Organic is not taking off...really?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by lawncuttinfoo, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,298

    When the lawn that used to get treated with chemicals gets off them it goes right back to being a weedy lawn because the problem wasn't addressed to begin with.
  2. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Smallaxe, Do you bill out per application or per month? My bridge products are more expensive per application and often require more product...? The client ponders TG or other Chem Co. Only charges XYZ per application...?

    I'm trying to get more clients on flat fee per month plans.

    The hybrid program of organic based products and some synthetics along with spot spraying of herbicides just makes the most sense and this is the direction I'm going.
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  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    There are a few cultural practices that MUST be observed to make organic(natural) lawns at all effective... Do not even attempt a bridge program if the clippings are removed at mowing time... same with over watering... just do the synferts like you normally would in either one of those 2 cases...

    Timing of fertilizer to coincide with the natural growth cycle of the grass is also very important, which is why I do not fertilize until after the 2nd mowing... typically that app should carry you through to the heat of summer... I'll do the expensive 1#/k of N from the Milorganite w/Fe and that should release when temps and moisture are favorable to the microbes to release the nutrients...
    (A general rule about plants and microbes is that they both like the warm soil and the moisture... )

    My lawns will come up as green as can be when the snow melts because of the winterization I put down last Fall... They will put down roots using all the stored energy they have, with only enough top growth to photosynthesize food for the roots... about the time of the second mowing the color fades and it becomes the popular time to add N... Adding N before that generates unnecessary topgrowth at the expense of the root development...

    If you do ONLY squirt&fert you are disadvantaged because you want to start work ASAP and typical apps for natural lawns will be a month later...
    I do cleanup and overseeding even before the freeze/thaw cycle is over so for me to NOT worry about fert is not an issue... Maybe you could pick a few lawns at the end of your first round to start that process with... the best candidates are those for whom Pre-m is not necessary...
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    There is no reason for a lawn to become weedy once you stop applying 'cides... in fact several years of Pre-m should have just about killed every seed that is in the germination layer of the soil... aeration replenishes those supplies each year, but that can be eliminated as well... spot spraying dandelions and other transported seed is simply done with broadleaf in Spring and Fall...

    "...back to being a weedy lawn because the problem wasn't addressed to begin with."

    that is an interestting comment... perhaps you could elaborate on it some... :)
  5. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378


    Solid point on the habitual bag the clippings drill and just use synthetic fert for these.

    What % of your client base are with you on YOUR program of what is BEST for the lawn vs WHAT the CLIENT thinks they need...?

    I really have zero desire to add application clients who insist on mowing low, watering daily and late pm. Then wonder why there are problems.

    I'm admittedly getting more upitty with my attitude of the "Lawn Personal Trainer". I just have to be diplomatic about it. Virtually all my clients except one skipped out on my late season Fall application due to the either Cost or THEY didn't think it was needed.

    How are you dealing with these types of people. If a Personal Trainer gets back talk from a client....? Or they want to skip out on a key part of the programs....what do they do. be continued....
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  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That is exactly the point of organics... you don't really need a pound of N/k every month during the growing season once the roots have established well below the living thatch layer, and the soil has accessible CE sites with a decent H2O/Air ratio...
    Synferts and 'cides develop none of these qualities on their own,,, and in many cases the so-called organic ferts do not either because the cultural practices destroy the benefit of the OM...

    You definately have ittogether IMO... :)
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    So this begs the question of marketing...?

    My graphics designer has no doubt been a bit frustrated with me since I'm so into the technical how and why of having a nice lawn. She always comes back with just show a list of services and stop making it so complicated. Then I think, "yeah then it's about what the client wants or thinks what is best for the lawn...and it becomes a price per service and NOT what's best for the lawn".

    The big Application Co. Show happy barefoot people dancing on lawns, a Dalmation dog on their spray truck, babies and puppies on the lawn. Then these Big Co. show up and apply largely synthetic products and more often than not the client is watering too often or at wrong times and mowing too short. I don't want to be that guy or Co. It's just enabling bad behavior.
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  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I am a Full Service estate manager for a few select neighborhoods so I do not have many clients, but clients that rely on me for doing what needs to be done and doing it correctly, in a timely fashion,,, so I don't have to deal with a multitude of people to convince them of the benfits of doing it correctly rather than expensively...

    But let me say that after 25 yrs working with the same people there are some that insist on having it done their way and I've given up on trying anymore... So I wouldn't worry about getting everyone on board with better lawncare...
    If you don't mind my asking,,, When was your last app scheduled for, in relation to average ground freeze or snow cover???
    When it works as it should Fall App. Winterizer, is the MOST IMPORTANT application of the season... Even our CentroWisco Extension service acknowledes that...

    I have mostly shade lawns and the best ones I have are the ones that I've done 3 apps of either urea or Milorganite, beginning in Late Spring and mulch mowing on... No pre-m ever on grass and spot spray Fall and early Summer(by Memorial Weekend)...

    There is one guy in the nieghborhood, retired , and spends the free time taking care of the lawn and landscape... irrigates correctly, mulch mows whether in needs it or not and constantly over seeding any and every barespot, unless he gets bored...
    This guy has a better lawn than mine... but I think it is only the ability to irrigate perfectly that gives him the advantage and of course he can overseed every spot and "Nurture it" through the season...

    And here is the best University article about the Fall winterizer app that I've found, to date... their cool season grasses time frame is different than mine by about a month and a half, sometimes more... :)
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That is best solved by a multi-tiered program... I only do 3 maybe 4 sometimes, fert apps and 2 spot spraying, while the commercial organic brige programs have their presence felt all summer long...

    You could start out every client with the" Big Boys Routine",,, then as time goes by you happily inform the client that:
    Your lawn has 'Matured' to the point that it now qualifies to be handled with our #2 program, which will be a savings to you of $xxx.xx for the upcoming season..."
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Substantiate this statement given it couldn't be anymore wrong.

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