Have you ever wondered why a golf course or a professional sports field has such fantastic-looking grass, particularly when it gets so much wear and tear? The answer lies in lawn biology, something that most people (including even some lawn care pros), don’t know much about.
Lawn biology is the secret to a spectacular lawn and it all comes down to the health of your soil. This is an issue that can get rather scientific and complex, but it’s an important one and we want our clients to understand why they might want to consider using lawn biostimulants to improve their lawn biology.
That’s why we reached out to David Stark, Ph.D., president of agriculture for Holganix, which is the company that provides the products that we utilize in our hybrid Platinum lawn care program, which is one of our three lawn care options.
All three lawn care programs are going to give you great results, but the Platinum program goes a bit further and is also different in its approach.
The Platinum program uses bionutritional soil additives from Holganix to reduce the need for lawn care products over time and ultimately promote healthy and thriving lawns. In order to understand why you might want to consider this, we’ve asked Dr. Stark to explain what makes these products so valuable.
Dr. Stark answered some of our questions that we suspect you might be wondering before choosing this program.
According to Dr. Stark, a lawn bionutrition program works by supplying the soil with healthy microbes that it needs to thrive. Soil already has a population of microorganisms living in it, though many soils are struggling and need some extra help.
Once added, these microbes do very important work by helping consume lawn fertilizer. They then discrete fertilizer in a chemically active form as waste, which the plants can take up readily.
In simpler terms, the microbes help the plant to better absorb the available nutrients.
Dr. Stark says that research shows about half of the fertilizers supplied to lawns as part of a traditional lawn care program never make it to the root zone, where they’re needed. They simply just remain inert in the soil.
That means that more fertilizer has to be put down to achieve the desired impact. But with a program that uses lawn bionutrition and introduces microbes, less fertilizer will ultimately be needed because what’s put down is being fully used.
These microbes also perform a valuable task of helping grassroots to grow better. The lawn will ultimately grow more roots, which go deeper. This allows it to take in more water, naturally, reducing watering requirements over time.
Dr. Stark says that introducing microbes will also reduce or even eliminate the need for fungicides since you’re introducing “good microbes that will fight bad microbes,” much like we see occurring in antibiotics.
“As you get those good microbes established, they’re going to fight off ones that cause disease,” he explains. “We’re seeing golf courses cut down their fungicide applications dramatically because they’ve really built up their good microbe population and the turf is naturally fighting off the bad ones.”
As more people are made aware of the power of lawn biology, the products on the market are expanding. But Dr. Stark says it’s important to recognize that not all products are created equal.
“Holganix is unique,” he says. “It’s the most biologically diverse product out there and biological diversity is what good soil health is all about. A single teaspoon of good soil will contain thousands of different species of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and so forth. One teaspoon of healthy soil can contain one billion individual bacteria, alone. It’s that diversity that counts and our product has over 800 species of microbes.”
Dr. Stark says there’s an easy way to see that Holganix is more diverse than other products—it’s refrigerated.
“There’s no other way we can stabilize the diversity of our biology except for refrigeration,” he says. “So, if you’re using a powder or a product that doesn’t require refrigeration, it’s simply not as diverse.”
It’s important to tread cautiously as the market expands, warns Dr. Stark. “There is a lot of snake oil out there,” he says. “There is a lot of overpromising and under-delivering and it often comes down to companies that aren’t using the best products to back up their claims.”
We know there are a lot of lawn care companies out there making claims about how they care about “soil health” and “lawn biology,” but they’re not backing it up by investing in the right products. At Master Lawn, we’ve done our research and we know that Holganix products get the results that our clients really desire.
At the end of the day, you probably don’t want to delve much deeper into the specifics of the science behind these products. The fact is, it’s complicated. Dr. Stark says that the whole understanding of lawn biology is still relatively new, and definitely still evolving.
But what you do care about is whether the products work and that you’ll get the results you desire.
Ultimately, you have a choice. If you choose traditional lawn care with Master Lawn, you’ll definitely get great results. But, if you are strongly motivated to have a lawn that goes beyond great (that is spectacular), then you might want to choose the hybrid. This program will also appeal to those who are looking to reduce their ecological footprint. While our traditional lawn care programs are responsible and use EPA-approved products, the Platinum program goes a step beyond in this area as well.
In the end, you can trust that you’ll get great results either way. Plus, by choosing to work with Master Lawn, you can rest assured that we’re staying on top of the research for you. As the field continues to evolve and understanding increases, we’re following along. That includes continuing to invest in products that we believe will produce the best possible results across all of our programs.
Do you want to compare a hybrid approach to traditional lawn care? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.