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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:14 am 
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Joined: Sat May 03, 2003 10:48 am
Posts: 241
Location: Arlington
I am working on about 4 acres of lawn. My initial plan was to spread a compost/green sand/lava sand mixture this fall to get an organic program started. That plan went out the door when I received a quote for the materials and labor to apply them. New plan is to apply Medina Soil Activator at a rate of 5 gal/acre this fall, and again in the spring a couple of weeks prior to applying corn gluten meal. The spring application will also include aerated compost tea. I have two questions. Is this an effective plan? And, what is the differance in effect between using dry vs liquid humate? (I am planning a humate application next summer) I really enjoy this forum and appreciate all the great information I have found here. Thanks in advance for your help.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2003 12:00 am 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I always like to put in a plug for minimizing turf in a landscape. If your 4 acres is part of a 12 acre landscape, then you're about right. Otherwise, if you are 100% in turf, I would subtly suggest putting 3 acres into other landscaping including ground covers, shrubs, and trees that require just about zero water and other maintenance. All the gardens in Better Homes and Gardens are landscaped, not just turfed.

The compost bill for 4 acres is breath taking isn't it? I very seldom suggest anyone use compost. Unless you have a major problem, you likely don't need it. I would start fertilizing now and forget the other items you're planning on. Fertilizer now will build the microbes strength over the winter and get your soil ready for spring rains and flush grass growth.

My favorite fertilizer is ordinary corn meal but I also really like alfalfa pellets. Either one can be applied at a rate of 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet (450 pounds per acre in round numbers). You can get either one in bulk at feed stores for about $6.50 per 50-pound bag. You might get a slightly better deal for buying so many bags, but maybe not. There seems to be a rash of folks on Dirt Doctor forums who are mistaking corn meal for corn GLUTEN meal. Huge difference! Corn GLUTEN meal costs 6x more than ordinary corn meal. They also have different uses in the garden, so just be sure you get what you need and not the other one.

Application of dry or liquid humate sort of jump starts the process that the fertilized microbes will give you. With fertilizer they might take a year to get there, while the humate will get you there tomorrow. I prefer to take the year because the microbes will build everything all at the same time in balance and harmony rather than forcing the end result. If you do not fertilize, you will eventually get to the same end result in 15 years.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2003 10:36 am 
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Joined: Sat May 03, 2003 10:48 am
Posts: 241
Location: Arlington
Thank you Dchall. There is one part of the property that is still wild, a 1/2 acre stand of trees with natural underbrush that we do not touch. There have been some interest in turning this into a picnic area, but I like to have a little wild on the property.

This property is in an industrial park in South Dallas. The company is spread out over pretty close to two city blocks. We put in over three dozen new trees 3 or 4 years ago. The soil under the turf is in pretty bad shape. Evidence of this is the excess of fire ant mounds (I drenched 32 mounds last Sat.), the excess of weeds (more weeds than grass in some places), heck in some areas of the lawn I can't even tell what type of grass was origionally there. I also have 14 of the new trees that are not doing nearly as well as the others. I have started the sick tree treatment for those trees. The soil is also very compacted. This is why I want to "kick start" the soil ecology.

I corn gluten meal I mentioned in my first post will be for weed control. If I understand correctly, for the corn gluten meal to be effective, you have to have good soil biology. This is why I plan on spraying soil activator/compost tea a couply weeks prior to applying the gluten meal.

Thanks for the tip on corn meal/alfalfa pellets. My ONE yard worker guy might be leaving you a post after I show up with 1800 lbs. of corn meal for him to apply :wink:

Thanks again for your help. I really do appreciate all the great people and information on this board.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:08 am 
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Location: Dallas,TX
Just a reminder that you need to get the corn gluten down NOW. It maybe even be a little too late for control of early weeds next spring. But the CGM is still a great fertilizer so you wouldn't be wasting your money. Might want to add some molasses to your mix as it is really great at kick starting microbe activity. Liquid is less expensive for large areas but harder to apply if you don't have the equipment. So there's my two cents on this...hope it was worth it!
:D :D


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