View Full Version : Chemical Info for Newcomers to Business

01-26-2000, 06:16 PM
For newcomers to the green industry, here are a couple of important matters that should be noted about chemical use by landscape contractors:<p>1-LICENSING & LEGALITIES<p>States license companies and individuals for application of pesticides for hire. Anything used to control a pest is subject to licensing. PEST(relating to the landscape) = any undesireable plant, insect, disease, animal, or other condition. PESTICIDE = any chemical (natural or synthetic) used to control a pest. Most states have two categories of licensing affecting landscape: one for turf and another for ornamentals. If you only have a turf license, you cannot spray Roundup in the shrub beds. In Indiana, an unlicensed applicator can be fined $$$ for each INCIDENT. So if an inspector follows you around to 10 properties, you pay 10 x $$$. If he's in a bad mood that day, or you put him in a bad mood, he can probably find 3 regs violated at each site, so you pay 3 x 10 x $$$.<p>While many pesticides are available in the local hardware, Home Depot, or K-Mart, these are for consumer use. You are generally violating state and federal regulations if you buy Weed-B-Gon at K-Mart and apply to a customer's lawn, even if you are licensed. (OSHA and many state chemical applicator regs require you to have label and MSDS {Material Safety Data Sheet} available for any chemicals you are using. Most consumer chemicals are low rate formulations and escape the requirement that the mfr supplies an MSDS. So if you use the consumer product you cannot comply with the MSDS regs.)<p>To find info about pesticide licensing in your state, contact your state lawn care assn or the turf or horticulture dept at your state land grant university. Many of these land grant univs have terrific web sites to help you with landscape problems. Two years ago I diagnosed a problem I had not seen before in my mother's lawn in Denver, 1100 miles away. I had her on the phone while I was connected to the Colo St Univ site. There is a whole lot more on the web today.<p>2-CHEMICAL NAMES<p>You need to learn to observe the A.I.(active ingredient) and the CONCENTRATION of A.I. in chemicals available to you. Differentiate between COMMON name and TRADE name!! In a recent thread on weed control in beds, the trade names Preen and Treflan were used. If you read the label the A.I. in each of these is trifluralin.<p>chemical name: a,a,a-trifluoro-2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipropyl-p-toluidine<br>common name: trifluralin<br>trade names: Treflan (professional product), Preen (consumer)<p>The % A.I. in Treflan is 5%; the % A.I. in Preen is 1.47%. (Consumer products are often just 10% to 30% of the concentration of commercial products, to reduce the chance of overapplication.) So in this case you would have to use 34# of Preen to equal the potency of 10# of Treflan. This will help you to calculate which is the cheaper product for you to use, and almost invariably it will be the professional product.<p>Be aware that trade names may change their A.I. Snapshot started out as a dry flowable combo of oryzalin (Surflan) and isoxaben (Gallery). It is now a granular formulation of trifluralin and isoxaben. In consumer products, there are more frequent changes.<p>--A weed is any plant growing in a place it is not wanted:<br> A dandelion is not a weed in the garden when grown for salad greens, but it is commonly considered a weed in the front lawn.<br> An oak tree would probably be a weed in the middle of an corn field, unless the farmer wants some shade to relax under.--<p>----------<br>Jim<br>South Bend, IN<br>

01-26-2000, 07:34 PM
Thank you. I would like to see who cares.<br>Do you just spray roundup at 4% so you dont have to reapply or do you have the license?

01-26-2000, 07:42 PM
I start my pesticides course next week, $150 upfront, then extra for the exam. I will maybe do a 1/2 doz lawns next year, no wonder most guys here aren't licensed. I know guys who do 10 times as many lawns as me who aren't licensed and don't have a clue what they are mixing or how much they are putting on. Anyone can walk into TSC and buy as much round up as they want as long as it is in 1 litre jugs, Killex(24D) is in 10 litre jugs. Here the only people who have to be licensed are the ones who are getting paid to put it on, if you do it for free then no license needed.

01-26-2000, 07:57 PM
Hey! All I want to do is spray grass growing through the cracks in the sidewalks and put a little ant killer out and I have to get a license! <p>Homer

01-26-2000, 08:14 PM
Oh really So should everybody go and get a license so you wont cry to your mommy because you arent making enough to fill your chemlawn pockets. Sorry but chemicals hurt the earth no matter what. If you have a license or not and that is what we should be all about. It seems like to me that people like you are not worried about the education aspect of it. I think that you are just worried that you yourself wont make all the money. Besides how many licensed chem guys do you think really care about the environment. I mean think about it they go out spray chemical follow the rules and try to get done as many as they can to make as much money as they can. And that is the bottom line my friend. Do you think they are thinking of their license. Whatever! I will get a license but i think you should go and work for OSHA. People who pose as the law but just make rules only to benefit THEMSELVES.<p>HAVE A NICE DAY !

01-26-2000, 08:26 PM
Can anyone tell me how difficult the commercial applicator exams are? In my state we take a 70 question core exam and then a 30 question turf/ornamental exam. I know there are classes etc. to prepare but I have the study materials from the extension service. Should I consider a class? Frankly, having read the books I can,t imagine failing the test. Am I being too confident or has this been others experience?

01-26-2000, 08:37 PM
The purpose of the original posting is not to criticize anybody working in the business who does not have a license. If you are doing it your way, you have made the choice.<p>My only reason for posting is having noticed a good number of sincere individuals who indicate that they are just starting in business. With the comments in the forum about chemical use, they may not be aware of the requirements.<p>The licensing authority in Indiana, Office of the Ind State Chemist, is no bogeyman or big business protector. I have seen them give extra effort to help new individuals get the training and licensing.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>South Bend, IN

01-26-2000, 08:46 PM
Tim, I found that taking the training class was beneficial, both for the core and catrgory exams, but we have a really tough program in IN.<p>Suggest you find a list of licensees in your area (perhaps the extension service can help on that). Then pick a small operator and ask him about his exams. In IN there was a good amount of math on the test, so you had to be well prepared on that.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>South Bend, IN

01-26-2000, 08:46 PM
GroundKpers, I realize you are trying to help and thank you. I am taking the exams in a few weeks. I think it is important.

lawrence stone
01-26-2000, 09:00 PM
As a licensed certified commercial pesticide<br>applicator for turf, trees, and shrubs for the last seven years I offer the following opinion:<p>If you do not have a pesticide license you<br>will not be able to provide quality lawncare.<p>If your serious about making a living in the<br>green industry you need a license.<p>Mixing chemicals is not rocket science but<br>you do need to know enough to pass a state-mandated tests and have proof of the proper<br>insurance before you can apply.<p>The state is not making a very high entry barrier. It's not like taking the BAR exam.<p>The core and lawn tests are fairly easy.<br>The tree test requires a bit of study since<br>They’re a so many types of trees and the bugs<br>that love them.<p>Now for the shocking truth. You will NEVER<br>get any decent high end jobs because you<br>just don't meet the fundamental requirements of a lawn care contractor.<br>

01-26-2000, 09:41 PM
In my &quot;opinion&quot; I disagree with the above statements by Mr Stone. So if I am serious about making a living in lawn care, I &quot;NEED&quot; a license to spread toxic chemicals? And if I don't have one, I will not be able to provide quality lawn care? Tell that to the 10's of thousand guys out there making a good living providing lawn care without this license. I myself am happy making $80k a year (personally) with my unlicensed lawn care company. I guess you don't read our industry magazines showing working partnerships between lawn care providers and thier chemical provider counterparts. As for high state barriers, if you want to work for a licensed applicator for 2 years (I'm sure he'll split up his territory (and money) once you've past) and then pass written exams, etc... and so on.. I think I be more of a leader than a follower and find another source of good income in our industry even though because I don't have a license, I will NEVER get any decent high end jobs because I don't meet the fundamentals of a quality lawn care contractor! When your chemical fertilizers are banned in a few years and I'm out applying organic fertilizers, maybe you'll become one of us peon lawn guys struggling to get some high end jobs! I don't know if you guys know or remember Digital Computer? They laughed at IBM and the pc makers while continuing to make their dinosaur mainframes. Look where that got them!

lawrence stone
01-26-2000, 10:12 PM
Mr lmb1,<p>If you and to give the most profitable part of the lawn care biz away you can do so.<p>I am working up one bid on nine sites totaling 40 acres providing 32 weekly mowings<br>along with an application of preemergence<br>herbicide with lawn fert, a straight lawn fert, liming and tree spraying.<p>This one job for 32 weeks of the year is<br>worth more than your entire yearly (52 week )<br>gross.<p>Requiremnets of this job and most other commercial work require that the contractor be licensed in the trade he is to perform.<p>I guess you won't be at the bid opening?

01-26-2000, 10:53 PM
A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush! I'd rather have my measley 52 week guaranteed pay than your &quot;expected bid&quot;. By the way, I don't work 52 weeks! I take winter off to enjoy my time off. Noticed in your other posts under company size that they all seem to be what you COULD make. I COULD make $1,000,000 next year but I probably won't. You say that a licensed pesticide applicator COULD make $150k a year. And a 4 season grounds maintenance firm COULD make big numbers. As someone who's been DOING this for only 3 years now, I now CHOOSE my accounts from referrals only. I now cater to only 80 of the finest homes in the NH seacoast area all priced at over the $1,000,000. (The amount I COULD make.) And I have sold off 1/3 of my business due to extreme growth to cater to these individuals rather than worry about excessive overhead.(I had 120 lawns) Not bad for someone unlicensed! These are MY facts and not a &quot;wish list&quot; No, I won't be at the bid ceremonies HOPING to get some business. Let me know how much NET you make from this expected bid against my yearly gross. I COULD make more next year to make up for it.

01-26-2000, 11:53 PM
Sorry for being nasty. I think that everything that we do is bad for the earth and someone should think of the damage too. The movers kill the atmosphere the chemicals pollute everything (lakes, ponds, insect life). I think Someone should think about it that way for once. We can only keep going like this for so long and then it will backfire on us. To me the damage a chemical does even if your have a license is the most important thing and if i overreaceted im sorry but i want someone to see the reality of what they do. Dont think because you have a licence you are any better than the other guy. Because money is not what makes you, its knowing what you had to do to make it.

01-27-2000, 08:17 AM
I totally agree with the above statement. I have just renewed my lic. (Orn. & turf, Aquatic, rt.of way). I don't care how much $$$ is involved. The BIG thing here is the long term impact on the earths environment. If you think that there is nothing to this global warming thing... well quite frankly... you're WRONG. We all need to think about long term when using any type of chemical. What are we leaving for future generations? I.e. your children or your grandchildren. Not trying to &quot;get up on my soapbox&quot; but look at what is going on in the world with pollution and our national parks and forests, people getting sick (cancer,is just one of the by-products of our lifestyles) They are DYING! All I'm saying is, if you're going to use the stuff, do it right, get ALL of the required licenses and permits and follow the regulations and use IPM. We'll all be better off in the long run. By the way, I don't ever recall in my 36yrs. seeing a hearse pulling a U-Haul. Not preaching to anyone just stating facts. Thanks!

01-27-2000, 09:15 AM
I think if if Al Gore becomes prez. This argument will be a mute point.<br>Oh man. Now I have a chemical headache.:)

01-27-2000, 11:19 AM
Charles, take a chemical to get rid of that headache!

01-27-2000, 11:36 AM
On a more serious note: The above posts do have merit, I recently tried to &quot;hook&quot; up with a Co. that has a license to spray so I could mow a property. The spec's called for routine applications of this and that. I couldn't do it so I gave the owner (spray guy) a price for the mowing and was going to let him bid on the whole thing. He wound up being the only bidder and was more than the property wanted to spend. It will now go back up for bid again and I still don't have my license. Its not that I had to have it, but it was a high profile site and another 12 month income producer. By not having the license I didn't know what to bid on the property so I let him do the bidding and I was going to subcontract the mowing. Just because you have a license to spray doen not make you a murderer. It kept me from getting that one and will probably keep me out of other doors. I am going to take the exam and get mine and if I need it I'll have it. The company I was speaking of started out mowing grass and now has 1600+ spraying accounts. Needless to say, they don't mow anymore.<p>I agree that chemicals are hazardous to everybody, but I ain't eating the grass its sprayed on or the plants either, I am eating what comes out of fields and trees all around the country. And just as I told Charles to take a chemical to get rid of his headache, how many of us on a regular basis turn to chemicals to ease our aches and pains? There are 2 sides to everything and although it may be a sore subject with some we all need to be rational and use our best judgement. I don't think Groundskeepers was attempting to throw his knowledge around in a bad way, he was merely being informative, and after all thats what you look at this forum for, information. If you don't need what someone is telling or asking discard it like bad e-mail. <p>Nuff said,<p>Homer

01-27-2000, 12:19 PM
Very true. I did jump ahead of the intended meaning a little or alittle too much. I still feel you should be consious of what your doing. You can explain it but that doesnt make it right. <br>I live close to a lake and there is ecoli bacteria and high levels where the lake had to be shut down because of fertilizer damage. You can try to explain that with all of the other chemicals inevitably used everyday but that doesnt clean up all of the green stuff that still floats around in the lake every year. As for Mr grounds keepr I would like to apologize for acting like that. It seems like you are just trying to help and im sorry for jumping all over everything the way that i did.<p>bdemir

01-27-2000, 01:50 PM
The fines for applicating with out a license can be steep.Once you have been caught they will watch you like a hawk.They can also get you for other things like(improper storage,buying restricted chemical without a license,which they can also go after your supplier.improper equipment,like no back flow devices etc)<br>Also most states require a license to apply chemicals as do counties and cities.<br>So you could be fined from all three and not allowed to do buisness there.<br>Trust me if you do it long enough you will get caught or some other company the does it right will turn you in.I have seen it happen.<br>Most dont have a license because they cant pass the test.

01-27-2000, 03:53 PM
Hi Everyone;<p>Interesting subject. I am surprised that people apply any pesticide without a license. To me the risks are far greater than the rewards (money). The client puts a lot of faith in your abilities and the service you provide. To spray without a license and be caught could have a tremendous negative effect on your business and its reputation which you have worked so hard to get. Why would anyone risk there reputation and integrity just because they want to make a point or do not want to fork out the money or time to write the exam. I would pay this money in a heart beat than risk these things. Applying pesticides is not rocket science by any means but you must have the proper education in order to apply these under the proper procedures. It is hard to know how much you are putting down without calibrating your sprayer. It is hard to know what the label means if have not been educated in reading a label. It is hard to know what to do in case of a spill if you have not been educated in what to do. These are questions that can be answered by writing a exam. Now to most these questions are simple but to a few this could cause problems. A pesticide license may be a money graber but I think it is more. This helps guard the safety of the public. Do you want to be driving behind a transport truck driver that doesn't have the proper training and license. I don't. Chemicals can be bad for the environment if not properly used. In Canada, quidelines for registering a chemical are very strict. For example; MERIT was just registered in Ontario. MERIT has been in use in US for along time. We up in the North do not have the luxury of all the different chemicals available. Is this bad or good I do not know. But as chemical applicators it is our duty to try practice IPM. We owe it to our clients and to the environment. Does a pesticide license make you more professional. It may or may not. However; it gives your business crediblity to the public and to your customer. If you are applying pesticides you owe it to your customers to have a license. <p>Dave

01-27-2000, 04:49 PM
In South carolina a couple of weeks ago we had a bird kill. Around 100 black birds fell out of the sky in one yard. Most were dead before they hit the ground. An analysis of the birds showed they were poisoned. This made international news. I think they believe it was pesticide. I haven't heard what they found out. Or if they found out who did it. Maybe someone on here knows. They really had a chemical headache. but it had to be widspread in someones yard they said.

01-27-2000, 09:45 PM
Hi dkechnie, I'm from Ontario, I just got my pesticide info in the mail fron University of Guelph. It's a lot more pricy than I thought it would be. There is 18 different categories each costs $130 min. then $200 to MOE then $90 for 3 years. All this for maybe 10 lawns, the other other licenced guy near me also cuts lawns so I don't want to get him to spray for me. I don't want to get into the spraying business but we have a big problem with dandelions here. All I spray is Killex and a little Round up around trees, both can be bought without a licence. I am pricing three big jobs and they will all want spraying done, I'm going to have to get the licence if I want the jobs. Which of the categories do you have? I'm thinking LANDSCAPE and the AGRICULTURE ones. I have a 4 wheeler and am thinking about wicking of milk weed in crops with it so I will need the AG one too.