I'm new to organic lawn care and need some advise. After a couple of years of damaging lawn disease and little help from the service I was using, I decided to educate myself and find my own solution.
A little history, I've been using chemicals on my lawn for approximately 10 years, I can honestly say I have never really been happy. For the last couple of years I've been fighting leaf spot and read thread, the advise from the service, the application we applied we help.
Through my own education, it sounds like my soil is what they call "sterile" or very little microbial activity. As I understand it, healthy soil will fight these pathogens. So my first thought was to start increasing the microbial activity using organics, the problem I have is 39000Sq.Ft. of lawn, that is a lot of compost!
So I need some advice, how do I get started on reversing my chemically treated lawn? Would chickenpoop be a good start, my localfeed company sells it in bulk for a reasonable price, what about a soil activator?
If your soil is 'sterile', it is probably from all of those years of pouring chemicals on it.
Chicken poop is a good fertilizer, BUT it can be very 'hot' and powerful, even if properly aged.
If your lawn is really sick, I would recommend getting it a little healthier before adding chicken manure.
The manure could do more harm than good if over applied to a sick lawn.
I bought some "organic" fertilizer called Chickity Doo Doo http://www.chickitydoodoo.com/ I am hoping it will be good for the lawn and help build soil micororganisms, etc.. Also, our city has a compost site for city residents. I have heard a few people say they wouldn't use it bacause they didn't know where the stuff came from, etc... I figure anything has to be better than what I have. 10 years ago this was new sod, weed free, etc... after years of chemicals it is mostly dandilions and weeks. I am hoping to bring it around with some organic TLC
Sorta in the same boat only have a small lot in the suburbs near St. Petersburg FL. I posted wrote to Paul Wheaton. I await a response. Just joined this forum today. Hope to track your posting to see the response.
I am just trying to find my post and watch it. I never spent much time doing personal stuff on the internet just work oriented stuff.
Good luck. I plan on buying a few books but need one for Florida because it is different.
all those chemical fertilizers for all those years are really just salts, so not surprising your soil sucks right now. If you have a cool season grass like bluegrass or fescue, you should dress it this year, _in the fall_, with a few bags of organic, yard waste compost. We like the EKO brand, but your local building supplier might have yard waste compost. They will have "compost" but it might have a lot of undesirable things in it too.
check out that lawn care for the cheap and lazy on the main page, stuff like watering and mowing properly will really help your desirable grasses recover quickly.
Chicken manure IS soil activator. It doesn't get more activated than using manure on soil. I don't recommend it alone, but that will certainly get things going.
I would focus on real organic fertilizer. I don't consider manure products to be fertilizer. Those are activators. Once you get the soil activated, then you need a real fertilizer containing lots of protein. The best ones are mostly grains like soybean meal, corn, alfalfa, and cottonseed meal. The lesser good ones are feather meal and manures. Feather meal has a lot of protein but it won't be available to the plants until the next ice age. Manure is just not a lasting fertilizer.
Just like farmers who depend on chemicals to grow crops, any use of chemicals on your lawn has killed the life in your soil.
I agree adding chicken compost as an option, but you have to keep this practice up for years until your soil has come back to some life. Conventional farmers are finding this "transitioning" soil to take 5-7 years.
There are some short cuts to bring back life to the soil, I think I saw one here which we did for years- mix mushroom spores with liquid, somewhere here they recommended a light oil, and that will bring in some life so the rest of the microbes can take hold.
Other ways people add microbes- fish emulsion, manure, compost, with no one being better than the other, but doing all of them certainly can't hurt.
We use NoMowGrass as our lawn and it uses no chemicals to thrive, it also only needs a seasonal mowing and it is a soft, cool grass. It makes The transition easier.
With an acre of lawn it might just be normal to have a few brown spots that doesn't have the soil conditions that are suited for your lawn grass.
But to answer you question. The best way to add the alot of soil bacteria quickly would be to buy some of the bacteria (worm casting, packages bacteria mix, etc)
Once you have the bacteria you can rapidly multiply them by putting them in container +water, +molasses, +airstone to oxygenate the water.
After about 48 hours you can now add the bacteria solution to the 1 acre of lawn.
Still I would really recommend that you transition some of that lawn to edible landscaping.
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
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Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop