Merlin Organics was founded in 2011 with the mission of restoring soils with regenerative systems that create healthier landscapes. We transform landscapes by replacing conventional chemical fertilizers and pesticides with biology-based organic programs.
Our programs reduce water use, eliminate nitrogen runoff and groundwater pollution, increase ecosystem health and disease resistance, sequester more carbon, and cost less than conventional, chemical-based programs.
Merlin employs a regenerative, whole-ecosystem approach and a science-driven methodology that includes soil and plant analysis, program design and planning, organic treatment solutions specified for each site’s unique needs, and monitoring services. We also engage in scientific research to support our client work and continuously improve our programs.
We design and implement organic and regenerative landscape management programs for municipalities, schools and universities, commercial campuses, and institutional and private gardens. Projects commonly include training of a client’s in-house staff, which enables them to manage the program themselves. Merlin typically provides ongoing monitoring and continuous program improvement to ensure achievement of program goals.
Merlin provides ecological master planning to municipalities that can transform public spaces into safe, healthy environments that are managed sustainably and economically. We’re accustomed to working with all stakeholders in a large project — not just the design/construction team, but also site owners, users, neighbors, managers, and regulators.
Merlin designs and develops closed-loop systems that capture and reuse a site’s own organic waste to build its soil, curtail landfill disposal, and reduce costs’from on-site composting and vermicomposting systems to production and application of soil amendments that build and sustain soil and plant health.
Sure, we provide lab biological, chemical, and physical analysis of soil and plants. But what really fires us up? Working with clients to innovate solutions to their unique problems — things like new organic/biological treatments, novel cultural practices, and tailored systems and processes that address the unique needs of a site’s microclimate.
Our projects range from new construction of sustainable landscapes to converting existing campuses to organics, and from improving existing maintenance programs to developing new treatments for nutrient delivery and pathogen suppression. Here's a sampling of our work.
Merlin Organics was engaged by St. John's School to serve as a consultant on this project, which included constructing a new building and a 100% organic green space. Merlin joined the team of architects, engineers, and contractors to design the landscape’s drainage system and soils, specify and source the turfgrass species and variety, supervise installation, develop the maintenance program, and provide ongoing monitoring to ensure success.
In a desert climate that rarely sees an inch of rain in a given month, Merlin helped one of the country’s leading research universities create a safer campus, improve soil health,
and reduce water usage by converting the entire non-athletic campus to organic management.
Stepping into the gardens of this Houston property is like stepping into another world. Immaculately cultivated and maintained, the gardens include lawns, magnolia and crape myrtle groves, a formal rose garden, and innumerable annual and perennial flowers and ornamental shrubs and trees. Merlin Organics developed and implemented an on-site composting operation, working closely with the property’s staff to channel all green waste produced in the gardens and in the kitchen into compost that is, in turn, used in the gardens, simultaneously reducing costs for both ground cover and green-waste disposal. We also designed a program for treating the property, including turf, ornamentals, and trees, with a regimen of organic and biological fertilizers and soil amendments — produced on-site by the garden staff — to build soil and healthy plants.
Dr. Andrew Weil turns to Merlin Organics to provide applications of a custom biological soil amendment to his organic vegetable garden. Our microbe-rich formulation boosts soil fertility, suppresses pathogens, and improves yields.
Using and developing natural systems to enhance soil fertility is the objective of our Turf Response to Aerated Compost Tea (TRACT) Study. In cooperation with leading scientists at the University of Arizona, we—re measuring the response of turfgrass in the arid Southwest U.S. to treatments of our liquid biological formulations.
As part of our ongoing research program, Merlin has engaged in multiple trials at the University of Arizona to study the effects of our biological formulations on soil-borne plant pathogens. The work began in 2010, and two papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals to date: one in Phytopathology in March 2013, and another in Plant and Soil in April 2015.
Above left: Pea seedlings infected with Nectria haematococca and treated with water only (control). Above right: seedlings infected with the same fungus and treated with Merlin’s proprietary aerated compost tea formula. Credit for both photos: Martha Hawes, Ph.D, The University of Arizona.
Any level of biological organization that we examine, from DNA up to the most complex systems, shows the capacity for self-diagnosis, for removal of damaged structure, for regeneration of new structure.
We now know that many plants can settle their own territorial disputes, adjust the pH of the soil, commission their own fertilizer, and order up pesticides when they need them—in other words, the plants are duplicating gardeners’ efforts more effectively and at a lower cost.
The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them.
We are all stewards of the land, and as such, we serve and are served by all the living things that it sustains.
We’re located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona. But we work anywhere. Use the methods below to drop us a line or to speak in person.
PO Box 64995
Desert Hills Station
Tucson, AZ 85728
Phone: (520) 477 1186