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 Post subject: new lawn
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2004 12:08 pm
Posts: 3
Bought a house last summer the home is a little less than 2 years old. The problem lies in that the house sits on a hill, when they leveled the house they apparantly took off the top layer of soil in the back of the house. with some looking around and digging in the lawn which my husband calls "Turf Grass" it does not have very deep roots it still lookes like the sodded layer that you put down and it hits directly on top of a claybase. I am assuming the previous owners kept this grass living off of commercial fertilizers as it is pretty but you have to water constantly or it begins to die or turn brown. I fertilized with powdered molasses and corn gluten meal this spring what else can i do to get the roots past the clay base there simply is now way for this to drain or absorb water it just runs down hill to the lower portion of the land. it is about an 2 acre area of yard. How often should I apply the molasses and corn gluten meal etc. We also put out some volcano sand in hopes it will work its way down with some time and we can keep applying it and eventually see some improvement. we are new to organic gardening and lawn care any help would be appreciated.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 4:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:46 pm
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Location: florida
you can punch and sand it just like they do on golf courses!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 8:39 pm
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Location: Lavon,Texas
asrhodes,
kathe Kitchens has a program called 'Earthworm' that should work for you.
I will get her in contact with you and have her explain the program. I have used it on the front lawn, that I planted this year, and it is doing great. More grass coming up every day.

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Converting one person at a time to Organics, the only way to go!! [ ME ]


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 Post subject: Establishing your soil
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 7:13 pm 
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Location: Dallas,TX
Welcome, asrhodes, I hope we are helpful!
Remember there is no "magic bullet" and you must adjust your program as you see developments.

In reviewing your requests and steps so far, let me offer this program:
For hard clay soil, the actions you have taken so far are beneficial but there is much more you can do to help. As Howard recommends and everyone involved in this forum (so far as I am aware) the "punch and sand" method used on golf courses will in fact cause you more problems in the long run.

If you have not yet fertilized, use a good organic fertilizer with alfalfa in it to stimulate root growth in your turf. When you apply the fertilizer, mix in horticultural cornmeal (or any plain ground cornmeal if you can't get horticultural cornmeal) at about a 2/3 fertilizer to 1/3 cornmeal ratio. Water it in with a mixture of molasses at 2 oz. per gallon of water with the bio-innoculant product Earthworm by Ag-Way. Most of the independent organics suppliers have it or you can order it on line from several places.

If you have already fertilized, apply just the cornmeal, Earthworm and molasses. They will provide your soil with organic material that encourages beneficial fungus growth (cornmeal), innoculates it with a concentration of the most beneficial microbes so you have a good population to do the important work (Earthworm), and encourages the health and vitality of microbes in the soil (molasses).

When you mow, mulch the clippings and leave them on the yard; they are extra organic material that will return nutrients to your soil and aid in the development of better tilth. Do not mow the grass too low; it will consistently stress the turf. Find out what type of grass it is so you can mow it the correct height. That is very important.

After a couple of weeks following the application of these products, slow down your watering program to water more deeply and less often to encourage the roots to grow deeper into the soil, which by then should have loosed up enough for them to gain a foothold. Of course, you will have to adjust the watering so that it does not run off, as you say. You should see a decrease in that problem as the weeks go by.

After a couple of months, an application of Medina Plus would be terrific. It contains microbe stimulants and seaweed which will further encourage root growth in your turf. It might be overkill to use but when you apply fertilizer in the summer, watering it in with Medina Plus will give you a one-two punch that is hard to beat. You should have a well established colony of microbes and fungus in your soil by then that can take over.

Dchall (Dave) how does that sound to you? I believe it should work well. That's what I would do in this situation to my own lawn.
Cheers and best wishes! Take heart!
Kathe :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 11:12 pm 
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That sounds good. The only concern I would have is the hill. Water will always run downhill which makes it very hard to get a foothold in the first place. Even just a little mound in an otherwise level lawn will always look a little browner than the rest of the yard. With this hill situation, I think some special consideration should be given to using a soaker hose at first.

Do you know how deep the soil is along your slope? Some hills have no soil and are all bedrock. If you have soil, then a soaker hose will work for you. I had a pretty hard situation with my base soil but I certainly don't have a hill like it sounds like you have. I put 75 feet of soaker hose on a slow trickle for 3 weeks continuously. That finally soaked through the top layer and allowed the lower levels to get damp. Then the roots started to penetrate looking for that deep moisture. Everything has changed for the better since then.

When I say trickle, that means the water coming out of the faucet was at a trickle. After it ran through 75 feet of black soaker hose, hardly any measurable amount of water got applied to the soil. Still I could easily tell where the soaker hose was influencing the soil because it turned very soft there.

Hopefully you don't have bermuda, centipede, or bentgrass. Those require low mowing and usually allow the soil underneath to become warmer than taller grasses. Warmer soils lose more moisture to evaporation than cooler soils. On a hill these grasses would aggravate the situation. If you have a "regular" grass and not the three mentioned, you can move your mower height all the way to the top of the settings and leave it there.

Another alternative that comes to mind would be to terrace your yard so you have different levels of flat ground to plant on.

And the final alternative that comes to mind is to plant ground covers where the hills are and grass where it is more level.

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