We have been both using and selling Hickman’s 4-2-2 pelletized chicken manure since 2009. It was important to see how it worked personally before even giving out samples to my landscape maintenance clients.

Over the years we are seeing and hearing what we expected from this organic product, a very slow acting fertilizer; that, as you continue to use it, compounds its fine qualities over time. That being said, some of the material is in the soil even a year later, so if you apply it three times over a 12 month period, you keep getting more of the product working in the soil.

What is very attractive about this product is the slow growth of the turf when using the 4-2-2. This saves on labor, equipment wear, and waste disposal. While maintaining the green of the lawns, mowing can either be reduced or cause less clippings if you are mowing weekly. Less grass cuttings means less wear on mowing equipment and a reduction in waste disposal costs.
The 4-2-2 is considerably less expensive than many of its non-organic competitors, but you will need to apply a heavier application, ideally in the 15-20lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. Even at that application rate, you will not be punished with heavy growth, just darker green. What we have found is the more you apply, the deeper green and the longer lasting it becomes.
Ideally this product is most effective during the warmer soil temperatures (when the microbes of the soil are most active), so applying from March thru overseeding in October achieves maximum results.
My clients who do commercial maintenance, have not been able to test whether the 4-2-2 actually reduces water usage. My understanding is that golf courses which have been using this product for more than a year and have the technology to follow closely water management, have seen a noticeable reduction in their water consumption, especially with sandy soils.
We have also been using the 4-2-2 as a soil conditioner in place of gypsum or sulfur. Retention basins with turf get the advantage of an organic fertilizer and the very beneficial option of helping to eliminate the standing water.
Although we have not seen any glaring negatives with the 4-2-2, it is important to understand the following: it is a very slow product, so if you are dealing with a 911 situation to green up your property quickly, 4-2-2 will not save your bacon in the short term. Another concern has always been the smell. Hickman’s has been testing and improving the odor control. My clients have said they have had few to no complaints. Hickman’s latest odor control product, yucca, may be the best yet.
As with all fertilizers it is important to thoroughly water the product in before and after applying it to your turf or plants.
If organic products are important to you, or labor and dump fees are, the Hickman’s 4-2-2 pelletized manure is a product that should be considered for your turf fertilization program.
Jim Barrow
Barrow’s Landscape Distributors