Can this lawn be saved? (Organically?)

emcd124(5)September 14, 2012

I'm a first time homeowner, so Im trying to learn the ropes quickly. We've had our house for a year and in that entire time have not used lawn chemicals or weed suppressants. I mostly pull weeds by hand when possible. We mow high, use a mulching mower, water deeply and infrequently...the things I've been learning are good practices for lawns.

I just dug soil samples and will send them off for a soil analysis. After taking off my samples I will use the rest I dug to do the "jar" test for the soil components.

My concern is that during the awful drought this summer our sprinklers didnt seem to be getting full coverage, so parts of the lawn died off and were rapidly filled in with weeds. It has advanced beyond what hand-pulling weeds can handle. So I took our map of the house and marked off where weeds are. Dots are sparse, solid areas are tons of weeds.

Green is clovers

Red is some sort of thyme like thing I havent yet identified

Blue is crab grass

Yellow areas are more barren dried ground areas.

The main yard is still pretty good except along the sidewalk. The areas between the sidewalk and street are more weed than grass (though some sparse grass is still throughout).

I have no idea what to do. Do I treat it with weedkiller, overseed with grass seed and then go back to trying to be organic next year after good grass coverage is established? Or should I put down some kind of black plastic and try to solarize the whole area and then overseed? I'm nervous about seeding because there is a 15x15 area in our backyard that was clearly reseeded by the former owners but they used a different seed than was used in the rest of the lawn, so it looks differently, grows differently and is a giant pain in the butt. Is it really possible to get a near perfect grass match if you can ID the grass type?

Thanks for any help or advice you can offer!

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Okay, here's the photo of the side lawn, though I realize that the zoomed back version doesnt let you distinguish between "green weeds" and "green grass" very easily.

This is the weed coded red above, that seems to look a bit like thyme:

This is what the main grass looks like, though I suspect the lawn had a blend in it, but this is the kind that predominates:

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:05AM
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Keep in mind that you will never, ever, totally eliminate "weeds" from your turf. The seeds that grow into these "weeds" come in on the wind or are delivered by birds, or they were in the soil and found the right conditions to germinate and grow.
Spraying with "weed" killers is not an acceptable organic solution although correcting soil conditions to make the soil less acceptable to these "weeds" and more conducive to growing turf grasses is. Work on the soil to make that into a good, healthy soil that will grow strong and healthy plants that are better able to compete with the "weeds" (plants you do not want growing where you do not want them growing). A dense turf is the best defense against "weeds".
The United States is a very large and diverse growing area and provides little to no useful information about soil and climatic conditions. Something a bit more precise, such as "West Michigan along the lakeshore" would be of more help.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 8:00AM
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Sorry, I'm in Z5 northern indiana in South Bend, the first county south of the Michigan border. I'm told that our soil is generally either sandy or clay, and ours appears to be sandy. My soil samples are dry today so I'm sifting them to send them off to UMass for analysis. I suspect based on the weed patterns that the former owners may have liberally used salt on the sidewalks in the winters here, perhaps making the areas along the sidewalk more salty and favoring weeds over grass there.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 1:45PM
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Deicers can kill turf grasses where they are used, but Gypsum has been used to aid in moving them out of the soil, or correcting the soil chemistry so turf grasses will grow.
So, northern Indiana with the same sandy soil I have. That soil tends to drain really well so neither moisture nor nutrients stay in the root zone unless that sand has adequate levels of organic matter added. In addition to that test for soil pH and nutrients these simple soil tests might help,
1) Structure. 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. 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 drains´┐Ż 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   September 16, 2012 at 7:11AM
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kaybradj(Portland, OR)

I have a lawn that is comprised of mostly grass, some clover and probably five or six differnt species of "weeds". From my kitchen, my yard appears nice and green and when it is freshly mowed looks great.

From the pics you posted, your lawn looks pretty good to me. I would just keep up the organic lawn care program (it's in an FAQ format by DCHall) and enjoy the green.

My advice is to learn to love your weeds.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:26PM
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We bought a home that had been vacant for a year. The lawn was weeds and whatever grass survived. We made a huge mistake and decided to kill the weeds before working on the grass. This spring we started out with no weeds and little grass.

This summer I handpicked the weeds when I had time and converted to an organic program in the hope of gaining some soil improvement until we were able to reseed. Well, now we don't need to do more than patch a few bare spots. The grass I had has gotten so thick and spread enough that it is out competing the weeds! So, my advice is hand pluck the weeds that you can, ignore the crabgrass unless it is smothering the good grass, leave the grass as high as you can and work on making the grass you do have as healthy as possible.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Obviously improving your soil is going to be number 1. But from the one picture it looks like I can see dirt which means it is very thin. I would overseed, although your pretty much too late for that.

Have you applied any fertilizer (organic)? I'd hit it heavy with alfalfa. You'd be surprised how much it will thicken things up and improve for next season.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 3:17PM
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okay, the samples are getting mailed to UMass this evening. From the leftover dirt that I sampled all over the lawn I did Kimmsr's jar test and I'm thinking the results are not encouraging:

"1) Structure. 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. 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."

In my jar it looks like about 2.5-3 inches of sand on the bottom, 3/4 inch of silt, the finest millimeter of clay and then no organic matter. Am I reading that right? If so it seems like adding organic matter is the order of the day, and I just get about the business of raking a fine 1/3" layer of compost across the lawn? How often can I topdress organic matter to the lawn in those small quantities? monthly? every 2 weeks?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:41AM
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I see a very small amount of organic matter in that jar, so now you know where you are and what you need to do.
You can spread organic matter as often as the Soil Food Web will move it into the soil, which means you need to look at what is going on. I have mulch mowed a pile of leaves that was 6 inches deep (takes a while) that left a fairly thick pile of shredded leaves although not enough to smother the grass growing there and in two weeks there was no evidence that I did that. It was all incorporated that quickly into the soil. However, that requires an active Soil Food Web so it might not happen that fast with your soil right now.
When you look and do not see the stuff you spread previously it is time to spread more. That might be in two weeks oir it may not be for a month or more.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:00AM
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Okay, going to pick up some alfalfa this evening to spread around and start getting OM into the lawn. Will mulch mow the leaves this autumn as well.

here's the pressing question: we have lots of weeds now. they are driving dear husband crazy to the point of distraction. I know I need to improve the soil and build up the SFW, but given how miniscule the current OM is, does that mean that I essentially have NO SFW now, so I could hit the chemical "reset" and reseed button without really harming anything? Or even in the slimmest traces of OM there is still some built up positive environment that would be harmed from chemically killing the weeds?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Once, maybe even twice, spraying herbicides might not harm the soil food Web in a healthy soil, but these products are known to do serious harm to them as well as beneficial insects, aquatics, and birds.
I realize that some people have this fixation that a lawn should be free of any unwanted plant growth, also known as "weeds" or to some wild flowers, even though you will not find that in nature.

Here is a link that might be useful: Affect of herbicides

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 7:43AM
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In yesterdays local paper was an article about a problem in a dune ecology where an herbicide was sprayed to control Oriental Bittersweet, an invasive plant, and now the trees are dying. Suppostion is that the herbicide has invaded these trees roots, so maybe even spraying once with an herbicide is too much.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 7:32AM
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The problem with chemically killing the weeds is that you need to fill in the bare spots. In the areas that we chemically treated to get rid of crabgrass the grass seed isn't doing well several months later. I know plucking the weeds is a pain but it is easier in the long term. I have a bucket with some compost, alfalfa and grass seed. I spend maybe an hour a week plucking weeds and reseeding the bare spots. It's been a slow process but the results have been amazing.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Kimm is right IMHO.

You need LARGE amounts of organic matter.

You are lucky because this is the heart of leaf season.

Mulch mow HUGE amounts into your lawn.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 5:58AM
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Yes, we in the ecological restoration community continue to learn more and more about unintended impacts of herbicide use. It is a very new field.

Speaking as one who knows something of the Mt. Baldy story you referenced, it is tragic. However neither the methods nor the chemical used are what homeowners use for their lawns. Keep up the good work, and I wish the original poster well.
Prairie Chuck

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:06PM
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What is amazing to me is that Rachel Carson pointed out the problems many years ago in "Silent Spring" and we have people today making "new" discoveries of these problems. People seem to have a propensity to reinvent the wheel.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:00AM
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Is it true that the thin areas can be seeded when the ground freezes and the grass will establish quickly in the spring? I know crabgrass is an annual and will be dead by spring, the clover will still be there, but that little ground crawler that hasn't been named; will that survive the winter?
I know that is alot of questions but I'm facing many of the same issues as emcd124. :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:26AM
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We pulled all/most of the weeds by hand to avoid herbicides and then I tried to reseed, watered faithfully, and I'm pretty sure not a single grain of the grass seed sprouted of the 2# i put down, despite unseasonably nice weather in the 60s when I put it down. So at this point I was going to give up and fight the fight again in the spring, hoping a combination of existing grass spreading under the ground and seeding new seeds would close the gaps and crowd out weeds. But would others recommend reseeding in the winter for spring thaws? will the seed avoid being consumed by ants and whatnot if I seed so early?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:10PM
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Optimal soil, not air, temperatures for cool season grass seed germination are in the 60 to 70 degree range, although many will germinate at lower soil, not air, temperatures. For a seed to germinate it needs adequate moisture, but not too much, as well as air and temperture and it will send out a rootlet first and may not send up any green for some time.
Soil temperatures can be much higher then air temperatures because they tend to loose heat much slower, but that can also depend on how much sunlight that soil is exosed to.
Your concern about ants eating those seeds is probably misplaced and you should be more concerned about birds.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 6:39AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

There are a few other aspects of turf that might be coming into play. If your lawn is mostly fescue, then nothing will bring the grass back where it has died out. Fescue is the type of plant that grows from one seed and only spreads by enlarging the plant. Kentucky bluegrass, on the other hand, is a type of plant that will spread across the soil and fill in anyplace where there is room to establish itself. For this reason many people will mix both types of seed when establishing a lawn. You cannot keep weeds out when the grass you have dies out.

You really need to identify your creeping weed. There are two weeds that will choke out most other plants. Those go by the common names of creeping charlie and ground violets. The only organic way to get rid of those is to dig the mass of roots out to about 2 inches deep and sweep through the entire lawn. When you do that, you will start in one corner and move on until you get tired of doing it. When you come back to that project, the most effective clearing will require restarting in the same corner. Usually the redo part goes very quickly because only a few plants reestablished, but that is necessary because you will miss some the first time. The other way is to use chemicals. I would refer you to a different forum (specifically a weed forum) for better information about chemicals...since the people here generally don't use them.

If you have sprinkler problems, that needs to get resolved so this does not happen again.

The best time to reseed northern grasses is the end of summer. As soon as the summer heat breaks and the evening temps start to cool off, go for it. Late August is about right for most years. If you seed in the spring you can expect summer weeds to predominate by about July.

Did you fertilize last year? It looks like you did not.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:11AM
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Fescues, like Blue Grasses and most of the other cool season grasses, will go dormant when the weather gets too hot and dry or gets too cold. A common misconception among many people is that grasses that are brown and not growing, due to lack of water and high temperatures, is dead when it is merely conserving energy by not trying to grow when the grass does not have what it needs to grow.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:16AM
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I remember that we definitely do not have fescue, and the grass we have is whatever is typically used in sod. I had someone ID it and I wrote it down at home, but now I cant remember. Whatever it is, it definitely does spread by roots underground, because it is a constant battle to keep the grass from moving into my flower beds.

We did hand weed the lawn, though I'm sure it wasnt 100% effective, it wound up removing eight bags of weeds from the lawn. exhausting work. And I got the sprinkler guys out and they said three of the heads werent working, so that will get fixed in the spring.

I didnt fertilize, mostly because I was still learning about organic methods and I wasnt at all sure when, what, or how much, and rather than use the chemical stuff I did nothing. This fall I spread some alfalfa pellets after reading up on them in this forum.

One thing I know is something of an issue is that the soil tests say the pH is 7.5 but from reading around it doesnt seem like there is much you can do to bring that down, except perhaps continuously adding OM. So come spring, I'll just keep adding different OM like alfalfa and whatnot as often as the grass seems to be absorbing it, from reading on here it looks like maybe as often as once a month.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:12AM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

You can easily save that lawn.

The weed is either a prostrate spurge or spotted spurge. Looks like an immature kiddo to me. They can get wide and nasty. Get some Spurge Power herbicide. It'll do the trick on almost all the weeds. Nutgrass is a toughy, but you don't seem to have that.

I'd carve out some wide areas under the shade trees and hire someone to burn the grass away with a propane torch weed flamer. Stand nearby with a hose, and do it at dusk when you can see sparks and other fun stuff that fire creates. If you need a permit, get one. One reason for this is the ash will actually blend into the soil as organic material that you obviously need. If you have a neighbor who burns leaves, get the ashes and spread them on your lawn. Work it into the grass in intervals with a rake. You'd be amazed what doing 100-200 square feet at a time will do. If you head to the big box store and pick up some Milorganite, rake that in along with it. And you can then spread some mulched leaf matter all over the place if you want acid-loving grass.

If you want fescue, don't use leaf mulch. It's way too acid and you'll have to buy bags of granular lime to counteract it. That may be a problem if you need to a) put down pre-emergent in February and May, and b) put down spring fertilizer after the last freeze. Regular applications of Milorganite, peat (if you don't have fescue), vermiculite, bagged topsoil, gypsum, lime, compost and compost tea will all build your soil over time. Time is you real ally. It will take time to eliminate weeds and promote soil health. The grass will follow, and at that point you just have to mow proper and often when the grass is growing the most. And leave it be when you have dormant grass or dry weather. One last tip: pick up some SuperThrive in the heaviest growing period and spray your lawn with it. Well worth the money.

In summary: reduce grass areas some feet out from all shade trunks; get some ash on that ground and weed burning is a great way; pick a grass variety or go with what's au natural; use Spurge Power to kill that weed; apply soil additives, especially Milorganite, in regular doses throughout the year.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 11:10PM
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Using a propane torch, which uses a nonrenewable resource, to clear "weeds" probably is not the most organic method available. That method also contributes more Carbon Dioxide to the atmosphere then would covering them with mulch.
If the soil was deficient in Calcium, maybe the ash would be okay, but before adding ash from any source a good, reliable soil test should be done to be sure the ash would not contribute to any problems that already exist.
Hopefully, emcd124 lives where people are knowledgeable about what pollutants burning leaves contribute to our atmosphere as well as the amount of CO2 and they do not waste a valuable resource by burning it up.
I have mulch mowed leaves into my soils for many years and have not seen where they harm the fescues, and in my sandy soil the fescues, as do the other grass species, grow better when the leaves are mulch mowed in and ther eis some organic matter in the soil that will aid in holding moisture as well as feeding the plants.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:23AM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

Use common sense when reading these helpful tips. Propane is renewable, it comes from decaying organic leaf mulch that's thousands of years old and now is in the form of OIL, another renewable resource (which takes thousands of years to renew, but hey, who's counting). The amount of byproducts from burning under your shade trees wouldn't be enough to smoke a slice of bacon much less harm the environment in any cumulative manner. However, maybe a better source of ash would be neighbors that clean out their fireplace? As for fescue, if it's doing well, just keep doing what you're doing man. It doesn't do well in acidic soil, that's a non-subjective fact. Leaves eventually make the soil acidic, that's a non-subjective fact. But always go with your subjective experience over facts, you know? Use your common sense, not what us geniuses come up with.... If your experience differs from what you read, understand that what was written obviously isn't covering the complete conditional experience you ahve.

Milorganite usually helps ANY lawn as a quality, sanitized organic soil additive that increases humic acids slow and natural like God intended. One thing I left out was to use the leaf mulch, pine straw, etc etc under those shade trees after you burn off the grass and accompanying weeds (which usually do much better than grass under trees and burning will destroy the existing surface seeds and some of the seeds just below the surface... controlled burning mimics natural lightning-fire cycles and is one of your best tools for managing nature). Pack the mulch thick enough under the trees to conserve water for the roots near the trees. From time to time, rake it off for a few days to let the soil breath. Then rake it back. This helps the decomposition of the mulch into humic acids for the tree over time so those babies won't raid the lawn area for nutrients. In your neck of the woods, if I understand it right, a good creeping fescue might help your lawn. You'll need to wait until the soil is right though, and keep it sweet.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 12:25PM
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I thought that leaf compost broke down to a Neutral pH, rather than acidic. That's not true?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 7:58AM
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Propane comes from refining natural gas as well as crude oil. Methane comes from digesting organic matter such as leaves and animal manures.
While leaves will have a very low pH, in the 3.2 to 3
.8 range, the composting process will change that to a near neutral pH, in the 6.5 to 6.8 range.

Here is a link that might be useful: where propane comes from

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 11:43AM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

Yes, that's where propane comes from. It is a product of oil which is a renewable resource OVER GEOLOGIC PERIODS OF TIME. ha ha ha. puh-LEASE.... =) Balance bro, balance. Oil is your friend, too. Just like fire and smoke. The indian nations couldn't have surived without all of them.

Leaf compost might be neutral but only after all the acid from decomposition has gone into your soil. THAT TAKES TIME. You don't want composting ON THE LAWN, you want it in a compost bin. You can't cut that corner.

The key is balance. Your grass will tell you. If you fertilize and it doesn't help, the ground is too acidic for the roots to suck up the nutrients. So put out some lime and gypsum. Start easy with a bag of each. You aren't going to overdo it unless you have wierd Large West soil. If grass is acidified, it won't drink in the NPK, but your trees will suck up those nutrients, and you may notice more twigs from excessive growth. Hence stress to the trees. The birds won't mind, though, they'll dig that. Be sure to empty your lint traps under your trees.

Too much leafy matter on your grass, and you get moss. Which isn't necessarily bad, but you want grass. I have TONS of moss under the maples, oaks and dogwoods. It's like carpet. Hundreds of square feet of it. (old milk and stale beer help moss) Don't have to mulch, but I do anyway to keep the moss healthy in the hot summers. And all the leaves decay over the winter under these trees to protect roots that have come to the surface. Don't have too cold a winters here. Last year, the petunias last through and rebloomed in March. In hanging baskets. Two years ago, hard freezes. Crazy weather. When the leaves are good and brittle in spring, toss them in the shredder or put them in a large metal can, punch a hole in a heavy 4 mil trash bag, stick the handle of your electric weedeater through the hole from the inside out, secure the bag to the can with a bungee cord and shred the bejeezes out of your leaves. Then they will compost over the summer much better. And they burn quicker in that barrel, too!!! =D

Stick with Milorganite as the best overall organic additive if you can afford it. It's a tried and true product. It also makes deer leave your yard. They don't like the odor (which to us is not noticeable unless you stick your head in the bag).

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 11:12PM
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I have mulch mowed leaves, every fall, for many years now and have no moss in many of those areas, just grass growing in fairly lush and needing less water. There are a couple of places where I have not been able to mulch mow in enough leaves, and it is shady, where some moss is starting to appear, just as moss is growing on the north facing cement blocks that make up the house foundation. I also have moss growing on some sand that gets no organic matter or supplemental water and is in full sun as well as on the crushed dolomitic lime in the driveway, that is also in full sun.
Where you have moss growing check the amount of organic matter in your soil as well as how well it drains. Moss is a first stage plant that Ma Nature grows to increase the amount of organic matter in the soil so more advanced plants can grow.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 7:13AM
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OK, that is more in line with an article I read about mulching in maple leaves on the lawns at some university in Michigan, I think it was. By Spring the leaves were gone and the grass was green.
Does the aecetic acid of pine needles and the tannic acid of oak leaves change the pH of the soil, in the long term?
I understood that those acids break down quickly and that in fact; it is near impossible to move the pH at all for more than a temporary fix. Is it now claimed to be a false belief?
It has been a troublesome subject for me for a long time, not only for blueberries but for pink/blue Endless Summer Hydrangeas as well. :)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:18AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Blanket I think you missed the post about the OP's pH. It's already 7.5. Limestone is only 8.0, so this soil is not going to need liming for a few centuries.

Secondly, I see you are new here. Welcome to GardenWeb! Please do not consider what follows to be anything personal. I believe you have a lot to share with the forum. I disagree with some of what you have said; however, I am not the master of all truth. I learn from people all over, so I'm just doing what you're doing - trying to share.

This is a forum to get help within an organic program. Spurge Power and SuperThrive are both chemicals and not approved for organic use. If you are going to mention them on this forum, you should also mention that they do not fit into an organic program. Some people are more concerned about their organicity than others and may get really P.O.ed if they use something recommended here that is not organic.

Third, why would you want to burn anything from the garden? You may as well burn your money. If nothing else, make compost out of it. In this case, cover it with mulch if you want to clear out from under a tree. I don't care where your fuel comes from (this is not the Environmentally Friendly Lawn Care Forum), I just don't see the value in burning. Sure there are lightning storms that start fires, but where gigantic herds of bison were allowed to migrate around and pound the prairie until it looked like the surface of the moon, grasses thrived and fires did not sweep through. And where the pH is already 7.5, the OP certainly does not need alkaline ash on the soil.

Fourth, annual applications of top soil for a few decades lead to a situation like this...

That soil is about a foot deeper in the middle than when it started. They had to put a barrier around to keep the soil from washing out onto the sidewalk. That's another waste of money.

Fifth (I think I'm half way to the end), I don't choose to use Milorganite. Why? Because it has the second highest concentration of heavy metals of any gardening product behind Ironite. This is according to testing at Washington State. I prefer alfalfa (or corn, or soybean meal, or even used coffee grounds) because it has immeasurably low amounts of heavy metals and it costs less. I certainly will not begrudge people using Milorganite, but for those who believe it to be too good to be true, it really is.

Sixth, when you are packing mulch in around a tree, be sure to keep it away from the trunk. The microbes that decompose the mulch are the same ones that cause dry rot in wood (tree trunks). Tree roots seem to be protected from rot but tree trunks are not.

Seventh, there is no need to rake mulch away to let the soil breathe. When you do that you are breaking up the family of microbes in the mulch and likely killing off a majority of them. Microbes live in their own micro environment. When you bury the surface dwellers and expose the bottom dwellers to the fresh air, you kill them both. Leave them alone. It does not help decomposition, it slows it down. If digging the mulch out from under trees was a good idea, Mother Nature would have covered the Earth with raking type animals. Instead She covered the Earth with grazing and browsing animals.

Eighth, you DO want composting on the lawn and you DO NOT want composting in the compost bin. Now I should explain. Composting is normally thought of as the decomposition of garden waste and kitchen scraps in a controlled bin. It receives carbohydrates and protein as food which decomposes in the process. I like to think of it as external digestion. When you apply the high protein of an organic fertilizer (including Milorganite) to your lawn, you are applying protein directly to the lawn. Actually it falls through the grass and gets applied to the soil, but then, that is where that fertilizer begins to compost. People need to unlearn the idea that 'compost is king', meaning compost piles, and learn that the most cost effective thing you can do is feed real protein directly to the soil.

Ninth, deer will happily wander through Milorganite covered soil when they are hungry enough. Nothing stops all deer. They are individuals like we are.

Tenth, the Indian nations had oil and gas? Hadn't heard that.

I'm happy to explain anything I've said and go deeper into the reasoning.

kimmsr is a smart guy. He somehow has a very nice lawn without the use of commercial fertilizers. I still need to purchase organic fertilizer to get my lawn dense and green. He and I do not agree all the time, but we are both headed in the same direction. But anyway if you can avoid arguing with him, especially about stuff that is off topic, you'll have an opportunity to learn a lot more. I don't agree with either one of you on the fuel issue, but I'll bring it up on the Renewable Fuel Forum (if there was one and if I cared enough to look for it).

Again, welcome and I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:44AM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

Thanks pal (dchall). Good point about his soil pH. If it is alkaline, you have what you need for fescue, and you could even stand some peat moss mixed into the top soil and Milorganite as an annual top dressing for a few years. Tilling would help, but if you don't have hard pan, top dressing will be enough. The organic material will work its way into the ground and form healthy enough topsoil for lime-loving grasses.

To the point, any organic program should be conducted with common sense. A one-time application of Spurge Power is not going to harm Mother Earth in any way. Neither would a few repeated applications of SuperThrive to get a new lawn going. Dust from a meteor shower will drop more heavy metals on your yard than a dozen years of applying Milorganite. Rainfall bringing down unscrubbed heavy metals from a nearby factory or heavily used highway will do the same (though the nitrogen from the highway exhaust may be helpful). Use common sense. Look around yourself and be aware of your surroundings. Do it now. Step away from the phosphorous in front of you and consider what is around you in the air. That's your reality.

The idea is to succeed at getting a lawn to sustainable equilibriam THAT IS HEALTHY. Just like a human body, the process of restoring balance will have short-term and minor side effects. People often catch colds when detoxing or fasting because the body gets used to its poor state and establishes equilibrium at a less-than-desirable set point. Detoxing and fasting break that balance for a short period and have some side effects. And a lawn rehab program will do that, too.

So use an off-the-shelf herbicide or growth stimulator if you want to folks. Just don't get in the habit of buying these things as a substitute for proper lawn management. Use them for intervention and correction. Short term.

Learn that fire is a great tool in the garden. Mother Nature has been using fire since day one, and in fact, fire was there From The Beginning (cue ELP). You may have heard of lightning???

The other points aren't worth addressing, but thanks for oversharing. =) And don't think I missed your point about being new here. lol Like I said, I've been on the Net since the Jurassic Age. Please don't go any deeper. I can take only so much passive-aggressive hit-and-run evasion. Stick to your guns, and when you run out of bullets, I'll still be loaded for bear and your six will be fine sweetie. Let's all be thankful this Christmas for the patience of our fellow man. And Mother Earth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eat Milorganite

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:45PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I will continue this off topic discussion as long as the OP is satisfied that a solution to the original issue has been presented.

Blanket - It is only your opinion that the occasional use of herbicide and vitamins are of no consequence. If that is your opinion, there are other forums for you to discuss those options and offer them as advice. In those forums you don't get called out for suggesting them because many/most of the members are of similar opinion. Did anyone think that a one time application of DDT would be of any consequence? Yet 70 years later there are still significant traces of DDT in almost all soil used in agricultural production. I'm not sure what Spurge Power is or what the ramifications of using it are. My point was that this is an organic forum. People come here to find organic solutions to problems they have encountered. Sometimes there is no organic solution or the organic solution is too expensive to consider. When the organic possibilities have been exhausted, then the OP should be informed and let him/her decide what approach to take. If it is a chemical solution they decide on, then they should go to a different forum - one where members are more familiar with the proper use of chemicals. There they can discuss alternative approaches from the many chemicals available. This forum was started specifically to have a place to go for for non-chemical discussions about lawn care.

My opinion of Milorganite is based on testing. I have choices. I can use a very effective, low cost fertilizer with no heavy metals or I can use another fertilizer, slightly more expensive, which does have heavy metals. I choose to use the metal-free option. I'm not suggesting you do something different. I'm offering some information which you left out. I presume you left it out because in your opinion it is not important. I am helping people to become more informed. Dust from a meteor shower is irrelevant to the point.

Whose idea is it to succeed at getting a lawn to sustainable equilibrium? Not mine! Are you sure you are not looking for the Sustainable Equilibrium Lawn Forum? Because I think there are enough of y'all to start one. Organic is not sustainable. It never was, never was meant to be, and hopefully never will be based on sustainability. Even if all you use is compost, there is not enough compost to go around. Organic is about (1) the use of excess food production to fertilize plants and (2) the use of biological deterrents to insect or disease control. There's no requirement for sustainability. In fact there seems to be almost no interest in sustainability in this or any other organic lawn forum. I might add that if you are interested in achieving a sustainable equilibrium, then you really need to pay close attention to kimmsr. He's come the closest of anyone I've seen on any forum to achieving that objective. My lawn needs fertilizer every year. His seems to get nitrogen from the air.

Fire may have been here since prehistory, but it is no substitute for good lawn care. How can burning off the food value of dormant grass be of any value to a lawn? You're suggesting burning off the carbohydrates and protein just so you can get the value of the potassium? Seems crazy to me. The potassium is going to be there whether you burn the rest of the good stuff off or not.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 6:11PM
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David, you might want to look again at the tests results of heavy metals in Milorganite which have changed a lot since 1990. I have not been able to find that Washington State University test but would not be surprised that it was done back in the 1980's.
Burning of yard waste has been known to produce prodigious amounts of pollutants since the 1970's and has been banned in many places since the 1980's. No one that is a little concerned about the environment would burn yard waste today.
Spurge Power is simply an unacceptable product for anyone that considers themselves to be organic to use. Superthrive is a product that is simply meant to part you and your money. If you work at making your soil into a good, healthy soil it will not do anything for your plants and if your soil is so depeleted that you think it might help there is most likely not enough active members of the Soil Food Web to convert it into something your plants can use.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 7:31AM
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Sustainable grass may easily be achieved with mulching maple leaves into the turf with our short growing season. Maples in this region are converting mineral nonorganic soils deep in the earth to organic leaves which could easily provide for the health and well being of lawns that are alive 2 months in the spring and 2 months in the fall of the year.

For San Antonio, TX and that growing season, probably not. :)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:33AM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

Someone needs a pill. Milorganite is awesome organic stuff. Using a weed torch puts less pollutants into the environment than a field full of farting cows. SpurgePower kicks ass as a one or two time solution for that particular spurge the gentleman has in his yard. Won't hurt anything. Now we can ping pong egos or shut up and let it stand that there are many different ways to look at the same situation. If it were me, I'd ignore people who don't use common sense and who use message boards to bully opinions that aren't congruent with one's Liliputian world view................

Here is a link that might be useful: Enjoy the burn

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:41PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Here is the webpage for Milorganite in the WSDA database. The page was updated in June of this year.

Here is a page for an alfalfa based organic fertilizer to compare.

It is not clear whether the the Washington State database is from testing or from registration form provided by the manufacturers.

Blanket - If you read what I wrote, I never said Milorganite was not a useful organic product. I said I choose to use a material with no metals in it. You're arguing with yourself.

Using a weed torch for spot treating individual weeds is one thing. Burning an entire lawn to get rid of one spreading weed is my point of contention. Personally I would use a one- or two-time chemical treatment to get it over and done with. But I would not go to the extent you have in recommending it on this forum. When you kill the grass in place, all the nutrients remain on top of the soil rather than drifting away in the smoke. Again, your cow reference has absolutely nothing to do with the concept.

I don't see this as an ego test. I believe we are filling in the blanks on various solutions to the original issue as well as working on etiquette for this forum. Yes there are different approaches and each has pros and cons. We're discussing them.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

Yardowner, it appears you have either a red fescue or a rough bluegrass there. Not sure though because that image doesn't show the crown or tip close enough. No big problem though, if you want that same grass, you'll need to nail down the identification. That "clover" there is oxalis, a common weed that the Spurge Power will easily kill. Spurge Power by the way is a 1-ounce treatment. You don't have enough space for more than 1-ounce of the stuff, so just put an ounce in about four gallons of water and really blast the weedy areas AND ONLY THE WEEDY AREAS . It should easily kill the broadleaf weeds completely. You shouldn't need more than two treatments, probably only one. So don't lose your cookies over an ounce or two of herbicide. It won't make a bit of difference to the environment, trust me. See the web page listed below to see some info on spurge.

If you clearly define the borders between the drip zone of your trees and where you want a lawn, you can use all the mulch in the world under those trees after you've flamed the existing vegetation. You should apply the mulch IMMEDIATELY after flaming because seeds love the mix of humus and ash, and any seed that remains uncindered will sprout.

Block the sun under the dripline with weed fabric and landscape pins, newspaper and cardboard or whatever you use. I never use weed fabric, newspaper or cardboard within the first 18-inches of any shrub or within about five feet of any tree. You just want organic mulch there. Save the cardboard for the borders where the mulch meets the turf. And nail it down tight with landscaping pins. You'll never see grass intrude into the mulch or weeds intrude into the grass. And by keeping the cardboard further away from tree trunks, you won't see roots coming out of the ground for air.

Periodically, you can rake the thick mulch back from your trees to allow the ground to breath and let the leaf mold get some air to further natural composting. Usually, there will be a nice layer of humus-y ground right under your leaf mulch, and you can scrape that off with a hoe, shovel it up and sprinkle it on the lawn, already composted. Better yet, toss a bag of Milorganite into a bucket and mix an equal amount of this surface compost and apply by hand like you're seeding the lawn. It's amazing how quickly bacteria and other living organisms go to work on dirt if you do this a couple times a year.

Your lawn needs this organic material, sunshine, air and water, rainwater if you can harvest it. A drip system would be best if you can swing it. Slow down the runoff from your roof in any way you can. You don't seem to have a huge yard, so if you can harvest rain from your ample roof, do it. Collect rain and walk your yard with a sprinkling can or two in the early morning hours of spring to keep the sunny areas of the grass moist, but not soaking wet. Any amount of water will help in regular, light applications. Gives you time to assess the environment. Those yellow barren areas? Lay down pea gravel, a rock garden, some rosemary bushes or anything else that doesn't need nutrients and water. Go with it, don't try to fight it.

Overwater under your trees you want moss in your backyard, which is another subject. Moss makes a great groundcover. Not everyone likes it though and prefer concrete and manicured grass to the natural look of moss, mulch and a wilder looking grasses. Some folks do like the look of concrete curbing and try to mimic golf course roughs, but stormwater runoff is one of my environmental pet peeves. Concrete causes much more harm to our environment than light use of herbicides, but hey, some people like turf next to hardscapes and don't really care about the environmental impact of that sort of thing. I like mulch and deep rooted plants up against concrete so the runoff never makes it to the hardscape, hence anything in the runoff stays vertical.

You know, when a person spills a little gas on their concrete, and it runs off into the stormwater, it causes more harm than using a half-gallon of herbicides in your yard. So don't sweat the use of herbicides in the short term if your goal is to rehab a lawn and your goal isn't to store up unuseful knowledge on soil chemistry. That side lawn can easily be rehabed with Spurgepower, top dressing once a year and mowing properly. You can't do much about your stormwater runoff unless your municipality would let you plant some Knock-out Roses about six feet apart around three feet from the sidewalk. They will get huge and suck up a ton more stormwater runoff than grass will. Flame all the grass/weeds from the sidewalk to six foot off and plant the roses smack dab in the middle of that strip. Six feet apart. They will get big enough to warrant that. Use a Bayer rose fertilizer/systemic on your knockouts and mulch them well with weed fabric and wood chips. Prune heavily every 2-3 years, down to a foot if you'd like. Once established, Knock-outs can be pruned to the ground and come back healthy.

If you can burn off the lawn on the other side of your sidewalk, you can lay down a weed fabric and extra-thick mulch and do what you can to further eliminate stormwater runoff by using water guzzling lilies. That seems to be your biggest environmental issue: stormwater runoff.

Again, any amount of herbicide from a few ounces of herbicide a year that makes it onto your sidewalks and streets will likely be rendered impotent by Mother Nature before it reaches the end of your municipal stormwater runoff system. It's designed by the manufacturer to be that way. Which is why it's legal. More important is to avoid spilling gas when you cut your lawn, keep oil leaks to a minimum and be careful with any fuel oil spills. Just one mishap would do far more damage than using several gallons of herbicide in a year, see? Suburban citizens with lawns should always be conscious of where the curb meets the grass. If you can eliminate that juncture, you'll do more for your environment than any avoidance to herbicides. Do what you can to make stormwater remain in your yard, feeding your trees and not getting onto hardscapes. Keep stormwater vertical, soaking directly downward into your yard and not running off into the concrete and asphalt.

Here is a link that might be useful: Prostrate spurge

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 3:46PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

There must be more than 100 Gardenweb forums where discussions of chemical herbicide and fertilizer is encouraged. Why must you continue to violate the basic premise of organic lawn care with your repeated messages promoting chemical use? This forum was created so you would have a place to stay (the other lawn forum) and we would have a safe place away from people like you preaching the use of poisons. Please stop it! You are not appreciated.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 11:53PM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

The standards for organic farming were not established in this forum's corner of the universe. They are established and well known. For decades. Encoded in law. Organic farms use herbicides and pesticides for short term intervention.

The laws governing the organic industry allow that because there is wide acceptance that some well-researched products like Spurge Power will not have a long-term impact unless used improperly, and do not violate the practice of organic farming unless used constantly.

Using an ounce of the excellent broadleaf weed killer Spurge Power is not going to upset the balance of the universe or anyone's yard. As for the balance of the mentalities of people who associate personal feelings with the sharing of information in a free, American way, who can say?

Thankfully, no information forum is a place to feel appreciated for grown adults but rather is a place to share what common sense can be shared to help one's fellow man achieve a goal through a wide variety of information.

To feel appreciated, I would strongly encourage anyone to get active in work with helping the poor, especially during the holidays, or perhaps disadvantaged children or the ill and aging. The discussion of appreciation and feelings however has nothing to do with killing off weeds and promoting a healthy organic lawn, so that's the last word on that from this balanced corner of the universe......

THE ORIGINAL QUESTION IN THIS SPECIFIC FORUM, which some folks have ignored in repeated rants, included the following subquestion, directly quoted to avoid confusion:

"Do I treat (the lawn) with weedkiller, overseed with grass and then go back to trying to be organic next year after good coverage is established."

My answer is emphatically YES. Use an ounce of Spurge Power and wipe out that nasty prostrate spurge before it gets all over the yard. it also will kill wood sorrel, oxalis plus other broadleaf nasties. And using a weed flamer in some areas will cook viable weed seeds near the surface. Soil microbes will rebound just like they do after a natural fire event in any environment, actually quicker since weed flaming is nothing more than a few moments of fire that destroys weed seed and green growth cell structure quickly without completely incinerating the material to ash.

Spurge Power mimics an accelerated allelochemical reaction common to certain cover crops like oats, mustard, radish, buckwheat, barley, sweet clover sorghum, subterranean red clover or wheat. It was not developed by an evil mad genius wanting to poison the earth. It mimics natural weed control, only it acts faster. All of those aforementioned cover crops, winter rye is another and even some fescues, have chemicals in them that are toxic to weeds either when green or when decomposing. Or sometimes both. This is the uber-organic solution. Not something to soil your panties over. =) lol Some people will appreciate that answer. Others not so much. The late and majestic Kim Jung Il, omnipotent supreme godhead of Korea, probably would not appreciate my answer nor others like him who take themselves so seriously that they soon become seriously dead from taking themselves so seriously. RIP Kim Jong, and apologies in spirit for Romanizing your venerable name bequeathed to you by your most esteemed and gorgeous mother and honored by a thousand years of progeny. And the world keeps on turning.....

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Weed Info

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 11:02AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)


    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:59AM
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The use of any synthetic product, such as a "weed" poison, is simply unacceptable to any real organic gardener/farmer. Anyone that uses those materials, even once, would not be considered an organic gardener/farmer by those of us that would not use them.
Someone that would come to an organic forum and advocate the use of synthetic materials is not someone that any organic gardener/farmer should, or would, listen to.
It is not so much the poisons that one person spreads around but the total amount that is spread and the fact that many of these poisons combine to produce far more potent poisons.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

!! Merry Christmas to all !!

Hopefully the link below will help anyone interested in the machinations of Nazi environmental organic cultists who seek to dominate small areas of American information exchange.

I'm going to take a shot of Spurge Power in my eggnog. lol

!! Merry Christmas !!

Here is a link that might be useful: How the

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:24AM
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1. There are no "laws" governing organic growing, principles yes but not laws.
2. These principles, that are well established, are under siege by some people that are trying to enter the organic growing area without practicing organic methods. People that advocate the use of any synthetic product at any time are not organic.
3. The organic standards have been weakened considerably to accomodate the larger Ag Commodity companies that do not want to have to spend the time necessary to become truely organic.
4. There are some of us that are trying to maintain the principles of organic growing in spite of being refered to as Nazis by those that wish to weaken those principles.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 7:05AM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

1. Laws governing organic growing listed below

Here is a link that might be useful: Laws governing organic farming

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:12PM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

2. Addressing the homeowners initial question, link to a an excellent herbicide below. One ounce of this stuff is perfectly acceptable under government standards for certified organic. So the answer is "Yes" to the question you raised in this forum. Use it and implement an organic mulching program.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spurge Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:23PM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

emcd124: The federal government's USDA uses small doses of a common herbicide triclopyr and even, gasp, Roundup, when it conducts forest floor studies (most common soil type east of the Mississippi are leached out, acidic clay soils within forest understories). USDA has to operate within EPA's bounds. I'd strongly encourage everyone to write the USDA and encourage them to use no Roundup at all, and as little triclopyr as feasible.

Here is a link that might be useful: And we'll have fun, fun, fun.....

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

How to spot Nazi environmental socialists, link below:

Typical forum practice is to use repetitive messages to crowd out alternative points of view, a patently un-American practice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic idolatry, idolatry by any other name

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:35PM
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Blanket(7b, 9b)

One last last thing. The stuff that's in Spurge Power (link a few posts above to manufacturer's page) breaks down much more rapidly than earlier generation herbicides. That's why it's OK to use in very small amounts, like the ONE OUNCE being suggested in reply to the initial question about using herbicide for a short run. One ounce wouldn't harm anything or anyone. There is no cumulative problem with one ounce of Spurge Power being used to wipe out that prostrate spurge.

The very worst problem with herbicides, especially when used repetitively, is when you use dead plant matter that's been sprayed and encorporate that into a compost pile. Now on that point, go Nazi and make the whitewash blanket statment "NEVER DO THAT" when it comes to using anything inorganic in a compost pile. The environmental socialist pinko commies have a point in that regard. Compost should always be purely organic stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: Avoid Chemicals In Composte Piling It On

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:55PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

So, blanket, by suggesting that anti-organic materials are fair for discussions in an organic forum, are you also suggesting that any topic is fair for any forum? It is okay to discuss carnivorous plants in the rhododendrons forum? The whole purpose of separating the forums is so people know where to go to find information. People who want to discuss organic lawn care come here. People who want to discuss the proper use of herbicides in a lawn care program would go to the regular lawn care forum. In the several years since this forum was formed, everyone gets that distinction. You, however, don't get it. Every now and then someone (me included) makes a mistake. Once they are reminded of the nature of the forum, they always back off. For some reason, you have persisted in forcing your anti-organic discussion into the forum. If none of the forums held any standards, then carnivorous plants would be fair game in any forum.

The reason GardenWeb has two lawn care forums is because discussions about organic methods and materials caused fights. Some organic proponents are intolerant of any chemical use. You have already met them here. Some chemical proponents refuse to believe that organic methods work. When there was only one lawn forum, fights ensued among those two factions. The fights went on for weeks and weeks. They would flare up spontaneously in multiple threads. At the time almost every thread would degenerate into off-topic, personal abuse, bullying, and name calling. Non participant members fled GardenWeb for other forums where fighting was absolutely not tolerated. In an attempt to stop the hemorrhage of membership, GardenWeb created this organic forum specifically for those who are intolerant of of chemicals. But it was too late. Virtually all the talented lawn gurus left for a friendlier environment. The fighting here stopped, but so did the information flow. Both forums languished for a full year. In fact the original forum is nowhere near where it was in 2004, and this one suffers from a lack of diverse ideas. Yet the upstart lawn forums elsewhere manage accelerating membership. A year or so after old folks left, a few came back to see how bad it was. But to this day the majority of them spend all of their time on other forums.

As I mentioned, these fights drive people away. Why is that? Because most people are intolerant of bullies who will not follow the rules set forth for social behavior. GardenWeb is here to discuss gardening according the the forum topic headings. If you want to discuss radio controlled cars, there are forums elsewhere on the Internet for that. This organic lawn forum was created specifically to stop fights. Up until you entered the discussions, there were no fights. All we're trying to do is orient you to the etiquette so this forum remains a haven for organic discussions. But you refuse to take the hints. Your contributions are more than welcome up to the point where you drift away from the general nature of the forum. This forum was created for the organic minded folks to discuss better organic methods and materials. It should go without saying that anti-organic discussions would be properly directed to the original lawn forum. That forum is wide open to any lawn discussions. The organic approach is now tolerated, but there are no fights anymore like the one you have instigated. Still the damage is done.

We are not Nazis simply because we want to adhere to basic standards of organic discussion. If you had made a simple rookie error in mentioning your herbicide, you would have gotten the first hint and withheld further discussion. You might even have explored the other lawn forum where chemical discussions are promoted and organics are tolerated. Instead, you came back here on full offense defending your anti-organic approach.

Somehow I feel certain you will reply to this message with even more unnecessary detail of how to properly apply your favorite herbicide. Sigh!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 1:07AM
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Please direct me to the friendly organic lawn care forum...the one with the gurus and membership increasing.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Wow! I agree that a variety of methods can be used to maintain a lawn. I will also agree that this, being the organic lawn site, should stick with organic methods. That is what I am here to learn about andthe local Tru Green guy regularly stops by to tell me about the other stuff. The real reason he stops by is that my non organic neighbors who use his service keep pointing at my lawn. Tru Green has even left signs in my yard with his logo. So, herbicide, pesticide, organic, inorganic, I know, as does the lawn care guy, that compost, alfalfa, coffee grounds, etc. show the best results.

I'm trying to grow vegetation, not kill it. That seems to me the basic difference between organic and inorganic lawncare.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:14PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Do what we did at mom's... Mulch mow everything round year. The only thing that is synthetic was fertilizer due to the size of the lot only once a year. That's about as pure organic as possible. We never cared about weeds. Just mow regularly and it looks good enough. We had plenty of big trees to give us a lot of leaves to mulch mow during the fall. After that terrible drought in Houston, zoysia came back although st augustine did suffer massive die back but nobody cared for grass, just trees that were given supplemental watering. Grass nearby was lucky to get watering at all...

It's getting very old to keep bringing up Rachel Carson. She turned out to be wrong on a lot of things... Banning DDT caused a lot of health problems to humans... If I've learned anything, don't believe anything hard core environmentalists tell you... They believe in population control. Very disgusting.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:26PM
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