Last Updated on October 3, 2022 by Brian Beck
What does Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Bio-Diversity and Crop Rotation have in common? Well, not a lot other than Arnold’s nickname was “The Oak”, his achievements are numerous and unless you have been living under a rock for the past 40+ years you will know why. So here is how I am tying all of these disparate topics in a cohesive and relevant meaning. I was giving an estimate a few years ago, actually it was 2020, just at the onset of the Corona experience. I was in the back yard with a prospective customer talking with him about how we could help him. He was polite but was not digging what I had to tell him about times by going to the gym once a month objective reality and then he uttered the question,” Is there just something that you can put down once that will affect the entire year and just be done with it?” Well you and I both know that in a sane universe there is no shortcut to success and without missing a beat I responded, ” Did Schwarzenegger win Mr. Olympia 7 times by going to the gym once a week?” He got the point. There is not a “fire and forget” method to getting the lawn of your dreams. That is the result of the narcotic effect of using methamphetamines for fertilizer (my nickname for them) as we have been conditioned into thinking that there is a quick fix or a pill so to speak, that will speed us up to a desired result. Part of this is impatience, some of this is ignorance and some of it is arrogance. I mean I am all for paying for speed but it really doesn’t jive with biology.
OK, so there is a reason why we have to fertilize and it is important to understand why. You see there is a term that I use from agriculture that is the word “mono-culture”, meaning a monolithic existence of a homogenous plant material like a corn field. This is not natural and happens extremely rare in nature. In a forest, there is biodiversity and there is a reason why. You see, each different plant species pushes and pulls different nutrients out of the soil, competing but also complimenting each others needs. These are shared through the fungal soil web that cycle nutrients such as nitrogen and carbon in and out of the soil. They balance out soil problems via the microbes and create harmony in the soil of the forest. In a crop such as corn they rotate crops to compliment and balance out nutrients that would normally occur if there was some diversity in the plant matter. In a sod lawn, this does not exist. We are not going to “rotate” our sod thus necessitating the need for manual inputs to supplement the inadequacies of the lack of biodiversity. This is what you are seeing when you experience weeds in your lawn. Nature gravitates towards biodiversity and each of the weeds that you have are the result of an imbalance in the soil that nature is attempting to correct. The turf can get nutrients from the soil as well as the atmosphere but there is a legitimate need to supplement the grass has from being a monoculture, the price of a turf lawn.
So, to answer the question of the gentleman from a few years ago, no there is not an “event” or a single application that will adequately satisfy the growing needs of a turf lawn. aren’t we all glad that Arnold went to the gym more than once?