Organic lawns late to green up?

pushmower38May 7, 2014

I have maintained my lawn organically for a year and a half. Very happy with the results so far. My lawn was in its best condition ever last year - better than any year in the past 15 since I've been a homeowner. However, one thing I noticed last spring and am seeing again this spring - my lawn is late to green up relative to many neighbors. Once everything gets going, my lawn last year was dark green and lush all year long until dormancy in November but in April last year and this year, the lawn looked sleepy - slow to green and to grow. I haven't even had to mow once yet this year.

I don't have full sun anywhere in my lawn and that could explain part of what I'm experiencing. I have been fertilizing once every 6 weeks from April 1 - late October with corn gluten meal (first two applications) and then Agway Organic Lawn Fertilizer "Stage 2" which is comprised of alfalfa, molasses and porcine meat meal. I have mostly TTTF in some areas and other areas (the sunnier ones) are KBG originally from sod. The KBG areas are the last to green up for me.

Is late green up typical for organically maintained lawns and I just have to live with it or should I tweak my practices? I think I have seen some here recommend Milorganite for early green up but I haven't drilled down on the Milorganite safety issue yet. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.

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Your neighbors' lawns are probably getting a synthetic "winterizer" fertilization, most definitely a Spring fertilizer or possibly both. The synthetic fertilizer is either mostly or completely WSN. WSN is not temperature dependent. It is water soluable and floods the soil with nitrogen ready for root uptake. WSN is available to the grass NOW, so it kick starts growth. Organic fertilizer does not supply nitrogen until temperatures are high enough for the microorganisms to start producing it.
The reason Milorganite helps early green-up like synthetics is because up to 2% of its 5% nitrogen content is WSN.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:23PM
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What type of grass do you have?
Some grass species are slower to start growing in the spring than others. I have not had to mow my lawn yet either and I do not find that either unusual or disturbing.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:54AM
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