The Holganix Blog

Top 5 Plant and Soil Science TED Talks

soil TED TALK

At Holganix, we are self-appointed soil geeks. Learning about new trends, research and theories that are happening in the field makes us tick. We bet it gets you excited too!

Here are our top 5 favorite plant and soil science TED Talks. Warning! Some of these are crazy, unique ideas that will make Holganix almost seem ordinary! If you know a good TED Talk we are missing, post it in the comments of this blog. We’d LOVE to check it out!

If you are reading this on an email, video function will not operate. Click on the link to watch each TED Talk. 

 

Humus – The Essential Ingredient

Humus is what is left after soil microorganisms have decomposed organic matter. It holds nutrients and moisture and provides a great structure for planting in. Humus is essential for food production and is being gradually depleted. Learn more in Graeme Sait’s TED Talk.

 

Healthy Soil, Healthy World 

If you pick up a handful of soil, you will be holding more microorganisms in your hand than the entire number of people who have ever lived on earth. Think about that for a moment. Can you imagine the quantity of living things in your grasp? Soil is FULL of life. In this TED Talk you’ll have the opportunity to explore the soil from a microorganisms’ point of view.

 

Putting Carbon Back Where It Belongs

 

Good news! Plants can quite literally change the face of the earth. By growing more plants, we can capture more carbon dioxide, water, production, biodiversity and profit? In fact, a 1% change in soil organic matter across just one quarter of the world’s land area could sequester 300 billion tons of physical C02. Check out Tony Lovell’s TED Talk here.

 

Stop Treating Our Soil Like Dirt!

Healthy soil is not dirt! Healthy soils are critical for keeping water clean producing food and buffering the effects of extreme weather. Soil plays a fundamental role in our lives in three key ways… Watch Karen Wynne’s TED Talk here.

 

Soil – From Dirt To Lifetime 

Did you know there are more living organisms beneath the soil then there are above it? Soil scientists can’t even come to an agreement about how many microbes are actually in the soil. Check out Fred Kirshenmann’s TED Talk here.

soil food web

Tags: lawn care, sports turf, golf course, marketing hints and tips, agriculture

It's SOIL! Not dirt. The key to maintaining a balanced soil ecosystem

soil food web

Maintaining a balanced soil ecosystem is key to nurturing healthy plants. Microorganisms go to work breaking down nutrients, organic matter and carrying out functions for the plant. Carbon acts as an energy or food source for soil microorganisms. 

When adding microbes to the soil you are taking a probiotic route to plant health, boosting the soil food web with key players (microbes) to tackle plant challenges. But, when adding carbon to the soil, you are taking a prebiotic route to plant health, serving the soil food web by providing food sources for microbes present within the soil. By tackling both probiotic and prebiotic approaches, you are solving both ends of the plant health care equation.

By having the optimal ratio of carbon to nitrogen (20 Carbon:1 Nitrogen), you are promoting active soil biology by providing food sources, reactivating and/or sustaining the naturally occurring biological cycles (Think Nitrogen Cycle), increasing your cation exchange capacity (the ability of the soil to store nutrients) and are controlling the process of decomposing soil organic matter.

Carbon, in the correct ratio, controls the rate of decomposition of soil organic matter, which is critical to building healthy soils. When soil organic matter decomposes quickly, carbon is volatized as CO2 and leaves the soil. However, when it decomposes slowly, carbon is released back into the soil to a stable form, allowing microbes and plants to continuously reuse the food source.

The end result of the decomposition of organic matter is humus. Humus is impervious to further decomposition. It acts like a sponge, holding in moisture and nutrients (think Cation Exchange Capacity), bringing structural integrity back to the soil. Humus and microbes act as soil buffers, protecting plant roots from pathogens and parasites.

One of the reasons why we selected Healthy Grow to manufacture our granular fertilizer is because the egg-laying poultry manure carries a high source of carbon (20:1). 

Learn how Healthy Grow Infused with Holganix is manufactured here.

When comparing composted organic granular fertilizers to pasteurized sludges and natural organic meals, the carbon to nitrogen ratio is a telling story.

Pasteurized Sludges - C:N Ratio of 7:1, Proteins are striated and not digestible by the plant

Natural Organic Meals - C:N ratio of 6:1, High in protein nitrogen but is not composted and therefore contains lower available soil carbon

Composted Organics (like Healthy Grow) - C:N ratio of 20:1, Enhanced with beneficial microorganisms and contains a high amount of available soil carbon

Together, with the carbon found in Healthy Grow and the beneficial microorganisms found in Holganix, we are supporting an elaborate soil ecosystem.

soil ecosystem

 

While Holganix acts as a probiotic because of the microorganisms, Healthy Grow’s carbon intensive compost functions as a prebiotic. Therefore, when utilizing Healthy Grow Infused with Holganix, you are utilizing probiotics and prebiotics to address both ends of the plant health equation and boost the soil food web.

soil food web

Tags: lawn care, the science behind holganix, sports turf, golf

"I Won't Plant Anything On My Property Without Holganix!" - Brandon Haley

organic landscape

Holganix caught up with Brandon Haley, CGM, Grounds Manager of Red Diamond Tea’s 72 acre corporate campus in Moody, Alabama to congratulate him for being the recipient of the PGMS (Professional Grounds Management Society) Green Star Award for the Industrial, Commercial and Office Park Category.

In addition to being the Grounds Manager for Red Diamond Tea’s corporate campus, Brandon is also an avid blogger and consultant on sustainable grounds management.

“The PGMS Green Star Award really recognizes the commitment to sustainability, levels of maintenance on turf and landscape, and recognizes the challenges we have on the property,” says Brandon of the PGMS award. “I’m so thankful for my crew.”

Brandon went on to explain how Holganix has played a role in achieving the beautiful, award winning landscape surrounding Red Diamond’s Corporate Campus.

 

The most prominent results Brandon has experience are:

  1. Irrigation Reductions:We’ve cut back on irrigation by 75% over the last three years,” claims Brandon. “Holganix has contributed in [last year’s reductions]. Because our roots were so deep, I was able to go extra days without watering.”

  2. Fertilizer Reductions: “We have a pretty efficient use of fertilizer on our property,” says Brandon. He was able to cut back from 3.3 lbs of nitrogen to 2.4 lbs in 2015. His target for 2016 is to lower his use down to 1.8 – 1.9 lbs.

“I won’t plant anything on our property without Holganix,” states Brandon. Watch our full interview with Brandon here

 

Want to learn more about Brandon’s Holganix experience?

Register for our upcoming webinar featuring an interactive Q&A session with Brandon Haley!

New Call-to-action

Tags: lawn care, holganix reviews

Why YOUR Lawn Care Company Should Add A Flower Program

Your current customers are already hiring your team to care for their lawn, why wouldn’t they hire you to care for their flowers too? After all, there is nothing more annoying then spending both time and money to have annuals planted, only to see them wither away from disease and/or insect damage.

Flower fertilizer

Top 3 Reasons

Here are our top 3 reasons why your lawn and landscape company should add a flower care program to your available services.

  1. Additional source of high gross margin - Incorporating a flower program provides the opportunity to make high gross margin revenue from current customers. Since you are already on their lawn, you won’t have to pay for windshield time (The time it takes your techs to drive from one house to the next), drastically reducing overhead costs associated with this service.

  2. Improve the overall look of your customers’ landscapes – Keeping your customers’ flowers healthy by providing them a good source of food and nutrients, while protecting against disease and insects, means providing a better looking landscape. According to a study done by Virginia Tech, “A well-landscaped home had a significant price advantage over a home with no landscaping. That advantage from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent.”

  3. An easy sell! – Your customers already know and trust you. Your homeowners need someone to take proper care of their flowers. Utilize your brand power to upsell a flower program.

 

Start marketing!

Want to get started with a flower program but don’t know where to start? We’ve got your back. Check out our Flower Marketing In A Box! It’s a tool designed specifically to help you sell flower care programs to customers.

organic flower program

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips

ECOTURF: From 0 to 215 Lawn Care Customers in 365 Days

Screen_Shot_2016-04-06_at_11.22.07_AM-134904-edited.png

We first met Jordan and Jenny Chapman in the fall of 2014. This husband and wife team were hungry, passionate, and ready to take the northern Colorado organic lawn care market by storm with their brand new lawn care company: EcoTurf.

“The good part of starting with zero customers is that you have nowhere to go but up. The negative is that when you are parents of two young daughters, success is your only option.” says Jordan. 

So, Jordan and Jenny enrolled in Holganix University,, and signed up for every webinar, downloaded every ebook, and read as many blogs as they could get their hands on. They are dedicated students!

ecoturf_Frisbee.pngJordan and Jenny followed the Holganix Marketing Plan, and began their efforts with a 3-wave direct mail postcard campaign, following that up with door-to-door in person marketing to their customers’ neighbors.

These efforts, along with prospects seeing their neighbors’ great results and the repeated view of the stickered-up EcoTurf truck going by their house everyday helped build additional customer density in targeted neighborhoods.

So, do you want to know Jordan and Jenny’s SECRET WEAPON? It’s the two cuties in the photos! Their daughters have really made EcoTurf a family affair.

For example, when Jordan and Jenny purchased 5,000 frisbees, the girls dressed up in their tutus and shades and along with Jenny, helped deliver them to prospective customers. And when their town had a community parade, well of course they were happy to ride along, looking adorable on the family float!

But don’t think they are just there for their cuteness. Emma, 4, is becoming quite the marketer, as she reminds her Mom to forego parking in the garage because “parking in the driveway lets people see the logoed truck and minivan, and that’s good advertising Mommy.”

Screen_Shot_2016-04-06_at_11.22.52_AM-290451-edited.png

 

Cost-Effective Sales And Marketing Tools

Don’t have adorable children to help you? No worries! Here are some other successful, cost-effective sales and marketing tools Eco Turf has used:

1. Active social media presence and advertising through Facebook ad Google Ad Words

2. Craigslist ads

3. Email newsletters through Mail Chimp which helped educate customers and prospects about their services as well as helpful general gardening/lawn care information. They achieved an incredible 60-70% open rate, which validates the level of beneficial content in their newsletters.

4. Partner with landscapers who do not provide fertilization services in-house. You can ask your agronomical suppliers (Their supplier is Ewing) to refer you to landscapers.

5. Engagement with customers whenever possible. Jenny calls every customer prior to their next round, which provides the opportunity to not only make sure the customer is happy, but also can be used to upsell, something that Jenny has become much more comfortable with.

 

Turf Results In The Field Leads To Customer Referrals

Equally important as their marketing efforts are the results they are getting on their customers’ lawns.

Last year, on August 5, a customer called to have EcoTurf come out and treat their lawn, because they wanted to “pretty it up” for listing the house for sale two weeks later.

When Jordan arrived at the house, he was shocked to see the condition of the lawn, as shown in the “Before” photo below. The lawn had been neglected for quite some time, so to get the recovery results necessary, in the heat of the summer, Jordan knew there was only one option: Holganix!

He put down a round of Holganix and came by each week to check on the property. Even though Jordan is a Holganix believer, even he was quite impressed with the speed of the recovery.

Screen_Shot_2016-04-06_at_11.23.34_AM.png 

 

75% Close Rate On Prospects

Eco Turf’s final stat? “Our close rate was 75%!” Beams Jenny.

“If Jordan or I could talk to the prospect on the phone or in person, we did really well. So, do whatever you can to make sure you answer the phone, ALWAYS call customers back, and think of everyone you meet as a prospect.” That is how you, too, can go from 0-215 customers in 365 days!

 

Ready to get your learn on?

Check out all of our webinar series by clicking the button below. Then, get learning! 

soil science webinars

Blog written by Suzanne Longacre

Tags: lawn care, holganix reviews, marketing hints and tips

How is Healthy Grow Infused With Holganix Manufactured?

healthy_grow3.png

Remember our blog on cooperative marketing and how it is important to choose a partner with the same vision? One reason why Holganix chose to team up with Healthy Grow is their theology in building soil. But, another big reason is their commitment to the way their products are made. Their slogan “The Way It’s Made Matters” TM is all about the value in the process. 

So, how is Healthy Grow infused with Holganix manufactured? Here’s an inside look at how our latest granular technology is produced.


1. Collect the poultry manure

Pearl Valley Eggs, the creator of Healthy Grow products, cares for 1.1 million hens that lay 800,000 to 950,000 eggs a day. Water and food consumption is recorded and everything is automated to maintain consistency. When the hens defecate, the manure is taken to a composting center. 

 

2. Aerobically compost the poultry manure

Healthy Grow begins by a controlled composting process utilizing egg laying poultry manure as a base. The product is turned for a period of 45 to 60 days using robotic machinery at temperatures ranging from 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for four days. The set temperature range kills odor, weed seeds and pathogens while still preserving beneficial biology. Approximately 30 tons of compost is screened daily.

 

3. Add nutrients

Depending on the analysis, the product is then layered with additional nutrients. Healthy Grow Infused with Holganix 2-4-3 does not require additional nutrient inputs due to the organic nutrients present in the poultry manure. In order to boost analysis (for 10-3-2 or 7-9-5), urea and ammonia sulfate are added. Added nutrients vary from all organic to traditional nutrient sources.

healthy_Grow2.png4. Pellet Healthy Grow

35 to 40 tons of compost is pelletized daily. Pellets are screened to remove dust and maintain prill size consistency.

 

5. Add Holganix to the Granular Prill

Holganix is infused into the Healthy Grow prills, amplifying Health Grow’s affect on plant health. For information on how Holganix amplifies Healthy Grow, check out this blog: Meeting Healthy Grow Infused With Holganix.

 

6. Deliver the Product to YOU!

After that, the product is bagged and delivered to your warehouse for use!

Turf roots

Tags: lawn care, the science behind holganix, sports turf, golf course, agriculture

Gain Market Share & Cut Costs With Cooperative Marketing In Lawn Care

Antsleaf-686390-edited.jpg

As a business owner, forming strong relationships with those in your region and industry can be more important than you may believe. For example, if as a lawn care company you form a relationship with a design and build business, you can pool together prospects and customers to cross-market. Or, you can design a marketing piece together as a form of cooperative marketing, share costs and tackle the community together.

When it comes to cooperative marketing, two brands can be better than one.

Intel Inside is a great example of cooperative marketing. Organizations partner with Intel to create commercials and other marketing campaigns. In return, Intel helps front some of the costs through credits on their core processors.

Another example is Holganix and Healthy Grow. At Holganix, we have a separate line of Holganix infused products where we team up with other innovative firms to create awesome products. Healthy Grow Infused with Holganix is an example of a great partnership that creates a great, infused product.

When Holganix chose Healthy Grow as a partner, we ensured we were selecting an organization that not only maintained similar core values and vision, but that also produced a high quality granular with properties that would synergize with Holganix. 

 

What are the benefits of cooperative marketing?

  1. If one brand is younger than the other, teaming with a mature brand can give a younger one more clout in the lawn care market.

  2. Sharing costs is always a plus. Consider the kind of marketing you can do if you had a partner in crime to help burden expenses.

  3. You can piggyback off one anther and tap into each other’s market share.

  4. You can refer customers to one another.

  5. Get more creative! Two minds are better than one. Together, with your cooperative marketing partner, you can come up with creative marketing campaigns.

 

What are the cons of cooperative marketing?

  1. You have to share the spotlight. When you create a marketing piece that involves more than one brand, it can take the focus off your company.

  2. Be sure you both carry similar vision/core values. Don’t sacrifice your business’ spirit to save a couple bucks.

At the end of the day, if you continually seek to form mutually beneficial relationships with other business owners and innovators in your region and/or industry, it can be a win-win for both you and your future partner.

 

How can Holganix help you?

Holganix offers many free marketing pieces for lawn care companies, allowing them to co-brand with the Holganix name and grow their companies.

To check out all Holganix supplied marketing tools, visit: www.Holganix.com/Holganix-University.

Marketing lawn care

Tags: lawn care, marketing hints and tips

3 Reasons Why Lush Organic Lawn Care Chose Holganix & You Should Too!

Lush_Lawn-801708-edited.jpeg

We can sit here all day and tell you about all the wonderful things Holganix does for lawns, plants and crops. But why would you ever want to read about that? That’s why we were super excited when Brad from Lush Organic Lawn Care in Columbus, Ohio asked to do the bragging for us. Check out Brad’s guest blog post below on the 3 reasons why Lush Organic Lawn Care Chose Holganix! 


 

My name is Brad and I'm a co-founder of Lush Organic Lawn Care in Columbus, Ohio. We selected Holganix as our flagship product after countless hours of research. I'd like to take a moment to share why we selected Holganix and why it might be a good fit for your lawn care company too, whether you are new (like us) or established.

 

Here are 3 Reasons Why We Chose Holganix (and you should too!)

 

1. Fully Organic

We decided to do an organic-only lawn care company because of our interest in preserving the environment as well as the business necessity to differentiate ourself from the dozens of other lawn care companies in Columbus. 

Many of the families that are interested in Organic Lawn Care want to go organic because it's safer for their pets and kids so we want to make sure we use the absolute best product we can. As a new parent of a five-month-old boy and owner of two quirky dogs, I completely understand how these families feel!

Holganix is unique in that it's completely organic and doesn't use animal or human by-products. We can proudly share the Holganix stats with our clients. Many other companies we researched weren't transparent about what's in their product and that made us skeptical.

Holganix's transparency and high-quality organic product made the choice a no-brainer.

 Lush_Lawn_Truck.jpeg

2. More Than Just NPK

The Holganix website taught me volumes about the importance of all of the other active ingredients in making a lawn thrive. There is more than just NPK!   

When we use Holganix, we feel confident that we are making the lawn more alive and more able to produce the nutrients the lawn needs on it's own in the way that nature is meant to.  

This idea really resonated with me and my cofounder and made us even more confident in our choice of Holganix.

 

3. The Team

Lastly, when you are deciding to partner with a company and use their product, you want to know that you'll be supported and educated by their team. Everyone we've spoken with at Holganix has been amazing and incredibly down-to-earth. They have a great relationship with the distributor we buy from too. The Holganix blog that you are reading now often teaches me about the scientific underpinnings behind a great yard as well as tips and tricks to grow our new lawn care business.

We just feel good knowing that we're all in it together working toward less synthetic chemicals and less chemical run-off.

 

For all of these reasons we selected to go with Holganix and we've been very happy with the results so far.  

Grow your lawn care company

Tags: lawn care, holganix reviews, holganix review

Holganix Case Studies: Boosting Biology at Crooked Stick Golf Club

“I want to identify problems, fix them and move on” states Jake Gargasz, Superintendent of Crooked Stick Golf Club. “In 2012, one of the biggest problems we faced was localized dry spots at Crooked Stick. The soil was not in balance. In order to have optimal playing conditions, you need healthy, resilient turf. You will never have the desired turf conditions until you focus on what is underneath the turf. ”That’s why Jake began looking into humates, compost teas and other scenarios to help boost biology. “Holganix was a great fit.”

IMG_1158.jpg

Jake started in the golf industry at an early age, playing golf as a kid and working at courses throughout high school. “I had a passion for golf, using my hands and being outside. Golf was the logical choice.” After receiving his Associates degree in turfgrass management from Ohio State, Jake went to work for Paul B. Latshaw at Oak Hill Country Club and eventually Muirfield Village Golf Club.

“Making the switch to Crooked Stick was a great move for me. The membership is extremely supportive of what we are doing and realize how hard we work to give them the best possible conditions. That’s pretty special,” says Jake.

When Jake decided to give Holganix a shot, he set up check plots to quantify the results. “One of the things I noticed initially was that we were getting the same results with less inputs. That’s because we were breaking down thatch and unlocking nutrients that weren’t being utilized by the plant.” Over the past three years, Jake has reduced nitrogen use by about 50% and his dry spots are a thing of the past.

In addition to dry spot and input reductions, Jake has seen less instances of dollar spot breakout and increased playability. “Our turf roots are more fibrous and all surfaces are more resilient to summer heat and drought.”

All in all, “I would absolutely recommend Holganix,” says Jake.  

soil food web

Tags: holganix reviews, golf course, holganix review

Kathleen's Lawn & Ornamental Pest Control keeps wiping Ewing out of Holganix!

Kathleen’s Keeps wiping Ewing out of Holganix!

After Kathleen’s leaves, the refrigerator at the Ewing August branch resembles a northeastern supermarket milk fridge a few hours prior to a snowstorm!

 

We sat down with Mike Rogers, owner of Kathleen’s Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control, to learn more about their wildly successful, unorthodox style of running and growing a lawn care company. We wanted to know their secrets, and thankfully for all of us, Mike is an “open book” type of guy. His first words of wisdom? “It’s all about differentiating yourself from the competition.”

“Differentiation” segues perfectly to our first question (and I am guessing yours, too): Why did you name it Kathleen’s? “Yeah—we get that question a lot!” chuckles Mike. “We chose Kathleen’s for several reasons. First, and most importantly, it is named after my lovely wife. (He gets major points there!) Beyond that, it really was a strategic decision. For a lawn care company, naming it Kathleen’s is kind of like the song “A Boy Named Sue.” His unique name is not only memorable, it also has an inherent “softness” to it that resonates with customers and prospects. The only negative is that everyone wants to meet the real Kathleen, who at this point still has her own career in another industry. “But we can’t wait for her to someday join us!” says Mike.

Organic flower fertilizer

From trucks wrapped in their giant ladybug logo, to their use of Holganix, Kathleen’s strives to differentiate from their competitors at every turn. Mike’s grandparents owned a nursery, so he grew up in the industry, learning young how important the soil is for growing healthy plants. When it comes to plant health, “You need more than just NPK. You need the biology, too!” explains Mike.

After testing Holganix, Kathleen’s incorporated it into all six rounds of their 12-month program. Before they received their RAD 330, the Augusta, GA Ewing Branch that supplied their Holganix liquid would often, after he left, resemble a northeastern supermarket milk fridge hours before a snowstorm. “Yeah, we kept wiping them out of Holganix” says Mike with a proud grin. “We use 27-30 oz/year because we have seen tremendous benefits which have been big contributors to our growth and success as a company.”

Holganix 

Mike’s Favorite Holganix Benefits Include:

  1. Grass is consistently green! His customers don’t see the “up and down” color cycle found with traditional synthetic applications.

  2. His techs love Holganix because it is so clean—it doesn’t clog filters and is safer to handle.

  3. Holganix increases the Brix (sugar content) of plants. Fire ants and mole crickets don’t like this, and move on down to another property.

  4. His lawns rarely show effects from disease, pests and weather-related stresses because the soil, roots, and grass are all so healthy and resilient. 

Getting these types of results, along with Mike’s policy to “take a few minutes extra” are the main reasons why Kathleen’s grew by 48% last year with 90% of their new customers gained by inbound marketing and referrals! They attribute the remaining 10% growth to their yard signs, which include their extremely recognizable ladybug logo.

With many lawn care companies pushing to minimize the time spent on lawns, Kathleen’s again bucks the trend and believes that not rushing their techs allows them to notice (and RECTIFY) potential problems before the homeowner even notices them. This attention to detail, coupled with the relationship building that is part of Kathleen’s culture, are why their retention rate is 98%! And why they grew the most in June and August, because prospects were able to see the results his customers were getting and ultimately Kathleen’s approach “sold itself” through word-of-mouth and referrals.

Mike Rogers is a grateful man, and attributes some of his success to his mentor, an owner of a large lawn care provider in a neighboring state. “He has been invaluable,” says Mike. “His willingness to provide insight and guidance has helped me tremendously. I highly recommend that every business owner seek out a peer who they can mentor and someone to mentor them. Great ideas, and most importantly, friendships, are generated through relationships like these.”

- Blog by Suzanne Longacre

soil food web

Tags: lawn care, holganix reviews, holganix review