N Source for organic plus program

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by greenturfde, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. greenturfde

    greenturfde LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    I'm interested in adding an organic plus program for '08 to see what kinda feedback i get. Currently i'm pretty much using the Lesco granular program. I recently purchased a liquid sprayer in hopes of starting a fert and squirt program with the Nitrogen source being organic (liquid applicable) and using other chemicals for weed control or fungicide control. When researching online there are TOOOO many sources and companies for me to even comprehend. Can any of you vets point me in the right direction? I'm located in Delaware near the coast where the soil is extremely sandy. Most of my current properties (which i have conducted soil test on) indicate 3-4lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per season. If there is any other info i can supply to help you with suggestions let me know. Thanks in advance and feel free to email or private message me if you don't want to post on here.. thanks

  2. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

    Organic Matter in Soil

    Soil Biology Primer

    Stop using synthetic chemicals, especially fungicides and pesticides! You can't be using these products and be considered organic. When you rebuild your soil, you need to replace the soil biology. By using fungicides and pesticides, you are killing off the micro organisms you need to get your soil in balance.

    Start looking at protein meals and making your own AACT to rebuild your soil biology that will inturn, improve your soil, and reduce the amount of inputs.
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    The basics to organic lawn care are very simple, organic matter in the soil (compost) and spraying compost teas to boost the biology in the soil.

    You will find as you start to use products with more organic matter in them that you will have to use far less N, I mean dramatically less (75 to 90% less)

    If you can make the trip the group NOFA has wonderful accredidation classes in CT and MA. Check out www.organiclandcare.net. These guys have been doing organic lawn care for 30 years. On their links page there are groups that are similar. Look for the book Organic land stewardship and NOFA Organic Lawn and Turf Handbook. I think they are $20.00 or so.

    A bit of warning, NOFA is an extremely organic group and it turns off some people but the science is solid and their experience is unsurpassed.

    Sandy soil is excellent for organic lawn care as the soil fertility builds up very quickly. Our motto is: feed the soil, the soil feeds the plant

    If you have a spray rig you will be able to really do it right and spray compost teas, in sandy soils compost teas work very well.
    If you would like more info PM me and I can head you in the right direction
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    As Bill has said that biology in the soil is a very (if not thee very) most important aspect of the soil. Biology means literally the study of life and of course all biology exists with water.

    A simple rule of thumb is that in sandy soil you want to retain water and in clay soils you want to drain water. Plenty of organic matter that feeds friendly microbes actually does both. Retain and drain.

    For your particular case however you are looking at a 'philosophy' vs 'method' approach. Method cannot define the philosophy , but the philosophy can produce a method.

    Just what are you hoping to accomplish? Give a philosophy and we can throw some methods at you.
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Encourage sustainable landscapes with severe reductions in turf. :)
  6. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

    This whole forum is dedicated to organic lawn care. Why would anyone coming here look for ways to REDUCE turf? I believe that response belongs in another forum, not here. Not everyone likes the look of the wild and weeds growing around their house.

    You get you soil in balance and the amount of your inputs will drop significantly. It may take a couple years to realize it full potential, but it's doable.
  7. greenturfde

    greenturfde LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    I very much appreciate all your remarks and recomendations. I'm 27 and have been in business for 4 years. This is my second year of offering chemical applications (yes i do have my license). My philosophy is really to maintain a cutting edge landscape company that provides a good service while "trying" as much as possible to do the absolute right thing to improve and help the enviroment. Yes i use synthetic fertilizers from Lesco and i am happy with the results as are my customers. I do realize that "organic" anything is becoming or maybe has been the fab for a few years now. Organic milk, bread, fertilizers... cars if they could make them =)

    Probably the best looking lawns in my area (southern delaware) is offered by and organic "plus" company. It's a locally owned company and you can tell when you ride by that it's his company who sprayed the lawn. Noticed i said organic plus which is self described in his literature as an organic based program. I've actually seen tanker trucks at his place filling large cylinders with what i've been told is a concentrated source of N...... So that brings me to this thread anxious to get started on at minimum an Organic Based program which i hope gives my young company a start for the future in event that state regulations demand organic ferts in the future. Price and performance are the two major concerns i do have. I first need the lawns to be attractive to keep the customers without having to explain that my new organic program takes more time to kick in..

    feel free to post on here or email me direct at uppercutlc@aol.com

  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Be responsible for your planet, conserve our resources. Encourage, educate, and promote sustainable landscapes with little or no turf. :clapping::clapping:
  9. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Very insightful of you on the regulation side and trying to be ahead of the curve.
    I am in Maryland, like you in Delaware the Chesapeake Bay watershed is being regulated more and more as to inputs from Nitrogen, phosphorous and pesticides. Lawn and landscape companies may not like it but there is massive legislation coming to control these inputs form state and county legislators.
    This is true in many areas that are surrounded by water, local Florida jurisdictions for instance are trying to implement wholesale bans on ANY fertilizer/pesticide inputs to stem red tide and fish kill issues.

    You can put your head in the sand and say "man, thats not fair" the fact of the matter is you will be legislated out of business soon if you don't begin to educate yourself on alternative ways to supply nutrients to your customers lawns and landscape.
  10. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Kiril, I'm glad you said this because it does bring up an interesting point.

    I live in the mid-atlantic and we get approximately 39 to 45 inches of rain a year. This year it was little less, in some areas on the east coast it was A LOT less (Atlanta areas).
    You live in California and get substantially less rain than we do and often go through several years of drought at a time.
    The practices in Southern California for lawn and landscaping are completely different from the practices here. We have large expanses of green lawns and often people have supplimental irrigation for the hot months. On the east coast we are not hammered with the "conserve water" message like you guys are.

    It just points out the importantance in understanding how diverse our country is, as far as where people live and how different the lawn and landscaping practices may be

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