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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by TScapes, Nov 4, 2005.
I agree...Good response. How many people from the other forum do you think will read it?
I'm from the "other" forum and I read it and agree and understand the statement.
We are not all uneducated, just making business decisions.
I did a little math on a 1K sq ft turf:
Lesco fert: $1 of fert will cover 1K, add $1(this would be aprox 1/3 gal of Q4) maximum per application for weed spot spraying. Done on a 5 step program comes to a total of $10 for the season.
CGM properly labeled as a pesticide patented from Iowa St., "Renaissance" in this example, costs $30 per 25 lb bag which covers 1250 sq ft. multiply the $30 times .8 to get $24 to cover 1K of turf. From what I hear CGM should be put down at 40 lb per year, so double this. $48 for the season.
Keep in mind that the synthetic apps require 5 stops per year while the CGM can be done in 2 or 1 if you want to put it all down at once.
But the product cost of CGM for me is 480 percent that of Synthetic.
Example 5K sq ft yard for 1 year product cost for me: Synthetic $50, CGM $240.
I was very surprised at this difference.
No offense to anyone here, but I think you all are missing the boat.
The issue isn't necessarily should I use this organic product or not.
The issue and end goal is to create a low/no input sustainable system.
If done correctly, over time your input costs will most certainly decrease. That being said, if your simply replacing your conventional inputs with organics than you only got one foot on the boat.
Also no one has mentioned a mixed system approach. On the way to creating a sustainable system (eg. moving from conventional to alternative) there is nothing stopping you from mixing the two approaches.
Fertilize with organics and conventional until the system can support itself with a few organic inputs/year. Feed the soil to feed the plants.
Deal with pests using IPM and use conventional/organic low impact pesticides only when absolutely needed. Encourage natural populations of beneficials by providing habitats for them.
Promote landscapes that utilize plants (natives or other suitable plants for the site) that require little or no supplemental water or nutrient inputs.
Promote reduction or elimination of lawns!!!
Should cost be a factor, absolutely not. If it costs more, pass the cost off to the client. If your charging more just because your "organic", but your operational costs are the same, than shame on you.
Promote building sustainable, healthy environments that will pay for themselves in the long run. Show everyone, including yourself, that you are truly a member of the green industry, not just someone out to make a quick buck.
This is the best quote on all four of these pages of discussion. Organics obviously works, but they are more complicated, time consuming, and patience and education are a must. We have an organic based and pure organic program. You can feed customers lawns with synthetic or organic nutrients, but if they are not willing to listen or pay for some extra services like aeration and overseeding then their lawns will never look as good as they could. We, as a lawn care company can only do so much unless you are full service (even then there are uncontrollable factors). Our company does not mow or install irrigation so the cultural practices are up to the customer...that is scary and drives me nuts. You can pound them with education, but many just don't listen or are too lazy to mow and water properly. Pure organics is tough, especially when the customer will not mow and water properly. Until there is a selective organic weed control that comes out...i honestly believe you need spot treatments of weed control for that "golf course" looking lawn that most premium customers want. The rest of the customers just want a green weed free lawn that looks good in the short run. We live in a fast food nation, and sometimes it is hard to find those customers willing to put in the extra money and patience to obtain a thick green organic lawn...they are out there though, but not as many as I would like.
Very true, we run into the same issue with customers, especially mowing themselves. They refuse to raise mowing height in the heat of summer, and blame us for a burned lawn, or a infestation of bentgrass. We definitely promote organics first, but I do agree that there is a need for chemical use, especially for those customers looking for a fairway lawn. Fortunatley, many of our existing customers have warmed up to our organic, meaning, using non conventional ferts and focusing on organic matter, approach. Others, don't even realize that we switched products.