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Growing Older, Not Up
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for some middle ground between organic fertilizers and chemical fertilizers.

I like the idea of organic but the products I'm familiar with (Gardens Alive, Lawn Restore) are overpriced and rather ineffective. I despise Scotts and its clones. Basically these are grass steroids and nothing should require fertilization as much as they suggest.

My fave was Bayer Advanced. It was relatively tame with the chemicals (compared to Scotts). I could fertilize in the spring and fall with excellent weed control and no summer dropoff, but its no longer on the market.

I'm leaning towards Vigoro for now. Still chemically based but seems to be my winner by default at the moment.

Any suggestions?
 

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Non non normal
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The first thing I would do is a soil test to check your ph. You may benefit more from lime than fertilizer.
 

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Non non normal
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GirchyGirchy said:
My dad's always used ammonium nitrate. It works fine and is cheap.

C'mon, it's a lawn...doing pH testing? What a waste.
I think the bigger waste is fertilizing a yard when it isn't needed. You end up cutting it more which is the last thing I want to do.


Actually, they will do it for a couple of bucks and then tell you how much lime you need to buy to correct the soil's acidity. I haven't put lime down on my yard ever ( almost 15 years) and I have certain grasses that are starting to grow because they prefer acidic soil. I finally broke down and bought lime this year for the yard.

Four tons to be precise. That's what happens when you have a big yard. You not only waste your time cutting it, you waste money too. To be honest, if it turns green and looks ok, I'm ok with it. I don't have any wild goals of creating a golf course.
 

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Beetpull DeLite
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bigrider said:
I think the bigger waste is fertilizing a yard when it isn't needed. You end up cutting it more which is the last thing I want to do.
True dat. But some green stuff is nice...my friend's yard is basically straw.
 

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Every little counts...
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Forget grass. Plant white clover and sprinkle bone meal over it after planting. That is all that is needed for 5 years.

You now have an organic care-free lawn which is safe for you, your kids, and your pets to play on.

Arboretum America.
 

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Non non normal
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The part I didn't mention is that I was lazy and didn't get the ph test. I just bought the amount that would be a "heavy" application.

My fruit trees are real important to me but my yard is just a place for the dogs to sh#t.
 

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iedereen op de fiets
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Lesco

I suggest you find out if you have a Lesco Service Center in your area, www.lesco.com. They have high quality fertilizer at resonable prices. If you are looking for a synthetic, look at their PPSCU (something in the 70% PPSCU range). They also have a nice organic that I have been using fork several years (Greens Grade 6-3-0 with 1% Fe).

As a Plant and Soil Scientist, I would recommend that you do a soil test. Lesco can do it for about $35.
 

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Banned
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Nobody wants to hear my lawn rant, right?

How about just the key words?: Sterile monoculture, enormous waster of water, gross polluter from the fertilizers and pesticides, significant contributor to air pollution in many suburbs (from the mowers and other equipment). Not sure if it's still true, but in the late '90s the single biggest source of water pollution in Hawaii was the golf courses. This is a British idea (works OK in that climate) that's infected the world. Bluegrass in Arizona? Give me a break.
 

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iedereen op de fiets
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Cory said:
How about just the key words?: Sterile monoculture, enormous waster of water, gross polluter from the fertilizers and pesticides, significant contributor to air pollution in many suburbs (from the mowers and other equipment). Not sure if it's still true, but in the late '90s the single biggest source of water pollution in Hawaii was the golf courses.

Do you really believe this? It is all just parmoid propoganda
 

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Beetpull DeLite
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BikinCO said:
Do you really believe this? It is all just parmoid propoganda
Ok, so you don't think the idiots running their sprinklers 24/7 in the heat of a summer drought are...well...idiots? Sorry, but I can't think of a more tremendous waste of water. Or time and money, for that matter. Keeping your lawn at its best is a hobby for people with way too much time and money.

$35 for a pH test? Sorry, I'll stick with some ammonium nitrate and some rain.
 

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gazing from the shadows
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GirchyGirchy said:
$35 for a pH test? Sorry, I'll stick with some ammonium nitrate and some rain.
Your agricultural extension office probably does it cheaper. Our agex will test pH and soil composition (level of organics) for $15.
 

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iedereen op de fiets
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GirchyGirchy said:
Ok, so you don't think the idiots running their sprinklers 24/7 in the heat of a summer drought are...well...idiots? Sorry, but I can't think of a more tremendous waste of water. Or time and money, for that matter. Keeping your lawn at its best is a hobby for people with way too much time and money.

$35 for a pH test? Sorry, I'll stick with some ammonium nitrate and some rain.
$35 for a soils test, not a pH test. There is a difference. Yes, the fools that run their irrigation during the day or under windy conditions are fools. So are those that think ammonium nitrate is the best option for growing grass.
 

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I'm not like anyone else
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Cory said:
How about just the key words?: Sterile monoculture, enormous waster of water, gross polluter from the fertilizers and pesticides, significant contributor to air pollution in many suburbs (from the mowers and other equipment). Not sure if it's still true, but in the late '90s the single biggest source of water pollution in Hawaii was the golf courses. This is a British idea (works OK in that climate) that's infected the world. Bluegrass in Arizona? Give me a break.
Man... I'm with you. Manicured, perfect lawns may create a pretty picture but they are polluters and take way too much time to keep looking picture perfect.

I am just finishing a spec home that is on a challenging lot. 16.5% average grade to start with. After spending $45K on regrading to make the house fit, I had it hydroseeded to the tune of $3500.

The seeds sprouted in a few days and it looked really nice. It was green.

After a few weeks, it started to look kinda sick! Did a PH test and find the soil is way to acidic. Lime... it's safe! Problem cured? Nope! After a few hard rain showers, all the benefits washed down the slope and I'm stuck with a brown/traces of green 2 acre slope that needs to be "fixed". Planted "love grass" whihc grows to a nice height and stops growing. Probolem is that the deer love it... gone! roots and all! I call it deer salad!

The lot is about a half mile from one of the most pristine trout streams in VA and all the run-off ends up in the stream. The H2O in the stream is so clean that you can dip your cup in and drink it and not worry about getting a vile illness and it eventually ends up the the Chesapeake Bay which is already poisoned.

Called in a "lawn specialist".

Suggestion: Poison/fertilizer! Amonia/nitrogen. So, what shall I do? Make it really green, cause it to grow, kill the trout and make the stream unfit to drink and sell the freekin house because the lawn looks good?

Nope! I may need to sell this albetros but I refuse to poison one of the few remaining truly natural streams in VA. It's going back to wild! Let whatever sprouts grow and I'll take a hit on the price. I may be in business to make money but there are some things it will not buy.

I'm using natural, untreated mulch where I can and the rest is up to MN.

My original excavator killed the old growth hardwoods by tracking too close to the root system, the hydro seeder has already tried to poison the stream by using amonium nitrate and ground up newspapers, (My ignorance... but it's been cured.) the neighbors don't like the "wild look" and insist I fertalize and restart the pristine lawn process, but, you know what? F-em! I don't care! We can't repair the damage caused from using chemical fertilizers but we sure can stop it. Crabgrass, rotting foilage, decaying fallen branches, animal pewp including the dawgs.... let it be! I'm starting over.

Forgive me folks... if you like the green pristine lawns.

I'm a dinosaur and a naturalist!

Cheers...

EDB
 

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iedereen op de fiets
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Try this

everydaybike said:
Man... I'm with you. Manicured, perfect lawns may create a pretty picture but they are polluters and take way too much time to keep looking picture perfect.

I am just finishing a spec home that is on a challenging lot. 16.5% average grade to start with. After spending $45K on regrading to make the house fit, I had it hydroseeded to the tune of $3500.

Did you use any erosion control? Straw bails or blankets? Hydroseeding is not an erosion control, and on that slope you would have needed something.

The seeds sprouted in a few days and it looked really nice. It was green.

After a few weeks, it started to look kinda sick! Did a PH test and find the soil is way to acidic. Lime... it's safe! Problem cured? Nope! After a few hard rain showers, all the benefits washed down the slope and I'm stuck with a brown/traces of green 2 acre slope that needs to be "fixed". Planted "love grass" whihc grows to a nice height and stops growing. Probolem is that the deer love it... gone! roots and all! I call it deer salad!

The lot is about a half mile from one of the most pristine trout streams in VA and all the run-off ends up in the stream. The H2O in the stream is so clean that you can dip your cup in and drink it and not worry about getting a vile illness and it eventually ends up the the Chesapeake Bay which is already poisoned.

Called in a "lawn specialist".

Suggestion: Poison/fertilizer! Amonia/nitrogen. So, what shall I do? Make it really green, cause it to grow, kill the trout and make the stream unfit to drink and sell the freekin house because the lawn looks good?





EDB
Did you use any erosion control? Straw bails or blankets? Hydroseeding is not an erosion control, and on that slope you would have needed something.

Use a controlled release product and it will keep the nitrogen from leeching. You might also want to try something like BlueYellow (www.blueyellowpro.com). It holds the seed and fertilizer in place. Put an erosion blanket over the top at a cost of ~1,500 an acre and you are finished. Use a fescue and let it grow. It will get to about a foot or so and stop. It looks great and now you do not have to worry about noxious weeds or silt.

What were the credentials of you "lawn specialist"? I ask because a lot of people call themselves landscapers/lawn maintenance experts because they have a truck and a mower.
 

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Beetpull DeLite
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BikinCO said:
So are those that think ammonium nitrate is the best option for growing grass.
Sorry, but I never said it was the best option, it's just cheap and easy. And as my dad has found out, it works fine in our part of the country.

Yes, the fools who cannot comprehend replies and instead decide to insult others are fools.
 

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iedereen op de fiets
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GirchyGirchy said:
Sorry, but I never said it was the best option, it's just cheap and easy. And as my dad has found out, it works fine in our part of the country.

There is a reason that it is cheap. Ammonium nitrate is readily available to the plant so you get a quick spurt of growth but then the nitrogen is gone. With this quick, lush growth your lawn needs more water and is more likely to have disease and pest problems as well. If you apply a slow release form of nitrogen it will release evenly over a long period (months). You should also apply a complete fertilizer, this will ensure that you are giving the plant everything that it needs for top growth, root growth and stress relief. I recommend a good slow release and a good natural organic to feed the plants and the soil.

Sorry for insulting you, I just finished my lunchtime workout and was feeling a bit amped.
 

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I'm not like anyone else
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BikinCO said:
Did you use any erosion control? Straw bails or blankets? Hydroseeding is not an erosion control, and on that slope you would have needed something.

Use a controlled release product and it will keep the nitrogen from leeching. You might also want to try something like BlueYellow (www.blueyellowpro.com). It holds the seed and fertilizer in place. Put an erosion blanket over the top at a cost of ~1,500 an acre and you are finished. Use a fescue and let it grow. It will get to about a foot or so and stop. It looks great and now you do not have to worry about noxious weeds or silt.

What were the credentials of you "lawn specialist"? I ask because a lot of people call themselves landscapers/lawn maintenance experts because they have a truck and a mower.
Old timer here... hundreds of projects so I don't use the truck with mower folks...

Understand... hydroseeding is just a quick start process. But I did add the mulch (blueyellow type stuff) and blown straw to help keep it all in place until it gat a good start.

Used lots of bails, blankets and silt fence to slow things down until the grass took hold and it did. The erosion stopped but the leaching didn't. I seeded with a tall fescue on the slighter grades and the love grass on the severe slopes. Let the fescue grow until it stopped last fall then had a local LS company mow it high, (6") just to clean it up. Deer ate the love grass. My thought was exactly what you have suggested. Get it established and it's done. No mowing except around the house itself and it will always look good. The leaching of and lack nutrients is the issue. I had the soil tested via Southern States and again by one of our local reputable "Chem-Lawn" types as well as the hydroseeding company when they did the initial seeding... Toughest lot I've ever had. But the views of the mountains are spectacular!

Thanx for the info... EDB
 

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iedereen op de fiets
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Yup, sounds like a very difficult site. Have you put any thought into xeriscaping? Or are you just like "f*** it, I'm selling this place".
 
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