Dr-Fix-It! Notebook Archive:
The HANNA Criterion
After only a week of being listed on the Dr-Fix-It Index, a famous national landscape supply company wrote me an e-mail saying they were rejecting this web site as an acceptable platform to advertise their products. The official notice from the Director of Internet Marketing said, after reviewing this site, the company had decided to pull their sponsorship because they did not like the "tone" of the Grounds page.
The Director said the company was concerned that the page was so decidedly skewed toward natural and organic products and felt that their Featured Product ,"SHIFT"-- Super High-Intensity Fertilizer Treatment, would be misrepresented. I will comply with the wishes of that famous national landscape supply company and not promote their products anymore. For the purposes of this web site, their product will always be called "SHIFT".
Yes, I DO promote the use of natural and organic lawn care products. I have read that formulated fertilizers utilizing derived nitrogen compounds can actually do more damage than good. In the long run, it seems plants become conditioned to the strong dosage of nutrients found in formulated fertilizers and actually lose the ability to absorb organic chemicals found naturally in the soil.
"SHIFT" is so potent that it is accompanied by a Material Data Safety Sheet in addition to detailed instructions describing many potential side effects to plants, humans and wildlife. Why would anyone want to use such a product on their property?
I have a simple guideline for selecting lawn care products. I call it the HANNA criterion. What is HANNA? The Hazardous Agricultural Nitrogenous Nutrients Agency ? The Health and Natural Nutrition Act? No, Hanna is our dog.
Hanna is a member of the Dr-Fix-It staff. She is a three year old mixed breed cross between a fox terrier and a garbage truck. Her official duties at Dr-Fix-It Headquarters include being Director of Backyard Excavations, Director of Security, sometimes Unsanitary Engineer, sometimes Traffic Blockade and once, quite by accident, Fertilizer Non-toxicity Evaluator.
Hanna’s three favorite things in no particular order are eating , sleeping and being brushed. When she is awake and not being brushed, she is looking for something to eat. Food seems to be the preferred commodity to eat, but Hanna does not limit herself. She will sample anything.
So, it happened one day , I was fertilizing the shrubs in the front of the property with a product I purchased from one of my sponsors; a natural organic fertilizer called "Shrubs Alive" marketed by Gardens Alive. "Shrubs Alive" is a pelleted, time release mixture of ingredients including blood meal, worm casings, manures, guano and other natural plant nutrients. The potency is low: 5-3-5 so I can apply it without worry of burning anything.
Hanna saw I was in the front and decided to investigate. She sniffed several of the newly fertilized shrubs then tasted the "Shrubs Alive" at the base of the plant. What happened next surprised me. Hanna began to wolf down the fertilizer as if it were beef tips and gravy! I stopped her immediately did my best to get Hanna to spit out what she still had in her mouth. I had to spread mulch over the fertilizer and water it in to keep Hanna from trying to gulp down any more.
Unlike my thriving shrubs, Hanna did not benefit from the application of fertilizer she gave herself. Most importantly, she suffered absolutely no effects at all from ingesting plant food. I shudder to think what might have happened if Hanna had eaten some of that noxious "SHIFT" instead.
To the National corporation that markets "SHIFT" and to those that use it, I ask if you are taking into consideration the people, birds and animals that may accidentally come in contact with the chemicals you apply? Do you consider that runoff eventually takes your chemicals into the groundwater? Do you really need to force-feed your plants at the expense of the community and the wildlife?
Yes, I am "decidedly skewed toward natural and organic products". If I cannot pronounce the ingredients in a lawn care product, I will not buy it. If the word CAUTION appears anywhere in the instructions, I am not interested. If I even suspect the product might do any harm to anyone or anything, I will not use it. Period.
That is the HANNA Criterion.