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Starting organic lawn care service, tips?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Ecoscapes, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    That is a very good point... But it does turn our attention back to the idea of the right plant in the right place...

    Around here, Junegrass, will completely dominate wild areas, that are eaten off as pasture or mowed as lawn...

    This is a cousin of KBG brought in from Europe that has really choked out everything as far as weeds are concerned...

    I've done pretty good in the landscapes as far as eliminating CG, but we've had some broadleaf concerns... minimal yet they do exist... yet over time they are negligible...

    The basic question is: Has anyone been able to grow turf with minimal inputs???
  2. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    from Raleigh
    Posts: 523


    see previous post
  3. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 553

    I agree that that is what we need to strive for. When it comes to grass, I don't subscribe to the thought that because grass is not growing in its "proper" location that we shouldn't have lawns. I'm sure you know that there are many positives that a lawn provides both environmentally, socially, and economically.

    So, who has that lawn that would be acceptable to the masses, but is low input as well? Maybe we should start a picture thread? :drinkup:
  4. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    from Raleigh
    Posts: 523

    I have done absolutely nothing to this centipede in twelve years, except cut it (at a rather longish 2.5")

  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Is that all the thicker centipede gets?
    Looks nice though, so one wold have to say that that particular grass is growing in the right place.... :)
  6. ParadiseLS

    ParadiseLS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    i don't really think it is appropriate to refer to "phasing in" an organic program, unless you're working like an ant on your lawns.

    1. if you're using chemicals, you are harming the delicate ecosystem in the rhizoshpere, which isn't just NOT an organic program, it's actually working AGAINST an organic program. so i assume when people talk about "phasing in" or "half-and-half" programs, they basically mean building up SOM. if that's what you're doing, that's not really an organics program, that's just adding compost apps to a chemical program--granted, you may be reducing inputs of chemicals, but it's still just compost.

    2. if you're fixing up the soil after chemical apps with additional tea apps or whatever you might do, then i suppose this could be a true mixed approach to lawn care, blending organics and chemicals. but frankly, this seems crazy to me. you're basically doing twice the work than you ought to. you add a chemical, then you come back shortly after to regenerate the activity in the rhizoshpere. i thought that the main barrier to doing a balls-to-the-wall approach to organics was cost. it costs a lot more money, time, expertise to turn a lawn off chemicals and minimize the struggle your lawn is in to stay beautiful while SOM is low and the soil food web is inadequate. but if you're spending all this extra time to cancel out the damage your chemicals are doing, you might as well just put that cost into more organics activity.

    i guess there are ways to phase in organics while still keeping chemical practices going, i just generally think people aren't truly doing that. and i'm not even arguing whether the phasing-in approach or the all-out approach is better. i just want you to consider that you are either still chemical (+ one additional service) or you might as well just go all-out organic for the time and cost that you need to put in to a serious half-and-half approach.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The use of the word "organic' is kind of a religious word now days... I think there is a consensus amongst most people that 'Natural' w/out synthetic inputs would be more accurate. The funny thing about the introduction of ferts about 60 years ago everybody was dealing with natural lawns at a very cheap price... Not more expensive with intense knowledge etc., but rather less expensive...

    Once it was realized that we could eliminate all weeds with the herbicides that quickly followed the ferts, then the bar was raised much higher for a 'quality' lawn... keeping up with the Joneses was the New Goal...

    For the sake of sales and constantly having grass grow even in extreme heat, when it should be resting, the market took off to create fungal habitat and thatch, real thatch, not dead grass leaves...

    From that POV the idea of " mixing org/syn", just means backing off the excesses and building a mature stand of turf, naturally...

    Yes, SOM is a big part of that along with other soil sciences such as structure... If you are coming at it from the idea that ferts kill the rhizosphere and it needs to be replaced by expensive long term alternatives, you have already lost the business...

    None of those things are necessary, grass grows naturally... remember that much, and your client will thank you... :)
  8. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Here we go again.... :dizzy:
  9. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Its a learning curve JD, people have to drill down to the enth degree in order to come back to "wow that is really simple" feed their lust for knowledge, tell them your experiences

    I hear preaching every Sunday, which is quite enough for me
  10. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    from Raleigh
    Posts: 523

    i'm with axe and bill on this one

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