Recently in the Richmond area, there has been an introduction of another “Organic Lawn Care Company” offering an organic solution to reduce fertilizer and pesticide usage. This approach has been around for years, but don’t think for a minute these companies are out shoveling fertilizer out of hog houses in Smithfield or chicken houses on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and applying these “organic fertilizers” to your lawn, they are using the same fertilizers and pesticides to provide services traditional lawn care companies utilize.
What does organic really mean?
According to the definition of “Organic” by Merriam- Webster, the true definition of organic means:
- Related to, or arising from a bodily organism
- Related to, or derived from living organisms
- Containing carbon compounds
What’s the difference between regular and organic Fertilizer and Pesticides?
All fertilizer and pesticides, whether naturally derived or manufactured, contains “Carbon” as a base molecule. Most products today are derived from synthetic manufacturing practices because it is cheaper and easier to produce large quantities. This doesn’t mean they aren’t organic (containing Carbon), they just weren’t derived from living organisms. Urea (CH4N2O), a popular fertilizer in the lawn care industry, is made from reacting Carbon Dioxide (CO2) with Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3) at high pressure, and water is removed during the process to create dry fertilizer prills. The end product is a 46-0-0, which one 50-pound bag will supply an acre with a half-pound of N, plenty of fertilizer for fescue lawns in Richmond for a couple of months.
Organic fertilizers and pesticides have the same ingredients as the other lawn treatment products.
A popular “Organic” fertilizer product in the industry today is called Holganix, which actually contains Urea Formaldehyde as one of the ingredients, manufactured by Koch Fertilizer, in Wichita, KS. So while the website goes into great lengths to promote it being 100% organic plant probiotic, one of the ingredients is manufactured and delivered by railcar. It is the formulation of urea and formaldehyde to create a slow release, non-burning source of N. According to the MSDS sheet on the company website, the ingredients are derived from urea, ammonia, anhydrous and other non-hazardous components. This certainly doesn’t sound like the 100% organic plant probiotic advertisement on the front page of the website.
Do your homework before choosing which lawn care company is best for you.
When deciding to use a lawn care company, look around your neighborhood and see which company is providing great service and quality work at an affordable price. Remember, unless you are hand pulling weeds or using a shovel to dig them up, a herbicide is going to have to be utilized for weed control. Also, a professional lawn care provider is going to have licensed applicators who are trained to apply the right products, to the correct square footage at the best time for results.
Want to know what’s being used in the products that treat your lawn, or have questions about the affects of certain lawn care products? Feel free to call your local Virginia Green Lawn Care (Charlottesville 434-975-0100, Williamsburg 757-258-1788, Richmond 804-285-6200) or contact us online, with any lawn care questions you may have.