Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Jerry Baker Lawn Tonic..

About twice a year I spray our lawn with a lawn tonic that was originated by Jerry Baker. It is a combination of liquid ingredients that accomplishes several great things for your yard. I am often asked for the recipe so I thought I would post it an everyone could have a beautiful lawn.

The ingredients are generally found at the local dollar store:

  • One bottle of liquid dishwashing liquid (not anti-bacterial)

  • One can of beer

  • One can of regular cola (not diet)

  • 1 cup of household ammonia

  • 1 bottle of antiseptic mouthwash like Listerene (or store brand)

  • 10 or so drops of hot sauce like Tobasco

Mix the ingredients in a bucket and apply to your lawn in some type of hose-end sprayer. The above amount should cover around 5000 square feet. Hose end sprayers vary, so you may have to move fairly quickly as not to run out.

Here is my understanding as to what these ingredients do:

  • The dishwashing liquid breaks up the oily film on the surface of your lawn's soil. This allows water to reach the deeper grass roots for a healthier lawn. It will also allow the other things you do (like fertilize) to go deeper in the soil. Dishwashing soap is also distasteful to insects and critters.

  • The yeast in the beer feeds on the sugar in the soda and helps to break down thatch.

  • The ammonia is liquid nitrogen for a greening boost. (but don't overdo it)

  • The mouthwash helps fight lawn diseases.

  • The hot sauce is an insect and critter repellent.

I apply in the spring and fall and have had great results. The following picture is of our lawn.


One Reader said...

Wow, very lush lawn!

I'll just quadruple the measurments and have at it.

Anonymous said...

Do you also fertilize? When, what, how often?

- Jim - said...

REPLY TO ANONYMOUS: I had a question if I also fertilize with regular fertilizer. Well yes I do, I use a triple 15 garden type fertilizer in the spring Maybe late march in Indiana, but be careful, it is not time released so only apply when it is lower than 70 degrees F, and go light or mix it with a crabgrass preventer if needed. I use a regular fertilizer in May(ish) with a 23-3-3 or similar. In July, I use a 27-3-3 (or similar)weed and feed. If you have a warm fall, there may be time for another application of 23-3-3. In September or October, I apply a winterizer mixed with the rest of the bag of triple 15. I am also a fan of buying the store brand of fertilizer to save some money - it seems to work just as well. Busted bag deals are even better.

The Jerry Baker system is a useful welcome supplement to a regular fertilizer regimen.

Anonymous said...

You do not say how big of a bottle of liquid dish soap or mouthwash to use. I was also wondering if by using the dish soap does it cause bubbles when spraying?

Mary from Northwest In

- Jim - said...

Another question from anonymous: Use a large bottle of dishwashing liquid - maybe 24 to 32 ounces. You cannot hurt your lawn with soap, so the more the merrier! I use a cheaper variety like a store brand or Joy or similar. It does make a few bubbles, but once you mix the other ingredients, it works out ok - not a problem. hint: when you mix your ingredients in a bucket, add the soap last for less bubbles in the bucket.

Anonymous said...

Lovely lawn you have. When you apply Jerry Baker's Lawn Tonic do you use a hose end sprayer and with what gallon rating -- 10 or 20 gallon rating?

Thanks for the assist.

Rich in UT

- Jim Mohr - said...

REPLY TO ANONYMOUS: Yes, I use a hose end sprayer - actually it is a crappy one that just spews out the material with no adjustment other than how fast I walk. That is the great thing about the Jerry Baker method - You can't really hurt the lawn with a bit of over aplication other than maybe the ammonia. NOTE: Thanks for the kind comment on my lawn, but the original post was 2009, and like anyone's lawn in the US over the last two years, it has been a struggle to keep it healthy - July, 2011 we got no rain to speak of and the hottest average temperature on record. I would be ashamed to post a recent photo...