When Clark Throssell was asked to define bionutrition for the lawn, the director of research for Lebanon Turf, had to stop and think for a second. It wasn’t because he didn’t know the answer. It was because he had to be careful in answering it because the definition can change depending on who you talk to.
“(It’s) something that contained one or more of the (17 essential) nutrients, plus something else that would fall into the category of a micro-biological, bio-stimulant, a hormone or something of that nature,” says Throssel, adding, that a supplement like amino acids.
Throssell can’t give an exact number, but he says bionutrition has been around for more than 30 years, but has recently become more popular.
LCO use. No matter how you define bionutrition, customers will perceive the idea of bionutrition as a more environmentally safe way of having their lawn treated.
“I think the average homeowner would perceive it as sustainable,” he says. “If you were to talk to a sustainability expert, maybe they would have different take. But I think a customer would perceive it as more sustainable. A pro would argue but a consumer would see bionutrition and think, ‘better for the environment.’”
The good thing about using bionutrition on a lawn is the application won’t damage the lawn. So, if you suggest to customers that they might want to try it, you don’t need to worry about ruining a loyal customer’s lawn. But even knowing that fact, LCOs may not feel completely comfortable adding it as a service.
“I think there is some hesitancy,” he says. “With anything new there is some hesitancy. But what I would suggest is that an LCO would try it – but to me it’s one of those things you just can’t try on one lawn and make a sweeping judgment whether it worked or not work.”
Throssel says if an LCO wanted to test out adding bio-nutrition products to his supply, he should test it out on a route for a season. Once the season is over, compare other lawns in the area that had just normal NPK fertilizer, and see which one turned out better.
“That’s a good way to find out if products work and to what degree that homeowners would notice difference and maybe a homeowner would be willing to pay a little extra money with the extra value that would come with it,” he says. “That kind of use is a good way for an LCO to become comfortable with the product and idea by putting it on 30 or so different lawns – that’s enough of comparison the LCO should get a good idea of what the product contributed and what value it brought to his or her business.”