Another Organic Lawn Program Question
First off, let me say that over the last two years, I have been reading this site and pretty much any question I have had in regard to lawn care I have been able to answer.
I am currently using chemical treatments and due to costs and my newborn child, I want to switch to a more natural fertilizing program. Now I have read as much as I can on this site and many others (I won't list them since I think posting sites is against the rules) including the FAQs for Organic Lawn Care.
Let me lay out everything. First off, we just purchased this house about 1.5 years ago the people before it did not take care of the lawn or anything else for that matter - they were there around 4 years. I started a chemical lawn care through TruGreen and I have used 4 of the five applications but canceled before the last (Weed and feed, Pre-emerge, fertilizer/grub control, summerguard). The last application was on August 1.
I am in zone 5A in NE Ohio. I have a mixture of around 40% KBG, 40% Red Fescue, and 20% Perennial Ryegrass. My neighbor, who works for TruGreen actually installed the lawn like many others in our neighborhood back in the 70s. Everybody's yard is taken care of in the neighborhood and mine is no exception. I had my yard limed and areated in the fall of 07. Over the winter I dormant seeded a fence line (I ripped out a chain fence that had nothing but dead grass and weeds) with great success. Seeded in February and applied starter once the temperature got consistently above 50 degrees. Which I think was in late march. All full beautiful grass with some crabgrass. Per my request, they skipped this area when applying pre-m.
I have a feed and supply store here in town that will get me everything I need. I want to do 5 apps and I figured it would be easiest to stick with the recommendations of going by the holidays. I was thinking of dormant seeding some thinning areas and the read thread area (in nearly full shade for most of the day under two trees) during the winter again and let the snow compress it and let mother nature water it again
Here is my organic program plan for 2009 (my lawn is about 4,000 square feet):
By April 1st - Corn Gluten Meal ($21 per 50 pounds - applying 20 pounds/1000)
Memorial Day - Soybean Meal ($12.50 per 50 - at 12.5 pounds per 1000 - I figured I would just use the entire 50 lbs bag on my yard since you can't really over apply)
4th - Corn Meal ($8 per 50 - at 12 pounds per 1000)
Labor Day - Corn Gluten Meal (20 pounds per 1000)
Thanksgiving - Alfalfa Meal ($11 per 50 pounds - 12 pounds per 1000)
I will use milky spore for the grub control, I think that can be applied anytime during the spring, summer or fall). I will also hand pull any weeds. I have some weeds but not very many in my yard and a little crab grass. TruGreen laid it late since they wanted to hit it with a heavy fertilizer first since it hadn't been treated in awhile. I understand the best thing I can do is by watering it heavy and infrequently and keeping my mower set at the highest setting . I also understand to be patient when going organic as it can take a couple of years to build the soil.
Sorry to be so verbose but I wanted to lay everything out for you. Here are my questions.
1. Does the plan look sound or should I replace anything - I don't mind applying stuff 5 times a year? I know some say just get the cheapest as any grains will work and some say use a variety. I chose the variety. Plus I included corn meal since my neighbor said the couple of dying spots were from read thread. I thought it was grub related originally. But those spots are starting to come back in.
2. My mower does not have a mulching blade, should I continue to leave my grass clippings on the ground and can I mow my leaves in the fall.
3. I have a scotts deluxe edgeguard, and I see most of the recommended settings are around 11-13 for 10 pounds per 1000. Does anyone have any experience with this spreader (i know it can vary a little depending upon the consistency of the meal)?
4. What should I do this now? I am think of spreading some compost and then some soybean meal in the next week or two and maybe another application of alfalfa meal around Thanksgiving.
5. Do I need to spread compost since I see some say recycling grass clippings and leaves works as well?
6. Not really a question, but I am assuming anything I can apply to my yard I can throw in my mulch beds for my shrub, perennials, and annuals to give them the optimal results).
Any other thoughts? Thanks in advance for you input.