Fertilizing sod

pushmower38October 17, 2012

This is my first post after some heavy duty lurking over the last 6 months. I have learned a lot here and thanks to all who post replies on this forum. A little background... I have been struggling with thin grass, soil compaction, crabgrass, broad-leaf weeds and patch disease over the last several years while following a traditional chemical weed & feed approach and (I now realize) poor cultural practices (esp. mowing too low and watering too frequently). Decided to make the shift to organic this fall. Living on a corner lot, my lawn is divided into several sections. The sunny areas were so taken over with weeds and dead grass from patch disease that they had to be replanted. In mid Sept., I had all the sunny sections raked out and brought in several yards of a 50/50 mix of topsoil and compost. Then added an organic fertilizer (made by Jonathan Green), then rolled the dirt, then installed sod, rolled again and watered. The sod is loving it. It is deep green, and thick with no seam lines and is rooted into the soil. After about 3 weeks, it reached 5-6" in height, so I mowed it using the highest setting on my mower.

Now to my question ... should I fertilize again with the Jonathan Green before winter? As I said, the sod was put down in mid-Sept so it has been in for one month now. I live in southern Westchester County, NY. It seems like the grass usually stops growing around here sometime in November. (Fyi, the Jonathan Green fertilizer is made out of bone meal, feather meal, blood meal, fish meal and molasses.)

Many thanks.

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Here's a picture of the sod, by the way.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:07AM
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A good, organic, lawn food applied now will be taken up by the grasses roots and stored for use next spring when growth reumes. There are many organic lawn care advocates that will tell you that now is the best time to feed your lawn.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:51AM
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You are doing great IMHO.

Apply some of your organic fertilizer and DO NOT forget to mulch mow copious amounts of autumn leaves into your lawn every fall.

If you want to give the soil a little boost for digesting the leaves spray with a little sugar water.

I use deer molasses. Not necessary but it gives the soil microbes a little food for digesting the leaves. You can use any sugar water though.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 5:53AM
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I forgot to mention that if you have any milk that is about to spoil, use that to spray on the soil also.

Good stuff!!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 5:55AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Here are my thoughts on the fertilizer you used.

bone meal - useless unless you really need calcium and potassium.
feather meal - useless unless you plan to be around until the next ice age. Feathers do not decompose in your lifetime.
blood meal - not bad for a protein source in a mix like this. Blood is extremely fast release, so use only in small amounts.
fish meal - also not bad but in the small amount that must be in the bag, color it useless.
molasses - nearly useless. It will help awaken the bacteria in the soil.

In my opinion you will get a much better value (MUCH better!!) by buying a 50-pound bag of alfalfa pellets. Apply at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet as often as you want or can afford. Weekly is not too often. Apply at least 3x per year with two of those apps going down in the fall before the grass stops growing. Even a bag of dog food has more and better protein than the fertilizer you mentioned. The top three items in a bag of organic fertilizer should be strong protein sources. Bone and feathers are not. Soybean, cottonseed, corn gluten, and alfalfa meal/pellets are the top sources of protein (not in that order). Sometimes you see meat byproducts listed on the label. That's good, too.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 1:34AM
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