5 Myths that are Making California Water Restrictions Even Worse

Posted by Ryan Moore on Aug 25, 2015 4:57:00 PM

how_hot_things_can_getAs the drought continues in California, many landscapers are abandoning industry best practices in an effort to comply with Governor Brown's mandatory water restrictions. But water restrictions don't have to be a death sentence for turf!

Implementing the right combination of cultural and smart watering practices can result in turf and soil that is healthy year-round, even during the hot summer months.

In this article, we'll take a quick look at 5 common myths and the practices that address the concerns behind the myth. If you want a more thorough and comprehensive explanation of smart watering practices, be sure to visit the Drought Solutions section of our site.

Myth #1: Water restrictions mean my grass will die.

If you are utilizing fundamentally sound water management practices, your turf can thrive on as little as 2 days of watering per week. Using controller settings like cycle and soak can get the same impact as watering more often without creating runoff from long run times.

Myth #2: If my turf is green, then I'm not saving water.

Using products like Turface, humic acids, wetting agents and soil surfactants will help keep your turf green while reducing water usage by up to 30%!

Myth #3: I can’t fertilize because it won’t get watered in and I will burn my turf.

Using high quality organic fertilizer will direct most nutrient activity to the roots and crowns, avoiding the “burn” you get with water soluble nitrogen.

Improving your soil will help the turf stay healthy enough to survive these drought conditions. The time you put in today will save you time in repairs and replacement later.

Myth #4: I should just scalp my turf through summer.

While scalping may seem like an easier solution, it actually puts more stress on the turf. Mowing heights should be RAISED through summer, creating a deeper and more extensive root system, allowing plants to withstand summer stress. Plus that taller grass will allow soil temperatures to remain cooler at the soil surface.

Myth #5: Less water means the soil will dry and water will runoff.

If you focus on your soil’s health by using organic vs synthetic products your turf will become more porous, actually retaining water in the subsurface. So rather than just running off, the water is reserved by the soil and released as needed.

 

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California Governor Brown Mandates Statewide Water Restrictions

Posted by Ryan Moore on Apr 1, 2015 3:41:35 PM

california_governor_brown_issues_mandatory_water_restrictionsFollowing the lowest snowpack ever recorded and with no end to the drought in sight, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced actions that will save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state's drought response, and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient.

A full copy of his executive order can be found here.

For the first time in state history, the Governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California in an effort to reduce water usage by 25%.

Actions provided in the executive order that directly affect the green industry include:
 - Replacing 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping.
 - Significant cuts in water use on campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes.
 - Prohibitions on irrigating with potable water in new homes and developments unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used,
 - Bans on the watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.

Increased Enforcement Against Water Waste

The Governor's executive order also calls on local water agencies to adjust their rate structures and utilize surcharges, fees, and penalties to maximize water conservation. Urban water suppliers are required to provide monthly information on water usage, conversation, and enforcement to the Water Board.

 

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What to Say When Your Customer Wants to Remove Their Turf

Posted by Christina Burton on Feb 10, 2015 2:46:00 PM

man_removing_turfWith drought becoming a common topic in the news, water restrictions becoming more commonplace, and cash for grass programs paying property owners to pull up their lawns, it's important to be prepared when customers ask you to remove their turf.

If your company specializes in maintenance services, make no mistake that turf removal is a huge threat to your company's longevity. While the short-term money from turf removal jobs will pay your bills now, what will happen to your business a few years from now when there are fewer lawns to mow and fertilize? How will you stay in business when the customers that needed you on-site once a week only have you come out once a month or once a quarter?

As an EPA WaterSense Distribution Partner, Horizon Distributors is devoted to keeping you at the forefront of the water conservation movement. We recognize that water is a scarce resource and there is no doubt that water and fertility requirements will drive significant change in the way you're able to maintain your customers' landscapes in years to come. But these changes can be viewed as either an obstacle or an opportunity.

Within the next 5 years, it's estimated that basic chemical manufacturers will spend nearly $3 billion acquiring companies that focus on smart water and soil health solutions. New technologies are making it possible to maintain landscapes with less water and fewer fertilizer inputs – The big question is whether you are prepared to adapt to these changing industry conditions.

Horizon has developed a number of resources to help you take advantage of smart water and smart soil technologies. In this article, we're going to focus on how to talk to your customer about their concerns and the environmental benefits of having turf.

 

What Does Your Customer Really Want?

The first step in properly addressing your customer's concern is to find the real reason why they want the turf pulled. It's one thing if they aren't enjoying or actively using their lawn and want to do something else with their yard. But more often than not, when a customer asks you about turf removal, they are doing so because of environmental concerns.

Maybe they saw a story on the news or had a chat with a misinformed neighbor and now they are concerned that their lawn is "bad for the environment." When you take the time to dig a bit deeper, you'll probably find that they really just want to do their part in reducing water consumption, but they may also be concerned about other environmental issues like fertilizer runoff.

Whatever their true concern is, you can either fight it or work with it. For example, if your customer genuinely wants to reduce their environmental impact and avoid runoff and you've been using synthetic fertilizer on the property for years, it's a good time to switch them over to a program that actively builds healthy soil. The true cost of a program that takes advantage of slow release fertilizer is usually less expensive when you consider the cost of labor, gas, and additional maintenance.

And while it is your responsibility to help your customers comply with local water restrictions, it's important to note that turf removal alone won't make a dent in water consumption when you look at usage from a broader perspective. According to the USDA, agriculture accounts for approximately 80% of our nation's consumptive water use and over 90% in many western states. To compare, landscape irrigation is only about half (roughly 3.5%) of Domestic & Commercial use, which accounts for about 7% of consumptive water use.

ws_infographics_outdoorNaturally, it's our responsibility as water managers to do our part in conserving water. The EPA reports that as much as 50% of landscape water use goes to waste due to evaporation, wind, and overwatering. Waste associated with irrigation systems can in most cases be attributed to poor design, inadequate maintenance, or improper use. With proper education and successfully integrating water saving technologies, we can help the customer keep their lawn and save a significant amount of water.

 

6 Environmental Benefits of Turf

There is a growing perception that turf is bad for the environment, but in reality the benefits of turf far outweigh the negatives. As green industry professionals, it's our responsibility to share the benefits of turf with our customers and to build programs that deliver those benefits.

#1 Turf Helps Reduce the Greenhouse Effect

Like all plants, turfgrasses capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and use it to create energy via photosynthesis. According to the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at The Ohio State University, an average sized healthy lawn can capture as much as 300 lbs of carbon per year and a golf course fairway can capture 1,500 lbs of carbon per year.

Critics of turf often point out that emissions from mowers and other maintenance equipment minimize this benefit, but it has been shown that properly managed turf areas can capture anywhere from 4 to 7 times the carbon emitted from equipment.

#2 Turf Creates Oxygen

Even elementary school children know that plants release oxygen during photosynthesis, but the question is how much?  A 50' x 50' turf area can be expected to produce enough oxygen to meet the annual needs of a family of 4 and an acre of grass can produce enough oxygen for 64 people.

#3 Turf Combats the "Heat Island" Effect

Because of the materials used in the construction of roads and buildings, urban areas usually have notably higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas, which is known as the "heat island" effect. The EPA notes that "heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality."

Turf can help minimize the heat island because it is much cooler than other common surfaces. A study from BYU found turf temperatures to be 20 degrees cooler than bare soils and 40 degrees cooler than synthetic turf.

hot_spots_graphic

#4 Turf Traps Dust

Hundreds of millions of tons of dust circles the earth annually and dust particles have been associated with premature mortality and negative health effects. It's estimated that lawns in the U.S. alone are able to trap an estimated 12 million tons, which keeps our air cleaner and fresher.

#5 Turf Minimizes Soil Erosion

Turf can play an important role in soil erosion, a pressing environmental problem that costs between $6 and $16 billion a year. Nearly 6 billion tons of soil is washed or blown away each year. Because of its dense root system, turf is an ideal and cost-effective way to absorb water and stabilize soil.

#6 Turf Protects the Local Water Supply

Critics of turf are often justifiably concerned about pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers entering the local water supply, but leaching can be minimized through effective management practices that build healthy turf and soil.

In fact, healthy turf can actually protect the local water supply because it's able to purify water as it moves through the root zone, which is a reason why turf is often installed next to roads and parking lots. Soil microbes in the root zone can help break down chemicals coming off hardscapes into harmless materials.

 

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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Drought Solutions

Building a Better Soil Structure with Turface

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Nov 25, 2014 2:16:00 PM

Are you aerating your turf then filling the holes with sand? Then you're missing an opportunity to greatly improve the water holding capacity of your soil.

In part 18 of our Drought Solutions video series, you'll see why many green industry professionals are moving from sand to Turface, a calcined clay product that allows you to hold more water in the root zone.

Video Transcript

So how do we get from a collapse of soil plates that are all stacked and stuck on each other and we can't get any water and nutrients into it? How do we get from here to a soil now that has microbes in it, that has some enzymes, has some beneficials, has some organics in there?

What's our one way, especially in turf, that we can incorporate into that profile without digging out all that turf, tilling the soil, putting all of our stuff in and putting turf down? How would we go about doing that?

Hopefully we do it at least once a year. Aerate. You're absolutely right. So we're going to aerate. After we aerate, what do we do for the existing holes that are left there?

Traditionally everybody filled them with sand. Sand's cheap. Put sand in those holes. You see putting greens? They sand em. Fairways. They sand em. Sports turf, now landscape turf is not sanding anymore.

How Turface Works

turface_particles

They're putting in a product called Turface. That's a calcined clay product and we're going to talk about it because the reason we use it is because it holds moisture.

Sand has no nutrient value. This has no nutrient value. Sand has zero water holding capacity. How much water does the beach hold? None. The beach won't hold water. Sand has no water holding capacity.

This is a calcined clay. They bake it. That's what makes it into a ceramic. It's a real durable product that doesn't break down. This is the beauty of it. 74% of it is porous. It'll absorb 90% of its weight in water and release it slowly back to the soil profile.

That's why I like this product a lot. Cause now it's gonna take all that nutrient, it's gonna take all that water, and it's gonna hold it in the root zone. Now we got massive amounts of roots, we've got water held in the root zone, our soil is working for us. Our drought tolerance on that turf really grows.

So where they want to take out turf on your properties, you say wait a minute. Let's start working the soil, let's start working your irrigation system, let's save you water by having better, healthier soil. So not only is it going to hold water, but it's gonna help get that water into the soil profile. So everything we talked about, about getting water to the turf surface, getting water to the turf surface.

Now we're doing it at the right rates. Now we can get it to where it needs to go. It needs to be able to get into the soil. Now your water moisture distribution is better and it will improve your drainage because now your soil has the ability to let some water go.

It looks sort of like this. You've got your soil particle, you've got air, you've got water in there. Your Turface is totally part of that soil profile now. You almost build that ideal crummy soil because the product is getting in there and it's holding the nutrients. It's holding all of the airspace. It's increasing the porosity of that soil. All things that we need to have.

An Example of Turface at Work

bermudagrass_amended_with_turface

Here's an example. Here's bermudagrass on native soil, no amendment. All planted the same time. All cared for the same time. Here it is on 50% sand on native soil. Here's your root structure. Here it is with 20% Turface added to that soil. Holding the nutrients in the soil profile. Look at how much deeper you can water. How much deeper it's pulling those roots down in.

 

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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Drought Solutions

What are Mycorrhizal Fungi and How Do They Benefit Your Plants?

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Oct 20, 2014 2:06:00 PM

Having trouble getting a good result with your turf, plants, or flowers? An underdeveloped or damaged root system may be the cause.

In part 17 of our Drought Solutions video series, we’ll look at a common misconception that most people have about roots, how mycorrhizal fungi forms a symbiotic relationship with plants, and 7 reasons to use Mycorrhizae on the properties you manage.

Video Transcript

How do the nutrients and microbes get into the plant?

This is a microscopic view of a root. Most people think the root is the piece of the plant that soaks up the water. The root is actually just the anchoring device. That's the device that holds that plant in the ground, whether its turf or whether it's a tree. The root is the anchor.

The root hair - something that we can't see - if these hairs are damaged and/or the soil around on them is so bound up with salts that the microbes and the nutrient load can't get into these root hairs, the soil's not doing anything for you.

You can plant and plants and plant on that soil and you won't get any results out of it because your nutrients can't get into the plant. Your nutrients are bound up in the soil particle and there's no way for them to get in.

So we are trying to always build bigger, better root systems. Bigger, better root systems whether it's in our flower beds, whether it's in our turf plots, whether it's in our trees. The bigger, better roots you get, the more drought resistant that plant's gonna be. No matter what plant it is.

What are Mycorrhizal Fungi?

What_are_Mycorrhizal_Fungi.

So, how can we do that? Has anybody ever heard of mycorrhizal? Mycorrhizal fungi.

What it is it's a naturally occurring beneficial fungi that forms a symbiotic relationship with the plants. So what this mycorrhizae does is once you get it into your soil profile, it gets on all of these root hairs and it expands that root hair. And not only does it expand that root hair, but now it grows because it feeds on the roots. It pulls starches and sugars from the plant so that the mycorrhizae can stay alive. That fungi can stay alive. So it starts building in the soil profile and it makes these roots stronger, better, healthier.

It comes in a couple different forms. Here's a $26 packet of a water soluble. So you could syringe that or it comes in a granular. You can syringe that into your soul profile. If you want flowers to just blow up out of the planter bed and look crazy and produce like crazy, that's a great product to start with.

7 Benefits of Mycorrhizae

Mycorhizzae-benefits-2

So what it does: here's a plant without mycorrhizae and here's a plant with it. Planted exactly the same time. One of the soil plots had mycorrhizae, the other one didn't. Obviously this one did.  It puffs up those roots. It gives us this what they call mycorrhizal hyphae and I'll look at that in the next slide.

You improve the plant establishment and growth. Obviously, the better the root structure, the stronger, the healthier, the more the plants gonna grow.

Increases your nutrient and water uptake. It's gonna take that water that would normally leach past it. It's going to soak it up and now it's gonna store it in its own roots. So it gives that plant more drought tolerance.

Improved disease resistance because now we got a real healthy root structure.

Assists in weed suppression. This is where in your turf plot, if you've got all of this mycorrhizae and you've got all these roots forming this big mass underneath your turf plot. And a weed comes in and it tries to get dominance, the turf's already got dominance over it. That weed's not going to survive.

Improves your soil structure because now those roots are going down and they're getting into that soil profile and they're creating pore space.

You get more blossoms, more fruit, and more top growth. And the top growth here is not like you're gonna get spikes in turf growth like you do when you put a straight synthetic fertilizer on and you get that huge spike where the guys are mowing hay for a couple weeks.

You get a real nice even top growth. So you're not going to get spikes in growth. Cause spikes in the turf growth are very, very detrimental to your turf. It's a huge stress on the turf.

So what the mycorrhizae does is it forms this cotton ball like mass underneath these roots and around these roots. So here's your roots that are your structure, that are holding this plant in place and then all of this what they call mycorrhizal hyphae is those roots expanding out. They form like this cotton ball mass around these roots and their feeding from the roots but they're also taking and gathering nutrients up for that plant.

 

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The Role of Microbes in Soil Fertility

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Oct 2, 2014 4:35:00 PM

Microbes help build turf that can withstand weeds and drought conditions. In Part 16 of our Drought Solutions video series, we'll cover 6 microbial benefits and how those benefits directly contribute to both soil and plant health.

Video Transcript

Microbial benefits in that soil profile. They stimulate existing soil microbes. Once you're established, you improve that bio-energy foundation.

That just means that now the inputs that we're putting into the soil are working for us at all times and the more organics that you're going through, the more energy, the more food sources that are there, the better it is for that soil to stay alive. It becomes stronger.

Microbes


Your nutrient and water efficiencies, your holding capacity of that soil is much better. You reduce your disease and stress problems. Cause what's the first thing that comes in when you have a stressed area of turf?

Weeds. With healthy turf, you combat the weeds. So now you don't have any weeds. No weeds, a lot less stress on the plant, and your disease problem goes away.

Most diseases that you have in your turf plots were introduced by a foreign like a weed, something else. The turf varities that we have today are pretty disease-resistant. Back in the old days, you'd have real problems with disease. Today we've bred most of those out of our turf. So if there's a disease or a stress problem in there, it's usually brought in by a weed.

Improve your soil aggregation. Along with that, now you get a bio-diversity in your soil. So soil aggregation, you got your clay soil over here that's pretty bound up. You got my soil over here in Phoenix that's just this granite gravelly looking stuff. We like to have that soil sorta right in the middle and we call that a crummy soil. It's good, but it's crummy.

And a crummy soil is that soil that when you go and you grab a handful of it - if you go to a farm, if you go to a guy's agriculture field, the farmers they work their soil cause they understand this completely. The yield on their crop is directly based on how well their soil is prepared. And you go grab that soil and it's real nice, it falls apart in your hand. It's got some structure. It's got a little bit of moisture in it, but it falls apart. That's a real good soil.

With that soil aeration and aggregation, you get really, really enhanced rooting. And that's what we're all about, we need to get that root mass down into that soil profile. The bigger the root system in your soil profile, the better water holding capacity you have, the more drought resistant that plant is going to become.

 

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Why is the Nitrogen Cycle Important in Your Soil?

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Sep 26, 2014 3:35:48 PM

If you're using synthetic fertilizers on your customers' turf, you're slowly killing the beneficial bacteria that build the soil. In part 15 of our Drought Solution video series, you'll learn how the nutrient and nitrogen cycles work and how they directly contribute to soil and plant health.

Video Transcript

Does everybody know what nutrient cycling in the soil is? Has anybody ever heard of the nitrogen cycle?

Almost exactly the same concept. You'll hear it as nutrient cycling or nitrogen cycle and here's how it works.

Nitrogen_Cycle_Graphic

You have plant material up top. You have us as humans and the atmosphere up here putting inputs into the soil.

But let's start right here at the natural level. Plant material, organic matter, mulching mowing, and all of those plants that you put back into the soil.

What happens is these little jellybean looking characters here, that are all around here in the soil, in a healthy soil. These are the beneficial bacteria, the fungi, the mycorrhizae. All of these little decomposers that take this organic material and they convert it.

As they're feeding on that organic, all these little guys use that as their food source, their energy source. As they feed on that, what do we produce?

Ammonium nitrate in a non-synthetic form. This is how Mother Nature keeps the forest green.

We're producing it naturally as we continue to build that soil. If we decide that we're going to put a synthetic in here, what it does is it starts killing all these guys. Cause these guys don't react to salt at all. These guys do not like salt. So we start killing them off and then this whole cycle is disrupted and you get a collapse of soil.

If we add in organic inputs here, now we're making these guys stronger. And the stronger they get, the more they multiply. The better they're working for us in our soil profile, the more ammonium nitrates they're making. The more nutrients we have in our soil, the better our plants look.

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The Long-Term Benefits of Organic Fertilizers

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Sep 23, 2014 4:57:00 PM

In Part 14 of our Drought Solutions video series, you’ll learn how organic fertilizers are able to boost the microbial activity and bio-reserves in your soil's profile.

Video Transcript

When you're talking about an organic, we're totally talking about nutrient management, keeping your microbial activity alive, and then having the carbon or bio-reserves in that soil so that those microbes can regenerate and regenerate and keep going.

We've got a study going on in Phoenix right now on bermudagrass, where for the past 6 years, we've done organic inputs. It got mowed with a mulching mower. So we're mulching that back in and it got organic inputs for a full 6 years and then just standard irrigation.

In the past 2 years, the only thing they stopped was the organic inputs. For 2 years now, that turf plot has been mowed, mulched, mulch mowed and irrigated and that turf plot still looks phenomenal.

I gave it 6 months. Ah yeah, 6 months you'll need more nutrients. What's going on now is that the microbial activity is taking that mulch mowing and starting that whole regeneration process. So what happens with organics vs. synthetics is as time goes on, your soil gets better and better and it starts working for you so now you have to have less inputs and less inputs.

The Key Benefits of Organic Fertilizer

Organic_Nutrional_Values

Organic benefits. Obviously, it provides energy for the microbial buildup. We've talked about that. It increases the organic content to enhance the soil structure, water and nutrient retention.

As the soil gets better, it holds more water and nutrients. As that soil profile holds more water and nutrients, it's not just running off across the curb cause we can't get any water in it. It's not just straight leaching all the way through.

It's holding that water. Now the soil is acting as your reservoir and you've got a much, much longer cycle in between your irrigations and less water. You saved it. Less nutrient input, saving money.

That water holding, that reservoir. Healthy plants use less water. Healthy soils hold more water for those plants.

5 Ways Carbon Based Products Improve Soil Health

Natural_Products

Carbon based products. As you get that carbon and that organic in the soil profile working, it doesn't want to leach out. It won't leach out because the soil is now working for you and it stays there.
 
Adds energy. Rich diet to tired soils. So as you're putting carbon based products in there, now those collapsed soils are getting a little reserve to come back. They're getting stronger.

Builds up that microbe. Stabilizes the root zone. We'll talk about why that happens here in a minute. It improves the nutrient and water retention in that soil and promotes rooting and lateral growth.

Now that we have air space. Now that we have water space. Now that we have pour space built into that soil, now your roots can go deeper. Deep infrequent watering, healthier plants, better root structure. And we're going to talk about how to build some root structure.

 

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The Long-Term Consequences of Synthetic Fertilizers

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Sep 11, 2014 2:02:00 PM

Synthetic fertilizers can successfully deliver some nutrients to your customer's turf, but repeated use may also cause significant damage to the soil. In Part 13 of our Drought Solutions video series, you’ll see how synthetic fertilizers can affect carbon levels, destroy microbial activity, and ultimately lead to a complete soil collapse.

Video Transcript

Water management begins with carbon based natural fertilizers. Does everybody understand that statement? That means it's an organic fertilizer. Carbon based natural fertilizers.

Traditionally, stress is a result of synthetic fertilizers. High stress cause we're adding salts to that soil profile. The more salt we add, the harder it is for the plant to uptake that water because the salts are in the way blocking the nutrients.

You get rooting issues. We'll never get the density of this putting green using synthetics.

The one thing that golf course managers know is that organic fertilizers building their soil give them phenomenal density. Now the reason we'll never get as dense or we'll get the quality of a golf course is because we physically don't have the time to mow every one of our properties every day at 1/32". Density comes with frequent mowing at real tight, tight increments.

How Synthetic Fertilizers Affect the Soil Profile

traditional-synthetic-fertilizer

In a synthetic fertilizer, you're going to get a little bit of nutrient management, but it's very little.

Synthetic fertilizers totally destroy your microbial activity in your soil. The microbes that are doing all of the work in a good soil profile get knocked out by salts. They just are not happy and you end up getting a soil collapse in the end.

And the reason is, is because your carbon levels in that soil profile are reduced. When you have reduced carbon levels, you have reduced bacterial activity because the carbon is what all the microbes feed on. That's their only energy source. And once you don't have any microbial activity and the carbon is gone, you get a complete soil structure collapse.

Soil structure collapse looks like that picture where the soil was all cracked earlier. There's virtually nothing there. It looks like that clay soil that was real muddy and soupy, where you don't have any nutrient flow throughout it. There's no airflow. That's a soil structure collapse.

A lot of the pictures that our water purveyors are showing now. Where that lake was all the way down to nothing and you get all that cracked soil and everything shrinking up. That's a soil collapse. Just because there's no nutrient load in it whatsoever.

 

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Choosing a Fertilizer Based on Soil Test Results

Posted by Bob Franchetto on Aug 28, 2014 5:04:00 PM

Soil tests help you identify which nutrients your customers' soil actually needs to produce healthy turf. In Part 12 of our Drought Solutions video series, you'll learn the reason why many seasonal fertilizer blends won't work for your soil and why you should integrate soil tests into your annual program.

Video Transcript

Who's doing soil tests on a regular basis?

Every single site should be at least soil tested once a year.

Here's why: When you go to the doctor and you've got something wrong or you don't feel good, what's the first thing the doctor says to you?

Where's your blood work? They want blood work. That's your soil test. The doctor is not going to prescribe anything for you until they know what's going on in the inside of you.

How do we prescribe - hey, I'm going to put that fertilizer on - when we don't know what we need? Or we don't know what's going on? A lot of the fertilizers you're putting on don't work because it's either not needed or the soil is bound up enough to where it can't get it.

Without a soil test, we don't know what the soil needs, whether we're using synthetic fertilizers or we're using organic fertilizers. It still doesn't know what it needs. So that's important.

What's the very first thing customers ask you about fertilizer? What do they want?

Color. I want green. I don't care what you give me. I want it to green up.

Well, the right answer is: I don't know how to green up your site. I don't know what the heck's going on on it. Because we haven't done a soil sample. That's the right answer.

But traditionally the answer you get - see that right over there, that's our winter fertilizer. That's the one you should use. That's gonna green it up. That's our summer fertilizer. That's what you should use. That's what's gonna green it up.

That's my job to start training my guys. To get better at it. To say, well wait a minute. What's going on on your site? How do we know what you're supposed to be using? Are you using organics? Are you using synthetics? Start asking the questions to make us get better, and that's what we want to get to.

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Topics: Maintenance, Water Conservation, Fertilizer, Drought Solutions