The Holganix Blog

Holganix Case Studies: "Our close ratio doubled to 50+%"

“I first started pulling a hose when I was 17 years old,” says David Underwood, Holganix representative to the Mid-East. “My dad was in the growing industry, so plants were a part of my life since childhood.”

When we first found David, he was the marketing and advertising director of Secure Turf – one of Holganix’s first customers (actually the second!). “I was open to alternative methods to lawn fertilization and I liked trying new things. I was the perfect candidate to be an early Holganix adopter.”

holganix reviewDavid was excited to try Holganix. He saw Holganix as a creative way to differentiate Secure Turf from the competition. “I knew I could sell this stuff. I knew that it could differentiate us and take us to the next level.” But David ran into a couple problems early on in his Holganix experience.

“We started Holganix… but we didn’t follow the instructions and as a result, the product didn’t perform up to par. We learned our lesson.” Once David put the program back into shape, he started seeing results. “One of the first things we noticed was consistent health and coloration of the turf. When we used traditional methods, we were yo-yoing or bouncing from one extreme of color to the next. That didn’t happen with Holganix. Using Holganix is like running a marathon, not a sprint.” By the end of the year, David was seeing a 25% increase in rooting and had reduced inputs across the board.

“However, one of our biggest successes with Holganix was utilizing the Holganix model to grow our business. We incorporated the Holganix marketing plan and differentiated our business by utilizing the product,” explains David. “Overall, our close ratio doubled to 50+%. When people called the office we could create a transaction right then rather than the usual can you email me some information. “

Five years later, we are happy to say David has become an invaluable part of the Holganix team. “I saw the bigger picture in the green industry and I knew that the next step in my life was to give back to my industry through working with Holganix. The cool thing is that my experience at Secure Turf allows me to put myself in the customers’ shoes and to help them leverage Holganix and best business practices to grow their lawn care companies. It’s sounds cheesy, but my goal is to make my customers reach their potential.”

Bionutritional Summit

Tags: reviews, lawn care, marketing hints and tips, case studies

5 Reasons Why Your Lawn Care Company Should Attend The Bionutritional Summit

We are excited to announce that the 4th Annual Bionutritional Summit is being held October 21, 2015 (the day before GIE+EXPO) in Louisville, Kentucky. Here are the top 5 reasons why YOUR lawn care company should attend this years’ Summit.Bionutritional Summit

1. Gather inspiring ideas

We are rolling out the red carpet and bringing along amazing speakers to help you harvest new, extraordinary ideas to incorporate into your business. Check out the speaker list and biographies here.


2. Network with fellow lawntrepreneurs

A wise man learns from his experiences but a super wise man learns from the experiences of others. One of the key reasons to attend the Bionutritional Summit is to network with like-minded lawntrepreneurs who are similarly eager to grow their lawn care businesses and try new marketing techniques. Swap stories and bounce ideas off other successful lawn care companies to prepare for spring marketing season.


3. Learn to master social media and inbound marketing in the lawn care and landscaping world

Attend Shaun Kanary’s presentation on inbound marketing and social media for the lawn care and landscaping world. Shaun is the CMO of Weed Pro Ohio and a Professor of Marketing at Baldwin Wallace University. Over the past few years he has been harnessing the power of social media and inbound marketing to reel in leads and sales at Weed Pro.


4. Take a 360 degree view of the possible future of lawn care

Join Purdue Professor, Dr. Cale Bigelow’s presentation on Doing More With Less. Rule number one? Keeping the customer happy while still providing high quality, dense turf and being responsible with our resources.


5. Get to know the Holganix Tribe

The Holganix Tribe is packing up their suitcases and heading to Kentucky just to meet you! Mingle over drinks and hors d’oeuvres with the team. Be sure to bring a challenging question or two for Holganix’s crazy scientist and inventor, Stephen T. Lange. Then attend his presentation on plant probiotics for turf and soil health!

Bionutritional Summit

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care marketing, lawn care company, lawn care sales, bionutritional summit, lawn care business, biosummit

Is your soil really healthy?

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.

Soil Science

Tags: soil foodweb, soil, the science behind holganix, bionutrition, Soil heath, soil test, soil biology

Top 5 things successful entrepreneurs do every day


They know their “WHY”

Why is your business… in business? As entrepreneurs, it’s important to understand our “WHY– that thing that drives us, and our company to succeed above the others? Serial entrepreneur and speaker, Rick Sapio calls your “WHY” a catalyzing statement. It’s a meme that is willfully created to connect to your stakeholders so they help you achieve the desired outcome. Your “WHY” is your company’s driving force. In order to increase your chances for success in lawn care, identify a painfully compelling “WHY”. To learn more about catalyzing statements watch Rick Sapio’s video here.


They know how to say no!

As entrepreneurs we are often hard-wired to chase shiny opportunities to grow our business and bring in a little extra revenue. Sometimes, those opportunities aren’t aligned with our core business and as a result we lose focus on what matters most. Want an example? During Holganix CEO, Barrett Ersek’s first lawn care company, he said yes to Mrs. Smith (and many others) when she asked to have her leaves raked, or her plants installed. What’s the problem with that? He was in the lawn care business not the leaf raking business. By focusing his efforts on raking leaves, Barrett was deducting time away from getting fertilization customers – his company’s bread and butter and it’s future. Don’t be afraid to say no.  


They know their Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or Differentiator

Okay, you run a lawn care company… so what? There are lots of guys out there that run lawn care companies. What makes your company different from the rest? Entrepreneur Magazine defines a USP as “The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.” Do you know your USP or differentiator? At Mow Cow Lawn and Landscape in Northern Virginia, one of their clear differentiators is how much fun they have. How do they show their fun-ness? Their trucks are wrapped in cows and their phones mooo when you call. Don’t believe me? Give Mow Cow a call and hear for yourself. How can you possibly ignore this company? Do you know YOUR differentiator?


They take care of their customers – and their employees!

The customer may always be right, but don’t forget your employees! Without an amazing team surrounding you, you don’t have much of a chance for success. Be sure to “put the right people on your bus” as Jim Collins likes to say. Once you create your award-winning team, hang onto your employees and start growing! Click here to learn about building teams (start by watching Jim Collins' video, "First who than what".


They know where to find their tribe!

Because you’re a lawntrepreneur, you may sometimes feel you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. The road to entrepreneurship can be a lonely one. But, that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Consider joining an industry organization like PLANET or a local entrepreneurship organization to build or find a tribe (Here’s a list of lawn care association options and here are some of the top entrepreneur organizations). After all, wise men learn from their experiences but super wise men learn from the experiences of others. Not only will you have the opportunity to meet other like-minded entrepreneurs, you’ll be able to share experiences with one another, ultimately shortening your entrepreneurial learning curve.


Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips, lawn care company, jim collins, usp, catalyzing statements, entrepreurship, lawn and landscape, unique selling proposition, rick sapio, top 5 things entrepreneurs do

Marketing Hints and Tips: Aeration business in a box

Are you in the midst of planning for your aeration marketing campaigns? Or, are you providing aeration services but don’t know how to market it? No worries, we’ve got your back! Aeration and overseeding is not only fantastic for plant and soil health, but for your wallet too. Take advantage of our Aeration Business In A Box – free digital tool kit containing all sorts of marketing goodies to help you reel in aeration and overseeding customers. 


1. Video Content

Your box contains video content that you can post on your website and share on social media. The video discusses the benefits of including aeration applications in your lawn care program and is a great telegraphic tool to educate customers on the benefits of aeration for the health of their lawn.


2. Mailers

Your box contains mailers including: postcards, letter/prepay text. The post cards and letter are designed to target your current customers and sell them aeration. The prepay text can be added to any prepay invoice for an aeration program. 


3. Education and marketing strategy

Your box contains educational materials on the science behind Holganix and how it helps amp up the benefits of aeration. It also contains a recorded version of our webinar on Growing your business through aeration applications by Holganix head of Marketing, Nicole Wise to help you market aeration services.


Once you’ve explored the marketing content, jump on a fall marketing plan webinar with Holganix Communication Specialist – Suzanne Longacre to put your marketing campaigns into action. 


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

How great leaders inspire action

How do you explain how people achieve things that surpass expectations? Why do certain leaders or organizations inspire action when there are others more qualified to succeed? Why did Martin Luther King Jr. lead the civil rights movement when there were other, more powerful orators that also suffered civil injustice? Why was it that the Wright Brothers mastered flight when there were other teams that were both better funded and more talented? Why does Apple continue to create and develop innovation after innovation?


A few years back, leadership and business guru, Simon Sinek, made a discovery that according to Sinek, “profoundly changed my view on how I thought the world works.” It turns out that Sinek discovered a pattern. Legendary leaders and organizations think, act and communicate differently than the rest. Sinek believes that the pattern boils down to three key components: Why, How, and What.

“This little idea explains why some organizations and leaders are able to inspire while others aren’t,” says Sinek. Every person and organization knows what they do and some know how they do it. But, few know why they do what they do. “We say what we do, we say how we do it, but do we say why we do it?” asks Sinek.

Inspiring leaders and organizations act and communicate from their “Why” not their “What” or their “How.”  And, if you talk about what you believe, you will attract those that believe what you believe.

At the end of the day, says Sinek, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it…. If you don’t know why you do what you do, then how will you ever get anyone to buy, vote, be loyal or be a part of what you do?”

Watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on leadership below for additional information on the power of “WHY?”

Grow your lawn care company

Tags: lawn care, lawn care company, turf, leaders, leadership, simon sinek

Not all granular fertilizers are created equal?

Screen_Shot_2015-08-18_at_11.29.36_PMPlants have four basic food groups, which consist of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) nutrients, and also trace minerals like iron, boron, copper and zinc. Just like in human health, it’s essential that the plant receives its food in the right balance. That’s where biosolid-based granular fertilizer steps in. Biosolids are full of tasty nutrients like NPK, trace minerals and an extra heap of organic matter, which breaks down into food sources for soil microorganisms. However, just like with human health, your plant needs to take its probiotics. That’s where probiotic, bionutritional granular fertilizer products step in. Just like biosolids, bionutritional products contain NPK, trace minerals and organic matter. However, unlike biosolids, bionutritional products are full of living microorganisms and other “vitamins” to boost the plant’s “immune system”.

Living microorganisms are essential to plant life, and many soils do not contain sufficient levels to support healthy plants. Biosolid-based fertilizers contain nutrients, but no living microorganisms. Therefore, they rely solely on soil’s existing biology levels to help plants uptake nutrients and fortify the plant’s natural defenses against disease and insects. Conversely, HolganixI Granular, a probiotic, bionutritional product created by infusing Holganix liquid onto various types of granules, containing substantial amounts of living microorganisms, as well as the nutrients plants crave. The diverse, abundant biology in HolganixI Granular works symbiotically to deliver essential nutrients to plants so efficiently that inputs such as NPK and pesticides can be reduced up to 50%.


Turf roots

Tags: organic fertilizer products, soil health, granular fertilizer, organic fertilizer, phosphorous, Soil heath, nitrogen, soil food web, organic granular fertilizer, soil biology, soil microorganism, potassium, probiotic, biosolid fertilizer

3 things every lawn care start up needs to know!

Are you just starting up a lawn care company? Or are you a landscaping company looking to add fertilization to your program? Here are three things you need to know to start off successfully.


1. Integrating lawn care fertilization into your business means increased recurring revenue and higher gross margins. In general, you can expect between a 40 – 60% gross margin in lawn care, depending on how new you are to the industry (think start up costs) and the product dollars you choose to spend. That's a healthy chunk of gross margin that you can reinvest year after year to continuously grow your company. Keep in mind that gross margin doesn’t mean profit margin and therefore, may not include indirect costs (like your rent). However, even more importantly, lawn care means recurring revenue. When you sell a customer, you can expect on average a 5-year revenue life span from them (since they may move, switch to a competitor, etc). So, while lawn care may be a smaller ticket item than design and build, you can expect about 5 years of recurring business from fertilization customers. Those smaller checks will build up fast.


2. When it comes to marketing, keep the wheels moving! If you send out a single post card, don’t expect heaps of new customers. Prospects should be “touched” or receive a piece of communication (direct mail, email blast, social media, etc.) every 4 to 5 weeks for a total of at least 5 “touches”. This way, your prospect will remember your name when their need for lawn care is at its greatest point. So, don’t get dismayed when after your first mailing, the phone isn’t ringing off the hook. Keep at it, and you’ll get phone calls throughout the marketing season. To keep marketing dollars reigned in and effective, focus your marketing dollars on three key neighborhoods (golden streets) you would like to “own” or have tons of customers living in. As you gather more and more customers in a single neighborhood, word of mouth will take over and help garner even more customers. Also, keep in mind that this will reduce your windshield time where you are driving to and from a clients’ home, ultimately increasing margins.

3. To keep customers happy, increase referrals and maintain your stream of recurring revenue, be committed to providing good service. While this may seem like a shoe in, it’s important to use decent products (if not great ones!) and to practice the appropriate application methods. Take pride in your work and your customers will notice! For applying liquid fertilizer, be sure to utilize the double coverage method. See here for an instructional video on applying liquid fertilizers.   

Grow your lawn care company

Tags: lawn care, lawn care marketing, lawn care company, lawn care business, lawn care start up

Boosting soil and plant health at Broken Sound Country Club

“Over the past 10 years, the only thing I’ve changed in my agronomic program is the addition of Holganix,” says Shannon Easter, Director of Golf Maintenance of Broken Sound Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida. “I use it religiously.” Overall, Holganix has enabled Easter to reduce his inputs, increase turf and root health and speed recovery time on the course, ultimately boosting sustainability.

Broken Sound Country Club isn’t new to the world of sustainability. In fact, the exclusive, award winning country club was “the second golf facility in the US and the 14th in the world to be GEO certified - the sustainability assurance of the international non-profit Golf Environment Organization.” Broken Sound has also received Audubon Sanctuary Certification for both of their golf courses and established the first industrial composting project in Florida. In addition, Broken Sound has been recognized for recycling 95% of its solid waste.

Needless to say, at Broken Sound, the golf maintenance team takes sustainability seriously. “Once a year, we have a seminar with the members, notifying them of what’s going on at the courses and how we are reducing our carbon footprint. They know all about Holganix.”

For Easter, Holganix didn’t just make sense from a sustainability standpoint but also agronomically. “When looking at the chemistry of the soil on both courses, Holganix just made sense.”  

Broken Sound consists of two unique courses: The Old Course and The Club Course. The Old Course is the older of the two and contains sandy soils while The Club Course is newer and has denser soils. Because nutrients leach faster in sandy soils, “we make more frequent, lighter Holganix applications on our older course and apply Holganix heavier but less frequently on the newer course.” As a result, consistency and uniformity of turf health has improved on both courses.


Reducing Synthetic Inputs

“We’ve also noticed a substantial reduction in the presence of disease pressure and have decreased our fungicide use by 30%. That’s less than I’ve EVER used in the past.” Furthermore, he has reduced his use of nitrogen fertilizers by 20%.


Broken Sound on Root Health

Turf health isn’t the only benefit Easter has seen with Holganix. There have been huge improvement in root length, mass and density. In fact, Easter won the 2014 Holganix “Roots For You” Award for the longest turf roots in America. “But the roots aren’t just longer,” says Easter. “We’ve seen a 50% increase in mass and density. Roots are longer and more dense than I’ve ever seen at Broken Sound.” Because of his healthy roots, Easter has been able to reduce irrigation by 12-13%. “That’s substantial savings for a course like ours,” states Easter.


Soil Analyses: CEC and Organic Matter Results

When Easter received his soil analysis results this year, he was excited by data showing increases in CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity) and decreases in organic matter. Overall, since using Holganix on his new course, he’s seen a 17% increase in CEC on fairways and a 27% increase on greens. On his older course (features sandy soils), CEC increased on fairways and tees by 9%. Interestingly enough, when Easter treated his greens without Holganix on the older course he saw a 5% decrease in CEC.

Cation Exchange Capacity is the ability of the soil to maintain and release nutrients to the plant. It’s the plant’s pantry. The larger the CEC, the more nutrients the pantry can hold and release to the plant. It’s a crucial measurement to plant health. The two main components of CEC are humus (the decomposed result of organic matter) and clay content.

So, why did CEC increase so drastically on the newer course as compared to the old? That’s because it’s often harder to boost CEC in sandy soils, where nutrients easily leach and organic matter is limited. For sandy soils, increases in organic matter can be beneficial (leads to humus), however for courses with denser soil, decreases in organic matter can be a huge benefit. Why? When organic matter degrades and is broken down by organisms, the end result is humus. Humus is a key ingredient in CEC, therefore, increase in humus often means an increase in CEC.

That’s why, when Easter received test results showing a decrease in organic matter on The Club Course he was intrigued. Ultimately, organic matter dropped on fairways by 6.5%, 29.9% on greens and 29.2% on paspalum tees.  The decrease in organic matter on the new course demonstrates that the living microorganisms in Holganix are hard at work, breaking down the organic matter, turning it into food sources for the plant and boosting CEC!


The Club Course

Dates: 9/20/14 – 9/20/15

Soil Type: Denser soils, formerly a strawberry farm, newer of the two courses



Old Course Soil Analysis

Dates: 9/20/14 – 9/20/15

Soil Type: Sand based soils

Renovations at Broken Sound



Perhaps one of Easter’s favorite success stories with Holganix was in 2014, when Broken Sound underwent a renovation on their older course. “Normally, after a renovation superintendents can expect to be mowing turf again in about six weeks. We were mowing turf in four!” Because of their amazing results, “we had superintendents from a dozen different states and three different countries examining the course. It was just that great.”



Easter doesn’t just use Holganix on greens and tees, “we use it wall to wall throughout the entire property and even on ornamentals.” Fairways experienced an improvement in rooting and divots filled in faster. “Recovery has been unbelievable.” Easter has also seen “way less disease pressure on his ornamentals.”

“I think the future of golf should include Holganix,” says Easter. Input restrictions are already happening for homeowners and lawn care companies, “It’s just a matter of time before they restrict golf too.”  When it comes to reducing inputs and keeping nutrients out of waterways, “Holganix should be part of everyone’s program”

Soil Science

Tags: florida golf course, sustainable golf course, cation exchange capacity, broken sound country club, shannon easter, root health, synthetic inputs

How can Holganix help with aeration?

During aeration, small plugs of soil are removed from the turf to loosen hard, compacted soils and increase oxygen exchange. It also improves water absorption and stimulates a deeper root system. The holes created in the soil from aeration allow fertilizers and soil amendments to enter the soil quickly and easily. In addition, thatch is reduced and microbial activity is accelerated!

The biological activity associated with aeration is further enhanced with the addition of Holganix, promoting increased breakdown of thatch and compaction, as well as building a healthier soil environment for the plant. Holganix increases thatch and compaction breakdown in two key ways: by promoting root development and by providing a boost of biology that ultimately breaks down organic matter.

  1. Promoting root development

Endo and ecto mycorrhizae and Trichoderma promote root development, which allows the plant to dig deeper into the soil and mine for nutrients and moisture. This not only aids in plant health but also increases the pore spaces within the soil, leading to a decrease in soil compaction. For more on endo and ecto mycorrhizae, click here.

  1. Biology breaks down organic matter

Biology present in Holganix goes to work, breaking down compacted soils and the plugs left behind during aeration. The biology then excretes nutrients in forms useable by the plant. For example, nitrogen fixing bacteria and phosphorus fixing bacteria present within Holganix eat organic matter’s nitrates and phosphates (which aren’t in a form useable by the plant) and excreting them as nitrites and phosphites (the plant useable form of these components).  Other ingredients within Holganix that excrete nutrients include but are not limited to, nematodes and protozoa.

Watch Dr. Bob's video for additional information on aeration.



Tags: lawn care, holganix, the science behind holganix, root development, aeration, organic matter