Am I a sellout?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by ecoguy, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,654

    OK, maybe I misunderstood. I was under the impression that the CT's contained mycorrhizae. These are nitrogen fixing bacteria, are they not? As far as the "mining" that happens, ALL of the essential nutrients need to be present to be mined, otherwise they need to be added in some form or fashion...again, in some practical way. Am I wrong?
    C'mon Smallaxe, You're not talking to some greenhorn rookie in the lawn business. I'm well aware that weed control is not some magical compound contained in NPK. I do know that when these are available in sufficient quantities the lawn is healthier and in most cases thicker because of this health. Nobody can argue that a thick lawn aids in weed control.
    Weed control and ferts may not be in the same discussion for you but to me they go hand in hand. My customers are looking for a healthy, hopefully green, WEED FREE lawn. In their minds, these are all tied together and are what I'm there for. If I ask them to lower their expectations because I've decided to do the "right" thing and "Go Green", I still need to be able to maintain pretty close to that level of expectation. Otherwise, like I said before, my customer list will surely dwindle.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If there is an AM fungi that fixes N, then it is news to me... discoveries are made all the time...
    AMF has always been big on mining P, and it was noted they become inactive whenever a fresh supply of P was applied to the soil...

    I understand that a thick healthy lawn is going to prevent weed growth, but will never kill weeds on it own... I think we both know that...

    The biggest question is,,, How... Dumping fert and water on dead mineral hydrophobic soils is not even part of the discussion. Niether is lowering expectations...

    I thot we were discussing CT's effects on soil and how it actually functions... :)
  3. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,920

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  4. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    Mycorrhizae translates to "root fungus". It forms a symbiotic relationship with roots of plants and helps them extend further for additional moisture and nutrients. The trick is it needs to make contact with the root to form this relationship. The debate is whether you can apply myco. in a foliar spray to get down into the root zone. Most believe that it's not cost effective to spray myco. in this manner (including me), but I'm sure there are studies that refute this claim. I think it's best to apply myco. on turf at the time of renovation, like slice seeding where the myco will make contact with the seed or young root of the seedling. Myco are a fungus as far as I know.

    I think what you're talking about Ted is nutrient cycling that AACT promotes. The microbes will multiply and release exudates which will make more nutrients plant available.
  5. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,654

    I think lower expectations is part of the discussion. In the OP's own words, he has to "soak" the lawn with Fiesta. How is that better than using a weed control that actually WORKS in an IPM fashion instead of continually pounding the entire lawn with something that fits into the "Organic" definition and must NOT be working. As far as NPK and other nutrients go, he himself says he's using pretty much everything he can think of and some lawns are just not responding. If that is the case, then it seems to me something needs to be added that WILL work, even if it is only a temporary thing to help get the lawn "kick started". If something doesn't change, customer expectations will have to be lowered or they are going to start wondering why they are sending him a check. Is he "selling out" because god forbid he might be thinking outside the "organic box"?? In my opinion NO. He's worried about customer satisfaction as well as the environment as any LCO should be.
  6. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

    Hi Ted;

    Others have pointed out that mycorrhizal are fungi and not bacteria but specifically it is endomycorrhizal fungi which are symbiotic with grasses. Some myc. fungi do inject N into the root system. These do not grow in brewed ACT but there are spores in products like ICT as well as spores of bacterial N fixers.

    The majority of N is derived fro the activity of flagellates and naked amoebae (both protozoa) and bacterial feeding nematodes consuming bacteria and archaea. They utilize only 30 to 40% of the energy consumed and the rest is expelled as pure ionic N. Because of this it is optimum to use a brewed ACT which is comprised of a large compliment of bacteria/archaea in a ratio of at least 10,000 to 1 of flagellates and/or naked amoebae.

    Providing a small amount of organic matter and ACT has worked okay on my lawn but for sure it does nothing against weeds. In the new part of the lawn we put in, the grass is outcompeting the weeds so far.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I thot we were discussing AACT and N-fixing bacteria... I agree with you, that IPM being the sensible way to go...

    My primary concern is always with the soil... It appears to me that all the stuff being put on is either tying up more N than is being released, or, the N isn't in the soil in such a way as to feed the root zone...

    Address those 2 issues and the expectations are right where they should be...

    If we imagine that "Organics" is inferior to building healthy turf, then we don't understand what we're doing... That is like saying fresh fruits and fish in the tropics is fine for hiumans, but to have a real healthy body you'd want some canned tuna and pineapple from a can, and wash it all down with the 'energy drinks'...

    Everyone seems bent on too much water and too much N and not allowing the soil to build up structure, Therefore synthetic N at the surface of the grass is the only way to keep the stuff green...
  8. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,924

    We have some accounts that we treat with "pre & post emergent weed control only", and they still look better (in the long run) than some properties which are fertilized 5 times a year. Reason is the difference in soil quality (soil profile)

    It all depends on the soil profile of the plant involved.......I don't care if it's turf, trees, or what.

    We do our best to follow land grant university recommendations cuz they ain't gunna sell us a line of BULL. Our LG Univesrity has hundreds of plots in a 640 acre field station, and they have done hands-on research for many decades which allows them to observe the results of all kinds of nutrients, etc, etc. Bottom line: "There is NO miracle product" (other than nitrogen). ie: If one buys stuff to apply on the soil surface just cuz "it's organic", it's a RIP OFF. One must address the entire soil profile of the plant (s) involved.

    Sure plants like clover, soybeans, etc can "fix" NITROGEN, but guess how deep the roots are needed to grow in order to provide long term benefits. Any farmer will tell you that unless one incorporates organic matter into the soil profile, he's wasting fuel & time.

    Adding organic matter needs to be applied into the "soil profile" -- NOT ON THE SURFACE. Thats why they sell plows, disks, etc that farmers use every year. Common sense. my 2 cents
  9. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    actually "no till" is becoming the standard, the reason being when you plow or till you are gassing off organic matter and destroying the fungal hyphi and bacterial colonies that have gotten established in the soil. these "guys" are the ones that make soil fertile, lessen compaction, make aggregates and help hold moisture
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I'm glad to hear someone actually talking about soil... there is a real difference between sand, clay, drainage, structure, SOM rich, SOM poor, puddling etc., etc.

    There is a separate way to farm and another to turf, though I agrees plants are plants and all needs healthy soil to thrive... Does N from the N fixer legumes share the N with there neighbors or do the legumes have to die then the N is utililized by other roots???

    We don't want to plow up our lawns every year, but we can use pluggers an spread in compost, However: a lot of beneficial soil structure can be built from the top down becuz it is usually built by fungi, not machines...

    The problem is that LCOs are too busy growing real thatch over the surface of the soil and removing the mulch from the grass that actually might serve to do some good for the soil...

    Has your LG-U told you about any research regarding thatch and how the clippings and dead grasses are beneficial to soil building and reclamation of nutrients?
    What is their take on that? ... :)

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