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Please define soil amendment

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by lawnlubber, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. lawnlubber

    lawnlubber LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    Could someone define soil amenment precisely? I'm looking for the guidelines the gov uses to determine whether you need a license to apply the product. I understand the organic guys can apply some of their products without a license.
  2. Green Quality

    Green Quality LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    look for the lable that identifies.on what ever product that you can use that states.the EPA organic and The USDA organic seals!
  3. lawnlubber

    lawnlubber LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    There are many products with organic seals which an applicator would need a lisence to use. Anything used for the purpose of pest control would be regulated I believe. Can any organic fertilizer be considered a soil amendment. In my state a product used as fertilizer needs to be standardized so that the customer knows what they are paying for in NPK values. Compost which is variable in NPK may be used as a soil amendment by an unlisenced LCO but we must not make claims about it's value as fertilizer unless we can tell them exactly how much NPK we applied through the compost. It seems like products used to deliver NPK are fertilizers; products used to improve tilth are soil amendments. Am I right on this stuff? And where do the products with mycorhyzae or beneficial microbes fit in, do you need to be licensed to use these commercially.
  4. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    A soil amendment is anything you add to the soil to improve it,and not degrade it.
  5. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,118

    This is a question you need to take directly to your state Dept. of Ag. In my state you can approach this from a few different angles. First question would be are you selling your product retail, by that I mean over the counter as a fertilizer, or are you selling a organic fertilizer program in which you are promoting a healthy green lawn, not making a claim of delivering X lbs of NPK per appl, of per season.

    In this state it is only a $25 fee to register your product as a fertilizer, so if selling the fertilizer program not a retail business the client most probably will never ever see your claimed NPK on your fert so I would find out what your analysis is and make a conservative tag stating a number your are comfortable will pass if checked. Or you could list your product as a soil amendment and list the ingredients and be careful how you advertise your program. It my state the soil amendment registration fee is $100.

    I took this issue of the necessity of registering feed grain as fertilizer for use in a fertilizer program to my state and they had never been asked this question before. They brought the question up at there weekly meeting and gave me this "unofficial-official" answer. They're answer to me was we do not care if you apply feed as a fertilizer in your program without registering it as a fertilizer as long as you are not advertising making a NPK claim and you receive no complaints from customers or other's in the trade. If I received a complaint they would allow me 30 days to register my product.

    So the short answer is it does not matter what the consensus of web site browsers think about this issue it only matter what your state thinks is acceptable. I hope this helps.
  6. lawnlubber

    lawnlubber LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    In my state fertilizer may be applied (no pesticides) without a lisence, but it is coming. Any products sold or applied as fertilizer need to be registered for that use. I can not apply compost and call it fertilizing because there is no label on the compost proving that it has the states approval as a fertilizer. I must use it as an amendment without making claims about the fertilizer value. I believe the state allows this because they recognize that some things (like sand) improve tilth without adding any significant amount of NPK. There are some organic fertlizing products that do not add much volume of anything. They innoculate the soil with beneficial life forms. I can make home made compost and use it in my business as a soil amendment, no registration or licensing. Would compost tea also pass that test. The compost has a physical affect on the soil in direct relationship to how much is used. Not the fetrility, but the structure. Compost tea is valued for the beneficial microbes it contains but delivers little actual NPK itself. If my state considers compost tea a fertilizer there would be a regulatory process which would force me to buy a commercial compost tea if I wanted to use it commercially. So what kind of homemade or off label products are used as soil amendments to skirt the regulations on fertilizers, and has anyone gotten in trouble this way?
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    It's a proven scientific fact that chemical furtilizers degrade the soil by killing off important microbes that keep the soil healthy that's why it's regulated.Organic compost does fertilize the soil BY helping it to do what nature would if left in a natural state where organic matter is slowly broken down into and in the soil to make it live and give it air and help it drain .
  8. lawnlubber

    lawnlubber LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    On the organic forum we all recognise the fertility we get by using compost. Next door in the fert guys forum it's all about lbs. of nitrogen per K. The State is trying to regulate the application of the Chemicals those guys use, so the regulations are designed to be understood in that idiom. It is difficult to apply much nitrogen to a lawn using compost (at least what the fertilizing experts say is needed annually) I believe that is why compost is considered a soil amendment and not fertilizer by my state. Any insights on this anyone?

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