The Holganix Blog

Which is more important? Roots or green foliage.

 

Which part of the turf are your constituents going to grade you on: the thriving, green foliage above the soil or the length and density of roots below the surface? At the end of the day, your constituents want the greenest turf possible. Very few pay attention to what occurs below the surface. However, roots are important not only for the good of your turf but also for the environment. Learn to use your soil and roots as an asset and make it one of your major considerations when designing your programs. 

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Want to learn more about roots? Check out our new ebook: Turf Grass Roots: Technical Report. 

In this report, we’ll explore different roles roots play and their symbiotic relationship with the plant and soil: 

1. Root hairs - a neglected but important aspect of the root
2. Roots - the food delivery system
3. Sustainability - the part roots play in sustainability in the environment

 

 

Tags: turfgrass, holganix, bionutrition, roots, turf roots, turf, compost tea

Holganix Case Studies: Mother Nature grows these plants; not me!


 

“Mother Nature needs to grow these plants; not me,” says Jeff Betters, superintendent of Walden Oaks Country Club in Cortland, New York. Betters has been using Holganix for two years at Walden, primarily on greens and tees. Essentially, the living microorganisms in Holganix allow Betters to work with Mother Nature, putting the soil ecosystem in balance. Ultimately, this means Betters is able to drastically reduce his synthetic inputs.


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For Betters, his passion for the golf course industry blossomed at age eight. “It all started with a weed whacker and a couple golf lessons… that’s when the golf bug hit me,” says Betters. His original plan was to become a golf pro but he “couldn’t quite keep up” so he pivoted his plan and took to caring for the course instead of playing on it.

After spending several years at golf courses around the nation, Betters found his way back to his hometown, caring for the local golf course. Walden Oaks is an 18-hole semiprivate course comprised of 80% sand base and 20% clay-gravel soils. The course sees 40,000 rounds of golf and 100 tournaments on average each year. “It’s a golf factory!” says Betters.

Members of the course were people Betters grew up with. “They were teachers of mine... coaches and friends. I like that they are playing on turf that’s treated with an organic product.” While traditionally not a huge advocate for organic products, he has quickly grown to appreciate what Holganix can do for his course.

Holganix is a 100% organic, bionutritional product that allows inputs to work more effectively. It also makes nutrients already present in the soil and air available for plant use. Ultimately, this means a reduction in inputs.

“At the end of the day,” says Betters, “I’m a lean and mean facility… nitrogen fertilizer and fuel are huge costs for me.” With Holganix, Betters reports that he’s nearly eliminated his nitrogen use. “It’s because Holganix has allowed the plants to better access nitrogen already present in the soil after years of applications. In the future, adding nitrogen back in our program may be necessary.”

With Holganix, Betters has also been getting more effective use out of fungicides and a decrease in black layer. His pesticide rates have also been reduced. “I’m excited to see how far we can take the Holganix program at Walden Oaks,” says Betters.

As an added benefit, Betters is excited to announce that the native animals are coming back to the course. “I’ve got more bald eagles on this site than ever before,” states Betters. “When golfers see all the nature and animals… I mean this is priceless! I’m creating moments for people.”


 

Tags: golf reviews, golf, golf case studies

The greatest show on earth... or at least for the lawn care industry!

 

The greatest show on earth!

In a few weeks, our entire industry will pack up its bags and jet set to Louisville, Kentucky for GIE+EXPO - or what those of us in the green industry call “the greatest show on earth!” Entering the show is like entering a circus arena. With 750 exhibitors clamoring to get your attention, thousands of turf enthusiasts swarming, and a Merriam-Webster-sized list of parties, concerts and educational events, it’s difficult to know how to navigate the chaos. Here are four simple tricks of the trade to help smooth your GIE+EXPO journey!


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1. Network, network, network!

Perhaps the most crucial element of GIE+EXPO is the opportunity to network with individuals in the industry. Often, it’s difficult for lawn care companies to learn from fellow turf heads. That’s because those located closest to you are your biggest competitors. Because GIE+EXPO is a national event, you have the opportunity to learn from another lawn care company in a completely different market than yours. “Despite all the awesome educational opportunities,” says Holganix CEO Barrett Ersek, “when I was running my lawn care company, the greatest learning opportunity was from networking with others in the industry.”

2. Come with a goal in mind

With any project, it’s important to attend GIE+EXPO with a goal in mind – whether it’s learning about new aeration tools or pesticides. Without a clear goal, it’s difficult not to get distracted by the glitz and glam of the show.

3. Free education

If you’re not growing, you’re dying! Take this opportunity to capitalize on the free educational events where you can pick up new tricks of the trade and credits to boot. This year, two sessions will be in Spanish from the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance. Be sure to check out GIE+EXPO’s free education events here.

4. Action items

By day two, it’s easy to find yourself getting swamped with excess knowledge and good ideas. Before leaving GIE+EXPO, look through your notes and select the three most impactful learnings from the entire event. Then go and put those top priorities into practice at your own company!


Keep in mind...

As always, be sure to come and visit the Holganix booth (Booth #10178) and our Bionutritional Summit on October 22, 2014 (the day before GIE+EXPO). We can’t wait to see you at GIE+EXPO!


 

Tags: lawn care, holganix, turf, landscape, GIE&EXPO, Lawn care trade show, Louisville, GIE

What does sustainability really mean?

We hear a lot about sustainability in our industry today. But what does sustainability actually mean? According to Dictionary.com, “sustainability is defined as the quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.” Well, that definition is all well and good on paper, but what does sustainability really mean? 

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On a September 5 webinar entitled Sustainability and preparing for another winter, Professor Cale A. Bigelow of Purdue University stated that in reality, sustainability includes three major inter-related components otherwise known as the 3 Es:

Environmental protection
Economic prosperity and continuity
Equity or the social well-being

For those in golf or any turf-related field, the government or pressure from the general masses is influencing the way we care for plants and turf.  Fertilizer, pesticide and water regulations are looming in many regions around the country. Even if they aren’t putting pressure on your course or landscape today that doesn’t mean regulations and public pressure won’t come in to play tomorrow.

Consider how you can make your course or landscapes greener. For turf professionals, that could mean introducing native plants in landscapes that consume less water and sometimes require less fertilizers and pesticides; it could also mean introducing organics to turf fertility programs to cut back on synthetic reliance; or utilizing green machinery.

For some of our turf brethren overseas, alternative and/or sustainable practices are the only option. For example, in 1997, the Danish government declared a ban on pesticide use on all public lands. This ban included the country’s 180 golf courses. The Danish Golf Union retaliated but by 2005, the government and union reached an agreement to reduce pesticide use by 75% within 3 years.

While we might not be facing as much pressure as Denmark, public attitudes towards sustainability and government regulations are in vogue. Check out Professor Cale A. Bigelow’s presentation on sustainability and preparing for another winter for the full story. 



Want to hear professor Cale Bigelow speak? Attend his presentation at the 2014 Bionutritional Summit, the day before GIE+EXPO. Click the button below to sign up now!

Tags: organic fertilizer products, lawn care, the science behind holganix, sports turf, organic fertilizer, golf, sustainability, golf sustainability, lawn care sustainability

The Holganix Blog: 7 Reasons to Attend the Bionutritional Summit

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Are you ready to grow your lawn care company? The Bionutritional Summit is just around the corner! Here are our top 7 reasons why you and your team should join the fun. Besides the party of course!

 

1. Inspiring keynote presentation 

Prepare to be wowed by marketing guru and serial entrepreneur, Eric Keiles and his keynote presentation entitled: “My Marketing Doesn’t Work and I Don’t Know Why!!!” Eric will help reshape your marketing strategy and grow your company for spring 2015. Learn more about Eric here

 

2. Network with fellow turf heads and LAWNtrepreneurs

At the Bionutritional Summit, you’ll be surrounded by other like-minded turf enthusiasts. It will be the perfect opportunity to speak with other turf professionals and Holganix users.

 

3. Earn CEU credit

Check out Holganix Representative Mike Reed’s presentation on an IPM Approach Coupled With Biological Stimulant Meta-Catalysts for CEU credit for many states. Learn more about Mike Reed’s presentation here.

 

4. Pick the inventor's brain

Have a few questions you’d like to ask Stephen T. Lange, inventor of the Holganix product? Don’t be afraid to pick Stephen’s brain about all things Holganix and agronomy. Be prepared… he often thinks outside of the box!

 

5. Attend 9 hand-picked presentations

We are rolling out the red carpet and bringing along amazing speakers to help you harvest new, extraordinary ideas to incorporate into your business. Topics include entrepreneurship, marketing, turf technology and more from acclaimed speakers like Professor Cale A. Bigelow of Purdue University, Professor Eileen Weisenbach Keller of Kentucky University, Real Green President Joe Kucik and entrepreneur coach Andy Bailey. Check out all the presentations here.

 

6. Get to know the Holganix team

The Holganix team is packing up their suitcases and flying to Kentucky just to meet you! Mingle over drinks and hors d’oeuvres with the Holganix team.

 

7. Discover what's new

Our industry is growing and innovating like crazy! Discover new tricks of the trade, programs and technology to help keep you in the loop on the hottest things in turf.

 

 

Tags: bionutrition lawn care, lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing

Get instant lawn care customers... well sort of


Just like a machine that produces a car, imagine dumping marketing stuff – post cards, advertising etc, and then suddenly your sales pop out of the machine ready to do business? This machine, called the marketing machine by marketing guru Eric Keiles, does exist. But instead of being a tangible piece of equipment, the marketing machine is  “an integrated marketing program that takes a potential new business inquiry or suspect from Point A and ends with a sale at Point Z.” Along the way, your marketing machine uses various tactics to reach out and communicate with your lead. In this way, there is a constant flow of communication between your company and the lead. That means your prospect remembers your name when their pain or desire for your lawn care service is at its greatest.

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In the marketing machine, you collect contact information from your prospect at Point A. This contact information can be generated from a call fielded to your office, or can include information gathered from home shows or cancels. At Point B, you might send that prospect a post card. A week later, at Point C you might give your prospect a follow-up call. Then at Point D, you might send them an invitation to join a webinar. Your prospect may not sign up for lawn care services until Point K. However, your goal is to constantly reach out to your prospects so that when their pain is at its greatest, your company is the first on their mind. 

Marketers and lawntrepreneurs be warned! The marketing machine doesn’t produce a customer overnight. It’s a process that could take a week or a year.

Think of it this way: Prospect Joe Smith may have been in your marketing machine for a month. He’s been using a competing lawn care company and has been fairly happy with the results. He isn’t interested in switching lawn care companies, until suddenly your competitor dropped the ball. They mixed inputs incorrectly, burned the lawn or just had one dandelion too many. Regardless, Joe Smith is ready to make the switch. Since you’ve added Joe to your marketing machine you have had a constant flow of communication with Joe. To steal a line from Ghostbusters, “Who are they gonna call?” Well, who do you think? You of course!  

Ready to build your marketing machine? Marketing guru and author of Reality Marketing Revolution has been announced as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Bionutritional Summit in Louisville, Kentucky on October 22 (the day before GIE+EXPO). Click the button below to register for the event.

Tags: organic fertilizer products, lawn care, bionutrition, marketing, marketing hints and tips, marketing lawn care, organic fertilizer, turf, inbound marketing lawn care, bionutritional summit, eric keiles

Is your lawn care company good? Or is it great?

Marketing Hints and Tips

Is your lawn care company good? Or is it great?

lawn care

Business guru Jim Collins identifies several key principles in order to take a good company and transform it into a great one. One key principle is what Collins calls the “First Who… Then What.” Collins observed that Fortune 500 companies making the transformation from good to great took the time to find the right people (employees) and put them in the right positions before taking action.  Great companies decided first whom to put on the team before vision and strategy.

Take this lesson to heart when looking at the team around you. Do you have the right people in the right places?If you could, would you hire them again? Do the people around you embody your company’s culture? If you hesitated to answer a definite “yes” to these questions, then it’s possible that you have the wrong people in the wrong places. However, great companies don’t rely upon layoffs to improve their performance. Many companies try to shuffle people around in different positions in order to find one that fits a specific employee. One great company had a rule that if an employee didn’t fit a position, they would reshuffle him/her three times before letting him/her go. 

Collins also identified three rules for being “rigorous in people decisions:”

1. “When in doubt, don’t hire -- keep looking.” Don’t settle for a B player; instead hold out until that A person comes along.

2. Take action when you need to make a “people change.” If an individual isn’t making the fit don’t wait around to take action, you are wasting both your time and the employee’s.

3. “Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.” Placing them on the front lines will only help you grow your company.

Look over your team and make sure you have the right people in the right places. For example, would one of your telemarketers make a better door-to-door salesman? Having the best team around you will allow you to grow your company exponentially and reach your potential. If you would like to learn more about Jim Collins and the other elements to turn your good company into a great one, pick up a copy of his book here

 

Tags: organic fertilizer products, lawn care, holganix, bionutrition, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, lawn care company, organic fertilizer, turf, compost tea, jim collins, landscape company, grow your lawn care company

The Science Behind Holganix: Is your soil healthy?

The Science Behind Holganix

Is Your Soil Healthy? 

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Time and time again, this blog has addressed the need and importance for soil health. After all, you can’t have a beautiful turf without healthy soil. Soil is responsible for numerous functions that create a healthy turf. For example, according to Cornell University, soil retains and cycles nutrients, helps with pest and weed suppression and produces food and fiber for plants. If your soil isn’t healthy, more and more synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides are needed to counteract the negative effects of poor soil quality. But how do you know if your lawns have healthy soil?

Soil testing is always a good idea, especially for lawns that you repeatedly have problems with (usually signals poor soil quality). Soil testing typically comprises a measurement of the present nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur and calcium as well as a pH measurement. A good soil test will also feature a soil composition report to tell you where, in the range of sandy to clay, your customer’s soil stands in its composition. Knowing what nutrients are in the soil, its acidity and even its composition can greatly help you identify problems and solutions that will assist you in selling needed services to your customers. For example, the customer may have a heavy clay soil. Showing your customer this fact will help you promote aeration and over seeding to an otherwise stubborn client. Or perhaps the report indicated the pH level is high or low. Point this out to your client and recommend a program to adjust the pH (lime or sulfur).

If soil testing isn’t your thing, examining the soil and plants for yourself could also help shed some light on soil conditions. According to Cornell University’s Soil Health Manual, there are ten characters of healthy soil. Below is a break down of several key characteristics into easily understood chunks.

1. Sufficient depth: In other words, how deep can your plant roots grow and function? The deeper they can delve into, the better.

2. Nutrients: Are your plants receiving enough nutrients? Are they receiving too much? If your plants aren’t receiving enough nutrients, growth is hampered; however, if they receive too much, leaching can occur. Leaf coloration, pH, and moisture content can signal nutrient deficiency. It would be a good idea to become familiar with these signals.

Small population of plant pathogens and insect pests: Having a large population of nasty plant pathogens and insects spells trouble for your plants. However, having no pathogens means throwing the soil off balance. At Holganix, we believe an ideal ratio of good to bad microbes is 4:1. It’s important to learn the signs of plant disease and insect damage.

4. Large populations of beneficial organisms: Soil microbes are extremely important. “Healthy soil will have a high and diverse population of beneficial organisms” (Cornell University, Soil Health Manual). Beneficial microbes will produce high organic matter and good soil structure. Learn more about soil microbes here

If you want to learn more about these characteristics, explore this link for Cornell’s Soil Health Manual.


Tags: organic fertilizer products, soil, soil health, holganix, bionutrition, organic fertilizer, compost tea, fertilizer, plant health, soil testing, plants, soil test

Holganix Case Studies: "I am NOT an organic guy..."

Holganix Case Studies

"I am NOT an organic guy..."

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“Holganix is the way of the future!” says Bobby Goerlich, superintendent of Maple Hill Golf Club, located in Marathon, New York. “The benefits are far reaching. We’ve just got to get Holganix into the hands of more people, more superintendents.”

organic turfNeither Goerlich, nor any of his predecessors, had used organic products on the course before Holganix. Goerlich had researched Holganix products for two years before agreeing to listen to the pitch. “I’m not an organic guy,” says Goerlich, “I’m a what works guy.” With his greens looking better than ever, root growth through the roof, a lack of surge growth and 90% less fungicides, it’s clear to Goerlich that Holganix is exactly what works on the course.

Goerlich’s first love is the game of golf. He was a golf pro for several years before studying advertising, marketing and eventually receiving a masters in foreign language. After working internationally at a string of exciting firms, life took a turn for the worst and extenuating circumstance had Goerlich looking for a quieter life and career. He went back to his roots in the golf industry, landing a position at Maple Hill Golf Club as their superintendent.

Maple Hill is a beautifully maintained championship golf course designed by Wes White.  The course is nestled among 125 acres of rolling countryside, featuring predominately creeping bent grass and poa annua. Goerlich has been pleased with the increase in root health on both turf types while using Holganix.

 “The thickness, whiteness and health is what sets these root systems apart,” says Goerlich of his turf roots compared to previous seasons, when Goerlich utilized only synthetic products. He pulls root profiles regularly and reports seeing 8- to 10-inch roots on bent grass, with thickness increasing 6 times than previously imagined. In addition, “the poa roots have roughly doubled in depth with the use of Holganix.” Root systems have also broken through the thatch layer. Goerlich attributes his 25-30% reduction in thatch and a 50% reduced black layer to the active microorganisms within Holganix products, which are “eating up” both layers.

The ability to reduce nitrogen and fungicides is particularly exciting to Goerlich. “I hate nitrogen,” complains Goerlich. “Because when you use nitrogen you get surge growth and that looks like sh*t.” Despite using less nitrogen, turf color has been consistent and “my green have been freakin’ phenomenal.” Furthermore, “those of us in New York have to be careful of what we put down on our course,” says Goerlich. “I have the Susquehanna, New York City Water and Chesapeake Bay Commission nearby. We need to be careful that our synthetic inputs don’t wind up in our waterways.”

Goerlich still believes nitrogen and also phosphorous to be key to turf health but “a little bit of nitrogen is cool. You don’t need a boat load.” Holganix has allowed him to go back to using teaspoons as opposed to “boat loads” of nitrogen. He tests his soils regularly and applies nitrogen and other inputs including fungicides on an as-needed basis.  “I’ve probably used fungicide twice this year and never on my tees. We are close to a 90% reduction.”

“At the end of the day, what matters most is that the greens are the best they’ve ever been,” states Goerlich who reports even his owner has noticed a difference. “The results speak for themselves.”

Tags: holganix, bionutrition, organic fertilizer, turf, golf, organic turf, golf course management, organic golf course products

The Holganix Blog: Real men grow flowers

The Holganix Blog:

Real Men Grow Flowers! 

holganix bloomWith annuals, you want the most pop and life in a much shorter time span. This is one reason why annuals, just like turf and ornamentals, thrive using a probiotic approach with organic flower products. Improving the overall plant physiology allows the plant to use water and food more efficiently and root more effectively, giving you colorful, full and vivacious flowers.

Bloom is a 100% organic, bionutritional product that promotes strong plant health and vigor. Plants growing in Holganix amdended soils are better able to resist infection and attack by pathogens and insects, and if affected by pathogens and insects, these robust vigorous plants are better able to recover from disease and insect attack. That means Bloom can help you overcome hurdles such as watering, anchoring into native soil and disease. 

 

Tags: holganix, bionutrition, flowers, holganix bloom, organic flower product, flower fertilizer, gardening, garden tips, garden prodcuts