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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by tadhussey, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. tadhussey

    tadhussey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    I was just browsing around the site and was looking at some of the other forums. I'm amazed that so many more people are interested in synthetic lawns and chemical applications. It's really a shame that organics is such a small part of the industry.

    As much as people disagree in these forums, at least everyone here is working toward a common goal of reducing the amounts of chemicals were putting into the environment.

    Just wanted to throw my 2 cents out there...

    ~Tad
     
  2. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

    Hi Tad;

    Actually, it shouldn't be surprising on this list. This is the ONLY section dealing with organic lawn care. But that does just reflects this website. Organic lawn care is the fastest growing segment of the lawn care industry. Even Scott's is trying to reinvent themselves offering so called organic products. They see the market and are trying to cash in on the this trend. In fact, more and more golf courses are changing their practices and becoming more and more organic in their maintenance.

    This trend will continue as people are becoming more aware of use of synthetic chemicals on their lawns and possible toxic condition left behind for their kids and pets to play on, not to mention the environment.

    Society is finally realizing the environmental harm of inorganic fertilizers. In areas of high fertilizer use, 22 percent of wells contain nitrate levels that exceed federal safety standards.

    During the past 50 years, there has been a 20-fold increase in nitrogen fertilizer use.

    Every 28 years, 1 inch of topsoil is lost as a result of current petro-chemical fertilization practices, whereas organic biointensive fertilization can produce 6 inches of topsoil in as little as 50 years - 60 times faster than the rate in nature.
     
  3. tadhussey

    tadhussey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    I thought about posting something in one of the other forums relating to the advantages of organics, but was afraid I'd get my head bit off.
     
  4. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

    Tad;

    You've got that right. Look how it is in this forum, imagine how it would be in the others. I'm sorry to say but I believe it would be futile. Besides it's hard to teach new tricks to old dogs!
    :hammerhead:
     
  5. dallen

    dallen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    I mentioned something like this a year ago or so, but I can't help but question whether the word "organic" has a negative connotation for many people. Granted, today's consumers are presented with that word tacked on to more and more products, particularly food stuffs, today, but as far as a fertilizer program goes, it may sound like something that falls out of the far end of a cow. Ok, consumer education can take care of that, but perhaps a different word to begin with? The internal combustion engine was first called an "explosive engine". I guess it all boils down to how it is presented to the consumer, and I doubt if many homeowners spend a great deal of time investigating this. Salesmanship and results get the business.
     
  6. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504

    While salesmanship it important, and makes a difference in a one on one situation, I think you may be wrong about the consumer. With the advent of the Internet, the consumer can get more info and be exposed to more information on organics. Homeowners must be spending time on this cause they are the cause of this growth in the organic lawn care market. It's huge.

    Organic practices do take some time to see improvement, it's not going to give immediate satisfaction like chemicals will, so I know how some people want to see the results yesterday. That's where the salesmanship plays a big part, so you are right.

    I have a yahoo group on organic lawn care and the number one reason people join is to find out how to improve their lawn without putting their kids and/or pets at risk. A few lawn care professionals that are looking to get more information on organic lawn care as well.

    I think there is also a trend for people to take care of their lawns and property themselves rather than paying someone to do the job. That trend is also growing.
     
  7. tadhussey

    tadhussey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    Hmmm...I would say it's almost the complete opposite here in Seattle. "Organic" has become such a buzz word and has a strong positive connotation. Now the problem is that it's being abused to a certain extent. Within the hort. industry, I've seen many products that are "certified organic," but not certified to show any potential benefit to the end consumer. You can take a lot of things and say they're "organic" but they may not provide any result. Within the compost and compost tea industry, everything is organic, but there's a wide range in terms of quality (actual microbial diversity and numbers). Potting soil X may be 100 times better than potting soil Y, but most consumers aren't educated enough to know the difference, and like you mentioned before, it's really up to how it's presented or sold. It's too bad really....A lot of the best products don't have strong marketing, and many of our soil amendments can be as simple as corn gluten meal, alfalfa meal, and other products that you would pick up at a local feed store. There's no one going door to door and really marketing these things.
     
  8. dallen

    dallen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Eventually cost and governmental regulations may drive a switch to organics. I know that in certain geographic areas, the use of nitrogen, phosphates and several pesticides are restricted and/or prohibited. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides aren't going to get any cheaper and I've seen some truly reasonably priced organic/natural products out there. The cost of some of these may come down even further as alternative disposal methods, particularly for manure-based products, will only go up. Of course, mainstream agriculture is using more and more of these ingredients also. Isn't OMRI based in Seattle? I talked to those people several years ago while working with a deposit of virgin rock phosphate and they pretty much scared me to death.
     
  9. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 504


    Dallen;

    Why did they almost scare you to death? The requirements to get their stamp of approval? Lots of hoops to jump through? Can you elaborate on this please?

    And by the way, where is Sidney, IL? What zone?
     
  10. dallen

    dallen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    This was 5 years or so ago. The inability to get a straight answer, ever-changing rules and regulations, their general attitude of "holier than thou", and the fact that they offered more hindrance than helpfulness told me to stay away from these fruitcakes. As I recall, I was thoroughly unimpressed. Very few of my customers and potential customers were concerned with an OMRI label to begin with. I'm sure this has changed over the years, but I still question how important the OMRI label is for the bulk of the turf market. I mean, we are talking about a homeowner's yard; the dog's bathroom. I'm in east-central Illinois, near Champaign-Urbana. My fertilizer manufacturing pilot plant is further south, about 25 miles east of Effingham.
     

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