Organics, All or Nothing?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by aclane2000, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. quackgrass

    quackgrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    My post is fine, its your interpretation that is the problem.

    You are trying to dismiss the fact that nutrient input can be minimized by using organic and synthetic fertilizers to better follow demand curves.

    The only argument you have is insisting that the word optimal means the most growth. That is like saying optimum mowing height is the most you can cut off, or that optimum irrigation causes the most growth.

    Its pretty easy to understand that optimum is "the most favorable", and therefore changes depending on what you're looking to accomplish. The optimum diet for an athlete will be different than the optimum diet of an obese person.

    I know that sometimes you use fertilizers to add nutrients, and the rates and objectives are different for each site and vary from plant to plant. What you are trying to achieve is the most favorable condition for the plant. That could mean limiting growth or expanding it.

    Lets say you are going to fertilize because a plant is deficient in nitrogen. You establish that it will need 1lb of N per K to get it back on track without causing excessive growth.

    If you use 1lb of an organic N source it will provide enough nitrogen to relieve it of deficiency even during the plants peak demand. However, if it can accomplish that during peak demand, then it will likely be excessive during the rest of the season when Nitrogen is not in demand. So now you have excessive nitrogen for a good part of the season which increases leaching and costs.

    Another option would be to use .5lb of an organic nitrogen source because that will better suit the plants demand over the majority of the season, but it would leave the plant overly starved during the peak demand period.

    To keep the plant from being deficient at that time you could add .25lb of synthetic N just before peak demand, the plant would absorb it and then rely exclusively on the organic N for the remainder of the season.

    The result would be less nutrients, cost, and leaching.

    Another attribute of synthetics is that you can pinpoint just the nutrient that is needed and apply it when the plant is going to use it without adding things the plant wont use.

    It may not seem like a big deal to somebody that uses a pallet of fertilizer, but say you use 10 semi loads - tailoring nutrients to the demand curve means you can potentially delete a couple truck loads of fertilizer per year.
  2. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Yeah quackgrass.. if you aren't on Kiril's "team" he will do everything in his power to manipulate and discredit what you say. You almost need to hire a full time speech writer from a political party before you post something Kiril isn't going to like. That way they can tell you how to word it as un-objectable as possible.

    I'm on your side... bridge IS an effective and REALISTIC way of managing landscapes!
  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    No I am not. Don't put words in my mouth. But along those lines ..... how are you determining these growth curves for each plant in the landscape? How do you determine the appropriate amount of fertilizer required for each of these plants? You realize these "growth curves" can vary from site to site .... don't you?

    That is one issue .... and you are using it inappropriately. Furthermore I NEVER said anything about "most" growth. Once again you are putting words in my mouth.

    "Optimal growth" (once again your words) with respect to plants is growth without constraints .... such as nutrients, water, etc.... Your attempt to make it mean something entirely different doesn't change that fact.

    See ... now you are being confusing. The most favorable condition for the plant is not necessarily what you choose it to be. For example, I choose to deficit irrigate, one reason is to limit growth. This is hardly the most "favorable condition for the plant" nor would it ever be considered "optimum growing conditions". What is favorable to you doesn't necessarily mean it is favorable to the plant ... a point I feel you are confused about.

    OK .... so how do you establish this? Are you aware of all nitrogen inputs as it relates to the plant in question? Can you quantify these inputs so you can make an informed decision with respect to required nutrients? Why must this fertilizer be of the synthetic type?

    Not following you here. If you have determined the plant needs 1 lb of N immediately, and you apply a quick release organic N, how is that any different than a synthetic quick release?

    Why only half and what form of organic N .... there are many? How do you know how much of that applied N is going to become available to the plant without extensive and costly monitoring? An application of nitrate based fertilizer followed by a heavy rain could carry the majority of your applied N outside the effective root zone, making your application essentially ineffective. Do you monitor N movement in the soil and plant?

    If only it were that simple quack. Furthermore, how do you know when peak demand is for every plant in the landscape, or do you just guess?

    Only if you supply exactly what the plant will use ... assuming what you apply will even make it to an area where it can be utilized by the plant.

    You can do the same with organics. Furthermore, you have apparently missed the boat on organic/sustainable land management. Clearly you are trying to manage the plant here instead of the soil .... bad move. There are other organisms in the plant-soil continuum and other considerations for land management other than supplying nutrients to plants for "optimum growth".

    And again I will ask you ... how do you determine these nutrient curves and do you tailor your fertilizer application on a per plant basis? You talk like you are managing Ag crops, not landscapes. It is important to understand the difference between the two .... and I fear you do not.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    There are no "teams" JD, although I am not surprised you think there are. Furthermore last time I checked this was the ORGANIC forum, not the "bridge" program forum. IMO, if you want to talk synthetics, take it to the appropriate forum .... unless your only intent here is to start arguments.
  5. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,161

    Speaking from personal experience at least for my area and my lawns Synthetic N is not necessary EVER but can be beneficial in lowering the annual N expense or may be beneficial during low temperature times. I am not sold that turf quality is better by using synthetic N and in fact may be worse, its a hard call as weather changes from year to year so doing a controlled test is hard.
  6. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,312

    Bridge = crutch.

    Throw off those crutches, brothers,and walk. Free yourself now, brothers. Walk the walk. Don't just talk the talk. Do it, brothers, walk that organic walk. :walking:
    Halleluja and pass the compost.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The main thing about water-soluable N applied often, is that the roots have a crutch and growth more thatch than depth. Over time I believe that grass root may create a normal healthy depth, having created their own soil ecology with the help of OM and non-devasting irrigation practices.

    In short I believe that grasses eventually establish a mature stand of turf that is not reliant on excessive inputs of N and successfully crowd out any intrusion of undesirable plants...

    Working WITH the natural development of turf, is better than micromanaging its development according to erroneous ideas about how plants establish and mature. JMO...

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