Sunday, June 21, 2009

Another Photo!

A nice sunny day makes a huge difference when you have enough iron! As always, click to embiggen:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Image Update

I took this photo about 20 minutes before sunset tonight. I added 2 pounds per thousand of ferrous sulfate just before it rained, and sprayed the lawn a grand total of three times for 5 ounces of iron per thousand total as a foliar application.

That is a lot of iron, but once temperatures during the day start rising above 80 I'll be less able to add it without burning. That will probably be the last soil application until late August. By the numbers, 11 pounds of iron per thousand square feet should have raised my iron levels to around 45 parts per million, but my soil's slightly alkaline state will enable it to bind most of that.

As always, click the photo to embiggen!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chelated Iron

I picked up some Bonide #299 Liquid Iron Complex quite cheaply (about a third the usual price), so I've applied that to the lawn.

The recommended rate for bluegrasses is 2 to 6 ounces per thousand square feet in enough water to apply it, and then spray to runoff. I diluted 2 ounces in 1 gallon of water and found it made a slightly thin spray. Next time I'll dilute half that in a gallon and go 500 square feet.

The hydrangea, which was a touch yellow, is showing a response in just a few hours. The grass should take 1 to 4 days to show any change at all. Since I went at 1/3 the normal rate, I may also have to apply more to achieve the color I want.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More Corn and Kelp

Summer's about to heat up here in PA (if it ever stops raining), so I've added 50 pounds per thousand of cracked corn and 8 pounds per thousand kelp meal to help prepare for it, feed the lawn over summer, and help fight the fungi from all the rain we've had.

It looks like my ferrous sulfate will arrive Friday, so I'll be soil drenching on Saturday.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Iron Oxide

Since iron oxide (Fe3O4) is so incredibly cheap, I've added 20 pounds over six thousand square feet, or about 3.3 pounds per thousand square feet. I'll report back later on the results.

One minor note is that if you can get it in granular form somehow, do so. The powdery stuff goes everywhere, even when mixed with Milorganite to even out the distribution.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thuja standishii x plicata (Green Giant Thuja) Update

The new Thuja, which I had estimated at a six inch growth rate this year, have grown considerably in two months already. The winner is a bit over 24 inches of increased height, the laggard is around eight inches taller. Since growth continues until August or so, these may get considerably taller than they already are.

Right now, width is fairly stable but increasing slowly.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Milorganite vs Ironite

I keep seeing this search and thought about it for a bit. It's a good question.

First, the basics. Milorganite is 5-2-0 fertilizer with 4% iron and a few micronutrients in it. Ironite is 1-0-1 additive with 4.5% iron and a host of micronutrients in it. I hesitate to call Ironite a fertilizer when it has such low numbers.

So which should you use? What are you trying to do and what do you need?

For standard lawn feeding, the Milorganite is definitely the better choice. The iron in it is sufficient to green your lawn without burning it, and the nitrogen is organic and also will not burn.

If you have chlorosis (an iron shortage) or a known shortage of the other nutrients in Ironite, the Ironite is the superior choice. The nitrogen is water-soluble, but there isn't much at only 1%. The iron, at 4.5%, is slightly superior to Milorganite and will green the lawn faster.

To determine if you have a shortage of the micronutrients in Ironite, you should have your soil tested.

Many people state that Ironite (and, for that matter, Milorganite) have too many heavy metals like lead and arsenic. Milorganite meets the highest standards for fertilizer, and Ironite's heavy metal numbers are very reasonable for usage while correcting a shortage. I wouldn't use it as a matter of course, however.

I certainly don't advise the use of Ironite without a soil test as adding micronutrients you don't need is at best useless. At worst it can damage your lawn and gardens.

If you'd rather not add any level of heavy metals but do need iron, ferrous sulfate is another source. Usage will depend heavily on your soil pH and local conditions, so some research is necessary.

At this point, I've used Ironite three times this year. From this point forward, I'll be using ferrous sulfate instead as I don't feel comfortable increasing the other elements any more than they already are.

For other micronutrients, most are available in a sulfate or other form. Those numbers should be calculated by an expert, and you can visit the Bestlawn soil management forum for much more information.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Adjusting Micronutrients

I've ordered a pound each of manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, and copper sulfate to shift my soil levels slightly. Although not far out of the normal range, I'd like to adjust those into the sweet spot for optimal growth of the lawn and gardens.

The chemicals are kind of festive. Zinc sulfate is white, copper sulfate a blue-green, and manganese sulfate a faint pink.

The iron I've dumped (around 5 pounds per thousand) is already binding and the color is decreasing. It looks like I need to add either iron oxide or ferrous sulfate, depending on which one I determine will do the best job. Given my pH of 7.2, I suspect it'll be the ferrous sulfate.

Given that pure ferrous sulfate is around 30% iron, it doesn't require much--no more than a pound or two per thousand square feet at a time, never to exceed 10 pounds per thousand per year. That must never be applied to a wet lawn, and should be thoroughly watered in immediately after application.