Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Marshall Grain provides organic landscape maintenance services using time-tested techniques tailored for North Texas lawns and gardens. If you need help caring for your garden, give us call. For those of you who prefer to do it yourself, below is an outline of the basic program that we recommend:
PRODUCTS YOU WILL NEED:
Granular Organic Fertilizer
Our favorite organic fertilizers have either poultry litter or alfalfa as their nitrogen source, and are free of bio solids. Granular lawn foods can also be applied to flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.
Some good choices are Sustane 8-2-4, Texas Tee 6-2-4, or Nature's Creations 4-2-2 Turf Food with Mycorrhizal Fungi and Nature's Creations 6-1-2 Manure Free formula . Don’t forget that corn gluten contains 9% nitrogen and so should not be applied at the same time as your granular fertilizer.
An alternative to fertilizing is to top dress your lawn and flowerbeds with compost. Compost will help improve soil structure. It will help to loosen hard, heavy clay, and will help bond loose, sandy soil. It will also add necessary organic matter your soil needs to thrive.
Fish/Seaweed Foliar Spray
For centuries farmers have known that both fish and seaweed are like superfoods for your plants. Seaweed significantly improves root development, while fish is one of nature’s most potent sources of nitrogen. Garrett Juice Plus or Medina Plus combine these two key ingredients with other activators such as humic acid and molasses to create a super-rich foliar spray or soil drench.
Mix 1 to 2 oz of your Fish/Seaweed product with 1 gallon of water in a pump sprayer. Or use use it full strength in a hose-end sprayer at a dilution rate of 1 to 2 oz per gallon. Spray everything you can reach.
Dry Molasses is actually dried grain hulls that have been sprayed with liquid molasses to create an easy-to-spread sugar. Sugar provides food for microbes and other microscopic organisms living in the soil that help break down organic matter. The hulls also add some fresh organic matter for other organisms essential to the decomposition process. Apply molasses to your lawns and beds as often as once a month at a rate of 10 to 30 lbs per 1000 square feet. Dry Molasses can be combined with your granular fertilize and applied together.
While fertilizers provide food for plants, bio stimulants increase the populations of beneficial microorganisms that work to improve nutrient supply to roots. By aiding the plants’ ability to take up nutrients, your plants will need less water and less fertilizer. Agrispon is an excellent bio stimulant while Bio S.I. adds lots of beneficial microbes. Apply it directly to the soil 2 – 5 times per year using a hose-end sprayer.
Corn gluten is both a natural pre-emergent weed control and a 9-0-0 lawn food. It kills weeds by inhibiting seed germination. It is currently the only organic pre-emergent option available.
Note: Its effectiveness depends on timing and application rate. It must be applied as soon as danelions begin to appear. You may need to apply it more than once per season depending on weather conditions.
Corn gluten does NOT kill existing weeds. It will not harm other plants. It is a food product and will not harm pets or wildlife if eaten.
The product is available as a powder (meal) or granule (spreadable). The powder is very fine and somewhat messy to put out, however, it is significantly more effective than the granules when applied at the recommended rate (20 lbs per 1000 square feet). Both forms are excellent sources of nitrogen and can be used as a 9-0-0 lawn food. Give your lawn 2 weeks to use the nitrogen in the corn gluten before applying any other fertilizer.
(First Year of Organic Program)
Note: Date ranges are based on “average” seasonal conditions for North Texas
February 15 — March 15
Apply corn gluten meal or granules at the first sign of dandelions. (Timing is critical. You must apply it before weed seeds germinate for it to be effective.
Wait 2 – 4 weeks and apply a granular fertilizer. Timing of fertilization is not critical.
(Alternatively, apply a ½- to 1-inch layer of compost.)
Apply a bio stimulant and dry molasses to all lawns and beds
Foliar spray everything you can reach with liquid fish/seaweed
April — May
Foliar spray everything
Apply molasses to lawns and beds
Optionally, apply bio stimulant to all lawns and beds
Depending on weather conditions you may need a second application of corn gluten
Apply a granular fertilizer
Optional: Apply both a bio stimulant and molasses to lawns and beds
Foliar spray everything
Apply corn gluten. Wait 2 – 4 weeks and apply a granular fertilizer.
Optional: Apply bio stimulant, and molasses to lawns and beds
October — November
Apply a granular fertilizer. (Alternatively, apply a ½- to 1-inch layer of compost.)
Optional: Apply dry molasses and bio stimulant to all lawns and beds; Foliar spray everything.
Thank You For Being Organic!