SUPERINTENDENT MAGAZINE – Walk the Talk: Crystal Green – Efficiency Equals Sustainability

Jun 6, 2016

Environmentally-Responsible Phosphorus FertilizerView original article

Superintendent Magazine  |  June 2016When Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies debuted Crystal Green fertilizer in 2009, it focused on the product’s environmental benefits. A blend of phosphorus, nitrogen and magnesium, Crystal Green is an enhanced-efficiency fertilizer that allows for lower application rates and reduced nutrient loss through leaching and runoff. Renewably made from phosphorus and nitrogen recovered from municipal water treatment streams, Crystal Green is suggested to be a different kind of phosphorus. Although phosphorus leaching and runoff has been an issue with fertilizers on turfgrass, Crystal Green reduces that risk because of its continuous­release and citrate-soluble mode of action.

“We have an incredible sustainability story when you look at Crystal Green as a product;’ says Molly Biedenfeld, vice president of nutrients market development and sales for the Vancouver-based company.

But Ostara is finding that what is even more key is the research showing more performance benefits, which is of interest when promoting Crystal Green to superintendents. A big focus is on root development.

“Building healthy turf is the cornerstone of a sustainable nutrient management program and that starts at the roots;’ Biedenfeld says.

Crystal Green is virtually water insoluble and releases only in response to organic acids produced by growing roots. As the roots produce citrates, Crystal Green responds with a healthy release of phosphorus, fertilizing plants on demand. A study conducted by Cornell University proved that Crystal Green enhanced root growth length and density in Kentucky bluegrass by 25 to 30 percent.

The fact that Crystal Green functions “on demand” is literally at the root of the sustainability story from an economic standpoint – it is not wasted and doesn’t result in lost dollars. “It’s better economically and it’s better for the environment;’ Biedenfeld adds.

Dave Wacker, regional sales manager for Ostara, believes that superintendents desire products that perform as advertised. “What I see is that superintendents want fertilizers that work first;’ he says. “So we have focused on the product’s performance, and we are getting more notice and understanding of it from superintendents.”