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  #31  
Old 10-14-2007, 08:28 PM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
KIS 5 gallon Brewer

Hi mkroher;

For broadleaf weeds, you may want to try watering in some non-sulfured molasses. When it comes to these type of weeds, molasses is great because most broadleaf weeds need high nitrate levels. When you add molasses, you get bacteria, and some fungi growing, but mostly bacteria. These organisms take up nitrate and turn it into biomass, so the weeds will be less able to compete with the desired plant.

When you have sour grasses, like quack grass, crab grass, foxtail, nutgrass, goosegrass, johnsongrass and barnyard grass, those are a lack of a signal, a lack of the calcium signal.

I use various protein meals on my lawn and flower beds, corn gluten meal in the spring and late summer. Also soybean meal and alfalfa meal along with Schafer Organic Fish Fertilizer that is a hydrolysate that is made from fresh water fish and has a Ca content of 12% for those of you that need to add Calcium to your soil.
http://www.schaferfish.com/fertilizer.html

The use of corn gluten meal in conjunction with proper cultural practices of mowing high and watering deeply but infrequently controls 95% of most weed problems. With most weeds, their sensitive growing part is the tip or top of the plant. Repeated mowing is like cutting their heads off and after a period of time, the plants eventually weaken and then die off. The use of a weed hound will make short order of existing dandelion plants!

I also highly recommend using KIS compost tea brewers. I use their 5 gallon brewer on my plants. By having the right soil biology, you will not have and grub problems, period. As well as with a balanced soil, any weed problems will disappear as well. But don't forget, weeds are telling you what's missing in your soil. Some people have gone to the trouble of having their weeds tested, and have found to be high in some trace mineral. And then having the soil tested, it is found that the soil is lacking the trace mineral that was high in the weed. The weed is accumulating the mineral for you and trying to make it biological available for the soil.

Unless you soil has been damaged by chemical use or by flooding, you may not have to add topdressing to your soil. The use of AACT in conjunction with protein meals and fish, you have all you need for your soil to be healthy and look great. I also add seaweed and humic acid periodically through the course of the year to bring out the best in my plants and make them more stress resistant.

Last edited by Gerry Miller; 10-14-2007 at 08:32 PM.
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  #32  
Old 10-14-2007, 09:30 PM
mkroher mkroher is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 539
Gerry, I'm a commercial applicator, so the 5gal brewer wouldn't be enough. So far I'm trying to get my high end customers to go with an organic fertilizer. I still see the needs for pesticides though; I don't think my customers would want to pull weeds by hand, let alone pay me to do it. I agree with you that an existing weed is an indication of a decline in the soil. I don't understand how you can keep a grub from chomping on a nice juicy lawn without pesticides, or even BT. Even chinch bugs favor a delicious lawn. You seem very knowledgeable in this field, I'm just skeptical in making a profitable business and keeping the results I have already by switching. I have lawns that are gorgeous. Why fix it if it's not broken?
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  #33  
Old 10-14-2007, 11:14 PM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
When you make good compost tea, and use a good compost to make the tea, you grow organisms in the tea which will attack and consume the root grubs.

Most likely, you will see the root grubs decline in numbers after each tea application to the lawn, until they are not longer detectable, or only rarely found, without adding anything more to the tea.

Of course, the organisms that control root grubs are aerobic organisms, so it is important to maintain aerobic conditions in the compost and compost tea.

You could hedge your bets a bit, and bolster the sets of organisms that attack root grub.

Bacillus subtilis as a group of bacteria are well-known for being repugnant to root and foliar insects.

Beauvaria, a genus of several hundred species of fungi, are well known for consuming soft-bodied insects, especially larval stages of things like root grub.

Chitinase containing bacteria and fungi eat through the outer cuticle of insects like root grub and destroy them. These bacteria are carried by Heterorhabditus, a nematode the happily disperses these insect-destroyers through your lawn, into your neighbor's lawn, and on down the street (where the problem probably came from to begin with).

KIS make other size tea brewers as well. Any size you would need for commercial use. They make a 28 gallon, a 55 gallon, a 100 gallon, a 500 gallon and a 1,000 gallon brewers. Here is there web site:
http://www.simplici-tea.com/product_page.htm

Call and ask for Tad he can tell you what would be best for your needs. Not only are they great brewers, but you get all their expertise to make sure you get the most out of your brewer. They make available all the materials you need as well to make the best AACT available.

When you start using AACT, your need for pesticides will diminish over time. You may want to spend some time at this site:
http://www.soilfoodweb.com/03_about_us/approach.html
This site has all you need to know about making and using AACT and why you should be using ANY synthetic chemical fertilizers, zero!

Pesticides kill off many non-targeted soil organisms that normally help keep plants healthy and then create even more problems after there use. If you are using pesticides, those lawns are not as healthy as you may think. You weaken the plants and soil natural defense systems by using pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. A fundamental dilemma in pest control is that tillage and insecticide application have enormous effects on non- target species in the food web. Intense land use (especially monoculture, tillage, and pesticides) depletes soil diversity. As total soil diversity declines, predator populations drop sharply and the possibility for subsequent pest outbreaks increases.

Here is another bit of information you may want to read before you use any pesticides in the future:
http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/concepts/s...y/biology.html

I hope this helps answer your questions.
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  #34  
Old 10-15-2007, 10:39 AM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
I wanted to post some of the benefits of having a healthy lawn and how it does in fact add favorably to the environment.

Climate is controlled at ground level by turf grasses as they cool temperatures appreciably, thus working as exterior "air conditioners".

Eight healthy front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning – enough for 16 average homes.

Dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere are trapped by turf which helps make the air cleaner.

Fire ******ation buffer areas of well maintained lawngrasses around buildings is good insurance.

Groundwater is enhanced in two ways by a dense turf. Turfgrasses increase infiltration of water and also clean the water as it passes so that underground water supplies are recharged for use by us all.

Health of humans is enhanced by turfgrasses as they function in cushioning, cleaning air, generating oxygen and creating a serene landscape.

Lawns are estimated to occupy an area of between 25,000,000 to 30,000,000 acres in the United States (the size of the 5 New England states) and as the population increases so too will the amount of turfgrass acreage.

Noise is absorbed by grass areas which cut down on the excessive sound, a growing problem in urban areas. Grassed slopes beside lowered expressways reduce noise by 8-10 decibels.

Oxygen generation by turfgrasses has a major impact in making our environment habitable. A 50x50 lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.

In addition, a well maintained lawn will add value to your property.
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  #35  
Old 10-15-2007, 12:03 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: District 9 CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
You know when I read your comments again, I couldn't believe just how many absurd statements you made! There are so many of them, the first time through, I just ignored them all. But on second thought, I have to comment on at least some of the most glaring absurdities:
I think you need to read them again, because you either complete misread what I said or are putting words in my mouth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
Not everyone removes grass clippings. In fact in an organic lawn care practice, mulched grass clippings are returned to the soil. The same is true with leaves in the fall and with small branches. They are all mulched up and returned to the soil. It is nothing like growing a crop that is removed from the soil, if due to no other fact, the amount of biomass and roots of crops. So this statement is incorrect making an inaccurate assumptions.
Where did I say everyone removes clippings? I said, (and underlined) typical landscape management practices, not typical organic landscape management practices. Don't put words in my mouth.

Beyond that, consider Joe homeowner, who uses a compost tea on his lawn, pats himself on the back for being organic, but manages the rest of his landscape the same way he always has? It happens. I suppose Joe homeowner also owns a chipper to take care of plant material that is too large to compost effectively on site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
This is absurd. Core aeration is nothing like tilling.
Tilling turns the soil over, coring does the same thing on a plug by plug basis. The more passes you make, the more it resembles tilling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
It does not destroy soil fungi or earthworms as tilling does. Period.
I believe I stated it is not as destructive. Once again putting words in my mouth. Furthermore, you should be careful when speaking in absolutes.

Explain to me how taking soil to a 4-6" depth, and bringing it to the surface is not similar to tilling. Do you think the microbiology in that core is not subject to nearly the same conditions as an equal volume of tilled soil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
This one is a bit of stretch in regards to sowing two different types of grass. While this practice does exists, it's hardly a common practice, and certainly can't be considered crop rotation. That's absurd.
Once again, I stated loosely correlated and some lawns, and if you assume turf is the crop (which it is in landscapes), why is it absurd? What I find absurd is your refusal to see the forest through the trees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
It also seems you not familiar with the term 'crop rotation' as it does involved improving the soil and it's fertility. Crop rotation or Crop sequencing is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same space in sequential seasons for various benefits such as to avoid the build up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one species is continuously cropped. Crop rotation also seeks to balance the fertility demands of various crops to avoid excessive depletion of soil nutrients. A traditional component of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of green manure in sequence with cereals and other crops. It is one component of polyculture. Crop rotation can also improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants.
Nice cut and paste from Wikipedia without giving credit.

You also might want to read more than the first section. I said the primary reasons for crop rotation have little to do with improving soil fertility. In fact, your Wikipedia cut and paste lends support to my statement.

1) Avoid the build up of pathogens and pests
2) Avoid excessive depletion of soil nutrients

Where in the above 2 primary objectives of crop rotation do you see soil fertility being improved?

Strictly speaking a crop is harvested for sale, a green manure "crop" is not. When planting out a field with only a green manure crop, this is known as letting your field lay fallow.

Now polyculture (or more specifically intercropping) is a completely different thing, and is not synonymous with crop rotation, however it can be used in conjunction with crop rotations. Since your a Wikipedia commando, intercropping on Wikipedia and from ATTRA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
You don't see how this is relevant? You're kidding right?? What I described is exactly how nature becomes self sustaining...by the waste products of herds of animals that cross the prairies, forest, woods, whatever, it doesn't matter. Animals that die on part of it's migratory activities, leave behind organic matter to feed the soil organisms.
No I'm not kidding and your statement is nothing short of silly.
...exactly how nature becomes self sustaining...

The amount of OM contributed to soil fertility by plants vs. animals is not even comparable. In fact, if you consider that animals are eating plants, animals are eating animals that are eating plants, then the OM contributed to soil fertility from animals is derived from plants.

Your statement directly implies that natural systems are sustainable as a direct result of animals with nary a mention of plant contributions, this is simply wrong. Without plants there would be no animals. Also consider the geologic periods where animal life was limited, plant life abundant. Point is, you do not need the animal OM contributions you referred to in order to have a sustainable system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
That's part of sustainability!
Now that is a somewhat more accurate statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
Man, you have so many things wrong with this statement, it's amazing that you actually posted it!
You say there are so many things wrong with this statement yet you have not provided one example of what is.

You conveniently ignore the primary component that is required to sustain a healthy lawn/landscape, or for that matter any biological entity; Water.

In areas where landscapes are not completely supported by rainfall, this water generally comes from potable sources, which in case you haven't noticed, is quickly becoming a scare resource. If your irrigating your lawn, adding fertilizer (organic or otherwise), then you are supporting growth rates that cannot be naturally sustained. Remove irrigation from the picture in areas that require it, your lawn/landscape dies. Simple as that. The drought on the east coast this year is a perfect example of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
Using organic methods on turf does not produce unnatural growth rates of plants. Where do you come up with this stuff?
With statements like this I have to wonder where you come up with this stuff. So based on your statement, when you add an organic fertilizer you don't observe an increase in growth rates?

If I'm not mistaken a fertilizer (link to your favorite resource) is defined as a compound used to promote growth in plants.

We have already established that human inputs are not naturally sustainable, so how can you apply something (organic or not) that promotes growth and not have it be unnatural?
You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Bottom line, remove the human inputs, your typical landscape will suffer if not die.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
I use various protein meals for fertilizer during the course of the year, such as corn gluten meal, alfalfa meal, soybean meal, fish meal and fish/seaweed liquid fertilizers. Adding organic matter alone is not enough.
I believe corn gluten meal, alfalfa meal, soybean meal, fish meal, and fish/seaweed are organic matter, are you saying they are not?

How about we stop calling it protein and just call it organic matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
To say that turf isn't environmentally friendly, well that's inaccurate as well.
With respect to irrigation, regardless of how you manage your other inputs, it is spot on accurate. And unless your using a push reel mower.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
It reduces soil temps around you home so it will cut drop the usage of your homes air conditioning
Now this is a good example of an absurd statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
helps stop soil erosion, filter's the rains, takes CO2 from the air and replaces oxygen.
So do trees, shrubs, perennials, etc... and in some cases more efficiently.

The biggest problem in most residential/commercial landscapes (beyond irresponsible use of fertilizers and pesticides) is the need for supplemental water to maintain a level of acceptability. This my friend, organic or not, is where the biggest problem lies. It would appear you do not understand the magnitude of the problems associated with irrigation, because it goes far beyond irresponsible use of a dwindling natural resource.

Furthermore you conveniently ignore the natural resources required to produce and distribute the products you are plugging use of. I suppose if you only consider the end use of these products, then I guess it is environmentally friendly, but lets not fool ourselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
While there is certainly nothing wrong with using sustainable practices, there is certainly nothing wrong with using organic practices either.
Why are you attempting the separate the two? The goal of any organic program should be sustainability with minimal or no supplemental inputs.

To be perfectly honest, given the ridiculous number of AACT and "protein meal" references you make in your posts, and your inability to talk about anything other than turf, the only thing missing is a link to a product you sell.

When the environment plays second fiddle to profit margin, the environment losses.

Last edited by Kiril; 10-15-2007 at 12:10 PM.
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  #36  
Old 10-15-2007, 12:59 PM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
More Absurd Statements To Push One's Agenda!

I was right, you are either totally clueless of the truth or refuse to see the truth. You must be from the far left cause you have a knack of twisting what other people say to mean something else that fits your agenda. It's the old slight of hand and misdirection. That's what happens when you can't fight the truth with your absurdities. LOL!

And I'm not selling any product or services, so another item you're way off base on, again! And like I said before, I'm not an advocate of sustainability outside of using organic practices only and how that assists in sustainability.

I don't know many people that want that type of landscape. Makes no difference to me. But the big problem is with the use synthetic chemicals on their soils and I do have a problem with that. You seem to overlook the real problem here. Perhaps you need to get your head out of your.....sustainable property and see what the real problem lies. People using chemicals, not organic practices. Good Grief! People using chemicals when they aren't necessary is the problem, not 'Joe homeowner' that doesn't own a chipper. That is another absurd statement! What the hell does that mean anyway....LOL!

I've had enough of your silly and absurd statements. You can't be taken seriously, at least not by me.

Good luck with your sustainability agenda!
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  #37  
Old 10-15-2007, 03:13 PM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
I wanted to post some of the benefits of having a healthy lawn and how it does in fact add favorably to the environment.

Climate is controlled at ground level by turf grasses as they cool temperatures appreciably, thus working as exterior "air conditioners".

Eight healthy front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning – enough for 16 average homes.

Dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere are trapped by turf which helps make the air cleaner.

Fire ******ation buffer areas of well maintained lawngrasses around buildings is good insurance.

Groundwater is enhanced in two ways by a dense turf. Turfgrasses increase infiltration of water and also clean the water as it passes so that underground water supplies are recharged for use by us all.

Health of humans is enhanced by turfgrasses as they function in cushioning, cleaning air, generating oxygen and creating a serene landscape.

Lawns are estimated to occupy an area of between 25,000,000 to 30,000,000 acres in the United States (the size of the 5 New England states) and as the population increases so too will the amount of turfgrass acreage.

Noise is absorbed by grass areas which cut down on the excessive sound, a growing problem in urban areas. Grassed slopes beside lowered expressways reduce noise by 8-10 decibels.

Oxygen generation by turfgrasses has a major impact in making our environment habitable. A 50x50 lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.

In addition, a well maintained lawn will add value to your property.
Before I get accused of taking credit for something I found elsewhere on the net, let me post my source of this information:
http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/lawben.asp

And these are not opinions, but rather facts. Facts are stubborn things!
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  #38  
Old 10-15-2007, 03:35 PM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Miller View Post
When you make good compost tea, and use a good compost to make the tea, you grow organisms in the tea which will attack and consume the root grubs.

Most likely, you will see the root grubs decline in numbers after each tea application to the lawn, until they are not longer detectable, or only rarely found, without adding anything more to the tea.

Of course, the organisms that control root grubs are aerobic organisms, so it is important to maintain aerobic conditions in the compost and compost tea.

You could hedge your bets a bit, and bolster the sets of organisms that attack root grub.

Bacillus subtilis as a group of bacteria are well-known for being repugnant to root and foliar insects.

Beauvaria, a genus of several hundred species of fungi, are well known for consuming soft-bodied insects, especially larval stages of things like root grub.

Chitinase containing bacteria and fungi eat through the outer cuticle of insects like root grub and destroy them. These bacteria are carried by Heterorhabditus, a nematode the happily disperses these insect-destroyers through your lawn, into your neighbor's lawn, and on down the street (where the problem probably came from to begin with).

KIS make other size tea brewers as well. Any size you would need for commercial use. They make a 28 gallon, a 55 gallon, a 100 gallon, a 500 gallon and a 1,000 gallon brewers. Here is there web site:
http://www.simplici-tea.com/product_page.htm

Call and ask for Tad he can tell you what would be best for your needs. Not only are they great brewers, but you get all their expertise to make sure you get the most out of your brewer. They make available all the materials you need as well to make the best AACT available.

When you start using AACT, your need for pesticides will diminish over time. You may want to spend some time at this site:
http://www.soilfoodweb.com/03_about_us/approach.html
This site has all you need to know about making and using AACT and why you should be using ANY synthetic chemical fertilizers, zero!

Pesticides kill off many non-targeted soil organisms that normally help keep plants healthy and then create even more problems after there use. If you are using pesticides, those lawns are not as healthy as you may think. You weaken the plants and soil natural defense systems by using pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. A fundamental dilemma in pest control is that tillage and insecticide application have enormous effects on non- target species in the food web. Intense land use (especially monoculture, tillage, and pesticides) depletes soil diversity. As total soil diversity declines, predator populations drop sharply and the possibility for subsequent pest outbreaks increases.

Here is another bit of information you may want to read before you use any pesticides in the future:
http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/concepts/s...y/biology.html

I hope this helps answer your questions.
I also wanted to point out that using AACT is not some kind of magic potion nor a silver bullet. It's but one item to be used to keep your soil in balance and disease free and productive. People who think that AACT is some kind of gimick just have no understanding of soil biology, the soil foodweb. Without the proper soil organisms, you can not have healthy soil nor healthy plants. By having the correct soil biology reduces the amount of other inputs, including moisture, fertilizers, and removes the need for aeration. With the proper watering and mowing of a lawn and with the right biology, you may never need core aeration again as the fungi organisms keeps the soil from compaction as well as finding moisture deep in the soil. Yea, the right biology is a must.

Once again, these are not opinions, but facts.
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  #39  
Old 10-17-2007, 03:12 AM
Neal Wolbert Neal Wolbert is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 404
Mr. Miller,
Since you are polarized regarding pesticides (BTW insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other "cides" are all pesticides, you should use proper terminology since you are claiming to be an authority) I'm assuming you mean synthetic pesticides and not organic pesticides, or do you consider organic pesticides taboo as well...i.e. corn gluten meal as a pre-emergence herbicide and mineral oil as an insecticide.

It seems the term "sustainable agriculture" of any kind is a misnomer in light of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (law of entropy) is it not? A simple definition of this law is "any system which is free of external influences becomes more disordered with time". Without input of some sort all of nature continues to decline (which means the earth is ultimately doomed and we won't stop that process, in my opinion). Certainly some synthetic chemicals could play a role somewhere in the process don't you think? Examples would be the fungicide Heritage derived from wood decaying mushrooms and the miticide Hexagon, an ovicide whose only function is to prevent damaging mite eggs from hatching.
Your thoughts? Anyone else wish to comment?
Neal
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  #40  
Old 10-17-2007, 10:06 AM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal Wolbert View Post
Mr. Miller,
Since you are polarized regarding pesticides (BTW insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other "cides" are all pesticides, you should use proper terminology since you are claiming to be an authority) I'm assuming you mean synthetic pesticides and not organic pesticides, or do you consider organic pesticides taboo as well...i.e. corn gluten meal as a pre-emergence herbicide and mineral oil as an insecticide.

It seems the term "sustainable agriculture" of any kind is a misnomer in light of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (law of entropy) is it not? A simple definition of this law is "any system which is free of external influences becomes more disordered with time". Without input of some sort all of nature continues to decline (which means the earth is ultimately doomed and we won't stop that process, in my opinion). Certainly some synthetic chemicals could play a role somewhere in the process don't you think? Examples would be the fungicide Heritage derived from wood decaying mushrooms and the miticide Hexagon, an ovicide whose only function is to prevent damaging mite eggs from hatching.
Your thoughts? Anyone else wish to comment?
Neal
Neal;

Of course I know that all the 'cides' are pesticides, I was simply explaining in detail. If you missed that simple explanation, well, what can I say. I have never claimed to be an 'authority', so I don't know where you get that one.

You seem to be confused further about my meaning of synthetic chemicals. It's pretty simple, but let me spell it out for you, all synthetic chemicals, period. I've never said anything against the organic herbicide, corn gluten meal, as I use it myself and have posted elsewhere on this list.

And the "sustainable agriculture" is hardly a misnomer, but the way all agriculture should be practiced, in my opinion.

What is an incorrect assumption on your part is that the world is 'doomed'! LOL! I had to laugh at that one! Our world, our climate, is in constant change and has been since the beginning of our planet's history. Now I'm going to make an assumption here, that with your comments, that you believe in the Global Warming Scam? Since their success depends on the use of fear tactics and ignoring of the scientific fact that climate change cannot be stopped.

And from my point of view, which is one of organic lawn care and not farming nor sustainable agriculture, but just home lawn care, I can't think of any reason to use any synthetic chemical for any reason. There is a natural, organic way to correct any imbalance. No need for synthetic chemicals.

Now I am in favor of using DDT in 3rd world countries where Malaria kills millions of people every year. Of course, we know now that we used too much DDT in the past where only a very small amount is needed to be effective. However, I don't see the need for it's use here in the states.

I had to laugh at your whole post. It was nothing less that burn post. Did you post make you feel better? Did this post give you the false impression of superiority? LOL! Just had to laugh.
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