organic fertilization program?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by DLAWNS, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. DLAWNS

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,778

    I just got a call from a board president of a 360 home association and they want a organic fertilization program. I have no experience in this and was wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction. Programs, vendors, and information to that effect. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Dlawns, very interesting. We have been (tech terra and ICT) touring many counties and businesses in NJ over the last 2 weeks. We have heard the same thing over and over again. "we have to use better practices in taking care of our sites, show us your organic program"

    New Jersey has recently passed legislation to use IPM practices at all times (its a little more complicated than that), I do believe this has raised awareness across the board to using practices that do not leech or poison.

    Barry and I did a comparison "bridge" or "organic based" program vs typical fertilizers, it is a 6 app program with 1 pre-m application (if you want it, not mandatory) in the spring. typical bagged fert program runs (at Nov 1 pricing) just over $800.00 per acre per year, bridge program runs just over $300.00 per acre per year

    The bridge program is meant to increase soil organic matter while raising and supporting beneficial microorganisms, the 2 basics to any organic program. it includes typical NPK but at much lower inputs

    the program includes a granular application spring and fall (at roughly $90.00 per acre, each app) and 4 applications of our compost tea at $30.00 per acre.

    One of things I have been banging on the desk about is phosphorous, in almost every case (not all) you can remove the phos from your program. If you are headed towards an organic program you will want to support the microbial life as much as possible, mycorrhizae do not like phos, meaning they almost do nothing in the presence or applications of P. If we take P out of the application we will support a much wider diversity of mycorrhizae

    Mycorrhizae, at good population in the soil, supply P and K as well as many micronutrients. Will they supply them all? NO but if they are providing 40% of the nutrients and we get the bacterial numbers up that mine nutrients and supply 20% to 30% of the nutrients that is 60% to 70% of the external inputs we have removed

    The program will need to be tweaked in some cases depending on the sites needs

    This is a soil fertility program not feed the plant program, it does not include disease or pest issues with turf but we have some very safe alternatives for that as well
     
  3. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    bill,

    soil fertility program? what part of urea does not feed the plant and only the soil?
     
  4. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    two apps of npk and 4 of your tea......sounds like a winner!

    you can give them my # when your done
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    You have several months to put during the growing season to decide if more fert is needed. The important part of organics is lowering inputs. The president of the board needs to understand that b4 doing business.
    Check out this website b4 u start thinking about 4-6 apps of organic fertilizer.

    http://outagamie.uwex.edu/hort/documents/LawnCareTips.pdf

    If I had this opportunity I would compute the amount of compost I would like to apply and bid it out in at least 3 apps. Compute Milorganite into the second app.; Then do a slow release fertilizer in the fall.

    Check out the soil first. Not a soil test so much as a physical test of your own. Pull a plug from the roots and sqeeze a chunk or 3 between your fingers. Adjust your number of apps. , and amounts, according to what you see in the soil.
     
  6. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    good advice smallaxe.

    you have a couple of months to learn whats important and whats not
    take a step back before the sharks get you!
     
  7. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    I agree
    One of the most difficult thing for people to get their head around is not using fertilizers. Often it is needed to bridge a property that has been addicted to NPK, its kind of like the methadone program for herion addicts.

    We are all about reduced inputs, If we can put a working plan in place to reduce fertilizer use by 75% I am all for it, yeah buddy
     
  8. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    reduced inputs is good as long as you maintain quality with a realistic approach


    one size does not fit all..
     
  9. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  10. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    jd,

    that would make sense since the microbes are needed to make most of the n available from urea?

    in a natural soil environment do soil microbes synthesize "make" urea?
     

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