Friday, April 24, 2009

Arbor Day takes root in Bellevue

Guest speaker Jim Zamzow to talk on safe plant care

Express Staff Writer

Jim Zamzow, right, and his son, Jos Zamzow, vice president of TerraLife, check a tomato plant in Jimís home garden. The plant was more than 6 feet tall last season, and was treated only with Save-a-Tree, the product Jim is donating to the city of Bellevue.

The founding father of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton, said each generation takes the earth as trustees. On Saturday, April 25, the city of Bellevue will celebrate Arbor Day at the city park from 9 a.m. to noon with demonstrations, raffle prizes and lots of information on lawn care, tree planting and soil conservation.

The Bellevue Tree Committee, the Blaine County Soil Conservation District tree sale committee and the Wood River Land Trust have come together to celebrate Arbor Day along with valley nurseries and landscaping services.

The Wood River Land Trust's trout friendly lawn program will include educational services with homeowners about lawn care practices to save water, keep local water supplies clean and emphasize the use of native plants to improve habitat for fish and wildlife. Land trust staff will also be available to discuss information on composting.

The Blaine County Soil Conservation District tree sale will offer valley residents the opportunity to buy pre-ordered trees by calling 481-1081. Proceeds from raffle tickets will go to Bellevue's Howard Preserve. Prizes include a lawnmower donated by Sawtooth Wood products, tickets to the Sun Valley Ice Show, Dr. JimZ fertilizer and gift certificates to local nurseries and restaurants.

In addition, Boise's Jim Zamzow, developer of Dr. JimZ Secret Formula Save-a-Tree and Save-a-Green fertilizers, will give a talk at 11 a.m. Zamzow's company has donated $1,110 worth of Save-a-Tree fertilizer for Bellevue city parks.

"I am a native Idahoan raised in the farming and gardening business, and I have spent my entire life digging," Zamzow said with a chuckle. "I went to university for soil chemistry and became a Scott's lawn pro. The lawn program was all chemical lawn services."

Zamzow said chemical lawn programs have destroyed soil by burning the humus out of it. Humus is the nutrient in the soil that holds the soil together. The chemical lawn products also wash out of the soil and can end up in trout streams such as Silver Creek.

"I talk to people and try to explain what is happening to their soil and what is wrong with the lawn care," Zamzow said. "I developed my products to be environmentally friendly, and they are used by commercial farmers, vineyards, orchard growers and homeowners."

Zamzow said golf courses are the biggest offenders of polluting water systems. He wants to teach groundskeepers how to keep healthy greens for less money with his products.

"I have done research at Falcon Crest golf course in Kuna, Idaho," Zamzow said. "Last spring I put a 1,000 gallon tank at the course to maintain six greens. The course is in a drought environment and now the entire golf course has switched to my product. I saved them money, the soil continues to get better and within two to three years they will be using less and less of the product."

Zamzow's drought-friendly and environmentally conscious lawn products are vegetable-based and contain no animal products. It is made with molasses and sugar beets grown in Idaho mixed with minerals and natural nutrients.

"The fertilizers contain every mineral on the periodic table," Zamzow said. "It is the only liquid environmentally friendly product that will not leach or wash through the soil."

Zamzow shares the goals of the Wood River Land Trust in demonstrating that it is possible to have beautiful lawns without using harsh, chemical fertilizers that pollute the water table and harm fish.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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