Experts Secrets to a Healthy Green Lawn
Most subdivisions built in the last 30 years during the process of excavating and contouring the subdivision, 90% of the top soil ends up buried in a low lying area somewhere along a ditch. The result is your soil in your own yard is usually clay or a soil type that has no organic activity present. Organic activity is produced when vegetation decomposes. Odds are, a sod company came in and threw down bluegrass or fescue sod over the clay and walked away. Leaving the home owner, you, with a fight that will last 7-12 years until organic activity resumes, and even then organic activity is minimal at best. To bypass the 7-12 year fight you must introduce organic activity from an external source. The most effective source is a product called Milorganite, which is basically activated sewer sludge that has no odor. Milorganite contains a high percentage of iron. That coupled with the introduction of organic activity, will maintain your lawn in a state which is green and lush. We apply Milorganite to lawns at a rate 3 times greater than the recommendation by the producer of the product. Sometimes twice a year per minimum of four years. This will turn your lawn deep dark green. However it will not increase the number of times that you will have to mow. As you probably know when your local chemical lawn applicator comes and applies chemicals to your lawn it requires your lawn be mowed every four to five days because they use nitrogen (fertilizer) to turn your yard green. We have done studies for years that prove that nitrogen and chemicals are not the only answer. Simply put, use Milorganite instead of harmful chemicals to produce the level of turf quality that you will be proud of. The next secret to a green lawn is your lawn must have a neutral ph of 6.8-7.0. To achieve a neutral ph you can test the ph yourself by buying a ph tester from your local Lowes or Home Depot. These ph testers normally cost somewhere between $12 and $16. Test your ph after a one inch rain when the soil is soft. The ph tester must be embedded in the soil one and a half inches to get an accurate reading. In the Midwest, you will find your ph will be as low as 5.3 and normally as high as 6.2, which obviously is to low. For turf grasses and other plants, neutral ph enables the plant to transfer nutrients and utilize these nutrients thus stimulating healthy root growth, and the green tops that you are trying to achieve. To raise your ph, you must use a form of calcium quicklime to skew the ph to 6.8 to 7.0. You can buy these products at most reputable nurseries. Note, do not use pulverized limestone, which is a form of calcium. Pulverized lime stone will not impact your soils ph for potentially up to five years. Obviously, you want results near term. In most turf areas we normally apply calcium quick lime at a rate of 20 lbs per thousand square feet in the fall. In the spring we apply calcium quick lime at a rate of 10 lbs per thousand square feet. To better understand this ph issue, visualize putting down four times the amount of nitrogen with a ph of 5.8 to achieve the same result as if the ph were neutral. Every time nitrogen is applied it reduces the soils ph. Most lawn care companies do not test for ph, they just increase the amount of nitrogen applied to your lawn, which results in even lower ph levels. In closing, you must have as much organic activity present as well as a neutral ph. These are the two building blocks you must have to achieve the healthy lawn you've been fighting for. All the other chemicals applied are virtually moot without these two building blocks in place. Be kind to yourself and the environment, and implement these processes now! Don't wait or it will be forgotten.