Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fertilizer and the Lawn - Turf - Pasture - Grass

You may not have automatic, four-legged grass fertilizers like we have.  Horses are very useful.

Originally posted 8-4-09

Pure Black Castings            VermaPlex             VermaMax

Fertilizing Lawns And Pastures

Now this is something Her Royal Sheiky-ness (the horse, of course) and I have in common, although I have to admit she does a much BIGGER, I mean BETTER, job than I do.  My specialty is trees - I try to fertilize every tree I encounter.

So, from us experts, you'll learn everything you need to know about turf-lawn-pasture-hay fertilizing, safely organically, and eco-friendly.

When Should Fertilizer be Applied to Lawn - Turf - Pasture?

Timing is, well, everything.  Fertilizing your lawn, turf or pasture is no exception.  The Authorities usually recommend adding the nitrogen part of your grass fertilizing regime in the late Summer and Fall.  There are good reasons for this:
  • When you apply nitrogen in early Spring, it causes a surge of top growth, which will make the lawn look nice in the Spring, but will deplete the plant's energy reserves.
  • This weakening of the plant can lead to disease and an inability to handle Summer stresses.
  • Nitrogen application in late August or early September (probably late September early October here in Central Florida) will provide the lawn with adequate nutrition to help it overcome any Summer stresses.
  • An application of nitrogen in late October or early November (again, later for here) when top growth is less but soil temperatures are still warm enough for absorption,  will keep the lawn growing and the grass will green-up early in the Spring without excessive growth.

Bottom Line For Fall Nitrogen Application: 

  • The energy stored in the plant (carbohydrate reserves) will remain higher during the Spring and Summer period thereby reducing Summer diseases.
  • The lawn will stay greener longer in the Fall.
  • Early greenup in the Spring without going crazy.
Here's the lawn - pasture fertilizing regime  (follow link for chart) used at our neck of the woods:

Since we use Pure Black Castings® and VermaPlex® , we don't use any extra nitrogen.  We leave the clippings from mowing, we don't cut for hay, and we only have one horse (although she eats quite a lot, but she does leave something of value behind). 

The recommendation for fertilizing with Pure Black Castings®/VermaPlex® is to cut the nitrogen use by at least 50%.  If you are cutting hay, have heavy grazing, or are removing clippings, you will probably need to add this extra nitrogen.  Preferable, it would be an organic source.
  1. In the Spring, we initially applied 20 pounds per 1000 sq ft of Pure Black Castings®, followed by an drench of VermaPlex®/Water mixture of 20 ounces VermaPlex to 2-3 gallons water.  Ten days later, we applied a spray of VermaPlex®/Water mixture of 20 ounces VermaPlex to 1 gallons water. (Again, per 1000 square feet.)
  2. In the Fall, we applied a spray of VermaPlex®/Water mixture of 24 ounces VermaPlex® to 1 gallon water (per 1000 square feet).
  3. The following year, because we began with such sandy soil with little organic content, we repeated the above application regime.  As we build up organic material, we can reduce the amount of Pure Black Castings® by half or more.  The VermaPlex® needs the organic content to work (that's what the little microbes munch on).
The microbes in VermaPlex® digest the organic material, making the nutrients available for the grass.  We are, in essence, feeding the soil.  This process happens in an ongoing, SLOW-release way, so that the grass has what it needs in a steady supply without any excess nitrogen burning the grass or simple running off in heavy rains (and, boy, do we have heavy rains.)

As you can see, the pasture is greener on this side:

Certified Organic Lawn and Grass Fertilizer
"I can only take credit for those trees." Digger

Next.... Grass, Grass, and More Grass
"So much grass, so little time."   - Her Royal Sheiky-ness

Certified Organic Grass Fertilizer Resources:

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