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Agronomy: Soil and Plant Science for Landscapes
by Rick Orr
People have doctors, animals have veterinarians and plants have agronomists - agronomists are the “health care providers” for soil and plants.
Agronomists Perform Essential Services
Many agronomists work to improve food production and reduce the environmental impact of food production in farming communities throughout the world. Other agronomists work in non-food industries as land use management and planning, soil classification and environmental management. A subgroup of agronomy is the management of urban landscapes – golf courses, parks and landscapes – these are the Urban Agronomists.
Urban Agronomy: The Science of Landscape Management
I am an Urban Agronomist. My job as the owner operator of A Promised Land Lawn Spraying, Inc. is the maintenance of the health and welfare of soil and plants in the urban landscape. To perform my job I use very specialized equipment and technologically advanced pest control products and fertilizers. Gone are the days of 10-10-10 fertilizer and brown jug pesticides – these are the days of mitochondrial inhibitors, synthetic botanicals, timed released polymer nutrients, genetically engineered turf grasses and complicated environmental laws. Advance education and training in agronomy is a prerequisite.
My Agronomic History
I studied at Va Tech where I earned a BS in Agronomy in 1979. I studied turf ecology, horticulture, plant pathology and physiology, meteorology, soils and weed science. My ambition was to work as a Golf Course Superintendent and I did for almost 3 years after graduation. But the words of Dr. R.E. Schmidt, professor of turf ecology, echoed in my ears “You should go into lawn spraying – that’s the next big industry for agronomists”. That was 1978 when lawn spraying was still in its infancy.
In 1985 I passed the exam for lawn and ornamental pest control for Florida and started working with single family homes, resorts and condominiums as a lawn spraying contractor in Destin Florida. I provided service to famous resorts like Sandestin, Hidden Dunes, Topsail and the Town of Seaside, Fl. In 1995, I took a position with Raymow Landscape Services to develop their lawn spraying division - working mostly in the East Lake Woodlands area of Pinellas County. Then in 1998 I started a business that in 2001 became A Promised Land Lawn Spraying, Inc. - providing lawn spraying services to homes, estates, businesses, HOA’s and condominiums throughout Pinellas County.
Landscapes at the Their Highest Potential
I owe all of my success in the lawn spraying industry to my education and training in agronomy. That education - learning the inner workings of plants, soils, modern pesticides and fertilizers – is crucial in perfecting my mix designs, the timing of applications and quickly solving problems that occur in the landscape. And better mix designs, timing and quick solutions maintain landscapes – whether it be a home, business or condominium - at their highest potential.
ILoveTurf.com - August 14th, 2011
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