We are always testing, questioning and learning. Thank God. I recently saw a post from the Nevada Landscape Association saying that it is good to use soluble high-nitrogen fertilizers on lawns at this time of year. Is that right? "It depends".
Our recommendations for lawn-care come from a perspective of creating a healthy natural ecosystem, not unlike a natural grassland or meadow. We add composts and manures, promote healthy soil and use fertilizers that actually feed the soil microorganisms first, who, in turn, feed the plants. That is how it works in natural systems.
In spring, we aerate (poke thousands of holes) and top dress with Topper (a fine, mature compost) and add G&B Lawn Fertilizer (a slow-release organic fertilizer teeming with beneficial soil bacteria and fungi) that settles into the holes and feeds the soil. We mow high (3-4") to allow more grass blade to photosynthesize and turn CO2 into carbohydrates that strengthen the grass plants and also to feed the soil microorganisms. The microorganisms are, in-turn, eating the organic fertilizer and lawn clippings and giving water, nitrogen and dozens of other macro and micro-nutrients to the plants while gladly gobbling the carbohydrates the plants are giving them.
I HAVE occasionally used urea on my lawn, a very soluble and very powerful high-nitrogen fertilizer (46-0-0) that will green-up a lawn in 48 hours (or less). When used carefully, it actually feeds the soil while directly feeding the plants (I've even added it to compost to speed the bacterial decomposition). Reecent studies show that an application of high N fertilizer late in summer (Fall in warmer climates) helps cool-season grasses (like ours) store energy in their crowns that help them survive long winters. Too much soluble fertilizer will kill the essential soil microorganisms, so be cautious. I use urea at 1/4 of the recommended rate.
Slow-release chemical fertilizers are not the same as slow-release organic fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers have tiny nutrient molecules that dissolve in water and move wherever water goes, including down past roots and into our ground water. Organic fertilizers are made of ground-up organic materials like feathers, fish bones, and manures and they are enormous compared to nutrient molecules. They cannot travel very far in the soil because they are just too big.
In fall, we add BIOSOL to our gardens for spring and beyond (there are some immediately available nutrients as well). Many clients have found that applying Biosol to lawns AFTER the soil freezes (early to mid November) helps deter voles from creating their runs under snow while devouring your turf. Biosol contains nearly 25% humic acids, mineralized organic materials. The best composts have humic acids that aid in building rich, healthy soils.
We LOVE BIOSOL. We use BIOSOL. We are very pleased to introduce the 12 Lb. Biosol Bucket. These will be regularly 27.99 but through November (while supply lasts) they are 24.99. You can refill them for 20.00 when you run-out (...and the bucket keeps your Biosol dry). The 50 Lb bags are still 59.99... of which we unloaded 8 more pallets (16,000lbs) last Thursday (...and 4 went straight to conscientious local landscapers).
*When we use BIOSOL, we add some inoculant in the form of G&B Lawn (beneficial bacteria and fungi plus raw organic materials). Biosol works as well as it does, in part, because it promotes soil biology so it works even better in our poor soils when we help reestablish microorganism populations.
Posted on Tue, October 25, 2016
by Eric Larusson filed under