tea instead of top dressing?

sjboyle(z5 Colo)April 27, 2009

I was going to top dress with compost this spring but it seems like too much work - will compost tea be just as good?

I suppose the best way to know what to do is soil test. Colorado State Extension office is walking distance.

Do I test just one spot or several? I have many different lawn 'areas'

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

A soil test won't help with this question. Tea will deliver microbes like compost but tea does not provide any mulching effect like compost does.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 3:25AM
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sjboyle(z5 Colo)

mulching effect?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 4:36AM
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billhill(z5 MI - KBG)

Mr. Sjboyle, you didnÂt mention why you wanted to spread compost on your lawn. I make and use a lot of compost in my gardens, beds and lawn. Real compost is very very good for your lawn and itÂs soil. That being said, spreading descent compost on a lawn can be expensive and is very labor intensive. Topdressing takes about one yard per 1000 sq. ft. of lawn. How many yards would you need? Then you shovel it into your wheel barrel, wheel it to your lawn and spread it by shovel rake and broom. If you are going to buy compost, be sure to look at it first and consider what it will take to deliver it you your lawn. The more modern approach (i.e. easy, less work, instant gratification) is to use ground grains, teas, potions, and organic fertilizers. If it is your desire to increase the microbes living in the soil, then applying actively aerated compost tea might be the most efficient way to accomplish that. Of course, they will be hungry and you will need to feed them.
Bill Hill

Here is a link that might be useful: Benefits of using compost

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 7:03AM
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If your soil is a good, healthy soil with an active Soil Food Web spraying with compost tea will do little or nothing since there is already active bacteria, fungi, and all the other stuff that compost tea would provide. If you do not have an active Soil Food Web spraying compost tea can provide, for a short time, that active bacteria, fungi, etc. your soil needs but it is not a substitute for providing the soil with organic matter that those we critteres you tea would provide more food to work on.
The best thing to do is do both, spread the compost and spray the tea, and get that soil test done.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:00AM
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sjboyle(z5 Colo)

Yes, it just doesnt makes sense to ADD SOIL if you already HAVE SOIL.. unless you're trying to level out your lawn. Why cant a person just improve the soil they have?

Unless ADDING soil somehow speeds up the whole process?

As long as you can add the necessary microbes (TEA) and keep them fed (SOY MEAL, ETC) then you have GOOD SOIL.. Yes?

So I'm thinking that I'll put down some SOY then add some TEA and call it good til the next 'federal holiday.' (as far as ADDING stuff)

Maybe just ADD SOIL to the weak areas to SPEED things up?


    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 2:29PM
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I'd go with the tea in place of topdressing with compost but you could also get a decent effect by applying humic acid.

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

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 3:00PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I was blinded by all the capital letters in sjboyle's message but I'm firmly against adding soil. When you add soil it never goes away. When you add organic matter, like compost, it eventually goes away. I have taken some pictures of yards where they topdressed with soil on a routine basis. I have found other yards so I'll take more pix and post them. This one I have pix of has an 8-inch rise in the heck strip out by the street. It is 8 inches higher than the curb in the middle of the heck strip. It looks terrible, is hard to maintain, and might even be dangerous for maintenance workers and pedestrians.

You can't see the depth very well in that picture, but you can see where the soil has flowed across the sidewalk and there is even grass growing on it. That is my definition of too much soil used as a top dressing. I need to take the pictures again when the sun is not so bright. It's easier to see I think. The area of deep green grass in the foreground is 4 inches above the sidewalk. To the right out of the scene it is a full 8 inches too deep.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:42PM
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Adding organic matter to improve the soil is what most all soils need. Many people think that it does little good to add organic matter since that just "disappears" which it does not because it is converted by the Soil Food Web into nutrients the plants that are growing there can use. Yes, organic matter does need to be added all the time since the SFW does digest it, to feed the plants. The mineral portion of soil, what makes a soil sandy, silty, or clay, will always be there because that is made from ground up rocks.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 8:42AM
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Posted by sjboyle z5 Colo (My Page) on Tue, Apr 28, 09 at 4:36
mulching effect?

Yes. Another benefit of compost is that it helps retain moisture in the lawn during the heat of Summer.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 10:12AM
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