Over the past decade, the concept of sustainability has taken center stage in the landscape industry. Product labels, magazine articles, social media and advertisements continue to discuss the need for environmental responsibility and stewardship. As a result, lawn care companies and their customers recognize the need to use lawn care products that are not just effective, but also highly efficient and environmentally sustainable. When it comes to fertilizers, in particular, choosing the right product and using it in the right way can ensure optimal performance while minimizing potential risk to the environment.
"With so many fertilizer on the market, it can be difficult for lawn care professionals to identify their best options," says Eric Miltner, Ph.D., agronomist for Koch Turf & Ornamental. "Choosing the right fertilizer makes it possible to provide customers with a solution that both nurtures beautiful, healthy lawns and supports environmentally responsible practices."
Greater efficiency, better bottom line
Koch Turf & Ornamental is a global leader in producing enhance efficiency fertilizers that optimize nutrient performance and minimize nitrogen loss. Their products support consistent plant growth with fewer applications, which saves time and money while boosting productivity. This fertilizer technology also provides an ideal solution in areas where fertilizer use is strictly regulated. Because more nitrogen is available for plant uptake, lawn care companies and their customers get the most from each fertilizer application.
"Enhanced efficiency fertilizers just makes sense, from both an environmental and an economic perspective," Miltner adds. "By applying a more efficient product, lawn care professionals can achieve better results while optimizing labor and resources. And, they can differentiate themselves from their competition by promoting environmental stewardship and contributing to their companies' bottom lines."
Results that speak for themselves
Lawn Dawg, a regional lawn care company with eleven branches throughout the Northeast, is certainly answering the need for more sustainable solutions. Founded in 1997, Lawn Dawg offers its customers professional lawn care, tree and shrub care and exterior pest control services with a strong emphasis on environmental stewardship. Bob Mann, the company's corporate agronomist, has always been of the opinion that lawn care professionals are the world's true environmentalists.
"We help people maintain beautiful landscapes, not just with the products we use, but with our horticulture expertise and skills," Mann explains. "We have the responsibility of handling fertilizers and pesticides, so it's imperative that we understand how they work and how they affect the environment. From the beginning, environmentally responsible lawn care has been at the core of our business, and we're really proud of what we've achieved."
Three years ago, Lawn Dawg began field testing Koch's DURATION CR, a flexible, controlled-release, enhanced efficiency fertilizer designed to meet the varying and changing needs of turfgrass. DURATION CR's durable polymer coating delivers proven, dependable release of nutrients for 45,90 and 120 days. With DURATION CR fertilizer, nitrogen use can be reduced by up to 40% because of less potential loss due to leaching and volatilization.
"I'd been using Koch's products with similar technology for golf course customers," Mann says. "When I saw what a positive difference they made on turf quality, it was a no-brainer to try them for residential and commercial lawn care. After achieving excellent results, we ramped up our DURATION CR use for those customers."
Supporting sustainability, boosting profits
Mann says that DURATION CR supports Lawn Dawg's ongoing sustainability efforts and environmental focus. On a trip to Koch's production facilities in Sylacauga, ALA, he was able to see firsthand how the fertilizer is produced. "Their quality control measures are intense," Mann adds. "I'm convinced that DURATION CR delivers a precise and predictable amount of nitrogen to turfgrass over a variety of longevities. By only delivering as much nitrogen as the turfgrass can consume at any given time, DURATION CR reduces losses due to volatilization and leaching, which also protects the environment."
According to Mann, Lawn Dawg's customer base has grown as a result of the company's continued emphasis on sustainable practices, like using DURATION CR fertilizer. "Many of our sales leads and eventual sales come from referrals, so our customers like what we're doing," Mann explains. "And, they're telling their friends and neighbors about it. I'd definitely recommend DURATION CR to other lawn care companies."