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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:30 pm 
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Location: Plano, Texas (north of Dallas)
My very first try at soil analysis for my lawn from TAMU! They told me I need 23 pounds of 13-13-13 and 24 pounds of 0-46-0 for my lawn of 5,000 sq. ft.

How do I do this organically?!?!?!? They couldn't help me on how to do this, but I really hope you all out there, or Howard Garrett can help me. PLEASE!!! Our lawn sure needs it. Thanks so much!

Julie (Plano, Texas)


Last edited by jules_jewel on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:57 pm 
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You can carefully place that analysis in the trash. Fertilizing with organics is completely different than synthetics. With synthetics they look at NPK. With organics we look at food value but especially protein content. What you do is drive to your local feed store; find their cheapest ground up nut, bean, or seed; and apply at 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Then you wait 3 full weeks and prepare to be amazed. Corn meal is the one I can get the cheapest. Alfalfa pellets (rabbit food) is the next cheapest. You might be able to get cottonseed meal or soy bean meal, too. Used coffee grounds make a great fertilizer. Starbucks will give you a 20-pound bag if you ask. If you make arrangements with them, they'll give you a 70-pound bag, which, by the way, is too heavy for many of us to carry. If you cannot find anything else, Ol' Roy dog food from Wally's is great organic fertilizer.

I apply organic fertilizer on the major federal holidays starting with Washington's Birthday. Next is Memorial Day (coming up!), 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

There is a lawn forum if you look down the list.

Are you new here? TXU sort of caught me by surprise. Normally we call it TAMU.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:21 pm
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Location: Plano, Texas (north of Dallas)
Thanks for the reply! BTW, I meant to type TAMU . . .

The analysis showed that the Nitrogen in our lawn was very low, and the Phosphorus was extremely low. Everything else was fine. The pH is 8.0

They recommended we fertilize with 16-20-0 with 12% sulfur, and we did. I guess you wouldn't recommend it, but it's been applied to our lawn and my next question is this: since we've already spread the synthetic fertilizer, can we go ahead and start adding organic stuff in hopes to improve the soil? Would it still be beneficial to add compost and cornmeal or did the synthetic fertilizer ruin things?

I'm not new in Texas but I'm sure new at trying to revitalize our 15 year old Bermuda lawn! Thanks for your help.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:41 pm 
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Location: Plano, Texas (north of Dallas)
I just went to Starbucks and picked up 30 pounds of used coffee grinds! They said I'll have approx. another 70 pounds by this evening (yup, pretty busy place! :shock: ). So, that's 100 lbs total (20 lbs per 1,000 sq.ft.) to put down on my 5,000 sq. ft lawn.

Do I need to air-dry the coffee grinds and then spread onto the lawn using the fertilizer spreader? I guess I can apply this AGAIN on the major federal holidays, next being Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving (as you mentioned)? What else do I need to do to start my organic lawn care this spring? I'm just loving this FREE organic addition (expensive Starbucks coffee grinds) to our lawn! :lol:

Jules
Plano, TX


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:22 am 
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Hi Jules,
You can fertilize with organics on the same day as you fertilize with chemicals if you want to. They work completely differently. Chemicals are salts that literally force themselves into the plant roots by osmotic pressure. Organic fertilizers feed real food (like corn, wheat, soy, and other ground up grains...coffee) to the soil microbes. Other microbes come along behind the first microbes to clean up after the first ones. There are at least 30,000 species of microbes in your soil to do all the processing. Somewhere along the food chain they produce real plant food. The nitrogen comes from the protein that was in the original organic fertilizer but it also comes from the air. So the chemical and organic processes are completely different.

You do not need to dry the coffee but it can be easier to handle if it loses some of its moisture. I would lay it out on cardboard with newspaper to soak up the moisture and let the sun and wind dry it. You will never get it completely dry (voice of experience). It will always be moist enough to grow mold on it. It will grow mold inside it and form clumps, too. Nevermind that, though. It is normal and the molds that grow on it are beneficial to the soil.

Bermuda can take all the fertilizer you can give it. If you can find soy bean meal at your local feed store, it has the highest protein content of all the ground grains. Coffee and corn have the lowest but corn gluten meal is much more concentrated in protein. You could easily fertilize with 40 pound of soy bean meal per month and still not get all the protein bermuda can handle. This is one of the reasons I don't recommend bermuda. It costs a lot of time and money to make it look really good.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:48 pm 
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..unless Bermuda is invading your Veggie Beds, then it will be the healthiest, most invasive weed known to mankind.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:57 pm 
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Location: Plano, Texas (north of Dallas)
Wow, what a great post David! Thank you.

I'm really starting to understand this organic way of taking care of our lawn, and I like it! We went to the feed store to get the organic fertilizer but were talked into getting the synthetic fertilizer to correct the NPK, and were also told we can do organic after that, but that it would take a longer time to see any benefits. Oh well, so many different advice, and we're still learning.

We're struggling to revitalize our Bermuda lawn from several years of neglect. When we had to give up the lawn service, we just cut the lawn. Now we can see what you're saying . . . it takes a lot of time and money to make it look good. BTW, our sodium level on the test was also very low . . . I guess that shows that we didn't fertilize with synthetics either?

Anyhow, we're going to take your advice and hunt down the cheapest organic fertilizers that we can find and hopefully apply each month. I'll probably alternate between the free coffee beans, soybean meal, and whatever else I can find around here.

Thank you so much for your great explanations! It helped a lot. I'll let you know how our lawn does this summer. :mrgreen:

Jules


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:26 pm 
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Location: Denton, Texas
I know this will sound off to you, but you really don't have to use any fertilizer at all. I revived my new lawn with just mowing and water alone. And I promise you, my soil was, or is, worse than yours. After the developers scraped 30 thousand years of biology to put this house on, and it forclosed with in 2 years after that, this was neglected for 3 years after that. I never used anything other than a mulching lawn mower and water. If I can find a before picture, then I will post it, you won't believe it.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:55 am 
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Location: Plano, Texas (north of Dallas)
No fertilizer at all?!?!? Now, this IS throwing me off. :shock:

We've only been mulch mowing and watering as well for the past few years, but our lawn has declined to half of what it used to be. We felt that the neglect and absence of fertilizers, compost, protein supplements was the reason for its decline. The soil was compacted, so we aerated it a month ago, and now thought we better start feeding it. According to our soil test results, we needed some nitrogen, A LOT of phosporus (very low), so that's why we fertilized with 16-20-0.

I wish I could believe that only mulch mowing & watering would fix my lawn, only because that's all we've been doing and it's gotten worse. I'm glad it worked for you, though! That's a whole lot less work for you. Do you have Bermuda too??

Gee, David, or anyone, can you shed some light on this? :? Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:55 am 
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Location: Plano, Texas (north of Dallas)
David,

I'm looking around and pricing cornmeal but I'm having some difficulty. One feed store is asking me if I want horticultural cornmeal ($18.99 per 40 lbs) or feed grade cornmeal ($8.55 per 50 lbs). What do you recommend? What price range should I expect to pay? You mentioned somewhere you get yours at HEB? Is it cheaper?

If I can go with the cheaper one, feed grade cornmeal, then I guess I'll need 2 x 50 lb bags for my 5,000 sq. ft. lawn, correct?

Thanks again for your help.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:44 pm 
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Location: Denton, Texas
Yes I only have bermuda. I keep it cut on the lowest setting durring April and May(this is not recomended by alot of people). I water a full HOUR at a time, but I let it dry in between waterings. So I use the same amount of water as most people, but I do it all in one take a week. Durring May it thickens up hard core because of my watering practices and the shortest cut (only do this if you have bermuda). Weeds do not have a chance. You can fertilize your lawn now, but you will fertilze the weeds too, so do the water practice and the mowing practice. I will have pics soon.


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 7:22 pm 
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Location: Plano, Texas (north of Dallas)
Thanks for your reply Dirt Face! I really appreciate it!

I have been mulch mowing our bermuda lawn at the lowest setting since it started growing actively this spring . . . this week, twice. I had the lawn aerated a month ago. But there is no way I can water it for an hour at each zone without considerable run-off!!!! I tried it after reading several other posts.

Any ideas why? What else can I do?

So, I've added 100 pounds of Starbucks used coffee grinds plus 100 lbs of cornmeal this past 2 weeks in hope to get our organic fertilization started. Am I missing anything else? Thanks!


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