Golf Course News

Companies put new spin on organic fertilizer products

Companies put new spin on organic fertilizer products

Overbeck, Andrew

Editorial Focus: Fertilizer

GLEN BURNIE, Md. and NORTH AMHERST, Mass. — Two organic fertilizer manufacturers have formed new distribution ventures and dramatically expanded product offerings in an aggressive move increase their golf industry presence.

Tim Davisson, head of Davisson Golf, has formed a new venture, Bio Basics LLC, to roll out a line of organic liquid and granular fertilizers and amendments nationwide.

Davisson Golf has been distributing organic fertilizer and other products in the Mid-Atlantic region since 1991. EcoOrganics Inc., a firm founded in 1999 by three professors at the University of Massachusetts to develop organic fertilizers, has teamed up with Soil Technologies Corp. to increase the distribution of its products in the Eastern U.S.

Both companies offer unique fertilizer technology that could change the way courses use organic products.

In addition to its customized line of Bio Basics liquid fertilizer and ZeoPro soil amendment, Bio Basics has teamed up with Purdue Agricycle Inc. to take pasteurized dry poultry waste (DPW) and turn it into golf course grade fertilizer.

“What comes out of these chickens is incredible,” said Davisson. “They are feeding chickens the same things we feed turf. The analysis correlates almost directly with the ratios that we look for in the tissue analysis in our liquid program.”

Bio Basics makes a straight DPW product and also combines it with air-ground carbons and sugars to enhance nutrient up– take and growth. The Enhanced DPW can also be mixed with synthetic fertilizer to provide higher nutrient analysis.

On the liquid side, Bio Basics offers leaf tissue analysis so superintendents know exactly which nutrients the turf is getting.

Rick Holanda, superintendent at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown, Pa., which is holding this year’s Senior PGA Championship, uses both the DPW and the liquid fertilizer products.

“The DPW is a good granular product for roughs, bunker banks and green surrounds. I use it in the spring and fall,” said Holanda. I have been using the liquid product for several years, however. The turf tissue analysis allows you to control the nutrients in your greens. Every 14 days I take a look and see what is being over– applied or what is deficient, then I tweak the next application.”

Davisson said Bio Basics is in the process of signing five distributors this year and will eventually have 15 to 20 distributors across the country.


EcoOrganics is taking a similar approach to market by expanding distribution, but it has come up with a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer that it said could be used 100 percent on greens.

The EcoOrganics product line is based on soy trypticase broth, which is used in laboratories to grow bacteria.

“Trypticase broth is 90 percent isolated soy protein,” said Dr. Bill Torello, vice president of marketing for EcoOrganics and an associate prolessor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Massachusetts. “They’re not recyclable waste products, they are food- and animal-grade proteins, very safe and very clean.

“Our premier product is a 15– 2 – 0. That’s a very strong biostimulant. There is 15 percent organic nitrogen here. It’s not a bridge product. There is no soluble in it, no urea – it is 100 percent organic,” added Torello.

The product has also been shown to increase microbial activity in the soil profile, releasing another form of natural fertilizer material.

The fertilizer is available as a wettable powder for spray applications and can be used as the sole source of nitrogen for greens fertilization programs. According to Torello, on-course testing has showed excellent results at application rates between 1/24 to 1/4 of a pound per 1,000 square feet. EcoOrganics has also developed a greens-grade granular 11-2-3 product, which has the consistency of sand. It can also be used on fairways, roughs and tees.

“Classically, the problem with organics is that they are low in nutrient content, particularly nitrogen,” said Torello. “With the advent of this product, you can have the 100 percent organic management of greens.”

Copyright United Publications, Inc. Apr 2003

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