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superintendent
11-30-2009, 11:57 PM
This yr was my first yr in the lawn care business and is going pretty good and hoping for a better yr next yr. I use 20.0.10 MU nitroform last yr and loved it but there prices are going up to $28 dollars a bag and I'm not paying that much. I like to know from yall that have been in the business awhile and have tried just about everything tell me what you use and think is the best. I have been looking at simplot,Dickson,sigma organic, Hearld and someother company. So let me know what yall like. What made your yard stand out from the others. With the nitroform my yards stood out from the others and I want that again but with another product. Thanks

Marcos
12-01-2009, 12:36 AM
You live in somewhat of a rural area of KY? :confused:
You may want to seek out your local farmer's CO-OP/ grain elevator operation to make contact with their sales reps & to get a general idea where grain protein meal pricing MIGHT be in spring 2010, for your specific region.
You can effectively use animal feed meals like corn meal, soybean meal, alfalfa meal & cotton seed meal as organic lawn fertilizer, and even more importantly for sales & marketing purposes to your prospective clientele...as SOIL builders! :waving:

More info on rates & such regarding meal applications can be found in the 'stickys' at the top of the 'Organic' forum in this site.

superintendent
12-01-2009, 10:40 AM
No hard feelings but not big on organic. To much organic causes fungus. Yes the soil needs some but to much is a problem.

tracyalan
12-01-2009, 11:00 AM
Contact your local farmers co-op. They can blend what ever ratio that you would like and also they can sell it to you in bag or bulk. I always bought from "Farmers Union" co-op and they would also blend my insect spray for me as well.

Marcos
12-01-2009, 11:14 AM
No hard feelings but not big on organic. To much organic causes fungus. Yes the soil needs some but to much is a problem.

With all due respect, super, organics applied correctly doesn't "cause fungus".
Organics applied correctly encourages the growth of beneficial soil microbes that eat protein & carbohydrates (meal, or other organic matter), and break it down into a fertile soil that in turn, naturally & slowly feeds the turf.

We've been applying meals like this for 9 years running during the growing season at a rate between 15 to 20 pounds per 1000 sq ft per round, usually 2-3 rounds / year.
Nine years, and so far, not one of our clients have accused us of "causing fungus".

So next time one of your customers, or prospective customers, calls you & inquires about organic lawn care, I suggest that in order to save face that you find yourself a better excuse than organics.... "causes fungus". :laugh::waving:

GravelyGuy
12-01-2009, 05:41 PM
With all due respect, super, organics applied correctly doesn't "cause fungus".
Organics applied correctly encourages the growth of beneficial soil microbes that eat protein & carbohydrates (meal, or other organic matter), and break it down into a fertile soil that in turn, naturally & slowly feeds the turf.

We've been applying meals like this for 9 years running during the growing season at a rate between 15 to 20 pounds per 1000 sq ft per round, usually 2-3 rounds / year.
Nine years, and so far, not one of our clients have accused us of "causing fungus".

So next time one of your customers, or prospective customers, calls you & inquires about organic lawn care, I suggest that in order to save face that you find yourself a better excuse than organics.... "causes fungus". :laugh::waving:

850 pounds of product for an acre? Is that right? What kind of truck do you leave your shop with in the morning? lol

superintendent
12-01-2009, 06:21 PM
I will tell you with bent if there is to much organic it will cause fairy rings and other fungus. I agree that all soil needs organic in the ground but not to much

Marcos
12-01-2009, 06:21 PM
850 pounds of product for an acre? Is that right? What kind of truck do you leave your shop with in the morning? lol

The average is actually about 750 #/ acre.
But this is done only 2 to 3 times a year...not 5, 6 or 7 like what's pushed these days by Trugreen et al with 'traditional' NPK & micros.

And when working with meals we run around with a F450 diesel extended bed superduty, sometimes w/ 20' enclosed trailer, sometimes not, depending upon the daily workload & weather forecast.
After we've completed a job & blown off the walks and driveway, some customers can tell that we've been there even hours later by the lingering pleasant smell, especially during the periods when we're applying alfalfa or corn meal. :)

GravelyGuy
12-01-2009, 06:37 PM
The average is actually about 750 #/ acre.
But this is done only 2 to 3 times a year...not 5, 6 or 7 like what's pushed these days by Trugreen et al with 'traditional' NPK & micros.

And when working with meals we run around with a F450 diesel extended bed superduty, sometimes w/ 20' enclosed trailer, sometimes not, depending upon the daily workload & weather forecast.
After we've completed a job & blown off the walks and driveway, some customers can tell that we've been there even hours later by the lingering pleasant smell, especially during the periods when we're applying alfalfa or corn meal. :)

If you start out with a thin lawn in bad shape, how long does it take with the corn meal, alfalfa, etc. regiment before you start to see any difference?

How does your cost using your method vs synthetics compare? It's obviously more work hauling/spreading that amount of material.

Do you still initially use pesticides for weed control?

Thanks for the info.

Marcos
12-01-2009, 06:40 PM
I will tell you with bent if there is to much organic it will cause fairy rings and other fungus. I agree that all soil needs organic in the ground but not to much

Well, duh! :hammerhead:
I should have KNOWN you were from a golf course background, super!
! :waving: :laugh:

If you're coming from GC background and trying to break into your own lawn care service on the side or whatever, you're no doubt going to be working with common turf such as turf type tall fescue, KY 31 fescue, isolated bluegrass here & there, and maybe some bermudagrass & zoysia.

Let me be the 1st person to reassure you that you'll not have problem 1 with fungus occurring in these tougher species because of organic matter overload like what you've said you've witnessed in bent at the GC.
For the most part, they are ENTIRELY different animals altogether compared to bent!

What you've been managing there is at a much higher bar of expectations than almost all residential & commercial turf.
With your type of background you should do just fine.
Just remember to try to keep the bigger picture squarely in focus. :waving:

Marcos
12-01-2009, 06:59 PM
If you start out with a thin lawn in bad shape, how long does it take with the corn meal, alfalfa, etc. regiment before you start to see any difference?

How does your cost using your method vs synthetics compare? It's obviously more work hauling/spreading that amount of material.

Do you still initially use pesticides for weed control?

Thanks for the info.

If we start out with a thin lawn, the 1st thing we sell before any meals go down is slicing & seeding.
Because the response time for most organics is a lot slower than "synthetics", it's of the utmost importance that the turf itself be of the density that it's capable of choking out weed competition before it gets started.

Costs?
Per application it runs as much as 2 to 2.5x as much as what you'd see a lawn care quote run.
But remember, only 2 to 3 needed per year, because protein & carbohydrates break down quite slowly by microbes, thus become part of the soil & feed the turf....very, very, gradually, compared to high N ferts.
Mowing companies love us in the spring!
They know they can keep up w/ our turf!

Pesticides?
Refer back to our 1st sell if the lawn is thin.
Otherwise, we use IPM methods w/ back packs only as needed until the turf is dense enough to crowd out all invaders.
Generally, the only place we use crabgrass control (either Dimension WSP or corn gluten meal) is along hard edge perimeters like sidewalk & driveway edges where the turf stresses out much faster & easier.

GravelyGuy
12-01-2009, 07:10 PM
If we start out with a thin lawn, the 1st thing we sell before any meals go down is slicing & seeding.
Because the response time for most organics is a lot slower than "synthetics", it's of the utmost importance that the turf itself be of the density that it's capable of choking out weed competition before it gets started.

Costs?
Per application it runs as much as 2 to 2.5x as much as what you'd see a lawn care quote run.
But remember, only 2 to 3 needed per year, because protein & carbohydrates break down quite slowly by microbes, thus become part of the soil & feed the turf....very, very, gradually, compared to high N ferts.
Mowing companies love us in the spring!
They know they can keep up w/ our turf!

Pesticides?
Refer back to our 1st sell if the lawn is thin.
Otherwise, we use IPM methods w/ back packs only as needed until the turf is dense enough to crowd out all invaders.
Generally, the only place we use crabgrass control (either Dimension WSP or corn gluten meal) is along hard edge perimeters like sidewalk & driveway edges where the turf stresses out much faster & easier.


Good info. I hope you don't mind the questions.

Once established, do your lawns stay nice and green like nitrogen ferts provide? Dark green turf means healthy turf in the customers eyes. I've heard it a million times, that's the most important thing to most customers.

When you advertise, do you stress the fact that you use organic products or is this just a selling point when your trying to explain why your treatments cost 2x the competitions.

Marcos
12-02-2009, 03:49 PM
Good info. I hope you don't mind the questions.

Once established, do your lawns stay nice and green like nitrogen ferts provide? Dark green turf means healthy turf in the customers eyes. I've heard it a million times, that's the most important thing to most customers.

When you advertise, do you stress the fact that you use organic products or is this just a selling point when your trying to explain why your treatments cost 2x the competitions.

Organics like meals takes somewhat longer to make an impact compared to synthetics because there's a stage of decomposition from raw protein to carbohydrates that has to happen at the crown level of the turf; a sort of 'two-dimensional composting', if you will.
This lapse of time varies according to climate, but the hotter & wetter, the faster organics generally work. (This is also the key reason why a lot of organic guys in the North stop applying by mid-September or so.)

This is really all about learning a different type of product reaction over the course of a year or two.
The delayed reaction of meals forces the an applicator to realize that they have to plan their next 'round' while the turf is still showing plenty of response from the prior (i.e. 8-9 weeks apart or so, maybe).

What are the big advantages?
The turf holds its color longer than synthetic AND.... the 'valley & peak effects' you see from synthetics before & after 1# N / 1000 applications is virtually eliminated altogether.
This makes the lawn more easy to manage especially to the customer themselves if they're DIY mowers.
(The 3 or 4 'stickys' in the organic forum have quite a bit more info on meals & their application, etc.)

Do we advertise organics? Yes.
But more word-of-mouth, team sponsorships, etc than anything else.
We're right here on the edge of the corn belt so many people around S. Ohio either came from farms or know someone who lives on one right now.
Selling meals, as well as compost topdressing from solid referrals is especially easy.

But obviously you need to do local research as to local reaction & feedback you might get to a future expansion of your program, as well as learning how to feel out pricing on grain commodities & getting to know your sales reps at the elevators and how to read their poker faces, etc.
The hardest part would have to be getting started from square 1.
We purchased part of a company in '99 that was almost all meal-based.
So we've built it, almost exclusively by referrals, from there.

You can always start slow & easy, with 1 or 2 cutting edge 'experimental' customers willing to try something new, and see what happens.
Pick on people who you think might eventually refer! :)
Maybe it'll take off for you, who knows? :waving:

Kevin M.
12-02-2009, 04:16 PM
I can see it know the call from the customer on a Friday afternoon and its as follows: Why do I have a mountain of white pellet stuff in my yard and were did my grass go ? Wow is all I can say