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Canadian substitutes for Milo etc.

44051 Views 238 Replies 42 Participants Last post by  trs_alberta
This thread is for substitute products available in Canada due to Ringer and Milorganite not being commercially imported to Canada. I will place a hold on the second post position and use that for making the list as things are mentioned in this thread. Unfortunately, Provinces and even Municipalities have gotten into the act and ban products already approved by the Federal Gov. left and right, while the same products are acceptable in the next Province or even next municipality over.

It is my hope that we can bring all the scattered items together in one, easy to find, thread.

I'm not including prices because these will likely differ depending on where you are, just based on shipping.
Check to see what you can get locally and compare prices based on the actual nutrients in in the product.

For me, the Home Hardware large bag of 9-2-2 comes out the cheapest for Nitrogen, but locally available Turkey Trot has a good amount of P and K, so for at least Spring and Fall, it's what I'm going to use. It doesn't hurt that I need exactly one full 20KG bag to do all my lawn areas either. 2/3rds of the bag in the front, and 1/3rd for the back.

Update: After some mulling around, I have decided that perhaps a semi-synthetic is the way to go for me. The Grigg 16-4-8 from EvenSpray in Winnipeg clocks in at an even better price per lb of N than the Home Hardware stuff, but the 55lb bag is not cheap. Still, it will give me 3 full applications of 1 lb N per 1000 on my lawn. It also contains a bunch of micros and humic which I'm sure my lawn needs badly.
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Organic Fertilizers (Milo and Ringer substitutes):

Turkey Trot, (6-4-6) from Growers Fertilizers in Winnipeg. Growers does not have a Website. (Manitoba)
Home Hardware Organic Lawn Fertilizer, (9-2-2 + 2% iron) (Country wide?)
Natura (8-2-3 + 2% iron) Home Hardware
Groundskeepers Pride, Organic Advantage (8-4-5)
Groundskeepers Pride, Naturally Green Lawn Fertilizer (10-3-3) with micro-nutrients.
Biofert Lawn Food 8-2-3 + 3% iron. (British Columbia)
Organic lawn builder & plant food (Saskatchewan)
Actisol Organics (Quebec)

Sustane 5-2-10 (2% Chealated Iron) Organic granular from:
Sustane 8-2-4 from Dam Seeds:

Brett Young carry some organic fertilizers listed in the Greens Grade West category with one based on Biosolids like Milorganite and another based on Soybean meal and Alfalfa. Scroll to the bottom of the Greens Grade West heading to find links to the pdfs for each of the ferts at the following link:

If you are near Kelowna BC, you can buy OgoGrow (made from biosolids):

Semi Organic
Grigg 16-4-8 Turf Rally Micro Grade (all 3 are available from Even-Spray Winnipeg,
Grigg 10-2-4 100% Organic Micro Grade (not in stock)
10-2-3 (semi-organic)

Canadian Mail Order Sites: (T&T carries more stuff than you can find online or in the catalog. I do not know what their shipping policies are as I can just drive over to them and pick up what I need).

Canadian Friendly US mail order sites:

Soil Testing:

Some Ontario sites:

In Winnipeg, after several phone calls, I ended up with a single "in Winnipeg" soil test lab.
Farmers Edge 1357 Dugald Rd. 204-233-4099

Brett Young also appears to offer soil testing services through some labs:

Major Turf suppliers (Golf Courses etc.):

This is an interesting idea, commercial products for the home lawn.
Even-Spray is at 2-851 Lagimodiere and staff is friendly, even if they can't sell me the pro chems.
I got a chance to visit today, some products are available to me, others are not due to government policies. All in all, a worthwhile visit. Their semi organic ferts look expensive, but when priced per application (based on N content), come out fairly cost effective. 55LB bag of 16-4-8 will do 3 full 1lb N apps to my yard at a cost of $24.20 each. My until now standby, Turkey Trot, is $44 per application. The semi-organic product does need to be watered in to ensure a quick response and getting the prill down to the soil.

I suggest download the PDF catalog as the website itself is lacking.

Links to posts in other threads (These have useful information on bringing Milorganite and such across the border):

Bringing Milorganite across the border yourself

Seed suppliers


Groundskeepers II rake, available via Amazon and Rittenhouse, but I found it at Lee Valley in stock for purchase:,2160,40698

This is a Lawn Forum thread on this rake:

Lee Valley also carries the original Garden Weasel, should you be looking for one.,42578,40769
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Harts said:
Sorry @kaptain_zero I should have read your post in its entirety! My bad.
No worries, I updated it to include the iron!
Keep'em coming guys, the more the better.

And if you see any typos or other errors, let me know. I'm blind in one eye and I can't seem to hear a darn thing with the other one either. :mrgreen:
Thanks @jurkewycmi, added to the list.

I made a spot for soil testing as well.
@Schaef Added, thanks!
Second post has been updated.

@llO0DQLE That is a cool idea, but it leaves a person wondering just how much of what nutrient has been added to the lawn through the application, as these products are not analyzed for content.
llO0DQLE said:
SBM is 7-2-1 or 7-1-2 but it doesn't matter much as it's organic and is not processed by the soil and plant the same way synthetics are. In any case the standard app rate is 20lbs/K and you can do it at least monthly, more frequent if your soil biology can process it quick enough.
Can you give me a link to the source and the full name? I'll add it to the list.
Updated post 2 tonight. Holler if I missed something or got something wrong.
Tnx, updates have been made.
Added the Seed supplier heading.

I just discovered I have a SiteOne just a few minutes away from where I live! I'll have to go back and ask again, but they told me all the seed they sell is blended by a Canadian Seed Supplier and it *might* have been qualityseeds... but I can't say for sure.
I try to base a fertilizer price on lbs of N in a bag, not how much a bag costs. The least expensive "bag" of organic fertilizer I can buy locally is Turkey Trot 6-4-6 in a 44lb bag, which means the bag contains (44lb x .06= 2.64lb N) and if I want to put down 1lb of N per 1000 square feet it works out to ($44 : 2.64 = $16.66 per 1000 square feet).

Home Hardware's Organic Fertilizer bag weighs 55lbs and costs $70, so on the surface it appears more expensive. Doing the calculation shows that I get 4.95lb N in a bag. A 1lb N application per 1000 square feet will cost $11.76 per 1000 square feet of lawn or in other words, $4.90 less per 1000 sq. feet than the above Turkey Trot. On my rather small lot, this works out to $14.70 less per application, so the higher cost of the bag, if I have the money, is ultimately a cost savings to me.

It pays to figure out what you want to put down of a given macro nutrient and select the fertilizer that gives you the best cost performance for YOUR particular needs. Some object to the smell of sludge based organics and have to select a non-sludge based fertilizer, even if that raises the cost. For others, $$$ cost alone drives the decision and they end up selecting a synthetic fertilizer that is more cost effective but does not have all the organic matter and micro nutrients an organic fertilizer may have.

One thing I noted in the 7-2-5 fertilizer from Brett Young is that of the 7% N is 5.5% water soluble which to me indicates it's better used for spoon feeding and will likely require watering in, rather than other types that are low water soluble and stretch the time it takes to break down. Then again, maybe I'm reading the sheet wrong..... I've been wrong before! :)

And that reminds me that the Home Hardware Fertilizer uses chicken feathers as part of it's N source. I recall reading somewhere (I have no idea where, or if it's really true) that chicken feathers as an N source is very slow to break down and may not have the quick impact someone might be expecting. The moral is that it pays to read read read and read some more..... OR..... just pile on the Milorganite?!?!

Lastly is about the COST of a bag in different regions. Please remember, if someone close to the production location of a fertilizer only pays X per bag, it is reasonable to expect someone half ways across to country to pay Y for the same bag. Not because the contents are more expensive, but rather simply the cost of shipping it across the country! Price out the cost of shipping a 50lb parcel and you'll see how quickly costs spiral out of control if shipping only a few bags. That's why I didn't want to put prices in the second post, it's just too variable.
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@Dmega I don't know if it would "burn", but I would water it in if it was me.

If you paid $50 for a 50 lb bag of 7-2-5, it works out to $14.29 per lb of N (I ignore any suggested application rates on the bags as they are "suggestions" and nothing more). In my sunny front yard I can go 1 lb N per 1000 sq. feet. In my shady back yard, I keep it to 0.5 lb N per 1000 sq. feet as the grass does not get enough sun to use 1 lb of N.

As for the Brett Young supply chain. The reason why you might be able to buy 1 or two bags of a fertilizer from a rep at the same price as the other side of the country is because they will get a pallet or pallets of product shipped by truck each week. The pallets are loaded in the warehouse and what goes on the pallet is decided by the order put in by the rep. The pallets are loaded on the truck in order of delivery, so when the truck reaches Winnipeg, on it's way to Regina and Calgary, it drops the pallet(s) destined for Winnipeg off at a terminal in said town. The rep simply unpacks the pallet, loads his pickup or whatever it is he uses in order of delivery and then drives that route, dropping off what has been ordered. He might have a couple of bags for residential customer and 50 bags for a nearby golf course, meaning for little extra work, he picks up his commission on those 2 extra bags. This is very similar to grocery chains, who only have a few large warehouses across the country, but they distribute their goods in their own trucks weekly based on computer orders from each store.

In contrast, a place like OneSite or EvenSpray might bring in a pallet of product, but when it's gone, it's gone, until next year. It's not cost effective for them to bring in just a few of this or that and they don't have the local storage space to keep extra stock. They will likely have a country wide warehouse too, but they have so many different products that they can only stock so many and the rest are brought in at the beginning of the season directly from the manufacturer and they base next years orders on how well something sold.
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First off, in response to your earlier post where you said that $14 was OK for an application, I just wanted to make sure you understood what I meant. My calculation is for 1 lb of Nitrogen to be spread on 1000 sq. feet which costs $14.29. In your details on the right side of your posts, it shows your lawn to be 1700 sq. feet, so that means it would cost you $24.29 to do one application of 1 lb N per 1000 sq. feet on your entire yard.

As for me being schmart, nope.... I just like to dig into things until I understand them and then I get bored and go on to something else. I am a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of guy who knows just enough to get into deep trouble! :mrgreen:

5.5% NON water soluble makes more sense for an organic based fertilizer, pity they don't proof read their PDFs. And yes, I did note the mention of the wrong product in that PDF as you point out above.

As for the part that makes no sense to you:

When applying to finely mowed turf, mow for one day without buckets on dry turf. <--- this part makes no sense to me
Finely mowed turf would mean areas such as "greens" on a golf course, closely mowed (sub 1 inch) with a reel mower. After spreading an organic fertilizer on such an area, they suggest not using "buckets", a term they might use for the grass catcher on a reel mower, to avoid some of the fertilizer being removed from the turf before it has had a chance to get to the soil, if it's dry and the product has not been watered in well. This is not a problem with rotary mowers and 3 to 4 inch high turf, but if the turf is more like 1/2" high and it's dry...... :roll:

As for watering in or not, 5.5% non soluble would seem to indicate it's not a "hot" fertilizer and you can likely get away with not watering it in, but if the instructions on the package say you should do so.... I would. Once you burn a lawn.... it's going to take time and work to fix it.... I'd rather be safe than sorry. They might also recommend watering to activate the fertilizer. Some prills or pellets are compressed and will expand and disintegrate into smaller particles once wet, which can then be more effectively broken down by soil bacteria and the like.

And lastly, getting a proper soil test done is important. Without that test, you have no idea what you really should be using for a fertilizer. Farmers who live and die by what's in the soil know that, and they only apply what a soil test indicates and nothing else, as that is the most economical, and also the most effective thing to do.
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@Dmega 6 separate soil tests on a 1700 square foot lawn seems a bit excessive to me?!?!

I have 3000+ and plan to test the front lawn and the back lawn separately. I will take samples from all over the front lawn and mix them together. I will do the same for the back lawn. Testing 6 separate areas would entail treating each one as it's own and possible requiring different treatments, which might mean 6 different fertilizers!

I would only do one test normally (mixing all the soil samples from the front and the back together), but my back lawn was landscaped last year and plenty of soil was brought in, so it's likely different from the heritage lawn I have in the front that was established over 50 years ago and likely neglected ever since!

Unless your situation is "odd" like mine, I'd just take samples from all over the front and back, let them dry out and mix them all together before testing. This way, you can treat the entire area the same way and not "micro manage" each area. After a year or two, you can test again and see how things are going. If all you need is N and lime, all the other stuff you might buy is wasted, so the test lets you spend your money wisely and the cost isn't much more than 1 bag of Fertilizer that you might not even need, but would have normally bought. Of course, you *might* need that fert, but without testing, you just don't know.

I realize you may have problem spots (we all seem to have them), but they may resolve themselves in a couple of years after establishing what the entire lawn needs. If you still have one or two spots that don't cooperate after a couple of years of taking good care of the lawn, it may be time to investigate those areas closer (and I'm assuming it's not an irrigation or insect issue, which would need to be fixed NOW! A soil test would not be helpful in those cases).
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Yup, things are winding down in Kanuckistan. :-(

It's been so dry here (I can't afford the water for the front lawn, so it's back lawn only) that the water shutoff cap that was below my lawns surface this spring is now about 3 inches ABOVE the lawn! I had to flag it for when I mow so I don't hit it with my new Toro! By the end of Sept. it'll be time to think about winterizing the mower and getting the snowblower ready. We usually get our first snow on the ground at Halloween and frost much sooner. This Brett Young biosolids based Fert looks interesting, I'll probably order some next year.
Walmart was flogging their peat a couple of weeks ago, and it was gone in a matter of hours. I managed to get some from CTC. As for fertilizers, I just put down some synthetic starter fertilizer and lucked out with at least 1/4" of rain tonight... likely more. I have a part bag of 33-0-11 I think and some Scott that is similar that will get used later, as long as it doesn't get too cold too quick. I'd be interested in hearing of a "sniff" test on that BY stuff.
Well, with that "smell" report, I'm back to considering the Grigg "Turf Rally" product. It appears expensive on the surface as it's around $70 for a 50 lb bag, but when I do the calculations, it will give me three full applications of 1lb N on my lawn.

Specs can be found here:
Harts said:
We're Canadian. We don't get hangovers :lol:
Uhhh.... you forgot to add Milorganite and Ringer to that statement! :mrgreen:
There are at least 1000 golf greens in Manitoba, so it's quite possible. I do see that the courses in Winnipeg put their greens to bed with tarps over them, so perhaps it might not be very practical for a large lawn.
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