Here is the Organic Lawn Fertilization Schedule tip sheet as promised from this past weekend's program. Just remember, that while a true organic schedule may make you feel good about the environment, I have yet to have anyone show me as green a lawn as you can get from the synthetic schedule.
But as a society, it is obvious about the need for better organic products, as we all become more "environmentally aware." So, I thought this was as good a time as any to post an organic version of the fertilization schedule.
For those that have listened to my program, or have been subscribed to these e-mail tips for some time will probably agree, there probably is a good middle ground to be had between the two. I'm a big proponent of organic products when they work and aren't over-priced, but I'm also a fan of schedules/products that work and save me money to boot. And if you've followed my schedule and enjoyed it successes, you know what I mean.
The ultimate benefit of the organic schedule is that there are fewer things to do over time. Many advocates of organic fertilizers claim that they only fertilizer two or three times a year. I can appreciate that, but again, I have yet to find as thick and as green a yard as those that are on my regular schedule.
Also worth noting, as we did in my new book, organic fertilizers can end up being a little more tedious and in most cases obviously more costly. Simply put, most organic fertilizers don't cover as many square feet, but always cost about the same if not more than a bag of synthetic fertilizer which can cover 3-5 times more square footage. The best example of this chasm in pricing is Ag Org PL (which stands for Poultry Litter), which averages 20-25 dollars a bag to cover 1500 square feet. Or Nitro Phos Super Turf (as an example of synthetic brand) which costs anywhere from 17-20 dollars a bag and covers 7500 square feet. I'll let you do the math! The reason it can seem tedious is related to poor soil. The worse the soil, the longer it will take to see the ultimate benefits of the fertilizer component on the organic schedule.
Yet, having said all that, many organic fertilizers are getting much better at improving their coverage on a square footage basis. One of the best examples is Lady Bug Natural Lawn & Garden Fertilizer, which averages 25 dollars a bag and covers 4000-5000 square feet. And it doesn't smell nasty like many organic fertilizers.
Here's a brief list of organic fertilizers that I think should be considered in the schedule, mainly because they are somewhat cost effective, don't smell (give me a "gag reflex") bad and are readily available. That availability is somewhat subjective, considering we are mostly talking about independent retail garden centers that aren't part of big box stores. Yet, Lowe's has been known to carry the Medina products.
MARCH - Organic Fertilizer as listed above
APRIL - Compost as top dressing
MAY - Organic Fertilizer as listed above
SEPTEMBER - Organic Fertilizer as listed above/or simply compost top dressing
Agricultural Corn Meal as preventative fungicide
OCTOBER - Organic Fertilizer as listed above, as Winterizer treatment
NOVEMBER - Corn Gluten Meal as pre-emergent herbicide
As you may have noticed, if comparing schedules, one of the other benefits of using a 100% organic schedule is the reduced need for fungicides due to all the beneficial bacteria and protozoa that will naturally fight fungal diseases. But you will also discover agricultural corn meal (for fungal treatment) and corn gluten meal (for pre-emergent herbicide treatment) are very hard to find. In fact, very few garden centers carry more than one product for each of those treatments. And I'll bet dollars to donuts that none of the mass merchandisers carry either. Thus, there's not much need to list different brands like I did for the myriad of organic fertilizers.
The good news here is that this is obviously a growing market, and I witnessed many manufacturers trying to get their agricultural corn meal and corn gluten meal products into Texas nurseries and garden centers at last year's Texas Nursery & Landscape Association convention.
Be sure to check out Randy's event page to see where else Randy will be for the next few weekends. Bring your plants, bugs, and diseases for identification purpose.
And you can still purchase a copy of my new book
Until our next issue, here's to great gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively weekend mornings 8a.m.-noon on TALKRADIO 950 KPRC.
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