Assumptions and details:

  • we would apply slow release, predominantly insoluble, organic sources of nitrogen which could include compost, corn gluten meal or any of a number of organic turf fertilizer products.
  • the turf would not receive irrigation until memorial day.
  • the turf is a mix of fescues and bluegrass with some clover for good measure.
  • the property is on the east end of Long Island, NY.
  • we would make the first application in mid-April.

What are some general guidelines for application rates, and does the fact that we want to use organic products affect recommended rates?


1 Answer 1


It turns out this question is too general for any good specific answer. In short, the amount recommended in a single application will depend on so many variables like grass species, how many applications you do per year, soil conditions, weather, etc.

However after looking about, I've found a few good resources. The best I've found is the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Organic Land Care (OLC) program.. From their 2011 Standards for Organic Land Care, they recommend:

"No more than 1 pound of soluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application, with a maximum of 3 pounds of soluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year. Rates of nitrogen application must be further reduced after 2 years of organic management. Note: In sandy soils with high leaching rates, particularly those along or near the ocean, the allowable amounts of water-soluble nitrogen should be decreased to reduce the potential for contamination of down-slope water bodies."

However in general it is preferred to use insoluble nitrogen sources which are released more slowly by the soil biota and do not leach out of the target area.

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