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Old 01-14-2011, 12:48 AM
aclane2000 aclane2000 is offline
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Organics, All or Nothing?

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!
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Old 01-14-2011, 01:38 AM
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dKoester dKoester is offline
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Salt!!! Its the problem.
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:05 AM
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phasthound phasthound is online now
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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.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:31 AM
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RigglePLC RigglePLC is offline
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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).
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Old 01-14-2011, 01:06 PM
NattyLawn NattyLawn is offline
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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.
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:28 AM
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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.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:42 PM
NattyLawn NattyLawn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtandhoops View Post
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.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:54 PM
Smallaxe Smallaxe is offline
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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.
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:17 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallaxe View Post
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.



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Old 01-15-2011, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NattyLawn View Post
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.
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