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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by A1 Grass, Sep 2, 2003.
i may have learned something?
Nah... I think it's interesting and informative, though I was just looking for answers more suited to "Organics 101" class.
I have a friend who will give you the history of automobiles if you ask him what the tire pressure is. I understand. My goal is to educate myself, so one day I will understand what the hell you guys are talking about!
I am very happy when someone reduces it to:
Cracked corn - 10#/1000 - Fall and Spring.
Now that I understand...
Thanks to all!
Hopelessly hijacked by someone who tells me that "you must have a lot to say"................Hmmmmmmmm.
To be quite honest to me it dosn't really matter where the NPK comes from. The plant dosn't care either. Organic matter is always good in the soil. It may be old science but it has always been taught that the NPK binds to the organic matter so that it sticks around longer for the plant. Now cost is an important factor and strictly organic is a lot more expensive, slower to show results and less consistent in results. When I get a call to "fix" a lawn the client wants results yesterday. Organics don't give me that response. When I install a new lawn I try to set it up with all the basics in place so that little chemical intervention is required but when you have a mono-culture which isn't a natural occurrence, then some chemical intervention is required from time to time. When I hear about the fungicidal or herbicidal qualities of these products I have found them to be highly exaggerated. I have done some personal testing and when I have a little more time I will post my admittedly unscientific results which add to the many unscientific results claiming the superior results of organic gardening. Keep up the discussions because if nothing else it is educational and thought provoking
PS. Where is Tremor when you need him?
Yes it is very evident that the chemical applicator's biggest threat and fear in this lawn care industry is organics.
I geuss at the end of the day we have to offer what the client needs. In our area the consumer have a choice between quite a number of chemical applicators but they dont have a choice between chemical and organic because it has never been offered around here.
So, I'd be stupid if I see a gap in the market and I dont go for it!
Keep up the interresting info on organics.
Dadgummit, Dan! If you don't switch to organics I'm going to come through your computer screen and remove the D key from your keyboard.
I'm not really mad. I just wanted to use that smiley once
But seriously, if you and your clients don't want to use organic materials, what am I going to do about it? This forum is here to help educate, which I can do some of, and to help y'all determine how to make organics work in a professional sense. The materials I use and the techniques I suggest are in use by homeowners. Maybe some of the materials and techniques don't work for professionals, but you may be asked about them. So you still need to explain why you cannot do something the client might want and still remain organic.
If you need to buy a different trailer, you should know that before you start with this. I'm totally neutral on the implementation and your personal business decisions. Buying a new trailer is neither good nor bad to me. I'm just reporting that organic fertilizers go on a lot heavier in weight. The cost...well, I think the cost is similar to Lesco prices. Someone reported they could use Lesco fert for $25 per acre. At first I was shocked, but later I realized that in some places (Ohio and Kentucky, for example) corn meal and other ground grains can be had for about the same cost per acre. Maybe all y'all can get the same prices if you're buying in bulk.
Someone else reported that he was using some ungodly amount of Milorganite, was it 100,000 pounds??? I sure hope he's getting serious bulk prices plus a personal Christmas card from the president of Milorganite. But if you have 100 accounts of any size, I can see an organic provider using corn meal at 50,000 pounds per application or 150,000 pounds per year. Cost for that should be on the order of $7,500US with a good deal. That would be like 100 pallets worth. Is that a lot? It is to me, but maybe not to you once you get your new trailer
So if we can expose all the arguments for and against this, you guys will be better educated to deal with the homeowners. I just want to be sure you get a good background on organics and not the one-sided slant you've gotten so far. I try to make it make sense but sometimes I go overboard. Slap me if you want a simpler explanation.
What about from a mowing perspective?
I do a couple of yards that use chemical fertilizer and in the spring the grass grows so fast it triples in depth in a week, so instead of half an hour to cut the grass it needs to be cut twice or three times. My observations on areas where i used the corn is that the grass tends to get thicker rather than taller. i would much rather cut thicker grass than taller. The chemically fertilzed lawns are now compacted, bumpy dustbowls. THe corn fed lawns are dry and brown, but the ground is not like cement. And water soaks in instead of running off.
These are just my observations. The only way i can be convinced if the organic way works is by trying it and seeing the results. To assume it is not cost effective or that it doesnt work is very shortsighted in my eyes. THe pending pesticide ban around here is good reason to at least try out the organic way and at least be able to provide an educated response to a customer and have an organic lawn so they can see for themselves. That puts me one step ahead of the competition.
If you buy one 88lb bag of corn you can fertilize more than one average yard. Now if you are talking acreage, well yes, thats a huge amount of corn. Everyones situation is different. I look after about 15 properties so in my case i would not have to get bags and bags of corn. Some people dont care about fertilizer or having a perfect yard, they just want the lawn cut. Some people do their own fertilizing or they hire Chem lawn or whoever.
The reason i started experimenting was just to see if it worked, nothing more. So far the results have been good.
Everytime I read something from woodycrest I'm reminded of ex-smokers. They can be insufferable. A year ago I was quite insufferable, too. Now I'm just sufferable
Once you give corn meal or alfalfa a decent shot, you will see for yourself.
Most of you should be armed enough now such that if you wanted to try using corn meal in a few places as an experiment, you should know what to do. I'm still working on the FAQ for you guys to put most of it all in one place.
Don't get me wrong. I am not against organics. In fact I use manure, and mushroom compost in my beds every year before planting my annuals. I am a big believer in IPM. I also use liquid fertilizer where warranted and for pest control I use mechanical, cultural, biological or chemical control as conditions warrant. What bothers me is that organic is presented as the "panacea" of lawn care and in all my experience it isn't. I have done many informal tests and in lawn care my chemically treated lawns generally are more weed free and disease resistant than the organic areas. But then again I have lawns that get absolutely no treatments at all and look absolutely great. I always try different ways of treating plants from the absurd, to the practical, even the singing to the sun gods. Basically it comes to starting with a good soil, planting the right variety for the conditions and preventing infestations from becoming a major problem. Organics are always being tooted as being "environmentally friendly" and to that I say BS. You think all that corn is grown without chemicals? I know for a fact that the fields are sprayed with a very powerful herbicide (atrazine) before seeding and different pesticides as warranted throughout the season. What about all the synthetic fertilizer used to grow this corn? If we create a large new market for this product we are just moving the problem. What about the fuel for the tractors plowing, cultivating, harvesting, milling and transporting this product? Thats a lot of burned diesel fuel which comes from the same raw ingredients most of the synthetics come from. What is the impact of manufacturing the bigger trucks and spreaders to apply this new product? I don't know what the answers are to my questions but it seems to me a bag of synthetic fertilizer just might be the lessor of 2 evils when compared a 1/2 ton of corn gluten. And what about genetically engineered? Do you know if the corn gluten you are getting is or isn't, and is that unnecessarily bad? We have to look at the big picture not just your backyard. I sure don't have the answers and so far I havn't seen anyone else with them either.