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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by jettabug, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. Yes, you are correct pete!

    I don't use urea, but was trying to make a point!

    Somebody needs to define organic fertilizer!
    Is it anything containing carbon?
    Is it anything of plant, animal, or mineral orgin?
    Do we allow industrial manipulation?
    Do we recognize that the ecological profile of a material --
    the effect it has on the soil health and evironment, is more important than whether it was dug from ground or an industrial by product.

    Remember, the plant doesn't know the difference!

    "feed the soil, not the plant"

    What is an organic fertilizer???
    It can mean differtent things to different people!
  2. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Good point about urea. Unfortunately the government has already defined organic fertilizer for us. From what I'm told, synthetically manufactured urea is not allowed to be used by certified organic farmers. Urea taken from animal urine is allowed but who could afford it? The chemicals are identical, but one is allowed and one is not. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger. Lots of people are using synthetically derived urea in their "natural" programs which are not certified organic.

    Another related point, if you are giving "organic lawn care," do you have to comply with any federal organic regs for certification? I think not but I certainly haven't read the entire organic guidelines. If your clients were selling their produce as organic, then that would be different, but they're just enjoying their grass for the most part.

    I disagree that the plant does not know the difference between chemical and organic fertilization. The plants have evolved with living soil microbes providing external digestion for at least 200 million years. I'll keep to the short version of this essay, but the way the symbiotic interaction seems to go between plants and soil microbes is this: Plants supply sugars to the microbes who cannot photosynthesize below ground. In turn, the microbes return the favor by supplying fertilizer in the exact chemical composition, at exactly the right time, and in exactly the correct quantity. No chemical application program can duplicate any those three aspects. Chemical fertilizers provide only 3 of the 13 nutrients commonly accepted as necessary and they do it when WE think is the right time. Soil microbes have defined the 13 nutrients, if that is how many there are. There are between 25,000 and 45,000 different species of microbes all working together to perform these feats. There are literally billions of individual microbes in a tablespoon of soil so if you're going to count for your acre, have at it. I think the NPK approach is a cheap approximation of nature's plant feeding program. But I think using natural materials and following nature's schedule for application, you will be in pretty good shape. And I don't think it has been proved yet in plants, but there are many biological examples of different species signaling each other when they need something by providing a biochemical signal through cell walls. I would be shocked if the plants and at least one of the tens of thousands of microbial species did not have such a relationship.

    Sorry if I sound preachy. I'm trying to be informative. This is much toned down from years ago when I was outright belligerent.
  3. wHAT IS THE DIFFINATION of "natural organic fertilizer?

    Let's assume it't not the chemist diffination of anything containing a CARBON. That eliminates urea, nutralene, ureaformalyde, and others

    Do natural organics release nutrients when soil temp is below 50 degrees?

    NO! WHY NOT?,
    Because soil micro must break down nutrients into a usuable form!! Same thing happens to some of the sythetis organic fertilizers, like uf and nutralene! Most of the sythetic fert are in a much simpler form, that is one in which they are almost available to the plant
    Hope my buddy Ric helps me out in explaining, otherwise out comes the text book, so I can better explain!!! That won't happen from me for 2-3 weeks!!!
  4. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647


    "if you are giving "organic lawn care," do you have to comply with any federal organic regs for certification?"

    It is not so much the federal aspect as it is the local governing parties.

    County east of me. You have to have a pesticide applicators license and certification in the use of "organics" to apply "organics"
  5. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    This is correct. Soil microbes must be above 50 degrees to be active. Below that you don't get much activity to speak of. Luckily in many parts of the country soil temps below one inch remain above 50 degrees for quite some time into the fall or even winter. If the roots are deep into the +50 degrees zone, so are the microbes. So if you can spend the summer developing deep roots (mowing high and watering deep), then you have an excellent shot at green grass all year (in some parts of the country depending on the grass type, soil, etc.). Not only that but some microbes, being living creatures, generate their own heat. Look at hot compost piles. Because of that, organic yards tend to have soil temps slightly above the surrounding yards. This would lead to a longer mowing season.

    Jeeze! :cry:
  6. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Often I will do a soil test and Tissue testing before I begin a fert program on Trees, Turf. Are there organic amendments for all 13 essential elements. I do use sul po mag if these 3 are low, This I know is approved by O.M.R.I. Could you name organic sources for the other 10 elements.
    I thank you in advance,
  7. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

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