Which fertilizer for Fall lawn care???

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I am in the process of getting my lawn ready for winter and spring.
I plan to power rake the lawn to remove thatch, Aerate with a rented machine spread seed and apply 1/4" or so of top soil
My question is which fertilizer is appropriate?
Winterizer or starter fertilizer for the seed? The levels of nutrients vary greatly and I don't want to plant a bunch of seed and use winterizer only have the seed suffer through a harsh winter.
I live in MO, so we get into the single digits at times during winter.
Any advice would be appreicated
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10-10-10
John
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What's the difference between 10-10-10 and 20-20-20 or 7-7-7 ???

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The numbers are percentages by weight.
What did your soil test indicate you needed to apply?
Did you do a soil test?
What is the soil pH?
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the answer is basically nothing, other than the lower number fertilizer has more filler in it than the higher, which dosent really matter unless the bags are exactly the same weight and price, then you would go with the higher because it cover a larger area. Ignore the fancy labeling on the bag and look specifically at how much actual nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is in the bag and how much the bag costs. Most garden centers sell the same stuff in 5 different bags with different labels for lawn, trees, flowers, acid loving plants, and so on. 10-10-10 is the one that is always recommended for whatever reason, but anything under 15-15-15 usually has a large amount of filler which can raise your soil pH. At any rate, the important thing is to have a balance fertilizer that contains at least N, P, and k.
Toad
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On 15 Oct 2003 22:19:46 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Marley1372) opined:

Sorry, this simply is not true. Not any more. Balanced fertilizer is no longer the most effective. It hasn't been for many decades, but the agchem industry has people convinced. Texas A&M did a thorough study and this is what they came up with:
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/greenhouse.htm
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For some reason, I can't get that web site. But I have a a couple of questions.
The word "balanced" traditionally has meant the same quantity of N,P, and K, such as 5-5-5, 10-10-10, 20-20-20, and so forth. Is that correct?
A year or so I read, somewhere, that the problem with that definition of "balanced" is that plants don't need the same amounts of N, P, and K. They need them in the ratio, IIRC, 5-2-3.
Is that also correct?
But would grass (and perhaps "foliage plants" need a different ratio than plants that produce blossoms? or tomatoes?
(Is that what the web site is about? I'll keep trying to get it.)
Thanks. vince norris
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I just tried the link and it worked fine for me.
Try this and navigate till you find the info on turf management:
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen
Their study showed the ratio 8-2-4, which can also be 4-1 2 or 16-4-8. However, most people over fertilize with highly soluble, synthetic nitrogen and it leaches out of the soil rapidly and give no organic matter to the soil. Organic fertilizers do add OM to the soil. People feed the turf, people in the organic community feed the soil organisms which in turn feed the roots the available elements in a much slower, gentler way.
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Still doesn't work for me. I think the problem is at my end, because it's not unique to this site.
Thanks anyway.
vince norris
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wrote:

:>)
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On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 14:09:44 -0400, John Bachman

1-1-1 ratio of fertilizer is appropriate for turf culture!
Latest Texas A&M research and from Cornell indicates a 2-1-1 or a 4-1-1 organic produces far superior lawns. Feeds the soil not the plant.....
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An ORGANIC one.
These guys are out of Springfield, MO - http://www.bradfieldind.com /
JK
Chris Farmer wrote:

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Actually, Bradfield is a terrific fertilizer. I used to be able to have access to it up in the Dallas are, but I haven't found it anywhere in Austin or surrounding. Do you have a source in Austin?
I like it for a few reasons, but mainly for the material it's made of. There is so much organic matter in it, that it serves as both fertilizer and almost as a compost top dress.
What I've done is to buy alfalfa hay, and pellets from the tack and feed store and I've been using it on very sunny areas of turf. It's moot now because all of that turf is coming out in about a week. Less and less turf. I love that!
Victoria

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On their website is a retailer dealer locator. Well, wouldn't you know it? I just clicked it and its in repair. Seems like Lowe's was one of the retailers. The Texas rep is Greg Phillips: Fort Worth, Texas Phone: (817) 731-9141.
Less turf, more diversity. Yes!
JK
animaux wrote:

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I've not seen it at Lowes here in this area of Austin...actually Round Rock. I'll seek it out, but the alfalfa pellets are sold much cheaper at tack and feed stores. It's virtually the same thing.
V

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V., you know, I always heard that about Alfalfa and read a bit here and there until now. I went and found what's in the stuff. Gosh, darn, the stuff is loaded.
Ingredients:
Alfalfa ingredients:
Triacontanol (growth stimulant) Vitamin A (high concentration) Thiamine Riboflavin Pantothenic Acid Niacin Pyridoxine Choline Bentaine Folic Acid co-enzymes Crude proteins (16 - 25% in dry alfalfa)
Amino acids (% in alfalfa meal).
Tryptophan, 0.3 % Aspartic Acid, 2.3% Threonine, 1.0 % Serine, 1.0% Glutamic Acid, 2.7% Proline, 1.2% Glycine, 1.1% Alanine, 1.1% Cystine, 0.2% Valine, 1.0% Methionine, 0.3% Isoleucine, 0.8% Leucine, 1.6% Tyrosine, 0.5% Phenylalanine, 1.0% Histidine, 0.4% Lysine, Total, 1.1% Arginine, 1.1%
Minerals (contained in dry alfalfa)
Nitrogen 3.75-5.5 % Potassium .75 - 3.5 % Phosphorus .3 - .7% Calcium 1 - 2 % Magnesium .30 - 1 % Sulphur .2 - .5 % Manganese 30-200 ppm Iron 20-250 ppm Boron 20-80 ppm Copper 5-20 ppm Zinc 20-70 ppm
Alfalfa tea is a natural and inexpensive fertilizer. Alfalfa pellets and meal are available from garden and feed supply stores in 50 lb. bags. Get together with your neighbors to share the cost (and transportation) of a bag or two. Pellets are easier to handle, but I feel that the meal makes a better fertilizer. Some also say that the higher temperature processing that goes into making pellets lowers the nutrient value of the alfalfa. Epsom salts are also available in bulk. In our area, Buckerfield's, Borden Merchantile and Integrity stock bulk feeds and fertilizers.
Dry alfalfa is a good slow-release source of nitrogen, but since you will be "digesting" it by letting it ferment in water, the resulting tea is a soluable, fast-acting nitrogen source. Also, by making alfalfa (or manure) tea, you don't have to worry about weed seeds sprouting from the fertilizer.
If you don't have time to make alfalfa tea, you can still sprinke alfalfa pellets on the ground in the spring - however the nutrients will take much longer to be released, it doesn't look as attractive, and the pellets can attract rodents. A better solution would be to use Complete Organic mix and add extra alfalfa meal to it, then scratch it into the surface of the soil.
Orchid and rose growers use alfalfa tea as a foliar spray. If you grow delphiniums and irises, they also love alfalfa tea. Some iris growers mulch their beds with alfalfa meal. And an additional benefit for delphiniums is that the Epsom salts in the tea help to ward off slugs and snails. In addition to nitrogen, alfalfa supplies enzymes and trace elements that are not present in chemical nitrogen fertilizers.
JK
animaux wrote:

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Yes, I've known this for many years. The feed store I buy it at makes their own alfalfa hay and products. Alfalfa is so rich, it can mess up hoofs of horses, giraffes, and animal which eats too much of it.
If I buy pellets, I just throw the on the lawn after they come core aerate. I put it in the compost pile, throw it out on the beds, it's just great stuff which is a great mulch as hay. Especially in vegetable beds.
So, now you're on to it. I buy 50 pound bags for about 16 dollars in Georgetown.
V

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V., you got me started:
Where can you get Cheap Natural Fertilizers and Soil Amendments?
"Chemical fertilizers rely on an assumption that plants only need three elements to survive and thrive. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are those three. This is the equivalent of saying that we need protein, fat, and sugar to live. While this may be mostly true, pure protein, pure fat, and pure sugar do nothing to supply the vitamins,minerals, and diverse supply of bacteria and fungi in our diets.
Here is a list of a dozen things that you can do with organically fed soil that cannot be achieved with conventional chemical feeding.
1. Decompose plant residues and manure to humus.
2. Retain nutrients in the form of stable humus.
3. Combine nitrogen and carbon to prevent nutrient loss.
4. Suppress fungus and bacterial diseases.
5. Produce plant growth regulators.
6. Develop soil structure, tilth, and water penetration/retention.
7. Clean up chemical residues.
8. Shift soil pH to neutral and keep it there.
9. Search out and retrieve nutrients in distant parts of the soil.
10. Decompose thatch and keep it from returning.
11. Control nitrogen supply to the plants according to need.
12. Pull minerals out of inorganic soil components for plants.
Soil microbes need sugar and protein to thrive. When you apply synthetic ferts, none of the things on this list gets done. The microbes normally get sugar from plant roots. Protein in nature comes from dead insects, plants, and animals. The organic gardener applies protein artificially in the form or organic fertilizers. It is usually in the form ofa ground up meal made from plants and animals to try to replicate the natural process."
*******************************************************
With that being said, many times it is difficult to find good organic or natural fertilizers and soil amendments from garden stores because most of the garden people that we meet are non-organic users. Therefore as an organic gardener, we have to be creative in order to find our supplies.
This is a simple list of sources for uses in foliar teas, composting and green manure techniques, and other soil amendments:
1. Deer plot mixes - 50 lb bag is a great source of economical cool season cover crop seeds. Most contain a mixture of legumes and grasses like crimson clover or hairy vetch or winter peas, oats, winter wheat, and rye.
2. Catfish or pond fish feed - Excellent source of alfalfa meal and fish meal for topdressing or compost teas.
3. Cat or Dog foods - Good source of corn gluten meal for weed seed suppression control in lawns or gardens.
4. Seaweed - If you can't collect it free from the beach, you can buy economical packs of fresh seaweed from oriental markets for compost teas. Take all your remains from your teas and recycle them into your compost piles. If you liquify the seaweed in a juice, you can use the whole product as a foliar feed or soil drench. Even though most fertilizer companies rate seaweed with a NPK of 0-0-1, it contains at least 1% total N and over 3%total P. Seaweed may contain as much as 60 trace elements. Seaweed and other algae plants are some of the greatest soil amendments on earth, or should I say in the ocean. Seaweed also contains beneficial growth hormones and benefical fungal food sources for soil microbes.
5. Fish emulsion - Commercial brands contain no fish oil and little or no aerobic bacteria. Homemade versions supply extra beneficial oils for beneficial fungi and fish bones for extra calcium. Free fresh fish parts are the best if available. However, cheap canned fish products will do fine. Experiment with canned mackerel, sardines, herring, etc. If the fishy smell is a big issue, just mix your fish products with a lot of high carbon sources like sawdust, leaves, or straw in a 5 gallon closed bucket. Let this mix decompose for at least a week or more before adding to the hot compost pile or to your compost tea recipes. The extra carbons will help absorb the offensive odors as well as keep most of the organic nitrogen in your compost pile or your compost teas. Also the aerobic bacteria kill break down any bad pathogens that may exist in decaying fish meat. Read the other FAQ's on aerated teas and homemade fish/seaweed emulsions also.
6. Fava beans, soybeans, and other legume cover crops - Mostly all bagged dry beans and peas in grocery stores will sprout and make great warm season green manures. Fava beans and soybeans can found in oriental markets or health food markets.
7. Horse and cattle feeds - These contain a great supply of alfalfa meal and corn meal and other proteins for soil amendments or compost teas. The whole corn or oat seeds in the bags, may sprout and give you an extra green manure benefit. The extra molasses ingredient from the feeds draws and breeds lots of beneficial soil organisms. Molasses also contains sulfurwhich acts as a mild natural fungicide also.
8. Corn meal - very cheap source for a nitrogen activator for heating up the compost pile or as a topdressing. Great natural fungicide also.
9. Molasses, brown sugar, corn syrup - source of fast consuming sugars for feeding and breeding the aerobic bacteria in compost teas. Most microherd populations love the high carbon content in sugar products. Sugars are best dissolved and broken down by microbes in compost tea that has brewed at least 1-3 days, before applying to the soil. If too much sugar is added on soil straight as a topdressing, it may cause a temporary nitrogen deficiency in the soil as the microherd populations grow too fast. Molasses also contains sulfur which acts as a mild natural fungicide also. Molasses is also a great natural deodorizer for fishy teas.
10. Alfalfa meal - best source is 50 lb bags of rabbit food or alfalfa hay bales. There are also 100% alfalfa pet litter or beddings if available. Alfalfa products are best used in teas, mulches, or as top dressings.
11. Blood and Bone meal - this classic combo can be found almost everywhere these days. However blood meal is very expensive. Bone meal can be even cheaper if purchased in 20 lb bags from feed stores. Since blood meal is totally soluble, it can be added to compost tea recipes.. With a NPK around 11-0-0, it has the highest total nitrogen ratio of all natural fertilizers, and may burn plants if used improperly. Steamed bone meal has a recorded NPK around 0-11-0. Usually steamed bone meal has a total N from 1-6%, 11% soluble P but 20% total P, and 24% calcium. Raw bone meal has more total N but none of the P is water soluble.
12. Urine - yes, human urine is an excellent source of organic nitrogen for compost teas or as a free nitrogen activator for composting (45% N). (NOTE: Unlike human manure, any pathogens, diseases, or other mild toxins in human urine are quickly killed and digested within 24 hours after they escape the human body. Therefore human urine is very safe for all types of composting methods.) 13. Animal Manures - High in N and great sources of P and K and soil microbes. Use only vegetarian animal manures, like cattle or horses! DO NOT EVER USE DOG OR CAT POOP! It is extremely dangerous to humans. There are special composting procedures that must be performed to use toxic, heavy metal manures like pet poop and human manures. So don't do it! Always compost animal manures first or use aged animal manures before applying to the soil or as an ingredient in foliar teas.
14. Grass Clippings and Green Weeds - Excellent sources or organic N for special foliar teas or use as an organic mulch/top dressing. Some gardeners even hot compost strange weeds and herbs like kudzu, bull thistle, dandelions, comfrey, stinging nettle, thorns, ivy, etc.
The above soil amendment products can also be buried straight in the garden soil for trench composting. You can also bury these materials in planting holes under the roots of heavy feeder transplants like tomatoes for extra NPK for plant growth.
All natural soil amendments as well as homemade compost, do more than just fertilize the soil and growing plants. Most natural soil amendments have a total NPK rating sum total less than 20 (i.e. fish emulsion NPK = 5-1-1,compost NPK less than 4-4-4). Don't be fooled by the numbers. Most P and K ratings only record the soluble available portions in the products. The N portion recorded could be either the soluble, insoluble, or total N portions as based on the company. The insoluble non-reported portion of OM is continuously consumed and broken down with the existing OM in the garden soil, thus raising the available soluble nutrients for further season crops.
Happy Gardening! J. Kolenovsky mailto: snipped-for-privacy@celestialhabitats.com http://www.celestialhabitats.com / mailto: snipped-for-privacy@hal-pc.org http://www.hal-pc.org/~garden
animaux wrote:

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Liebig, who is the father of synthetic fertilizer, and who insisted for many years that it was all plants need, that plants do not need humates. At the end of his life he realized he was wrong, but it was too late and the money machine which sold plenty of synthetic fertilizer was already in full motion. To this day, the manufacturers will insist all you need are N-P-K. WRONG.
The rest of this post is excellent. I am going to save it to repost every now and then.
V

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wrote:

J
We have been using ACT and additonal fungi with incredible results. You might find this link interesting.....
"Fertilization can produce large plants, but it often suppresses mycorrhiza formation. Fertilization lacks or even suppresses the other important benefits of mycorrhiza. Fertilization cannot increase plant species diversity; it tends to favor large individuals of the few most vigorous species. Fertilization cannot improve plant survival, but rather tends to favor a few large plants rather than many smaller ones. Fertilization does not make the site unfit for weeds, but instead gives them a nearly insurmountable competitive edge against native plants. Fertilization does nothing to decrease root disease, favor beneficial bacteria, or improve soil structure, perhaps the most important effects of mycorrhiza in natural systems. In a revegetation project, fertilization is often a serious mistake."
http://www.mycorrhiza.org/EXPERTflat.PDF
tomj
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