Exceeding expectations

Arborist Bobby Solar Jr. didn’t know what to expect, but with the encouragement of an industry colleague and a desire to improve his client services he tried EarthWorks’ Sea 3 liquid fertilizer. What he found was a user-friendly product with seemingly limitless applications and outstanding results that got his customers' attention.

April 18, 2017
Soil Health brought to you by EarthWorks Supplier News Turf
While looking to improve services to his clients, Bobby Solar Jr., principal at Solar’s Custom Arbor Care in Lovingston, Virginia, came across Sea 3 - a liquid organic fertilizer formulated from a trio of sea-based nutrient sources: fish meal, kelp meal and sea water extracts. The results were spectacular.

“I was not trying to overcome any one problem, I simply wanted to try and see just how well Sea 3 worked - if at all - and if my clients and their trees/shrubs could benefit from it,” Solar says. “I had an open mind and gave it a shot (or 24).”

He had heard of EarthWorks and Sea 3 from a friend and colleague, Tighe Nostrand, owner of Friendly Tree Service in Bangor Pennsylvania, who “raved about” the product.

“I had never heard of it and was a ‘loyal’ Essentials Plus customer and honestly really wasn't going to even try Sea 3,” Solars admits. “Tighe gave me a 2.5 gallon jug and like caffeine and pizza I was hooked.”

The first real test came with Rhododendrons.

“I wanted to really test the product on many stressed plants to sort of throw the pickles [to Sea3], he says. “After a few months with a single application of EarthWorks high rate mixed with rain-collected water to a row of Rhododendrons that were stressed by borders and root rot (both treated and problems were under control), I noticed small new growth and multiple new growths throughout the year that didn't happen in years past and without attracting new insects.

“So I treated them again in the fall and spring of the next year and ... Holy flowers!,” Solar exclaims. “I was surprised and the client was amazed at what would have been a removal turned into a ‘please keep those shrubs.’”

That is just one of many adventures, according to Solar.

“I have used Sea 3 on many flowering plants trees and shrubs, evergreens and fruit trees,” he said. “I probably have more than 200 hours of ‘at-home’ testing with Sea 3 - from shrubs to trees, bedding plants and even my lawn. I have never used such a user-friendly material with a label that is less than a paragraph, versus a novel. Now, with that being said, I am sure it has its limitations ... just haven't found them yet.”

Solar has also found Sea 3 to help trees following root pruning with an air spade - a practice that tends to stress the trees.

“I follow up with this product as a soil drench on the highest rate allowed and I noticed a difference in new growth size the following year's spring push versus those non-treated trees,” he says.

“In Virginia, Emerald Ash Borer is now a threat,” Solar adds. “I offer Sea 3 as a pre-soil injection 30-60 days prior to any EAB treatment to help aid in the uptake of water and nutrition in the hopes that the trees will stay vigilant in their fight against the borers. My expectations were not met, they were exceeded and I would do all of the again if I had the chance.”