Tricks To reduce fertilizer usage?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by ChemicalKing, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I got the agree strongly with Tremor about Organics use. Bridge products having both synthetic and organic nutrient work the best on almost all soils. I will not in any way discount the use of Humates, Humic acid, or fulvic acid. But I will try and stress the need for SOM (soil organic material). SOM both increase field capacity and drainage. In sandy soils it increases CEC. In all most all soils it increases microbes both beneficial and non beneficial.

    In Microbiology We say "Everything is everywhere, but the environment selects" Adding microbes to soil doesn't increase populations very long. Only if the environment is correct will microbe population increase. SOM helps the soil provide the right environment for increased microbe populations.

    In todays rising prices we need to look at the history of our science. Organic agriculture and horticulture has worked to some degree since man first farmed. We as applicators need to use the best of these methods. But Organic people must also realize this is the 21th century and synthetics add greatly to the organic.
  2. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    I agree with you completely, it is about less inputs.
    With the local and national lawn care folks that we work with there is ONE bottom line. Is the customer happy and paying the bill, this typically means a great stand of turf with little to no weeds.

    Most lawn care companies keep their weed and feed in the spring and put an astrict on the last application in the fall to adjust for whatever may be going on at the site. In between we can reduce expensive inputs using practices to increase SOM and overall health of the site.

    Compost is a great amendment that is sustainable (typically from a waste stream) and will increase SOM and the diversity of the beneficial microorganisms. The only drawback to compost applications is the application part, there is no way around it it is an absolute pain and time consuming, almost too time consuming. Vermicomost is also a kick butt amendment, you can apply less than compost and get great results, but it is expensive, if you can find it. Humate can be used, same deal as vermicompost

    If you can find ways to increase soil fertility the NPK inputs can be reduced by 50 to 75%. HOW we increase soil fertility, in a way that is cost effective, is the question?

    I certainly don't have all of the answers but I have a few good to great ideas

    So do these guys

    One thing to remember reading the above, Ag is referred to mostly and is an open system for inputs, lawns are closed systems and are dealt with much the same but with some big differences. We can't amend soil down six inches unless it is a total refurb job. Ag does it every year sometimes more
  3. ChemicalKing

    ChemicalKing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    Thanks ICT Bill for the info! I have read & reviewed the data from previously, as well as spoke to Ag Horizons, Earthgreen & many others that are involved with the more desirable humate products derived from the Menefee (fresh water diatoms) formation in New Mexico.

    Any opinions regarding an actual reduction in N-P-K with same response via decreased leachate?

    Know anybody who has field trialed it or better yet implemented it into a succesful fertility program?

    See my previous posts with university of arkansas data...
  4. ChemicalKing

    ChemicalKing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

  5. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    ChemicalKing, You have to be careful with humates like anything else it is not a panecea. If you use to much it starts tieing nutrients up, really the reverse of what you are trying to get done.
    It is used in the northeast right before the turf goes dormant to tie up N and reduce the incidence of snowmold, it works.

    It is not one of those things that if a little bit is good than a lot should be better. Golf course supers years ago got on this bandwagon of humates but over the years it didn't really work very well anymore and then it starts doing the opposite of what you want, so start out slow.

    You should see great results and less fertilizer inputs, if you have not used it before, I prefer compost because it is sustainable and cheaper and it brings a local population of diverse microorganisms with it

    Ric, We use certain strains of endo and ecto mycorrhizae in our product that work great with turf, if you waited on mothernature it would take 20 years to get the fungal populations we can supply in a year. We try for 70% colonization in 2 years with our stuff, if you can get to the magic 70% mark you will have a kickbutt stand of turf and drought tolerance and disease resistance too die for.
  6. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    I peddle myco. The research shows, however, that the growth curve of typical plants without myco will have caught up to those plants WITH myco after 7 years. So it's a great product with lawns/plants only a few years old... but after that it loses its efficacy.

    Stuff definitely works, though. The lawns I've inoculated are near bullet proof.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,454

    It is actually easy and free to add extra nitrogen--just plant clover. Or any other legume like black medic.

    However...those pesky white blossoms are a problem. Also, we need to find a method or product to kill other weeds and not the clover. (or medic).
  8. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    I'm not trying to start something, but there's no way on earth we're gonna get paid by people to kill all the weeds but the clover! Sure, a few might go for it, but not most. Not around here, at any rate. They pay us to kill weeds - not preserve a few to cut our own costs...
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I am like a Missouri Mule, You got to Show Me. A university study or three would work. I have seen too many Mom and Pop home remedies that claim to be the next sliced bread. I am not anti Organic, I just need real science and not the Green Tree Hugger BS.
  10. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,153


    This is where they say:

    "The Universities don't want to try doing this type of research because they have the fertilizer companies in their back pocket."

    I have heard this too many times! Maybe I am wrong this time...but we will see. If it hasn't been proven by a University or INDEPENDENT study, I don't really ever want to look at it!

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