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theturfboss
02-04-2008, 07:48 PM
This column ran in our local paper a week or so ago...what are your thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Want to write the editor a short note and let her know your thoughts?

By Lynn Jenkins/columnist

Spring? Not quite yet.

Spring is just around the corner. At least that’s what the lawn care companies would have you believe. Their brochures and flyers are filling mailboxes now; they want you to sign their contracts for a multitude of services, mostly composed of chemical applications. According to their advertising material, your lawn risks browning out overnight, being taken over by dozens of weeds, and hundreds of invading insects! If you don’t sign up, they tell you, it’s enough to win you “the worse neighbor of the year” award.

Hmmmf. Really? Let’s look at the promises (or threats) from such lawn chemical companies and the reality of more eco-friendly lawn care.

Lawn fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides … did you ever stop to think if your lawn really needs them? Or do you just apply them because the companies that sell fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides tell you that you need them? Typically, these companies recommend four seasonal applications of fertilizers with additional sprays of pesticides and herbicides. They also recommend you apply according to their schedule (for their convenience), not according to your lawn’s needs.

More fertilizer is used on America’s lawns than all of India uses for food crops. That’s real food for thought. For what value? What is the uniquely American obsession with pouring chemicals onto our grass so that it is “perfect?” The bright green lawn often carries warning tags that suggest no persons or pets should walk on it. We’ve killed any life in it; there are no bees, earthworms, butterflies or toads that used to be an integral part of “lawn.” What’s left is nearly lifeless — only a decorative green carpet. To achieve it, we spend millions of dollars each year to pump deadly chemicals into our lifestreams.

Americans must be anxious to crank up the mower each spring because we also spend lots of money to get that grass to grow really fast. That’s all the early spring fertilization does. What about early green-up, you ask? Doesn’t that early April/May application help the lawn to turn green early in the spring? Yes, but so does fall fertilization. Moreover, applications in the fall send energy into the roots for healthy root development and disease resistance, rather than to the stem for that too-fast spring growth. Purdue’s agronomists state that you can have a nice looking lawn by fertilizing only twice a year: in September and November. Half the chemicals, half the cost, and half the environmental damage. The lawn chemical companies don’t bother to tell you what the experts say.

What about crabgrass? The chemical companies tell you to apply crabgrass control by mid-April, and they are right. But they often forget to say that crabgrass is an annual weed, and once it has been eliminated — usually in just one season — there is no need to continue the yearly applications. But millions of homeowners continue to have chemicals applied each spring to control crabgrass on lawns that contain no crabgrass seed. Maybe the lawn chemical companies just forgot to mention that.

Early summer feedings in June are definitely not needed. That is a natural growth time for grass. Those applications are just for the chemical companies’ benefit. These companies figure that if you mow a lot, you will think that they have done their job. I can think of many things I’d rather be doing than mowing my lawn on summer weekends.

Did you ever wonder where all the robins went? They used to search our lawns in spring for worms for their babies. Not anymore. Certainly not in subdivisions where the chemical lawn people have become part of the family. More than 65 million pounds of pesticides are used each year on lawns. Just what is this obsession about? Why should we care if a few insects and worms want to hang out on our grass? After all, it is the outdoors. We put so many chemicals on our lawns each year that they have become toxic green dead-zones. The soil beneath the grass supports no beneficial nematodes, no helpful microbes, no valuable earthworms. No life at all. It’s dead. No wonder the robins have deserted the lawns in our subdivisions.

If you think it’s an exaggeration to call it toxic, just read the fine print on the little flags set up by the lawn chemical companies after an application or on the bags of fertilizer or on the containers of pesticides and herbicides: “WARNING!” That’s the chemical companies’ protection against liability when you, your children or your pets get sick, or when our water is poisoned, or when our wildlife disappears. It’s all a marketing game with homeowners being the targets, and we are also the losers. The chemical companies are the big winners. Think about it next time you trash your lawn with chemicals.



Lynn Jenkins is a Zionsville resident and publisher of a new magazine, Indiana Living Green. E-mail her at Lynn@IndianaLivingGreen.com.

You can also email the editor of the paper at jennifer.dawson@timessentinel.com

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
02-04-2008, 09:21 PM
She's wrong. That about sums it up...

FdLLawnMan
02-04-2008, 09:21 PM
Wow, she has taken some real liberties with the facts. On some of her observation's I do agree. I do not fertilize early in the spring and do not apply a lot of pre-emergent.

"Quote"
More fertilizer is used on America’s lawns than all of India uses for food crops. That’s real food for thought. For what value? What is the uniquely American obsession with pouring chemicals onto our grass so that it is “perfect?” The bright green lawn often carries warning tags that suggest no persons or pets should walk on it. We’ve killed any life in it; there are no bees, earthworms, butterflies or toads that used to be an integral part of “lawn.” What’s left is nearly lifeless — only a decorative green carpet. To achieve it, we spend millions of dollars each year to pump deadly chemicals into our lifestreams.
Mu reply follows.
I honestly don't know if we do use more that India. I do know our fertilizer usage is a mere pittance compared to agricultural usage. And so what if we have a green lawn, since when is that a crime.
Yes, fertilizer is a chemical. According to the EPA it must not be very toxic as I don't flag the lawn, and other research from universities shows that 99% of what is applied to the lawns properly stays on the lawn. To say we have killed all life in it is really an exaggeration. I have plenty of Robins, bees, birds, toads, etc.

"Quote"
Early summer feedings in June are definitely not needed. That is a natural growth time for grass. Those applications are just for the chemical companies’ benefit. These companies figure that if you mow a lot, you will think that they have done their job. I can think of many things I’d rather be doing than mowing my lawn on summer weekends.
My reply follows
You could probably get by without the early summer fertilization but why would you want to. Your grass will be greener and stay thicker with the fertilization. Wat does she mean by it is a natural growth time for the grass. It still need nutrients.

"Quote"
Did you ever wonder where all the robins went? They used to search our lawns in spring for worms for their babies. Not anymore. Certainly not in subdivisions where the chemical lawn people have become part of the family. More than 65 million pounds of pesticides are used each year on lawns. Just what is this obsession about? Why should we care if a few insects and worms want to hang out on our grass? After all, it is the outdoors. We put so many chemicals on our lawns each year that they have become toxic green dead-zones. The soil beneath the grass supports no beneficial nematodes, no helpful microbes, no valuable earthworms. No life at all. It’s dead. No wonder the robins have deserted the lawns in our subdivisions.
Absolutely crap. If the soil was sterile nothing would grow once the fertilizer ran its course. I asked a few questions and hope to have a few more answers in several more weeks but the gist is we do not know a lot about the microbial action in the soil and how it really works.

She takes a few facts, quotes Purdue, maybe not completely, and then goes into exaggeration mode.

I will say this. I do think the business model that Tru Green uses is not sustainable. Applying nutrients on a seasonal basis instead of some predetermined schedule is tailor made for the independent applicator and is one thing we should really emphasize in our marketing.

Whitey4
02-04-2008, 09:51 PM
She is an extremist who selectivley culls some facts and ignores others to support her opinion. I do agree that too many chemicals are used on lawns, and that the big national companies (the True Greens and a few other spray pray and leave types) and companies like Scotts add to the problem.

But, she gives herself away with the two apps a year claim. She also completely ignores the fact that anyone using an LCO will have weed seeds deposited on their lawns. I guess she never heard about dandelion seeds or seeds being carried by birds, either. Having said that, I do agree that too many chemicals are being put down in doses that are too large.

This sort of backlash from unqualified people often with a hidden agenda of their own who have access to media will continue to get away with this sort of thing as long as there are companies out their that use chemicals irresponsibly or manufacture and market for the sake of profit.

Might get flamed for this one, but why do so many applicators try to control grubs in the spring? These are mature, overwintered larvae that are very hard to kill. Treat them in the spring, and if they survive, the next generation is likely going to be more pesticide resisitant. Spring treatments have to be pretty big doses to have control on the population. That does take a toll on beneficials. Whack grubs after they hatch in the latter part of the summer. No matter what it is, if it's living, it's always easiest to kill when it's young.

With better timed pre emmergent applications, one as opposed to two usually works. Turf doesn't need 5lbs/m (or more) a year, but that is what Scotts sells, the water supply be darned.

There is a lot of room to improve upon and reduce chemical usage IMO, but it's that last paragraph that gets my back up. Maybe someone should tell this ... writer... that Roundup carries a WARNING label but has a higher LD50 than vinegar does. I wonder what she would say if her red wine vinegar label said WARNING. And no one puts out lawn flags after fert applications, but she seem to think so.

Hogjaw
02-04-2008, 10:02 PM
ALL NOTE -

she has to write about something.....or she wouldn't have a job.

Don't get sucked in.........she'd like you to respond.......would give her something to publish and write more about.

She may live in a duplex or a high rise.......when she walks out the door........ immediately she's on concrete / asphalt.........she's on concrete, sitting or walking all day...........probably has never hear the birds sing either.

garydale
02-05-2008, 12:39 PM
She has distorted each of her points on this issue.
Every point she alleges is arguable, but not worth the breathe or ink it would take

RigglePLC
02-05-2008, 02:30 PM
My lawn has about 5 worms per sq ft--just as many, if not more-- than lawns that have never been treated. Birds and squirrels are also abundant on my property. The soil is not sterile or "dead" far from it.

How many worms per sq ft are on your treated properties?

Shades of Green LService
02-05-2008, 04:16 PM
I e mailed her SUBJECT: Do more research! Message:http://www.pestfacts.org

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
02-05-2008, 04:32 PM
She makes it sound like Purdue is in agreement with her, but I seriously dougbht Zac Reicher & the guys down at Purdue are of the same opinion.

She says India uses less fert. on crops, then we do our lawns? WHO CARES! If she want's to go live in India & sing koombyah & have a nice dirt lawn, then :waving:

PHS
02-05-2008, 04:48 PM
I really dislike heavily biased articles like that. I'm open to other points of view if it's dicussed intelligently. This is just a propaganda piece.

Statements like "pounds of pesticides" isn't very helpful in understanding what's going on. For example, last year I made two treatments (8 gallons total spray) on my Crepe Myrtles with organic insect. soap (warning label) to help control the aphids until the beneficial population got large enough to help out. That could be turned around to say I "dumped 66 and a half pounds of toxic pesticides onto my property last year."

Or another one, last year I fertilized my lawn with ureaform (38-0-0) and this year I used organic Milorganite (6-2-0). I could just as accurately say my fertilizer usage increased by 530% since last year (2.6#/Mftsq v 16.5#/Mftsq).

vegomatic40
02-05-2008, 07:14 PM
The whole quotation on crabgrass was enough for me to dismiss this as yet another alarmist-liberal, distorting the facts in order to push her agenda. I've had far too many people to get there lawn in shape, cancel service later then, call me back after less than 1-2 yrs and the lawn is trashed with weeds, thin-turf etc. This story has zero credibility in my view. If I had the misfortune to subscribe to her little "fish wrap" publication I can say that I would be doing my part for the environment by using it in the bottom of my birds' cage . Decomposition would be very rapid as it is already 99% waste.

Hissing Cobra
02-05-2008, 11:04 PM
She's wrong on many accounts and it was poor judgement on her part to publish a biased report like that. Because she's a newspaper reporter, she carries a lot of power that unfortunately, many people will read and take it as gospel.

It's too bad because I have NEVER seen a nice lawn that was "All Natural." Also, I have sat in many classes that were put on by the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, where the Professors have stated that Natural based insecticides, herbicides and preemergent controls DO NOT WORK! This includes, Corn Gluten Garlic Barriers and Milky Spore (it takes 2 to 3 years for this to be effective and in the meantime, your lawn will be RAVAGED by Grubs.) Natural based Fertilizers are totally awesome though and I prefer to use them over synthetic blends during the summertime applications.

This woman took what she wanted to believe and wrecklessly printed what she believed to be fact. Unfortunately, there's many out there that will believe her.

Frank Fescue
02-06-2008, 09:37 AM
Anyone can do what she did. I could publish an article thats pro insect control by talking about how grubs kills grass and then turn into beetles and eat leaves off shrubs, inhibiting the plants chance to photsyhtisize and thus reduce the amount of carbon dioxide turned into oxygen in the environment. With time and a few loose facts I could have people beleiving they NEED to control grubs now for the sake of the planet.

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
02-06-2008, 09:44 AM
Anyone can do what she did. I could publish an article thats pro insect control by talking about how grubs kills grass and then turn into beetles and eat leaves off shrubs, inhibiting the plants chance to photsyhtisize and thus reduce the amount of carbon dioxide turned into oxygen in the environment. With time and a few loose facts I could have people beleiving they NEED to control grubs now for the sake of the planet.

:laugh: Sounds like what the "global warming" crowd did with the "facts" :dizzy:

tgnb
02-11-2008, 12:17 AM
Jeez, I wonder who pumps gas in her car for her. Surely she's done research on the toxicity and physiological effects of the fumes around the pump. She's an extremist, and most intelligent people will see her as such. I used to relish the opportunity to debate this subject with those who I thought were possible "prospects" so that they could see the benefits that healthy plants provide to all of us and the negligible risks involved in proper application practices. I learned quickly that most folks aren't like that, and those that are already have their perceptions pretty well cemented and have some sort of agenda. They can have their agenda... I have another lawn calling me. :walking:

cgaengineer
02-11-2008, 10:21 PM
I believe in using fertilizers and herbicides, but I try to go as natural as I can to prevent insects on lawn, plants and in home and will use a natural insect repellant that is easier on the wealth of tree frogs, toads, worms and birds that frequent or live in my lawn.

grassguy_
02-11-2008, 11:31 PM
Its obvious her ploy with the article is to increase readership being that its a new publication and as misinformed as she is, obviously has know idea about the green industry. The problem is her ramblings will be viewed by many as gospel, as some have eluded too: however, what's worse yet is a publication that will print something (trash) that a desperate columnist will strum up without viewing its content or worthiness. Maybe this magazine should be stacked close to the rest of the worthless tabloids better used for kindling in my fossil fueled fireplace!

whoopassonthebluegrass
02-12-2008, 01:18 AM
I couldn't resist. Here's what I send her editor and CC'd Lynn...


Dear Jennifer Dawson,
It has come to my attention that Lynn Jenkins recently published an article berating the pernicious tomfoolery of those of us who work in the chemical lawn care business. While we are ALL entitled to our own opinions (God bless America), publishing inaccurate, distorted facts to the masses ought to be reserved for our campaigning politicians (they just can't help themselves).

While I haven't the time to fully dissect ALL of the misinformation that Lynn was so eager to smear us with, here are a few of the things that jumped out at me.

**"They also recommend you apply according to their schedule (for their convenience), not according to your lawn’s needs."
--Our schedules are based on what a TYPICAL lawn needs. We can't run around checking each customer's yard to verify if it's "time" for another treatment. Our schedules are generally built around local university recommendations. What's more, to put a wrench in the gears of Lynn's concept of the great-green-abominations (that would be us). If we could do fewer treatments (and therefore have a larger client base) while still maintaining our customers' expactions, most of us would. It's just smart business. The more clients you have, the less we are affected as a business by any one customer choosing to leave.

**"Purdue’s agronomists state that you can have a nice looking lawn by fertilizing only twice a year: in September and November. Half the chemicals, half the cost, and half the environmental damage. The lawn chemical companies don’t bother to tell you what the experts say."
--This is a gross generalism. It MIGHT be true if you have a lawn that nobody ever uses. Nitrogen applied 4x's per year is vital to the health of any stand of grass that receives foot traffic, kids playing, pets running. Failure to generate that top growth results in worn-down grass that hasn't the food supply to regrow its damaged areas. What's even more offensive is the comment within this quote that insinuates that fertilization can be reclassified as "environmental damage". So does that mean we are poisoning ourselves as humans each time we take a multivitamin? It's the same principle: applying needed nutrients where/when they are in short supply.

**"What about crabgrass? The chemical companies tell you to apply crabgrass control by mid-April, and they are right. But they often forget to say that crabgrass is an annual weed, and once it has been eliminated — usually in just one season — there is no need to continue the yearly applications. But millions of homeowners continue to have chemicals applied each spring to control crabgrass on lawns that contain no crabgrass seed. Maybe the lawn chemical companies just forgot to mention that."
--Perhaps Lynn wasn't aware that many, if not most, of us INCLUDE pre-emergent in our packages. We don't charge extra for it. And it's one of our more expensive chemicals! What's more, is that pre-emergents block a whole host of undesirable weeds and grasses - not just crabgrass. That's akin to purchasing a car and telling someone you bought a $25,000 ash tray. And as for "no need to continue..."??? Are you serious? Is there no wind in Indiana?

**"If you think it’s an exaggeration to call it toxic, just read the fine print..."
--Can you show me a product sold in the United States that DOESN'T have fine print that insinuates dangerous and treacherous possibilities? We live in the most litigation-happy country in the world! There's fine print and warnings on EVERYTHING.

Again, I would just like to express my disdain for the wholly unfavorable bias Lynn has for those of us in the Green Industry. Ironically, the greatest source of chemical pollution from pesticides results in homeowners who aren't educated in the proper use of such products (as opposed to us wicked "lawn guys" who are trained, certified, tested, and whose livelihoods depend on our accuracy and responsibility in using these products).

Thank you,

humble1
02-12-2008, 01:30 AM
thats awesome

Whitey4
02-12-2008, 01:37 AM
Nice reply whoop, but I sort of wished you had mentioned how crabgrass seed can remain in the soil for 5 years or more. One application does NOT erradicate it. That was I thought, one of the most ignorant things she said. That fact alone would discredit here as much as anything else. But, nice job.

whoopassonthebluegrass
02-12-2008, 01:38 AM
Nice reply whoop, but I sort of wished you had mentioned how crabgrass seed can remain in the soil for 5 years or more. One application does NOT erradicate it. That was I thought, one of the most ignorant things she said. That fact alone would discredit here as much as anything else. But, nice job.

Sorry. Didn't think it out too much. More of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of guy. Thanks, though.

Whitey4
02-12-2008, 02:14 AM
I just shot this off to them....

Dear Ms. Dawson,
I recently had the chance to read an article in your publication regarding fertilization and chemical treatments written by Lynn Jenkins. I would not argue with some of her points, but that was in short, an article that was biased and full of completely inaccurate assumptions based on an apparent bias against the repsonsible use of control materials in the landscape environment of lawn care and horticulutal practices in general.

I happen to agree that there are companies, in particular the large broad based nation-wide sort of chemical companies and their franchises that over apply both fertilizers and pesticides, calling these control materials poisons is naive at best, ignorant at worst. Did you know that vinegar when applied as a garden herbicide is more toxic than the weed killer Round-up? That is based on EPA data. I am not inclined to go into the LD-50 system of measuerment for toxicity, but I do think that Ms. Jenkins should have done her due diligence as a part of her fact finding before publishing such a negative attack on herbicides.

Her statement as fact that one pre-emergent herbicide application for crabgrass means that it has been treated and eradicated is as uninformed as my next door neighbor trying to identify a turf fungus disease. Crabbgrass seeds can survive without germinating for five years and longer. This is very basic information for any qualified home owner, never mind a certified pesticide technician or applicator. With hat statement alone, she completely destroyed her credibility.

In short, her article was based on emotional heresay and biased opinion. By extension, your publication also loses credibility. Yes, over application of chemicals is not good for the environement. The large chemical companies DO add unecassary levels of pollutants into the environment.

Maybe she should have thought more about local companies that provide these services, with owners who live in the area, and have their own families to worry about. Good companies these days always look to reduce the amount of chemicals they use. That would be the local companies, certified, trained and licensed to provide these services responsibly.

Regards,

whoopassonthebluegrass
02-12-2008, 10:59 AM
Nice. Well written.

But you probably should have written:

P.S. Chemlawn blows.






Ha, I'm just kidding.






Or am I?

humble1
02-12-2008, 11:34 AM
well done again