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ProMaintenance
08-01-2011, 10:46 PM
I own a small organic yard care company, a month ago we received our first large organic account. Well it may not be large to some but for me it is fairly massive. Other than this account all or our accounts are residential or small commercial nothing on this scale. The property is 100 unit condo with an hoa just over 22000 square feet of turf and double that of beds planted in shrubs. After working over the last month on pruning the shrubs and bring the grass under 14 inches I have come up with two questions.

1. What are any tips on establishing a large scale organic program? Or should I treat it the same as a residential but on a larger scale.

2. Any tips on getting individual homeowners within the hoa to buy into the organic programs. I was hired by the hoa board but I would like to have the individual condo owners to feel some ownership in the program and landscape. The HOA is also raising to the condo owners the possibility of a community garden.

I am going to have soil tests performed this month and start on a compost tea regiment after the tests as well as top dress trouble spots in the turf. I have also had irrigation went over and ensured they are no longer watering for an hour at 10am. Sorry this is lacking detail im a little fried and wanted to hear some feedback.

OrganicsMaine
08-01-2011, 10:51 PM
One thing with HOA's, you will never make everyone happy. I have been there and tried, but to no avail. There is usually one person there that will find some imperfection and harp on the fact that the organic program isn't working.

That said, make sure you have thick skin, and do what you think is right for the property. Your name is the one on the line, and if you can keep the place looking good organically, regardless of what the one or two naysayers do, then you are golden.

You may need to be careful with your program, and the pricing, so make sure you do all the necessary research on the different options you have.

Good luck!

ICT Bill
08-02-2011, 09:47 AM
ProMaintenance
a couple of things
first make sure the HOA allows you to keep the folks in the units informed by being added to their newsletter or email blast. you should be informing them about the different aspects of your program as the seasons change, that way they have a heads up on what is going on and it will allow a personal touch on your program

for instance, in September we will be overseeding and top dressing with compost, the compost will be on the surface for a couple of weeks, compost can be tracked into your unit by you and your dog, please wipe your feet well after walking through the grass areas

If you start catching grief about weeds put out a note on how the herbicides work, they are endocrine disrupters and effect the hormonal system of the plant. all of the small mouth bass in the Potomac river are now unisex, same with the flounder coming from long island, six legged frogs are now commonly found in the farm belt

good for you on the irrigation, it will really make a difference long term, the site should be as dry as possible when the sun goes down to prevent fungal disease on the turf a shrubs

Smallaxe
08-02-2011, 12:12 PM
IPM, i.e. weeds being spot sprayed, only as necessary and during a period where a little goes a long way with no chance of excess running into the reseviors...

Soil testing is only the beginning... feed the soil, not the grass... this is true in all lawn management... fertilize with organic solids to build the SOM along with synthetics to keep the cost down... soil assays as opposed to pH/npk tests only...

find out who will raise the biggest stink about dirty compost sitting on the lawns and exclude them... some things you can just do and the less anyone knows, the better...

are they going to let you put the clippings back in the lawn?