Explaining organics to customer?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by terrapro, May 8, 2009.

  1. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    I have a new customer that is asking more questions than I seem to be able to answer and I get tongue tied.

    My usual explanation is "by adding organic matter(compost) containing beneficial microbial content and then doing a maintenance spray(CT/molasses) to help feed those microbes to take care of them so they can take care of your lawn".

    This customer asked the right question at the wrong time and I don't know how to explain it to him..." Why does the synthetic have a bunch of nitrogen but your organic does not". I now only apply the N in the Fall in my program. I know too much is not needed and he knows N is not readily available?!

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Basic concepts to keep in mind.
    N is often wasted due to lack of CE sites, which allows leaching and evaporation.
    N is produced over time as OM degrades and becomes available in the rhizospere. [Whereas, the water soluable synthetic causes a roller coaster of high growth and weak growth.]
    Enlarging the rhizospere bring more chances of finding that N.

    Keeping those points in mind when discussing value of organic practices should cover most questions.
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Feed the soil, the soil feeds the plants
    In fertile soil you can grow anything, it is a soil fertility program, not a feed the plant program

    There is plenty of NPK and lots of other nutrients, enzymes, hormones, vitamins in compost. It is just not the type that leeches and volatilizes, it is available over time and most often when the plant needs it.

    NPK are needed but not in the ridiculous amounts that fertilizer companies would get you to believe

    3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft per year, SAYS who ??? the fertilizer companies that's who. These companies show imperical data, compared to what? did they test, fish against urea, aerobic compost against a bag of fertilizer. Do bags of fertilizer work??? absolutely........Is there another way to do it???? absolutely

    I don't have data to support this but have been told that over 60% of the nitrogen applied never gets near the root of a plant. It either goes poof into the air or is carried away (or into the ground) by water

    If you bought a car and they only gave you 40% of it, wouldn't you ask for a discount or something

    The BIG answer is........drum roll please...............it is a water quality issue. The N and P are ruining our municipal water sources
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    There is the million dollar question... "What is the best way to get N into the rootzone, (aka., 'rhizospere'), with the least amount of leaching and/or 'poof'ing into the air???"

    Artificially - time released - or organic -- are the only 2 ways I am aware of...
    Help me out here...
  5. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766


    i think you answered ur own question:)
  6. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    and it's ashame the really high quality long term release synthetic cost so much more.
  7. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    Terrapro, this is something you have to get in your head that is not easy to do. I took a soil sample of a lawn I picked up recently to go organic. No previous treatments by other companies. There was 0 trace of N. However, as the rains kept coming, the grass kept growing and turning greener...

    How did this happen? The N is locked up and is waiting to be released as it is called upon. You can't "see" this N in the soil but it is there. Your thing to do is just to make sure to replace what is being used with more proper OM. That way it is not forced down the plants throat, and the plant still gets what it needs as it calls for it.

    Goes back to one of last years discussions of forgetting the NPK method and just put down OM.

    HOWEVER, there is one KEY step to all of this... you can put down all the OM you want, without water, it apparently won't make a difference.

    remember, an "elder" needs to confirm this before I feel 100% about you taking it to heart.

    In a nutshell... the N is there, you just can't see it... now whether the customer will like that answer is a whole nother issue of controlling customers expectations and knowledge about the subject.
  8. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    how about they E mail you and you write your answers back to them with some thought and time with others peer reviewed info, say it like this " if you would like i can send you the most current up to date info for your review" no you dont have all the answers your only human and its hot outside!!!!!!
  9. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

    There is a paper on my webpage which may be helpful. It is linked in the contents section. Feel free to paraphrase this if you want or you may print it off as long as you give me credit although there could be parts you do not agree with. It is titled;

    Organic Growing From a Microbial Perspective

    (you could google this along with my name)
  10. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    Thanks Tim. Do you think I could just link it to my website? I have a little information page for my business website that I have been slowly establishing that I can send customers to for info...

    and thank you everyone who has responded! It is hard enough sometimes to sell organics so we need to stick together. Until the competition gets fierce of course.

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