Micro-organisms Gain Popularity as Fertilizer

By Thomas J. Cowett,  Special to News & Record – Part two of two parts.

Romancing-the-LawnThe love we have for our lawns and gardens is extremely conditional.

Success relies on great environmental conditions, proper know-how and plenty of help from Mother Nature.

Love for gardening can be romantic, complete with mystery, excitement and glamour. Mostly in pursuit of green lawns and ripe juicy tomatoes.

We worship Mother Nature, the ground she walks on and the air she breathes into our work.

Despite how unpredictable she can be, we take on the challenge for the expected rewards — beautiful landscapes, fresh cut flowers, fresh garden vegetables and thick healthy lawns.

A recent Gallup poll found a top concern for people today is in the health of our environment. What are we doing about it? The poll found the No. 1 activity we do to protect the environment is recycle. That’s an awesome start, but there are things you can do to help the environment even more that are fun, exciting, even mind blowing.

Recycling is romantic, an activity we do to show our love for the Earth. It’s like writing a love letter or buying a box of chocolate, taking out the trash.

Gardening is romantic because we are acting on our passion. Add to it the mystery in the soil and you’ve got a love affair.

I am passionate about my lawn and protecting and improving the environment.

Once, our industry was gaining a reputation of being less than friendly to the environment. Not any longer.

I fell in love with mycorrhizae fungi and Rhizobium bacteria. I am intimate with my dirt. My love for lawns has grown stronger and more meaningful.

How can I inspire you to love your lawn? Let me count the ways.

The benefits of a healthy lawn include safe, fun spaces for recreation; reducing soil erosion; filtering and storing surface water; cooling ambient temperatures; filtering air pollution; reducing noise pollution; increasing property values; capturing and storing carbon.

These great benefits are not exactly romantic. But they are the foundation and the reason we have lawns.

A beautiful lush green lawn, striped to perfection, will grab your attention. I sometime catch myself saying things like “That’s a smoking hot lawn” or “That lawn is pumping.”

But a lawn should be about more than just looks; a lawn should be sustainable and contribute to the health of the environment. Nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers are two major contributors to atmospheric and groundwater pollution and are two major components of fertilizers commonly used by gardeners today.

Some states have already put restrictions on applications of phosphorous to home lawns, and North Carolina is moving in that direction.

There is a better way to treat your lawn, where beauty is deep, it is roots deep. Call it “under beauty.” It is microscopic but needs to be seen by everyone. With biologically fed lawns, microorganisms work to draw nitrogen and phosphorous from the air and soil and we actually end up with more nitrogen at the end of the season than we started with.

Loving your lawn should not cost you an arm and a leg to keep it happy. The secrets to loving the lawn are actually free and already abundant in the soil. Our soils are abundant in the mineral nutrients that lawns trees and shrubs require for optimum growth. They just play hard to get.

Most nutrients essential to plants must be in a soluble form that plants can absorb through their roots and foliage. Organic acids produced by the living micro-organisms in the soil make the nutrients soluble and readily available for uptake by the plant. The process is complex but easy to understand, and anyone can contribute.

The organic approach to fertilizing using living microorganisms is becoming more popular — as it should. However, if you are using synthetic nutrients, use them wisely. Always keep the micro biology in mind. Use organics as much as you can to offset the harmful effects of chemicals. We can assist Mother Nature in the process by nurturing the life in the soil.

When we clear land for development, we destroy what nature took years to build. We can build it back. With new technology today, we can build back the biology. I love this probiotic approach to lawn care; it’s like yogurt for the lawn.


Thank you, Tommy.

Inspiring you to love your lawn,


Read the published article on the Greensboro News & Record site:

From Our Gardens – Micro-organisms gain popularity as fertilizer