Lest we forget

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. DUSTYCEDAR

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    I USED TO GO THE EXTRA MILE WHEN MOWING
    i got out of it and someone else took over and the customers beeged me to come back and i told them the new cost and they about had a fit.
    so cost is always the bottom line
     
  2. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,548

    Maybe they had a fit, but did they re-sign with you?
     
  3. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Cost vs VALUE is the bottom line. If your customers are looking for the lowest cost and that is their number one determining factor, the HS kid with a Wal-mart push mower has you beat every day of the week and twice on Sunday. SELL professionalism, and I don't buy the "my market won't stand it". Like Kiril, I don't need to debate it. The results of those doing it successfully from one coast to the other proves it CAN be done. Can any LCO be the one doing it? Like the man said, "if it was easy, women and children would be doing it". Learn your trade and be the best you can be at it. If money doesn't follow, then find something you can be the best at, and eventually money will follow.
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    That is a very relevant point. :)

    I appreciate your sharing with us the challenges on working a golf course, and I think you have a very firm handle on wat you are doing. In fact I believe there is a LESSON for all of us in your experiences. Good or bad. We learn.

    The HS kid will never compete with me. Niether will the lowballer. My competition comes from what I did last year, and did I, learn how to do it better. :)

    The big deal is : Women and Children - Can do it. :laugh:
     
  5. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,548

    Well said, smallaxe. People often ask me about my competition. I tell them I don't have any competition. I try to set myself apart with unmatched service. And like you said, we continually try to improve OURSELVES. There is an interesting business strategy called the Blue Ocean Strategy. A little too much to explain here but anyone interesting in separating themselves from the pack should Google it.
    That is one of the reasons I started to study organic turf treatments ---- to find a Blue Ocean (in my market) where no one else was sailing.
     
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Good CS (Customer Service) puts you on the A list, automatically. The best cars produced in the 20th Century was during the 1970s. [Our last recession] Will the 'Bailouts' give us low quality kr@#$%^ in manufacturing and service? - or - Will we step it up a notch?

    Believe me- The Blue Ocean of quality and integrity - is clear and smooth. :)

    I would love to hear from people who care about the client and their grass... Just to prove me wrong.

    But alas, We are now aerating last falls' hydroseeding.
    No honour among thieves,,, eh?
     
  7. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Sadly, my post had nothing to do with golf courses. I've worked as a landscape designer and irrigation tech in 5 states over the last 20 years. I've made my share of misjudgments and ended up working for outfits that consistently came in "low bid". I have had much fewer opportunities to work with organizations who wouldn't be low bid on their best/worst day. Those organizations never lacked for work and the people I worked with were of the highest caliber in every respect. I have sub contracted as the irrigation tech for very small contractors who fit the same genre. They never lack for work. Often turning down what would have been very profitable opportunities because taking care of what they have, at the level they expect, comes before growth and greed. I won't add anymore. I said I didn't want to debate it, and I'm starting to feel like I'm in a debate about the profitability of quality.
     
  8. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,014

    I disagree, a healthy lawn will need to be mowed every all week all summer if proper N levels and irrigation levels are correct. I always get more than 1/3 growth in any period over seven days. If your water/N are not enough to maintain this growth turf density will decrease from stress/insect activity and you can expect weed colonization. Leaving grass uncut for longer periods also allows weed seed maturation again increasing weed colonization (http://crop.scijournals.org/cgi/reprint/43/6/1899).

    I again disagree about crabgrass, your best defense is a thick canopy and the best way to get that is by mulching. I have also seen a reference that states many turf grasses contain enzymes or materials that may inhibit weed seed germination.

    "In Kentucky bluegrass, weed encroachment is less severe when clippings are returned (Haley et al.,195-85)." I agree with this!

    I can also state that my mowers will pick up any loose topsoil or compost that is present in any turf with a loose enough canopy to support substantial weed population and deposit them in the bag. If you compost and I bag I will be taking a large amount of your compost with me.

    As far as washing your equipment between lawns, what is you evidence that mowers transport weed seeds, where are they hiding and how are they deposited on the next lawn? Cite evidence.

    I am with tree on this one , if the lawn is heavily infested it is better to chemically eradicate the problem, reseed and then start your organic program.
     
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Odd. I can achieve healthy fescue turf that can easily go 2 weeks between cuts (without breaking the 1/3 rule) with the only source of water is irrigation. Healthy grass, thick stand of turf, no fertilizers required, no pesticides used, no weeds to speak of .... what am I doing wrong?

    Is the indication of a healthy stand of turf excessive growth? If you think so, I would beg to differ, but then I'm not a lawn jockey either.

    Your best defense against weeds is multifaceted.

    1) Don't aid or promote in seed dispersal or any cultural practices that will promote weed propagation
    2) Don't allow the weeds to go to seed (pretty hard with crab)
    3) Maintain your turf so it out competes weeds (i.e. thick and healthy stand of turf)
    4) Maintain proper soil moisture (where you have control)
    5) Maintain a healthy, fertile soil with a wide diversity of life

    Also, I believe you saw that reference to allelopathic effects of certain turf grasses on this forum, and I will remind you, it was specific to a particular species of fescue. If you have information on other types of turf grasses that also display this behavior by all means please clue us in .... oh and references please.

    I agree as well .... are you bringing this up for a reason? Is this document speaking with regard to methods of preventing weed dispersal, or just natural methods that help prevent weeds that are already present in a lawn from gaining a foot hold?

    Really dude ... cite evidence? :rolleyes:

    Your wheels, the underside of your deck, your blade(s), your trimmer, your edger, cultivation tools, etc.....

    Your "evidence" ............

    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP14100.pdf

    Sanitation

    It is extremely important to prevent the introduction of weeds into lawn areas. If one can prevent weed establishment, there will be no need for control practices. Areas adjacent to fine turf that are hard to mow, such as fencerows or ditch banks, often serve as a source of weed seed that infests the nearby turf. These areas should receive weed management attention.

    Another good practice is to wash mowers and trimmers used in weed-infested areas before mowing or trimming in weed-free areas. Similarly, rototillers should be thoroughly cleaned before and after use to minimize dispersal of weed seeds found in the soil. Yard clippings that contain weeds should be properly disposed of or composted to reduce the possibility of unwanted contamination.

    http://commodities.caes.uga.edu/turfgrass/georgiaturf/WeedMngt/weedcontrol/ASAWEED.PDF

    Sanitation practices.

    Sanitation practices include the prevention of weed seed movement by mechanical or human means. Mechanical devices, such as mowers or cultivators, pick-up weed seeds and transport them to adjacent areas. Mowers should be rinsed before being transported from weed-infested to weed-free areas.

    http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74113.html

    If mowers are moved from weedy lawns to other lawns, be sure to wash off the blades to avoid transport of weed seeds and propagules.

    I can dig up some more if you want?

    And I have said the same MANY times.

    Consider this. What if a complete renovation is not an option ... maintaining the weed pit IS the desired and ONLY option ... what do you do then?

    I'm curious .... did you miss the "not looking for a debate" part of my post?
     
  10. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    ROFLMAO, but we continue to "feed the fire" and step up to the debate anyway. I left the sanitation aspects to you. After the inference that golf is another world, I didn't want to point out that the number one contributor to my weeds on a golf course is foot traffic. Very similar to the problems some lakes are having with the encroachment of non natives from boats coming and going.

    I've only worked with one LCO in my short, just shy of 30 year career in turf who went the extra mile to wash equipment. They towed the mowers with a spray rig that was only used part time. The sprayer left the shop full and came back nearly empty every day. A quick blast of the deck was all that really ever happened, and the target was more presentation than anything else, but the CUSTOMERS thought it was great that they made the extra effort.
     

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