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Am I a sellout?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by ecoguy, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    So now that the philosophy jabber is out of the way, what are you going to do to get more colour?
  2. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    Unfortunately the very large boat which most people miss, concerning pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers is the effect on the balance of life in the soil, surrounding vegetation and ultimately other creatures which feed there. Most emphasis is placed on whether a substance is overtly harmful to humans. I believe this is where the misplaced fear angle originates.
  3. ecoguy

    ecoguy LawnSite Member
    from Duncan
    Posts: 234

    I've never wanted to be the business who hooks up all its customers lawns to an IV of colour. Despite the enormous pressure from all fronts, I will never sell out in that way. My urea question was just that, a question. It was never meant to be a replacement for my soil building program but only a supplement at times for struggling lawns in transition. Most of my lawns recieve monthly applications of a brew I make myself full of 100% organic certified nutrients that infuse the soil with life and balance. That being said, when a lawn is very unhealthy it often needs to get over the hump before the organic nutrients can be very effective. My first preference is to replace the weed/moss ridden lawns and bring in soil rich in organic matter then immediately get them on my program of organic goodies. We've had great results with this approach. Where we struggle is transitioning the unhealthy existing lawns. I wonder if urea could be a good addition to our nutrients in the lawns recovery - not a silver bullet but an aid in helping the lawn get over the hump.

    I will be conducting some trials with a few different things and I'll see what works best. I have mixed feelings on the use of biosolids in my program although I'm sure it would help with the green. In many ways, life would be much easier if colour was my main goal. But it isn't. It's always been about health first. The problem is consumers who have been brainwashed into thinking colour = health.

    I have used Alfalfa meal and Corn Gluten meal and they seem to have their place. I really believe I can achieve health and maintain the colour at the same time, that is the cat's meow.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  4. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583


    IMO, you're not a sellout. Nothing wrong with adding a little urea for some green-up. It is not harmful to pets or people. The amount of urea you are talking about will not undo any of the good work you are doing.
    But if you do start using urea, make sure you are up front about it and call your program something other than "organic".
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    So what have you decided on for watering schedule and what changes have you observed in your soil...
  6. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    from Raleigh
    Posts: 523

  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    Chemically, anything that contains a Carbon atom is organic.
    There are many other meanings for the same word. This is one reason why we will be changing the name of our company soon.
  8. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,539

    I'm no organic based lawn business but I have looked in to some things. Are these microbes that are contained in these CT's not meant to have a symbiotic relationship with the root system of the turf wherein they actually fix nitrogen for the plant to use. It seems to me that you have to have some nitrogen there for them to "fix", other than what is just floating around in the atmosphere. I realize that some of this nitrogen is provided by the top dressings of various things such as composts, but is this really enough? I mean really? I can see where this can reduce the need for additional inputs such as Urea but I really have doubts as to whether it eliminates the need alltogether. I'm thinking in order for a lawn to outcompete weeds, it needs to be thick and it must have a steady supply of ALL of the right nutrients available for this to happen. N is a very important part of this strategy especially since lawn are under a rigorous maintenance/mowing schedule. Can this really be accomplished by merely adding organic matter and spraying it with microbes? Then the question is, can it be done in a cost effective manner affordable for customers other than just the wealthy and done on a scale that makes it a viable business to operate and actually make a living? All of these are questions I've had for a long time and never seem to get a clear cut answer to when I read in this forum and some other places also. The basic plan seems to be firm. Organic matter, Compost, CT's for adding active microbial life. Some even recommend using protein meals. But then after that it seems to be a lot of guesswork and a lot of conflicting viewpoints and information. I haven't even mentioned the sustainable argument that comes up when someones product usage and techniques are "scrutinized" and separated according to personal definitions of what "Organics" encompasses. It can get pretty heated around here and...for the most part... I remain confused and therefore very doubtful...

    I think Haybay would like to be able to provide a virtually weed free lawn using products that actually work and have been deemed safe when applied correctly. I see why. That's what my customers hired me for more than anything. I'd say 95-97%. Green= Healthy is not the equation most of my clientele operate under. Don't get me wrong, occasionally there is the customer that has that stuck in their head, but very few and I usually don't keep them for long because I refuse to play that game. Most of mine use the Weed Free= Why I hired you principle. Having a thick lawn is just ONE of the ways I can reach the "Weed Free" part of that equation a little easier. It is impossible for it to be the ONLY way. If it were the only way I was allowed to, there's no doubt in my mind that my customer base would dwindle.
  9. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Posts: 1,537

    So do we!

    Maybe we're not so different. Did you buy Y2k ins.? Me neither! Vote for Gore?

    Well.....you lost me, there.

    (just kidding......kinda)
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I don't believe that any of the CTs have N-Fixing bacteria... The value of the CTs are innoculating the soil with favorable microbials and their dead bodies, along with the digested OM provide the N that is talked about...

    A healthy, living soil with lots of OM and good structure can do very well w/out additional P, in that AM Fungi is symbiotic in the root system and extract P from any and all soils...

    "N", of course is difficult to keep in steady supply, which is why the additional synthetics are desireable at times... But understanding that a soil rich in OM with good structure and enough life to be providing some N all on its own requires very little additional to give it that extra colour...

    Weeds and Ferts are not in the same discussion... They need to be killed chemically, by pulling, burning but not by magic in the NPK... :)

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