View Full Version : organics

01-13-2000, 04:54 PM
hey guys hers a subject i haven't seen discused, do any of you practice organic lawn care i use organic fertilizers, herbacides, and pesticides, and have had fantastic results and my costomers love it altough sometimes it is a little more expensive in the start but in the long run it is cheeper and the costomers are willing to pay it they see this stuf on hgtv , and pbs tv. and when you present it to them their eyes light up not only good product but good promotional move I would like to hear what you guys have to say about it <p>----------<br>Dale Robins owner<br>Southern lawn and Landscape

01-13-2000, 06:17 PM
Organic herbicides and pesticides?<p>Please elaborate.

01-13-2000, 06:25 PM
I too would like any and all info. I can get on organics. What about results, prices, suppliers, availability, etc. Thanks!

01-13-2000, 07:49 PM
If its organic would you need a license to apply it? I haven't heard of a &quot;organic applicators license&quot;! Might be the way to go and still be legal.

01-14-2000, 03:38 AM
I use organics and think they are the future in home applications. People just dont realise what is in the chemicial ferts.<br>I havnt been happy with the organic herbicides Ive seen can you send me a list of your suppliers please. Jim

01-14-2000, 04:45 AM
I am also interested in using organics. What brand of products are you using and who sells it?

01-14-2000, 05:58 AM
Lets get a couple of things straight:<p>1.) If it's a pesticide you need a license/certification to charge to apply it. <p>2.) Everthing is chemical. Organic means it contains carbon.

01-14-2000, 10:17 AM
I am currently researching the idea of starting a lawncare business. I felt the organic approach (so called environmental sensitive approach) would be the way to start. While at a Horticulture Trade Show in Toronto Ontario I approach many companies on this idea. To my surprise, I got alot of different answers. Many people said it maybe the way of the future however; it is a tough thing to sell because of the added costs associated with organic fertilizer, more labour intensive (more aeration, why not sure about this). Also the greenup response in the spring is slower than synthetic fertilizers. It was also suggested if you offer both a synthetic and organic fertilizer program, more often than not the client would pick the synthetic due to the price. I'm not sure of what I think of organics fertilizer. I have had some experience with them but not enough to offer any conclusions to them. I did come by a product called NatureSafe. I guess this has been around I the States for awhile but just introduced in Canada. I think it is made out of bone meal. There is also Miloganite which comes from Milwakee (not sure of the spelling excuse me) This product is very popular in Canada especially for golf course use. Is the organic chemical control you are refering is biological control? I think this is a very niche market selling organic products for lawncare. Is is viable to sure. I'm also curious to who offers this service and if they could provide their insights.

01-14-2000, 03:57 PM
hey guys I'm not what you would call an expert on organics but I do practise it some of the pesticides I use are diatamatious earth for say grasshoppers garlic and pepper tea which I make myself as far as the ferts. I use a product called sustain, used with the lawn grows thicker and greener than with synthetics and after second or third app. becomes so thick it begins to choke out the weeds and becomes virtually a weed free lawn. Agood web sight to go to to learn more, and to obtainfree recipes and other apps. is www.dirtdoctor.com and on sat. morn between 11-12 central and sunday 8- 12 he has a talk show on wbap.com/bi/howard.html the host is Howard garret an expert out of Dallas tex. and has his own line of products and books which can be bought through the web sight excelent books (just thowght af more) corn gluton meal for prel-emergent, corn meal for fungus dry molass along with fert. first time to increase micro bacteria, liquid seaweed for rooting harmone really makes your flowers take off,all I can think of right now ,just got in from all day deer hunt on horseback hurts to sit down if you need any mor help let me know on this forum or e-mail me<p>----------<br>Dale moonarrow@hotmail.com<br>Southern lawn and Landscape

01-16-2000, 02:01 AM
Lazer, organic does not mean it containes carbon. Some of the products I use are certified organic under the organic farmers act (more federal regulation). <br>By a product just containing carbon it isnt organic. <br>Malorginite might be organic, but it contains heavy metals and putting the sewage sludge from milwakee on my yard dosent thrill me.<br>As far as labor intensive goes it does take three years for an organic program to take full effects. The organic program will choke out weeds and promotes earthworm developement which adds nitrogen and loosens soil compaction reducing the need for airiation.<br>I have a client who retired last year and decided to &quot;do it himself&quot; he put twice as much chemicaly based fert on his lawn and wasnt happy with the results. His lawn was &quot;chemicaly free&quot; when I started 3 years ago, as it was new sod on fresh fill the fill came from a large bottom field that the dump truck operater has just for topsoil, and hasnt put anything on it in years. It will take a while to get it back into shape but Hes a client this year again.<br>We could discuss the finer points for ever and still not resolve anything. So as far as this goes lets agree to disagree. And to help to educate each other. I belive the federal government will be regulating the fertilizer industry before long and home lawns will be the first affected. Home lawns are the biggest user of chemical based frets. some times using 4 to 5 times what is used by farmers. I know of people who put 800 lbs per year per acre on there home lawn, if a farmer did this first of all he couldnt afford it and secondly it wouldnt do him much good. Balance is the key no matter what. Ill get of my soap box now. BTW Im not one of those vegiterian &quot;bunny hugger&quot; types I just think were killing our selves with chemicals and hormones. jim

01-16-2000, 02:57 AM
Wow 800 lbs of fert on a lawn. That flat blows me away. You'd think it'd burn the hell out of the lawn. I grew up farming, was around it all of my life, just got out of it 2 years ago. We'd soil test to see what we'd need for fert applications. Some fields would call for 50lbs of nitrogen per acre, others as low as 20lbs. All depended on crop rotations, and type of crop being seeded. A guy couldn't afford to just dump on the fert. Besides after a certain point it does more harm than good. <br> We ran a no-till operation, which means we did no cultivation, tried to disturb the earth as little as possible. High levels of organic material were the goal. It reduced erosion, cut fertilizer needs, and as mentioned soil compaction was not a problem. We could dig a sample of soil and find lot's of earthworms, go to a neigbor's field who practiced conventional tillage you would find no worms.<br> All of this was good but to control weeds we did a lot of spraying. And the health risk is a concern. I believe it is what killed my father. He was in excellent physical shape and died of cancer at the age of 54. We'd buy roundup by the 1000 gallon shuttle. And when you spray thousands of gallon's of herbicides a year with a cabless tractor you get plenty of exposure to spray drift. <br> Sorry about rambling on but I hope organics will have a future, and I'm very interested in learning more about them.

Nilsson Associates
01-16-2000, 03:45 AM
Anyone interested in organic lawn, tree & shrub care, should contact me for details on how to make excellent profits providing this service. <p>Email me .. say &quot;organics&quot; in subject line<br>Send name, postal mailing address to:<br>Phil Nilsson<br>Nilsson Associates, Consultants<br>Email to Nilsson.Assoc@Snet.Net

01-16-2000, 09:59 AM
all your &quot;organic ferts&quot; are not going to be complete without HUMIC AND FULVIC ACIDS...these are DNA for soil..

01-16-2000, 11:03 AM
Phil I agree with you on taking thre years to see the full results of organics but you do start to see a noticable change the first year . concerning the costomer that changed there is a product on the market that locks up the synthetic chemicals where they they can no longer hurt the lawn can't rember what it is but will look it up and get back to you on it. In Dallas they came out with a report that said htat 90% of the polution in the Trinity river was from fertilizers and other chemicals used on home lawns. Hey guys when your kids go out to play in the yard, howmany of you have seen them take a blade of grass and put in their mouth. the inert matter on the lable consist of many things one of which is hazaradous waste (what you want your kid to put in their mouths) not me. Another thing to think about the toxic chemicials soak through your skin in just a few minutes. try this experiment take a garlic clove and put in your sock for 20 min. and taste the results. makes you think. US Gvernment to begin crack downs on chemicals in near future so get a jump on and start learning organics now. good luck Dale<p>----------<br>Dale moonarrow@hotmail.com<br>Southern lawn and Landscape

01-16-2000, 04:05 PM
I'd still like to know more.<br>If any of you guys are doing this you might<br>have the answers to my questions.<br>How often do you apply?<br>Do you use seasonal contracts?<br>What kind of equipment do you use?<br>What is the going rate for applications?<br>Is it substantially more than using chemicals?<br>Thanks<br>Dylan<br>

01-16-2000, 06:10 PM
Let me get to the definiton thing again. <br>Organic: Having a Carbon Compound Derivative.<p>If it's not the percentage of carbon that defines an organic fertilizer, please fill me in. Don't tell me I'm wrong and not give me the right answer.<p>800 lbs. of Fertilizer? on how much area? with what carrier? what percentage of N? <p>You have to define what you're talking about for everbody to be on the same page.<p>Carl<p>Oh, yeah, and I'm still looking for that answer on organic pesticides. (I think they're called &quot;Natural Controls&quot;, fill me in)

01-16-2000, 06:47 PM
Lazer, <br> Not that there is such a need to be so right, wrong or exact with others on this forum on the topic of &quot;organics&quot;, here is my find on the term taken from a leading natural lawn care company. ( The use of the terms&quot;natural& organic&quot; can be very misleading and cause confusion if not properly used. In the strictest sense, any material containing carbon COULD be considered &quot;organic&quot;. Plastic for example could well be considered &quot;organic&quot; by this definition and as such, we shouldn't refer to all fertilizers as organic, but rather organic-based. From the viewpoint of organic farmers and gardeners, organic is a term used when referring to nitrogen fertilizer sources that are derived from something that was once living, such as plants, animals and their by-products.) Just thought this would enlighten other listeners in a more positve way on the subject of organics. It will become the way of the future and those smart enough to do the research and lead the way in their area will become the future lawn care leaders and both the environment and themselves will prosper!!!

01-16-2000, 06:59 PM
lbmd1,<br>Thank-you for your input. <br>The reason why I want to be so specific is because organics is an area in which we start calling an elephant a dog. <p>If the industry is in fact going towards organic, I think it's important that what we're talking about is clearly defined.<p>Without that, your competitors can out-bid you, charge a customer for an organic program and be applying a fertililizer which nitrogen derivative is only 10% post-living organism.<p>One of the problems with orgaincs is they often leave more questions than answers I think accurate terminology can turn that around. <p>Ammonia Urea is a natural animal byproduct. <br>Could I charge extra to apply this &quot;natural&quot; fertilizer? Does that make it organic? If I use this as a fertilizer, am I being environmentally sound?

01-16-2000, 07:42 PM
Was doing some surfing on the web and found some good organic sites.<p>www.jhorganic.com<p>www.norganic.com

01-16-2000, 07:53 PM
a good book is &quot;organic gardening&quot; by Howard Garrett, Gulf Publishing co., DEpt. KP po. box 2680 Houston, Tx. 77252-2680, E-mail ezorder@gulfpub.com give the if's ands and buts ,,,, compares snthetics to organics, gives application rates soil preps. how to control pest the natural way, organic solutions(ferts., pesticides, homemade remedies) veryyyyy informative co authur Malcome Beck, founder of GArden-ville products 20plus yrs. of experience other good books Rodale's foun in most Books a million stores hope some of you check out the radio program in my last post. good luck because people are leaning to the NATURAL WAY healthy non-toxic safe,another thing to think about synt. fert. 30-48% inertmater=waaste of money organic 100% useable by plants and turf also if not water imediatly will not burn one more plus <p>----------<br>Dale moonarrow@hotmail.com<br>Southern lawn and Landscape

01-16-2000, 10:34 PM
Here is a website that can answer most questions here. Check out http://www.neteze.com/dB/why.htm (Dirt Cheap Organics) FAQ's. I'm planning to go this route also. $5.95 per 25lbs/2,000 sq.ft. sounds cheap, read their &quot;products&quot; page for other Application rates and stuff. <p>They also carry Natural Pest Control products. Still you have to wear a mask.<br>

01-17-2000, 05:11 PM
Naturalawn is right about Milogranite and a lot of other the &quot;organic&quot; or &quot;organic based&quot; products. Many contain sewer sludge which contains heavy metals, and although it's treated, can also contain live pathogens. There are companies around that promote organic or organic based lawn care that are able to do it cheaper because they are using these products,and use synthetic prsticides along with them. Most customers are uninformed and don't realize that there is a big difference between this and a purely 100% organic approach. <p>When using a purely organic lawn care program you will not need to use any synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, etc. You will not get the instant green-up of chemicals right away, but when using a quality product you will see a difference and once established organic turf will look better and stay green longer with less irrigation. One of the most important things to do is a soil test. Find out what the soil needs. Check the PH. It's very imporant to get it within the proper range, 6 1/2- 7, so the soil can process the nutrients. There are safe natural solutions to a lot of problems. For example, if you live in an area that Japanese Beetle Grubs are a problem you can apply Milky Spore Disease Powder. It takes a while to establish itself and may seem expensive initially, but it lasts 10-15+ years, and it is safe for you and the enviroment. It will not kill bees, birds, earthworms etc. like many synthetic insecticides. Once a purely organic program is in place for a while you will see that the turf becomes a lot healthier and thicker. There will be a lot less problems than when a synthetic program was used.It will actually crowd out most of the weeds. It may be hard to convince some customers that the initial higher cost is worth it, but compared over 3 to 5 years the costs become much more comparable. You will not need to do a yearly insecticide treatment like before, fugicide treatments become a thing of the past, the turf crowds out the weeds on it's own. There are golf courses using 100% organic programs sucessfully that have cut their costs way down compared to a synthetic program. So it can be done if done right.<p><br>It might not be as good to your financial bottom line at first. But the real bottom line is it's a heck of a lot better for everyones health and for our environment.

01-17-2000, 05:48 PM
Yard,<p>What insecticides (general use, not RUP) should we stay away from so not to kill bees, birds and earthworms?<p>(Actually, I might not mind taking out a bees nest on some yards.) :)<br>

Nilsson Associates
01-18-2000, 03:34 AM
In some markets public perception is swinging toward using &quot;natural products&quot; customers are willing to give organics a<br>&quot;try&quot;. As many of you know, I represent an Organic Franchise, as agent. The franchise was started in New England and already gaining momentum .. going nationwide .. and interest in this is strong. The franchise offers a low start up cost, competitive pricing, 100% support systems, a customer starting base, takes care of scheduling, billing, accounts receivable, collections ... just about every support feature so you can spend your time in the field making money ... not doing a lot of book work. To receive info about this .. email me at<br>Nilsson.Assoc@Snet.Net<p>Phil Nilsson<br>Nilsson Associates, Consultants<br>P.S. Visit my web site, <br>http://www.turfquip.com/nilsson.html look under business opportunities, review some features about this organic franchise bizz opp.

01-18-2000, 09:12 AM
Phil, I have recieved the material on the organic franchise, but 16% straight off the top? Seems alittle much to me.

Nilsson Associates
01-19-2000, 11:19 AM
The 16% consists of 1% for national advertising, 10% for royalties which is quite typical and 5% that covers all of the following:<br>1. Customer billings - done for you<br>2. Customer pricing and proposal - done for you.<br>3. Billing the customer - done for you<br>4. Collecting receivables and deposits into your account - done for you.<br>5. Customer work routing - work scheduling - done for you.<br>6. Customer calls incoming - toll free # - done for you.<br>7. Collecting late pays - done for you<br>8. Automatic ordering and drop ship materials as you need them - done for you<br>9. Newsletter to your customers - done for you<br>10. Upselling other services to your customer - done for you<br>11. Charting service requests - done for you<br>12. Input to accounts payable, statements and reports - done for you<br>13. Ongoing franchisee updates - done for you<br>14. Customer lead generation, telemarketing - done for you<br>15. As part of a national franchise, maintaining the market value of your business - done for you<br>16. Keeping abreast of materials and technology - done for you<br>17. Reducing your operating expenses via mass purchasing - done for you<p>Question - how much time or money would it take or cost to do these things yourself?<p>Nilsson.Assoc@Snet.Net

01-19-2000, 11:44 AM
Nilsson & Associates,<p>That really sounds like a great value. Most lawn contractors strength is in the actual production, not all those support services. All that support for only 16% would really benefit most guys.<p>I have been doing an organic program for 14 years now and I think it's important to communicate 2 things: 1.) What organics are and are not, the benefits of what they will and will not do. 2.) The results must be able to be documented.<p>As this board so well demonstrates, organics can leave more questions than answers. They also tend to invite undocumented claims and misinformation. These issues will need to be clearly dealt with in order for organics to become a solid element of the lawn care industry.

01-20-2000, 08:36 AM
organics do work well,(how much scu or pcscu was used in the garden of eden?)they take time and during the first few years tend to need help during the period you are laying the groundwork for your soil.what i have found is a mix of both worlds workbest maybe a 60/40 split-i do use ibdu.the best supplement to your soil are humic and fulvic acids- www.humic.com will get you info...fulvics are awesome on breaking down clay(a soil test may show iron present in your soil-fulvics will break it down to a form the plant can really use) example of the power of humates: this fall everything was covered with schmeg(small organic debris-fir branches,alder leaves,etc.-lots of light debris)a customer who has been on humates years now has his beds treated each fall,i pull up one weekand his driveway is covered in schmeg but the beds are very clean minus the small branch type stuff it soaked into the soil...it is these organic acids that break down organic material without them in some forms all the carbon based &quot;fertilizers&quot; will just rot not compost.i also agree on a standard must be set for something to be called organic something along the lines of what oregon has done.also organics will vary from area to area around the country as do soils -this has left me to wonder how an &quot;organic national franchise&quot; can even exist,ex. how can someone in boston know when to add K to seattle soils? farm hard and prosper

Nilsson Associates
01-21-2000, 01:40 AM
Above posts raise a lot of questions, so here's more input ..<p>.. A national organic franchise will know what a lawn in Seattle needs because the &quot;man on the ground&quot; in Seattle will take a soil sample.<p>.. At the moment, most organic programs are supplemented by using weed and insect controls, but organic fertilizers are a step in the right direction.<p>.. Customers want green, weed & insect free lawns, and they'll try organics along with smart IPM program to limit or reduce the use of &quot;synthetics&quot;. <p>.. Don't get overly concerned with the science or &quot;material makeup&quot; of organics, customer perception is &quot;for it&quot; and it sells .. they feel it's safer, nobody claims that it's &quot;perfect&quot; .. no need to <br>deceive in advertising as the &quot;cure all&quot;.<br>Customers are willing to try it .. that's what matters.<p>.. Most customers don't care that much, don't want you to go into a &quot;lecture&quot; or get technical about &quot;what's in the bag&quot;. If it says organics on the bag .. that's good enough for the majority of them. If the contractor who is applying the materials<br>knows and feels that the organic material<br>is safer and better than using conventional<br>products ... what's the problem?<p>.. Organics is a &quot;market niche&quot; that customers are taking a closer look at. In other words there's a growing market for the stuff. New advances are being made .. and the &quot;environment&quot; has been a hot issue for many years ... so anything perceived to &quot;help the environment&quot; is taken to be a &quot;good thing&quot;. It sells!<p>Anybody who would like to receive a brochure on the &quot;Organic Opportunity&quot; I mentioned above can email me (on subject line just say organics) .. your name, telephone number, company name and postal mailing address to:<p>Nilsson.Assoc@Snet.Net<p>P.S. For those of you who already received the Organic brochure, there's still time to come on board and get started in your area for this coming spring, and for the Franchise to get customers for you in your area.<p><p><br>----------<br>Phil Nilsson<p><br>

01-21-2000, 02:24 AM
I have been reading this discussion and started another post related to IPM. I'm fine with the ambiguity between Natural and Organic, because I am comfortable with my definition of the different products and their uses. We use Espoma and Roots products all of the time. The benefits are invaluable IMHO.<p>I've had some trouble understanding so called Natural Lawn Care type companies though. I know this was an isolated incident, but one time I talked to an operator about different products (they did not know I was involved in the industry) relating to, among other things, grub control. The same guy who had 100% natural plastered all over his van was explaining to me that Turcam and Dylox will take care of the grubs. In fact he had a dozen bags in his van at the time. This doesn't fit my definition of 100% natural, and I'm curious to know if others have experienced this. I have been practicing IPM for several years, and present my approach to customers. I hope that as time passes these franchises, or even local 100% natural lawn care companies stay true to their word, so that we are all on a level playing field, as others have mentioned.<br><p>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply - http://members.aol.com/slsnursery<br>Ivy League Landscaping - http://members.aol.com/scagrider

01-21-2000, 05:14 AM
First of all, I'd like to thank Phil for his latest post above. I am by no means a &quot;granola&quot; person at all. I have been researching the organic approach prior to entering this field of what will become the future. (Did anyone see that the state of New York has over 60 pesticide bills on the docket for this coming year) Why is that? Is is because the large Chem-Lawn companies who are suppose to be knowledgeable in herbicides and pesticides are out there just to make money? Ever quiz any of these kids with cut-offs, no respirator masks, etc.. while they're applying this stuff on your customer's lawn. Don't bother, most can't tell you anything but what's on their pre-written work list. Why is it also that these same companies telemarket their existing customers selling them fert programs they don't need. Do these same companies tell their new customers that are going to be killing all of the benficial insects and life under the soil and grow their lawn in a hydroponic state. How about the safety issue of kids and dogs on their lawns. And finally, why in the middle of the biggest drought of the decade this past summer, were they out there every day spreading chemicals and then turning around to the customers when the lawn burns and tell them that the lawn guy is cutting too short? Sorry to go on, but previous posts about undocumented claims and misinformation on organics has me a bit stymied. As for the Naturalawn franchise, they specifically state in all brochures and information to their customers, that they will use a biorational or biological control as a prefernce, but will use synthetic materials very sparingly if all other options have been exhausted. Like I said as well as Phil stated, no need to be exact or on the same page. Apples to oranges! They are 2 different approaches to an ends mean. What ever in advertising is truthful? They both have a long way to go, but don't knock organics, it's a viable and rational approach to keeping your lawns greener for you to make more$$$. <p>Mike

Nilsson Associates
01-21-2000, 11:39 AM
In the very early stages (years ago) when organics was being &quot;pushed&quot;.. some companies selling it went way overboard with deceptive advertising actually putting a &quot;scare&quot; into customer's minds. Presently, legitimate<br>organic companies do not practice deceptive advertising ... and the customer handouts and brochures tell it like it is which is that organic fertilizers and products will be used &quot;where practicle&quot; and that ordinary<br>pesticides &quot;used sparingly&quot; will be used only as needed ... no blanket spraying of weeds for example where &quot;spot weeding&quot; will suffice. Really just good IPM. Yet in spite of that, some customers just assume because the word organics is on the truck ... well then it must be an all organic outfit. That isn't the fault of the company .. that the customer didn't read the brochure entirely.<br>At the moment a 100% program is very expensive and way beyond what the average customer will spend. The word &quot;organic&quot; is becoming popular .. that's good enough for me<br>and a good &quot;marketing tool&quot; as well as long<br>as the customer is not mislead.<p>Nilsson Associates