Need help with choosing organic fertilizer

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by danottaway85, May 14, 2013.

  1. danottaway85

    danottaway85 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Im thinking about getting into the lawn fertilization end of the business. Ive been mowing for four years, and im looking to expand. I dont want to use the chemicals that scotts, or true green use. Im trying to use green products. Ive tried to talk to the John Deere landscape branch in my area, and even submitted a request online, but never got a answer and im not sure where else to go. Has anyone had any luck with organic spray, if so what kind. thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope to hear from someone soon.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The "Chemicals" you talk about are generally some kind of herbicide or instecticide mixed in with the fertilizer pellets and you're required to have a liscence anyways... It may not seem "Organic" to some people on this thread but personally I switch back and forth with Milorganite and regular synferts at various times of the year... that is known as a "Bridge Program",,, and keeps the lawn growing stronger and maturing every year, less dependant on the constant water soluable applications...

    I get both types of fert from box stores or nursery,,, depending who has the best deal... we start the second mowing next week so I hope to get caught up on the work and get the fertilizer necessary to get the first app of the season completed before Memorial Weekend... this time of Year I like to use the Milorganite... and there is a reason for that...
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335
  4. seabee003

    seabee003 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Do you have an example of a Bridge Program for cool season grasses (SE PA) that utilizes milorganite and synfert? I started using milorganite last May (3 applications -- late May, early July and early Sep). Other than hauling around the extra weight, applying Milorganite is a easy process and seems to be yielding very good results. I also used Scott's winterizer in early Nov and Halts in Mar and again in early May. I spot treat with Weed-B-Gon. What else should I consider?
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,163

    Screamin Green 16-2-3 has a great track record in SE PA.
    2 organic basis, composted poultry manure and biosolids, with some urea, ammonium sulfate and SCU added.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Isn't Scotts s/Halts a pre-m??? 2 pre-ms and broadleaf 'cides are hardly 'organic'... I spot spray weeds but never use pre-m on grass... I build soil structure and plant grass all year round if necessary...

    Anyways,,, another thing that 'organics' does,, is allow the plant to better utilize the nutrients available by building a better soil habitat...
    One more issue in 'organic',, is the idea of healthy plants growing naturally... the timing of fertilizer apps , is also very important...

    I prefer terms like 'Naturally Healthy' rather than 'organics', because it appears that 'organics' is becoming more manmade than synthetics nowdays... soils are ignored as far as their water/air ratio and 'drainage/retention ratios are concerned... soil tests are fine in extreme conditions but grass is essentially a weed that was designed to fill in vacant spots of the planet... a MATURE standof grass exists naturally, but our involvement has made almost every lawn a dependant, struggling mess with barespots,, large and small all over the place...

    Points to Ponder... :)
  7. seabee003

    seabee003 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    I am a little confused by your response.

    I was asking you what your Bridge Program was. I interpreted your reference to synfert as meaning standard synthetic fertilizers which include pre emerg, herbidcide, insecticide etc. That's why I asked the question about what you considered a Bridge system between organics and synthetics. As I mentioned, I do use pre M and only spot treat with herbicides.

    BTW it is irrelevant whether any substance you add to your lawn is manmade or "natural", organic or synthetic. What matters is how it interacts with the soil to create a healthy and sustainable ecosystem for grass to grow. Milorganite is considered organic but it is man made.

    Anyway back to my original question. Can you define specifically what it is that you consider a Bridge Program? You have clearly put a lot of thought into it and I value your opinion.

  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    A bridge program, wisely uses the best of both worlds(natural/synthetic) to give the client what he wants as a weedfree vibrant green lawn, all thick and lush...

    I use compost, Milorganite and Spot Spraying in the Spring, mostly... synthetic fert at the end of the Heat of Summer... if there is a lot of cool rainy weather I will add some more compost for overseeding and apply a fast acting fertilizer as a "Winterizer", by mid-Oct... Nothing after that except Spot Spraying broadleaf,,, if they haven't been actively growing up to that point...

    I follow the weather moreso than a 'schedule'... give the lawn what it needs WHEN in needs it...
    Pre-m mixed with NPK as being a "Standard" synthetic fertilizer,,, should not be called fertilizer,,, becuz pre-m inhibits growth and has nothing to do with a healthy lively soil/plant in a sustainable way or otherwise...
    Thanks Rabbitman11... :)
  9. seabee003

    seabee003 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Thank you. This is similiar to what I have been thinking. I forgot to mention that I also topdress with spent mushroom soil in the fall (don't have access to good leaf compost which would be my first choice).

    I use Milorganite from May (Memorial Day) to early Sep (Labor Day) because microbe activity necesary to convert the nitrogen to a grass usable form should be max during the warmest seasons. I may be misunderstanding your statement end of heat of summer but are you referring to late September (you are probably zone 5 and I am zone 7 so we may have to adjust when comparing timing)? If so, I think we are using similiar approaches except for the PreM.

    I would prefer not to use PreM but I have trouble controlling crabgrass without it. Other weeds I can control with a thick healthy lawn and spot treatment with herbicides. Is there a better solution for crabgrass?
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Usually our Heat breaks during the second half of August and the Fall rains would be starting then, so I could apply the synfert as early as that... the advantage of getting it down by that time is our turf can get a chance to burst back to life while the irrigation is still on; so if that is the only opportunity for the turf to "Winterize" becuz of an Oct/Nov drought, it would still be OK...
    The last 2 Oct/Nov periods were extremely dry, so our drought period started in Late Summer 2011 and just ended with this snow melt and wet Spring...

    I can't say what it takes to Beat CG in Z7,,, but that is another aspect of the "Bridge Program", that you use what works ONLY when necessary... someday you might be the one that makes pre-m unnecessary in Z7... :)

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