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Milorganite
Old 06-13-2018, 07:19 AM   #1
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Milorganite

I'm trying a new fertilizer for my lawn called milorganite. I guess it is mostly organic and have read a lot about it. I just put down some on my lawn. I know they say it won't burn the lawn but apparently in a couple of days we are supposed to get 3 or 4 days of mid 90% heat. I am a bit worried. Anybody have any experiences with this product?
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:04 AM   #2
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Milorganite has been around a long time. It's dried sewage sludge from the City of Milwaukee, Wis. As a fertilizer it's basically organic in nature and won't burn vegetation.

The fertilizer has some controversy in its history, though. About 10 years ago the sewerage district detected a low concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the sludge after some sediment was dislodged from a line in the sewer system ... fertilizer containing traces of the PCBs was spread on some city parks. A comprehensive environmental study followed; here's a link to the report.

Thirty years ago, Sports Illustrated did an investigative piece on the frequency of ALS among former players for the San Francisco 49ers. The article cited a correlation between a higher-than normal-frequency of Lou Gehrig's disease among former players from the '60s and the team's use of Milorganite to fertilize the stadium turf at that time.
The article said cadmium levels in the fertilizer were fairly high at that time. The article doesn't mention that the players were getting clocked in the head on a regular basis.

Nowadays, the sewerage district has pretty strict quality control measures in place, since Milorganite is a big money-maker for them. Like all human sewage, though, it's likely to have traces of the chemicals we use in our daily lives. But's it's basically poop.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:09 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mr._Graybeard View Post
Milorganite has been around a long time. It's dried sewage sludge from the City of Milwaukee, Wis. As a fertilizer it's basically organic in nature and won't burn vegetation.

The fertilizer has some controversy in its history, though. About 10 years ago the sewerage district detected a low concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the sludge after some sediment was dislodged from a line in the sewer system ... fertilizer containing traces of the PCBs was spread on some city parks. A comprehensive environmental study followed; here's a link to the report.

Thirty years ago, Sports Illustrated did an investigative piece on the frequency of ALS among former players for the San Francisco 49ers. The article cited a correlation between a higher-than normal-frequency of Lou Gehrig's disease among former players from the '60s and the team's use of Milorganite to fertilize the stadium turf at that time.
The article said cadmium levels in the fertilizer were fairly high at that time. The article doesn't mention that the players were getting clocked in the head on a regular basis.

Nowadays, the sewerage district has pretty strict quality control measures in place, since Milorganite is a big money-maker for them. Like all human sewage, though, it's likely to have traces of the chemicals we use in our daily lives. But's it's basically poop.
Sounds like a crappy product to me.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:12 AM   #4
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Mr. Graybeard pretty much said it all.


I've used it for years, and I don't think the milorganite will do any more damage than the extreme heat will. I always water mine in, and if it's that hot, the grass probably needs it anyway.


Since it has no herbicide in it, it's not going to have the same effect as say a weed & feed would. You just did the feed, with poop. My lawn loves it.


We're in a maintenance free community, and I won't let them put their regular chemicals on our fenced in back yard. Milorganite and Corn Gluten Meal give you a beautiful lawn, which is much safer for our dog who spends much of his day wallowing in it and eating the grass.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:18 AM   #5
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We have the same thing here in Austin - It's called Dillo Dirt. No lie...
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:32 AM   #6
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I'm laughing because it is such a racket. No fertilizer will burn the lawn if applied properly. Otherwise, fertilizer companies would go out of business. And that goes for milorganite as well.

Here is what I consider "applied properly":
Always fertilize lightly and always water in nicely.

For me that means a light application of no more than 15 for N and of the 15, try to have half as "slow release". Also apply just before a mild thunderstorm or 30 minutes of rain. If you cannot wait for rain, then water in well for 15-30 minutes twice a day. Your irrigation should have zero run-off and stay 100% on the grass.

Milorganite has N = 6, so it is already "lightly" formulated and though they state "slow release" it is not the same kind of slow release as sulfur-coated particles. Since Milorganite is basically just a "touch" of fertilizer, I don't think you have anything to worry about with it:

https://www.milorganite.com/faq

They state is it NOT organic.

However, your lawn can burn up from lack of water during a heat wave.

And I'll also mention that I think the worst think is to buy something with N >= 30 and apply without any water. That's just asking for trouble. Also if you water or have rain, then a big chunk of N >=30 fertilizer will just go downhill wherever the water goes. The "slow release" aspect of fertiilizer is important to me.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:41 AM   #7
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This makes me think it's time to bring back the outhouse in the backyard.
Free source of organic fertilizer.

Near me, small riding stables give away for free their old manure pile contents, so they don't have to pay to have it shipped away.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:43 AM   #8
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It's a man made product.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:45 AM   #9
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..........Near me, small riding stables give away for free their old manure pile contents, so they don't have to pay to have it shipped away.
Yea, but it looks a little clumpy on the lawn.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:32 AM   #10
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Just thinking during the 4 days of 90 plus should I water in early morning a couple of days?
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:35 AM   #11
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I don't have a lawn anymore, but when I did I just used to follow the Scott's program. Fertilize 4 times a year with the different seasonal blends and our lawn looked awesome. The most important one was the Spring one, that took care of the crap grass.

I grew up in Milwaukee and we always used to laugh how they could actually sell your um waste. That's your DNA they are making money on.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:41 AM   #12
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Near me, small riding stables give away for free their old manure pile contents, so they don't have to pay to have it shipped away.

Horse manure will be full of weeds. I don't understand what is different about their digestive system, but you will get a lot of weed seeds from horse manure. Sheep manure is the sh** to git! But it will stink with the first couple rains.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:45 AM   #13
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I've been using Milorganite for a few years on my tall fescue lawn here in SoCal and I have the nicest, greenest lawn in the 'hood. I use it year round, apply it 5 times a year and don't especially water it in no matter the weather. I water my lawn twice a week and usually fertilize it the afternoon prior to a normal sprinkling. It has never burned my lawn. I use a Scott's drop spreader set to about 11. Yes, mine goes to 11 :-)

The dogs around here really love to roll on the lawn, probably because it reminds them of something else.

I clean up the sidewalks after I apply and try to minimize any runoff into the gutter which eventually goes to the ocean.

My friend in Canada said it didn't do anything for his lawn after I recommended it to him. Likely because it's slow-acting and he expected an overnight change as when using inorganic supplements like iron or chemical fertilizers. It maintains my lawn year-round and I just bought four more bags from Walmart online, good price and free delivery to my home.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:39 PM   #14
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Horse manure will be full of weeds. I don't understand what is different about their digestive system, but you will get a lot of weed seeds from horse manure. Sheep manure is the sh** to git! But it will stink with the first couple rains.
I believe it is cow manure that is full of weeds, they don't chew the grass, it goes to their 1st stomach and may or may not be returned to be chewed. I use horse manure in my garden, and have no problem with weed seeds.

I use Milorganite on my lawn; their suggested program for humid northwest calls for application April 1, Memorial Day, Labor Day and November 1st.

It has 80% water insoluble nitrogen, so it is slow release and non burning.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:42 PM   #15
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:35 PM   #16
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Your fortunate that I moved away from Milwaukee. Or, there might be a part of me on your lawn.
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:31 PM   #17
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Just thinking during the 4 days of 90 plus should I water in early morning a couple of days?
I would only water if the grass showed signs of wilting from the heat. So it is hard to know if you should water in the morning before the grass wilts.

For my lawn, the wilting is very obvious after a hot day of sunshine. We have watering restrictions, too, but can use a soaker hose anytime. I will use a soaker hose on the spots that are wilted at END of the day, but not in the morning.

I have an irrigation system that is set to run at 8:05 pm and 4:30 am in the 12-hour period on the two days a week that I am allowed to water unless it has rained or is going to rain. Rather than water all at once, I break the time needed into 2 half-runs which virtually eliminates any excess watering run-off.

Anyways, for me it is observing wilted grass that is my cue to water and not temperatures nor lack of rain.
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