Jump to content

Welcome to HornSports

Join our community and talk about the latest in Texas Longhorns Athletics!

Sign in to follow this  
Sirhornsalot

August Landscapes – Do Organics really work?

Recommended Posts

rawImage.thumb.jpg.4f8f165ab4798d9dcf908312ef074887.jpg

Organics: Do they really work?

How do they perform against the conventional methods?

I am often asked about using an Organic plan to address the lawn/landscape’s fertilization, weed control, pre emergent, and pest issues throughout the year. It’s an honorable idea because after all, the more organic matter we have in the soil, the more successful our lawns and plants will be.

However, the truth to the question is Yes and No. Yes, they work in some applications and No, they don’t in others.

lawn-and-corn-gluten-meal.thumb.jpg.9633574de3d028ca2caedcd809f942e0.jpg

For example, we can fertilize our lawns organically by applying Corn Gluten instead of regular fertilizer. Corn Gluten, comes in pellet form and will carry a nitrogen content of about 9 while most fertilizers will have a content of 19 (St Augustine) or even 30 (Bermuda). So Corn Gluten is a mild fertilizer by industry standards and it must be broken down (decompose) before the goodies can be available to the turf/plant. So when you apply, results won’t be seen for weeks.

For fighting lawn fungus, a fairly effective organic solution is Horticultural Cornmeal. It is also made to be used in a spreader and sold in bags. It can also be directly applied by hand to fungus spots. This is not the corn meal sold in grocery stores as that product won’t work in this application. This is corn made into a meal (pelletized). You can usually find this at Feed Stores throughout Texas.

Traditional fungicides, on the other hand, can work instantly on fungus containment and will continue working once applied. These products can come in liquid or granular form, of course the liquid being the product with the instant fungus kill capability.

But when it comes to weed control, the organic side just really doesn’t have an answer. There is a formula using hydrogen peroxide and vinegar that can work with limited success on some weeds. However, this mixture will also kill turf grass. The chemical side has immediate kill capability for almost all weeds we see in our lawns and landscapes, without harming turf grass.

The same goes for pre emergent. There’s no real answer from the organic side. Instead, there is a strategy of increasing turf growth instead of prevention. However, that is difficult to achieve quickly. So this works best as a long-term strategy. The strategy does work.

On the chemical side, pre emergent is applied at certain times of the year just before predicted weed seed germination takes place. It also has a cumulative effect, meaning the more years you apply, the more protection you’ll get. Pre emergent has one single function - sterilize soil. This prevents weed seed from germinating. Pre emergent does not kill weeds that already exist. It prevents weeds from forming in the future.

 

content_img_4653_img.thumb.jpg.274e5e8dd62aa113d9c016541e524824.jpg

Dried Molasses, above.

On the insecticide front, again a strategy is followed on the organic side. That strategy is to create and maintain a harmony in the turf/landscape by inviting and keeping a balance of insects that offer sort of a regulation of the insect population.

This harmony is achieved by introducing things to the turf environment that will cause the harmony to happen. One product we use is Dried Molasses, a rice pellet with molasses coated over them. Once you apply, your watering will wash the molasses off the rice pellet and into the soil. This will draw in all types of insects which will prey on other, bothersome insects such as Chinch bug and aphids. You can also purchase beneficial nematodes to help control the insect population.

However, strategy such as this does not help much in the case of an infestation and does nothing to deal with grub worms during the summer. On the chemical side, you have immediate kill capability as well as soil to root to blade (systemic) capability. 

So as you can see, if paired against each other the organic side just doesn’t measure up. However, when combined in certain aspects, you can achieve a very healthy lawn. Personally, I use products like Dried Molasses on lawns when I can. I’d like to gain that insect harmony that is the goal of the strategy. However, when critters like Chinch bugs begin munching on your lawn, or Army worms, or treating grubs – the chemical remedy is what I turn to.

August is here, let's get busy!

August is a very busy month so let’s get right to those things:

Fall Fertilization – You will want to apply your fall fertilization during the third or last week of the month. Nitrogen in fertilizer actually feeds fungus, and fungus is going to become a concern as we enter fall. So reduce your ratio on the spreader for a thinner application this time.

Fall Pre-emergent – You want to apply your next round of pre emergent this month. Try to have it down by the middle of the month.

Weed Control – As we’re nearing the end of summer, many lawns will begin to see increased growth in nutsedge. Regular weed killing products will not do anything to nutsedge. You must apply a product specifically made to kill nutsedge, such as Sedgehammer or ProSedge.

Sprinkler Change – I directed you to begin your sprinkler cycles in the evenings back in the June edition of this column. The hottest months of the summer demand that water and turf spend more time together. But as fall rolls in, nights become longer and cooler and days become shorter and not as hot. The conditions come together for fungus development. Fungus such as Take-All Patch, Brown Patch and Dollarspot can destroy a lawn. So changing on Labor Day from evening waterings to morning waterings will go far in reducing chances for fungus development. The daytime sun will be able to evaporate most of the moisture away before night falls if we go back to morning waterings at Labor Day.

chinchbug_1260x714.thumb.jpg.1f22277f6fcd971949efdc0bb1c5eb78.jpg

Chinch Bugs – Last year, we had a really busy year treating Chinch bugs in North Texas. They can severely damage otherwise beautiful turf and their damage is often mistaken for a sprinkler problem because the turf can look so dead and dry. This year is proving to be no different. We’ve seen Chinch bug activity in many lawns already in July and late August is normally their most active time. So we’re expecting another season of heavy Chinch bug activity this year.

You will recognize Chinch bug damage by the presence of splotchy, patchy green turf and brown turf mixed or sections of brown turf that look totally dry. These places will be in the hottest spots in the lawn, often times near concrete, stone or metal (because they heat up in full sun) as Chinch bugs thrive in heat.

If you spot symptoms like this, contact your landscape professional about it without delay.

(Mark’s column each month is sponsored by Stagecoach Trailers, Inc., of Naples, Texas. Find them at www.stagecoachtrailers.com)

 

stagecoach_trailers.jpg.a038ff8fb7ff69c670b98e8babaef035.jpg.b88e8007f190c7380c99815b5c45d1af.jpg.d1-313fecaff2.thumb.jpg.87b0773959c7f73726c4fd691c527d1e.thumb.jpg.0a48edf2c7426efcc15055333db417c3.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Sirhornsalot what is your advice for a lawn that is holding water after rain? We went by our new house after a rain storm and noted that the backyard was holding water in several spots. We are surrounded by neighbors on all sides back there so can't really drain it away from the backyard (unless we redirected towards our house). There is a strip of concrete back there (no idea why) that we plan to remove and we will add gutters to the house. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, BWilk55 said:

@Sirhornsalot what is your advice for a lawn that is holding water after rain? We went by our new house after a rain storm and noted that the backyard was holding water in several spots. We are surrounded by neighbors on all sides back there so can't really drain it away from the backyard (unless we redirected towards our house). There is a strip of concrete back there (no idea why) that we plan to remove and we will add gutters to the house. 

That will become problematic if you have St Augustine turf. Those spots that hold water will likely get hit with fungus in the fall.

I would see about possibly correcting the grade so that the water does not stand, but drains away from the home.

You have a right to a correct grade in the yard/home area. It is an essential and necessary thing. So if water drains away from your place and to another, they will have to deal with moving it themselves, just as you do with water that enters your property from other properties.

When you get the gutters, you will want to hook up your downspouts to any drainage pipes you have that carry the water to the street. There is a significant amount of water that will come off your roof. Some areas will begin dealing with more water than they previously were because of the gutters. So you probably need to start thinking drainage now.

Where are you located? If you're in or near DFW, I could consult with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

5 hours ago, Sirhornsalot said:

Where are you located? If you're in or near DFW, I could consult with you.

We are in New Orleans where we have pretty consistent water issues. 

I'm thinking about having the gutters drain mostly towards the front of the property that is clearly graded towards the street in front of the house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, BWilk55 said:

 

We are in New Orleans where we have pretty consistent water issues. 

I'm thinking about having the gutters drain mostly towards the front of the property that is clearly graded towards the street in front of the house.

Sounds like a plan. Instead of breaking the curb and trying to reconstruct it once the drain pipe is laid, ask them to just drill a hole to fit 4" PVC to. Its a much cleaner look and you don't have a patch job to look at in the years moving forward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, 63_Texas_1 said:

In what order do you recommend applying fertilizer, pre-emergent and weed control?

It is best to get your weed spraying done a week ahead of your pre emergent and fertilizer application. That way, you're not trying to feed and kill at the same time.

You can put the pre emergent and fertilizer down at the same time. Does not matter which goes first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  


Franchise Quest



×
×
  • Create New...