By Lou Newman, Regional Manager

Everything’s going organic, right? You can find organic produce, organic meat, and organic grains. You can find organically grown cotton shirts and organic tobacco products. I was in Chapel Hill, NC about six months ago and went by a furniture store that had a sign advertising, “We Have Organic Mattresses!” So what’s so great about organic?

Well, let’s face it. With all the hype, nothing can live up to the message. Organic can’t solve all the worlds’ problems. Studies repeatedly show that organic does not mean more nutritious. But even if the message has gotten out of hand, that doesn’t mean there aren’t real and valuable reasons to introduce organic fertility principles to your customers. But let’s be factual about what those are.

In strict chemical terminology, organic means any compound that contains carbon. But for legal and practical use, organic products are those utilizing inputs primarily derived from naturally occurring sources. So, while ground limestone has no carbon, it qualifies as an organic input because limestone occurs naturally and the only process it goes through is mechanical grinding.

The benefits of using naturally occurring fertility sources are:

  • Nutrient release characteristics
  • Making a resource of by-products
  • Beneficial soil life
  • Safe handling
  • Supplying a wide range of elements

The slow release nature of organics limits burn potential and prolongs the effectiveness of the fertilizer. It also eliminates the feast or famine cycle that characterizes many conventional fertilizers that can ultimately lead to plant stress and the possibility of susceptibility to disease. Nature Safe products feed in a consistent, programmable fashion for 10 to 12 weeks, with a low salt index that reduces burn potential to insignificance.

The use of by-products as a resource rather than a discarded liability is just good all-American business. Why throw away useful material when it can be re-used, recycled or converted to beneficial enterprise? It’s a double edged benefit; less waste created as well as more usable products. These days, professional turf and landscaping are under ever increasing scrutiny about the misuse of resources, overuse of chemicals and likely incidence of runoff and contamination. Using an organic immediately converts this potential black eye into a bragging point. It promotes stewardship, a valuable selling and marketing tool. Nature Safe utilizes animal protein by-products to make high analysis organic fertilizers that provide pronounced plant response.

How much of what we learn about soils relegates it to an inert medium of root anchoring and chemical exchange? Soils are a living, breathing ecosystem and to ignore the valuable contributions of soil-borne microorganisms, flora and fauna to plant health is unwise and costly. Soil characteristics of air space, tilth, structure, water holding capacity and buffering ability are all part of the plant growth equation. Plant nutrition and health, while having a chemical component, are BIO-CHEMICAL processes. To ignore the BIO part is to make the job more difficult and less effective. Nature Safe provides extremely digestible nutrition for soil life and enhances the ability of plants to take up, and soils to release, their stored fertilizer value.

Worker and consumer safety are important considerations for any manager. Regulations, insurance rates, compliance procedures and container disposal all must be taken into account for golf courses, sports fields, home lawns and other public grounds. Using naturally derived products can greatly reduce the impact of these considerations on management practices and bottom line results. Most Nature Safe products are OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) listed, are not considered hazardous material nor do they require special handling.

While organic materials generally contain a broad spectrum of micronutrients, they are usually not listed on labels due to the low percentage at which they are present. Nonetheless, they supply needed components for plant health. The result is plants that make efficient use of all biological processes. The results are even, steady growth with deep color and high stress resistance. Nature Safe is derived from animal protein, and thus contains a wide spectrum of chemical elements. These proteins are attached to amino acid chains, making them chelated and more easily available to plants. A steady use of Nature Safe will produce plants that are deep in color, high in dry weight and recover well from stress.

Going organic is currently considered “trendy” and “new,” but it is actually the oldest and original method of agronomy. It’s time to put these millennia of accrued plant and soil knowledge to use. It enhances the environment, the soil’s health and the growth of your customers’ plants.