Thinking of switching to organic fertilizer

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by MowinginEureka, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. MowinginEureka

    MowinginEureka LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Hi, I have heard from a few other members on here that switching to organic could alleviate the issue of increased initial growth. I am getting really tired of having to deal with 5-6 inches of rain a month with the ridiculous growth that nitrogen gives. I have tried using some of the "good" fertilizer from my local garden shop...don't remember the names, tried two different kinds. I couldn't tell any difference of how they acted on the yard compared to plain old Scotts Super Turf Builder (it's about 35% cheaper than the other fertilizers when I buy it at Costco). I need some suggestions. I plan on applying pesticides via spray, so I'm not worried about weed and feed or organic pest control solutions. Thanks.
     
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    There is a distributor on here quite often Barry Draycott (they are at GIE right now) at www.techterraorganics.com that carries a full line of granular and liquids
    Check out his site

    Your assumption is right, less N or organic forms of N results in steady growth all year rather than surges of growth as the N is applied
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    You could take it a step further and think about the soil, timing and amounts.

    My guess is - the reason you didn't see any difference is because you matched lbs of actual N of synthetic, for the same actual lbs of N in organic.
    N is N as far as the green turf is concerned.

    Organic fert works - in that it releases the nutrients as the microbes decay it. Soil structure is important to preserve it.

    One example,,, Too much rain can cause chlorosis in many synthetic soils. In high OM soils, the microbes start to flourish as the ground dries and releases NPK as needed, not as a force feeding.
     
  4. Lot of advantages to using organic. Make sure you take care to get enough k in your program, while making sure you don't over apply the P2O5.

    A quality sythetic (Sp) fertilizer, a fortified organic base product, or pure organic fertilizer that's at least 65% slow release should prevent the flush growth you have experience.
     
  5. atouchofnature

    atouchofnature LawnSite Member
    Posts: 206

    This is a bit of a long response, but bear with me, there is a moral to this story ...................

    Don't let my name fool you. Up until 3 - 4 months ago, I was applying 4 - 5 lbs of N per year, spraying post emergent herb's 3 X a year, Pre-emergents 2 X a year and insecticide once. After several things happening to push me in that direction (the most important of which is permanent neurological damage from an unknown source) I decided to dump the synthetics, other than spot spraying weeds, and very light urea to maintain color until soil is built, and go to a more natural approach

    I just moved into this house in March, and at that point, my lawn was literally the worst looking lawn in the neighborhood. I sprayed weeds & fertilized twice synthetically in spring, but got little improvement other than killing the weeds, which left 70% of my lawn bare.

    I started experimenting with ICT Bill's product, alfalfa meal, composted turkey litter, kelp & fermented lactic acid in July. Every time I applied a synthetic app to the customer's lawns I did an organic app to mine. I also slice - seeded & topdressed with compost in late August. Now my lawn is by far the greenest in the neighborhood, and there are few that are thicker. I spot sprayed my weeds yesterday, and averaged 3 weeds per 1000 sq. ft. (the customers who had their lawn's spot sprayed had similar averages) I have to add that I have averaged 1 application per month, while most of my customer's have averaged 1 every 5 weeks during that time, as I did one extra application of ICT Bill's compost tea with an added kicker of fermented kelp & lactic acids. I have applied a total of 6/10ths lb of urea/1000 this summer & fall, but that was spaced over 3 applications, applying .2 lbs of urea (.092 lbs actual N) per 1000 sq. ft each time. I mixed the urea with alfalfa meal to make it possible to get an even coverage at such a low rate.

    My neighbor's teen daughter commented that my lawn was "pretty, even though it looks fake". Lately I have heard that the people in the neighborhood are referring to me as "the guy with the jacked-up yard".

    Needless to say, all of my customers are now on organic crossover programs.
     
  6. MowinginEureka

    MowinginEureka LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Ok, so thus far I have heard nothing but good about going natural. I am currently taking my spray license tests but It would be nice to be able to do it the natural way, I'm sure it would give me a lot more business here. We are in Humboldt county...the weed growers paradise, everyone is a hippie and loves organics.
     

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