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Lime then fertilizer?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by titan, May 5, 2007.

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  1. senorFrog

    senorFrog New Member

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    BeGreen, I don't want to flame you, but just realize the irony that something perfectly normal and acceptable to you, like burning wood for heat is heresy to some. E.g. Burning Issues website. An woodstove to them is like a lawns for you. BTW I do have quite a bit of forrested and landscaped area in addition to my lawn. People are so quick now to judge others and then pass laws prohibiting what they can and cannot do. We have become a nation of busy bodies minding everyone elses business instead of minding our own.

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  2. 11 Bravo

    11 Bravo New Member

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    Newb here........Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents worth since I am a bit of a lawn fanatic. I don't believe you could really "over-lime". And I throw it on at anytime of the growing season and water a bit. But the two secrets I have discovered are 1) dont forget the crab grass preventer 2) mow it long, keep the grass at least 4" in length Those 2 rules have negated my lawn problems over the years.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    No doubt cutting back on my 3/4 of an acre of open grass is a big goal. We have already turned about 20% of it to mulch and trees and gardens....but that still leaves a lot of green! Actually, this is really the first lawn I have had in my life. In NJ we lived in the "pines" with full forest on our acre and no topsoil, let alone grass. It was great - but up here in New England we would get depressed if we didn't have open area (more light and sun).....and, of course, the house came this way so we have little choice.

    But we were talking today about digging up more and more of that lawn and planting other stuff. Ideally, I'd have 1/4 acre or so of grass and the rest planting.

    Thanks for the liming tips.
  4. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Frog, you are not offering anything useful to the discussion.

    BeGreen, I agree with you 100 percent. I have personally tried to eliminate as much lawn as possible, like expanding the garden and making large beds planted with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

    General Comments:

    1. Don't kill the clover, its a nitrogen fixer and the bees like it.
    2. Why in the world is anyone buying lime? Use your woodstove ash to raise the PH.
  5. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    Craig, lime can be put down anytime, and in combination with fertilzer or not. Chemical fertilizers are salts, meaning that they break into electronically charged ionic form upon contact with water. For plant cell membranes high levels of these charged ions interfere with their ability to move water and nutrients into root systems. The presence of high salt levels draws water out of root tissue as the plant stuggles to dilute the exterior salt levels in a desperate attempt to acheive a more nuetral electric environment in which the root membranes could function effetively. The end result of these high salt levels is that the plant dehydrates and dies. With chemical fertilizer, a little is good, a lot is disasterous. Lime is not a salt. Lime is calcium or magnesium compounds ground into powder. Usually the calcium and magnesium come from limestone rock. They could come from marl, oyster shells, or industrial byproducts. Lime makes soil pH higher. As such it is a relativley inert material and unlike chemical fertilizer, it has no potential negative effect in higher concentrations (unless you put a couple of inches down and smother the plants) As SF said, it exerts its changes in soil pH over weeks and weeks which is why lime is often recommended as a fall ammendment so that is has the winter to take effect. Yes, here in the acidic soils of the Northeast, its best to use lime often and okay to use it fairly freely and at anytime, with or without fertilizer appliactions. You could even apply it during a drought since it has no effect on plant water systems, though it won't start to exert any effect until water has started to move it into the soil.
  6. senorFrog

    senorFrog New Member

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    The discussion is about liming and lawn care to which I offered useful advice. Try re-reading the thread.

    BTW, BG's comment was exactly useful either. ;)
  7. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Obviously, my comment was in reference to the BS I put in the shaded quote.

    BG's comment was useful, its just that some closed minded individuals like yourself don't really give a flying F about anything, but themselves.

    If you don't think that there are ramifications from millions of homeowners dumping millions of tons of chemicals on their yard, to maintain a "nice appearance", then you are simply clueless. (Or you don't give a "F")

    I live on the Chesapeake Bay, and the evidence is not-good.

    I built a house in a lake community in Maryland. I was the first house in. When I built the house, the lake offered great largemouth bass fishing, and was a sanctuary for wildlife. As all of the jerks built their "Lakefront Home", they cut all of the growth down by the water to "have a view I paid for" and planted grass.

    I was the President of the Assoc and recommended to all homeowners that they curb their use of fertilizers and lawn chemicals.

    Yeah right. It took about five years to turn this lake into a slimy green POS. But everyone had a pretty green yard!

    Yep, mind your own business and trash the place for others that happen to give a flying F.

    BTW, to use your words "I don't want to flame you, but...."

    Good Day!
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Whoa, touchy subject. SF, I don't belong to the lawn police or anything. It's just that in our region we've seen some very positive results from reducing runoff from lawns into streams. This is particularly noticeable near local golf courses. The more we pave paradise, the less habitat there is for the fish, birds and bees - some of the very things we cherish in paradise. Also, due to periodic local droughts, some local areas and cities in our region have learned through strictly enforced water rationing to just live with a brown lawn. Ours is going brown right now due to very low rainfall this year. No big deal, it will be green again come October.

    My posting was not to inflame, or put anyone on the defensive, but to suggest that there are nice alternatives to the perfect manor lawn. We still have lawn and will continue to. But we are reducing it, where opportunity presents itself and the result is pretty nice. One thing we are thinking about now is converting a field next to the house which I mow, to lavender or mint.
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    One of the options to consider as an alternative to lawns is a "wildflower meadow" where you basically just scatter a great deal of wildflower seed onto bare (or close to bare) ground, and let it grow. No fertilizer, no planning, needs to be mowed maybe once or twice a year... Lots of pretty flowers in different colors and a fairly steady change as one variety starts up and another one fades out.

    We've gotten seeds for this sort of thing from The Vermont Widlflower Farm which we've been to, and has a most impressive setup. American Meadows looks like a similar type of operation. Google turns up a great many other options as well.

    Gooserider
  10. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Just like fertilizers, there are 2 common types of lime. Pelletized and the white powdered lime. The powdered lime will react quicker and the pelletized lime will be slower releasing. The pelletized lime has to break down over time. Alot of people recommend using slow releasing fertilizers for the lawn so they don't get burned. As far as wood ash goes, It works but requires alot more to do what the lime does. Our garden is 50x100 feet, I put over 100 gallons of wood ash on the garden, and 20 gallons of the pelletized lime. And I still had to add more lime to get my ph up in the garden. Do a soil test at least 40 days after adding your goodies to the lawn, and it should tell you where your at. It would be hard to hurt the lawn with lime. Also the recommendation of P & K with the nitrogen is a good idea. But, Too much nitrogen will burn your lawn. I have never had a problem adding lime with fertilizers.
  11. senorFrog

    senorFrog New Member

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    Sandor, There are good alternatives to chemical fertilizer such as organics or using mulching blades. However, the libertarian streak in me says I'll quit fertilizing my lawn when you quit selfishly clear cutting and pumping dangerous greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere just for your own personal comfort . Nuff said? ;)

    BTW, Your prolific use of the "F" word was unnecessary and bordering on the ad-hominem.

    I've maintained a pretty good record of trying to helpful for well over a year here at hearth.com. I am slightly soured by the hypocritical attitude that some members possess. Dogpiling on someone elses thread is just poor taste.
  12. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    I might be a dummy from the West, but lime adjusts the Ph in soil, it doesn't act as a fertilizer. It does not cntribute to the plant, but changes the acidity of the soil and makes it easier for the plants to draw nutrients. The scum in the water is from excess phosphates and nitrates. Out here we have Lake Taho and Crater Lake. Two of the most pristine water bodies in North America, except, tahao is turning green. Why? people trying to make a little bit of Chicago in a High Desert climate.

    Soil supplements and soil builders do just that, improve the growing medium. They are not adding "chemicals", That's from someone who knows a good deal about lime mines and supplements, well, enough to know their value. I, also, see the potash mines East a hundred miles (do you know how big a drag bucket loader has to be to become an aeronautical land mark?) Mulch, manuer and miracle grow are much worse than lime. Even the perc from your septic system is more damaging. Don't blame the primaries.

    Quite frankly I had a lawn when I lived in Phoenix that was the envy of my neighbors and they always asked when I was so green and for so long (diacondra and rye grass mix). When I told them I didn't use Kentucky Blue Grass, and I only watered once a week with irrigation water and I added lime when necessary and calcium (crushed oyster shells) when the Ph rose, they asked me to help them.... Writing the dissertation and didn't have time.....

    Polluting is one thing, that's over fertilizing, but supplementing is another. You can grow the most outrageous asperagus with table scraps as the fertilizer, and the right planting hills and good drainage. If you have a 130 day growing season you can get great produce, and don't have to use any chemicals beyond your organic trash.

    Out here I hauled in 5 yard of playground sand and dumped it in the garden beds, I couldn't wait for compost to do the work. I added 50 yards of forest mulch, green and 500 lbs of blood meal. Covered with un printed newspaper four layers and black plastic on top. Have you ever eaten a beef steak tomato that was four inches in diameter, or garlic the size of grapefuit? Never bought a bag of commercial fertilizer, can't stand mr.Symplot.


    Back to the Sandor and SenorFrog. Why would you need to plant a lawn on a tidal bay? You are changing the eco-system. You are both bad. And the, " wildflower" landscapes out here are called XeroScapes. I have poppies from seeds my grandfather saved 60 or more years ago that are outrageous. Gathered in Colorado and Utah in the deserts and high mountains. I save seeds each year and share for free with anyone that wants them. I'm trying to regrow a Sego Lilly field, and a wild honey suckle. (sorry, but all are promised for three years).

    Do your part, screw the neighbors and don't take their crap. Heard a lady down in Utah got cited for letting her lawn turn brown, she was 70+ years old and they cuffed and arrested her when she refused to comply with the Image Police. She couldn't pay her water bill at $50. to water her lawn, remember this is a desert. What's wrong with that picture. Sent money yesterday to a friend in Utah to help pay the fine.......... Why do we need to make a place look like somewhere else? Man are our priorities screwed up.
  13. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    lil smokey, you raise some great points. Namely the lack of appreciation for the natural systems typical of whatever area we live in. Water use for lawns in the SW? Now there is a waste of a precious resource! There is a tendancey to want what we can't have and screw up lots of things in the process. Also, suburban lawns are one of the worst sources of water pollution nationwide. (promoted by Scotts and others) I appreciate the original question starting this thread. "What works best for a green - chemical - free lawn?" Admirable goal. I personally am not a chem free proponant. I am a proponant of knowing what you are using and how to use it and using it responsibly. I also am a strong believer in using chemicals only where they are really useful and relatively safe. Here in NH, bluegrass, fescue, rye mixes thrive in our climate. That's what I grow. My dad was a landscape architect. I worked on a grounds crew where everything was manicured, mulched, clipped. Drove me nuts that my dad just took natural plants and put them where he wanted things and then kind of let them go. Took me years to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of his ways. Today, my back yard landscape is whatever Mother Nature grows there. I remove some things, let others grow. Its a little different every year. Yeah, nothing unusual, but I have gorgeous hemlock, white pine, yellow birch, black birch, white birch etc, just like god planned. Don't have to fertilize, spray or anything. I will introduce some things here or there. I do use some chemicals. But I strongly advocate reading the label, using as seldom as possible, and appreciating what we have.
  14. 11 Bravo

    11 Bravo New Member

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    Glad I found this site...Lot's of good lively discussion. You all seem to reallly know your lime so I have a question. I usually put down a little every season. I am in the deep woods of SW Michigan, amongst a forest of nothin but red and white pines on my 3.5 acres that encircle my small lawn. I have been told that I especially need to put down lime because of all the pines. Is this accurate ?
  15. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    Absolutely. Pines tend to strongly acidify the soil. You'll have to lime often and heavily to keep the pH in an optimum range for nutrient uptake of turf grass. And to continue with the minimalist trend of this thread, keeping your pH in the low to mid 6's will maximize nutrient availability which will minimize the amount of fertilizer you need to use. Nice to have you on the site!
  16. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    That truly is an interesting question. I think I would parse it a little. The small lawn has a small footprint. Take into account only the twenty or thirty feet around the grass. Next do soil tests on the grass and surrounding. If your Ph is good for the grass, don't add to it, but you may need to adjustwith lime or other chems.

    Unfortunately we can't blame the trees for a bad lawn. Light and water are more likely the culprits.

    So welcome to the hearth, and tell us why you are here and what you are using to burn and are you burning your native trees?
  17. 11 Bravo

    11 Bravo New Member

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    Lil Smokey...I am here because I had shoulder surgery 4 days ago to repair my rotator cuff and torn bicep tendon that occured at work and I am bored out of my skull and decided to start posting........I have a 2000 sq ft log home, with a "Century by Jaquzzi" (don't blame me it came with the house) wood stove. I love the idea of relying on myself for the winter heat and find this site fascinating. I am looking at investing in a real wood burning stove and doing homework. My wife is a master gardener has a 4000 sq ft flower garden with koi pond, etc, and controls it all without chemicals. I do not burn anything from my 3.5 acres because I had always been told to never burn pine due to a fire risk, and pine is all I have. Like the info I got on lime, is this entirely accurate ? ********in your spare time, throw out a prayer for the family of an aquaintance and neighboring co-worker killed this morning..
    www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=18950
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well we probably ought to move this to a different thread, since it's getting away from DIY lawns and back into "Hearth Room" territory. :lol: But in short, pine and other softwoods are generally considered less than the best fuels because they tend to burn very hot and fast, but if properly treated they are neither creosote makers, nor particularly a fire hazard.

    They contain a lot of pitch and sap, which means that pine needs to be WELL SEASONED before burning - otherwise the excess moisture will cause the fire to be smokey and deposit lots of creosote in your chimney, but if properly dried (20% moisture or less) the pitch will burn quite well, indeed that is mostly what makes pine burn so hot and fast.

    Because they burn hotter and faster than most woods, you need to be careful not to over-fire your stove, typically this means smaller fires than the biggest amount of wood you can shove in the firebox, which in turn leads to shorter burn times and more frequent refueling...

    If you have the choice, most people prefer to burn hardwoods (Oak, Maple, Hedge, Locust, Walnut, etc) but there are plenty of folks in parts of the country that only have softwoods that heat with them just fine.

    Another thing to consider is that burning a wood stove is a lot of work, especially if you process your own wood - given your shoulder problem, it might be worth thinking about pellets, and certainly you will need to make plans about how to deal with processing if you do go for cordwood.

    About the stove - I am guessing, mostly because it's not a brand I recognize, that your stove is probably a pre-EPA "airtight" unit. (If it is EPA approved, there will be a big label on the back that says both that it is approved for fire safety AND for EPA pollution standards. This is what we often refer to as a "smoke dragon" stove, they may or may not still be safe to burn due to age, and tend to be major polluters. A new EPA-II certified stove will get about 30% more heat out of a given quantity of wood (can either mean you get more heat or lower wood consumption depending on how you run it...) and very low amounts of pollution - some approach the emissions of a conventional oil or gas furnace.

    Why don't you start a new thread in the "Hearth Room" section, telling us more about the house - floor plan, where the stove is, what the stack is like, (Inside / outside / height, size, etc) climate, particularly what the heating season looks like, what you want from a stove - pretty fires, or serious heat; how much you'd expect to burn it - occasional, evenings and weekends, or 24/7, etc... What sort of "style" do you like in terms of appearance? Maybe a picture of your current setup? This will let us help you figure out what size and style of stove will fit you best...

    Gooserider
  19. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    Oh crap Goose,

    You had me convinced you were a softwood burner, then you blow it by suggesting a new thread. Fact is, cleaner, hoter, more smoke free, and in the West more readily available. Seems like a good reason for a new topic. :cheese:
  20. 11 Bravo

    11 Bravo New Member

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    Very well...........thanks, and I will head over there in the morning......
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I agree time for a new topic, but here in New England, you just about can't get the wood guys to even sell you softwoods! The last load of log-length I got was (I think) all red and white oak. The red oak I'm sure of, the other stuff I'm not as sure about - the bark is flakier and it has leaves that are oak shaped, but instead of having sharp corners on the tips like red oak, these are all rounded. The wood has a pink hue like red oak, but not as intense, and almost looks "striped" w/ white strands as well. It doesn't have the same odor as red oak, otherwise it looks and splits like oak, so I'm assuming it must be some variety, probably white. I figure it all burns, so I don't worry all that much about it. %-P

    I like long burn times, so I tend to prefer hardwoods, but I'm not opposed to the "burn what you get" approach.

    Gooserider
  22. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Frogman-

    1. I do not "selfishly clear cut" trees to feed my stove. Around my area, so many trees get blown over from tropical storms and Nor'esters that I get plenty of wood that would have been trucked many miles to a dumpsite. The couple of trees around the house that I cut, are for better solar exposure in preparation for solar water heat.

    1.5 I do not use a log splitter, I use a maul. I use about 1 gallon of gas per year to buck enough wood to yield 3-4 cords.

    2. I use a catalytic stove, which does reduce emissions.

    3. I recycle the ash, to raise PH in the garden, instead of using packaged lime.

    4. If I choose to use the heat pump and baseboard heat (and not use the stove), that coal fired powered plant in Norfolk will be spewing some smoke to meet my electricity demand.

    5. Yep, the "F" reference was unnecessary, but YOU certainly employed ad-hominem attacks in your reply to BeGreen.

    6. I've been around here awhile too. Speaking of hypocritical attitudes, why are you on a woodburning site using incomplete data to denounce woodburning as a renewable (and green) alternative to heating one's home? Go over to the anti-woodburning site, or most likely, you are from there.

    7. Thats it for me on this thread. Start a new thread, PM me or whatever.
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