PRFCT Tips

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compost tea brewer

Need to give your plants a little kick this summer? Here's what you need to know before you pick a fertilizer:

The main difference between conventional synthetic fertilizers and organic slow-release fertilizers is solubility, or how quickly they dissolve in water.

Synthetic fertilizers dissolve rapidly, releasing nitrogen quickly into the soil. They promote quick "green up" and shallow root systems. They quickly leach into ground or surface waters when it rains, preventing most of the nitrogen from actually being absorbed by your plants. This causes pollution that can lead to algal blooms. Over time, synthetic fertilizers can build up in your soil and kill the microbes that keep your soil and plants healthy.

Slow-release organic fertilizers, along with compost and compost tea, work by providing beneficial microbes and food for microbes already living in your soil. These microbes, in turn, produce nutrients for your plants. These fertilizers are less soluble than synthetics, leading to less leaching of nutrients, and lessening the need for frequent fertilizer applications.

Many landscapers now provide compost tea applications, or you can check out our how-to for brewing your own.

Clover

So, you are leaving your clippings for 80% of your lawn’s nutrient needs. What is free and easy to add to that? If you’re lucky, the PRFCT ingredient is already growing right beneath your toes.

Clover is a nitrogen fixer—it pulls nitrogen from the air and releases it back into the soil when mowed. Those nitrogen-fixing roots run deep, keeping clover green even in hot, dry months. Your grass will love the nitrogen boost every time you mow, and the environment will love you for not adding more fertilizer.

Worried about bees? It's true that bees (and butterflies!) love clover flowers, but they are not aggressive away from their hives. Bees feasting on clover flowers should not sting unless stepped on directly. You can prevent stings by avoiding large clover patches, wearing shoes when on a flowering clover lawn, and mowing as soon as the flowers open. The cut flowers are also nitrogen-packed, so be sure to leave them along with the rest of your clippings.

Lawn soil

Is Your Lawn Pickled?

May 25, 2016

Worried about thatch? If you're fertilizing PRFCTly, you don't have to be.

Thatch is a naturally occurring layer of decaying material that accumulates in soil. A ½" layer of thatch is healthy. It acts as insulation for soil and roots and a cushion for your kids' knees when they fall on the grass.

Thatch build-up is not caused by the presence of grass clippings. In fact, having organic material like grass clippings on your lawn feeds the same microbes that remove excess thatch from your soil.

Problems occur when soil is pickled by the salts and acids in chemical fertilizers and pesticides, preventing the natural composting process from taking place. Material builds up, resulting in a thick layer of thatch that attracts pests and creates conditions for fungus to spread.

Instead, prevent thatch build-up by fertilizing your lawn with natural fertilizers like compost tea and, of course, grass clippings.

seedlings

Now that you have the PRFCT grass seed, it’s time to lay it down and have a PRFCT LAWN

1. Mow Short: Mow lawn with mower at lowest setting. Open bare patches to receive the seed.

2. Remove Clippings: Make sure the seed will meet the soil.

3. Aerate: Just in compacted areas like paths, and when doing total lawn renovations.

4. Apply Compost or Compost Tea: Allow to dry, then rake or drag the clumps smooth.

5. Freeze Your Seeds (optional): Put seed in freezer for 48 hours to crack seed coat and halve germination time.

6. Spread the Seed: How much? It varies a lot by seed type. Follow the instructions on your seed mix or see our website for typical amounts. Do not over do it! Crowded seeds compete and struggle.

7. Water: Seeds needs to be moist until established: Light watering (i.e. several times a day for 5 minutes each) until grass is at least 1.5 inches.

mower

Achieving your PRFCT lawn can be as simple as changing the way you mow your grass.

By setting your mower to the high setting (between 3.5" and 4") you¹ll encourage grass to grow in thick and strong. That promotes a healthy root system that resists pests, weeds and drought conditions.

Also, leave grass clippings on lawn! Clippings are a natural source of nitrogen, which will promote healthy growth without the use of fast-acting fertilizer.

So, bag your lawnmower bag and let those clippings fly. Mulching mower? Not critical, but even better.

Grass clippings provide a natural—and free!—source of nitrogen that fertilizes your lawn every time you mow. Instead of dumping your clippings in the landfill and then dumping fertilizer on your lawn, use the clippings to gently feed your lawn all season long.

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