yogurt as a source of soil microbes?

tex_jas(8b - College Station, TX)April 24, 2008

Hi folks...

Wayyyyyy back when I first started looking into organic lawn care (about 4 weeks ago), I was looking for ways to reverse a thatch problem (that didn't involve manual labor).

I started understanding more and more about everything I was doing wrong (as I've confessed to in my other recent thread here on applying a compost tea and questions about my grass yellowing/dying).

When the soil/lawn life cycle started making sense to me, I came to the conclusion that if things aren't decomposing fast enough, then the lawn must be defficient in microbes. One of the first articles I came across on adding more microbes mentioned spraying on yogurt (specifically Stonyfield since they add more cultures) because "Lactobacillus bacteria is a world class bio-dethatch".

Seemed logical to me, and I expected to find a lot of references stating the same. I've searched the web up and down and never found anything similar. I found compost tea shortly after that and am taking that route, but was still kinda curious about yogurt (maybe yogurt as an ingredient in compost tea??).

I did spray a small section w/ yogurt (diluted in a hose-end sprayer) before I found AACT. Didn't appear to hurt the lawn, but I don't know that it helped it any.

Anyway, was just curious if anyone had opinions on this. The article is here: http://www.pure-prairie-organics.com/top-ten-tips.htm

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to yogurt reference

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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I've never heard of anyone using that particular bacteria to break down organic matter on the surface. What I typically do to help break down excessive dead grass, I use diluted molasses with othro dial end hose sprayer every few months whenever I fertilize. Sure seems to break them down rapidly during the summer.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 1:14PM
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morpheuspa

Second that. I've never heard of yogurt as a lawn additive, but I can't say it *wouldn't* work in sufficient quantities.

Diluted molasses is great (and cheaper), or you can go quick and dirty and hand-spread the cheapest sugar you can get. It's not as quick with the sugar since it has to break down more, but it does seem to get the job done. The molasses is a bit more work.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 7:36PM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

You can get, literally - tons, more of the stuff that is raring to start to work by adding compost.

Yogurt probably is fine, as far as it goes, but, its just a drop in the bucket. A similar reason is why I stopped going around picking up coffee grounds. They're fine, but compost in bulk is just so much easier and faster. Add in the gas I was spending running around getting it a few gallons at a time versus a pickup load of compost as I do now, and the cost is probably better too.

More is often simply better.

Of course, any sugar will help the microbes that are there get busy.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 11:15AM
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tex_jas(8b - College Station, TX)

Ok, I'll let it go and leave the yogurt for smoothies. :)

I use molasses at the start of making compost tea like most everyone else... Since there's a pretty good consensus in using molasses for thatch (I assume to energize the microbes rather than having some direct effect on the thatch itself), is there any harm or benefit in mixing in more to my tea immediately prior to spraying it on? Any suggestions on amount per gallon if there's reason to do it?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 5:35PM
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morpheuspa

is there any harm or benefit in mixing in more to my tea immediately prior to spraying it on?

The experts would need to chime in on this. However, at least from the biochemical perspective, adding a ton of sugar isn't a great idea. Your aeration system probably can't keep up with the oxygen consumption if you go too high, and the tea definitely shouldn't be allowed to be anaerobic or sub-stoichiometric on oxygen levels.

Oddly, that word is in my computer's dictionary. I'm amazed.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 8:51PM
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tex_jas(8b - College Station, TX)

That's a big word... ;)

I was actually meaning immediately prior to spraying it on the lawn... In other words, getting it and the tea onto the lawn before the little guys had a chance to digest it.

When I applied it last week, I used a hose-end sprayer (w/ chlorine filter). I left most of the batch of tea aerating up until the point that I needed it (sprayer reached empty). IF there'd be any benefit, I would be putting the molasses straight into the hose-end sprayer along with some tea, giving it a good swirl, then spray it on.

Just thinking out loud... No idea if there'd be any gains from this! I'm actually still a little confused about molasses/sugar applications altogether... Seems like that encourages them to eat the sugars rather than the things I'd prefer them to be munching on (dead grass). Or does that just make them think they're in utopia and multiply?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 9:40PM
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