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ndunn
05-25-2005, 10:06 PM
I'm posting this thread to see if anyone else would be interested in a Cultural Practices Forum. The Organic forum seems littered with debates over defining organic, mixed programs, legalization of particular products, etc. All of these arguments are important and needed in the green industry, but not as important for those of us who want to focus 100% on cultural practices. This is not a thread for debating or defining organics.

I just want to pool resources with other people who offer their customers a program that does not rely on pre-packaged quick-fix products, regardless of how the epa or industry view these products. This is not about meeting the demands of customers accustomed to regular applications of chem. ferts and hosing down insects with insecticides, organic or otherwise. This is about meeting the needs of customers who DO NOT want these products and want us to build their soil for long-term health. These customers exist. Let's go get them.

nocutting
05-25-2005, 11:28 PM
Think that would be a great idea.................When DO We Start?- regards Saxon :)

WhohasHelios?
05-29-2005, 06:19 PM
Count me in! The other valuable note here is that just like any other facet of the industry, the bylaws and regulations governing the organics sector vary drastically from province to province and state to state. Let alone country to country.

I would love to be able to come on to lawnsite and be able to actually learn more about specific cultural and enviro-friendly methods and share my knowledge as well.

I think this is a great idea for a new forum or sub-forum.

-Reuben

BRANDMEL
05-29-2005, 06:43 PM
I'm in for sure

Grassboy 101
06-11-2005, 04:09 PM
I really like the idea. To me cultural practices as very important. Regardless of the fertilization and irrigation practices, cultural practices can negate any positive result of these practices. Count me in.

sheshovel
06-12-2005, 05:10 AM
Count Sheshovel in on this one too.

ndunn
06-13-2005, 01:58 PM
Good to see some momentum gaining in the world of long-term soil health! Here's a question to get things rolling:

I find it difficult to sell aeration or topdressing, compared to selling an appilication of fert. or soil amendment. Most times, the customer's lawn needs aeration and topdressing more than anything else, but many customers are convinced that fertilizer is what the lawn needs. Do you have similar troubles selling these services, even when that is what the lawn needs most? How can we overcome years of chem. fert. campaigns to re-educate our customers? The extension offices here are helping a little, but people change slowly. any ideas?

nocutting
06-13-2005, 07:51 PM
Howdy, sooooooooo whats the problem?.......applyin compost should be "Easy", in the summer its "Disease Prevention", when seeding its "Top Dressing", Fall its a "Winterizer", Spring its "Lawn Magic" developed by our "Reserch & Development Dept" as a lawn starter [ slow feeding for increased root development]............Listen, just cause it doesnt come in a fancy bag doesnt mean it has no place in anybodies program?....Personally I like the late fall- winter application, should it not be fully ready [ composted] it has all winter to continue to break down, and it cuts down on weed development that may happen from a spring application. :waving:

NattyLawn
06-13-2005, 08:34 PM
I know aeration is a good money makes, but the company I work for doesn't even offer it. If you put down organic fert and the soil is healthy and full of microbes, the thatch should be eaten by the microbes and everything should be fine.

nocutting is right, you have to find ways to sell if differently...

ndunn
06-13-2005, 09:26 PM
I know aeration is a good money makes, but the company I work for doesn't even offer it. If you put down organic fert and the soil is healthy and full of microbes, the thatch should be eaten by the microbes and everything should be fine.

nocutting is right, you have to find ways to sell if differently...


I'm not talking about doing it as a money maker. I'm talking about doing it because it needs to be done. If the soil is not healthy and not full of microbes, it could take years for an organic fertilizer to get the soil back to where it should be. Doing it that way would cost more for the customer too, in the long run. But my original question maybe wasn't clear. I understand you gotta sell these things creatively. Are your companies educating your customers at all about what it is you do, or just applying "magic" to the lawn?

BRANDMEL
06-13-2005, 10:59 PM
Howdy, sooooooooo whats the problem?.......applyin compost should be "Easy", in the summer its "Disease Prevention", when seeding its "Top Dressing", Fall its a "Winterizer", Spring its "Lawn Magic" developed by our "Reserch & Development Dept" as a lawn starter [ slow feeding for increased root development]............Listen, just cause it doesnt come in a fancy bag doesnt mean it has no place in anybodies program?....Personally I like the late fall- winter application, should it not be fully ready [ composted] it has all winter to continue to break down, and it cuts down on weed development that may happen from a spring application. :waving:
Read Nocuttings post carefully, this guy knows his stuff :alien:

nocutting
06-14-2005, 08:46 AM
I'm not talking about doing it as a money maker. I'm talking about doing it because it needs to be done. If the soil is not healthy and not full of microbes, it could take years for an organic fertilizer to get the soil back to where it should be. Doing it that way would cost more for the customer too, in the long run. But my original question maybe wasn't clear. I understand you gotta sell these things creatively. Are your companies educating your customers at all about what it is you do, or just applying "magic" to the lawn?
Sorry if you took my 1st post as sarcastic?, I started my company as "Organic" from day 1........If you dont educate your clients who will?.....Your chemical competitors, already have major multi-million dollar advertiseing budgets back by all the chemical manufactures?......No-body can sell "Magic"......Compost is a tried and true "Cultural Practice", probably one of your strongest tools in your organic arsenal........"Use it or Lose It"....regards Saxon :)

Grassboy 101
06-14-2005, 05:24 PM
Good to see some momentum gaining in the world of long-term soil health! Here's a question to get things rolling:

I find it difficult to sell aeration or topdressing, compared to selling an appilication of fert. or soil amendment. Most times, the customer's lawn needs aeration and topdressing more than anything else, but many customers are convinced that fertilizer is what the lawn needs. Do you have similar troubles selling these services, even when that is what the lawn needs most? How can we overcome years of chem. fert. campaigns to re-educate our customers? The extension offices here are helping a little, but people change slowly. any ideas?

I have offered to do a part of their lawn with compost as a test. Tell them you will apply compost or "top dressing" on a specific area and do the rest of the lawn as they think best. Let them see the results and compare cost per square foot of the two applications. I have yet to have a customer choose to stay with the traditional system.

Kate Butler
06-14-2005, 05:33 PM
How many folks have taken you up on that offer, Grassboy? It's a great idea. The downside is that when they see the difference they'll want IG (instant gratification) to bring the remainder of the lawn up to par.

cedarcroft
07-16-2005, 05:33 PM
I am new here and in the business. water quality and pesticides/fertilizer is a HUGE issue here on LI. I do not provide any services related to this yet but would like to offer a organic only program to my customers. maybe this is the wrong thread to ask, but I need help. How can I get started on the right track with this type of organic only program?

AlpineNaturescapes
10-10-2005, 01:47 PM
"I find it difficult to sell aeration or topdressing, compared to selling an appilication of fert. or soil amendment. Most times, the customer's lawn needs aeration and topdressing more than anything else, but many customers are convinced that fertilizer is what the lawn needs. Do you have similar troubles selling these services, even when that is what the lawn needs most? How can we overcome years of chem. fert. campaigns to re-educate our customers? The extension offices here are helping a little, but people change slowly. any ideas?"

In addition to what's posted, in drought years or anyone with high water expense, sell it as a cost saver. If you top dress with it, the lawn will need fewer waterings, and will survive drought a lot less stressed.

sheshovel
10-11-2005, 02:26 PM
I just tell them how bad and chemicaly addicted their lawn is and the it is basicly(a Dead zone) being kept alive by chemical applications alone and has no natural pest resistance from years of killing all the good bugs as well as the bad bugs.And years of chemical fertilizer applications that have destroyed all microbic life and that is why the lawn is like it is.
I have found it only takes a few years to improve a lawn and its soil by topdressing every few months with good compost and aerating twice a year, and putting them on a watering schedual that is reasonable and correct.People are beggining to understand and want a healthy lawn
and are willing to wait for results.

lawnlubber
10-17-2005, 01:16 PM
If you can keep the price of aeration and topdressing reasonably close to the annual cost of treatment by Chemlawn compost is pretty easy to sell. To upsell current mowing customers on your organic service, include a small flyer or newsletter with each month's bill. It could educate customers on the benefits of compost or aeration or sensible watering etc. If you are looking for new customers, already sold on "organic" solutions, advertize where people buy their "organic" food.

ArizPestWeed
10-17-2005, 05:19 PM
If each one of y'all send me a $100 , I'll make sure it it's going right away

Lawnchick22
08-23-2006, 01:07 PM
So, when you incorporate a top dressing of compost along with your fall renovation (for fescue lawn in zone 7), do you still overseed, fertilize and add lime? My soil samples don't tell me how much compost to add to a yard, but they do suggest a lime and fertilizer rate. Do I forgo the recommendation and let the compost take over?
I have a customer who's yard we took over last year -- basically it was about a 2 year old lawn - from new construction, in the woods, no neighbors. We added about a 3k sq ft section, planted that on 11/4/05 and it did great. The rest of the yard (about 18k sq ft) we did the traditional aeration, overseeding, fert and lime. Our practice is to add 1lb of Nitrogen per 1k sq ft 3x a year.
So, my customer wants to get away from chemicals on the lawn and we will be top dressing this year for the first time with compost. The size of her lawn, 21k at 1/4" of compost, I figure will be about 16 yards of compost.
Suggestions?

Grn Mtn
08-23-2006, 01:22 PM
people change slowly, Madison Avenue figured out how to speed up the process, barrage the people from all fronts all the time.

well we can do it too, even on limited budgets. like mentioned above, the organic customers are out there, even if they don't realize it yet. every time you place an ad, incorporate a quick info line explaining how topdressing IS the way to go-blah blah blah. Have your enclosed trailer blasted with good crunchy ideas in full color, try to get your local media to do a quick spot on the "ORGANIC MOVEMENT".

if we all start doing it, our combined efforts will actually help one another.:usflag:

muddstopper
08-23-2006, 06:57 PM
You might consider what I am about to say all bull since i dont even offer any chemical or organic lawn treatments to existing lawns. But I just want to make a few suggestions on how to promote such an approach.

First, educate yourself, it doesnt matter how great a product is if you cant explain to the customer what the product does. You will find that most representitives of organic products dont know anymore than you do, they sell a product not an education. There are exceptions but the guys at the counter usually aint it.

Second, start with a soil test, even organics such as compost are made up of chemical elements.

Third, test your organic products for the chemical elements they contain. every soil test lab has a basic soil fertility model they base their fertilizer recommendations on, you can mix and blend your organic materials to match specific fertilizer recommendations for NPK, Ca Mg, Mn, B, S, Fe, ect. This approach will give you the benefit of addressing feeding the soil as well as feeding the plants. If you dont know what your organic material contains, you are doing no more than guessing at the correct amount of nutrients you are applying, basicly, your organic approach is no better than the chemical approach of just adding NPK and will do nothing to build the soil and in fact can make the soil fertility worse.

Forth, educate your customers, once you educate yourself, this part becomes a lot easier. Its a lot easier to talk about something if you know a little bit about the subject, customers will pick up on this too and are more willing to accept your answers and recommendations once they see that you know what you are talking about.

Fifth, dont be so quick to give up chemicals to get you customers lawn in shape. Most soils are already in such bad shape that going completely organic is not going to provide the results your customers expect, in the time they expect it. Micro organisms need a well balanced soil to, chemical fertilizers can help achieve the needed balance a lot faster and a lot cheaper than the organic materials. Once the chemical balance of the soil is restored, the conversion to orgaincs is a lot easier and a lot less costly, and easier to maintain. If after you have done a soil test, you discover that one or more important nutrients is extremely deficient, you can use a chemical fertilizer to bring that nutrient back up to a balanced level. Its a lot easier to target a specific nutrient using chemical ferts than using organic ferts, but you will find that maintaining that balance is a lot easier with the organic fertilizers than the chemical ones.