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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by 4-Seasons, Apr 15, 2009.
I had a PITA customer earlier this spring who insisted I use the Scott's 4-step
program. When I tried to convey to her that Scott's is over priced and I could get her the same results with just 2 applications plus save her money she went ballistic and said I'm already going from 6 apps down to 4 and that she just hates weeds . I knew right there it was a losing battle.
Sadly, Scott's et. al. has done a good job at brainwashing the general public, and many LCO's as well.
lets be realistic here, what does the word program mean? just like the word organic can mean different things so does using the terminology program to describe your APPROACH, you say tomato i say tamohto
who said a program has to be written in stone? mine isn't but again lets be realistic, a lawn has requirements, and it's safe to say each year those requirement will need to be met one way or another, organic,synthetic,bridge
but i will say appling a app by date"depending on app" or to make a buck is wrong, alot of guys around my neck of the woods sell/apply fungicide apps needed or not, same thing for the bugs surface/grub, nedded or not, sure it's no different every where
That's what the following statement seems to imply. Maybe not one top dressing but then how many? Four? Every month? That's expensive and leaves the lawn looking messy for a while. 1" wasn't the best approach for growing vegetables and a monthly application wasn't enough for golf courses to eliminate the need for fertilizer. Yeah those aren't home lawns but that's where the money is and so that's where the research is focused.
Someone's asking about a lawn fertilizer program, it turns into discussions about soil pH since the program has some lime in it and out of nowhere someone says just use compost???
This is an organic forum on a site for lawn care professionals. I would think that most of the people already understand that compost is good for your soil structure without someone having to mention it out of context.
That's like going to the doctor asking them about an exercise program and they tell you "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
Yes, topdressing with compost is good for your lawn, but what does that have to do with weather Organica's program is good or not? Nothing.
By the way, that' 4 step program is meant for consumers. People that are familiar with the other step programs they are probably already using. They have a different section for professionals with no steps since that bothers people so much.
Not going to happen, especially after seeing some of the discussions I've run across on this site that turn up in my google results. Do you people even realize that anyone can read this site and how what you say on here reflects on you and the industry as a whole? Around my area, there may be some people that know what they are doing but you only see them once. After that people that don't even speak english show up to apply whatever it is.
Learning how to take care of my own lawn is a lot easier and cheaper than hiring someone and learning to speak Spanish. I've already started to see good results over the last year or so. I'd have to learn about this stuff anyway so that I don't fall for the "all you need is..." sales pitch which seems to be so common.
i agree with most of what ur saying, but if you want to do it your self you most learn to read between the lines, whats real and whats not. lets start here, not all compost is created equal, so crap in crap out, it's that simple, and depending on existing soil conditions that topdressing might need to be repeated many times,thats just the way it is unless to go for the gusto from the start? there are other long term inputs you can use but i ain't sharing, sorry thats what i get paid for. but you have to look at the bigger picture, build a healthy soil and feed accordingly, proper irrigation is major to the success of a good lawn care program, and proper grass cutting aswell.
and ur right this industry has a lot of knuckle heads, just like life, no different, im sure if you look harder you might find somebody you can trust to help you. and yes low ballers have hurt this biz big time, low balling work forces guys to cut corners in quality apps and labor, it's a shame, my customers don't have that problem with me, ive been in this biz for all most 14 years and started my biz last season, i wanted it to be different from the rest that quality service was not a thing of the past, ive found people will pay a premium for good service, the problem for me is finding the right customers and getting the word out about what i offer, it has been a great second year so far, has been hard to keep up with the work, but it proves there are people in this industry who care, there's a few here on this forum,but ur are right about needing to learn Spanish, welcome to lawn site again and America
Wannabe, What kinda of results are you looking for with your lawn? How much time do you have set aside for weekly lawn maintenance? As you seem to have already learned everyone has an opinion about how to grow grass. All to often people make lawn care way more difficult and costly than it has to be. There are no miracle products. In my experience if someone claims to have a product or service that will turn your lawn beautiful overnite its best to turn and walk away from them. As already stated above, the key to a beautiful lawn is healthy soil,proper watering ,and proper mowing. University studies often talk of optimum growth for this or that. Again, in my experience, most homeowners would be better off if they didn't worry so much about optimum growth. Golf greens are mowed daily, fairways 2-3 times a week. I don't know many homeowners that have that much time to spend in their yard! With vegetables and other crops people want maximum yields. Most homeowners i deal with want a thick green lawn that can be mowed every 7-10 days (which is not optimum growth). Build a healthy soil (lots of organic matter),water properly, and mow properly and you will be rewarded with a nice lawn.
I'm just looking for a nice thick dark green lawn. There's only so much I can do about the genetic color but applying fertilizer helps make what I have darker and I'm overseeding with some better bluegrass hoping overtime it improves.
I don't have a lot of lawn area so mowing, trimming and edging take less than an hour. I mow when the grass needs it and it's not raining or going to rain the next day if possible. I'm still working on the weeds and I didn't apply CGM this spring so I spend a little bit of time once in a while picking weeds. Usually just when I'm outside I'll pull some here and there. Fertilize 3-4 times and once or twice apply some other amendment. Last year I tried the Organica Microbial Soil Conditioner and this year I'll probably do it again and some sort of Kelp. Either Organica's or just pure kelp meal or a liquid kelp product.
It doesn't take all that long and it's more enjoyable now that I learned it's better to not bag your clippings. Emptying the bag was the part I didn't like. In the fall I mulch my leaves into the lawn and rent an aerato. When I'm done for the season I sharpen the blade. Sometimes I'll give it a touchup during the mowing season. This past spring I tried a Turf Hound aerator and it worked well. Took longer than using a small bluebird but was manageable and enjoyable. Can touch up a little here and there too and do it whenever I want.
This year I want to get some compost down when I aerate and overseed. Might even try composting myself.
Tuning up the mower, stuff I spread and gas for the entire season costs less than what my neighbor pays for a month for just a mow, trim and sweep. I don't use a walker so I think I can manage a mower and a spreader. Plus, the way life can get hectic, there are periods where I wouldn't spend any time in the yard if I didn't have to do yardwork. So it gives me a reason and mowing doesn't take so long that it stops me from doing anything else that day.
I want to shoot for optimum results because I'm sure you've seen, things don't always turn out the way they're supposed to. In the fall I'm planning on composting some leaves and clippings. If I don't have finished compost by spring I'll probably have leaf mold which I can still use. If I had a pickup, I might spread compost more frequently. The bags of fertilizer are easier to deal with and I don't need cubic yards of them. My goal is to do some compost, fertilizer and some other stuff I'm still figuring out.
I'm not trying to knock what you guys do. I like tools, doing things myself and learning new things. There are people that don't like to, there are people that physically can't, there are people that have allergies, there are people that work odd hours or travel a lot. If it took more than 2 hours to just mow I'd consider it but more likely I'd look forward to playing with a lawn tractor. Around me, a 3 man crew is in and out in about 15-20 minutes tops.
Sometimes I'm home when the lawn crews come and it's so loud with three gas powered engines running at the same time. I'm a little less of a nuisance to my neighbors, some of whom are home all day. My mower engine doesn't have to be as big and I can get away with electric trimmer and blower.
Also, about the spanish comment. I wasn't trying to imply they don't do a good job but when I hire someone I usually know what the problem is, and what are the possible solutions. If someone can't tell me what's wrong, what they're going to do about it and why that's going to solve the problem in a way I can verify, they don't get my business. If I can't communicate with someone that can't happen.
I've been doing some research into different things and wound up on this site a lot recently. It seems that a bunch of you guys are one man shops and you physically visit each property each time. That's not common around me and if it was, It would be very expensive.
I'm also not one of those people that buy into the false logic that if you make x hours an hour and it takes y hours to maintain your yard that you save money hiring a company as long as x*y is more than what you're paying. Sometimes you can't find y extra hours of work or you don't want to spend y hours doing the same thing. To me it's like saying you can have a steak but if you eat a dozen egg whites you'll get the same amount of nutrition without the fat. On paper that sounds great but I like steak.
No offense, but I think it does. If I need to spell it out ..........
Their "program" can be easily done with compost, and possibly some amendments depending on the soil and compost. There is no need to buy into a "program". Get your SOM up to a good level (5-10%) and the rest will follow.
In short, no single "program" is suitable for every site.