After 16 years in business, the time has come for “The Turf Doctor” to convert the core of our turfgrass fertilization program to organic based fertilization. The main reasons are as follows:
1. Turfgrass Quality
2. Healthy soils
3. Government Regulation
Turfgrass Quality: We have relied on a core synthetic fertilizers over time because they gave us the desired, predictable results we needed to have consistent, aesthetic turfgrass quality. However, over the years, the synthetic fertilizer amounts had to be increased to get the same results. We only supplemented with organic fertilizers during the summer months because they could safely be applied during hot,dry summer months.
Healthy Soils: Synthetic fertilizers deplete the soil of healthy micro-organisms over time which help convert the fertilizers to useable plant nutrients. Synthetics fertilizers will over time change the ratio of calcium/magnesium in the soil (soil ph). This contributes to the need to apply lime to correct the soil ph. Organics restore the soil balance by providing the beneficial micro-organisms needed over time, reducing the need for nutrients and pesticides needed for quality turfgrass. Healthy soils allow the turfgrass roots to grow longer, which in turn will help reduce irrigation needed to keep turf alive during summer heat.
Government Regulation: Concerns over nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into ground water in some states has led to a ban of/ or severe restriction of phosphorus application in some areas. Many of our states to the north have already enacted legislation to restrict the treatments of lawns for “aesthetic purposes”. Turfgrass benefits to our environment such as cooling, filtering and recreational use, are too important for us not to take a pro-active approach to being good stewards of our environment. I believe by converting the core of our fertilization to organic products, we can reduce the need for stringent legislation in the future.
Economically Feasible: Synthetic fertilizer prices have always been substantially less than organic fertilizer options. However, the cost of fuel is directly related to the manufacturing cost of synthetic fertilizer. Therefore, as fuel prices have climbed over the past few years, so have the prices of synthetic fertilizers! The cost of using organic fertilizer has remained steady and even come down a little as more manufacturers are now supplying organic options. Therefore, now that the synthetics are almost as expensive as the organic options, now is the time to make the switch!
***The plan is to apply organic fertilizer in all 5 rounds of the basic plan in 2012. Converting to this method is a process and the benefits of this method will not be “instant” like synthetics, but will continue to improve the soil and the turf during the course of the applications. Just like there is a cumulative negative effect of applying mostly synthetics, there will be an even bigger positive cumulative effect by continually using organic based fertilizers. As the cumulative effects of restoring the soil balance begin to take place, the turf grasses will require less water and less pesticides to maintain.
Make no mistake, we will continue to control weeds, insects, and turfgrass diseases using safe, EPA registered pest control products as needed. My goal is to provide the customer with the best lawn possible. If there are situations where a synthetic fertilizer is needed for best results, I will not hesitate to use one. My commitment is to rely on organic based fertilizer treatments over the long haul, but not eliminate all use of synthetic fertilizers when they are the best option to correct a large nutrient deficiency.