Traitors!

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by DeepGreenLawn, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    OK, I have found many traitors in my organic customers. What I don't get is how they expect me to not notice, I am a lawn care company, it is my job to notice changes in your lawn! It's like your kid stealing a cookie, and when you ask, they can barely say no because their mouth is so full their cheeks are poking out.

    Here's the scoop,

    Apparently my organic fertilizer is not fast enough at making the deep green that the customers are looking for. I knew this was going to be an issue. I am kind of torn on what to think. On one hand, they didn't drop me and go back to traditional, on the other hand, they are putting chemicals on the lawn and not telling me, I don't want to mess anything up and it's screwing with my results. I can no longer see how my products are doing because I don't know if the customer put their own chems down or not.

    Do a lot of you guys deal with this? I can't tell them not to put fertilizer on their lawn, it's their lawn, they can do what the want.

    There is one lawn though, on one side of the driveway it is apparent that the house next door is using a traditional fert. I think they are doing it themselves, you know the usual grows 5' a week and a really dark green. But the other side, there is a driveway cutting it off, it is still the same dark green but the grass isn't taking off.

    Is that my ferts or is it just a fluke, and the fact that the lawn itself is only a year or so old? It is looking great though. If the customer would just ask I would not have a problem putting down a traditional fert. That is why it is a "Hybrid" program.

    I don't know, it is just a little frustrating.
     
  2. k911lowe

    k911lowe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 526

    organics are nice but regular fertilizer works faster and better.customers all want to use the "in" green thing.
     
  3. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    Yeah, they like the idea of organics but then loose their patience. I am slowly trying to ween(?) them off. I knew this would be an issue, organics are pretty new here, so I will have to earn their trust and apparently give them a little "fix" from time to time to keep them happy. At least they are trying, and they should be getting a healthier lawn in the long run.

    We shall see, I am sure I will have to get a few totally organic lawns that look great before I can get their complete trust.
     
  4. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    I don't get why a customer would pay you to fert, then go buy more product and apply themselves. Wouldn't you be dealing with possible burning issues (that could be a lot of slow and fast release N) and disease. Are you soil testing before switching over? What products are you applying?
     
  5. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Define how regular fert works "better".
     
  6. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    Right now I am using a basic natural fertilizer, from what I understand and percieved is that the organic ferts, I have my own mix of a couple, will not burn the lawn because the organisms break them down as needed. I apply them about every 6 weeks. One of the products is Bills ICT. So I am not too worried about that. It is good though because my ferts, especially at the rate that I apply them, can not burn the lawn so if it does get burned I know it is not my fault.

    Like I said, I guess it is a pride thing? My own father-n-law was the first person I caught. He just said he wanted the green effect and that the fert I was using was too slow. His neighbors have companies that just pour N on the lawn and get that fast green grass. Makes me look bad, but... you have to go back to the whole reason they went organic in the first place.

    This is what I have been trying to tell you guys, I don't know about your communities but where I live you have to have a greener lawn than the next guy. I have played organics as the newest thing, something your neighbors don't have and it is healthy too. But then the lawn doesn't turn green overnight like their neighbors and it goes back to the whole appearance thing.

    That is the #1 complaint I get. My lawn isn't as green as the next guy. Well, because we are growing a healthy lawn and not just pouring chems everywhere. You won't be cutting your grass every other day either like they have to. I have a maintenance customer that I only cut grass for. She uses a small chem company who obviously uses straight N, he/she has to be just going to the local lesco and getting whatever has the highest N #. I cut their lawn everyweek. Compared to my lawn, and all the lawns I treat, it would take about 3 weeks to get the growth she gets in one week. I can't keep up hardly. IT'S INSANE!

    OK, sorry for the rant.
     
  7. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    sounds like you need a soil sample, the chem green lawn and yours! then i think that you need to sit down and go over your program, we had the same problems in the beginning, not as green, some patches happened, then we sat down and really got a shedule of what works and what does not work. off the top of my head, your top dress program needs to get stepped up and less product spent, fert is good but it costs, so your in square foot to $$ frame of mind from the start. bottom line more compost and less spray time.
     
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    You need a better bridge.
     
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    They simply have the attitude that you are doing a "good thing" and they can brag about being a part of it. However, you have some shortcomings that need to be helped along. Common attitude.
    If you found a 'purist' in your customer base they would not have you do anything more than mow. And would probably make you use the manual reel style mower to do it :)
     
  10. mrkosar

    mrkosar LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 664

    what do you use to topdress to avoid breaking your employees backs and still making it a profitable trip?
     

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