Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Brian Beck
Unless you are over the age of 120 your go to solution in getting your lawn to look better has probably involved a trip to the store to get a bag of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer which seemingly is a failsafe in getting a lawn moving. We will address nitrogen in another letter but what we want to focus on here is CARBON as this is the lynchpin for every function in your lawn, more specifically, your soil. As we have adopted a biological system of managing turf as opposed to a synthetic one. Carbon has several important functions in the soil. It is most easily viewed as a savings account in the soil. It helps to store water in the soil. For every 1% increase in soil organic matter (carbon) you will double the water carrying capacity of the soil. Most of the soils we have analyzed here on the front range have around 2-2.5%. To have a healthy soil we need to have around 5% or better. It helps to store and manage macro and micro-nutrients in the soil. You can actually stockpile nutrients that can be used later. Carbon is also the energy source for the microbiology in the soil. Microbes protect, feed and naturally aerate the soil. More about that later as well. So the problem you are having in your lawn is not one of nitrogen, there is plenty of nitrogen in grass clippings, the air and rain to give a plant what it needs. What we have is a shortage of Carbon and the quicker one can figure this out the sooner one can save money on water, and enable the soils capability to do most of the work that we are attempting to do.