader differs. Test first using an extra bag of Milo and see exactly how far things go.

>>I laid down all my corn meal today. I found a fine ground meal at a much better price than the regular meal. It broadcast out just fine, and today was over 80% humidity.

Cool! I always have trouble with corn meal, but it does depend on the grind. Powder fine won't flow. Somewhat rougher spreads fine, but warps in the wind. Kind of chunky works under all circumstances.

Unfortunately, I can't request a grind at the mill, so I get whatever they did. Usually that's powder.

>>I also put down 4 oz soap/M today. It sure seems like a small amount! I think dchall recommended watering in 1" and then repeat a week later.

It's not a great deal, no. Water it in and you can repeat weekly for a month or so if you want (or as rarely as two to three times a year).

I've got my soil to the point where twice, once early and once late, is more than sufficient to hold it.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

>> re soap: I've got my soil to the point where twice, once early and once late, is more than sufficient to hold it.

How can I really tell when the soap has done what it is supposed to do?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>How can I really tell when the soap has done what it is supposed to do?

When the soil is to your standard, whatever that is.

It's been jokingly said that my standard is when it's pliable and easy to dig down to Earth's mantle. That's not quite true, but when I finally planted a crepe myrtle in a huge pot and effortlessly dug down two feet plus, I called it a done deal. At that point, I could dig holes for annuals with my fingers as easily as with the trowel. I still can.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

**** I could dig holes for annuals with my fingers as easily as with the trowel. I still can.

That is amazing!. What happens if you jump up and down the ground? Does it feel like a sponge where is it gives and then rebounds gradually?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>That is amazing!. What happens if you jump up and down the ground? Does it feel like a sponge where is it gives and then rebounds gradually?

Don't do that. Have you seen what happens when kids jump up and down in an overinflated bouncy castle? Yeah, orbit. I fear for the house if we ever have an earthquake.

:-)

No, it feels like soil, although the grass does have a cushiony feel underfoot. The gardens do as well, but they're always mulched with 3" of shredded hardwood.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Morph - regarding alfalfa:

You said you would be fine with 4 applications of soybean (May, Aug, Sept, Oct) and 1 of alfalfa in September. You mentioned using the alfalfa in the cooler month of September. Just curious as to why I add that in along with the soybean in September, if I understood correctly.

Also, you mentioned a double addition of something (alfalfa?) to top dress the leaf mulch and balance it out. Can you speak more about exactly what you are doing there? I understand there is supposed to be a green/brown balance in composting. Is that what you are getting at?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Here's another thing I was wondering about. I've been mowing high -- 4" setting on the mower. I'm a little concerned that the grass isn't standing straight up, it kind of swirls around a little from foot traffic and doesn't get back up completely although it looks pretty healthy from what I can tell. Here are some pics, although it's a little hard to see in pictures. I'm sure most people are familiar with it. Should I cut back 1/2" and see what happens, or is this fine for the heat of summer?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>You said you would be fine with 4 applications of soybean (May, Aug, Sept, Oct) and 1 of alfalfa in September. You mentioned using the alfalfa in the cooler month of September. Just curious as to why I add that in along with the soybean in September, if I understood correctly.

Growth hormones. While not good for continuous exposure, they're a nice thing to have when trying to develop root systems for winter. Application in early September gives the stuff plenty of time to decay in and start to work by late September/early October as temperatures are dropping.

As soil temperatures fall under 60, root growth picks up (not much, but some). As they fall under 50, root growth goes into high gear. That continues down to the freezing point, but growth does slow as it reaches the thirties.

While I get some years when root growth technically never stops (they're rare but, over the last decade, we've had two), I usually don't do a thing after Thanksgiving. Growth and root development is so slow that my feeding peters out around Christmas--and after that, it doesn't require anything until May.

>>Also, you mentioned a double addition of something (alfalfa?) to top dress the leaf mulch and balance it out. Can you speak more about exactly what you are doing there? I understand there is supposed to be a green/brown balance in composting. Is that what you are getting at?

Double of Milorganite....maybe half again of soybean meal. Never double alfalfa on a northern lawn, but that's one case where you'd probably get away with it with absolutely no issues at all.

In this case, it's a green/brown balance. Leaves are a very "brown" brown, with carbon:nitrogen ratios of 60:1 or so (it varies a lot). The target is 30:1, which you can't reach easily and don't need to. This isn't bin or pile composting. The fungi that decay leaves are very, very happy to work cold and at lower nitrogen levels, this just speeds things up.

By your second or third year, there'll be so many happy fungi kicking around that you really don't even need to step up the feeding. I still do it because it still accelerates things and I don't particularly care to see leaf mass everywhere.

>>Here's another thing I was wondering about. I've been mowing high -- 4" setting on the mower. I'm a little concerned that the grass isn't standing straight up, it kind of swirls around a little from foot traffic and doesn't get back up completely although it looks pretty healthy from what I can tell. Here are some pics, although it's a little hard to see in pictures. I'm sure most people are familiar with it. Should I cut back 1/2" and see what happens, or is this fine for the heat of summer?

Dealer's choice. Anything over 3" is perfectly acceptable for summer mowing, and if the four inch height makes you happy, stay there. If not, cut to 3 1/2" if you want.

I can see the "waving fields of wheat" thing going on there. Your lawn isn't yet trained to stay taller, so it's a little floppy. The central stem will grow and eventually everything will adjust.

Those dead blades in the grass? Normal. I have them too. Grasses shed blades regularly (they aren't immortal) and throw new ones.

As your organic feedings increase and the web comes up to speed, those will get digested a lot faster. But you'll still have some, particularly in dry weather.

If you don't have a packed layer of dead stemmy mass more than half an inch thick (which means you have to dig your finger through it), don't worry about it. Up to half an inch of thatch is not only harmless, it's slightly helpful as it helps cushion and protect the grass crowns and mulch the soil.

Again, once the food web is up to speed that will disappear. I'd like a bit of thatch, but don't get it. And that's in bluegrass, the second most susceptible to thatch issues (the first is zoysia).

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Thanks again, morph. I don't believe I have much of any thatch. I can put my finger down to the soil.

So far I've added corn meal, milorganite/boron, soybean meal, and two applications of shampoo. My lawn's sayin' "Dude, what's all this stuff. I'm down with the milorganite, but shampoo"? It did smell some after the soybean meal, but really only a little bit.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Over time, that scent will fade out. I ditched soybean meal on the evening of July 30th (I think, coulda been the 31st). It rained on the first.

Scent, none, and there won't be any. My soil food web is completely up to speed and used to this.

The next feeding is September 1st or thereabouts, then October. Other than a faint, nutty (and pleasant) scent over the lawn for a few hours after application, nobody will ever know I did it.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 3:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

So I've been caring for my new lawn per all the recommendations, and I think things are going well for the most part. The back yard got hit hard with crabgrass, which I'm dealing with now. However, I might add a deck and other things in a year or so, so I'm just going to improve the soil and keep it under control...maybe go to sod after redoing the back yard.

Watering still has me a little confused. Here's the thing:

The rule of thumb is to water deep 1" weekly at 90F and every other week at 80F. However, I find that my grass has patches that start to turn dark a little prematurely, even when the soil surface is still not dry to the touch. I'm attributing this to the first year roots on my KBG not being developed enough yet.

But here's the confusion. Of course 90F happens in the summer, but morpheus has mentioned elsewhere that the roots slough off in the heat to conserve energy and that a full inch might not be needed because of this. So if the roots are semi dormant and more shallow, is it necessary to water an inch? I'm probably not remembering everything correctly. I guess the question is, if the roots are fully develped in a mature lawn, will they actually make use of 1" of water that has seeped down 5"? Or, have the roots sloughed off and might actually need more frequent watering due to the shallower roots?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2014 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>I find that my grass has patches that start to turn dark a little prematurely, even when the soil surface is still not dry to the touch. I'm attributing this to the first year roots on my KBG not being developed enough yet.

Quite possibly, but take a long handled screwdriver and push it in. Feel a rock in the top six inches or so? It's wise to dig it out.

It could also be short, young roots, a sandier patch of soil, greasy soil, or compacted soil that doesn't hold water as well. But try for the rock first.

>>But here's the confusion. Of course 90F happens in the summer, but morpheus has mentioned elsewhere that the roots slough off in the heat to conserve energy and that a full inch might not be needed because of this.

It's more that root growth is zero in summer, so full watering to below the root mass isn't completely required.

It depends on your lawn. Mine is very tolerant of half an inch a week, yours may not be right now. Even some areas of mine prefer (and receive) more, mostly on the southern and southwestern faces.

>>guess the question is, if the roots are fully develped in a mature lawn, will they actually make use of 1" of water that has seeped down 5"?

Yes. Feeder roots slough off for summer, but the main structural roots remain (and those are the deeper ones that will also gather water from down below).

Like I said, it's mostly how demanding your grass happens to be, how well your soil stores water and restricts evaporation, and the weather.

Not much works in the weather we had ten days ago--temps in the 90's, modest humidity, windy. A few areas of my lawn have some repairing to do. They'll manage.

For fall I just sprayed on a layer of kelp, humic acid, and soil conditioner to improve water retention.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2014 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK so I'm picking up a bunch of OceanGro this morning and I'm thinking about all my applications for September per the morph's recommendations.

In September I'm adding OceanGro, soybean meal, alfalfa, calcitic lime. It got me wondering about the nitrogen. Since any one of the applications would theoretically provide enough N for the month, am I wasting lots of N with all 3 applications? Or, is the real benefit more about adding organic mass and growth hormone at this point? It seems a shame if I am wasting N resources but I'm not sure if that is what is going on.

Just curious.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 9:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>> Since any one of the applications would theoretically provide enough N for the month, am I wasting lots of N with all 3 applications?

Really, only the Oceangro N for the month. Oceangro's N level is set at 0.75 pounds per K using bag rate or so, about a third of which is available immediately. The rest waits for decay, but sludge products seem to be available faster than grains.

Soy and alfalfa have zero immediately available N, it's all slowly available. It won't even start being available to the grass for three weeks minimum, and given temperature drops during the period, probably longer and slower than that. Release is very long term, with some N still being released well into next year.

Calcitic lime contains no N.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 2:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

I get it. Makes sense.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 6:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Hmm. I just posted a message but can't find it now. Anyway:

Morph - regarding the potassium sulfate recommendation -- the first time around I'm trying to make sure I get all the right stuff. I'm a little confused because there are several kinds of potassium sulfate. There is the reagent, and that can't be right. Then there's a 0-0-50 fertilizer that looks like the right stuff. But then it says "sulfate potash" that has both the sulfate and an oxide of potassium. Then not all potashes are the same, so I can't just order that.

What exactly am I trying to get my garden center to order?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 3:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

0-0-50 is correct--pure potassium sulfate, AKA sulfate of potash.

K2SO4 is the chemical formula, You'd have to let me know exactly what the labels said for me to determine what you were looking at, though.

Under all circumstances, avoid potassium chloride. It's harsh, binds more poorly to the soil, and the remaining chloride does nasty things. Sulfates are more gentle, and we can deal with the sulfur excess if it ever becomes a problem (and it probably won't).

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK, I went to the local garden center and the guy said it is getting harder to find individual chemical components like that. He did have a 5 lb bag of granular 0-0-60 for perennials... stuff ain't cheap!

Anyway, the 5 lb bag in the store, and the 50 lb bags of 0-0-50 online all said the same thing, "60% K2O soluble potassium." While at the same time the bags says "sulfate of potassium." So I recalled that Google is your friend and found the following:

The chemical formula K2O is used in the N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) numbers on the labels of fertilizers. Although K2O is the correct formula for potassium oxide, potassium oxide is not used as a fertilizer in these products. Normally, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate, or potassium carbonate is used as a fertilizer source for potassium. The percentage of K2O given on the label only represents the amount of potassium in the fertilizer if it was in the form of potassium oxide. Potassium oxide is about 83% potassium by weight, but potassium chloride, for instance, is only 52% potassium by weight. Potassium chloride provides less potassium than an equal amount of potassium oxide. Thus, if a fertilizer is 30% potassium chloride by weight, its standard potassium rating, based on potassium oxide, would be only 18.8%.

So that solves the mystery. 0-0-50 is pure potassium sulfate. The K2O on the label is merely a scale for measuring K content by weight.

But that still leaves me with finding the stuff. I need 2 lb/K per your recommendations, which is 18 lb total for me. I suppose I could get the granular stuff for flowers and lace it into some OceanGro or something next month??

Also, I see that it says "soluble." I recall adding boron which is a trace mineral and I expect that it will stay in the soil for a long time once I get the ppm right. Will this soluble K stay in the soil as a trace mineral, or will it be consumed/transported off like nitrogen (not evaporating, of course).

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>He did have a 5 lb bag of granular 0-0-60 for perennials... stuff ain't cheap!

Avoid. 0-0-60 is potassium chloride.

>>I suppose I could get the granular stuff for flowers and lace it into some OceanGro or something next month??

I did it by hand, but i have very steady hands. :) You can lace it into Oceangro if you want, or do it freehand, whichever works best for you.

>>Also, I see that it says "soluble." I recall adding boron which is a trace mineral and I expect that it will stay in the soil for a long time once I get the ppm right.

Actually, boron is fairly soluble even in soil solution and will need to be adjusted relatively often.

>>Will this soluble K stay in the soil as a trace mineral, or will it be consumed/transported off like nitrogen (not evaporating, of course).

A little of both. K likes to stick to the CEC points of the soil, and that's absolutely bound up. What doesn't bind directly will still tend to hang around.

K's overall solubility is far lower than nitrogen, but higher than phosphorus (which hangs around practically forever).

Plants also use it, so some will get sucked up directly and integrated. That then remains in the plant material until it decays and moves back into the root zone, which takes a while. During that time period, K levels will drop, and more needs to be added until the system stabilizes.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 9:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>"60% K2O soluble potassium."

Back, I was a little delayed this evening.

Yep, that's potash. Because of the incredibly slow availability, nobody puts that in their fertilizers (although natural ash fertilizers will contain potash). However, because of some chemical and regulation peculiarities, potassium numbers are always related to the potash equivalency.

Sensible, no, but we're all used to it anyway and don't think about it much--we just worry about the relative numbers.

If you can only get potassium chloride-based items, I can adjust the numbers for it, but the soil adjustment will take longer. I have to pull the amounts back to give the chloride ions time to stop bothering the other cations, and wash out of the soil profile. Chlorides are harsh and chlorine is, in and of itself, toxic to plants in anything but very limited amounts.

Sulfates play well with soil. In this case, they'll bind a bit of calcium (which they like better than potassium), but they're offset quite well by the now-binding potassium. Overall, the pH of a 1 molar solution is about six, or nothing to worry about as you won't get anywhere within a hundredth of a molar solution at any time.

You have the sulfur margin to play with, so some extra in that department doesn't bother me. While toxic at extraordinarily high levels, plants pretty much just shrug at any reasonable level of sulfates, absorb the sulfur, and use it.

One other thought for application is one of the hand-held whirlygig spreaders like they sell at most big box stores. They're made for smaller amounts of material.

If you go too low or too high, just adjust it the next time. There's plenty of margin of error in my numbers, although overapplication may result in more washing out of the soil profile and into deeper soils that don't need the potassium. Only so much can be bound at once, and if you read my recommendations to others, I've sometimes stepped amounts down to 1 pound per thousand due to sandy soils that simply can't integrate that much at once.

Now a warning: the amounts i gave you through next year are only until the next soil test. Some more might be required at that point depending on a number of unpredictable factors. I can't estimate if, for instance, March through May is going to be incredibly rainy and resources will leach out across the board at high speed.

Or, more likely, if the potassium added is going to cold-armor your lawn so well it stays up through February (not impossible, I have mine wearing plate mail and it never goes dormant...except last winter...it usually just slows down). That's going to consume more resources than a nice winter nap would.

I'm also a big potassium fan and set numbers higher than many other people would. Potassium (and calcium) are the two most often overlooked nutrients for the lawn, and far more important than most people think.

K gets relegated to the third position on the bag, calcium is never even listed. And yet K is the second most important resource in the grass, with calcium either a very close third or, in some circumstances, overtaking K for a tight second place.

Phosphorus is a distant fourth in either case, although soil levels of it need to be high due to tight chemical binding.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 1:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

That's a very interesting discussion on the importance of K. Who'da known?

I have one of those hand-held spreaders, but I just put down 3lb/k of calcitic lime and my spreader did fine on a setting of 3. So I should be fine at 2 lb/k with the K.

I'm just going to order a 50 lb bag of K online and pay what I have to. It sounds worth it, especially since I'll be using more probably after the next soil test.

My neighbors probably think I'm nuts because I'm out there just about every day spreading something on the lawn! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 7:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

On another subject can you recap your thoughts on cutting grass lower for the winter? I know you said sometimes you leave the grass high. Also if you should not remove more than one-third of the blade at any one time then how quickly can you reduce the grass height without causing stress?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 6:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

I don't bother, but do recommend it for areas that spend long periods under snow cover. Lots of mass under there will encourage snow mold, which you can foil just by cutting shorter.

Once the grass goes dormant, you can take off as much as you like. If it isn't dormant, step down by mowing twice a week and taking off no more than one third of the blade at a time. It'll still stress a bit, but not that much at the end of the season.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 8:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

I'm curious -- you said the grass might not go dormant until February with enough K. Do you have to mow the grass during winter in that case or is it just a matter of the roots not going dormant?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 8:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Oh and what is the shortest recommended height for Kentucky bluegrass? I promise I will run out of questions eventually!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>I'm curious -- you said the grass might not go dormant until February with enough K. Do you have to mow the grass during winter in that case or is it just a matter of the roots not going dormant?

Green and healthy looking, but not growing. Somewhere I have photos taken during an ice storm. My lawn is dark green, the surrounding ones are completely brown.

My last mow is usually very late November (but can go as late as New Year's Day). Growth seems to continue extremely slowly through the winter, but not that anybody but me would notice.

>>Oh and what is the shortest recommended height for Kentucky bluegrass? I promise I will run out of questions eventually!

For elites, they're tolerant of 1" but do look much better longer (colors will be pale at shorter mows). Most non-elite bluegrasses do best around 2".

I always give the shortest recommended height for KBG as "keep it as long as you can stand it." It performs better the longer it's allowed to get (within reason).

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 11:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

One of the reasons I understand you want to cut grass short in the winter is for the soil to warm more quickly in the spring. Is this really much of an issue? I wonder because it seems the short grass height would encourage weeds to grow in the spring also.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 5:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Meh. I do a short mow in mid March to remove the dead tips (there always are some) and figure that opens it well enough. Short, in my case, is 2" or a little more.

Mine's still back in spring mode earlier than anybody else's.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 5:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Well, a few days have passed and I've accumulated some more questions! I ordered 50 lb of 0-0-50 from an organic store in Virginia. Amazingly, it was here in NJ in 2 days.

So I've got everything down that I needed to, and in October will add more soybean, OceanGro, and I think that's it. I did add the starter fertilizer and the K2SO4 a little before your October recommendation (just did the K today). Some things came to mind:

1. From prior years, I have a partial bag of Lesco 18-2-9 Weed and Feed, and also some Scotts Winterguard 32-0-10. Is there anything I can do to use this stuff up, or should I just get rid of it?

2. This is my first year treating per your recommdations (installed sod last October if you recall). Do you think my lawn will be able to handle a "normal" amount of mulched leaves? I'm looking forward to not having to blow and bag my leaves, but I don't want to overload them because the microherd isn't ready for it. My neighbor across the street has an established lawn that he doesn't do much to. It has a typical assortment of weeds but overall the lawn looks OK - pretty much like all the other brownish lawns. He says he has crabgrass, but I don't really see it. Is it best to stay away from importing leaves from lawns like this, or should it be OK?

3. You mentioned about "training" your lawn to grow higher, even like 4". As mentioned before, my lawn has the "flopsies." For next year, do I have to do anything in particular to "train" it, or just cut it very high from the start?

4. Is there anything else you would recommend I do for the fall? I know you are adding kelp and/or urea to your lawn. Urea is pretty much pure N, right?

I should add that I really appreciate your help in getting my lawn into shape. It really looks fantastic -- thick and green and even "luxurious." Of course things aren't perfect, but I can see you are working on that!

Regards.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 7:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

1) The Winterguard makes a good winterizer (although the K is a little high, at least K isn't a water pollutant as there's tons around naturally anyway). Hang on to the weed and feed until next spring. If you should have a severe outbreak in May, you can use it around Labor Day. It won't interact with the organics you put down in early May.

2) You should be able to handle a normal leaf load, but expect some detritus to hang around through winter that first year. Avoid any lawn where the owner knows they have an issue, unless you're sure yours is immune to that issue. Yours isn't immune to crabgrass....

3) You can step up from a lower spring height if you want to, or just go full height right through winter and into spring. In either case, the flopsies cure themselves in about the same amount of time.

4) Urea's pure N with no P or K, and also in its pure form the touchiest form of nitrogen I can think of (far worse even than blood meal). I actually use a diluted fertilizer at 29% N, and only once, very late in the season when growth stops and burning the lawn is exceedingly difficult (but not impossible). Other than the Oceangro through October and then winterize with any synthetic when growth stops (plus the soil adjustments), no. You're on the right path.

>>I should add that I really appreciate your help in getting my lawn into shape. It really looks fantastic -- thick and green and even "luxurious." Of course things aren't perfect, but I can see you are working on that!

Some of the last of that performance will be "grass whispering." It's learning to tell when the grass (or any other plant) is just about to do something you don't want, and adjusting things beforehand to keep that from happening. The extreme version of that is whispering so well that you can tell when growth is about to slow down and countering that.

This can be a challenge to learn. Some people simply have no talent at it. Others don't care enough to learn it.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

I think I missed the part about using a winterizing synthetic in addition to the other amendments. To be clear, I am already amending the soil P with starter fertilizer in September and October, as well as one treatment of K2SO4 (just added). When growth stops in, say late October or into November, I should also add a synthetic winterizer? I'm also going to add a bag or two of Oceangro anytime I mulch a significant amount of leaf mass. Did I get it right?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>When growth stops in, say late October or into November, I should also add a synthetic winterizer?

Exactly! Apply any high N, low everything else (your Winterguard is fine) synthetic fertilizer at bag rate.

>>I'm also going to add a bag or two of Oceangro anytime I mulch a significant amount of leaf mass. Did I get it right?

Yep. That stuff, fire at will. Even if it's too cold for it to work (rare in fall until nearly growth stoppage, well after the leaves have fallen), it'll just sit and wait for better weather.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 10:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Boy, you're quick! I think I've got everything straight now.

Thanks again, morph.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 10:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK I'm confused again! Talk to me about weed control, if you will. I'm thinking I just need to create a thick, high mowed properly watered KBG lawn and I won't have to do much for weed control. But then I see morph talking about pre emergents and post emergents, liquid spray vs powders in fall or spring. etc.

I tried to do a little independent research, but things are complicated when I'm reading about a guy in Dallas applying a preemerg in the fall. I'm from Joisey so I don't want to follow that advice.

In my case I have a 1 year old sodded KBG lawn that is in nice shape, and then contractor seeded backyard that looks great after being mowed, but is really riddled with crabgrass and other unknown invaders. Can I get a quick overview of what the correct course of action is for controlling weeds with pre/post emergs in fall and/or spring? If I need to do something this fall I want to make sure I don't miss the opportunity. I did seed in the back, but just in a few spot areas.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2014 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

It depends. In my case, I have weed pressure from four uncared-for lawns that surround me, and one lawn behind me that's watered once or twice a day.

A pre-emergent shield only makes sense in that case, and it comes at a very low economic and environmental cost.

Plus I've historically had minor to moderate P. annua and P. trivialis problems, so a pre-emergent helps a lot.

Spot spraying of weeds that do crop up (I get a few every year too) is certainly completely reasonable and expected.

Longer, properly watered grasses will tend to get fewer weeds. But they'll still get some here and there. Around my rosebush, it's globe thistle. At the front right next to the driveway, a dandelion or two per year.

And it's not like we can control the weather. Warm, rainier periods will encourage more weeds. Dry ones will tend to reduce the weed pressure in your lawn.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2014 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Thanks for the perspective. Here's my thought and see what you think. The lawn is now exactly 1 year old, and I have to think some of the weeds I have are a result of soil that harbored a lot of weed seeds from years of semi neglect. The turf was killed off before they redid the ground, but I know seeds are viable for a long time. I would think it reasonable for me to use a preemergent on the sod at least once to see if the weeds I did get this year are knocked out. The backyard needs a preemerg in a bad way. In NJ, is it only necessary to use such a product in the spring?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2014 at 4:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Makes sense. Although weed seeds are entirely capable of hanging out for years. Waiting.

There are two primary periods of weed sprout--spring and fall. Spring, just as temperatures are rising warm enough (when the forsythia finish up), and fall as temperatures fall off their high point and rainfall tends to increase slightly (and hang around longer due to the lower temperatures).

Some oddballs do sprout in summer, like sedges, crabgrass, and creeping Charlie. Really, all three are good to go any time the soil is warm enough.

Cover well the first year, at least spring and fall with summer optional (crabgrass is annoying, but not durable and dies at first frost). Particularly if you suspect or know that P. annua or P. trivialis will be a problem; both are primarily fall sprouting.

Post the first year, dealer's choice. I keep a shield up at all times during the growing season mostly due to that pesky P. annua.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2014 at 7:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Care to make a recommendation for fall and spring applications? I can do a hose end sprayer if that gives better results. I'm controlling mostly crabgrass with a few little broadleaf problems mixed in.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2014 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Almost anything on the market will control CG and broadleafs, so whatever floats your boat there.

I'm a fan of rotating products if possible, so I might be inclined to have the spring app be one thing and the fall app another.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2014 at 2:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK, sounds good. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2014 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Sure thing.

Please note, soil disturbance breaks the pre-emergent barrier. That includes moles and voles and skunks that dig in your yard, but doesn't seem to include earthworms that I've ever noticed. Probably the disturbance is too minor there.

Pre-emergents also aren't perfect, offering 80 to 90% control. Hot, wet weather tends to degrade the barrier faster than colder, dry weather will, too. Naturally, weeds like hot and wet weather. :-)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2014 at 4:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Actually do you think it is too late for a fall pre-emergent? Should I be using a post-emergent instead? I would normally consult the label, but so often I find that forum crawlers like us have good, practical advice on when the product can be used, as compared to what the label says.

(Oh, and when I say "crawlers" I mean that in a good way... like a worm for instance!)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2014 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

It depends on your current weather and weed pressure. P. annua? Possibly. Crabgrass? No need to worry.

If you're post first frost, skip it. If not, and if P. annua is your concern, it might be worth it.

For me, if I hadn't so far, it would still be worth it. Soil temperatures at the four inch level are holding around sixty, with daily highs in the seventies. The longest range says frost will be late (my October garden still looks like July).

    Bookmark   October 1, 2014 at 5:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

I think I'm going to look into treating for poa annua. I'm not sure if I have it, but I do have some lighter green, longer blades of grass dispersed throughout the sod. I pulled them all out by hand over several days in the summer (not too many of them). In looking at some of the pictures of it, poa annua does not all seem to look like light green blades. It looks pretty much the same as my KBG. I had lots of KBG sprouting seed heads in the spring. I was told that was normal and showed healthy KBG. The pictures I see online of poa annua seed heads looks exactly the same. I guess they are similar grasses, so I don't know for sure...

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

P. annua (annual bluegrass) and P. pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass) are similar (as being in the same genus will tell you). P. annua tends toward a light green or chartreuse hue, and it tends to stand out like a sore thumb in an elite KBG lawn due to the color and faster growth rate.

P. annua is extraordinarily cold tolerant, but has no heat/drought tolerance. Its year is shifted off what we think of as normal annuals, sprouting in fall and dying the next summer. In well-watered lawns it can survive, however, with no problems.

P. trivialis is another one in the genus that tends to get into lawns (it's used as a planted grass in some locales as well as it tolerates wet shade very well). When we mention "triv" it's this grass we're talking about.

Many grassy weeds are lighter green and faster growing, however, so that alone doesn't tell you much. Inspecting of the ligule (where the leaf meets the stem) can--P. annua has a fibrous ligule and sort of looks like a spider built a very small web right there (except it's solid and green). KBG has no connecting tissue, the leaf does not change shape much at the stem connection.

Other possibilities are sedges (annoying but treatable) and just about any other grassy weed you'd care to name.

Seed heads are normal for well-treated KBG. In May, I get entire sections that throw heads if the year was good. Other areas don't, but they tend to be the more stressed parts of the lawn on the southern and southwestern faces.

Any pre-emergent that covers grassy weeds will generally also cover these. Tenacity is a good control for all these Poa species, plus nutsedge.

Tenacity is also a good pre-emergent at seeding time as it controls P. annua and P. trivialis without harming the KBG sprouts.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 2:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

So you think it's not too late in New Jersey to try Tenacity?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 8:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Nope, like I said on the other thread, go for it. Our temperatures are just about to duck down to normal for a few days before going right back up into mid-September normals.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

ok great. Now I just have to find the stuff.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Wow, that Tenacity is expensive! I decided to hold off on it for now as I don't have a bad weed outbreak. I also don't want to treat certain areas of the backyard lawn that I may be converting into a deck area/ pond etc.

I do have a curious situation that I was reminded about in another thread here. Somebody posted about dog/cat urine and I was interested to read about the sugar remedy. In my case, I have had some sod browning along the curb stones of the driveway due to heat most likely. However, all of those areas have filled back in with the cooler weather. There is one round dead spot about 6 inches in diameter and a few inches from the curb. It has been dead/grey for most of the summer and has not grown back in at all (well, technically, there are 1 or 2 small shoots of grass coming up)! I shoved a screwdriver into it and there is plenty of soil underneath. In another part of the lawn I spilled some gas from the lawnmower. The gas caused a similar spot, but filled in rather quickly. I can post a pic if necessary, but what else could cause something like that? We have had lots of drenching rains plus regular irrigation so I would have expected anything to have been washed out by now.

Any ideas?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2014 at 6:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>Wow, that Tenacity is expensive!

Yep. They should have wanted about $50 for the bottle. In Tenacity's defense, it'll last for ages if you aren't area spraying the stuff. I gave away half of mine and still have enough for another four or five years.

>>The gas caused a similar spot, but filled in rather quickly. I can post a pic if necessary, but what else could cause something like that?

The first one I can't help you with offhand--a photo would be great.

Spilled gas is a great way to kill the lawn, and it takes ages to flush out of the soil. By next spring things should have improved there, but if not, I can't say I'd be totally surprised.

For that reason, I always fill the Toro mower and any other equipment on the driveway. I'd rather stain the blacktop than kill the grass or gardens.

I can't think of a solution I favor for that (sugar won't help) as it's a matter of the soil being toxic. While soap and a soil flush should drive some of it out, the soap is also going to bind it into a form accessible to the plants (and carry it around more easily).

The idea doesn't make me happy. This is one case where I'd either let nature take its course, or dig out to a depth of six inches minimum and a few inches wider than the spot, discard the soil, and add new.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2014 at 7:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Actually the gasoline spot filled in just fine. It is the other spot that I'm having a problem with. I will upload some photos tonight. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 9:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

deleted.

This post was edited by danielj_2009 on Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 0:26

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 2:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

deleted.

This post was edited by danielj_2009 on Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 0:25

    Bookmark   October 14, 2014 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Took me an extra day but here is a pic of that dead spot that doesn't seem to go away, other than one or two new sprigs coming up.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2014 at 12:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Oooh, a mystery burn. I love those.

In front of that spot, is there an extension of the concrete under the soil? It looks a lot like a simple thermal burn. The surrounding grass is completely healthy

You already ruled out a rock underneath, so we can ignore that.

One thing to consider is who walks their dog of small to mid size there reasonably frequently. While there's no evidence (dark green grass around the spot, growing faster than the surrounding area) that could be a dog's habitual pee spot.

If not, I'd dig it out, replace the top soil, and let the lawn fill in there. Keep it watered.

I have about ten square feet that currently look exactly like that. The sand from my driveway extends outward a bit there, and heat from the drive bakes the area all summer. With this year's on-again-off-again rainfall, it burned rather badly and isn't recovering well.

In my case, that abuts two gardens, so every year I keep thinking I should turn it to garden and put in heat-loving plants, like zinnia, Melampodium, and dahlia.

In your case, it's too divorced and too small to worry about. Replacing soil with new stuff and making sure to water there in dry periods should do the trick.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2014 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK, thanks. I'm going to poke it with a scredriver again and see if I find anything unusual. The spot is actually along the driveway away from the street, so there shouldn't be any dog pee there. Deer come through daily, but I'd have a lot more damaged spots if it were deer pee.

How about this: I'll just let it be for now since we are about to go dormant anyway, and see what happens in the spring? If if doesn't fill in, then I'll replace it with topsoil. Actually with the weather as it's been, my lawn is still growing strong, while everybody else's has turned brownish and gone dormant.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2014 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Waiting until spring is just fine. Suffice to say that it doesn't look like a disease, so not doing anything is a perfectly valid response.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2014 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK, thanks morph. I've managed to think up a few more questions, so as long as you're still answerin'!...

I get cracked corn and corn meal from my wholesale supply store, often at discount for ripped bags. If you recall my backyard was in the 3% range for OM. Is there any sense in dropping the cracked corn this time of year? I figure I've got 2 or 3 bags of the stuff sitting in my garage, so why not drop it on the lawn? I'm sure I'll have plenty more available in the spring when I need it for fungus control. Maybe having it down through the winter will help with that in the spring as well?

I noted on another thread that you are leaving your grass tall to help strengthen the roots. Everybody says to cut your grass lower in the fall (not sure why) but I know you don't bother. Why wouldn't it be good to keep grass long all winter (or at least through the fall) if longer blades equals longer roots?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2014 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

1) You can drop cracked corn/corn meal right up to about three weeks before your ground freezes (not frost, full freeze). For me, first frost was last night, and I still have an open window on organics right up into late November.

It's going to decay more slowly in lower temperatures (just like milk goes bad more slowly in the refrigerator than it does on the counter), That's not a problem.

Trichoderma fungus is a mesophile (moderate temperature lover) and isn't active much during winter. I'm uncertain of its survival in cold temperatures so I'm not sure if it'll help with any early spring problems or not.

2) Fall lawn heights are dealer's choice. My mother just asked me if she could lower the deck on her mower--I told her of course. I keep mine at the same height.

Most grasses relax a little bit in fall and flop more. Cutting shorter reduces that and makes it look more carpet-like. Strangely, I don't have that problem and my grass is still a green carpet...but if you check my blog and the photos posted yesterday (pre-mow), you'll see some flopping. That grass is almost five inches long.

During fall, root growth is fast and strong, and longer grasses mean longer roots. We didn't have such a great August and September, so I'm trying to train my lawn to root deeper and access deeper water sources. It won't help during a drought, but if I can extend watering times another day or two, I'm thrilled.

The next mow will wait again until the grass is long and floppy, and with the dropping temperatures that'll likely mean two to three weeks before I mow again.

Long, green grass in winter can mean problems with snow mold--I had some gray snow mold last year. That generally only happens if there was sufficient snow cover for enough time to set it off, and we had that. The snow melted, the grass was mostly-green, except for a few patches of gray.

That fades out in warmer weather, and the only consequence is that grass in that area takes a little longer to recover and start growth again.

Pink snow mold can be fatal to lawns and likes the same conditions. For any lawn that's historically had pink snow mold, I'd recommend mowing short on the last mow, not winterizing, and generally encouraging dormancy instead of green winter growth.

Fortunately, pink snow mold is relatively rare and I've never seen it first-hand. Gray snow mold abounds around here, but like I said, it's only slightly annoying.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mid-October Photos

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 1:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

I did have some snow mold over the lawn's first winter, which featured about 3' of snowpack. I did get some snow mold in the seeded yard while the sod didn't have any, for some reason.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 3:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Younger grass, probably. Young grasses are more susceptible to most diseases, whereas the sod had all year to grow at the sod farm.

My first year lawn had rust, red thread, and snow mold. All three lessened in severity the second year and were pretty much gone after that.

This year, one tiny patch (about five square feet) got a touch of rust. That's the extent of the problem and it's clearing out as the tree shadowing that patch de-leafs.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2014 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

I picked up some Lesco 24-9-11 for when it comes time to winterize. I have 9000 sq ft to cover at 1 lb N/K. 24% of 50 lb is exactly 12 lb nitrogen. So I need 3/4 bag for my lawn, correct? I have to assume they use 24% so it comes out to a whole number in 50 lbs, as in 12 lb N in a bag. Someone (I think morpheus?) said 1.5 lb/K is OK for winterizing. I'm wondering if it's OK or in any way beneficial to just add the whole bag so I don't have so many partial bags sitting around. I don't want to waste it, but if it can help at all, then why not?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2014 at 1:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

The math is pretty easy. With 24% nitrogen:

100/24 = 4.2 pounds of product per thousand square feet, targeting 1 pound per thousand of actual nitrogen.

If the amount of applied N is under 1.5, you can use the whole bag. For 1.5 N, the math is:

150/24 = 6.3 pounds of product per thousand square feet.

I wouldn't push too close to 1.5--the 1.0 number contains some built-in margin for overlapping and errors. The 1.5 does not.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Ok thanks. I just winterized my sprinkler system with my 6 gallon compressor. Seems like it should work ok based on a little research, but I guess I'll find out in the spring

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 2:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

I use a shop vac, which is way less powerful. While I have the occasional issue, it's usually with animals chewing through the lines.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 5:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK so now we're on to mulching leaves. I have managed to stockpile 45 bags and I'll try to get them down this weekend. All this recent discussion of why neighbor's aren't more curious about mulching leaves raises a question. Let's say you have a lawn that either had virtually no lawn care other than mowing, or one that does get professional synthetic lawn care. Is the soil in such a lawn capable of processing large amounts of leaves, and if not what will happen to the lawn?

On another note, I visited a business this morning that was having its lawn blown by landscapers. I counted 6 guys with back mounted leaf blowers, plus 1 guy with the wheel around type blower. They were lined up like chorus girls blowing about 100 decibels each. The place was clean as a whistle. They even blew the soil from the flower beds all over the place. I can understand a business wanting a "clean" lawn, but what a waste! Recycling used to be a strange thing to people, but now it is frowned upon if you don't do it. Why can't the same be said of leaf mulching for businesses?

OK, I know I've got to get off this soap box sooner or later...

    Bookmark   November 20, 2014 at 10:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>OK so now we're on to mulching leaves.

If it's any consolation, this is the last week for the year, in all probability. Things don't pick up again until March or early April, and we don't have to worry about feeding until May.

>>I have managed to stockpile 45 bags and I'll try to get them down this weekend. All this recent discussion of why neighbor's aren't more curious about mulching leaves raises a question. Let's say you have a lawn that either had virtually no lawn care other than mowing, or one that does get professional synthetic lawn care. Is the soil in such a lawn capable of processing large amounts of leaves, and if not what will happen to the lawn?

Yep. The bacteria and fungi that eat leaves will move in if they're not already there (they live on the leaves anyway and blow in on the wind). The leaves are food. They'll eat it.

Mind you, they'll do much better eating them if one doesn't toss around disease controls and balances the soil. Bacteria and fungi, just like people and everything else, have optimal pH ranges (yours is slightly over 7). Go much off that and efficiency drops. Go too far and decay may have to use alternate species. Fortunately, their tolerance for pH change is much greater than ours.

>>Recycling used to be a strange thing to people, but now it is frowned upon if you don't do it. Why can't the same be said of leaf mulching for businesses?

There's no real pressure to enforce that.

Around here, we pay to have the leaves picked up. Then we pay a company to compost them (and other garden waste). Then we have to pay a not-so-nominal fee to pick up compost if we want it (inadvisable, the stuff kills plants as it's not done enough).

The Township and their pet companies do well. Why would they want to change that--and most of us don't get too terribly upset as long as it's composted instead of discarded.

I've been Very Strongly Advised that the Township composts and I might wish to send my stuff along. Not going to happen. Nor can they realistically make it illegal to mow leaves and/or garden waste into the lawn, everybody does it.

Really, the stuff is OK if you use it as topdressing only and don't get it closer than a few inches to the stem of any plant. And don't use too much at a time.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 12:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

That is amazing that you have been more or less threatened if that is not too strong a word to send your leaves in. You must live in a small town.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 8:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Duplicate

This post was edited by danielj_2009 on Fri, Nov 21, 14 at 10:38

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 9:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

>>That is amazing that you have been more or less threatened if that is not too strong a word to send your leaves in. You must live in a small town.

It's a city of around a hundred thousand people, so not small. However, the Township area I'm in has about five thousand people--still considered a moderately sized town.

What we have is an extremely Authoritarian township manager who seems to have infinite time to interfere with people. And he doesn't like my entire family as I learned my obstinacy from my mother, with whom he used to work.

He dislikes the intimation of a lawsuit, however,

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Morpheus- we had a very difficult town inspector and the only remedy was to wait for him to retire which he eventually did.

About the leaf mulching - I found that 12 of my imported bags were full of pre mulched leaves. This means that those bags have anywhere up to I'd say 10 regular bags of leaves in each one. Considering the additional 33 bags I have on standby plus the leaves that have already been mulched in and I will have well over 100 bags total on 9000 square feet. I plan to do this tomorrow before the rain comes on Monday. I recall some discussion of nitrogen being required to process the leaves. I have my winterizer down. Is there anything I should consider regarding nitrogen with such a large amount of leaves? I do have plenty of Oceangrow sitting around. I just don't want to overdo it with the leaves and cause a problem.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2014 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

I've just added him to the (short) list of people whose obituaries I will read with considerable pleasure.

You'll be fine with the leaves, I was on about the same number of bags on 10K square feet. You could add some (say 0.25 pounds per K) of synthetic nitrogen if you want to, but it's not by any stretch necessary.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2014 at 10:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Ok thanks.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2014 at 10:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Well I just finished mulching what had to be a total near 150 bags on the lawn (over the last few weeks). My Honda double bladed mulching mower did a great job. This is the first year I've used it in the fall and it ran through big piles with no bogging down. I did 2 passes, 3 in some spots, and you'd never know there are any leaves if you weren't here at 8 am this morning! In some areas I can see that the grass (at 3") is pretty much saturated with clippings.

Some of the neighbors did come out to see what I was doing. They nodded politely like they understood, but most likely thought I was nuts. Well, the establishment thought Galileo was a heretic, so maybe I'm ahead of my time in this neighborhood. :o)

I guess I'm done for the season other than some minor stuff!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Hi Daniel. I'm not keeping up with this entire thread, but one of the benefits of mulch mowing the leaves in is that trees have deeper roots which bring nutrients from deeper into the soil. When the leaves drop, the natural thing that happens is those nutrients are recycled to the surface. You're doing yourself a huge favor by mulching them in.

It's interesting that on another post there's a guy who really wants to run a dethatcher to get rid of the stuff that you're creating. I'm glad you're listening. It will be very interesting to see how your lawn performs next season with the level of input you're giving it.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 4:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

Saturation is not a problem as long as the grass tips are showing.

And if they aren't, check again after tomorrow's Really Large Rain Event. They probably will be.

I just ran the last of the leaves, blown out of stuff, into my lawn. It can happily perk all winter.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Thanks for the comments, dchall. That's an interesting kind of cycle you mention. The trees remove nutrients from deeper in the soil, turn them into leaves, which drop and are mulched in at the surface, to start the long cycle over again.

I am also looking forward to seeing what happens with the lawn next year. Morpheus said I only have a couple of things a little out of balance which we're nudging in the right direction, so I'm expecting even better color next year.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2014 at 10:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

When they're that close, I wouldn't expect miracles from rebalancing them. Performance enhancement, somewhat. Disease resistance, a little. Color, not so much.

Raising iron over time will give you better color.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2014 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If I remember correctly Daniel has changed his watering, too, so he should be much happier next season.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2014 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

My sod was new last October (a year ago) so I learned that I had to be careful about backing off on the water. It seems KBG roots take longer than a year to develop, so when I backed off on watering the lawn got stressed pretty quickly. So I learned to look for signs of stress and then water, whether it be 4 days or 14.

My iron was low, and morpheus had me use milo/oceangro, so I'm hoping to see better green next year, not that it is particularly bad now. I'm just curious to see how dark it an get. I think I'm not at the limit yet.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2014 at 11:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

It is such a nice sunny, crisp day today I had to get outside and do some yard work.

It's been exactly 2 weeks since I mulched lots of leaves (see above) into the lawn. Since then, we had about 4 inches of snow on the ground for maybe 4 days. I looked around to see what the leaves look like and took the photos below. I've never mulched leaves like this before, so want to be careful I understand what is OK and what isn't. You can see in some areas there are leaves sitting in the lawn mower tracks, and there are some clumps of ground leaves here and there.

It has only been 2 weeks. Will these areas decay enough so they aren't an issue in the spring, or should I rake the grass so it stands up? The grass is cut at 3.5".

    Bookmark   December 7, 2014 at 2:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

That's fine. I mean, if you want to, go ahead and mow over that again, but don't expect much change.

If you feel like breaking up the clumps and spreading them around, that's cool as well, and it'll help get air into that mass.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2014 at 11:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

OK, thanks!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2014 at 1:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

So it's a lazy Sunday morning in NJ and I'm looking out the window at a foot or two of snow on my lawn. I'm thinking of a question I was going to wait until spring for, but I need to know now!

I've treated my lawn per morpheus' instructions all last year (boron, potassium, ocean grow, etc etc.). I've also dumped about a million bags of leaves on the lawn. The question is about another round of sampling for Logan Labs. I need to continue with my soil amendments, maybe a little premerg here and there, but I'm wondering how to space out the sampling so that I don't get skewed results from a potassium drop, etc. I have a core sampler and also have to figure on how long it takes for the ground to thaw down to four inches, I suppose.

What do you recommend?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

You're cool through my last recommended drop (mid-June) plus about four weeks. I'd take your next set of samples around July 15th, which gives my June recommendation time to work in.

Fortunately, that's potassium and potassium is fairly fast to integrate.

If you'd rather reset everything in spring and work from there, you can take soil samples usually by mid-March. By then, the soil's usually unfrozen to four inches. Of course, if you encounter ice, just stop and wait another week and try again.

In that case, your last (fall) application had more than enough time in late fall to integrate and won't be a problem.

Last year was a weird exception; soil unfreeze for me wasn't until early April. You can often check your closest SCAN site to see what soil temperatures are at the four inch level. Greencast's soil temperature map can also give you a decent guide. Temperatures under forty but rising usually mean the lower levels are still frozen.

Dealer's choice on when you sample, really. I'm perfectly content with you resampling in March (and I don't mind reading it) or waiting until all applications are done and resampling in July (and I don't mind reading it).

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 2:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Thanks morpheus. I'm thinking I'll wait until July.

I should say that I was stunned at the end of the season at how well my back yard was doing. The front was sodded, so it looked beautiful right away. The back, if you recall, was seeded the prior October, and was thin and had splotchy color in the spring. By the end of the summer, with your recommendations, I was impressed to see the seeded lawn looked darn near as nice as the sod. I can't wait to see how it does this year!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 11:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

It should continue to improve, but the closer you get to perfect the less the improvement. It's a case of diminishing returns.

There's a pretty wide band of acceptable resource levels, and no real reason to over-monitor to keep things right at the perfect point. Once a year is more than enough.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2015 at 7:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

I'm curious if houzz has fixed the issue of no email notification even though it is supposed to do so. Anybody find that that feature works now?

1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 12:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

So far, it seems to be working. I just shut down most of their e-mail as I'm...well, not getting deluged, but prefer to find out what's new when I stop by.

I'm not sure yet if I like Houzz or not. I'm kind of on the fence...somehow, this messaging board system is even less capable than GardenWeb, which is saying something.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 2:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
danielj_2009

Yeah I'm not going to be too happy if I start getting spammed because I registered with houzz.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 4:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morpheuspa

You and me both!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 9:13PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Lawn drainage on the cheap?
My husband and I bought a house in November, and have...
galiana
Lawn after so much snow…what do I need to know?
A newbie here so I haven't maintained a lawn for a...
Pippin
Poa Annua already making it's jump!
PA typically comes up here in April, we're mid Feb...
gsweater
Some suggested low maintenance grasses
Zone 5B, S.W. Nebraska Hot summers, typically dry....
deviantnic
I need lawn renovation help in Zone 7/8
I want to renovate my 24,000 sq ft lawn. The problem...
tless195
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™