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Old 03-20-2011, 12:44 AM
c2weech c2weech is offline
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Compost Organic Lawncare vs. Organic Fertilizer L/C

I have been doing a ton of research on organic lawn care ie. Organic lawn care manual, internet research and reading everything in this thread for sometime as I think about offering this service.

However doing my market research the question I have come up with is how do you sell customers on Compost, overseeding, compost tea. vs Organic fertilizer that the big boys offer TrueGreen and Natural Way Lawn around me.

I understand the whole soil food web thing. Though using organic fertilizer seems to be much more marketable and efficient from a business standpoint.

Also just curious why organic fertilizers are not really discussed in this forum.

Please continue to educate me

thanks
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Old 03-20-2011, 06:43 AM
ParadiseLS ParadiseLS is offline
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i don't really think tukey's organic lawn care manual is all that great. i have it, i would recommend it to others, but i would recommend supplementary reading like "Teaming With Microbes", and for really serious people, more advanced soil biology books.

i agree that selling people on fertilization is a lot easier than selling them on building up their OM and teaming with microbes, so to say......unfortunately, companies are going to have to lead the way in organic lawn care and it is going to be tough for the trailblazers because there will be a smaller return on advertising dollars, and offering comprehensive programs is more trouble than just scheduling bi-monthly fert. apps. and on top of that, once it becomes popular enough, and once the other companies have seen your ads enough times and spotted your trucks and noticed that you're keeping busy, they are going to jump on your bandwagon and breeze into these new services.

on the other hand, i always try to offer the best service i know how to my customers. if they insist on not taking it, i let them just get their basic bi-monthly fert. but i really don't want to sell myself as an "organic lawn care pro" and offer them just the basics, because when the day comes that they start hearing about the newest craze in lawn care: compost tea", i want them to think, "hey, my guy has been telling me about that stuff for years, i guess i should finally listen to him". just because it won't help you expand your business when you're far ahead of the curve now, it might help you sustain a lot of business down the line when comprehensive organic programs hit the mainstream more, and it will reinforce the trust and respect your customers have for your expertise.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:39 PM
c2weech c2weech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParadiseLS View Post
i don't really think tukey's organic lawn care manual is all that great. i have it, i would recommend it to others, but i would recommend supplementary reading like "Teaming With Microbes", and for really serious people, more advanced soil biology books.

Forgot to mention I do have and have read "Teaming with Microbes" I like it for its depth and detail however I like Tukey's for Comprehensiveness
i agree that selling people on fertilization is a lot easier than selling them on building up their OM and teaming with microbes, so to say......unfortunately, companies are going to have to lead the way in organic lawn care and it is going to be tough for the trailblazers because there will be a smaller return on advertising dollars, and offering comprehensive programs is more trouble than just scheduling bi-monthly fert. apps. and on top of that, once it becomes popular enough, and once the other companies have seen your ads enough times and spotted your trucks and noticed that you're keeping busy, they are going to jump on your bandwagon and breeze into these new services.

on the other hand, i always try to offer the best service i know how to my customers. if they insist on not taking it, i let them just get their basic bi-monthly fert. but i really don't want to sell myself as an "organic lawn care pro" and offer them just the basics, because when the day comes that they start hearing about the newest craze in lawn care: compost tea", i want them to think, "hey, my guy has been telling me about that stuff for years, i guess i should finally listen to him". just because it won't help you expand your business when you're far ahead of the curve now, it might help you sustain a lot of business down the line when comprehensive organic programs hit the mainstream more, and it will reinforce the trust and respect your customers have for your expertise.
I like this point you make also as far as being ahead of the curve. I see from your location you are in Ontario. I have watched the movie"A Chemical Reaction" in my research which focuses on Ontario's banning of Synthetics. From the movie it makes it seem like all of Ontario now uses compost (or at least this is what I assumed)

My question to you is this true or do many in the province use organic fertilizers now?


And now a question to all Does this sound like an accurate distinction between the two Oncanic/Natural Fertz may be natural but the lawn is dependent still on the Ferts while maybe Compost Organics promotes an Organic and probably more importantly Sustainable Lawn?


Also do you guys think that the ferts. can really be called organic?
thanks again to all the feedback thus far
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:22 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c2weech View Post
And now a question to all Does this sound like an accurate distinction between the two Oncanic/Natural Fertz may be natural but the lawn is dependent still on the Ferts while maybe Compost Organics promotes an Organic and probably more importantly Sustainable Lawn?...
If the lawn is still dependant on Ferts... Very good question... \

IMO, the goal should be a healthy, mature turf that requires no more inputs of any kind... We impose 'crutches' on lawns from day 1 , becuz that's where the money comes from...

Choose a variety that fits the area, raise to maturity and it will outcompete weeds, overcome disease, survive drought and prevent erosion, better than any other planting... Once we quit messing with it...
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:31 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Originally Posted by Smallaxe View Post
IMO, the goal should be a healthy, mature turf that requires no more inputs of any kind..
...... including water.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:02 AM
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starry night starry night is online now
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...... including water.
Let's hear it for Arizona pea gravel yards.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:39 AM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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The biggest problem with compost vs. ferts is the bulky, dusty nature and the mess it can create in the customers' lawns, from their POV... People are afraid of Milorganite because, "who can trust the processing?!!??, it's full of heavy metals, I'm sure!!!"... Using food sources, for fert, is about as UNGreen and wasteful as one could imagine, but it sells to clients that think about their environment moreso than the big picture... I have always going to experiment with AACT but the compost is much easier for me than to set up spraying the microbes only...

Not sure what it was about ferts you were interestted in, but that is my take on it...

A lot of my work is in forestted areas, so ferts aren't as huge a deal to begin with, but I find that returning the clippings to the soil is the single most important aspect of maintaining a lawn in trees... My guess is that it creates a micro-system that is suitable for grass. So to me any 'organic' program means letting nature dictate the terms of our interference with turf...
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
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  #8  
Old 03-20-2011, 01:09 PM
unit28 unit28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallaxe View Post
The biggest problem with compost vs. ferts is ...
is promoting soil activity

sustainable soil activity to be more specific

speaking of clippings c2weech check this article

http://www.mtgf.org/Clippings-S10.pdf

scroll down to micro-organisms and plant growth.
Hope this helps in marketing info.
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2011, 01:47 PM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unit28 View Post
is promoting soil activity

sustainable soil activity to be more specific

speaking of clippings c2weech check this article

http://www.mtgf.org/Clippings-S10.pdf

scroll down to micro-organisms and plant growth.
Hope this helps in marketing info.
Hey, great website... I particularily like this section:

"Nov. For the 2.0 lb N Sept. application, an average of 75% of fertilizer
was taken up compared to 48% and 25% in Oct. and Nov.
(Fig 1 and 2).
Recommendations: Because these results suggest that N
uptake declines substantially as temperatures decrease, fertilizer
recommendations should be decreased to match N uptake capacity.
In other words, if you apply late fall N, do so at a reduced
rate, 0.25-0.5 lb N and know that not all the fertilizer will be
taken up by the plant. On high sand content soils, these rates
should be further reduced to decrease leaching."***

Here in the Midwest, I belive that the winterizer should be put down in Sept. to allow the plant to store as much energy for the winter as possible, and this article seems to suport that notion...
It also links uptake to temperature, so the same would apply to springtime applications... By the time the winter storge carbs are used up it should be warm enough to utilize N efficiantly and get it going for the season...
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Now that I know that clay's texture(platelets) has nothing to do with water infiltration, percolation, or drainage
,,, I wonder what does...
*
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2011, 11:49 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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IMO, compost (locally produced in bulk) is the only long term sustainable organic solution. I do not advocate multi-application programs when they are not needed. Whenever possible, I will recommend a single yearly application of compost and monitor the site through the growing season for any additional needed inputs.
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