Organics, All or Nothing?

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

  1. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

    Who might that be? Please read the beginnings of this thread again to see who first brought up salts.
  2. PJC

    PJC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    When we provided residential organic fertilization services we took an all or nothing approach. We never found the need for the use of “bridge” products. We now manufacture and distribute an all natural organic fertilizer and soil amendments. Our customers represent 1,000s of organically maintained lawns and athletic fields in the Northeast that are being done without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

    If you plan on using even some synthetics and pesticides than it’s not an organic program and you shouldn’t advertise it to your clients that way. If from a comfort level you feel you need to do it then my suggestion would be to only spot-treat and then apply an all natural organic fertilizer and/or vermicompost top-dress to encourage the soil biology out of its dormancy.
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Smallaxe. I bet it is salt. What people didn't catch is how it probably accumulated. Kiril mentioned it, but in a way that went well over most readers heads I am sure.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    PJC welcome to the site, we are glad you are here

    great input, are you guys applicators or just distribute products or both it sounds like you have some background in this
  5. PJC

    PJC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    We started roughly ten years ago providing organic fertilization services. We purchased the manufacturing rights for an all natural organic fertilizer that has been around since 1994 in 2008.

    We have since sold our service business to focus on the manufacture and distribution of our all natural fertilizer and soil amendments.
  6. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

    Give this man a cigar or gold star or both!
  7. quackgrass

    quackgrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    All or nothing.....

    I choose to use both so that I can minimize the total amount of nutrient input.

    Most plants have a nutrient demand curve that spikes up during certain parts of the season and also subsides during other times. It is nearly impossible to match this curve with synthetics because they release and disappear too rapidly. It is also hard to follow the curve with just organics because they release slowly and one would have to apply an abundance to meet peak demand which is costly and excess during times of low nutrient demand.

    Now imagine you take an average of that curve over the growing season and we can simply call that "baseline fertility". It really is way more scientific than that but I would like to include everyone in this conversation not just the holier than tho.

    I believe the baseline fertility needs of a plant are best served organically because its stable, and gets the soil active. But mostly it means that you can apply organic applications at the same cost as synthetic ones because the rates are lower.

    The next step is to hit the growth spikes with a low rate of synthetic fertilizer. The synthetic nutrients are able to be rapidly released and absorbed by the plant during these narrow windows of peak nutrient demand.

    So in the end, you use a 1/2 rate of organic fertilizer and a 1/4 rate of synthetic fertilizer to accomplish optimum growth with less nutrients and money.
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    Are we growing crops or landscapes? IMO, there is absolutely no need to manage nutrients for landscape plants to provide for optimum growth. The goal is to maintain plant health and aesthetic quality, neither of which require nutrients at levels of luxury consumption. In fact, I do the opposite .... I manage landscapes to limit growth while maintaining plant health and aesthetics.
  9. quackgrass

    quackgrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    I think its an excellent idea to grow crops in your landscape, but this type of nutrient management lends itself perfectly for edible and non edible plants.

    Really? Optimum means must favorable, not most growth.

    Right, that would be optimum, and to do that you would want to use the least amount of nutrients possible. Fertilizing in the manor I described is a great way to insure you don't encourage luxury consumption.
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    Yes .... really. I intentionally stress plants ..... "optimum growth" suggests providing conditions which do not lead to stress ..... i.e. no shortage of nutrients or water.

    I'm not following you here given it is very unlikely you (or anyone else) has the data necessary to make this determination. I don't believe in blanket assumptions, nor do I believe that synthetics are generally necessary in your typical properly managed landscape .... particularly in non-turf areas. IMO, if you want to minimize inputs you need to find the breaking point of your landscape plants, then maintain your resources at a level that is slightly higher than that (i.e. one that doesn't impose too much stress on the plants).

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