Soil is a powerhouse on a global scale, and soil organic carbon plays a key role in by improving nutrient uptake while reducing irrigation needs and turf diseases. The products you choose for your lawn and turf care will directly impact both soil fertility and plant health.
Soil Organic Matter and the Role of LCO’s
Managing soil carbon is arguably one of the most important responsibilities of a Lawn Care Operator (LCO). And while soil organic matter is made up of mostly carbon, decades of applying synthetic fertilizers has reduced the amount of organic matter in our soils. As a result, it’s harder for LCO’s to supply plants with the nutrients they need and ultimately meet consumer demand.
Organic matter is the sum of all plants and animals – alive, dead, or decomposing – that collectively form a source of carbon-based compounds. The nutrients supplied by this matter are made available to plants by billions of microbes, which provide your plants the “food” they need to grow and thrive.
While there are natural causes for the decline of soil carbon – like rainfall and temperature – it is also the byproduct of unhealthy practices, such as removing clippings and years of applying synthetic fertilizers. There are steps that every LCO can take to build soil carbon and promote healthy, fertile soil in the long-term. Additionally, by sequestering carbon in the soil, we reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere contributing to Climate Change.
LCO’s can help mitigate the negative environmental impact of traditional lawn care by following these best practices:
- Decrease your reliance on synthetic fertilizers by replacing or enhancing synthetic nutrients with organic matter. https://www.techterraenvironmental.com/products/categories/fertilizers/ on a side note, please remove ICT Tree from website as I will no longer be selling that product.
- Start using pesticides with a lower environmental impact, like this product line
- Watch out for excess concentrations of nitrogen (find the right balance – too much can be as harmful as too little)
- Invest in soil tests for nutrients and pH.
Keep in mind that these tips and techniques are not just about intensity, they’re also about timing. Any adverse action taken against your plants or soil during growing season, which generally continues into early October, will directly affect the fruits of your labor.
Additionally, some products you put into the ground won’t be as effective if they aren’t timed correctly. A liquid fish hydrolysate, for example, needs to be applied shortly after being diluted in water to avoid fermentation, so always read the product label beforehand!
Taking a More Ecological Approach
When you take care of your soil, your soil will ultimately take better care of your plants and our environment. Simply put, if you want to produce healthy soil which grows healthier plants you ultimately increase your profit margins and increase client satisfaction, tailor your approach around carbon gain rather than carbon loss.
When LCO’s start relying on organic matter over synthetic fertilizers, it’s a win for both their business and the environment. Tech Terra Environmental provides a wide range of natural products at manufacturer prices for the tree and lawn care industry to improve soil and plant health – ask us how we can help your business flourish today.
And remember, everything is connected to everything else!