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Are we changing?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Swampy, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Swampy

    Swampy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,435

    So we had a discussion in class today about use of chemicals in a landscape vs. organic. Well long story short is it smart move to use a program like Plant Health Care (PHC) or Intergrated Pest Management (IPM). Has anybody tried using them instead of the "Paid for 3 sprayings, you get 3 sparyings" and been successful?

    The reason I ask this is that there is some rumors that the state of WI is going to be seriously cracking down on the use of chemicals for lawns and landscape. So we may be getting out of doing sprayings and going with one of those programs.
  2. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,246

    I just attended a seminar that several professors from the UW were at. Not one word was mentioned about restricting the use of chemicals. A thick lawn that receives adequate fertilizer will have less weed pressure but there is no replacement for herbicide. I know several people are saying the there is a blizzard of regulations coming but remember this. Te EPA just finished a 21 year study of 2.4-d. They could not find one instance of 2,40d causing cancer. They just re-approved for use throughout the US. I have not heard one thing of this. You should join the Wisconsin Turfgrass Association. They are at the forefront of what is going on in the state of Wisconsin.
  3. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    I would have to say there are very few companies left that don't use some form of IPM. Maybe not a textbook line by line to perfection IPM, but an example would be the perma greens, z-spray's, etc... You are applying fertilizer to the whole lawn and SPOT treating weeds as needed. Back in the day round one would be fert. and pre-m, round 2 would be weed and feed (blanket) round 3 would be fert. and dursban or some equivelant. Round 4 would be weed and feed (blanket app.) In other words, you went out with a mix and everybody got the same app. Now, those apps. are fert with pre-m, with some guys even treating only "hot spots" such as curb lines, thin areas, etc... Round 2 is fert. and spot treat weeds. round 3 is fert., spot treat weeds and maybe spot treat surface insects. Round 4 is fert. and spot treat weeds. Some guys do a blanket app. in the fall of herbicide, but that just reduces the amount of herbicide needed with the spring app. even more. So "are we changing?" I think we have changed. And yes, it's an environmental issue, but even more it's a money issue. Why spend money applying something that isn't needed or won't work? That's money back in the operators pocket by being smart and using technology to his/her advantage.
  4. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    IPM doesn't mean no chemicals, nor does it mean just reducing the use of chemicals by spot treatments. What is "integrated" about that?

    Yes, the goal of IPM is to reduce the need for chemical apps, but does not forgo their use! I don't know if any spray only outfit can claim IPM, unless they are working very closely with the landscaper and maintenance company that is "managing" a property.

    IPM means selecting resistant plants for local or common disease problems, planting things at the optimal sites (don't install a Rhodi in full sun) correcting irrigation mistakes and habits, knowing when and how to prune and cut, soil and nutrient monitoring and amending as needed, weekly scouting with a hand held magnifier to diagnose problems early when they are most treatable and before significant damage can occur, customized apps programs, knowing treatment thresholds, using (and protecting) befeficials as much as possible.... and on and on.

    The only people that can really implement a solid IPM plan in my opinion is the company that does the weekly maintenance, the chemical apps, the whole thing or treatment and prevention programs can't be very easilly integrated. It is this idea that I have based my entire business plan on. Now all I have to do is sell it to the customers!

    Few LCO's use, or are even capable of implementing IPM. They have no clue what pests are on a property or when to treat. The spray only guys just aren't at a property often enough to do it either. At the very least, the LCO has to know enough to recognize when he needs to call in a certified applicator. In short, IPM means using pesticides as a last resort when other controls have failed to prevent econically acceptable levels of crop loss. That hardly means no pesticide use.
  5. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    If you read between the lines on the results of the study the results only apply if you "use as directed". If someone sprays too much or harry homeowner is careless will they be coughing up blood and get pesticide poisoning, YEP!

    MStine315 makes some very good points, a lot has changed already. Applications, as he points out, are different than they use to be, you rarely see blanket applications any more.

    It is not a cancer issue that is going on with the EPA (that would be the FDA) it is a water quality issue. The results from a national 5 year study dumbfounded most everyone as to the rates of pesticides, nitrogen and phosphorous that are in the waterways, lakes and wells. 18% of wells and 24% of streams, in the study, had such high levels of contamination that they should never be used as drinking water.
    If entire states have to move their populations to new water sources it will bankrupt the local and state governments
  6. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    Ditto. Everything you said applies to us as well. Nice post! I'm sure glad the "ride-on units" became available. Could have used one back in the old days:laugh:
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    What MStine is talking about isn't what an IPM program is supposed to be IMO. That is simply an improved, more targeted apps plan that reduces unecessary chemical applications. That's a good thing... but it isn't IPM, although it's an important part of any good IPM program, but that's all, just a part. There is much more to it than apllications. There are many other parts that are equally important, but I have a feeling I'll end up getting flamed... so it might be in my best interest to drop the topic.
  8. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,246

    2,4-d has roughly the same Lethal Dose level as aspirin and salt. Almost anything is deadly if the levels are high enough. As professionals, are willy nilly spraying everything in sight. No we are not. That's why we talk people into fertilizing along with weed control as we all know a well fertilized lawn has less weed pressure which means less herbicide use. To say that over applying 2,4-d will cause you to spit up blood is an overstatement at the least. You would have to drink 2,4-d straight to even get close. If I remember correctly ICT, you are the guy that said applicators have to throw away their clothes after every use, which is also an overstatement. The perception that the herbicides we use are as dangerous as the public is being brainwashed into is not based in fact. I live in a very strong agricultural area. The problems we have in the wells around here come from the cow manure. You cannot get more organic than that.
    Just my 2 cents.
  9. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    I thought about this post a lot today and I'd like to amend my thoughts, or add to them, if I may. Whitey is right, I am sort of melting IPM in with responsible pesticide use. I believe responsible pesticide use and using the right product at the right time for the right reasons is a part of IPM, but we as applicators also do a lot that goes without notice to the IPM proponents. Mike touched on one, proper fertilization. We also give the property owners endless information regarding proper watering, mowing, recommend aeration, etc... All these promote a healthy lawn, which in turn promotes higher (or is it lower?) insect threshholds, lower disease pressures, fewer weeds, etc... So in effect this is a big part of IPM. Now, what the customer does with this information, we all know is up in the air, but we can't always hold their hand either. Yes, on-site guys have a larger opportunity to practice traditional IPM, but generally customers aren't going to pay for this service, either. Along the same lines, hand weeding would be considered IPM. Not many customers would be able to afford this service or be willing to pay for it, either. Economics play a big role in all this, and let's face it, pesticides aren't very expensive in comparison to other control methods Proper site management will only go so far and you'll always have some type of pest pressures. Back to the original post, it's up to us as applicators to use our products diligently, so as to not give those in power reason to restrict them.
  10. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,246

    Bravo Marc, you said very well what I believe, most of us think. Proper use of fertilizers & herbicides actually help the environment, not hurt it. I get upset when irrational and greatly exaggerated statements are said about the business I am in, and the products I use.

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