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Organics.....Is it the best?


LawnSite Senior Member
Southern Utah
I have been reading up alot and am interested in doing organic fertilizers. Maybe some of you "experts" or more experienced persons can help me out. Lead me in the direction that you think would be best for someone just starting out and maybe some do's and dont's, how to's, and so on.
Thank you to all those that comment.
Use fortified natural organic fertilizers!

They contain organic fertilizers, something that once was living, not the chemist definition, anything containing carbon!

Also contain natural fertilizer, something that was mined and NOT ALTER BY man.

they also contain sythetic fertilizers, this is where you have to be carefull, look closely at the sythetic portion, as it could be urea, to uf, with a very diferent salt index


LawnSite Senior Member
Norman, Oklahoma
"they also contain sythetic fertilizers, this is where you have to be carefull, look closely at the sythetic portion, as it could be urea, to uf, with a very diferent salt index"

Can you say more abou this? Why is urea bad? What is better? I assume this is in reference to chemical nitrogen? What is "to uf"?

I have been thinking of blending up some organic fert and fortifying it with chemical nitrogen. When I have mixed up organic fert in the past it has been a bit expensive. I started using Milorganite since it is cheaper than any organic fert I have seen. But I would like to find or make something better. I'm starting to be less afraid of chemicals but need to learn more. I was thinking of getting a bag of urea nitrogen to mix in with some other stuff (compost, corn meal, alfalfa meal, bone meal, blood meal, greensand, etc). Not the best choice?
MOST SYTHETIC fertilizers, the quick release types, have a high salt index, which results in possible turfgrass burn.

Uf is ureaform, a slow release nitrogen source, very low salt index, and proable the highest hwin of any sythetic fertilizer, in fact by a chemist definition, uf is an organic because it contains a carbon!

Some companies will custom blend a fortified fertilzer for you!

I get a mix for myself done that contains milorganite, uf, nutralene, and sulfate of potash. My mix is still @ 60 % fertilizer that once was living!

If using all those organic or natural products, I would ruin the mix by adding urea, use a better sythetic nitrogen source!


LawnSite Senior Member
Norman, Oklahoma
OK so is ureaform different from just urea?
If so, then uf would be a good form of nitrogen to use?
Or otherwise, what specifically would be a good source for chemical nitrogen?

What is hwin?

Terry Slade
hwin is hot water insoluble nitrogen, and some of this will take more than one year to release.

Have to look at how nitrogen is released, temp, microbes, water, mechanical breakdown

Now when and how long do you want nitrogen to be available!

Nitroform is expense, and not all of it is available in the first year applied, so , very few lco will use it!

What about methylene, meth x, mesa, or nutralene?

chemical nitrogen, I assume you mean sythetic nitrogen!

Best water soluble nitrogen? I always use a slow release fertilizer for my nitrogen source, because their is enough water soluble nitrogen included.


LawnSite Senior Member
I don't like water soluble forms of nitrogen. I prefer the hard stuff, so I shy away from liquid fertilizers. I am trying one this year that has urea (man made) in it. We'll see how that works on my lemon tree and an orchid I'm losing. So urea and blood meal are not generally in my repertoire.

If you are looking for cheap sources of fertilizers, look at the ingredients of all the organic fertilizers you can find and write them down. Then visit your local feed store or mill and see how many of those you can find. Typical retail prices for 50 pound bag of corn meal, for example, is $6.50. Wholesale is not much under that, but still bulk retail corn meal costs 1/6 as much as organic fertilizers containing mostly corn meal. The only things you might have trouble finding at a feed store are feather meal, but sometimes you can if you ask. They can order lots of things if you prepay.


LawnSite Member
Go to your local land grant university and sign up for a short course on lawn care. Most of what has been written above is oversimplification as is what I contribute here.

Natural organic products in general are great soil builders and ammendments that help soil colloids aggregate, improve aeration, tilth, etc., but very ineffective in supplying enough N for quality turf by themselves. Due to low N analysis they also require larger amounts of product and have higher cost per unit of nitrogen.

All cabron is good as it is a source of food for soil microbes be it from cow poop or methylene urea polymers. Most nitrogen is mineralized from some organic (synthetic or natural) molecule into urea and then that is further broken down to ammonium and then to nitrate. Plants use only ammonium and nitrate. Just as you should be cautious of too much quick cheap N in commercial lawn fertlizers you sould be cautious of things like heavy metal contaminatio and nasty bacteria etc. in natural products. Reputible products in either camp are preferable.

Soil testing is a geat idea and soils with low OM or low CEC will benefit from the addition of organics. The challenge is that large amounts are needed to make a difference. This means either you apply a huge amount of an organic topdress, or wait years to see a slow improvement that will eventually result from normal fertilizer type applications of 150 to 300 lbs./ acre.

If you goal is very high quality turf you will need to supplement your natural organic N with some form of more efficient synthetic organic N. There is no shame in this as the turf is indiscriminate as to where the ammonium and nitrate come from.