Compost for Lawn?

garddhar(7)September 9, 2009

Area: Raleigh, NC

Grass: Tall Fescue

Total Area of Renovation: 2000 Sq. Ft

Large parts of my lawn died completely over the summer. I killed whatever was left using Roundup, bagged the dead grass by setting the mower to the lowest setting and have tilled almost 3" using a roto tiller . I am going to seed with Rebel IV Tall Fescue and use Pennington 18-24-6 starter fertilizer. I also got a soil test done and the ph was 6.6. I wanted to added some compost to the soil before seeding. My local garden center was selling something called "soil conditioner" and the sales person there told me it was organic compost. When I went to take a closer look, it stinks real bad and there are lot of flies around it. The sales person tells me that compost does stink and the smell will go away in a couple of weeks after spreading. Here are my questions:

Does compost stink? How to identify good compost?

If I cannot find good compost what are my alternatives?

Should I apply Lime during seeing?

Thanks for the help.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I'll just comment on the compost.

Finished compost does not stink. Finished compost smells fresh like a forest floor after a spring rainstorm. Manure, before it is fully composted, stinks. Also finished compost has no flies because there is nothing left to attract flies. The best way to identify good compost is the fresh smell. You can also look for sand in it. Rub some in your hand until all the organic stuff falls out. If you have shiny stuff left over on your skin, then the compost has been adulterated with sand and should sell for less than pure compost.

Imagine having a stinky lawn for several weeks!!! Don't use that stuff.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 1:45PM
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garddhar(7)

Thanks for the response. It smelt so bad, that I did not feel like getting closer and touching with my hand.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 2:00PM
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schreibdave(5)

In terms of other options, I have used compost from my towns compost facility. It's probbaly not the highest quality but you cant beat 'free.'

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 11:10PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

> "Should I apply Lime during seeing? "

not with a pH of 6.6

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 1:26AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Thanks for the response. It smelt so bad, that I did not feel like getting closer and touching with my hand.

YES! This is exactly why God gave us noses!! We are supposed to stay away from stuff that stinks and we should be drawn toward stuff that smells good. Finished compost smells great! I can take you right now to our local stables. I know right where the finished horse manure is. It still looks like horse apples because it has never been disturbed, but it is finished compost. I can plunge both hands in, bring up a huge helping of compost, and stick my face right into it.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 2:30AM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

"I know right where the finished horse manure is. I can plunge both hands in, bring up a huge helping of compost, and stick my face right into it."

Ha, you have to be talking to fellow lawn and garden whackos who know just how you feel to get away with a statement like that... without getting hauled off to the funnyfarm.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 6:03AM
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auteck

Garddhar, find your local Lesco/John Deere store and purchase a straight Fescue Blend for $35 for 50 lb bag, or a mix and blend of Fescue/Bluegrass for $40 for a 50 lb bag.

Fescue/Bluegrass blend/mix works best in the Raleigh area, one grass complements the other. Fescue becomes more Brown Patch tolerant while Bluegrass fills in any damage and makes your turf more fine bladed and dense. Bluegrass with Fescue mixed in becomes more tolerant of diseases that are likely to strike a monostand of Bluegrass.

Don't use a single variety, if you get a disease, it will most likely wiped the entire turf.

A 50 lb bag of Lesco Starter Fertilizer good for 12k sf will run you $20 at your local Lesco/John Deere store.

I seriously doubt your soil has a 6.6 ph level... That's concidered to be ideal for turfgrass growth, but will all the rain with get around here, it is simply not realistic or stable. It is usually around 6 or less. I'd check it again if I were you.

Have you found out why parts of your lawn died during the summer?

Were you able to take some pictures?

Let me know, I live in Cary.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 5:14PM
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