Coffee grounds on lawn

Sandy16May 23, 2012

Hello all. We purchased a foreclosed home that had been empty for 2 years a year ago. Our front lawn was mostly crabgrass. We overseeded last spring to fill in some bald spots and after getting that going did a chemical crabgrass preventative which worked. Now our lawn looks like a zillion chia pets in front and the back is doing well.

I've started spreading grounds in an attempt to get some worms to aerate the clay for us. No results yet but I just got through the last bit of lawn and can now start reapplying.

We are currently using Try Green for fertilizing. Can the coffee grounds be beneficial,when used with commercial fertilizers? We are in a subdivision for the first time with an HOA and I have gotten some grief about the grounds already and will continue but alfalfa pellets and such will get me in trouble I am sure.

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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

you could try coffee grounds on the soil but you won't be happy with them. The will turn hard and crusty
And will bring flies

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 5:54PM
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gardengal48

Rent a core aerator. They are available at any good equipment rental store and are easy to use. An annual aeration of your lawn is about the best thing you can do for it, even above fertilizing.

The UCG's may attract worms but you will need herds of them to accomplish the same degree of aeration a power core aerator will achieve. It is best to leave the plugs (the pulled cores of soil/grass) in place to break down naturally (they will feed the soil) but if your HOA objects, you can break them up by raking them. I'd also recommend topdressing with about 3/8-1/2" of fine compost. You can overseed or fertilize or whatever after.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 6:02PM
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Sandy16

I forgot to mention we aerated in the fall but we didn't topdress. We plan to aerate again soon and had planned on topdressing after with a mix of sand and compost. Any corrections to that plan would be welcome. I really dislike having an HOA. I guess it's really the overempowered neighbor/board members that are really the issue. :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 6:41PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

The topdressing is a great idea, when I've done that with municipal compost the lawn grew beautifully. I think grounds would have the same effect only slower since they're not really composted yet. But they can do that in place. I'd say either way is fine.

It is amazing that there are people who would complain about adding thin, almost invisible layers of organic matter to improve your lawn. Geez, get a life, people! :-)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 7:01PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I used to live in an HOA. Talk about a bureaucracy thats head was too big! They will NEVER LISTEN! When I was 20 I bought a condo with my fiance. We used to aerate the lawn twice a year and leave the plugs to compost back into the soil. I found out that some people that live in an HOA will actually LOOK FOR THINGS to complain about and complain about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. We were very good homeowners and never did a thing wrong! People in our old HOA complained about the plugs to the board and tried to fine us. We hired a lawyer and there was not a thing the HOA could do about it. I cant remember the exact phrase my lawyer used but it was in the area of a temporary NEEDED beneficial process to increase the look of our lawn to become in accordance with our HOA rules. Basically the "rule book" said it was OK for something to be "temporarily" ugly while in the process of becoming beautified for the sake of abiding by the HOA rules. You know?

You have to read your HOA laws and rule book and when people complain tell them politely, "Im in the process of beautifying my lawn in accordance with our HOA laws. This is only temporary for the better of our neighborhood." And Im sure it will say that in the HOA rules. Your not trying to actually make things worse so what your doing is not a problem. Find out if your neighbors are the type who will complain about a butterfly fart and deal with them with kiddy gloves.

Long story short we sold our condo at the height of the mortgage craze around 2006 and made $$$. Best decision I ever made. I WILL NEVER get involved in another HOA again. Our dues went from $120 when we first bought in 2000 to over $300 by the time we sold!! Never again I said!

But to stay on subject. Get some good compost and worm castings and you should have worms in no time. You can re-seed again. Just make sure to cover your seeds with a little compost so the sun and birds wont get them. But your better off getting the compost and worm casting and seeding so your neighbors will stop complaining once they realize its only "temporary for the good of the HOA"...LOL

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 7:14PM
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lazy_gardens

Another thing you can do with an HOA (or ordinary neighborhood busybody) is to learn the rules and the codes.

Go through the neighborhood with a camera that has a good telephoto lens and a copy of the rules ... photograph EVERY violation you can find. Turn them in to the city or the HOA as a bulk report, by address, with the violation circled on the pictures.

I was managing a rental house (non-HOA historic district) and the neighborhood busybodies kept reporting minor violations to city code (their real objection was the deeply colored complexion of my tenants).

I spent a few hours with code and camera, cruised every street, and wallpapered the entire historic district with every violation I could see from the street with a telephoto lens, or detect with my tape measure from the alley (over-height fences).

You shoulda heard the screams. It was lovely.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 8:10PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

So you became part of the problem that you were trying to fight? The idea is to NOT worry about minor violations. The least you should have done was to send each individual tenant a copy of the violations BEFORE you sent them in to the city and if the tenant happened to complain then explain to them that you were doing the exact thing as they were and if they would CHILL OUT you would not send the violations in. Shake hands and be done with it. (In a perfect world)

It seems petty and exacerbating to fight busybodyness with more busybodyness (Yes I realize its not a word)...hehehe

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 10:51PM
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RpR_(3-4)

Start looking for new home.

When you find one, before you leave, seed the lawn heavily with Canada Thistle.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 1:12AM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

To get back to your original question, coffee grounds on lawns are always going to be beneficial. They are high in nitrogen, so they are almost like a mild fertilizer, so the only caution would be not to overapply if you are also using another form of fert. Apply fairly lightly and all is good. How lightly? With a bit of trial and error you'll find out how much to apply so that they sink into the grass and disappear within about 48 hours. If they are visible for longer than that, you've over applied.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 3:51AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Since you live where a Homeowners Association can dictate what you can do you need to learn what the rules are and follow them. Violating the HOA rules can be very costly.
To know what you need to do to grow a good, healthy lawn you should learn about the soil you have and what it needs to grow a good, healthy lawn. Start by talking with the people at your local Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service office about having a good, reliable soil test done so you know what your soils pH is as well as whether the macro nutrients are in balance. These simple soil tests might also be of some help,
1) Structure. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. A good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains� too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.
determine what else might need be done.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 7:25AM
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Sandy16

Thanks for all of the input. HOA life is different but having close neighbors is different for me as well. My neighbor complained about the smell of the grounds. Apparently the chemical napalm scent is preferred here. I'm just trying to get along until the market turns and we can move back to the outskirts. May be a while.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:26AM
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luckygal(3b)

I've used UCG on my lawn and they don't show if you use in small amounts. I'm sure coffee grounds are beneficial even if you also use commercial fertilizers.

However, organic lawn care does work and instead of using alfalfa pellets you can make alfalfa tea (or just dissolve the pellets in water and don't bother fermenting) and hand water in. Sure it's a lot of work but I've done it on a lawn that's quite large. I also have used sugar which feeds the beneficial organisms that feed the lawn. Ground cornmeal and soymeal are also good fertilizers and pretty invisible.

Here is a link that might be useful: organic lawn care

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 2:23PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

lucky gal has a good point, if you use just a little bit of coffee it won't be a problem, but the first thing most people do is plop down thick layer to "soften the soil and block weeds." That is the idea, but in reality you have to then do more work, as it just sits there and does not really do anything it is supposed to do. First flies come, then it turns dry and hard and you have to stress out your hands digging up the soil to break the hard crust of coffee.

If you work in the coffee and you don't use to much, it is ok. I did that, where I planned some ferns later and I had no problems. But, I rather use it in a bin where it will do the most good.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 3:04PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

No digging required! A quarter to a half inch of coffee grounds, lightly raked with a leaf rake, will practically disappear between the grass blades pretty quick.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Sandy16

I've been flinging them out there. I haven't been able to get enough to go any thicker than 1/4". They do tend to hang around in the bare spots but we haven't had much rain either.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 6:21PM
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OklaMoni

About the HOA, just send the complaint (if it was in letter form) to the president of the HOA. Most likely it will be like my complaint letter, and not sent out by the HOA at all, but by a busy body.

I lived there, till my divorce, and never had a second problem.

Moni

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 10:37PM
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mackel_in_dfw

I'm going to try that, Tox, and if I have any problems I will call you an' give you the feedback and bill for to pay the kind, gentle immigrant in me familia who suffers occasionally under the heavy load of "gringo eenfo".

Mackel

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 10:51PM
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mackel_in_dfw

The proper approach- this is my soil type this is my rainfall level this is where I live this is my dog Snuffy... "I put coffe grounds on soil, *no filter* and have very green sh&t and doesn't matter if somebody else can't get their coffee to dissolve" into dirt, "I own *Starbucks* stocks and always tell customer here's double latte, will melt heart, melt soil, and give vapors at two cups"...how about provide a link that shows coffee grounds (peer reviewed with *numbers*) demonstrate non-*hydrophobic* properites without "cruisader caress" and "big water hose"? Grab an expresso, and let's hear it...man up...

Mackel

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 11:34PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Yes coffee grounds are organic and just like any other organic fertilizer it carries a "smell". Its funny how some people (sheeples I call them) can be so trained to certain things. The smell of chemical fertilizers are a good thing to them but, god forbid, someone use organic fertilizers that smell a little (or alot) different...Grounds are GOOD!

Like Quato said in Total Recall..."Open your miiiiind"...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 1:05AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Mackel, I can't even begin to interpret most of that gibberish, but if I get the relevant 10% correctly, I don't think a peer reviewed study is needed for a reasonably intelligent person to sprinkle some coffee grounds on the lawn.

Maybe you should start your own forum and be the God of Garden Data. But there you'd be, all by yourself, and you might not get enough attention.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 11:16AM
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lazy_gardens

blazeaglory - My sister owned three houses in that historic district, all in about the same condition. The slightly shabbier house with the stereotypical white yuppie couple ... no reports. The other house with the Caucasian single guy ... no reports. The only house that was being reported for beauty code violations was the one with the intimidatingly large, amazingly swarthy Hispanic tenant and his cute blonde wife. Draw your own conclusions.

One thing I learned from Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" is that very few people can live up to the rules they are trying to make others live up to.

So my radical response to being reported for violating "the rules" is to agree wholeheartedly that following "the rules" is extremely important and join the side of those who are reporting people for violating "the rules". And do it enthusiastically. To everyone.

The basically harassing reporting of that house stopped, which was my goal. But if it takes a 2x4 to get their attention, I tend to start with a 4x4 and work my way down.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 4:36PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Ahh lazygarden I get it! All is fair in love and war!!!:-)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 10:22PM
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lovestogrow(6)

I think Mackel is smoking something stronger then grass.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 11:24PM
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rott

..
When I spread about 5 hundred pounds of used coffee grounds on the lawn in my dry climate, the dust choked the filter in my mower 3 weeks later.

I didn't see crusting on the lawn nor flies. I mow at the highest level. I've seen crusting on the beds and grass clipping mulch seemed to remedy that.

I'm about a mile from the ocean now and I don't see crusting on the beds and that's with no grass clippings and I haven't noticed a problem with flies. I don't use a lot of water.

to sense
..

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 12:16AM
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greenhavenrdgarden

Yesterday I moved a few shrubs in a bed that I had been throwing my coffee grounds in all winter after reading something here on Gardenweb. For the most part we have great soil but this area was sub par. Anyways, I was STUNNED by how many worms have moved into this area. Every shovel was loaded which wasn't the case last yr. Coffee grounds do work! Just thought I'd add that for any newbies reading this thread. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 8:04AM
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mackel_in_dfw

"Here in FL with the hot bright sun even a 1/4" is enough to repel water. Working them into the soil is the best bet..."- Posted by skoot_cat Clearwater, FL.

"Even in soggy Seattle, a "mulch" of only 1/4" will form a crusty layer that rain won't penetrate." -Posted by karchita WA Z8

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 11:45AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Mackel is telling it right, I used just a small amount and it did form a hideous crusty layer that I had to dig out. If have stressed out hands with hand pain (like me) coffee grounds will make more work for your hands.

They will not soften the soil unless you start a full composting program and put those grounds in a bin with browns make compost from them. It is not as easy as going to starbucks getting free ground tossing them on the ground and waiting for soft healthy soil to appear. I wish it was that easy.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 11:50AM
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mackel_in_dfw

It's time for TC to man up, bust out the Kentucky Bourbon, Sir Toxalots....yuk yuk yuk...

Mackel

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Lloyd

"bust out the Kentucky Bourbon"

Into it before lunch I see.

:-)

Lloyd

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 1:02PM
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mackel_in_dfw

TC-
A girl starts walking guys start gawking Sits down next to you and starts talking Says she wants to dance cause she likes to groove So come on fatso and just bust a move

You're on a mission and your wishin Someone could cure your lonely condition Lookin for love in all the wrongplaces No fine girls just ugly faces Some frustration first inclination Is to become a monk and leave the situation

But every dark tunnel has a light of hope So don't hang yourself, with a celibate rope

Your movie's showin, so you're goin, Could-care less about the five you're blowin, Theater gets dark just to start the show

Then-ya spot a fine woman sittin in-your row, She's dressed in yellow, she says "Hello, come sit next to me you fine fellow."

...Yuk Yuk Yuk..Yuk!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tox Rocks Sundays,

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 1:05PM
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mackel_in_dfw

Geez, get a life people! Do the happy dance.

Mackel

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 2:26PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Too many earth worms in your lawn will result in large amounts of poo and an eaten lawn. Seriously there is a happy balance here...lol

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 6:48PM
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jrmckins

Here's a "study" on adding coffee grounds to soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coffee grounds

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 10:33PM
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rott

..
Good thing I didn't tell Mackel about the dirty knife.
..

Here is a link that might be useful: The Dirty Fork

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:14AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

TT: Was your 'hideous crusty layer' in a relatively uninterrupted space, say inches or even feet across, such the open spaces between plants in a perennial bed?

Grass is essentially self-mulching and would be a very different environment compared to an area of bare soil. There are so many blades as well as dead thatch that it seems like CG's would have a hard time making any kind of contiguous crus, at least up to a certain depth where the grass would start to become smothered anyway.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

"Even in soggy Seattle, a "mulch" of only 1/4" will form a crusty layer that rain won't penetrate." -Posted by karchita WA Z8

If folks are going to quote me, I get to explain what I was talking about. :-)

I am not sure when I wrote that, but I am sure that I was +not+ talking about lawns because I have never experienced any crusty effects with UCGs on lawns. I fling it on and it disappears, easy peasy. I have had a thick, impenetrable layer develop in beds, but I have never had trouble with flies or anything that didn't self-correct fairly quickly.

I use UCGs in my compost, on my lawn, and in the spring as a topdressing around plants that I grow for foliage such as hosta, heuchera, and ornamental grasses. The plants get a nitrogen boost and respond to it extremely well, and the texture of the grounds seems to help repel slugs a bit. I just sprinkle a bit in a circle around the crown of each plant, enough to cover the soil but no more. It's a topdressing, not a mulch. It stays there for a couple of months or so, but that works just fine as the nutrients are releasing slowly and the plant is outgrowing the slugs.

I just read the link (above) to the Sunset research and thought it was very interesting. I think I will try adding UCGs to a new raised bed. Thanks to whoever posted that.

I think the best approach with UCGs is not to overdo it. Apply lightly and you won't have problems. Think of them as a mild organic fertilizer, and use them accordingly.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 4:27PM
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Lloyd

You were talking about veggie beds. And it was almost exactly four years ago.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 4:57PM
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mackel_in_dfw

Let's not confuse, there is not a lawn. Op is trying to create one. What you might be saying is that a healthy lawn due to an accumulation of degraded and undegraded clippings, with presumably sufficiently developed roots will take coffee (no sugar?). And, perhps a good relieving later afterward?..and..it appears that you make the hypothesis that healthy grass is one of the "magic green dragons" from the metaphorical "Organistan" that'll eat anythang, from llamadoo to finished compost, ground up leaves, non-seeded weed debris, corn, alfalfa, horse-candy molasses sticks, a sprinkle of seaweed, a pinch of pixiedust, doesn'tt matter, and all the stuff you were too full to eat...but, that ain't what's happenin' in the aforementioned op scenario =>bare.dirt@no.grass.net......please excuse me, I need to get a saltine cracker, now..."'post-bed-ridden' affects"...I've lost my voice => @ laryngitis.

Mackel

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 5:12PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Thanks, Lloyd. Good to know that I've been consistent in my rantings. :-)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:19AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

"Now our lawn looks like a zillion chia pets in front and the back is doing well."

This sounds like an established lawn to me, not bare ground.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:08AM
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mackel_in_dfw

The polka-dotted picture you paint, reminds me of this guy who got hair transplants, and had apparently stopped going after the first session. I looked at his head, which now resembled a sparsely sowed wheat field, and thought, wth? I asked him if he was going to go back to see his surgeon, and he said, "Nope, he pissed me off..." (?). He had thus decided that he'd do things HIS WAY, though he lacked a plan, nor a VISION...and decided to pretend he had an answer, and remained goofy looking for SIX MONTHS... So, one day, I walk up to him, and suggest, "why not try straight compost instead?"...he told me I'd be forever alone, if I made a suggestion like that again...

Mackel

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 1:43PM
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