St.Augustine and organic

Julian125July 26, 2013

Hello all and thank you for providing so much great information that I have enjoyed reading over the last couple of weeks.
I am new to St.Augustine grass (floratam) and have 25,000 sq ft. of it growing quite healthily, the conditions range from full sun, partial shade, to full shade and all is doing reasonably well.
My wish is to move to an organic range of practices. The most recent fertilizer 10 -10 -10 went down about three weeks ago and the grass is looking very good (this in spite of the record rainfall 20+inches that Georgia has received in the last thirty days.
I have one particular unwanted pest that I have identified as Creeping Charlie (in one area), it's not too bad and at a push over a month or two I'm sure that I can manage to pull the majority of it out.
I am cutting at my mowers (rotary) highest setting (sharp blade) which I have measured at 4 inches, although I prefer the look better at 3 inches, I raised after this forum.
Would I be better to try to raise the height to crowd out the Charlie?
And how soon may I start with an organic feed I have already bought the Alfalfa?

Thank you for any help I am afforded,
Ian

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Which part of Georgia are you in? That would be of more help than any other information you provide.
When to feed your lawn depends on what it needs.
What is the pH of the soil?
How much organic matter is in that soil?
How well does that soil drain?
How well does that soil retain moisture?
What kind of life is in that soil?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 7:10AM
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Julian125

Thank you for your questions.
Location is ten miles west of Augusta.
The ph is 6.5, I am not sure how much organic matter is in the soil, but it is a rich dark color, it drains well and appears to hold moisture for a week to ten days in the summer heat.
Though there is one small area (2,000 sq ft. that is in more shade and is much more red clay based that dries out a lot quicker.

Thank you

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Perhaps these simple soil tests might be of some help.
1) Soil test for organic matter. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. For example, a good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drainsâ too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 6:44AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

You can apply alfalfa pellets any day, or every day, of the year. Start now. Make the first app at 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Give that at least 3 weeks to 'mellow' and then, any time after that, you can start applying at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Apply the pellets and moisten them. They will swell up and look like green worms. If you drag a hose across them they will break up and fall down into the turf.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:41AM
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