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Ammonium Sulfate Safe?

Is Ammonium Sulfate 12-0-0 safe to use in organic gardening? We usually use it as a quick greener up for the lawn during the growing seasons. Is it considered a chemical? Also, what are you using to fertilize & green your lawns and plants?

Any feedback helpful.

Sweet-pea
 
Ammonium sulfate has a rating of 21-0-0-24 it is a product of industry, organically speaking it does cause problems with soil life and though sulfur is a required element, the rating is too high in most cases.

Using this chemical for premature green up of turf can cause side effects due to the unbalanced growing enviroment.if the supporting elements are not readily available at the same time, you will get accelerated plant stimulation but with weak plant structure and most importantly you will delay and even inhibit microbial action especially rhizobacteria. Then there is the pH problem and your soil is already on the borderline of the preferred range. Some or all effects can lead to unhealthy turf. Remember that stressed plants are more appealing to pest and diseases.

Sure everyone wants quick green up before its time but its not part of natures plan. Its part of the chemical industrys plan.
 
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My lawn greens up naturally all by itself. It may not be the first and greenest on the block but it never fails to get compliments on how lush and thick it is during the summer. Early greening isn't as important as overall health.

Our program is pretty simple. Don't bag clippings, rent an aerator and core aerate once a year, use corn gluten meal for pre-emergent weed control, and fertilize once in late May and twice in the fall with a natural fertilizer.
 
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I just got called on the carpet for recommending ammonium sulfate as an alternative to table salt for controlling snails and slugs. I agree with Roborganic and kaytee both. Ammonium sulfate is a chemical, not organic, fertilizer. It happens to work great at killing snails and slugs. I'll bet a dollar to a donut that you have no snail problems. I use it in very small amounts to control snails, but not to fertilize.

So what fertilizer to use? I'm assuming you want an organic solution. Blood meal is a nitrogen source but it unaffordable for lawns. Corn gluten meal is a 9-0-0 fertilizer as well as a pre-emergent herbicide. I used it in late Feb this year and my yard looks like it's on steriods. My mower is set all the way to the top and I've mowed twice switching to weekly as of now. CGM is also pretty expensive. A 50 pound bag cost $30 at the feed store. It's spread at a rate of 15 pounds per 1,000 square feet, so it's about 45 times more expensive per square foot than ammonium sulfate.

I've seen many bagged organic fertilizers but they all seem to be derived from chemicals. I'm not sure how they get to call themselves organic, but that's not my job. In any case, I just picked one. I'm trying Medina Hasta-Gro Plus this year. You can read about it at http://www.medinaag.com/hastagro.htm. It has chemically derived urea in it. It's identical to animal urea and lots cheaper, so I can handle that. The manufacturer is in the bioremediation business which they accomplish by feeding microbes, so I like that about them. It's 1/3 the cost of CGM but nowhere near the low cost of ammonium sulfate. For plants I'm using blood meal, bone meal, table sugar, corn meal, corn gluten meal, molasses, and seaweed. I use table sugar to treat dog urine spots. I use a mix of molasses, seaweed, and water to spray the plants every two weeks to keep the microbes on the plants well fed.

After years of using ammonium sulfate, you probably need to rebuild your microherd. You'll take a hit on fertility unless you get going with some excellent, finished compost. On lawns I'd go with no more than 1/4 inch deep to keep from shading the grass blades. Use a pushbroom to get the compost off the blades and down into the soil. I'd use it now and again in mid summer only because you have a lot of microbes to rebuild. On beds I'd go as high as 3-4 inches as a top dressing/mulch. Water it in to get the microbes started down into the soil. I'm a no-tiller, so I always recommend gently laying the compost on top of the soil.
 
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