Turf Takes To Tea
An Investigation of the Impact of Compost Tea Applications on Turf Quality and Soil Microbial Activity
Want to make your neighbors green with envy over your lush green lawn? Of course you do!!! (We at TeaLAB are actually proponents of front-yard gardens, wildflower habitats, and xeriscaping where appropriate, however understand that there is a time and a place for everything including a thick and rich green carpet to lay, play, or dance upon). Well lucky for your bare feet and big ego, compost tea once again has been shown to help.
To see how tea affects turf-grass, a team of researcher in the great state of Texas designed an experiment using Bermuda grass and compost tea made by Texas State University from cafeteria waste, grounds maintenance waste, and wood chips. They bubbled 4 gallons of the compost in 200 gallons of water, along with molasses and seabird guano (Chilean Nitrate). This tea was then applied to treatment plots at two Texas State University sites, one being a highly trafficked, patchy field, the other a less trafficked, more evenly covered park site. There were four treatments: 1) Irrigation water plus compost ea 2) Compost tea only 3) Irrigation only 4) No tea, no irrigation. The tea was applied by hand using a watering can four times through the early spring growing season. After approximately three months, the Bermuda grass plots were assayed for their turf quality (Color, Density, Uniformity, Percent Living, & Texture). The measurements were repeated at random locations through the trial area so that there would be enough data to have reliable statistics.
And guess what? Weedeaters be damned, the compost tea plus irrigation plot did the best. Better color, denser, more uniform, vivacious, good texture, across the board the grass that received compost tea plus sufficient water was by far the best looking, and likely best feeling on your bare feet (side note: Texas U should add "Bare Feet Feel" parameter to their turf quality index). The sites that received no irrigation all fared the worst, which makes sense, grass is thirsty. The second best overall was the irrigated only treatment. Clearly, turf takes to tea.
What do we learn here? That lawns-smiths worldwide can reduce the need for chemicals and improve their craft by utilizing the many microbes found in compost and the teas made thereof. They say everything is bigger in Texas, now greener too. Thanks Texas U!!!
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