JUNE 28, 2011 – This year our Maintenance Division is providing more organic landscaping services. Bob Bellacqua, Account Manager at RPM’s Landscape Maintenance Division, is leading the way, always experimenting and refining methods on his own yard.
“A healthy, organic lawn resists disease and ultimately becomes more economical because it feeds off of itself, requiring less fertilizer,” says Bob. Bob uses a special compost spreader to create a top dressing of approximately 1/2” compost over the existing lawn to feed the soil. We source the compost from dairy farms, where the soil is rich in earth worms and manure, and tests high for phosphorous (for strong root growth) and potassium (helps plants use water and resist drought).
Earthworms till the soil, break down organic matter and add nutrients. To succeed, Bob says, “there must be a commitment and understanding that it may be a couple of months before you start seeing results.” People become dependent on repeated application of nitrogen which gets grass green quickly, but fizzles in a couple of weeks. Putting down pesticides and fungicides kill earthworms and short-circuit the organic process.
“By using just 5% more organic material the soil will be 3 to 4 times more capable of retaining water which significantly reduces the demand for irrigation,” Bob explains. Once a lawn gets the right organic balance, it looks and stays healthy longer, and requires less water and chemicals to stay that way.