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Too Late to Fertilize?

Posted by fleemo17 z9 CA (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 9, 11 at 16:26

Due to a crazed October, I didn't get a chance to give my lawn it's Fall dose of Alfalfa pellets. Is it too late at this point? Should I wait until Spring or go ahead and give it some chow now? Our overnight temps are just now getting down to the low 40s here near Sacramento (Zone 9). The lawn hasn't stopped growing yet, but appears to be slowing down for the season.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Too Late to Fertilize?

Up here there is still quite a bit of earthworm activity, evidenced by worm castings seen where the leaves have been mulch mowed bakc into the soil, so if my soil is warm enough for the Soil Food Web to be active here it most certainly will be around Sacramento. If your grass is still growing that would be another indication that it is not too late to spread some types of plant food ( or maybe better a food source that the Soil Food Web will feed to the plants).


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RE: Too Late to Fertilize?

Thanks for the reply, Kimmsr.

Are you suggesting something different besides alfalfa pellets?


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RE: Too Late to Fertilize?

Anything will be fine. There is considerable microbial activity going on in the soil all winter. Those microbes like to eat, too. Kimmsr might be suggesting compost. He's a compost guy (and very successful) and I'm a grains guy (and I'm happy with my success).


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RE: Too Late to Fertilize?

I suggest compost, even for those that have to purchase it, because of cost. Animal feeds are, to my mind, quite expensive and difficult to spread.


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RE: Too Late to Fertilize?

For some reason, an inexperienced lawn-steward like myself thinks that compost is harder to spread than animal feeds, though I have yet to spread my first of either. So I know almost nothing about this.

I was under the impression that animal feed pellets (like alfalfa pellets and corn gluten meal) are easier to spread than compost because you can simply use a rotary spreader for the pellets, whereas the rotary spreader isn't capable of spreading compost.

I think you need a special compost spreader which I haven't found online for sale anywhere, and someone on some site wrote that the round bin-like compost spreaders don't really work well anyway. Maybe they're wrong I hope? I sure hope they're wrong and some are available for sale online.

Since you can't use a regular rotary spreader for compost, I thought the only other way is to shovel the compost from a wheel barrow onto the lawn at a couple dozen spots, and then use a longish rake to spread the compost more thinly. It sounds harder to me and more time-consuming than simply using a rotary spreader for animal feed pellets? But of course, I'm probably missing something.


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RE: Too Late to Fertilize?

Neither of the "fertilizer" spreaders (a rotary and a drop) will do a good job of spreading pelleted animal feed, open them just a bit too far and the pellets simple run out. Close it a bit and the pellets just won't flow. I have never had to rake out the compost I spread by flinging it around by the shovel full. Just a bit if care and it will not fall in hugh piles that would need raking.
There are also small manure spreaders you can buy, if necessary.


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RE: Too Late to Fertilize?

I have a basic inexpensive rotary spreader. I have used it to spread seed, synthetic fertilizer, pelleted and non pelleted grains, etc. It works great with pelleted grains and I have never had a problem spreading them. Also, unlike synthetic fertilizer, if you "mess up" spreading grains you never "mess up" the lawn by burning it. Applying organics is kind of like playing horse shoes. Close counts.

A rotary spreader will work just fine.


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