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natural lawncare

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Jun. 25th, 2009 | 12:39 pm
posted by: aquafemme in rain_garden

So I just bought a first home in February and want to take care of my lawn without using chemical fertilizers. I did a soil test and it looks like it's low in nitrogen, phosphorous but high in potassium with a pH of 7.0 (surprisingly, not sure I completely believe that because I have plenty of moss).

Anyway, I've got some work to do in the fall. Aerate, overseed and topdress with compost I think I get but I'm confused about fertilizing. One natural fertilizer I saw (http://www.planetnatural.com/site/ringer-lawn-restore.html) has an N-P-K of 10-2-6 but I don't need any more Potassium (K). Not sure that's my best option.

There's corn gluten that's 9-1-0, 10-0-0, etc. depending on where you read. Enough nitrogen but I'm trying to especially focus on phosphorous (the roots) for the fall feeding. Also, corn gluten helps with weeds but it also stops grass seed from growing so I'm not sure how I'd address that.

Can I put fertilizer into my compost? I've read that's bad grass seeds but possibly not the case for natural fertilizers? Does anyone have any advice on what they think I should be doing?

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Comments {6}

aquafemme

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from: aquafemme
date: Jun. 25th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
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sorry typo - 'I've read that's bad FOR grass seed'

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rekre8

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from: rekre8
date: Jun. 25th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
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Well, I'm pretty much anti-lawn. My solution so far has been to compost until I have a large amount, double it with bought dirt, and add on to the raised beds, put in a soaker hose, cover it with mulch, and then go snag local plants out of the national forest (free permit, see NFS) or purchase at my local nursery. I've got about a 1/4 of the lawn gone. The dirt that came with the house is pounded clay, so it's pretty hopeless, even if I did like grass.

So I've got no advice for you, unless you want to follow the no-lawn route!

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LilGreyThing

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from: hallucinas
date: Jun. 25th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
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How does you lawn look right now? Does it seem unhealthy? If it is healthy just leave the clippings when you mow, allow it to go dormant during the summer (watering in the NW is silly and it will green right up in the fall when the rains come back). If you leave the clippings then there is no loss of nutrients.

I've heard dolomite lime takes care of moss.

Rock phosphate is a good, slow-release form of natural phosphate and it is cheap bought by the pound.

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mshrmit

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from: mshrmit
date: Jun. 25th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
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I agree on the clippings. Mulching mowers make this fairly neat and tidy too. As for lime, it doesn't actually kill the moss, just make the soil unpalatable for it. If you have a healthy moss population (like we do) I would thatch it in the spring, aerate, and overseed.

Basically, I like the benign, leave it alone as much as possible approach. lol

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Circumambulate

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from: circumambulate
date: Jun. 25th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
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You can also thin things out and overseed with something like Fleur de Lawn, which needs almost no maintenance, and is very attractive. The only problem is that if you get dandelions, or other opportunistic weeds, you can't just nuke em, and have to fight the hand battle until they're gone.

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aquafemme

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from: aquafemme
date: Jun. 26th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
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I'd like to reduce the size of my lawn over time - giving up on the problem areas around trees etc. but I still want some lawn for 'camping' or just laying down a blanket and soaking up some sunshine.

My lawn doesn't look too bad, just the usual moss mixed in. I already do mulching, mow high, weekly, leaving the clippings.

I bought some lime but then my pH came out as 7.0 so I don't think it's a good idea to use it.

I'd have to see a Fleur do Lawn in person I think. The tiny pic just makes it look like a bunch of weeds. My husband is more of a traditionalist so I doubt I'd be able to get him on board anyway.

I think I plan on either aerating or dethatching in the fall, then overseed, then compost (manure?) mixed with some form of nitrogen and rock phosphate. Hopefully that will be okay for the grass seed. I was hoping somebody would post their fall 'recipe'.

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