Plant Physiologist/Organic Chemistry Expert
Says: The Quickest Way to Green Up Your Yard is…
What I've got for you to start this week's email tip, is a sort of an abridged statement from Dr. Roger Funk with the Davey Institute who was the recent speaker at the Organic Houston Business Alliance (OHBA). I'm not quoting directly, rather I'm reducing what he said technically in a way that the average person will hopefully and fully understand -- Grass will green up faster with a synthetic fertilizer where there's Methylene Urea present. I mentioned a couple of Dr. Funk's comments on this past weekend's radio shows, but this is the one that really made me realize how spot-on the GardenLine Fertilization Schedule has been all these years.
Dr. Funk is way more qualified than I in doling out such advice, mainly because he has PhD in Plant Physiology, and understands the chemical reactions (the organic chemistry, if you will) taking place with the plant, the soil and the usage of synthetics and/or organics. But it's also my job to take such information and pass it along to my audience. Again, he pretty much said that, as long as you have decent soil (Yes, that means lots of organic matter over time) the quickest way grass will green itself up, is to use whatever Methylene Urea is present first.
So, you're probably asking "When is Randy going to tell us a name of a Methylene Urea-rich fertilizer?" You're going to have to wait just a bit longer, as I further bury the lead of this email tip, mainly because I want to share a couple of other points from Dr. Funk's lecture. For starters, you need to understand that this lecture was to a group of people in OHBA that tend towards "organic" methods in their landscaping and fertilizing practices. So, needless to say, I'm sure there were a couple of "manic" organics that didn't exactly like what Dr. Funk was saying. But after he explained it from an organic chemistry perspective and how it works in unison with plant physiology, I don't think anyone tried to argue against the point. In fact, there were a lot of "Ah-Ha" moments in that audience.
Bottom Line: If you're soil is good, through organic horticultural practices like adding compost and aerating and using organic fertilizers over time, grass blades would much rather soak up a hit of Methylene Urea to green up. That doesn't mean to use Methlyene Urea-only fertilizers. ( I don't even know if that's truly available) That doesn't mean, it's the only thing that will work. It doesn't mean you should stop using organic fertilizers, because in fact you should use both organic and synthetic together. It was mostly a statistical fact, based in plant physiology. And it really backs up my advice after all these years, when I've said confidently that there's still a need to have a connection between the best of both worlds in organic and synthetic practices.
I could also see he was pretty passionate about the "organics vs. synthetics" argument as well, noting that militant organic providers should stop telling people that synthetics are poisoning the soil or depleting the soil of nutrients. He noted in his research that this has mostly been a fallacy perpetuated by the die-hard organic folks. Yes, he agrees, that if too much synthetic fertilizer is present it can build up excessive salt contents. And yes, there is an inherent problem with that. But simply using synthetic fertilizers on an organically-rich soil will do nothing but green up the grass or feed the roots of trees and shrubs.
Almost every single fertilizer I recommend on my schedule has Sulfur Coated Urea as the top ingredient, and as such they all do a great job of greening up grasses along the Gulf Coast. And while I'm confident that all the fertilizers on my schedule do a superior job when you start with decent soil, there's only one that has a significant amount of Methlyene Urea. It's Nitro Phos Super Turf 19-4-10. But remember too, I'm a big fan of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Which means, if you're happy with the results of any of the fertilizers on my schedule, don't change up your practices just because of this week's email tip.
Of course, I've always followed my own advice over the years, but I also try different products from time to time. However, this April's Nitro Phos Super Turf application really did showcase what Dr. Funk was alluding to. I've built my soil profile for 5 years, and I've used several organic fertilizers and Nature's Way Resources Two-Year-Old Leaf Mold Compost in conjunction with my Super Turf over those 5 years as well. I've aerated several times, and while I too still get brownpatch flare-ups in the fall, you would not believe how deeply, green my grass showed within one week of my Nitro Phos Super Turf application just two weeks ago. I've always known Nitro Phos Super Turf was good, but I still couldn't believe how quickly and deeply the grass greened-up. The pictures you are seeing were shot Wednesday morning, the day after the April 7th cold snap. The simplest answer to this boon in my yard goes directly back to Dr. Funk's assessment.
Does this mean you should always mix synthetic with organic. No! As a matter of fact, mixing synthetic fungicides on an "organically" aimed lawn is a horrible idea. But Dr. Funk further confirmed what I've known and espoused for years on my radio show – its okay to blend "organic" and synthetic practices for fertilization processes… and this holds true too for tree feeding (which is another reason my deep root techniques work so well) and even flower beds and vegetable gardens. But, again, it all assumes you have decent soil. And thankfully, the way we get there are better "organic" practices like aeration, compost top-dressings (or compost as additional fertilizers) and all other organic fertilizers.
If you haven't done your April fertilization, per my schedule, I've got a great opportunity again this weekend to get your hands one of the ultimate lawn foods for your lawn, not only the one Dr. Funk would approve of, but the one that tops my own fertilization schedule – Nitro Phos Super Turf 19-4-10. They are selling it at a significant discount this weekend at both locations of Plants For All Seasons. It's only $24.88 per bag. (It has been retailing from 30-35 in most locations this year) Plus, I'm making an appearance at the Klein-area location of PFAS, and that's at 6610 Louetta (Between Stuebner Airline & Kuykendahl)
We will be there from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 11th. You know we are bringing tons of freebies to give away. We will also try to do a classroom-type setting again, much like we lucked into two weekends ago at Enchanted Forest. This way, everyone can hear everyone else's questions, and of course the really good questions often times earn a coveted LemmonHead T-shirt. I think you should also know that this is the last batch of LemmonHead T's to earn for a while. We are going to have to find another sponsor to help us print up a bunch more, in order to get these awesome Ts on more people's backs.
Plus, the folks from the Nitro Phos warehouse will be out there too to help answer questions, and of course bring many other freebies to give away. Tom Pearce, owner of Pearcescapes, the landscape and irrigation company that you've heard me brag about will also be there to answer landscape design questions (Bring a plat or drawing!).
Once again, bring a printed version of this email tip, and see if that doesn't earn you more than one of our freebies we love to give away at such events. So, we'll see you out at Plants For All Seasons at 6610 Louetta Saturday morning at 11 a.m.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
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