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Organic lawn help

Posted by greendave79 Lancaster Pa (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 12:19

With a new baby in the house I have tried to go organic with lawn fertilizer. I started using scotts organic choice in the spring along with aerating and some milorganite. With plenty of rain in southeast pa in the spring all seemed to to great my yard was green but it did not have the quick growth of chemicals. I kind of like it with a baby i don't have time to mow every 3 days. I also started using milky spore and plan on using it a third time before fall. So far no grub damage but maybe its from last years chemical grub killer still in soil?? Does anyone have any reviews on milky spore? My friend used it and swears by it after applying 6 times. Of course the heat wave of 2012 hit and all went brown but is now coming back with frequent rain. I still have a lot of brown spots while the neighbors chem lawn seems to have come back faster. Any suggestions or does it just take time with organic to recover from summer scorching? Also I got a lot of weeds in the dead spots. Has anyone used iron or St Gabriels burnout 2 on weeds and had success?? Also i bought some Ironite to help out under my oak trees but a lot is written about high levels or arsenic and lead. The same for milorganite. I will not use any more milorganite becuase of its very high heavy metal content. Ironite and Fast acting Iron plus both have metal content but not as high as milorganite. Any thoughts from anyone? After i applied milorganite under my oak trees a few weeks later the grass was a deep green but I have read oaks suck a lot of water and nutrients from the lawn including Iron. I want to use the fast acting iron but am a little worried of the high arsenic and lead counts. I have noticed as well after a good rain a week later the rest of my lawn is moist if i dig down but under the oak trees its bone dry. Maybe I just need to accept that the oaks will never allow a truly lush lawn unless its the rainy season??? Sorry for the long post but I would appreciate any suggestions on milky spore, organic weed killers and use of ironite or fast acting iron Thanks for the help


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RE: Organic lawn help

You may be spending more money then necessary on products you don't need. Contact your counties Penn State Coopperative Extension Service office about having a good, reliable soil test done so you can know the soils pH, as well as levels of P, K, Ca, and Mg, then dig in with these simple soil tests,
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� 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.
to see what else that soil might need.

Drainage as well as how easily soils allow water penetration is important. If the soil was dry fairly deep down a day or two after a good rain that could mean water is not penetrating the soil but is running off instead.


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