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Interiorscape Forum / Scaper Talk Discussion Forum / Plants / Fertilizer Use in LEED Certified Buildings

Posted:  02 May 2011 23:02  
What fertilizers do other interiorscapers use in 'LEED Certified' buildings?  We were told water-soluble like Jack's 20-20-20 can't be used anymore because they aren't LEED approved. I was told organic fertilizers don't work well in potted plants because there isn't enough bio-mass to move the fertilizer into the plants.  I also heard that no one organic product gives plants what they need.  A supplier recommended liquid Daniel's Pinnacle 3-1-1 weekly at the lowest rate plus top-dressing with granular Sustain 8-2-4 every 6-8 wks. I purchased both but the Sustain had an awful smell (composted turkey manure.)  We simply can't use smelly products like this in Class A office towers.  Does anyone use compost tea or fish emulsion?  We generally only fertilize once or twice a year indoors.  Our olive trees patiently await your answers.
Posted:  03 May 2011 01:14  
What about just plain old "blood meal" Works well for greening up almost anything.
Rick
Posted:  03 May 2011 01:38  
What an interesting question...never entered my mind that it would be an issue.  I'll bet Lynn Griffith of A & L Labs in Florida would be willing to do consultation work on that.  His email is lgriff6250@aol.com.  I'm sure he'd even do it over the phone, if need be.  Tell him that Julie sent you.
 
He has an enormous amount of info and experience in his head.  He's great with practical nutritional information.  He does work for many of the growers in Florida and all over the world, in many industries. He speaks at many interior plantscaping conferences and writes for I-plant magazine(?)...Kathy's electronic magazine.  He is REALLY bright and always up for a challenge!

Julie
Posted:  03 May 2011 03:33  
One more reason why LEED is a Trojan Horse of sorts.  The unreasonable, fanciful, utopian "standards" arbitrarily imposed by this self-created private bureaucracy will cause all kinds of mischief and mayhem in the industry before they're done with us. 

Maybe a LEED zealot can explain to us just how the use of water-soluble fertilizers required by live plants to support their supposedly air-cleaning metabolism could be a bad thing in the relatively minuscule quantities we would be using in a typical commercial building?  I'd be REALLY interested to hear that sermon!

Clem
Posted:  03 May 2011 07:53  
Quote:
Maybe a LEED zealot can explain to us just how the use of water-soluble fertilizers required by live plants to support their supposedly air-cleaning metabolism could be a bad thing in the relatively minuscule quantities we would be using in a typical commercial building?  I'd be REALLY interested to hear that sermon!


Amen!
Posted:  03 May 2011 13:33  
there's no such thing as LEED certified products. the USGBC does not certify products and most certainly they do not regulate whether or not a fertilizer can be used in a LEED certified building. if you are being told not to use a particular fertilizer then the buildings management has made this decision on their own and it has nothing to do with the LEED rating system.
Posted:  03 May 2011 22:26  
Alex is absolutely 100% correct.  The USGBC does not approve, certify or ban any products period!

Patty, you can use whatever the heck you want as long as your client doesn't mind.  An organic would be most eco-friendly but you'd need to find one that has been deodorized, check with your local garden center or big-box store.

If you need more help on working in LEED certified buildings just let me know--this is why I got my LEED AP credentials, so I could help on stuff like this!
-Kathy Fediw
Posted:  04 May 2011 03:21   Last Edited By: Clem 
Has anyone considered the DOWNSIDE environmental impact of "organic" products used to promote plant growth and/or health?  As we all know from firsthand experience in the past using certain pesticides in buildings, there are any number of hypersensitive individuals in the world for whom the odor of a chemical pesticide...or an organic fertilizer...can constitute real torture.  People with compromised respiratory systems, for instance, or people with highly allergic conditions, can become very ill from these odors and vapors (the odor of manure, after all, is by definition caused by VOCs...volatile organic compounds...the very same compounds that our industry currently crusades against).

So let's not be heavy-handed about the supposed benefits of "organic" products.  Many times they are inappropriate in confined, human-inhabited interior spaces, although they can be perfectly acceptable in outdoor farming and landscaping applications (unless, of course, you're the neighbor living next door).  And oftentimes these organic products do not release sufficient quantities of the desired nutrients over time to be of much use to plants anyway.

As far as I'm concerned, the use of water-soluble chemical fertilizers in the performance of my contracted duties for a client is NOT subject to client veto.  Pesticide use IS in fact subject to the client's approval by law, and that prerogative must be respected. 

Clem

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