Organica 4 Step Lawn Care Program

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by 4-Seasons, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. WannaBeOrganic

    WannaBeOrganic LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    I don't use their program. I've only used one product and plan to use another. But your claim doesn't seem reasonable and I'd be interested to see what you have to backup that claim and how much compost an average cool season clay soil lawn needs.

    I can understand the use of compost could make the microbials in the soil conditioner and added to the fertilizer but what's in kelp isn't in compost and while compost can make the macro nutrients a lawn needs easier to get to, it provides little in the way of those nutrients.

    The microbes in the soil conditioner could be had by using compost or compost tea, provided it was good compost/brewed correctly, but spreading 4lbs per 1,000 sq ft is a lot easier than 1 yard of compost or working on brewing compost tea. Even then, I know what's in the bag of Organica Microbial Soil Conditioner. If your kids get a bacterial infection and fever, do you take them to the doctor for penicillin or do you feed them some moldy bread? Similar argument to what the ICT guys seem to make.

    I'm sure your mainly compost program works for you, but how do you know it couldn't be better? Years ago, I had an old neighbor and all he did was mow the lawn. Never added anything, sometimes watered. Lots of people around me do that. He had one of the nicest lawns in the area. He moved out, someone else moved in, started fertilizing and the lawn looked even better.

    I don't know what the hangup is over the word program. It's just a suggestion and there's no requirement to follow it. You can buy and use whatever you want if you choose to use their products. Many consumers need programs. That's why Scott's does so well. They want to know what to apply, when to apply it and how much to apply. For the majority of users you can come up with one program that will work. You may individualize each program for each of your customers, but it's still a program. If I'm buying a manufacturer's program and applying it myself, I can live with 80% of my lawn's potential. If I'm paying much more for a lawn care service, 80% isn't enough.

    People are interested in moving away from their synthetic lawn care program and looking to organics. What do you think is going to be more palatable for them? Going from buying bags of synthetics to bags of organics, or going from bags of synthetics to dumptrucks of compost or paying expensive fees to someone to do it for them? Well, since you seem to sell compost applications, it's obvious which one you prefer.

    Me, I don't sell anything but think it would be great if more people stopped using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on their lawns. Whatever it takes to get them there is fine by me.

    So let me spell something out for you. The original question was:

    How does saying

    answer that question? It doesn't and if you think it does, you're wrong. Even if spreading some compost can do everything you need, it doesn't answer the questions being asked. It's like going to a bar and your friend asks you if you think the new waitress is hot and you answer "Laetitia Casta is the hottest woman on the planet." Without even lifting your head to see who he's talking about.
     
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    What part of this do you not understand?

    As far as "backing up my claim", search this site. I have posted hundreds of links to peer reviewed publications that deal with soils, compost, CT, water, etc....

    Well, my friend, if that is how they are "going green", then they don't understand the whole reason behind the movement.

    I don't sell compost, fert and squirt, mow & blow, or anything of the sort. My gig if sustainable land management (i.e. soil and water) ... I sell knowledge. Lots of people pretend to know what I do, and even will speak on my behalf just as you have, but they still don't know what I do, even after I tell them. Glad to see you have joined their ranks.

    As far as the rest goes .... going off-topic is part of Lawnsite .... welcome.
     
  3. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    took the words out of my mouth:laugh:
     
  4. WannaBeOrganic

    WannaBeOrganic LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    I never said anything about "going green". All I want is to have a nice looking lawn without using potentially dangerous products. If I wanted something sustainable I'd let the clover take over the lawn and get sheep to keep whatever lawn is left trimmed. But I probably wouldn't have too much room for a lawn with all the food and cotton I'd need to grow. Thank God none of my neighbors compost so I can use their leaves and clippings because I don't produce enough waste material to handle my new needs.

    I've run across plenty of pictures of lawns by people that only use organic fertilizers that look great. I've seen people talk about only using compost but never post what their lawns look like.

    How about providing some insight and answering the question of how much compost per 1,000 sq ft it takes for a typical cool season clay lawn to maintain it at a level where it doesn't look out of place next to other homes where the lawns are regularly fertilized? Not familiar with that climate? What about some area you are familiar with? What would it take to raise the OM content up 5% over how much time? How much would it take to maintain that level once it gets there? Some sort of rough guidelines? Don't worry, I'm not expecting an answer.

    You can be off topic all you want but if you don't want to come across like a pompous blowhard, or a ranting fool, then you might want to try and contribute something to the conversation. I guess you haven't let go of that grade school "nananana I know something you don't" mentality yet?

    So you don't sell compost. Sounds more like you're an acedemic. Maybe a professor. Undergrad and some grad studies in Europe and then followed up with your doctoral work here. Maybe you consult with some projects and have seen good results in areas where you can sponsor a child for less than

    the price of a cup of coffee a day, but when you meet with farmers and urban planners here they like your ideas but only ever consider implementing a fraction of what you recommend.

    So you come here and take your frustrations out on a bunch of people that primarily make their living by providing lawn care services and belittle them with comments like "fert and squirt guys" because they're trying to learn how to adapt to organic lawn care and get their clients to convert.

    They can't transition clients to a service that will make their lawns look worse than they did before. Most people won't stick around for that. The clients would cancel their contracts and these guys would lose revenue which is kinda important to people that don't get stipends or grant money. So they try and learn from others and share what they have learned and avoid the snake oil salesmen that jumped into this area. Even a lot of the research doesn't agree.

    Maybe you think you're being pithy but you're just being glib.

    You come across as an idealogue. In practice, you can't go from one extreme to the other and expect to maintain profitability and results. If you know a way to do it, I'm sure people here would love to hear it. You're not in the business so you don't seem to have a balanced view and it looks like some people are getting tired of it.
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Perhaps the problem is -you can't provide a clue - as to what a , cool season, claysoil requires... beyond copmpost...
    Truth is ... nobody can... One Size Does NOT Fit ALL!!!...

    Get a clue...
     
  6. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,530

    Get A Clue??? He doesn't need to get a Clue. He's got it figured out(maybe not the clay soil in his area), but he's got this forum figured out and did it in pretty short order. He nailed it!:clapping:
     
  7. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Judging by some of your comments, you're not some random homeowner popping in here looking for advice. Thanks for the opinions though, but there's a homeowner forum at the bottom of the page. You can go there to seek advice. Looks like a "fert and squirt" guy got smart and created another account to come over here and try and stir some things up. Nice. Here's the funny thing about you guys, you can't learn or change unless things are boxed up in a nice little program for you. "How many steps do I need? How do I sell this to a customer?" Instead of seeking easy answers why not do some research and learn on your own? How about some experimenting with products in your climate and soil type?

    Is compost an easy answer for all of us? No. Quality compost is not available for everyone. I'm sure Kiril would not agree that the fertilizer I use is not sustainable, but gives kick ass results with less inputs. It contains soluble seaweed, soluble humate, azomite, soy, alfalfa meal, bone meal, blood meal, meat meal, feather meal, corn solubles and 4 other ingredients I can't rattle off off the top of my head. Hardly sustainable in Kiril's eyes, but that's one of the cool things about this forum. No one's doing the same the exact same thing as the next guy.

    So, who knows if the Organica program works for you. Did you say where you live (probably Ohio :)) or your soil type? Have you done a soil test? 2 corn gluten and soil conditioner apps may work for you, but I have not used their products. Seems more geared to homeowners and a little pricey. You can probably mix some seaweed, humate and molasses for much cheaper and with better results. And I wouldn't put down to CG apps if you plan on seeding. So there's a bunch of variables there.
     
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Here you go.

    [​IMG]

    The above lawn gets ~ 1/4 per year as a top dressing in the fall when over seeded. This pic was taken last year (in August I believe), compost was applied the previous fall, the only other thing it received the entire year was some some left over alfalfa pellets (May or April) a friend unloaded on me (about 18 lbs or so over 2000 sqft). This is the only property I actually still maintain due to my relationship with them. This lawn has gotten yearly compost at the above rate for about 10-13 years with almost no fertilizer inputs. When ferts have been used in the past, they were applied at the time of over seeding in the fall or in the spring to get rid of partial bags of ferts they had laying around.

    Given I don't know what I have to start with, and don't know what type of soil I am dealing with, or to what depth you want to raise the SOM in, or what type of compost we are talking about, or how you want it applied (top dressed vs. incorporated), how could I possibly answer that question?

    If you want an answer then get the necessary data (i.e. a soil test and compost test).

    Once again, not enough information. Organic matter decomposition rates vary widely depending on climate, soil type, and water availability, plants, etc.... If you MUST have a rough estimate, in my area I recommend 1/8"-1/4" once a year for turf, applied as a seed topdressing in the fall. More applications may be needed if you are attempting to rebuild the soil or have limited SOM.

    Provide the necessary data (i.e. a soil test) and you might get your answer.

    Need I remind you who came after me? You must be talking about Marcos because I didn't start squat here. I stand by my statement. If you want to rebuild a soil in a relatively quick fashion, then you should be using compost .... end of story. You can make all the arguments you want, but it will always come down to that plain and simple fact. Forget about sustainability, lets talk economics. Go ahead and price out what it would cost you to spread 1/4" of any bagged organic material or bulk feed grain over 1000 sqft and then come back here and let us know which is cheaper.

    Once again, you go and make incorrect assumptions about me ... you fit right in with some of the regs here. I've been in the field for 16 years now and have done a little bit of everything from maint. to management. Much of my work over the years has focused on irrigation, and how to effectively manage both my water and soil resources in order to get the maximum naturally supplied benefits while minimizing inputs into the system (i.e. building sustainable systems). Consulting is a relatively new direction for me, which I have been transitioning to over the past 4 years or so.

    There you go talking about Marcos again. FYI, fert and squirt is an accurate term, and one "they" use to describe themselves.

    Research on what? Maximizing crop yield utilizing a particular management protocol, or perhaps managing sports turf? None of these directly apply to residential/commercial landscapes. Yes, studies done in these areas are extremely valuable, but one must understand the different goals of each. Both of the aforementioned systems are highly managed, far beyond ANY residential/commercial landscapes needs, and have drastically different end goals. You need to distinguish what can be usefully applied to landscapes and what needs to stay with Ag and sports turf.

    Once again ....... WRONG. I will recommend bridge programs where appropriate and will also recommend herbicides when there are no other reasonable options. Is everything I recommend sustainable ......... NO! That however does not stop me from trying to build the most naturally sustainable system I can. I don't look for the easy way out nor do I use band aid approaches. I look for and build long term sustainable solutions to very real problems. I find it funny how you pretend to know so much about me, and yet be SO far off base. I think I have to agree with Natty here on where this is coming from.
     
  9. WannaBeOrganic

    WannaBeOrganic LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    Nope. I live in an area where organic lawn care products aren't readily available. Organica products are one of the few things I can seem to find nearby. So I wanted to find out more information than I already knew.

    Like I said, I've never used the program, just one of the products. The only reason I posted here was to correct a factual error about the products and then it erupted into this flame fest.

    Besides being locally available, one of the reasons I like the sound of the Organica products is that they contain some of the same microbes that are in compost that fight fungus and fix nitrogen so I was wondering if anyone had any more experience with them in the real world.

    I've also looked at other products from Scotts, Ringer, Bradfield Organics, Jonathan Greene, etc. What I'm trying to use is a mix of things that work for me, including compost. The fertilizer you use, is it something you mix yourself or something anyone can buy? If you can buy it, mind sharing the name?

    Maybe instead of what seems to be regular berating about using compost, that energy could be put into making a Compost FAQ for Lawn Professionals and make it a sticky? Someone was nice enough to put in a lot of effort to put together the Organic FAQ which is mostly geared towards grains.

    In fact, this is what the FAQ has to say about compost:

     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    And that statement would be dead wrong. Also note how the stickies are locked so no one can comment on the validity of the information.

    Compost is the most sustainable source of organic matter available ......... period. If your soils need organic matter, there is no better source. That said, there are cases where some composts may not be appropriate, but that is not a part of this discussion.

    You mean like this thread?

    http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=251852
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009

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