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aclane2000
01-14-2011, 12:48 AM
I'm intending on doing more organic lawn care for my mowing clients and I've heard that it should be an all or nothing thing. The reasoning is that synthetic fertilizers kill the biology in the soil, while the whole purpose of Organic style lawn care is to boost and nurture life in the soil and they will, in turn, nurture the plant life.

Even if I'm using a slow release fertilizer should I still expect that it's harming the good stuff in the soil? Is there a certain element in fertilizers that does the damage and I just need watch out for it? Is there a happy medium between all natural and synthetic?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

dKoester
01-14-2011, 01:38 AM
Salt!!! Its the problem.

phasthound
01-14-2011, 09:05 AM
Too much salt is the problem. Fertilizers high in organic matter blended with small amounts of urea, ammonium sulfate, SCU will provide good results with little negative impact on soil biology.

RigglePLC
01-14-2011, 11:31 AM
Maybe you need a hybrid or "bridge" program. Avoid muriate of potash--go with potassium sulfate. Use only plastic-coated slow release fertilizer; at least 50 percent coated; 70 to 100 percent coated is better. Blend this with an organic fert--Barry at Phasthound can help you there. You may wish to go with 100 percent organic slow-release during the hot summer months. Organic is non-burning, restores the soil biology and may reduce disease. Of course, if you want to kill weeds or chinchbugs, you need a license.

You may want to add aeration and/or sowing of high-quality disease-resistant seed during whatever season is suitable for that in Austin. Overseeding of Bermuda with perennial rye in fall is also a possibility. And during those tough years maybe offer to do the green dye for grass, (messy, but nice profit).

NattyLawn
01-14-2011, 01:06 PM
You don't need to have an "all or nothing" approach to use organics. Just changing to an organic based fertilizer will do a lot to help the soil biology. There are plenty of little things you can do to make a better lawn care program without going completely organic. It would be nice, but not practical for everyone.

starry night
01-15-2011, 11:28 AM
It's interesting that this question came up because I'm having this very conversation with someone via e-mail. I'm one who takes the all or nothing approach. If synthetic fertilizers are harmful, then they are harmful. "Here buddy, the drink's on me. I only put a little poison in it."
Do you believe in organic fertilization or don't you? My concern with crutch products (for the industry) is that too many guys will use crutch products and say to themselves "Hey, I'm using some organics." And, once comfortable, will never throw off the crutches and walk the organic walk.

NattyLawn
01-15-2011, 01:42 PM
It's interesting that this question came up because I'm having this very conversation with someone via e-mail. I'm one who takes the all or nothing approach. If synthetic fertilizers are harmful, then they are harmful. "Here buddy, the drink's on me. I only put a little poison in it."
Do you believe in organic fertilization or don't you? My concern with crutch products (for the industry) is that too many guys will use crutch products and say to themselves "Hey, I'm using some organics." And, once comfortable, will never throw off the crutches and walk the organic walk.


It's an overwhelming fact that people don't like change. If it's one step at a time, I think we should take it. When they see something work they will be more open to other products.

Smallaxe
01-15-2011, 01:54 PM
The most important thing about organics is the health of the soil. Salts are a possible problem, but in sandy agricultural fields, that use only synthetic ferts, they are able to keep on improving the plant health and harvest.

Irrigating the desert, has demonstrated problems with salt buildup, but salts also wash away or time. I thought they floated in the water, but they also dissolve and end up in the ground water, along with the nitrites.

So as one increases organic matter and reduce the salt input, it is difficult to believe that most soils will be affected that much.

Kiril
01-15-2011, 03:17 PM
The most important thing about organics is the health of the soil. Salts are a possible problem, but in sandy agricultural fields, that use only synthetic ferts, they are able to keep on improving the plant health and harvest.

Irrigating the desert, has demonstrated problems with salt buildup, but salts also wash away or time. I thought they floated in the water, but they also dissolve and end up in the ground water, along with the nitrites.

So as one increases organic matter and reduce the salt input, it is difficult to believe that most soils will be affected that much.

Don't bet on it.

http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/57/58641/fig10_07lft.gif

http://www.knowledgebank.irri.org/ricebreedingcourse/salt.jpg

starry night
01-15-2011, 04:20 PM
It's an overwhelming fact that people don't like change. If it's one step at a time, I think we should take it. When they see something work they will be more open to other products.

Yes, that is a valid point but I don't plan to take that approach.

JDUtah
01-15-2011, 07:25 PM
I'm intending on doing more organic lawn care for my mowing clients and I've heard that it should be an all or nothing thing. The reasoning is that synthetic fertilizers kill the biology in the soil, while the whole purpose of Organic style lawn care is to boost and nurture life in the soil and they will, in turn, nurture the plant life.

important word underlined.

Even if I'm using a slow release fertilizer should I still expect that it's harming the good stuff in the soil?

I wish I could find it, but someone posted a test that is rather telling. It was of a lawn that had been, and still was, on a regular synthetic program for years. SFI themselves did the test. They said that the fungal count was high, and the bacterial count was adequate.

Is there a certain element in fertilizers that does the damage and I just need watch out for it?

Note usually. In fact, most of the ions that are in fertilizers are produced by microbes themselves.

Is there a happy medium between all natural and synthetic?

YES! Bridge is ah-maze-ing!

Tim Wilson
01-15-2011, 07:54 PM
important word underlined.



I wish I could find it, but someone posted a test that is rather telling. It was of a lawn that had been, and still was, on a regular synthetic program for years. SFI themselves did the test. They said that the fungal count was high, and the bacterial count was adequate.



Note usually. In fact, most of the ions that are in fertilizers are produced by microbes themselves.

This is misinformation to the best of my knowledge.

YES! Bridge is ah-maze-ing!

Important words underlined...don't get mad JD; just playing

Edit: I wrote the phrase; This is misinformation to the best of my knowledge

JDUtah
01-15-2011, 08:30 PM
Important words underlined...don't get mad JD; just playing

Edit: I wrote the phrase; This is misinformation to the best of my knowledge

I "lol" that you underline SFI. (I have read your trip experience to their lab)

I'm not sure what you mean by the other.. "This is misinformation to the best of my knowledge "

Tim Wilson
01-15-2011, 10:20 PM
Sorry. It is a little unclear. I just meant that actually most ionic form synthetic fertilizers are not 'produced' by microbes to the best of my knowledge but I possibly I misunderstand your assertion.....but heck it's not very important anyway.

JDUtah
01-15-2011, 10:57 PM
Sorry. It is a little unclear. I just meant that actually most ionic form synthetic fertilizers are not 'produced' by microbes to the best of my knowledge but I possibly I misunderstand your assertion.....but heck it's not very important anyway.

not very important? Ummm... helllllllllllo?

If microbes didn't produce ions (the same exact one's in fertilizers), how is non-soluble organic "fertilizer" made available to plants? Really, please answer this.

K'mon man! It is the very CORE of what you like so much about the association of plants and soil microbes!

:hammerhead:

Kiril
01-15-2011, 11:43 PM
Case in point (see other thread).

Tell me JD, what happens when organic matter is decomposed?

JDUtah
01-16-2011, 01:53 AM
Case in point (see other thread).

Tell me JD, what happens when organic matter is decomposed?

You tell me all mighty knowledgeable Kiril. I mean, after all, you should be able to since you are such an expert on microbiology. And while you are at it, tell me how the organic matter is decomposed?

Kiril
01-16-2011, 02:25 AM
You are the one who made the statement that microbes produce ions ... apparently without the rudimentary knowledge of how decomposition works. So your response to the question is to be expected.

phasthound
01-16-2011, 09:01 AM
Kiril, please discuss your viewpoint.

Kiril
01-16-2011, 09:53 AM
Kiril, please discuss your viewpoint.

My viewpoint .... people should do their homework before taking exception to others posts.

Smallaxe
01-16-2011, 11:10 AM
Don't bet on it.

http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/57/58641/fig10_07lft.gif

http://www.knowledgebank.irri.org/ricebreedingcourse/salt.jpg

See what I mean... To me it looks like those salts were dissolved and settled into the low spot in one picture, and acroos the top of the other field entirely.
Where were those pictures taken and is it really salt??

phasthound
01-16-2011, 11:35 AM
My viewpoint .... people should do their homework before taking exception to others posts.

Good, since I know you've done your homework, tell us in your own words what happens when organic matter is decomposed?

Tim Wilson
01-16-2011, 12:18 PM
not very important? Ummm... helllllllllllo?

If microbes didn't produce ions (the same exact one's in fertilizers), how is non-soluble organic "fertilizer" made available to plants? Really, please answer this.

K'mon man! It is the very CORE of what you like so much about the association of plants and soil microbes!

:hammerhead:

JD, I was just trying to be nice and let you off the hook, rather than pick apart the phrasing you used. I was referencing my misunderstanding of what the heck you meant by your statement; Note usually. In fact, most of the ions that are in fertilizers are produced by microbes themselves.

Do you mean that microbes make the same ions as are found in fertilizers or do you mean that microbes (themselves) produce the ions which are in fertilizers. The latter means that microbes are utilized to produce synthetic fertilizers.

Why do you instead use this to attempt to belittle? I’ve already stated my stance in one of the two current threads on the subject.

You continue to speak from a standpoint of ignorance. Just because the molecular structure of synthetic ions and natural ions are similar and just because various bacteria feed on ions in synthetic fertilizers does not equate to; there is nothing wrong with using synthetics supposedly responsibly or correctly.

Kiril
01-16-2011, 12:32 PM
Good, since I know you've done your homework, tell us in your own words what happens when organic matter is decomposed?

What is this ..... biology 101? :rolleyes:

Decompose = break down into constituent parts.

JDUtah
01-16-2011, 12:39 PM
What is this ..... biology 101? :rolleyes:

Decompose = break down into constituent parts.

lol Kiril I know you know you are dodging the bullet. :laugh:

And quit honestly it appears like two of you need a refresher course in... biology 101.

It is basic stuff after all.

BTW I am still waiting for an answer. Do soil microbes use the same ions as are found in synthetic fertilizers?

Kiril
01-16-2011, 12:43 PM
See what I mean... To me it looks like those salts were dissolved and settled into the low spot in one picture, and acroos the top of the other field entirely.
Where were those pictures taken and is it really salt??

In both cases the salt deposition is most likely due to E(T) exceeding precipitation. The second pic is in India, not sure where the first one is. Here is one from CO.

http://images-mediawiki-sites.thefullwiki.org/01/9/3/7/229413271046508.jpg

Kiril
01-16-2011, 12:50 PM
Tell me JD ... what exactly do I need to be refreshed on?

Perhaps you would care to explain how microbes produce the very same ions as are found in synthetic fertilizers? You made the statement .... now clarify it.

And with respect to your sad attempt at deflection, I have no intention of entertaining your ridiculous straw man argument.

ICT Bill
01-16-2011, 01:07 PM
what is interesting about this debate every time it comes up is that no one seems to listen

almost (maybe everything) everything that hits the soil is food for something, be it fertilizer, dead mouse or an old shoe. The microbial populations will increase to the point of how they can exist with the food available, case in point is the oil spill spring 2010 in the gulf, the microbe population that likes to eat oil exploded and consumed a majority of the oil that was spilled after the food was consumed there is typically a huge die off and those dead microbes are consumed by something else

If you are applying fertilizers you are selecting for the microbes that like to eat fertilizer, if you are applying a diverse food like compost or a ferment of many inputs, kelp, fish, sugars, carbohydrates, amino acids you are selecting for a much wider variety of microorganisms and the higher predators that consume them and the ones that consume them and the ones that consumes them

It is about the type of food that you are applying to get the best result, one thing that is often forgotten is that the plants themselves are also feeding the microbes in the soil through exudates and in turn making nutrients plant available in the soil to the plant, these symbiotic relationships in the soil, when nurtured, can be a powerful way to reduce inputs

Kiril
01-16-2011, 01:17 PM
what is interesting about this debate every time it comes up is that no one seems to listen

Or read studies posted.

almost (maybe everything) everything that hits the soil is food for something, be it fertilizer, dead mouse or an old shoe. The microbial populations will increase to the point of how they can exist with the food available, case in point is the oil spill spring 2010 in the gulf, the microbe population that likes to eat oil exploded and consumed a majority of the oil that was spilled after the food was consumed there is typically a huge die off and those dead microbes are consumed by something else

If you are applying fertilizers you are selecting for the microbes that like to eat fertilizer, if you are applying a diverse food like compost or a ferment of many inputs, kelp, fish, sugars, carbohydrates, amino acids you are selecting for a much wider variety of microorganisms and the higher predators that consume them and the ones that consume them and the ones that consumes them

It is about the type of food that you are applying to get the best result, one thing that is often forgotten is that the plants themselves are also feeding the microbes in the soil through exudates and in turn making nutrients plant available in the soil to the plant, these symbiotic relationships in the soil, when nurtured, can be a powerful way to reduce inputs

I for one can not even begin to pretend I have complete knowledge of plant-soil-microbe-environment interactions, even with my educational background, no one in their right mind would. On the other hand, it would appear JD does have this knowledge that no one else possesses and fully understands all of these complex interactions .... pretty damned amazing. :rolleyes:

ICT Bill
01-16-2011, 01:25 PM
Or read studies posted.



I for one can not even begin to pretend I have complete knowledge of plant-soil-microbe-environment interactions, even with my educational background, no one in their right mind would. On the other hand, it would appear JD does have this knowledge that no one else possesses and fully understands all of these complex interactions .... pretty damned amazing. :rolleyes:

Its hard to be specific with such a complicated subject, there are WAY too many variables, we can generalize and kind of get close

Kiril
01-16-2011, 01:33 PM
Its hard to be specific with such a complicated subject, there are WAY too many variables, we can generalize and kind of get close

Yes you can generalize, and given our infantile understanding of these systems, what choice do we have? You can also over generalize which serves no purpose other than to marginalize important variables that need to be considered, or over generalize to the point of just being plain wrong.

phasthound
01-16-2011, 01:39 PM
What is this ..... biology 101? :rolleyes:

Decompose = break down into constituent parts.

Hey, you're the one who asked the question.
Tell me JD, what happens when organic matter is decomposed?

Just trying to have a conversation here, not ruffling your feathers.

Tim Wilson
01-16-2011, 01:41 PM
what is interesting about this debate every time it comes up is that no one seems to listen

almost (maybe everything) everything that hits the soil is food for something, be it fertilizer, dead mouse or an old shoe. The microbial populations will increase to the point of how they can exist with the food available, case in point is the oil spill spring 2010 in the gulf, the microbe population that likes to eat oil exploded and consumed a majority of the oil that was spilled after the food was consumed there is typically a huge die off and those dead microbes are consumed by something else

If you are applying fertilizers you are selecting for the microbes that like to eat fertilizer, if you are applying a diverse food like compost or a ferment of many inputs, kelp, fish, sugars, carbohydrates, amino acids you are selecting for a much wider variety of microorganisms and the higher predators that consume them and the ones that consume them and the ones that consumes them

It is about the type of food that you are applying to get the best result, one thing that is often forgotten is that the plants themselves are also feeding the microbes in the soil through exudates and in turn making nutrients plant available in the soil to the plant, these symbiotic relationships in the soil, when nurtured, can be a powerful way to reduce inputs

That's right Bill and in the Gulf and other places where 'life' gets out of balance, it takes time for things to cycle back to normal.

Have you ever read any of the diary entries of the European explorers astounded at the tremendous growth of grasses encountered on the plains (and thousands of bison) the like of which they had never seen?

Kiril
01-16-2011, 01:47 PM
Hey, you're the one who asked the question.
Tell me JD, what happens when organic matter is decomposed?

Just trying to have a conversation here, not ruffling your feathers.

Must be another one of those situations where you expect me to answer my own questions, questions that are meant to help people do their own research. :dizzy:

JDUtah
01-16-2011, 05:54 PM
For those that are listening without the history of me, Tim, and Kiril I am one of those guys that believes BOTH things can be good. Kiril and Tim are of the mindset that organics only are good and synthetics are bad.

The funny part is, with all of their professed knowledge they fail to admit that regardless of how it is produce (by man or microbe) plant nutrients are IONS that dissolve in water.

Plant use these ions to build molecules to build cells.

Microbes use these ions to build molecules to build cells.

The difference is, microbes can also produce and excrete enzymes that turn rock and carbon molecules into these ions. Plants can't.

This is why plants sometimes excrete carbohydrates (sugar) for the microbes. The extra energy allows microbes to populate and excrete enzymes and thus produce MORE ions... and thus both plant and microbe benefit because more "cell building blocks" becoming available. For both plant AND microbe!

Kiril wants some academic documentation. Fine. I will quote from a plant physiology book that he has promoted several times on this forum. Plant Physiology Fourth Addition Tiaz & Zeiger starting on page 84.

It states...
From a biological perspective, soil constitutes a diverse ecosystem in which plant roots and microorganisms compete strongly for mineral nutrients

Mineral nutrients are also called IONS. Which are also called salt based fertilizers. Whay the heck would a microbe compete FOR an ion if it doesn't want/need it?

:hammerhead:

More...
Despite this competition, roots and microorganisms can form alliances for their mutual benefit...

This is the association that Tim is so fascinated with. In simple terms, plats produce sugar (chemical energy) in their leaves, and microbes produce ions (cell building blocks) in the soil. Both of which are needed for the manufacture of new cells in both plants and microbes. In the soil where plant roots and microbes meet, a fascinating thing happens where each uses the product manufactured by the other in a mutually beneficial way.

More...
Plants are autotrophioc organisms capable of using sunlight to synthesize all therr components from carbon dioxide, water, and mineral elements. ...[mineral elements] have key roles within plants... To prevent the development of deficiencies, nutrients can be added back to the soil in the forms of fertilizers. Fertilizers that provide nutrients in inorganic forms are called chemical fertilizers: those that derive from plant or animal residues are considered organic fertilizers. In both cases, plants absorb the nutrients primarily as inorganic ions.

Back on the issue. People out there believe BOTH can be good. Others out there believe only one can be good. Most of the time the people who believe only one can be good freak out at the very idea that BOTH can be good.

Gotta go. BBL

Smallaxe
01-16-2011, 06:12 PM
I don't know that anyone was talking about the NPK elements of synthetic fert being good or bad. At least originally, salt was the problem..

I am curious about the salt coming from from the synthetics. Kiril had some nice photos of the excessive salt areas, but what about lesser amounts brought in with the ferts?

Smallaxe
01-16-2011, 06:39 PM
... Fertilizers that provide nutrients in inorganic forms are called chemical fertilizers: those that derive from plant or animal residues are considered organic fertilizers. In both cases, plants absorb the nutrients primarily as inorganic ions...

This was a question that had come up in the past. Is an ion, an ion, is an ion? Is there such a thing as an 'organic ion' that is different from an 'inorganic ion?

Tim Wilson
01-16-2011, 06:44 PM
Actually there is some capability of root systems to excrete enzymes which ionize (dissolve) nutrients. This is mostly concerned with nitrogen (dissolved organic nitrogen) or DON as it is refered to. You may find info by googling.

The bulk of organic N is delivered to plants, not by some synthesis or processing of rocks, etc. by bacteria but rather by flagellates, naked amoebae, nematodes (and to a minimal extent rotifers) eating bacteria and archaea and releasing up to 70% of the nutrient as ionic form nutrients, directly available to roots. Of course JD is correct that much of this energy originates with rock, etc. and organic matter which is degraded/processed by a myriad of organisms including fungi.

There is not some big deal that certain bacteria consume the same nutrient forms as plants. Plants use this to their advantage to grow their herd of bacteria to attract the bacterial feeders or starve them out when it is time for a different nutrient. All I'm saying is that when one uses ionic form synthetic fertilizers, they are putting this cycle at an imbalance.

NattyLawn
01-16-2011, 08:04 PM
There is not some big deal that certain bacteria consume the same nutrient forms as plants. Plants use this to their advantage to grow their herd of bacteria to attract the bacterial feeders or starve them out when it is time for a different nutrient. All I'm saying is that when one uses ionic form synthetic fertilizers, they are putting this cycle at an imbalance.

Tim, the above paragraph is the gist of the argument, IMO. Either JD can't grasp it, or chooses to ignore it.

jalderfer63
01-16-2011, 08:11 PM
I have been using a bridge product on my lawn 15 years.My lawn has been the best lawn on my street.It has always been thick and green using a bridge product.I had a Beagle that went out on this lawn for over 16 years.The beagle did pass in 2010.I just think that a bridge product is the way to go.

Tim Wilson
01-16-2011, 09:43 PM
I have been using a bridge product on my lawn 15 years.My lawn has been the best lawn on my street.It has always been thick and green using a bridge product.I had a Beagle that went out on this lawn for over 16 years.The beagle did pass in 2010.I just think that a bridge product is the way to go.

This is your choice and I'm not saying that using a combination does not work. It just is not organics and pure organics is just as good to better, some of which depends on your personal outlook. For me, besides being better for life, organics is way cheaper. I have two 16 year old Great Danes; amazingly still alive; they don't eat dog food.

starry night
01-16-2011, 10:09 PM
I have been using a bridge product on my lawn 15 years.My lawn has been the best lawn on my street.It has always been thick and green using a bridge product.I had a Beagle that went out on this lawn for over 16 years.The beagle did pass in 2010.I just think that a bridge product is the way to go.

I'm not trying to be contrary but....... you could also have thick and green with all-synthetic or all-organic.

dKoester
01-16-2011, 11:03 PM
And this is true. But.....................................which one will hold its water longer in a drought? Which one will ward off pest better? I know!

Kiril
01-17-2011, 08:58 AM
For those that are listening without the history of me, Tim, and Kiril I am one of those guys that believes BOTH things can be good. Kiril and Tim are of the mindset that organics only are good and synthetics are bad.

Not true. I have stated on numerous occasions that I support bridge programs as a means to an end .... the end being complete (or at least nearly so) removal of synthetics from landscape maintenance programs. That said, while I don't have a problem with very light chemical use from time to time, I do NOT support permanent bridge programs (like yours) in a typical landscape.

The funny part is, with all of their professed knowledge they fail to admit that regardless of how it is produce (by man or microbe) plant nutrients are IONS that dissolve in water.

For the record, not all plant nutrients are salts (ex. carbon, oxygen), nor do all mineral nutrients necessarily come from the soil, even if that is the predominant reservoir..

The difference is, microbes can also produce and excrete enzymes that turn rock and carbon molecules into these ions. Plants can't.

Also not true, see biological weathering.

Kiril wants some academic documentation. Fine. I will quote from a plant physiology book that he has promoted several times on this forum. Plant Physiology Fourth Addition Tiaz & Zeiger starting on page 84.

It states...


Mineral nutrients are also called IONS. Which are also called salt based fertilizers. Whay the heck would a microbe compete FOR an ion if it doesn't want/need it?

What does any of this have to do with microbes producing ions or the impacts of synthetic fertilizers on soils and soil biological communities? Furthermore, your assumption that all microbes can/do consume mineral salts (regardless of the source) is ignorant at best.

What is your point in quoting these passages? Neither Tim nor I have stated anything that contradicts what you have quoted. If this is the biology lesson you indicated Tim and I needed, you fell way short.

The issue here (and has always been) is your ignorant stance that chemical fertilizers cannot cause damage to soils (all inclusive) .... and your grossly over simplified and incorrect statement that salts don't kill microbes (therefore chemical fertilizers do not) is merely a display of your ignorance. It is irrelevant if some microbes use the very same ions in their biological processes .... that was never an issue here ... well except that you are trying to make it one. The issue with respect to soils (in general) is with short circuiting biological processes that build soils, reducing biological community diversity, excessive salt accumulation, and soil acidification, etc.... All of these can have wide ranging negative impacts on soil fertility and biology and plant health/yield.

I have posted numerous journal publications that demonstrate chemical fertilizers and pesticides can in fact lead to a net negative impact on soil biology, biological communities, and soil fertility. Nothing you have presented here, or in any other thread, disproves these studies. You have erected a straw man here, and like all straw men, they have no life or substance.

Smallaxe
01-17-2011, 09:44 AM
I'm intending on doing more organic lawn care for my mowing clients and I've heard that it should be an all or nothing thing. The reasoning is that synthetic fertilizers kill the biology in the soil, while the whole purpose of Organic style lawn care is to boost and nurture life in the soil and they will, in turn, nurture the plant life.

Even if I'm using a slow release fertilizer should I still expect that it's harming the good stuff in the soil? Is there a certain element in fertilizers that does the damage and I just need watch out for it? Is there a happy medium between all natural and synthetic?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

So has the question been answered?
Is 'salt' from synthetic ferts, killing the microherd, and must be stopped immediately or we all die, from the earth imploding on itself?
What other 'Chicken Little paranoia', can we thow out there to make organics king?
Why do synthetic ferts work in the real world, but not on this forum?

I don't knowthat anyone learns anything, except that nobody can agree on it... :laugh:

Tim Wilson
01-17-2011, 10:12 AM
Why do synthetic ferts work in the real world, but not on this forum?

Huh? Have you been reading?

dKoester
01-17-2011, 02:12 PM
Ok, I know where I stand on the issue. So somebody post some literature on the harmful effects of salt on microbial life forms. (This should be related to turf not marshes)

JDUtah
01-17-2011, 02:26 PM
Furthermore, your assumption that all microbes can/do consume mineral salts (regardless of the source) is ignorant at best.

I NEVER said that all microbes consume mineral salts. That is an assumption you made.

The same problem goes the other way. When people say that salt fertilizers kill microbes they tend to assume this means all microbes. And simply it is very very UN-TRUE.

The above is the only problem I have in this whole debate.

JDUtah
01-17-2011, 02:30 PM
The issue here (and has always been) is your ignorant stance that chemical fertilizers cannot cause damage to soils (all inclusive) ....

Tell me Kiril, when have I EVER stated this? (Man you assume way too much. :)

and your grossly over simplified and incorrect statement that salts don't kill microbes (therefore chemical fertilizers do not) is merely a display of your ignorance.

Actually the incorrect statement began with "salts do kill microbes"

It is irrelevant if some microbes use the very same ions in their biological processes .... that was never an issue here ... well except that you are trying to make it one.

Actually it is a critical component. And I dare say much more than "some microbes" use these basic building blocks.

The issue with respect to soils (in general) is with short circuiting biological processes that build soils, reducing biological community diversity, excessive salt accumulation, and soil acidification, etc.... All of these can have wide ranging negative impacts on soil fertility and biology and plant health/yield.

I agree with this statement when read literally and standing on its own. YAY we agree on something!!

Smallaxe
01-17-2011, 02:40 PM
Huh? Have you been reading?

OK, synthetic ferts are damaging and unsustainable then... Word it however you want, that is the message that comes from this thread.

No practical advice for the fella, who wants to communicate good reasons to his client that a switch over is going to do him good.

That's what I've been reading!!.

Arguements about nit-picking details of soil chemistry, doesn't cut it with the client standing on his nice green lawn, while you are giving him advice on doing it better...

We talk about 'safer' and 'greener', never 'better'... :)

Kiril
01-17-2011, 02:52 PM
I NEVER said that all microbes consume mineral salts. That is an assumption you made.

Perhaps, but a correct assumption nonetheless.

Kiril, yes or no... do microbes use the same ions that are found in synthetic fertilizers?

That seems like a pretty all inclusive statement/question ..... no?

The above is the only problem I have in this whole debate.

Then I guess you have a problem with your own position.

Tell me Kiril, when have I EVER stated this? (Man you assume way too much. :)

Your implications are crystal clear JD, and you damn well know it.

I wanna i wanna i wanna... but I wont. :)

ok i will...

salts kill microbes.... NOT!


Actually the incorrect statement began with "salts do kill microbes"

Salts can and do kill microbes .... among other things. This is not an incorrect statement in as much as it does not clarify how salts can impact microbial communities. On the flip side, it is not any less (in)accurate a statement than you saying salts don't kill microbes ..... go figure.

Actually it is a critical component. And I dare say much more than "some microbes" use these basic building blocks.

Is it? Perhaps it is a "critical component" to your argument, but not one with the issues which surround chemical fertilizers and their impacts on soils and soil biology. But if you insist, please list all the microbes that use these synthetic/organic/mineral plant nutrients and where they typically obtain them and what percentage of each of the three sources listed is utilized.

I agree with this statement when read literally and standing on its own. YAY we agree on something!!

And yet you still insist on spreading your uninformed bullshiit.

Tim Wilson
01-17-2011, 05:05 PM
Sorry Smallaxe I wrote a long reply but lawnsite was shifting gears and ate it. I may rewrite it later but in three words; it's a choice.

JDUtah
01-18-2011, 01:32 AM
Is it? Perhaps it is a "critical component" to your argument, but not one with the issues which surround chemical fertilizers and their impacts on soils and soil biology. But if you insist, please list all the microbes that use these synthetic/organic/mineral plant nutrients and where they typically obtain them and what percentage of each of the three sources listed is utilized.

OK let’s start with a bacteria type that organic fert nuts are crazy about. The Nittrogen fixing bacteria known as diazotrophs. These bacteria produce an enzyme known as Nitrogenase. This enzyme captures the Nitrogen found in the atmosphere and converts it into Ammonia (a "salt fertilizer"). They then use another enzyme called Glutamine synthetase to capture the N that is in the Amonia they just produced and use it to build glutamine. For those who don’t know glutamine is a Proteinogenic amino acid. Proteinogenic amino acids are basic building blocks used to make proteins. Protiens are the powerhouses of the cell if you will.



So here you have a soil microbe that captures Nitrogen from the atmosphere, turns it into “chemical fertilizer” (ammonia) in order to use it to make proteins. In fact, one of the enzymes I mentioned itself (Glutamine Synthetase) contains another "salt fertilizer" ion known as Ammonium.

This is just one example but there are thousands of types of soil microbes and each uses thousands of molecules to build itself and perform different functions. There is no way that I can provide an all inclusive list. But you knew that already didn’t you Kiril?



So as an alternative, let’s turn to some course notes provided by PhD. Stephen T. Abedon. He is a professor in the Department of Microbiology at Ohio State University. I found them in seconds using a simple google search for "Bacteria essential nutrients".

These notes cover the chapter entitled “Microbial Nutrition”. Note the underlined words.

• Microbial nutrient requirements

a. Common microbial nutritional requirements include:
i. water
ii. a carbon source
iii. an energy source
iv. nitrogen
v. sulfur
vi. phosphorus
vii. potassium
viii. magnesium
ix. calcium
x. oxygen*
xi. various trace elements
xii. various organic growth factors**
xiii. *Not molecular oxygen but oxygen atoms incorporated into compounds other than O2.
xiv. **Of all common nutrient requirements, the need for specific organic growth factors is least shared among microorganisms.

b. Source utilization variation:
i. Note that not all microorganisms do or are even able to assimilate all of these nutrients from the same source(s).

ii. "There are many types of laboratory prepared media available for the isolation and the cultivation of bacteria. It is important to understand that whatever growth medium is used, it must provide the necessary nutritional requirements for the organism you wish to grow." (Krueger & Kolodziej, 1986)

• Nitrogen
a. Amino acids:
i. Used in amino acids and nucleic acids.
ii. Possible organic source = amino acids.
b. Inorganic sources:
i. Possible inorganic sources include:
1. NH4+ (ammonium---nitrogen in its lowest oxidation state)
2. NO3- (nitrate---nitrogen in its highest oxidation state)
3. atmospheric nitrogen (nitrogen fixing)
• Nitrogen fixation
a. Nitrogen from air:
i. The conversion of gaseous, elementary nitrogen (N2) into nitrogen available to cellular metabolism.
ii. Ultimately this is where all of the nitrogen found in all organisms comes from.(including soil microbes)

b. Uncommon metabolic pathway:
i. Only a minority of bacteria are capable of nitrogen fixation.
ii. See particularly Rhizobium spp..

• Sulfur
a. Amino acids:
i. Sulfur is found in some amino acids and in various vitamins.
ii. Possible organic source is sulfur-containing amino acids.
b. Possible inorganic sources included SO42- (sulfate ion).


• Phosphorus
a. Phosphorus is found in nucleic acids and phospholipids.
b. The dominant inorganic source of phosphorus is phosphate ion (PO43-).


• Trace elements
a. Usually present:
i. Trace elements are often assumed to be present unless highly pure synthetic components are utilized.
ii. Even distilled water often contains adequate amounts of these element for growth.
b. Enzyme cofactors are basically used as enzyme cofactors.
c. Examples of cofactors include:
i. copper
ii. iron
iii. molybdenum
iv. zinc
v. cobalt
vi. manganese
d. "Many microorganisms require a variety of trace elements, tiny amounts of minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, and cobalt, usually in the form of ions. Trace elements often serve as cofactors in enzymatic reactions. All organisms require some sodium and chloride, and halophiles require large amounts of these ions. Potassium, zinc, magnesium, and manganese (all plant nutrients) are used to activate certain enzymes. Cobalt is required by organisms that can synthesize vitamin B12. Iron is required for the synthesis of heme-containing compounds (such as cytochromes of the electron transport system) and for certain enzymes. Although little iron is required, a shortage severly ******s growth. Calcium is required by gram-positive bacteria for synthesis of cells walls and by spore-forming organisms for synthesis of spores." (p. 149, Black, 1996)


Like I said, this is basic college stuff. Entry level. I have to go, but can expand on the areas I highlighted if anyone wants.

The bottom line is... YES! Microbes need nutrients! And YES! These nutrients often include the SAME EXACT IONS as found in chemical fertilizers. Some of those that this Doctor mentioned are NH4 (Ammonium ion), NO3 (Nitrate ion), SO4 (Sulfate ion), PO4 (phosphate ion)

And you guys call me ignorant???

To the OP. sorry we hijacked the thread. But IMO no, organics do NOT have to be all or nothing. Unless of course you want certification from one of the organic associations.

Kiril
01-18-2011, 09:01 AM
OK let’s start with a bacteria type that organic fert nuts are crazy about. The Nittrogen fixing bacteria known as diazotrophs. These bacteria produce an enzyme known as Nitrogenase. This enzyme captures the Nitrogen found in the atmosphere and converts it into Ammonia (a "salt fertilizer"). They then use another enzyme called Glutamine synthetase to capture the N that is in the Amonia they just produced and use it to build glutamine. For those who don’t know glutamine is a Proteinogenic amino acid. Proteinogenic amino acids are basic building blocks used to make proteins. Protiens are the powerhouses of the cell if you will.

So here you have a soil microbe that captures Nitrogen from the atmosphere, turns it into “chemical fertilizer” (ammonia) in order to use it to make proteins. In fact, one of the enzymes I mentioned itself (Glutamine Synthetase) contains another "salt fertilizer" ion known as Ammonium.


OK Mr. google scholar .... lets start with the fact that you keep calling ammonia a "salt fertilizer". Ammonia (NH3) is not a salt .... it is a gas. Ammonium compounds/salts are what you mean .... and they are not a "salt fertilizer", they are an ionic compound. So based on the fact that you can't even reproduce what you read accurately, the rest is worthless.

This is just one example but there are thousands of types of soil microbes and each uses thousands of molecules to build itself and perform different functions. There is no way that I can provide an all inclusive list. But you knew that already didn’t you Kiril?

Yes, I did. The question was meant to demonstrate the absurdity of your statements.

So as an alternative, let’s turn to some course notes provided by PhD. Stephen T. Abedon. He is a professor in the Department of Microbiology at Ohio State University. I found them in seconds using a simple google search for "Bacteria essential nutrients".

These notes cover the chapter entitled “Microbial Nutrition”. Note the underlined words.

Like I said, this is basic college stuff. Entry level. I have to go, but can expand on the areas I highlighted if anyone wants.

Provide the link if you are going to cut and paste JD.

http://mansfield.osu.edu/~sabedon/biol2015.htm

Hardly basic entry level college stuff, microbiology is not a GE, nor is the course specific to soil microbiology .... but by all means JD .... please do expand (without the cut and paste). Just because you can cut and paste doesn't mean you understand. Be careful JD .... you are getting close to Gerry status here.

The bottom line is... YES! Microbes need nutrients! And YES! These nutrients often include the SAME EXACT IONS as found in chemical fertilizers. Some of those that this Doctor mentioned are NH4 (Ammonium ion), NO3 (Nitrate ion), SO4 (Sulfate ion), PO4 (phosphate ion)

Stop putting words in the professors mouth JD.

Furthermore, you have heard of mineralization .... right? Care to explain the difference between an inorganic ion derived from an organic source vs. a synthetic one?

And you guys call me ignorant???

Yup ... and accurately so.

Let's recap .... you have focused on a single group of bacteria .... didn't reproduce what you read accurately, and didn't provide the answers I requested, even for the bacteria you specifically addressed. You then cut and paste some lectures notes as if they provided the answers .... but they didn't. Does that pretty much cover it JD?

Sorry JD, but as long as you continue to spew this uninformed crap every couple of months without doing the necessary research, or at the very least reading the publication list I have posted on numerous occasions, you will continue to be ignorant on this subject and I will continue to point it out.

starry night
01-18-2011, 09:49 AM
Furthermore, you have heard of mineralization .... right? Care to explain the difference between an inorganic ion derived from an organic source vs. a synthetic one?

To me, the answer to this question is the most interesting part of this thread and maybe the most important. I'm not smart enough to know the answer but I plan to read up on mineralization.

JDUtah
01-18-2011, 12:16 PM
That's all you have Kiril? Attack me? What about the points I made. You didn't once talk about the fact that those bacteria produce "chemical nutrients". (<-- is that a better, more generalized term for you?)

Nor do you address the fact that he lists the most popular chemical fertilizers as nutrients for microbes?

And you say I divert and deflect...

You've got nothing but to attack me? What a joke. You remind me of Professor Crawford in the movie Finding Forrester.

phasthound
01-18-2011, 12:50 PM
JD & Kiril, you both have good info to share, just stick to that and leave the personal comments out of it. Thanks.

starry night
01-18-2011, 12:53 PM
JD & Kiril, you both have good info to share, just stick to that and leave the personal comments out of it. Thanks.

I agree about the personal comments but there is a challenge of substantive information that has to be decided.

ecoguy
01-18-2011, 01:04 PM
JD. You may be right that microbes are not killed out right although they do seem to be hampered by continued chemcial fertilizer use. It seems arrogant to think microbes in the soil can't do their job properly unless we intervene. It makes more sense for us to study how they work and then support that.

Anyways, I think the issue of chemical fertilizers is more about sustainability. If you could focus your arguements proving that, I would listen.

starry night
01-18-2011, 01:28 PM
JD. It seems arrogant to think microbes in the soil can't do their job properly unless we intervene. It makes more sense for us to study how they work and then support that. .

I agree but I would add that we cause problems with the microbes working properly when we do intervene.....negatively.

Kiril
01-18-2011, 01:46 PM
That's all you have Kiril? Attack me? What about the points I made.

You didn't make any points worth discussing ... you simply regurgitated something you read ... and rather poorly I might add. Furthermore you did not even begin to address the question you were attempting to answer.

You didn't once talk about the fact that those bacteria produce "chemical nutrients". (<-- is that a better, more generalized term for you?)

Not following you JD. Is this your attempt to defend your statement concerning microbes producing the very same ions as synthetic ferts? Sorry JD, but one specialized group of bacteria converting atmospheric N2 to NH3 doesn't validate your all inclusive statement.

Nor do you address the fact that he lists the most popular chemical fertilizers as nutrients for microbes?

He does .... where? All I see is a list of possible sources of inorganic ions. He makes no mention of where they come from .... does he? Yet that didn't stop you from misrepresenting what he wrote ... did it?

You've got nothing but to attack me? What a joke. You remind me of Professor Crawford in the movie Finding Forrester.

Not an attack JD .... simply speaking the truth.

Kiril
01-18-2011, 02:01 PM
@ecoguy

A reduction in diversity is in effect, "killing them outright". To exclude a certain set of microbes in favor of another set due to chemical inputs is in effect "killing them outright". As soil salinity rises, pH falls, soil structure changes, etc..... you get even more reductions in diversity .... once again the net effect is "killing them outright".

The statement "salt kills microbes", while grossly over generalized, is not an inaccurate statement. Likewise, the statement "salts don't kill microbes", again grossly over generalized, is not an inaccurate statement. To use one grossly over generalized statement to invalidate another grossly over generalized statement as JD does on a regular basis is simply absurd.

JDUtah
01-18-2011, 02:15 PM
The statement "salt kills microbes", while grossly over generalized, is not an inaccurate statement. Likewise, the statement "salts don't kill microbes", again grossly over generalized, is not an inaccurate statement. To use one grossly over generalized statement to invalidate another grossly over generalized statement as JD does on a regular basis is simply absurd.

I'll give you that. Perhaps we should call this an ending agreement/ point for this particular flare up of this never ending argument? I'm starting to get bored, and the argument is maneuvering to personal attacks. Time to put it to rest for now. So... we agree that...

"The statement 'salt kills microbes', while grossly over generalized, is not an inaccurate statement. Likewise, the statement 'salts don't kill microbes', again grossly over generalized, is not an inaccurate statement."

dishboy
01-18-2011, 02:20 PM
@ecoguy

A reduction in diversity is in effect, "killing them outright". To exclude a certain set of microbes in favor of another set due to chemical inputs is in effect "killing them outright". As soil salinity rises, pH falls, soil structure changes, etc..... you get even more reductions in diversity .... once again the net effect is "killing them outright".

The statement "salt kills microbes", while grossly over generalized, is not an inaccurate statement. Likewise, the statement "salts don't kill microbes", again grossly over generalized, is not an inaccurate statement. To use one grossly over generalized statement to invalidate another grossly over generalized statement as JD does on a regular basis is simply absurd.

Is diversity reduced if a salt as 21-0 is used (sparingly/wintertime ) on a Alkaline soil where the sulfur will lower the PH into a a more useful level for turf?l

Kiril
01-18-2011, 02:31 PM
Is diversity reduced if a salt as 21-0 is used (sparingly/wintertime ) on a Alkaline soil where the sulfur will lower the PH into a a more useful level for turf?l

There is absolutely no way that I can answer that question, even if I did know the actual fert you are using.

dishboy
01-18-2011, 02:42 PM
There is absolutely no way that I can answer that question, even if I did know the actual fert you are using.
21-0-0 Ammonium Sulfate , 21% N 24% surfer.

Tim Wilson
01-18-2011, 02:52 PM
I can never really understand what it is that JD thinks he is arguing. It is almost as if he is arguing against himself. I do feel that many of his statements can be a little dangerous if taken as fact so hopefully everyone does their own research. I'm going to attempt to post a PDF of a chapter I ran across on the internet. I believe it is from the book The Rhizosphere An Ecological Perspective and authors of this chapter are Griffiths, Christensen and Bonkowski who are very respected researchers.

Kiril
01-18-2011, 02:59 PM
21-0-0 Ammonium Sulfate , 21% N 24% surfer.

Knowing that changes nothing. I still can't and won't comment on potential impacts.

NattyLawn
01-18-2011, 03:19 PM
Is diversity reduced if a salt as 21-0 is used (sparingly/wintertime ) on a Alkaline soil where the sulfur will lower the PH into a a more useful level for turf?l

If you think you may be applying something that may reduce diversity, why not follow that up with something to bring the diversity back? While a lot of people into organics will not soil amendments like lime and sulfur, I feel sometimes you need to apply these products for short term gain for the customer. When you correct the soil you then can bring the biology back.

JDUtah
01-18-2011, 04:22 PM
Do you mean that microbes make the same ions as are found in fertilizers

Yes. This is one way of saying it.

or do you mean that microbes (themselves) produce the ions which are in fertilizers. The latter means that microbes are utilized to produce synthetic fertilizers.

Yes. This is how the organic LCO feeds the grass.

There is generally zero difference between an ion produced by a microbe and an ion produced by large scale synthesis.

:drinkup:

phasthound
01-18-2011, 04:23 PM
I can never really understand what it is that JD thinks he is arguing. It is almost as if he is arguing against himself. I do feel that many of his statements can be a little dangerous if taken as fact so hopefully everyone does their own research. I'm going to attempt to post a PDF of a chapter I ran across on the internet. I believe it is from the book The Rhizosphere An Ecological Perspective and authors of this chapter are Griffiths, Christensen and Bonkowski who are very respected researchers.

Thanks for that one Tim. The article is good enough to print out and read over & over.

JDUtah
01-18-2011, 04:25 PM
I can never really understand what it is that JD thinks he is arguing. It is almost as if he is arguing against himself. I do feel that many of his statements can be a little dangerous if taken as fact so hopefully everyone does their own research. I'm going to attempt to post a PDF of a chapter I ran across on the internet. I believe it is from the book The Rhizosphere An Ecological Perspective and authors of this chapter are Griffiths, Christensen and Bonkowski who are very respected researchers.

Again, a personal attack against me instead of discussion about the things I state.

Speaking of clarity in what you are arguing... why exactly did you post this Tim?

phasthound
01-18-2011, 04:25 PM
Can someone please define is not an inaccurate statement to me?
Does it mean is an accurate statement? I'm confused. :dizzy:

JDUtah
01-18-2011, 04:28 PM
Can someone please define is not an inaccurate statement to me?
Does it mean is an accurate statement? I'm confused. :dizzy:

It means that neither are completely true, but neither are completely false.

Tim Wilson
01-18-2011, 04:36 PM
Can someone please define is not an inaccurate statement to me?
Does it mean is an accurate statement? I'm confused. :dizzy:

It is not impossible.

aclane2000
01-18-2011, 04:41 PM
Boy, it was painful reading through all that. But thank you guys for caring enough to share from your knowledge.
Obviously synthetics don't nuke all the life in the soil, but they do hamper it's growth when overdone. So I guess the question for me is, whats
"overdoing it"?
If I put down one or two applications of slow release fertilizer on a yard during the year, am I working against my attempts to increase microbial life in the soil by putting down compost, compost tea, seaweed, etc?

phasthound
01-18-2011, 04:45 PM
Aaahh, and there lies the crux of the problem when a reader assumes the writer is talking in absolutes. Realizing that all ideas are neither completely true or false would go a long way in creating more compassion and understanding.

Tim Wilson
01-18-2011, 04:48 PM
Again, a personal attack against me instead of discussion about the things I state.

Speaking of clarity in what you are arguing... why exactly did you post this Tim?

No attack JD. Sorry if you take it that way but I know, no other way to say it. Also when someone says that someone is speaking from ignorance, this is also not an attack. This phrasing is often used in academic discussions.

I am arguing nothing and I posted the chapter so that other's including you might use it to gain a better understanding of what little we know of what is going on in the microbial nutrient cycle.

Your points that the molecular structure of ions derived microbially or synthetically are the same or similar does not really illustrate anything unusual or profound. I have stated this many times, as has Kiril and in this thread (or the other one) Natty (Matt) has hinted to you that you should pay attention to this.

phasthound
01-18-2011, 04:50 PM
Boy, it was painful reading through all that. But thank you guys for caring enough to share from your knowledge.
Obviously synthetics don't nuke all the life in the soil, but they do hamper it's growth when overdone. So I guess the question for me is, whats
"overdoing it"?
If I put down one or two applications of slow release fertilizer on a yard during the year, am I working against my attempts to increase microbial life in the soil by putting down compost, compost tea, seaweed, etc?

You're new here, so you don't know it's common for these discussions to get painful.

I think you can safely improve your turf and microbial activity by using slow release fert that is high in organic matter along with applications of compost, tea, seaweed, ect.

JDUtah
01-18-2011, 07:41 PM
Boy, it was painful reading through all that. But thank you guys for caring enough to share from your knowledge.
Obviously synthetics don't nuke all the life in the soil, but they do hamper it's growth when overdone. So I guess the question for me is, whats
"overdoing it"?
If I put down one or two applications of slow release fertilizer on a yard during the year, am I working against my attempts to increase microbial life in the soil by putting down compost, compost tea, seaweed, etc?

Yes, like Barry said the heated discussions happen often. I usually get involved when the toxicity of salts is discussed. Mainly because some well published people have, in my view, spread inaccurate information.

As far as your two applications of slow release fertilizer, no, I do not believe you will be harming your little guys. Of course this is my opinion. But hey, my green lawns and even greener when i add organic matter seem to think so too.

In the end you need to ask yourself what is just enough to get it to work. Just enough organic fert, just enough synthetic fert if any, just enough pest control, just enough irrigation to satisfy moisture and leach requirements.

Just enough is the goal, otherwise you are wasting the stuff in your wallet, and potentially wasting mother nature.

Tim Wilson
01-18-2011, 09:56 PM
Mainly because some well published people have, in my view, spread inaccurate information.

Who might that be? Please read the beginnings of this thread again to see who first brought up salts.

PJC
01-24-2011, 10:01 AM
When we provided residential organic fertilization services we took an all or nothing approach. We never found the need for the use of “bridge” products. We now manufacture and distribute an all natural organic fertilizer and soil amendments. Our customers represent 1,000s of organically maintained lawns and athletic fields in the Northeast that are being done without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

If you plan on using even some synthetics and pesticides than it’s not an organic program and you shouldn’t advertise it to your clients that way. If from a comfort level you feel you need to do it then my suggestion would be to only spot-treat and then apply an all natural organic fertilizer and/or vermicompost top-dress to encourage the soil biology out of its dormancy.

JDUtah
01-25-2011, 06:24 PM
See what I mean... To me it looks like those salts were dissolved and settled into the low spot in one picture, and acroos the top of the other field entirely.
Where were those pictures taken and is it really salt??

Smallaxe. I bet it is salt. What people didn't catch is how it probably accumulated. Kiril mentioned it, but in a way that went well over most readers heads I am sure.

ICT Bill
01-25-2011, 07:22 PM
When we provided residential organic fertilization services we took an all or nothing approach. We never found the need for the use of “bridge” products. We now manufacture and distribute an all natural organic fertilizer and soil amendments. Our customers represent 1,000s of organically maintained lawns and athletic fields in the Northeast that are being done without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

If you plan on using even some synthetics and pesticides than it’s not an organic program and you shouldn’t advertise it to your clients that way. If from a comfort level you feel you need to do it then my suggestion would be to only spot-treat and then apply an all natural organic fertilizer and/or vermicompost top-dress to encourage the soil biology out of its dormancy.

PJC welcome to the site, we are glad you are here

great input, are you guys applicators or just distribute products or both it sounds like you have some background in this

PJC
01-26-2011, 02:43 PM
We started roughly ten years ago providing organic fertilization services. We purchased the manufacturing rights for an all natural organic fertilizer that has been around since 1994 in 2008.

We have since sold our service business to focus on the manufacture and distribution of our all natural fertilizer and soil amendments.

Tim Wilson
01-26-2011, 09:06 PM
When we provided residential organic fertilization services we took an all or nothing approach. We never found the need for the use of “bridge” products. We now manufacture and distribute an all natural organic fertilizer and soil amendments. Our customers represent 1,000s of organically maintained lawns and athletic fields in the Northeast that are being done without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

If you plan on using even some synthetics and pesticides than it’s not an organic program and you shouldn’t advertise it to your clients that way. If from a comfort level you feel you need to do it then my suggestion would be to only spot-treat and then apply an all natural organic fertilizer and/or vermicompost top-dress to encourage the soil biology out of its dormancy.

Give this man a cigar or gold star or both!

quackgrass
01-31-2011, 06:18 PM
All or nothing.....

I choose to use both so that I can minimize the total amount of nutrient input.

Most plants have a nutrient demand curve that spikes up during certain parts of the season and also subsides during other times. It is nearly impossible to match this curve with synthetics because they release and disappear too rapidly. It is also hard to follow the curve with just organics because they release slowly and one would have to apply an abundance to meet peak demand which is costly and excess during times of low nutrient demand.

Now imagine you take an average of that curve over the growing season and we can simply call that "baseline fertility". It really is way more scientific than that but I would like to include everyone in this conversation not just the holier than tho.

I believe the baseline fertility needs of a plant are best served organically because its stable, and gets the soil active. But mostly it means that you can apply organic applications at the same cost as synthetic ones because the rates are lower.

The next step is to hit the growth spikes with a low rate of synthetic fertilizer. The synthetic nutrients are able to be rapidly released and absorbed by the plant during these narrow windows of peak nutrient demand.

So in the end, you use a 1/2 rate of organic fertilizer and a 1/4 rate of synthetic fertilizer to accomplish optimum growth with less nutrients and money.

Kiril
01-31-2011, 10:58 PM
Are we growing crops or landscapes? IMO, there is absolutely no need to manage nutrients for landscape plants to provide for optimum growth. The goal is to maintain plant health and aesthetic quality, neither of which require nutrients at levels of luxury consumption. In fact, I do the opposite .... I manage landscapes to limit growth while maintaining plant health and aesthetics.

quackgrass
02-01-2011, 12:33 PM
Are we growing crops or landscapes?

I think its an excellent idea to grow crops in your landscape, but this type of nutrient management lends itself perfectly for edible and non edible plants.

IMO, there is absolutely no need to manage nutrients for landscape plants to provide for optimum growth.

Really? Optimum means must favorable, not most growth.

The goal is to maintain plant health and aesthetic quality, neither of which require nutrients at levels of luxury consumption.

Right, that would be optimum, and to do that you would want to use the least amount of nutrients possible. Fertilizing in the manor I described is a great way to insure you don't encourage luxury consumption.

Kiril
02-01-2011, 01:05 PM
Really? Optimum means must favorable, not most growth.

Yes .... really. I intentionally stress plants ..... "optimum growth" suggests providing conditions which do not lead to stress ..... i.e. no shortage of nutrients or water.

Right, that would be optimum, and to do that you would want to use the least amount of nutrients possible. Fertilizing in the manor I described is a great way to insure you don't encourage luxury consumption.

I'm not following you here given it is very unlikely you (or anyone else) has the data necessary to make this determination. I don't believe in blanket assumptions, nor do I believe that synthetics are generally necessary in your typical properly managed landscape .... particularly in non-turf areas. IMO, if you want to minimize inputs you need to find the breaking point of your landscape plants, then maintain your resources at a level that is slightly higher than that (i.e. one that doesn't impose too much stress on the plants).

quackgrass
02-01-2011, 02:51 PM
Yes .... really. I intentionally stress plants ..... "optimum growth" suggests providing conditions which do not lead to stress ..... i.e. no shortage of nutrients or water.

No it doesn't suggest that at all. Optimum means most favorable. It could mean using no inputs.


....if you want to minimize inputs you need to find the breaking point of your landscape plants, then maintain your resources at a level that is slightly higher than that (i.e. one that doesn't impose too much stress on the plants).

That level changes from month to month or season to season, which is my whole point. I can better match that level if I have both sources . I love it when rain and lightning show up to replace my synthetic applications, but sometimes they don't.

Kiril
02-01-2011, 03:11 PM
No it doesn't suggest that at all. Optimum means most favorable. It could mean using no inputs.

Your entire post was about meeting the nutrient demand curve of plants as it varies through the season. Not only is that is exactly what you were suggesting ("optimum growth" .... your words not mine) but clearly stated. Maybe you should go back and read your post ... specifically the sections about nutrient demand curves and how to meet them.

That level changes from month to month or season to season, which is my whole point. I can better match that level if I have both sources . I love it when rain and lightning show up to replace my synthetic applications, but sometimes they don't.

Case in point. Now you are talking about meeting nutrient demand .... i.e. no limiting nutrients.

quackgrass
02-01-2011, 03:32 PM
Your entire post was about meeting the nutrient demand curve of plants as it varies through the season. Not only is that is exactly what you were suggesting ("optimum growth" .... your words not mine) but clearly stated. Maybe you should go back and read your post ... specifically the sections about nutrient demand curves and how to meet them.

I said give the plant 1/2 of its demand organically and 1/4 of it synthetic. Adding 1/2 to 1/4 is 3/4 or 75% - of its demand.

Case in point. Now you are talking about meeting nutrient demand .... i.e. no limiting nutrients.

So 75% of demand isn't limiting?

If you have to twist words that hard, its because you have no point.

Kiril
02-01-2011, 03:50 PM
No one is twisting words quack ... that is what you wrote ... meeting the nutrient demand of the plant for optimum growth. For turf .... that would be equivalent to a NTEP rating of 9. IMO, there is absolutely no need to maintain turf at that level for resi/comm sites.

Furthermore, if the soil and environment are already capable of providing 70% (for example) of the plants nutritional needs, why are you applying 75% of the plants needs when you only would need 30% to completely meet the nutritional demand of the plant? Beyond that .... what nutrients make up that 30%? Do you custom mix synthetics per site per plant?

quackgrass
02-01-2011, 04:26 PM
No one is twisting words quack ... that is what you wrote ... meeting the nutrient demand of the plant for optimum growth. For turf .... that would be equivalent to a NTEP rating of 9. IMO, there is absolutely no need to maintain turf at that level for resi/comm sites.

Furthermore, if the soil and environment are already capable of providing 70% (for example) of the plants nutritional needs, why are you applying 75% of the plants needs when you only would need 30% to completely meet the nutritional demand of the plant? Beyond that .... what nutrients make up that 30%? Do you custom mix synthetics per site per plant?

If you can't debate my points without trying to sever and twist the possible definitions of each word, it means you have lost.

starry night
02-01-2011, 08:43 PM
I have no way of knowing whether someone knows how they are using the word but ........

Optimum comes from the Latin optimum (singular - optimus) meaning "best."
The word was first used in English in the late 1800's in biology referring to "conditions most favorable" (for growth, etc.)

ICT Bill
02-01-2011, 09:28 PM
YIKES! disecting, I would rather do it on a frog in science class
what happened to sharing, a little off track me thinks

quackgrass
02-01-2011, 09:42 PM
YIKES! disecting, I would rather do it on a frog in science class
what happened to sharing, a little off track me thinks

Semantics..... for those with no point but a strong desire to argue.

I wonder what the meaning of Kiril is? oh wait, I just found it:
Kiril \k(i)-ril\ as a boy's name of Greek origin, and the meaning of Kiril is "the Lord".

That explains the ego problem, no doubt.

Kiril
02-01-2011, 09:48 PM
I have no way of knowing whether someone knows how they are using the word but ........

Optimum comes from the Latin optimum (singular - optimus) meaning "best."
The word was first used in English in the late 1800's in biology referring to "conditions most favorable" (for growth, etc.)

Yes .... i.e. no limitations ... and per the usual degradation of replies from quack, he finally understands the problems with his post.

Kiril
02-01-2011, 09:53 PM
If you can't debate my points without trying to sever and twist the possible definitions of each word, it means you have lost.

Once again ... no one is twisting anything here quack .... and if you were to take a honest look at your post and how it was presented, you would see the numerous problems with it.

quackgrass
02-02-2011, 01:13 PM
Once again ... no one is twisting anything here quack .... and if you were to take a honest look at your post and how it was presented, you would see the numerous problems with it.

My post is fine, its your interpretation that is the problem.

You are trying to dismiss the fact that nutrient input can be minimized by using organic and synthetic fertilizers to better follow demand curves.

The only argument you have is insisting that the word optimal means the most growth. That is like saying optimum mowing height is the most you can cut off, or that optimum irrigation causes the most growth.

Its pretty easy to understand that optimum is "the most favorable", and therefore changes depending on what you're looking to accomplish. The optimum diet for an athlete will be different than the optimum diet of an obese person.

I know that sometimes you use fertilizers to add nutrients, and the rates and objectives are different for each site and vary from plant to plant. What you are trying to achieve is the most favorable condition for the plant. That could mean limiting growth or expanding it.

Lets say you are going to fertilize because a plant is deficient in nitrogen. You establish that it will need 1lb of N per K to get it back on track without causing excessive growth.

If you use 1lb of an organic N source it will provide enough nitrogen to relieve it of deficiency even during the plants peak demand. However, if it can accomplish that during peak demand, then it will likely be excessive during the rest of the season when Nitrogen is not in demand. So now you have excessive nitrogen for a good part of the season which increases leaching and costs.

Another option would be to use .5lb of an organic nitrogen source because that will better suit the plants demand over the majority of the season, but it would leave the plant overly starved during the peak demand period.

To keep the plant from being deficient at that time you could add .25lb of synthetic N just before peak demand, the plant would absorb it and then rely exclusively on the organic N for the remainder of the season.

The result would be less nutrients, cost, and leaching.

Another attribute of synthetics is that you can pinpoint just the nutrient that is needed and apply it when the plant is going to use it without adding things the plant wont use.

It may not seem like a big deal to somebody that uses a pallet of fertilizer, but say you use 10 semi loads - tailoring nutrients to the demand curve means you can potentially delete a couple truck loads of fertilizer per year.

JDUtah
02-02-2011, 01:18 PM
Yeah quackgrass.. if you aren't on Kiril's "team" he will do everything in his power to manipulate and discredit what you say. You almost need to hire a full time speech writer from a political party before you post something Kiril isn't going to like. That way they can tell you how to word it as un-objectable as possible.

I'm on your side... bridge IS an effective and REALISTIC way of managing landscapes!

Kiril
02-02-2011, 02:10 PM
My post is fine, its your interpretation that is the problem.

You are trying to dismiss the fact that nutrient input can be minimized by using organic and synthetic fertilizers to better follow demand curves.

No I am not. Don't put words in my mouth. But along those lines ..... how are you determining these growth curves for each plant in the landscape? How do you determine the appropriate amount of fertilizer required for each of these plants? You realize these "growth curves" can vary from site to site .... don't you?

The only argument you have is insisting that the word optimal means the most growth. That is like saying optimum mowing height is the most you can cut off, or that optimum irrigation causes the most growth.

That is one issue .... and you are using it inappropriately. Furthermore I NEVER said anything about "most" growth. Once again you are putting words in my mouth.

Its pretty easy to understand that optimum is "the most favorable", and therefore changes depending on what you're looking to accomplish. The optimum diet for an athlete will be different than the optimum diet of an obese person.

"Optimal growth" (once again your words) with respect to plants is growth without constraints .... such as nutrients, water, etc.... Your attempt to make it mean something entirely different doesn't change that fact.

I know that sometimes you use fertilizers to add nutrients, and the rates and objectives are different for each site and vary from plant to plant. What you are trying to achieve is the most favorable condition for the plant. That could mean limiting growth or expanding it.

See ... now you are being confusing. The most favorable condition for the plant is not necessarily what you choose it to be. For example, I choose to deficit irrigate, one reason is to limit growth. This is hardly the most "favorable condition for the plant" nor would it ever be considered "optimum growing conditions". What is favorable to you doesn't necessarily mean it is favorable to the plant ... a point I feel you are confused about.

Lets say you are going to fertilize because a plant is deficient in nitrogen. You establish that it will need 1lb of N per K to get it back on track without causing excessive growth.

OK .... so how do you establish this? Are you aware of all nitrogen inputs as it relates to the plant in question? Can you quantify these inputs so you can make an informed decision with respect to required nutrients? Why must this fertilizer be of the synthetic type?

If you use 1lb of an organic N source it will provide enough nitrogen to relieve it of deficiency even during the plants peak demand. However, if it can accomplish that during peak demand, then it will likely be excessive during the rest of the season when Nitrogen is not in demand. So now you have excessive nitrogen for a good part of the season which increases leaching and costs.

Not following you here. If you have determined the plant needs 1 lb of N immediately, and you apply a quick release organic N, how is that any different than a synthetic quick release?

Another option would be to use .5lb of an organic nitrogen source because that will better suit the plants demand over the majority of the season, but it would leave the plant overly starved during the peak demand period.

Why only half and what form of organic N .... there are many? How do you know how much of that applied N is going to become available to the plant without extensive and costly monitoring? An application of nitrate based fertilizer followed by a heavy rain could carry the majority of your applied N outside the effective root zone, making your application essentially ineffective. Do you monitor N movement in the soil and plant?

To keep the plant from being deficient at that time you could add .25lb of synthetic N just before peak demand, the plant would absorb it and then rely exclusively on the organic N for the remainder of the season.

If only it were that simple quack. Furthermore, how do you know when peak demand is for every plant in the landscape, or do you just guess?

The result would be less nutrients, cost, and leaching.

Only if you supply exactly what the plant will use ... assuming what you apply will even make it to an area where it can be utilized by the plant.

Another attribute of synthetics is that you can pinpoint just the nutrient that is needed and apply it when the plant is going to use it without adding things the plant wont use.

You can do the same with organics. Furthermore, you have apparently missed the boat on organic/sustainable land management. Clearly you are trying to manage the plant here instead of the soil .... bad move. There are other organisms in the plant-soil continuum and other considerations for land management other than supplying nutrients to plants for "optimum growth".

It may not seem like a big deal to somebody that uses a pallet of fertilizer, but say you use 10 semi loads - tailoring nutrients to the demand curve means you can potentially delete a couple truck loads of fertilizer per year.

And again I will ask you ... how do you determine these nutrient curves and do you tailor your fertilizer application on a per plant basis? You talk like you are managing Ag crops, not landscapes. It is important to understand the difference between the two .... and I fear you do not.

Kiril
02-02-2011, 02:25 PM
Yeah quackgrass.. if you aren't on Kiril's "team" he will do everything in his power to manipulate and discredit what you say. You almost need to hire a full time speech writer from a political party before you post something Kiril isn't going to like. That way they can tell you how to word it as un-objectable as possible.

I'm on your side... bridge IS an effective and REALISTIC way of managing landscapes!

There are no "teams" JD, although I am not surprised you think there are. Furthermore last time I checked this was the ORGANIC forum, not the "bridge" program forum. IMO, if you want to talk synthetics, take it to the appropriate forum .... unless your only intent here is to start arguments.

dishboy
02-02-2011, 05:31 PM
There are no "teams" JD, although I am not surprised you think there are. Furthermore last time I checked this was the ORGANIC forum, not the "bridge" program forum. IMO, if you want to talk synthetics, take it to the appropriate forum .... unless your only intent here is to start arguments.

Speaking from personal experience at least for my area and my lawns Synthetic N is not necessary EVER but can be beneficial in lowering the annual N expense or may be beneficial during low temperature times. I am not sold that turf quality is better by using synthetic N and in fact may be worse, its a hard call as weather changes from year to year so doing a controlled test is hard.

starry night
02-02-2011, 07:30 PM
Bridge = crutch.

Throw off those crutches, brothers,and walk. Free yourself now, brothers. Walk the walk. Don't just talk the talk. Do it, brothers, walk that organic walk. :walking:
Halleluja and pass the compost.

Smallaxe
02-03-2011, 12:25 PM
Bridge = crutch.

Throw off those crutches, brothers,and walk. Free yourself now, brothers. Walk the walk. Don't just talk the talk. Do it, brothers, walk that organic walk. :walking:
Halleluja and pass the compost.

The main thing about water-soluable N applied often, is that the roots have a crutch and growth more thatch than depth. Over time I believe that grass root may create a normal healthy depth, having created their own soil ecology with the help of OM and non-devasting irrigation practices.

In short I believe that grasses eventually establish a mature stand of turf that is not reliant on excessive inputs of N and successfully crowd out any intrusion of undesirable plants...

Working WITH the natural development of turf, is better than micromanaging its development according to erroneous ideas about how plants establish and mature. JMO...