Organic Services

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by mojo, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Because we often dicount or mistake the value of organic matter in soils, I think this may be of use.
    I belong to other internet forums & "lists".
    Over the summer, I have learned that there is great confusion over the issue of PERCENT ORGANIC MATTER as expressed on a soil test.
    I guess some folks never studied soils or have forgotten. So I present the following that I posted some time back on another forum. The person I was responding to wanted to know the difference between "percent organic MATTER" & "percent organic MATERIAL". Natural Organic fertilizers are still just "organic material" in the state that we apply them. 50 lbs of even the best will take quite some time to eventually amount to several ounces of stable organic matter. The biology of the soil still benefits, so please don't think I'm bashing the concept. I'm not. But let us not classify organic matter as the silver bullet either. It's not.

    When confused over the role of organic fertilizers & what they can contribute to plants & soils, please let us keep the following in mind:


    Please see the following link for the easiest to understand explaination of organic soil structure:

    Simply stated. We add organic material to soils to improve their nutrient holding capacity, moisture rentention capability, to add space for oxygen to reside in, and reduce compactablility. The organic material we add can be leaves or grass clippings & other yard wastes. Compost from municipalites or our own yard recycling can even include degradable organic table scraps. Animal manures of various forms are also very good because they run higher in elemental plant nutrients.
    In time, organic "material" is eventually converted by microorganisms & oxydation into "stable organic matter". It takes a lot of organic material to become a little organic matter. It becomes organic matter when it reaches the stage that it resists further decay.
    I think a lot of the confusion centers around the "Percent Organic Matter" (%OM) that we see on soil test results. It is listed on the printed results by WEIGHT. Yet I have seen other
    websites that suggest tilling 4 inches of organic material into the top 12 inches of soil to end up at a 25% organic material content. That is completey wrong. The end result would be a 25% (short term/before compaction)
    increase in VOLUME. But only the volume of organic material. In the first season, only a small amount of the added material will be converted into stable organic matter. And remember, matter is tested for by weight.

    I THINK this is where the confusion comes from. Does the explaination help? Or did I just make things even worse?


    Merry Christmas & God bless

  2. mojo

    mojo LawnSite Member
    from canada
    Messages: 12

    I noticed someone mentioned poultry by products, We stopped using it or recommending it due to our labs finding salmonella in it. We contacted health Canada and discovered their is an allowable level of salmonella. There are excellent products on the market without chicken parts (alfalfa based). We have substituted chicken crap with molasses- Try watering molasses down and apply to a spot on your lawn- grass love it!

  3. mojo

    mojo LawnSite Member
    from canada
    Messages: 12

    Hey Eirik, if you would ever like to share info or collaborate on organic packages send me an e-mail. I like tossing ideas back and forth. Did you know that pre wwI farmers knew that corn by products would keep weeds down in the garden rows. I have a real good (hand written) book on crop mangement from the late 1800's. The whole way of thinking disappearred by WWII. Thier is alot of innovation on the organic front lines, I can't say too much but imagine a sprayable protien derived from corn gluten to control weeds.

  4. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Hey Mojo,

    That was me with the Sustane Aerobically Composted Turkey Manure. As far as I know, salmonella is killed at the teperatures that Sustane composts at. I'll need to find out for sure. There are no spent body wastes present at all.

    I do have a customer that was shopping for natural organics this summer due to the drought. I ususally sell him his summer round as a standard high SCU commercial grade. He asked for more organic than we had. We've had trouble finding bulk municipal bio-solids that are dry enough to resist going back into methane production. Either the supply is too limited or the supply doesn't meet spec. He wasn't interested in paying the premium for Sustane. So we passed.
    The stuff he got was HORRENDOUS! The stench was phenomenal. He had to seal it away in a seperate building & park all his trucks outside.
    Later in the summer, his brother-in-laws dog dies. The vet asked if the dog had contact with a slaughter house or commercial meat processing plant. The guy says no.....long story short....the organic material contained blood. The stuff did test poitive for Hepatitis B. That's what the dog died of. We don't talk much about it now. Don't ask who formulated the junk. I won't say.

  5. lbmd1

    lbmd1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    I think that the debate of pesticides vs organics is alot like democrats vs republicans. Too much one sided hype from both sides, no "independent" group. On the left you have the "sky is falling" mentality with cancer problems, nervous system damage etc.., on the right, you have chemical companies saying pesticides can be eaten and are not dangerous. Neither parties take the midstream and take or make responsible claims, practices or produce a solution. While organics will be the future I believe ( we see whats happening to our northern aplicator brothers in Canada), our "Green Industry" rejects and fights this claim and potential victor much like the hard staunched tobacco companies fighting to hide inside reports of tobacco's real hidden dangers. Our green industry should be imbracing new technology (not that organics are new and are not even technical) as a market for new potential sales, new companies, product lines, etc.. Not to mention the percieved look that these big "toxic chemical" companies will look like they will be developing an alternative to chemical based fertilizers, and granola munching yuppies will purchase their new organic line as opposed to going elsewhere. I had to laugh when Steve mentioned the dog dieing (not that it's a laughable matter) but the organic side makes the same claims with dogs dieing of leukemia and other cancers caused by what the vets say was chemical poisoning. To set the record straight, I beleive in chemical fertilizers, pesticides as well as organic measures. Sure it would be nice to think that organics can solve it all, but face it, it doesn't. Same to say that their chemical counterparts do cause health problems even though they do their job well. But at what stake? Perception to the public is everything, marketing them both is key. If we had more smaller licensed chemical fert guys out their who know thier job, have the proper background and care taken, then we wouldn't have these problems. I blame the big fert companies and the homeowners who blanket approach the "more is better" attitude. Or in the case of Tru Green, not enough" Unfortunately, there aren't as many responsible and knowledgeable chemical application companies or individuals as there are on this site. When I hear Steve, Ray Kirby, and many other applicator experts post here, it amazes me of their knowledge and background. I always think, man if every other applicator out there took their job as seriously as these guys, we wouldn't have half the problems and negative perceptions as the public perceives toward pesticides. I own a fairly good sized maintenance firm up here in NH serving about 130 of the finest homes around the seacoast. I also own a seperate natural organic fertilizing company that seems to hold it's own. Not breaking any records, but moving along ok. Point is, organics aren't for everyone. They don't offer instant gratification, but in the long run, they green longer, are healthier for the soil and organisms, are seem to be safer. For the fanatic homeowners who don't want weeds or any turf problems, they are a worst nightmare. About 80% of my customer's lawns that have organics do rather well and seem to green and last longer through the winter season. The other 20% don't show any great results but look ok. Sorry for the long post. In closing, an open mind will do wonders on both sides of the debate, but I'm sure we won't see that anytime soon or until they start banning more and more like Canada. As soon as we can't sell or apply any more chems to our lawns, suddenly the green industry will accept this "Godsend" of a product and all the applicators will make the same $$$ that they are used to. Maybe by then, organics will improve a little more.

  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    Tremor remember the last Organic War. Professor Snake Venom made a post I liked, something like the following.

    P.S. For those of you interested in organic programs, do a search. Last year there was a very good thread on organics. Tremor (Professor Snake Oil) wrote a small novel on the subject, complete with documentation. This is a heated subject and the Rachael Carson's and Al Gore's of the world would have us use organics only. Pesticides would be outlawed completely. We have come a long way from the days of D.D.T. and Chlordane. But we have also lost some valuable chemicals. Lindane to name one, it is in the same chemical family as chlordane. Dursban is gone now also (I personally don't miss it.). But what I don't like is the long hit list of chemicals that the E.P.A. wants to take off the market. Orthene is in the same Chemical family as Dursban and is on the hit list. There is nothing short of fumigation to cure nematodes. And the list goes on. If I want to incorporate SOM into my soil, I use Humus Peat (the layer above coal) not chicken zh*t.
  7. Eirik

    Eirik LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Well done Mike!
    I could not agree more...
  8. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Merry Christmas Ric. It's been too long really.

    And everyone else (like me) who really should be doing something else. (like sleeping)

    Don't laugh. My living room looks like Toys-r-Us. And that's why I do this after all.

    Wow. Tough to type right now.

    Just drank Royal Lochnager (sp?) single malt scogthch (playing with u) & some kind of gin in a blue bottle. Safire? Satire?....really good.....Anyway, all the relatives have passed out. Nice bunch of folks really. CHEERS! I won?

    Right then. So there are actually just 2 answers no matter how we look at this issue.

    1.) Knowlege. Nobody respects an idiot. There's too many of them. Smart folks are in demand, isn't that it? Even when they're drunk, I suppose. That's pretty easy to understand. And that's why we're here. To learn. Good for us.

    2.) Balance. The answer is in the middle. Somewhere. Neither side tells the whole truth all the time. Isn't that what I just read? Isn't that what was said? Bull Sh_t!

    I never lie.



    Read all of my posts. Do some of your own research. Not sure? Research some more. Find out. Any time your face is on the line, you gotta come clean. Remain true to the plants. Forget the money. Let go the politics.

    Being wrong & sticking to your guns is like driving straight into a wall.

    It ain't worth it boys.

    How many folks actually read these posts?

    You wanna stake your reputation on nothing more than your printed words? With your name plastered all over it?

    Go for it. If you have nothing to hide, then you won't. Someday, many of us will meet in person. Who here among us will avoid admitting who we are?

    Not me. I hope none of us.

    Does anyone really beleive that they really own more than just their face? Think about it.

    Merry Christmas friends. May the new year bring you all prosperity like you never knew before.

    If that sounds like a stretch, call me. If your face is straight & your back is strong, it's not all that hard really.

    Steve Jepsen,
    LESCO, Inc.

    Got Bal-s?
    We can be sensored here. Let's see if I am.
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    To whom it may concern

    May your January 1 2003 hang over be less painful than Steve's Dec 25, 2002 hang over:D :D :dizzy:
  10. mowerparts

    mowerparts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

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