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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:47 am
Posts: 9
Location: Wichita Falls,TEXAS
I have been requested to make recommendations on an organic program for fertilizing baseball fields. The requestor does not wish to submit for soil sampling at this time, but stated that it will be done after the season is completed (after my insistance that it SHOULD be accomplished). I have my own thoughts, but was interested in hearing yours. Soil is basically sandy loam and (red) clay. I will check for worm content. I also prefer to use liquid amendments, but will begin using dry.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:56 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Reply to a Dirt Doctor post

Take a look at the FAQ at the top of this forum and see if there is anything useful in that for you. I run a little contrary to Howard in my approach to turf management. If you follow his approach you'll spend between $30 and $50 per 1,000 square feet. My approach is more like $10 per 1,000 square feet.

I am not an advocate of doing soil testing unless there is a problem where nothing will grow. If grass is growing, then stopping the use of chemicals always helps and adding organic fertilizers always helps. I am also not an advocate for the willy nilly use of compost. If there hasn't been a recent 4-day flood or the use of fungicides like the commercial ones or sulfur or baking soda, then the microbe count in the soil is probably fine. They just need to be fed with real food. For food I would visit the local feed store and see what kinds of ground up grains you can get in a 50-pound bag for under $10. I get whole ground corn meal for $4.50. I also do not buy into the use of molasses (wet or dry), humates, or lava sand. Once you start using real food to feed the microbes, the issues that might have led you to use these three materials seem to disappear. Now where Howard and I wholeheartedly agree is with the use of greensand on alkaline soils. I'm not sure how it works but I've seen it used instead of fertilizer to develop an incredibly green and dense turf.

David Hall
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum

 Post subject: Field Remediation
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:16 am 

Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
My experience has been different in this. The least expensive first move and most bang for the buck will come from humates to make sure your soil has a broad range of the necessary trace minerals (sorry, Dave, no offense but my experience tells me this is necessary) and molasses to support and quickly increase your microbe population. Both can be applied in liquid form. The chemical fertilizers that have probably been used on that soil for years has likely locked up or stripped many trace minerals and compromised the microbe population. I could be wrong, but it's inexpensive enough to make sure that it's worth the added effort.

While the grains will add organic material and compounds that will help loosen the soil and feed the microbes, especially the beneficial fungi, it is not in itself a complete nutrition source. You'll need some balanced fertilizer and you can get it in liquid form (best choice for large areas) in an affordable form from several sources. If it were me doing this again (I helped in the remediation of my kids' school field for soccer a few years ago), I'd do liquid as you suggest and the first call I made would be to either Brad Watson @ Watson Ranch, (Brad is a frequent contributor here on the forum) Medina or Garden-Ville though there are others with good products out there. There are distributors who do business in your area, my personal favorite being Natural First in NW Fort Worth, and a couple of others.

Physical aeration prior to application of these materials will enhance the process, but it's not mandatory for them to work. Considering you're working in that clay soil, aeration should be relatively easy and I'd do it if it were me. The kids playing on the field will pound it down, and you'll need a healthy soil to counterbalance that activity.

Good luck, God bless and thank you for taking the time and making the effort to do this for the kids. They'll appreciate it.

Kathe :D

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