Calling All Experts

rosaramaFebruary 14, 2009

This being only my second year of going organic, I'm unsure when to begin feeding. The grass is all brown from the last frost. Can I now beging to apply alfalfa, or soybean meal? Help is much appreciated

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

In the spring grass grows, prolifically, and without much help. When conditions are right your grass will green up and grow and produce pollen to produce the seeds that many grasses set to keep the species growing. You may need to feed that lawn in early to mid June to help the grass throught the summer, but only then if you will be able to keep that lawn well watered so it will not go dormant, as is normal, during the summer.
The best time to feed a lawn is in the fall, about 6 to 8 weeks before that grass would go dormant for the winter.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 7:20AM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

From your zone, it looks like you probably have a warm season grass?

Warm season grasses need to be fed mostly regularly through the growing season. Like Kimmsr says, let it green up, and then start a regular feeding program.

How much is best to feed and mow depends on what kind of grass you have. Bermuda likes more fertilizer than St Augustine, monthly if you want a top notch lawn.

Of course, as I'm sure you found out last year, there are several good fertilizer choices. I use alfalfa meal, soybean meal, corn meal, cottonseed meal (corn gluten when I caught it on sale) and occasionally, one of the big name brand organic fertilizers.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:34AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

It would be better if we knew where you lived, but I live in San Antonio, TX. I will be applying corn meal next weekend. If you live much north of here you can probably wait awhile.

The grass probably does not need food but the soil microbes always can use some. If I was not going to use corn meal, I would use alfalfa pellets.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 9:19PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

"It would be better if we knew where you lived"

Agreed - Absolutely. See link the link below as to why.

--------------------------

Here is a link that might be useful: Link here

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 1:19AM
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rosarama

Thank you all. I'd have responded before but my grandkids are visiting this week. I live in Central Florida, near Orlando and my grass is St. Aug, floratam (for my sins)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 11:46AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Floratam st augustine doesn't have much of cold tolerance so it tend to brown out quicker than other varieties but it is by far the most drought tolerant variety of all. Easy to grow. I would apply soybean meal now. I plan on doing it next week.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 5:04PM
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organic2009

Your grass will turn green when soil temperatures allow it to! It's hard to force the hand of mother nature but I think you could probably get away with starting treatments now.......good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Lawns for America

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 8:18AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I applied corn meal last weekend (Washington's (real) Birthday). My normal schedule is pretty easy to remember:

Washington's Birthday
Memorial Day
4th of July
Labor Day
Thanksgiving

Note that I'm pretty far south like the OP. The reason I apply on Washington's Birthday is that happens to be 3 weeks prior to our normal 'last frost' date. There are lawns already being mowed in my neighborhood, so early spring is here. If I lived more north, I would go by the 'last frost' date or find some trees that flower out early. Nature usually provides the best signals for when to do things. I go by a tree down the street from me. When it is fully leafed out is the time to fertilize for me.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 5:05PM
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skoot_cat

Now is the time. Apply something (alfalfa, SBM, etc) today or ASAP.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:24AM
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rosarama

Thanks y'all. I applied soy meal two weeks ago and it is beginning to green up albeit slowly. Part of the problem is that there was so much dried grass that it was barrig the flow of nutrients so I spent this eve raking dried grass from areas where it was very thick. I can only hope that helps. I was thinking of spraying an epsom salts/water mixture. Does anyone think that will help? Or is that not organic enough? I figure if it's good for my roses it should be good for the lawn

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 8:51PM
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rickbubba

Sounds like your doing things right by raking out the dead grass.I'm no expert so don't know about the epsom salt but last year I had a early season problem like yours but instead of the E.S. I used unsulfured blackstrap molasses spraying with an ortho sprayer/ 8oz jar molasses to I think 3 tlbs. setting (someone correct me if I'm wrong) .It greened things up.You can buy it at Publix but it is still early on in the season.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:57PM
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skoot_cat

Unsulfured molasses would be excellent choice. But I would use 4-6oz per 1000sqft. I cant remember the exact setting I use on my Ortho spray. I put half a bottle of Grandmas Molasses (available at Wal-Mart) then thin it out with warm water. I then spray it heavy, but give myself enough time to cover 1000sqft until the container is empty. Hope that makes sense.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:14AM
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rosarama

I'll get the molasses tomorrow and will let you know how it works. Thanks again!!!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 1:03PM
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rickbubba

rosarama,
I just found a post on molasses from dchall the spray rate with an ortho sprayer is 3 ounces per gallon setting. Remove the nozzle screen on hose end and like skoot cat wrote cover 1000 s.f..Hope this makes things simpler.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 10:53PM
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rosarama

Rick. It sure helps. Was on my way out top the store but stopped here - going to get lawn supplies - cornmeal and molasses.
Thanks a million!!!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:50AM
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