Organic Lawn Treatments

macrocarpa

Well-Known Member
Location
Midwest
I know lawns :vomito:

But I'm curious what others are doing for their personal lawn care?

I have been eliminating my lawn and making bigger and bigger mulch beds, but I still have some lawn. I started using espoma's corn gluten meal as a weed preventer and then 2 application of milorganite throughout the growing season and I have been pretty happy with the results. Links below

But is this really an environmentally friendly program or are there concerns even with these products? And do these products really help to build the soil health?


 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Corn gluten is a rather good organic fertilizer, and it can be a passable herbicide, but it’s not terribly effective. it also takes an incredible amount of corn gluten to do anything, so you will all but have to spread it with a shovel.

If you call an organic lawn care service, they will call their offerings “organic-based” which means the fertilizer is organic but the weed control is not, as organic weed control is limited to corn gluten, which does not work very well.

As for the fertilizer, milorganite works, but if you want to go truly organic and actually build better soil, top dress your soil with a good compost; if you’re in a farming state I’m sure there’s a compost site in the area that can supply you with some good stuff.

Before you put anything on your lawn though, be sure to have soil tests done to see what your lawn actually needs. It may need lime to correct acidity, it also may need specific nutrients added or amendments to correct the soil structure. If you get your soil in shape for the grass you want to grow, you will have a thicker, healthier lawn, which will naturally prevent weeds by growing too thick for the weeds to come up.
 

Dan Cobb

Well-Known Member
Location
Hoover
I agree with Reach that top dressing with compost really helps. In the partial sun areas of my lawn, it's helped the grass thicken and choke out the weeds.

After I resodded years ago and had the beautiful lush lawn I always wanted, I began having severe armadillo damage. Two things helped: (1) grub killer applications and (2) little pieces of metal applied at high velocity.
 

macrocarpa

Well-Known Member
Location
Midwest
I just put down a couple tons of this compost on all my mulch beds. I haven't spread any on the grass yet though. They get a lot of biproduct from the Columbus Zoo so I tell my daughter its elephant poo compost.

ZOO BREW Our Staff Favorite is back in stock! An all-natural compost including zoo manure & animal bedding, horse manure, recycled food & vegetables, yard trimmings, leaf humus, and coffee grounds. Unique composition abundant in nitrogen, other nutrients and humus. Great to top-dress or incorporate into existing gardens and is effective at loosening heavy clay soil over time. Zoo Brew also works well as a mulch and is what our staff and owners use at our own homes for mulching flowerbed and garden areas. Please be advised Zoo Brew can occasionally be "hot" on new plants due to the nitrogen content.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Location
Ohio
sounds like a bunch of BS to me...Bonobos that is.

OK...that leads to funny story from Columbus zoo - pretty sure it was at the Bonobos exhibit:
One climbs up and is hanging on the wall maybe 8' over another. Then it starts to squeeze out a log. The one below is looking up, I can only imagine thinking "I know you ain't gonna drop that on me." Just before it breaks free, he reaches back, grabs it, takes a sniff and sets it on the shelf next to him.
 

Brando CalPankian

Active Member
Location
Washington
I was a member of the master gardener club in Augusta, Ga for a while. There was a guest speaker from Clemson, if I remember right, who came up with a totally novel approach to organic landscape maintenance. He was a chemist for Dupont for many years and decided chemicals were no longer his thing, and he started a fully organic no bullshit landscape maintenance company. I have implemented it in a small scale with some success, as well as at the judicial center there while I was the landscape lead. Essentially, you compost all of the landscape and food waste from the local landscape. If composted correctly, the seeds from other plants die to to the heat of the compost. You make compost tea, which when made from the landscape to which it is being applied has all of the nutrients the landscape needs and may be lacking. You top dress beds and lawns with the mature compost as well. In general, weed management is needed in lawns that are a) lacking nutrient, compacted, thatched, and otherwise not healthy or b) the wrong species for the location. I implemented this philosophy to the landscape at the Augusta judicial center and cut out the need for weed killer and commercial fert within 2 growing seasons, at which point I moved on to a better paying job. Have you soil sampled your lawn? Is there a reason the lawn is unhealthy? Do you have the patience to attempt this long term? Just an idea. I'll search through my books soon to see if I still have his name.
 

macrocarpa

Well-Known Member
Location
Midwest
I was a member of the master gardener club in Augusta, Ga for a while. There was a guest speaker from Clemson, if I remember right, who came up with a totally novel approach to organic landscape maintenance. He was a chemist for Dupont for many years and decided chemicals were no longer his thing, and he started a fully organic no bullshit landscape maintenance company. I have implemented it in a small scale with some success, as well as at the judicial center there while I was the landscape lead. Essentially, you compost all of the landscape and food waste from the local landscape. If composted correctly, the seeds from other plants die to to the heat of the compost. You make compost tea, which when made from the landscape to which it is being applied has all of the nutrients the landscape needs and may be lacking. You top dress beds and lawns with the mature compost as well. In general, weed management is needed in lawns that are a) lacking nutrient, compacted, thatched, and otherwise not healthy or b) the wrong species for the location. I implemented this philosophy to the landscape at the Augusta judicial center and cut out the need for weed killer and commercial fert within 2 growing seasons, at which point I moved on to a better paying job. Have you soil sampled your lawn? Is there a reason the lawn is unhealthy? Do you have the patience to attempt this long term? Just an idea. I'll search through my books soon to see if I still have his name.
Cool! If you find more info please share.

For a while when I lived down south I was buying a lot of products from a company called "southern organics". They were treating sports field organically with good results. I think their products were used on the LSU football field if I remember correctly.

I am in a newer development so the soil sucks, no O layer. I am going on 2 years using Espoma corn gluten meal at a high rate in mid march and then milorganite every 45 days during the growing season (or maybe not so often I haven't decided yet?).

So far my lawn looks just as good or better as my neighbors who pay to have their lawn nuked with chemicals by a lawn company monthly it seems. Time will tell how the crab grass situation goes....

About 9 years ago I was at an Ohio State conference and they said corn gluten meal is hocus pocus for weed prevention. Then last year at the same annual conference they said they don't exactly know why it works but it does work. And the more consecutive years it is applied and the higher the rate the better the results. They said maybe it was just the nitrogen making the lawn more vigorous and out competing the weeds but did not know for sure.

Core aeration and compost will be my next experiment. I was looking into those roller style compost spreaders.

Lawns and trees are related as they share the same soil so I think this stuff is relevant to arborists.
 

macrocarpa

Well-Known Member
Location
Midwest
I agree but do love a well maintained lawn

A lot of hard work and still expensive even if you do it yourself

You either work really hard on your lawn or pay someone to work really hard to get good results
I like having a small area of grass to walk/play on and a place for my dog. I think the amount of work it takes to grow grass is destructive though considering the maintenance time spent, gasoline burned, chemicals inputs applied etc. I will never understand why people enjoy mowing massive properties for countless hours just to look at those perfect symmetrical stripes.
I like Doug Tallamy’s proposal to cut the area of turf grass in the US in half and replace it with native plantings. This would take a massive effort though and especially controlling invasive in the process, but maybe its a potential “jobs creator”?
 

New threads New posts

Kask Stihl NORTHEASTERN Arborists Wesspur TreeStuff.com Kask Teufelberger Westminster X-Rigging Teufelberger Tracked Lifts
Top Bottom