Yet Another Organic Fert question

This is the place to discuss Organic lawncare.
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turf_toes
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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by turf_toes » June 3rd, 2021, 10:37 am

bolson32 wrote:
June 3rd, 2021, 10:33 am
Starting to find it hard to believe they're using organics, I asked for a label today and all I got back was....

"20-0-4 +.10 Dimension at 4 lbs. per 1000 sf is what we're applying right now"

I'm not really aware of any true organics that come bundled with dimension, are you? That said, I'm still actually considering it. They normally do 4 apps a year and will do callbacks for weed control if you do all 4. I had Weedman for 3 years at my previous house and literally never called them back. I feel like 2 or 3 treatments a year would help me out on the time front and then I could apply some meaningful applications as Morph said.
Like almost everything, it depends on the definition of organic.

Urea is an organic that is found naturally in nature. But it can also be manufactured synthetically.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » June 3rd, 2021, 2:48 pm

True. Most of us don't call urea an organic as such, although it's actually an organic molecule by the organic chemistry definition. It doesn't have the capacity to add organic matter to the soil, either; it's just two charged ammonia bound to a carboxyl (C=O) bond in the center. Although I suppose that could react or get absorbed. It's not outside the bounds of reason.

Dried blood is also an organic (13% N) so that's another high nitrogen one.

One could certainly app organics and app dimension atop or below it, there's no reason why not. They don't interact (organics actually don't interact with very much).

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by bpgreen » June 4th, 2021, 1:09 am

I'm more than a little leery of any lawn service.

I think I used one when I first bought my house and they made things worse.

A neighbor uses a lawn service and they came the other day and sprayed some kind of weed and feed (I'm sure they sold it as tailored to their lawn). The temperatures were in the mid 80s and climbing . I'm hoping that whatever they had in the tank was diluted enough that it didn't cause problems.

A few years ago, a sprinkler head broke. A big section of the lawn died before I realized I had a problem. Somebody fron true chem or green lawn (or whatever the name is) tried to sell me a grub treatment and started randomly pulling up chunks of grass. He stopped when I punted out that he was trespassing and that I was going inside to call the police (long time ago).

I honestly believe you'd be better off doing nothing than hiring a suicide. That was originally hiring a service, but autocorrect made it better.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » June 4th, 2021, 1:36 am

At least the former could add 150, 200 pounds of OM to your lawn.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by bolson32 » June 4th, 2021, 4:52 pm

Haha, that would make for one nice green spot eventually.


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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by Dchall_San_Antonio » June 12th, 2021, 8:33 pm

I'm taking some personal time away from moving from one house to another to read the lawn forums. We're moving back to San Antonio so that my screen name still works. Anyway I don't have anything to add to the original question, but this topic has run off in different directions such that I do have some comments...

As for mouse trapping, I refer you to Shawn Wood's YouTube channel about catching rodents. He's tested hundreds and hundreds of mouse and rat traps over the years and has a lot to say. One of the simplest is a shallow bowl with vegetable oil in it and some sunflower seeds. Mice crawl in but cannot crawl out, because it is too slippery. There are several 'walk the plank' types of gadgets which fit on the top of a 5-gallon bucket. The best ones do not give the mouse a chance to leap to safety or to hang on to anything. If the bucket has a couple inches of water at the bottom the mice get instant swimming lessons. If you have a lot of mice, you can catch them all in one night with a bucket and good mechanism.

Starbucks coffee grounds are always wet. Using wet coffee grounds on the lawn is not easy/fun. You can try to dry them out. Good luck with that. I find the best use for wet coffee grounds is under the roses or in the veggie garden.

Corn GLUTEN meal makes an excellent alternative to soybean meal or other bagged products. Some people in Eastern Indiana have claimed prices of under $10 for ONE HUNDRED pounds.

Dried blood is a great fertilizer, but I consider it to be HOT. If grain type fertilizers go down at 15 pounds per 1,000, then blood meal should go down at 5 pounds per 1,000. That makes it very hard to apply unless you mix it in with other materials. And being hot, you could expect "overnight" greening.

Trugreen and other lawn companies hire professional sales people, not professional lawn people. I used to ride to a job with a former Trugreen salesman. He was a salesman for our business, too. He went from sales job to sales job. I asked where he got his lawn knowledge to make the sales. He just matched pictures in the catalog of pictures they gave him and kicked in with his sales skills. He laughed when I asked about their training program.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by bolson32 » June 12th, 2021, 9:10 pm

Haha, yea I figured as much. I've found that I can learn more than most salespeople about their product with an hour of reading.

I found that the local Spikes has a biosolid product that's quite affordable.

https://www.spikesfeed.com/award-18-0-3 ... 0-lbs.html

Essentially I'd be able to put that down at the same .75lbs/1k as Milo for about half the price. I think I'm going to try that after it starts raining again. Been a horrible drought up here the past 3 weeks.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » June 14th, 2021, 2:24 pm

As soon as you see a nitrogen level of 18, you know it's not a pure organic. While I can't find a good specification for this, the listed nitrogen source is 18% urea--all fast nitrogen. https://www.reinders.com/products/544-2450/ See Specifications.

It's...not a good replacement for Milo, basically.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by andy10917 » June 14th, 2021, 3:35 pm

As soon as you see a nitrogen level of 18, you know it's not a pure organic.
I swear that I had the exact same reaction to that sentence.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » June 14th, 2021, 3:47 pm

andy10917 wrote:
June 14th, 2021, 3:35 pm
As soon as you see a nitrogen level of 18, you know it's not a pure organic.
I swear that I had the exact same reaction to that sentence.
Sick &$^@s think alike?

For others, 'cause I know Andy already knows this.

About the highest organic N level you'll see is hydrolized feather meal at 13 (a small bit of fast and a large amount of very, very VERY slow N mixed), and dried blood meal at 12 (a fast N source). Grain? 7 (soy or cottonseed and I'm rounding up, a mid to slow N source). Post-sewer stuff? 6 or 5 or 4 (a mixed N source, some slow, some fast), with higher phosphorus.

I usually start asking questions at an N level of 10. Sometimes lower.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by bolson32 » June 15th, 2021, 3:51 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 14th, 2021, 2:24 pm
As soon as you see a nitrogen level of 18, you know it's not a pure organic. While I can't find a good specification for this, the listed nitrogen source is 18% urea--all fast nitrogen. https://www.reinders.com/products/544-2450/ See Specifications.

It's...not a good replacement for Milo, basically.
Yea, I actually came to that conclusion yesterday and spoke with a rep from EC Grow about it. I'm pretty sure it's literally milorganite mixed with urea. I even saw Milo mentioned on one EC Grows websites.

So, it's not a good milo replacement. But I think I've pretty much given up on going totally organic. It just won't fit my budget or time I'm able to invest right now, 6 month old twins doesn't leave a lot of time for lawn tending. So, with that in mind..is there a place for this in a lawncare program? I do like the idea that it has some biosolids in it and it's pretty affordable. Or would I be better off finding good poly-coated urea and using that for my primary means of fertilization?

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » June 15th, 2021, 5:31 pm

I'm actually fine with this if you know what you're using, the price is reasonable for 18% nitrogen, and you respect the nitrogen source (use it as if it's a fast nitrogen, which it is, and treat it as a synthetic, since it's going to act like that).

I can't say how much actual Milo is really in there as it's not showing in the nitrogen source at all. Classically, sewer waste is high in P, whereas this is zero. So my guess is "not very much." The K (potassium) source is synthetic. That's fine, they usually are and I use a synthetic K source in the gardens (potassium sulfate).

So if the price is right--about half the price of cheap urea. I can source 50 pounds of urea for $15, but I do well on the pricing. That's why I use basic, uncoated, good ol' urea for most things. Works great.

If you want to rely on mulch mowing and mowing in your fall leaves for your organics, I'm cool with that. Maybe you have some time and find some grains sometime and drop them. That's cool, too. Lawns are supposed to work for us, not be something that takes over our lives.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by bolson32 » June 15th, 2021, 5:47 pm

Okay cool, Would 3 or 4 apps of this a year, plus mulch mowing be a decent start on a "basic" plan?

Also the label was hidden on that reinders link on the 2nd tab.
https://assetcloud01.roccommerce.net/fi ... -label.pdf

1.6% water-insoluble nitrogen and 16.4% Urea. So mostly fast and not much milo just like you said.

re: dropping grains once a year. I saw another thread you were on about dog urine and using a lot of carbon based organics like corn. I have about 5000sq ft fenced in for the dogs, and where the family hangs out. I wonder if I should try and primarily do that area with grain. Is there any health concern with urea in the well-traveled areas?

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » June 15th, 2021, 9:59 pm

bolson32 wrote:
June 15th, 2021, 5:47 pm
Okay cool, Would 3 or 4 apps of this a year, plus mulch mowing be a decent start on a "basic" plan?
Absolutely. Proper mowing and feeding, even with synthetics-only, is a fine plan for any lawn that's too large to deal with or one that you just don't want to/can't/don't have time to deal with organically.

Optimal synthetic or mostly-synthetic schedule for most northern lawns, yours not being an exception, is to feed around:

Memorial Day
Labor Day
October 1st
When Growth Stops for the Year (if it's after November first)
1.6% water-insoluble nitrogen and 16.4% Urea. So mostly fast and not much milo just like you said.
Yep, that's consistent with "not much."
re: dropping grains once a year. I saw another thread you were on about dog urine and using a lot of carbon based organics like corn. I have about 5000sq ft fenced in for the dogs, and where the family hangs out. I wonder if I should try and primarily do that area with grain. Is there any health concern with urea in the well-traveled areas?
Urea has no significant health concerns; humans and all other mammals produce it in copious amounts to bind our nitrogen compound waste as a safe alternative to other nitrogen compounds, then excrete it in our urine (hence the name). It's fed to meat animals as part of their protein-building N source in smaller amounts (it's a strong N source and rather salty, so very little goes a very long way).

The LD50 is around 8450 mg/kg. Salt's LD50 is 3000 mg/kg. If you get either in your eye, wash copiously with water.

But you can also use grains in the fenced-in area if you'd rather. I use urea at the end of the season across my entire property.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by andy10917 » June 15th, 2021, 11:53 pm

Ever bought a factory-made pretzel? The ingredient that is used to make them brown properly is (you guessed it) Urea.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » June 16th, 2021, 1:05 am

One can also use a tiny bit of sodium lye (quite diluted) to do the same thing. Egg white works as well. My homemade pretzels use egg white as a browning and crisping agent.

Urea may be in your toothpaste if it has a whitening agent. It's pretty good at denaturing minor biological stains.

Hence the reason it's used in some laundry detergents as a co-solvent.

Urea's used to assist in fermentation (bacteria need nitrogen, after all). You'll also find it in most lotions (it's an excellent humectant, drawing water out of the air to itself to assist moisturizing the skin). Overuse can have a drying effect, however, as it draws water from the skin to moisten the urea, so I prefer less...aggressive...humectants.

Some soaps and shampoos use it, but the stuff I make doesn't. I don't extract the natural glycerin by-product so don't need to add urea as a humectant--the glycerin is better at it. If I feel I need something extra, I use honey (also a humectant) and oatmeal (ditto), but both are also process accelerants. Urea would be more like a process supercharger and afterburner...

Basically, this is a really basic chemical (NH₂-CO-NH₂, or just CH₄N₂O if you prefer the simpler non-structural form) with a ton of uses, very low toxicity, and you'll find it in some very surprising places doing very surprising things.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by bolson32 » June 16th, 2021, 11:49 am

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 15th, 2021, 9:59 pm
Absolutely. Proper mowing and feeding, even with synthetics-only, is a fine plan for any lawn that's too large to deal with or one that you just don't want to/can't/don't have time to deal with organically.

Optimal synthetic or mostly-synthetic schedule for most northern lawns, yours not being an exception, is to feed around:

Memorial Day
Labor Day
October 1st
When Growth Stops for the Year (if it's after November first)
Okay, this is pretty much exactly what I was looking for. I'm going to order 15 bags then and continue with this as my primary fertilizer for the rest of the year. Thanks!
Yep, that's consistent with "not much."
Re: Not much milo...from a nitrogen standpoint, definitely not. So stick with me here, as I try and fumble my way through this :rotfl: Isn't part of the draw of milo is that it's organic matter as well as an N source? I'm almost positive this product is just milo(or similar) mixed with urea, so it should still have a little bit of organic matter in it, no? Given that Milo is 6% N by weight and 32lbs of Milo has 1.92lbs of nitrogen in it. This product has 1.6% of N from Biosolids, which translates to .8lbs of N per 50lb bag. Would it be safe to assume that this 50lb bag is approximately 13.333lbs Milorganite?

And again, at the application rate, it's small. But I also think you said "every little bit" helps a few posts up :D

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » June 16th, 2021, 9:09 pm

bolson32 wrote:
June 16th, 2021, 11:49 am
per 50lb bag. Would it be safe to assume that this 50lb bag is approximately 13.333lbs Milorganite?

And again, at the application rate, it's small. But I also think you said "every little bit" helps a few posts up :D
Off the cuff, I'd estimate it at one in four parts without pulling out the calculator to do it more accurately, so around 13 out of 50 sounds about right. It's going to vary *a lot* by the source of the waste they have and the ultimate nitrogen level of it, so we can't call the initial source 6.0% by any sense. OceanGro, BayState, and Milorganite all have differing N values, but are all sewage products of equally high quality.

And yes, every little bit helps, which is why I'm not completely down on the stuff--but I'm still going to recommend calling it a synthetic in terms of nitrogen calculations and timing. 98% of the nitrogen in it will be very fast (3 days or less once watered in) with 2% of the remaining slow-releasing over a longer time period.

Sewage products aren't optimal in terms of organic matter additions for a variety of reasons, but if this is what's easy to do, go for it. Again, 95% of the battle is simply balancing the soil in terms of resources with your soil test, feeding at the correct times and in the proper amounts, mowing and watering correctly, and defeating weeds.

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by bolson32 » Yesterday, 12:56 pm

Okay, cool. I'm glad I have an okay understanding of it then. I also did a little more digging on it, which some might find useful. I'm pretty sure their sewage product is typically branded as 4% nitrogen, so there's probably a little more in there even by weight.

I came by this when I did a little more digging on the company, turns out they manufacture Menard's milorganite knock-off as well. e-Corganite

https://hw.menardc.com/main/items/media ... 0-1210.pdf

They list the manufacturer as Eau Claire Co-op Company, EC Grow is a subsidiary of EC Co-op. Anyway, SDS says it's a class A biosolid sewage sludge, so that's exactly what they're using for the Award organic blend. I'm going to give this a shot this year and next and see what I see.

Is there any concern on not having much slow-release at all? Would it behoove me to get some XCU or otherwise coated urea in one of the feeds?

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Re: Yet Another Organic Fert question

Post by MorpheusPA » Yesterday, 6:33 pm

bolson32 wrote:
Yesterday, 12:56 pm
Is there any concern on not having much slow-release at all? Would it behoove me to get some XCU or otherwise coated urea in one of the feeds?
There's no direct concern with this at all. The grass doesn't really care about the state of the nitrogen, and it'll start flipping forms as soon as it hits the soil.

There are some advantages (and disadvantages!) to organic nitrogen sources that you wont receive/suffer using this, but that's not a major issue. Starting slow is even an advantage in that a soil takes time to adjust to organics. You'll be building the bacteria and fungi in your soil that will handle these over time, without some of the headaches of instantly changing over to a full organic cycle.

Come fall, a lot of people spoon feed semi-weekly or even weekly, but with your time constraints, this isn't going to be you. Monthly is just fine, and the grass isn't going to complain about a pound of nitrogen a month delivered every month like clockwork in fall. That's absolutely fine.

It's also a bit of a fallacy that urea drops all at once. It really doesn't--release time is over about two days. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (the bacteria in the soil who released all the delightful urease that broke down the urea you dropped on the soil, because it doesn't hydrolyze quickly in water by itself and would take a couple years without them), they're happily sucking up the N you just tossed around, finding carbon sources (which you also generously provided in this), and reproducing like mad. Later on, bacteriophages, worms, and so on eat the bacteria, and excrete the nitrogen compounds (bacteria use far more nitrogen than any other being, it's a waste product in anything else). Which your grass happily consumes, unless another bacteria gets there first. In which case it loops around again.

Overuse of urea can be an issue if you're not adding the carbon sources to offset it; it'll flare off carbon compounds from the soil if material is removed (grass-cycling takes care of that problem on our lawns for the most part). So organic feeding adds that carbon right back, or mulching my gardens with 4" of bark (high carbon content). Or turning spent crop waste back under to decay into the soil. And so on...

You can do this anywhere. My gardens are fed both organically and synthetically. Once a month, May through August, they get a massive pounding of organic matter (Milorganite or soy, usually, 20-25 pounds per thousand square feet). Weekly, they receive a synthetic dose of urea as their nitrogen source (plus monoammonium phosphate, so there's a little extra N there, plus their P source, and potassium sulfate for K, a touch of kelp for minor and trace elements, a pinch of ferrous sulfate for iron, and just a wee smidge of sodium lauryl sulfate).

I get the advantage of slow, always-available nitrogen sources, plus fast sources of nitrogen at higher levels (and always available at the rates and as often as I feed). I spend most of summer setting my gardens in a permanent boom cycle. But I do have to replace the carbon lost by mulching it, and generally the plants at the end of the year end up in the lawn as part of the organic cycle there.

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