Tag Archives: chemical fertilizer

 

As you probably know by now, Heidelberg Farms loves the fall and leaf color changes, which is why we wanted to talk about why you sometimes see what is often referred to as “green islands.”

The term refers to leaves that have not changed all the way, as they feature completely green spots. Why is that? Well, it has something to do with moth larvae on leaves. More specifically, it has to do with bacteria living on their bodies. According to researchers, bacteria interacts with leaf tissues and affect the production of cytokinins, which ultimately produces green islands.

How it works
When trees are preparing to go dormant for the winter, the leaves begin to shut down production of cytokinin, which eventually leads to color changes. However, bacteria help to increase the production of cytokinin. What this means is that the tissues around the larvae possess more photosynthetic life.

Photosynthetic life equals more food for the larvae, and so what we have is a symbiotic relationship between the larvae and bacteria. They both benefit—and the result are those green islands you sometimes see on leaves deep into autumn.

The takeaway from green islands

In looking at the relationship between bacteria and larvae, it is important to consider the larger implications regarding plant, grass and tree biology in general. Nothing we do to care for our lawns and gardens is done within a vacuum. Everything affects everything else, and so when we use chemicals to treat the earth, we are destroying a balance between plants, grasses, trees and our environment.

The larvae needs the bacteria, which needs the moth just like we need healthy soil to produce healthy food for our families. Next time you see a green island, remember what it means. It means nature is working as intended.

Have questions about anything or need help cleaning up this fall, call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919. 

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Fall Leaves

It is officially fall and leaves are starting to make their way to the ground. Here are three things to consider this season and you look to clean up and prepare for the winter.

  1. Mulch your fall leaves and leave them on your lawn.
  2. Build a leaf pile now for compost next spring. If leaves are mixed in with your discarded produce, it will help to balance the carbon and nitrogen for next spring as well as control insects and cut down on odor.
  3. Leaf piles placed toward a wood line or property line (away from the house) will provide a habitat for wildlife.

FALL LEAVESOkay, so you may be wondering about the first bit of advice. Well, honestly, there really is no scientific reason to rake all your leaves off your lawn. If you mow over them with a mower each week while your leaves are falling, they’ll break down over the winter and provide your soil with critical nutrients. The leaves will also shade the soil, which will result in fewer lawn weeds next year. Just be sure to set your wheels at the highest setting.

According to some experts, fallen leaves carry 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a tree extracts from the soil and air, including carbon, potassium, and phosphorus. For garden plots, this means that a two- to three-inch layer of fall leaves spread over them will not only hold down weed growth and add organic matter, but protect garden soil from compaction caused by rainfall.

The takeaway here is that everything in your yard can serve a purpose—and fall leaves are no different. With a little bit of planning (and patience), using your leaves for compost or just leaving them in your yard after going over them with a mower can provide an important building block for a healthier lawn in the future.

Have questions about fall leaves? Call us at (603) 501-9919.

XeriscapingFrom an environmental standpoint, we invest an incredible amount of resources into our lawns. This investment yields a return that goes well beyond our (unnaturally) green lawns.

Here are some stats that will surprise you:

• Lawnmowers account for about 5 percent of the nation’s air pollution.
More than 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled annually refilling lawn and garden equipment—more than the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez.
• Homeowners typically use 10 times the amount of pesticide and fertilizers per acre on their lawns as farmers do on crops.
• Thirty to 60 percent of urban fresh water is used on lawns.

To make matters worse, most of the chemicals that are used are wasted due to inappropriate timing and application. These chemicals consequently become a major source of water pollution. Lastly, most of this water is also wasted due to poor timing and application.

How much is too much?

This question is more than rhetorical. It is a battle cry that should involve all Americans. How badly do we want our green lawns—and must it be right now?

Sure, building an organic program for your lawn and/or garden takes time. Frankly, it might take an entire year before you see a noticeable difference in the appearance of either. However, what is taking place beneath what you see—the soil—will make a difference for years and years to come.

Alternative to traditional lawn care

It is sometimes referred to as “revolutionary,” but your approach to lawn care can in fact require very little maintenance. From beautiful, low-maintenance groundcovers like creeping thyme to native trees, shrubs and grasses, your lawn does not need constant tweaking or work.

Xeriscaping is another way to rethink and reinterpret your lawn. Promoted in regions that do not have easy access to water, xeriscaping is landscaping that reduces or even removes the need to irrigate from supplemental water sources altogether.

If you have questions, call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919. Together, we can make a difference.

Using Chemical Fertilizers?

As a society, we’ve been indoctrinated with ‘instant satisfaction.’ This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just where we’re at. Drones delivering packages to your house, streaming TV shows, virtual reality headsets — it’s madness! Some folks want to take this approach to their yards, because it’s quick and easy. But just like those diet pill infomercials you see at 3 a.m., instant gratification isn’t always what it seems.

The same goes for your yard. Sure, you can go to (insert big box store here) and buy chemical-laden lawn products that make your grass an unhealthy shade of nuclear green overnight. But that’s the quick fix, folks, and Heidelberg Farms is not about that. Natural lawn care is our program. Here are some of the things that can happen when you use chemical fertilizers.

It kills the soil.

Sure, chemical fertilizers are great for quick plant growth (although not much else), but when using them you’re slowly killing your soil. These types of fertilizers contain sulphuric and hydrochloric acids, which slowly break down the integrity of the soil. Your yard’s soil relies on natural microorganisms and particles to hold the soil together. When chemicals are used, your soil doesn’t get replenished. And over time, it will start to not be able to grow anything. Not to mention, a lot of chemical fertilizers are made with fossil fuels (you wouldn’t water your garden with oil, would you?) which breaks down the soil even more. When the soil isn’t replenished properly, the acidity of your lawn keeps growing, adding poisonous elements that you definitely don’t want making their way into your fruits, vegetables, or interaction with your kids/pets.

It’s got a short life span.

Most store-bought chemical fertilizers last only a few weeks before you have to go back to the store to buy some more. The usage in fertilizers like Miracle Gro varies on the type you buy, but typically, you can’t expect it to help sustain your lawn, plants or soil. The main drive behind organic lawn care is that it actually improves the living environment around your yard, like supplementing the soil with the naturally reoccurring microorganisms, bacteria and nutrients it needs to survive. Chemical fertilizers are the quick fix by ‘filling in the blanks’ around what your soil needs — but then rapidly depletes it, meaning you have to start over.

It’s hazardous to your health!

This one is too obvious! Chemical fertilizers are just that — chemicals. As we start to learn more about the dangers that chemical products have on our bodies, we’re adapting to it quickly. The same goes for using chemical fertilizers in your yard. The same nasty things that help your plants grow quickly are the same ones that will kill them in the end. And have you ever opened a bag of Miracle Gro to find hundreds of ants or fruit flies storm out? *Shudders*.

This is a pretty short list, folks, but it can go on and on. Using chemical fertilizers on your yard doesn’t always make the grass greener.