The Holganix Blog

10 Inspirational Quotes On Soil

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To help start your morning off on the right foot, we’ve compiled advice from 10 different authorities, philosophers and public figures on soil health and the importance of soil. Flip through the SlideShare for 10 inspiring quotes from people like: Mahatma Gandhi, Charles E. Kellogg, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

And if you’re feeling especially inspired by these quotes, you can dig in deeper and download our FREE eBook called Soil Science 101 to learn more about the importance of soil.

If you are reading this blog via email, click here to view the SlideShare.  


1. “Essentially, all life depends upon the soil… There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.” - Dr. Charles E Kellogg, Soil Scientist and Chief of the USDA’s Bureau for Chemistry and Soils


2. “To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” - Mahatma Gandhi, Indian activist


3. “How can I stand on the ground every day and not feel its power? How can I live my life stepping on this stuff and not wonder at it?” - William Bryant Logan, Award-winning writer, faculty member at the New York Botanical Garden, and practicing arborist


4. “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” - Leonardo Da Vinci, Artist and inventor


5. “Land is not merely soil, it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals.” - Aldo Leopold, Author, philosopher, scientist and conservationist


6. “To be a successful farmer one must first know the nature of the soil.” - Xenophon, Ancient greek philosopher and historian, student of Socrates, Circa 430 - 354 BC


7. “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.” - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of The United States of America


8. “... I cannot conceive of the time when knowledge of soils will be complete. Our expectation is that our successors will build on what has been done, as we are building on the work of our predecessors.” -  R.S. Smith, Director of the Illinois Soil Survey, 1928


9. “The farther we get away from the land, the greater our insecurity.” - Henry Ford, Entrepreneur and founder of The Ford Motor Company


10. “Keep your eyes on the stars, keep your feet on the ground.” - Theodore Roosevelt Jr, 26th President of the United States of America

Download Our Soil Science eBook

Digging Soil Science 101: Beginners Guide to Understanding the Soil Food Web

Within the natural world, there exists a complex balance among living organisms known as the soil food web. Plants, animals and microorganisms are all instruments in an orchestra; each plays a crucial part in the natural symphony of life. If even one of the players is out of tune, the whole soil food web suffers. However, when everything is in order, the results are beautiful. 

Download this book to explore:

1. How the soil food web supports healthy plant

2. The power behind soil microorganisms

3. Soil types and how to improve the health of your soil

soil food web

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

5 Facts About Soil Microbes [SlideShare]

Understanding the power of soil microbes is still a novel and new concept in the industry. Over the past few years, new exciting studies have proven the effects soil microbes can have on plant and soil health. We've compiled 5 fun facts in a SlideShare about soil microbes for our readers.

Click the SlideShare to flip through the facts, or skip the SlideShare and just read our facts below. If you are reading this blog via email, click here to access the SlideShare.


#1 Losing Soils

President D. Roosevelt once said, “a nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”

Yet despite its importance, we have lost about half of the topsoil on the planet over the last 150 years. According to University of Sydney Scientific Director, Dr. John Crawford in an interview in Time Magazine, “a rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left. Some 40% of soil used for agriculture around the world is classed as either degraded or seriously degraded.”


#2 Microbes Are Everywhere!

There are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on earth. In fact, according to this Ohio State article, “Soils contain about 8-to-15 tons of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, earthworms and arthropods.


#3 Fertilizer Factories & Shields

“Microbes are like mini Fertilizer factories,” explains Dr. Robert Neidermyer, Holganix Director of Plant & Soil Science.

For example, microbes like Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria and Phosphorus Solubilizing Bacteria release nutrients locked in the soil and make them available to the plant. Fungi like Mycorrhizae, travel across large swaths of soil to hunt down nutrients and water for plants. Further, having a diverse amount of bacteria and fungi allow the microbes to help protect plants from harmful pathogens.


#4. Largest Organism On Earth

Mycorrhizae Fungi form synergistic relationships with trees. In exchange for sugars excreted by the plant, mycorrhizae produce thousands of linear miles of “hyphae” in soil to mine nutrients and water for plants. In fact, the largest organism on earth is a 2.5 mile-wide Honey Mushroom (Armillarea ostoyae).

To learn more about the power of mycorrhizae and their relationship with trees, watch the 1.5-minute video below from National Geographic.  


 #5 We Are More Bacteria Than Human

Humans are about 95% bacteria and 5% human. The consortium of all microbes that live on and within humans is called our MicroBiome.


Want to Learn More About Soil Health and Soil Microbes?

Download our soil science eBook to explore: 

1. How the Soil Food Web supports healthy plants

2. The power behind soil microbes

3. Soil types and how to improve the health of your soil

soil food web

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

Tip Of The Month - Fall Planting? Ensure Success with Holganix Plant Start

Barretts Tip of the Month

As a contractor, it is a challenge to ensure that freshly installed landscapes - whether flowers, trees, shrub, sod or seed - not only survive in their new home, but they thrive. Often, contractors take healthy plant material from a greenhouse or nursery and install it in dead soil that is common in new subdivisions. That plant struggles to take root and may even die. By using a Plant Start Application, contractors ensure plants thrive.

In his tip of the month video, Holganix CEO and Founder, Barrett Ersek and Holganix National Sales Manager, Rob McCoy dive into:

1. What is a Plant Start Application and what results can you expect

2. How to conduct a Plant Start Application

3. Success stories from contractors using Plant Start Applications on trees, shrubs, sod and seed

If you are reading this blog via email, click here for Barrett’s video.

Download A Copy Of The Plant Start Directions

Click the button below to download your copy of the Plant Start Application directions.

Download:  Plant Start Application Directions

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

Is organic fertilizer right for you?


Organic fertilizers are in “vogue” in turf management, especially for lawn care professionals. However, is organic fertilizer the right option for your lawn care company? Check out the below three questions to determine whether “going organic” is the path for you.

1. Do you have poor soil?

If your region is faced with poor soil conditions, adding a soil amendment or organic fertilizer can help invigorate the soil, contributing to better quality results. Because of the organic matter and the beneficial living micoorganisms, this is especially relevant if you are utilizing composts or products with a compost base. Organic matter and micoorganisms help balance the soil biology and nurture a stronger plant that can better defend against disease, insects and weather stress (think drought and winter injury) naturally.

2. Do you have a hard time differentiating yourself from the national lawn care companies?

Often, national lawn care companies will try to undersell you on price. Competing with the “big guys” solely on price is a dangerous game! Consider how you can differentiate your lawn care business in other ways. At the end of the day, if you can show your customers that you are different and are providing a better more valuable service, you can compete without cutting into margins. At Holganix, we love marketing guru Seth Godin’s idea of becoming a “Purple Cow”. Purple Cows are companies that stand out among a sea of non-descript, boring companies. Customers can’t help but pay attention to unique, out-of-the-box-thinking companies. How can you become a Purple Cow? Offering organic lawn care applications, could be a great way to differentiate your company.  

3. Is your region facing fertilizer regulations?

Throughout much of the United States, fertilizer regulations requiring lawn care professionals to cut back on their use of synthetics are increasing on both the state and federal level. This is especially true if your lawn care business is located near a major body of water like The Chesapeake Bay, The Great Lakes and The Gulf of Mexico among other water sources. In general, state and federal government officials and many of their constituents are concerned with the effect nitrogen and phosphorus (two of the key nutrients found in synthetic fertilizers) have on marine life and water health at large. Some of these effects include dead zones (areas of water where marine life can no longer exist) or contaminated water as seen in the Toledo, Ohio water crises in the summer of 2014. These effects have not only led to an increase in fertilizer regulations but have made consumers/homeowners concerned about utilizing synthetic fertilizers and therefore has provided interest in organic options.

By utilizing organic fertilizers or soil amendments, your lawn care business can reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizer needed to achieve a healthy, green lawn. This not only allows you to ease the minds of your nervous homeowners, but also serves as a tool for complying with government regulations. 

Soil Science


Tags: organic fertilizer products, behind the science of holganix, lawn care, holganix, bionutrition, organic lawn care, organic fertilizer, compost tea, soil amendment, compost, natural fertilizer

The Science Behind Holganix: What's the difference between Holganix Tree & Shrub and Holganix Bloom?

The Science Behind Holganix

What's the difference between Holganix Tree & Shrub and Holganix Bloom?


vinca comparison“Have you seen the flowers?” inquired Steve Smith, the manager for an Ohio-based full-service lawn company (a pseudonym, as the individual would like to remain anonymous). “No I haven’t,” replied Holganix CEO Barrett Ersek with the barest hint of hesitation.

Two weeks beforehand, Ersek had made a bet with Smith. The full-service company had a beautiful office surrounded by a river of small pink flowers called Vinca. “Give me half of these flowers,” Barrett had said. “Put Holganix Tree and Shrub on half of these flowers and do your normal regimen on the other half. If my half looks better, take a risk and use Holganix on a few of your spray trucks.” The deal was struck and two weeks later Ersek couldn’t help but feel a little nervous when Smith reminded him about their bet on the flowerbeds.

“Come and have a look at your flowers,” said Smith. Smith led Ersek to the flowerbeds and smiled. The difference between the Holganix flowers and Smith’s normal regimen was evident. “It looked like you could draw a line down the middle; it was that different,” recalls Ersek. The Holganix flowers were brighter colored and sturdier looking (see picture to left. The top Vinca was treated with Holganix while the bottom Vinca acted as the control). Ersek won his bet and Smith started spraying Holganix on several routes.

It was stories like Smith’s that inspired the Holganix Team to launch a separate flower product called Bloom. “There was a need by our community of users for a flower product,” states Ersek. Although the Tree and Shrub product is a great tool for flowers, Holganix has made tweaks in the Holganix formulation that will enhance the effects already seen on flowers with Holganix.


Can Holganix users still utilize Holganix Tree and Shrub on their flowers?

All Holganix products begin with a plant-based compost tea that is slightly altered for each product line. Holganix then layers in numerous other beneficial ingredients tailored to that product. It is a tweaking of each recipe that allows for additional attributes specific to the plants. Those utilizing Tree and Shrub on their flowers are still welcome to use Tree and Shrub or any other Holganix product on flowerbeds. However, we believe that Holganix users will find the Bloom product to deliver the best possible results on flowers and create an additional profit opportunity.


What are the differences between Holganix Tree and Shrub and Holganix Bloom?

Holganix Bloom has been developed with a concern for retaining the majority of Holganix benefits while minimizing the impact of mold on plant growth," says Dr. Neidermyer, Director of Plant and Soil Sciences at Holganix. Compost use and composting conditions are selected with a bias toward reducing the amount of fungi in the product. An exception to this rule is the amount of mycorrhizae (fungi), which has been increased by 12% from the Tree and Shrub product. Mycorrhizae promote root growth, allowing plants to obtain as much available moisture and nutrients as possible. Mycorrhizae have been proven to be effective in promoting the conversion of non-available phosphorus to usable forms and in moving phosphorus to plant roots. Phosphorus is key in promoting flower plants.

Other key differences in the product include increases in compost tea levels (6%), yucca extract (.5%), kelp (1.2%) and melaleuca oil (.001%). There are also decreases in Bloom ingredients as compared with Tree and Shrub with specific ingredients including molasses (4.24%) and brewer’s yeast (18%).  For a list of the ingredients found within Holganix and their benefits, click here. All these changes are designed to enhance flowering as opposed to leafy growth and to minimize stem rot that can reduce the vigor of the plant.


Where can you find more information?

For more information on Holganix Bloom, check out this web page and download the cut sheet here.


Holganix Bloom Webinar Watch Now  

Tags: behind the science of holganix, lawn care, holganix, bionutrition, sports turf, golf course, compost tea, Holganix tree and shrub, 2013 lawn care, bloom, tree care, shrub care, flowers, holganix flowers

The Science Behind Holganix: Smell Ammonia? Do not spray!

Behind the Science of Holganix:

Smell Ammonia? Do not spray!

lawn care, ammonia

*Urea + temperatures above 85⁰ may cause ammonization of spray solution*

This is a problem for anyone using urea-based fertilizers and is completely independent of Holganix use


Symptoms of problem

  • High pH levels can bleach grass, leaving lawns a temporary yellowish or white color that can last until the grass pushes it out. 
  • Mixed fertilizer product smells of ammonia. 
  • pH level of mixed product is higher than 8. 
  • Users of urea must use care when temperatures exceed 85⁰.


Recent observations:

With temperatures heating up, lawn care applicators must be careful when using liquid fertilizer. A strong Ammonia smell emitting from the liquid fertilizer is an indicator that something is wrong and that the product should not be applied to turf or plants until the cause of the odor is resolved. Holganix has noticed that some users mixing urea with Holganix aren’t utilizing the full batch within a 12-hour period. When temperatures are above 85⁰ the urea can start to ammoniate, causing a rise in pH to unacceptable levels that may bleach a lawn. For best practice, mix and use urea daily.

Please note that aerating a mix of urea/Holganix product does not extend the shelf life of urea (only Holganix) beyond the allotted 12-hour period. Aeration works on Holganix and water alone; it doesn’t extend the shelf life of mixed urea. Once Holganix is removed from its cold state and mixed with water, it must remain properly aerated to maintain its bio-activity (refer to directions). Once urea is mixed with Holganix simple aeration will no longer protect the shelf life of the urea. This is especially true when temperatures exceed 85⁰.


 Best Practices:

  • When temperatures are high, mix your urea and use it daily; no overnight storage of urea mixture. 
  • If you do store the urea mixture overnight, before spraying, smell it from 12" away from the opening. 
  • If you get a strong ammonia smell, do not spray.
  • This is a characteristic of urea independent of Holganix.
  • For the hot summer months reduce or completely eliminate your urea usage to avoid potential problems.
  • We can help rectify the situation if you give Holganix or your local distributor a call for assistance. There are products that may restore your mixed batch pH balance.

Urea (46-0-0 and other urea products) have the potential in hot weather to ammoniate which causes high pH in the spray mixture and could damage the grass. Mixing the spray tanks in the morning and spraying them out completely every day should eliminate this from occurring. Leaving the tank lids off overnight and recirculating the spray hose back into the tank in the morning are good practices. However, in hot weather, particularly if the product is left in the tank overnight, if the spray technician smells ammonia this should be addressed. The pH should be tested and if it is above 8, action needs to be taken. Adding a pH reducer -citric acid can rectify the problem. If the tank needs to be refilled or topped off, correct the high pH batch before filling up the tank.  Another solution is to switch from the 46-0-0 urea to Methylene urea. Methylene urea is much more stable than 46-0-0 but can still ammoniate so please continue practicing precautionary measures.  

Stay tuned for next week's Marketing Hints and Tips entry or subscribe and we'll email you it automatically.

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