Holganix Case Studies
"The fields are looking and playing better than ever!"
In 2011, Friends Academy, a Quaker school in Locust Valley, New York was one of many schools to get hit by “The Child Safe Playing Fields Act” which banned pesticide use on school fields. “It changed the way we were keeping our turf strong and healthy,” says Chris Semlies, Facility Director of Friends Academy. “We looked at lots of different organic options but they were expensive.”
That’s when he stumbled across Holganix, a 100% organic, bionutritional plant and turf fertility product. Holganix allows you to effectively utilize 75% less synethetic inputs while still achieving optimal plant health. For Semlies, Holganix was more cost effective than other organics and gave a broader range of benefits – promoting plant health and growth. In turn, healthier plants are better able to suppress insect and disease.
“We are not only complying with the law, but we are doing a more effective job at building a healthy, strong and resilient turf while fulfilling a core Quaker value: being good stewards to the environment.” Semlies reports that he’s seen a definite difference in using Holganix on his turf. The turf has been healthier and better able to withstand foot traffic. The roots have also been significantly deeper. “The best part is,” says Semlies, “multiple coaches say their fields are looking and playing better than ever before. All of this is possible while limiting our environmental footprint and providing healthier playing conditions for students.”
Holganix entered the Long Island market in 2013 and already 22 local golf courses have made Holganix part of their annual program. Nassau Suffolk Turf Services is the sole distributor in the Long Island market. “We cautiously introduced Holganix to the long Island Golf community in 2013,” says Bob Mele, CEO and Founder of Nassau Suffolk Turf Services. “The results seen on golf courses were eye opening.” Traditionally in turf care, organic fertilizers have been inferior to synthetics and have cost turf professionals an arm and a leg. Mele believes that modern day bionutritional products defy this stereotype. University studies and customer case studies back Mele’s belief.
“Bionutritional products like Holganix are about maximizing the effect we have on turf health,” says Barrett Ersek, CEO of Holganix. At the same time, Holganix allows landscapers and other turf professionals to shift to a more organic approach to turf health. “It’s not only good for the environment and escape strict government regulations, but it also allows landscapers to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering something to their customers that no one else has.”
The Holganix Blog:
Holganix makes Inc Magazine's 500 fastest growing companies
“We are so grateful to have been included in INC Magazine’s list of the top 500 fastest growing, privately held businesses in America,” says Holganix CEO, Barrett Ersek. Each year INC Magazine recognizes the fastest growing, privately held business in America in their INC 500 list. To be included in the 2014 list, companies had to grow more than 942% from the start of 2011. Holganix was named number 186 out of 500 with a three-year growth of 2,291.4%.
Holganix manufactures and sells 100% organic, bionutritional products for large fertilizer users, allowing them to use drastically less inputs (fertilizers and pesticides). A two page spread featuring Holganix user, Broken Sound Golf Course in Boca Raton, Florida was featured in INC Magazine.
“We’ve come a long way,” says Ersek looking back at the growth of Holganix. “The great news is? The fun and growth has only just begun.”
Holganix case studies
2x better healing time after aeration with Holganix
Andrew Young’s story is a familiar one for those of us in the golf course industry. His passion for golf started at age 14 when he signed on at the local golf course. There, he picked weeds and did all the other fun jobs expected of young boys working a course. He became so enamored (somehow the weeding didn’t scare him away!) with the industry that, in college he pursued a degree in turf management. Eventually, his golf career led him to Woodbine Bend Golf Course where he’s been the superintendent for the past three years.
Woodbine Bend is a links-styled course located in Stockton, Illinois, Young’s hometown. Before using Holganix, the course suffered from a thick thatch layer. “I wanted to minimize the thatch layer and that’s one of the reasons why I started using Holganix,” says Young. “It’s been helping.”
Two years into the Holganix program, Young has been pleased with the results, especially with rooting and aeration. “The healing time after aerifying has decreased since using Holganix,” claims Young. Typically, it would take the course 2 weeks to heal but with Holganix, he’s been able to reduce it to about 1 week with a 14 ounce per 1,000 sq ft application following aerification.
“And my roots? They are just crazy!” exclaims Young. “You can’t even see soil,” says Young. “All you see are white, healthy roots.” Young reports seeing 12+ inch roots on his fairways in July. His greens have 6+ inch roots but are extremely dense and holding together nicely. He notes that the major storms in Illinois recently are negatively affecting root growth and expects it to be much longer in the fall. “When it comes to the roots, the longer the better,” says Young.
The Science Behind Holganix
Getting into the science of aeration
What is aeration? Aeration is a mechanical process where holes are punched into the soil, allowing water, nutrients and oxygen to penetrate. It effectively breaks up compaction and thatch while increasing the biological activity in your soil. For Holganix users, aeration in combination with Holganix is the best possible thing you can do for your lawn. The biological activity associated with aeration is further enhanced with the addition of Holganix, promoting increased thatch and compaction breakdown. By using Holganix you’re also adding nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which converts nitrogen from the atmosphere into a useable form for the plant.
The optimal time to aerate is when the lawn is rapidly growing, making the fall the perfect time. Penetrations should be about .5 - .75 inches in diameter, 2 – 3 inch deep and 2 – 3 inches apart. Watch the video below featuring Holganix Director of Soil and Plant Science, Dr. Neidermyer, to learn more.
The Holganix Blog:
Thank You for Keeping Lake Erie's Water Clean
We are so thankful that officials in the Toledo, OH and surrounding Lake Erie regions have deemed their water safe for residents to resume drinking. The water ban, which went into effect on Saturday, August 2, 2014, was lifted around 11 am this morning, August 4, 2014.
Fertilizer and sludge runoff have been named as potential sources of the contaminated drinking water. Massive algal blooms like the one that has turned the waters of Lake Erie florescent green and contaminated the drinking water of Toledo, Ohio, are caused when certain kinds of algae grow in response to changes in chemicals in the water. At toxic levels, algae can destroy marine ecosystems, depleting water of oxygen.
Utilizing organic, bionutritional products can reduce synthetic applications by up to 75%, greatly minimizing the risk of water contamination experienced in Toledo this weekend.
“Despite the circumstances, this is a time for the Holganix community to shine!” Says Holganix CEO, Barrett Ersek. “Speak with your customers and prospects. Educate them on how adding Holganix can help them be part of the solution to keep Lake Erie, and ultimately their water supply, safe and healthy.”
Click here to download a sharable photo highlighting your company’s contribution to being part of the Lake Erie solution!
The Science Behind Holganix:
Water, Water, Where?
"There's an old tale about a giant with a leaky faucet. In his home, the tale goes, the giant's faucet has a terrible leak. Night after night, the leak drips and drips. And since its only one drop at a time the giant thinks nothing of it. ‘Why, that's just one drop,’ the giant says, ‘and there are many rivers, lakes and oceans.’
Soon however, that one drop becomes many and the giant's home begins to fill with water. In a few short weeks, the water rises so high that the giant begins to fear that he might drown, so, in panic, he opens his huge front door and out gushes all the water. Only then, drenched from head to toe, and hearing his leaky faucet dripping, does the giant finally realize what he's lost."
- Irrigation and Green Magazine
Old wives’ tale or not, it's important that those of us in the turf industry - no matter if you are a lawn care operator or superintendent - heed the giant's warning. Minimizing our use of water is a tough thing to consider. After all, our jobs are on the line and we have a duty to our clients and constituents to keep the turf and plants looking their best. And yet, if we don't start paying attention to the water issue, it might just creep up when we aren't paying attention.
Although it may not seem like buried treasure, water, nicknamed by economists as “blue gold,” could be a big barrier for turf professionals over the next 50 years. In the May issue of Fortune Magazine, journalist Brian Dumaine forewarns businesses that water is a key concern for all of our industries but especially agriculture and related industries (including the golf and lawn care industries).
According to PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi, “The world water crisis is one of the most pressing challenges of our age.” The U.S. population is currently at 317 million and is expected to grow to 439 million by 2050 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At the same time, fresh water is dwindling. According to Fortune Magazine, “In the 1950s the country had 50,000 rivers. Since then, industry and agriculture have siphoned off so much water that only 23,000 remain.” Furthermore, San Diego is currently living through “one of the worst droughts in 1,200 years and now has to import 90% of its water,” says Fortune Magazine. Texas is faced with similar problems; 95% of the state’s counties were designated disaster areas in April due to the scarcity of water.
What does that mean for golf?
For the golf course industry, water consumption is expected to be severely limited by government regulations, says Superintendent Magazine. Today in Georgia, regulations are already kicking in. A Georgia planning committee has allocated 0% increase of water use for all golf courses through 2050. “So,” says Superintendent Magazine, “if 20 new golf courses open between now and that time, the state’s current courses will have to share that water allotment with the new courses.” Ultimately, it’s going to push superintendents to start storing water. By 2050, “golf courses will only be able to use the water they can store,” says Mark Esoda, superintendent of Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, GA.
Superintendent Magazine had these suggestions to make in order to boost sustainability:
1. Try using native plants. Native plants require less watering, fertilizers and pesticides to maintain.
2. Use sensor technology, as prices for the technology drop and the user experience becomes easier. “Sprinkler heads,” states Jeff Carlson, superintendent of Vineyard Golf Club in Massachusetts, “will be a thing of the past!”
3. Incorporate bionutritional products. For example, Holganix (a bionutritional plant product) contains natural ingredients that help support root growth, ultimately improving the plant’s nutrient and moisture uptake as well as bolster the plant’s ability to withstand drought. Organic wetting agents contained within Holganix also play a role. “I think we’re just at the start of this revolution,” says Carlson of bionutritional technology.
What does that mean for lawn care?
For lawn care companies, the water issue is affecting the way we design, manage and nurture landscapes. "Many areas are offering incentives," says Warren S. Gorowitze, Vice President of Sustainability at Ewing Irrigation and Turf Products. Those incentives are in relation to sustainable design and upgrading irrigation equipment. Other states are limiting the amount of water lawn care professionals and homeowners can utilize to maintain properties, especially when it comes to drought-like conditions.
Irrigation and Green Magazine had these suggestions to make in order to boost sustainability:
1. Implement rainwater harvesting.
2. Switch properties to drip irrigation. Switching often has a negligible cost involved.
3. Add growth regulators. With less growth, the plant requires less water.
Regardless of your profession within the turf industry, conserving water is becoming a heated topic. "And remember, as the giant showed us," says Irrigation and Green Magazine, "If you fail to recognize what you have, one drop can soon become many. So why not test the waters?"
Irrigation and Green Industry Magazine:
Fortune Magazine: Abbreviated article: http://fortune.com/2014/07/25/the-shortest-distance-between-two-points-at-ups-its-complicated/
See may issue of Fortune for full article.
Marketing Hints and Tips:
Keep it simple stupid!
Keep it simple stupid (KISS). You’ve all heard the phrase before, yet why is it that so few people truly capitalize on the idea? Why do we try to fit so many messages, offers and words into small spaces? Do we truly think anyone will take the time to read them?
When Casella wines launched the [yellow tail] brand in the competitive U.S. market, they didn’t try and fit as many fancy words on their bottle as possible. Instead, they took the opposite approach. In an industry where wine manufacturers tend to cram lengthy descriptions on wine bottles, Casella (aka Yellow Tail) chose only six words. In less than three years after launching [yellow tail] in the U.S. market, they became the number one imported wine in America. Not only are they killing it in the wine arena, but they’ve expanded the market to amateur wine drinkers who were intimidated or turned off by the complexity of traditional labels.
KISS is the golden marketing rule and it doesn’t just apply to wine manufacturers; it applies to your lawn care company too! Check out the random postcard we pulled from Google Images. What do you think; is the postcard simple?
Here’s an example (albeit a biased one!) of a postcard that follows the KISS rule. Notice the amount of wording, the offers and image that convey a clear-cut message.
As we move into preparing for fall lawn care sales, marketing folks, keep this rule in mind: Keep It Simple Stupid.
The Holganix Blog
5 common myths about Holganix
Myth Number One:
When summer arrives, put away the sprayer
Just because Mother Nature has cranked up the heat, it doesn’t mean you can’t spray or spread Holganix on turf or plants. Holganix non-nitrogen liquid products have no burn potential and Holganix granular products have very little burn potential. What's really cool is that Holganix can actually help you maintain turf health when summer stress and drought conditions hit. While your turf may still go dormant, Holganix helps the grass go into dormancy later and come out earlier than traditional synthetic fertilizers. It’s also a great upsell for homeowners, and who doesn’t like a little extra revenue during the slow season?
Myth Number Two:
You can’t spray Holganix in the fall
Just because autumn hits, it doesn’t mean you can’t spray or spread Holganix. The winter of 2013-2014 was brutal. In many regions, spring arrived several weeks late, putting pressure on turf professionals as they dealt with a constrained spring season. Many Holganix users noticed that if they sprayed/spread Holganix last fall, they had less winter injury than those that didn’t. Winter tolerance further increased for those that have been using Holganix for more than a year. While many still had winter injury, they weren’t suffering on the same scale as those that used traditional synthetic means. It just goes to show how important nourishing and caring for your soil and root systems can be.
Myth Number Three:
When it comes to compost, a tea is a tea
Not all compost teas are alike. Many DIY teas are inconsistent with ingredients and therefore results. This is because it’s difficult to know and understand what ingredients you are putting into your tea. Holganix has a consistent ingredient list that guarantees great results every time.
Myth Number Four:
Holganix is just a food source
Holganix contains living microorganisms, not just food sources. Utilizing Holganix is focused on adding to your soil ecosystem and feeding the microorganisms that are present. Because Holganix contains living microorganisms as opposed to food sources, Holganix users are all provided with refrigeration equipment to store the product. In essence, refrigeration is required to keep the products’ living microorganisms alive.
Myth Number Five:
You can’t use fungicides
While many fungicides are considered non-compatible with Holganix because of their “kill all” approach to eliminating fungi, this isn’t the case with all products. After prolonged testing, we are confident that many fungicides are compatible with Holganix. Many of these fungicides can be used at reduced rates when utilized alongside Holganix. Check out this page to search for your fungicide. Keep in mind that if your fungicide isn’t compatible with Holganix, in most cases you can still use the product. The true danger lies in tank mixing non-compatible fungicides with Holganix.
Marketing Hints and Tips:
Crank Out that Fall Marketing Plan!
It seems like only yesterday we were excitedly preparing for the impending spring craze. Even though it may feel like we are in the midst of summer, fall is coming sooner than you think. Now is the time to start discussing your fall marketing plan in order to capitalize on growth opportunities for the end of 2014. What can you do to get your marketing plan in shape?
- Create a fall BHAG. Creating a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG, is critical for the season’s success. Gather up your team and discuss what your fall sales goal is for the season. Remember to break down your goal by week and day to make your BHAG more quantifiable. Check out this blog entry on BHAGs for additional information and instruction.
- What are you going to sell? Fall marketing allows you to promote those last 2 to 3 fertilizer applications but also acts as an avenue to up-sell your current customers. Remember to reach out to customers about upgrading their fertilization program to include core aeration and seeding and other fall specials.
- Set the sales hook and reel them in! What incentives are you offering new customers for signing on with your company? Remember to keep core aeration and free fertilization in your back pocket of sales tricks. Offering current and prospective customers the ability to prepay in exchange for a small discount is another great hook! Your customers get a nice discount for their efforts and you get cash upfront for growth opportunities.
- Join in on a Wise Webinar. Nicole Wise, Holganix Head of Marketing, has announced a new webinar series designed to help get your fall marketing plan ship shape. You can RSVP for the Building Your Fall Marketing Plan webinar here.
*This blog has been reposted.
The Science Behind Holganix:
Five things you didn’t know about using Holganix with aeration and overseeding
Wicked fast seed germination – Increase the likelihood of germination with nitrogen-fixing bacteria found in all Holganix products. These hard working bacteria help convert nitrogen locked in the soil and air and convert it to a readily available form for your seedlings. Check out this case study on seed germination by Whitehouse Landscaping.
It’s all about the roots – As always, with Holganix we are always focused on rooting. Mycorrhizae as well as fulvic and humic acids help your seedlings stimulate deeper, thicker root development, helping the turf establish itself faster.
Water, water, everywhere – Natural wetting agents help seedlings make better use of available water. Why does this occur? The natural wetting agents slow moisture, spreading it evenly and deeper in the soil. This makes water available to young roots and encourages longer root growth.
Remediating top soils – Most top soils are known for their lack of nutrients and microorganisms. It’s important to replace these vital organisms, ultimately giving your seedlings a better chance for survival.
Increasing seed longevity – Because of the ingredients within Holganix, the plant increases to the “tiller stage” or maturity faster. Ultimately, it allows for an increase in the plant’s longevity.