Organic's

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by jettabug, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. LawnMagic1

    LawnMagic1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 47

    I think using organic fert. is a great idea. There are so many benefits...no burn potential, increased microbial activity in the soil to eat away that thatch, less N runoff. But there is the cost issue too if you are trying to get a full lb. of N down.

    I'm thinking of using Nitroform 34-0-0 next year. You can put down 2-3 N in one application and not get burned. There is that initial cost again $28/50lb. bag, but hey...your done with granular applications for the year.
     
  2. Eirik

    Eirik LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    I couldnt agree with Randy J more.
    With my experience, it seems the cost is the initial turn off, then ignorance.
     
  3. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    I agree with Grassmechanic. It dosn't really matter what the source of the nutrients is. If organics don't harm the environment, then why do the environmentalists come down so hard on farm pastures that are near lakes, or spreading of pig manure on the land, chicken barns and the handling of manure or the runoff from cow herds into streams.......
     
  4. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    Plants cannot tell the difference. The SOIL sure as hell can. One destroys it's microbial life and structure. One feeds and sustains said life.
    Feed the soil, not the plant.
     
  5. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    Oganics (bad word) offer very limited water soluable nutrients. Their claim to fame is their ability to provide nutrients to the soil over a long period of time as the microorganisms and chemical reactions in the soil break the materials down into plant usable nutrients. This versus the water soluable chemical fertilizers that hit too hard initially and don't last long enough.
     
  6. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    If you're going to be "into" organics then you need to lose the 12-12-12 mindset. That number is the immediate, water soluable formula and as such doesn't apply to organics. Remember that organics are MOSTLY physical materials that must be broken down by the soil organisms to become plant usable nutrients.
    Despite never putting down even 2lbs of nitrogen (according to the chemical fert standards), by organics always looked noticably better than the chem lawns. ALways greened up earlier in the spring too, despite NO early spring app.
    Problem now is there is a LOT of BS "organic" material out there. Just cause something is made of "organic" materials doesn't mean it's worth a hoot as a fert. Lot of science in this too. :eek: :dizzy:
     
  7. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    You're kidding, right? :alien:
     
  8. Randy J

    Randy J LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,124

    "Problem now is there is a LOT of BS "organic" material out there. Just cause something is made of "organic" materials doesn't mean it's worth a hoot as a fert. "

    Good point Mike. One thing to make note of is the term "organic" simply means "contains the element carbon". It is possible to have a synthetic organic fertilizer. "Natural" is really the term we should be using.

    Randy
     
  9. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Mike & Randy - let me clarify. We are in the business of growing grass. Grass does not care where it's nitrogen source comes from. We are in the business of manipulating grass for whatever reason, be it a lawn, golf course, etc. To get the proper # of N to grow healthy grass, you will use a lot more organic fert. The basic difference in organic vs. "chemical" fert. is in the amounts of nutrients available. Organics do supply microbes, but only those that have not been processed for safety in handling i.e. Milorganite. Also of note it that some organics have offensive odor. Am I going to use an offensive smelling fertilizer on one of my millionaire accounts? Not if I want to lose the account. If we were to treat only the soil and not the plants, we would be using compost on every lawn and mulching, not bagging, the clippings. We would also be mulching the leaves into the lawn and not removing them, either. This may be realistic for some, but not others. Fertilizer will NOT kill soil microbes, if it did, it would be labeled as a pesticide. BTW, I do have a strong background in chemistry (4 yr) and soil science (2yr).

    Mike
     
  10. Randy J

    Randy J LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,124

    I don't think anyone is questioning your qualifications Mike, at least I'm certainly not. But as I said, I believe anyone that turns their nose up at organics is going to miss out. You might be surprised at some of those millionaire accounts. A lot of millionaires are conscious of their environment, and Lord knows they can afford to pay more for an organic program. As for the leaves, a lot of people do mulch the leaves and leave them on the ground as opposed to picking them up. I don't think anyone can argue that leaving them is good for the soil. Almost everyone recommends leaving grass clippings lay as they return nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil. This web page; RandyThe Dirt Doctor is pretty good.
    As you said though, what works for some won't work for others.

    Randy
     

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