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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Jan 17, 2011.
Many states are moving to integrated pest management practices or IPM, although the background of these services is completely chemical they are embracing some fundamentals that are key
indentify before you apply anything, which to me means your a pretty smart guy to know all of the bugs and fungi that may be affecting my lawn and landscape
reduced inputs, by building soil organics matter fertility increases and the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides is reduced, if you do have to pull a chemical trigger it seems to work much better at the lowest rate
not tied to foreign oil, chemical fertilizers ( and I will go a little over board here) are supporting foreign oil, the cost is increasing all of the time, sustainable practices are local and typically something someone else does not want, corn gluten meal for instance is a byproduct of the corn strach industry, it is their waste
although the initial cost may be more, long term cost will be less than chemicals, core aeration, overseeding and top dressing with compost costs a little extra at first but once we get the soil organic matter up to 5% to 7% we only have to do this every 3 or 4 years
weeds grow where grass isn't, we always carry seed and compost and will fill any void in the lawn that we may see, almost eleminating chemical herbicides, if we have to use them we can spot spray saving everybody time and money and not exposing your children and pets a broadcast spray of chemicals
chemical fertilizers melt into the top inch or 2 of the soil, that is where the roots go to get nutrients, if there is any stress like drought or heat the plants have no way to protect themselves from the stress, organic yards can have roots 18 inches long allowing the yard to handle stress easily
It is shown that yards high in organic matter need less water svaing you time and money in the heat of summer
Overseeding is always a good idea every couple of years as new strains come out that have much better color, use less water, and resist common disease better saving time, money and using much fewer chemicals
It all comes down to compelling copy. This is what college was all about. I would suggest he take some strong marketing classes if he wants to really captivate his potential buyers.
Good stuff Bill
dKoster show use your marketing phrases
Lots of good ideas out there. Of course a lot of it is over the head of the client in most cases, but gradually they can understand if they care to.
I believe the 'instant attention' would be the pocket book. Perhaps selling 'Organic' is not the best idea. To go 'Organic" means it is going to cost more... and take time to regain what they HAVE already.
Selling one idea, that saves the new client money, without diminishing turf color, while at the same time improving the soil.
Eliminating Nitrogen loss through evaporation/leaching as much as possible, may meet that criteria.
Describing the 'idea' to the potential client as the lawn being a sponge that allows N to soak in and stay, for the plants to use, or the soil being like steel wool, that doesn't hold anything for very long.
Then giving it a name like IPM, which deals with pest management of course, but gives the client the idea that, he pays for something ONLY if it is needed.
I like to compare IPM with Plant Health Care. IPM is treating mostly with pesticides when a problem arises. PHC is all about improving plant vitality so it can fend off pests with it's immune system. I stress that these plants, turf or ornamental, will also provide a better looking landscape.
I also explain the value and benefits for them in terms of health and safety.
We will not be the low cost provider, we will provide them with more value for the money. If they are not interested in this type of program, I can refer them to someone else.
The interestting thing here is that most people believe that their turf is "healthy" as long as it gets too much water and too much fertilizer.
I'm not in favor of low cost either, just saving them money as it saves me work...
As for ornamentals, I can't really get a consenus about the application of N every spring. I personally believe that shrubs and other woody plants are subject to disease with high N, but it doesn't fit well with conventional wisdom. I think 'water sprouts' are a symptom of unhealthy, rapid growth.
With all the voices out there saying the landscape need fertilizer, people tend to think you are a moron if you say it isn't necessary, even damaging...
Well you can talk IPM and PHC, NPK, TTF, BG, CG, AACT and ..... all the other stuff till you are blue in the face and the customer does not care. Being the lost cost provider is DONE - thats called True Green or Scotts. This thread is going nowhere as the real solutions here are not being discussed in depth - real life solutions (not theories) have been proposed here with little to no discussion.
Compelling copy has been stated - I myself have shown you what I do, Compost top dress over seed pretty simple and it works, Bill had some good 'compelling copy' suggestions and so did ecoguy. The rest of this thread is pointless.
The original question was -
What are some practical steps that are easily understood by clients, that maintain beautiful lawns?
Compost and seed - pretty easy to understand.
You may be correct, if the average Joe HO and business manager, believed that TGCL isn't doing th best job possible. Their turf is green, they've acceped the cost as reasonable, and their weed situation is within the limits they would expect...
The old adage comes into play, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
What I'm talking about is changing the idea of healthy turf, that doesn't need the crutch of synthetic life support without sounding like a 'Snake Oil Salesman'...
Very few people in my neighborhood believe that conventional lawn care is dangerous. Most believe the danger comes from tree hugging goofballs.
I am trying to move beyond the 'beliefs' of the average Joe. I know that turf doesn't need all the foolish apps done by people who make a living at applying those foolish apps. I see the propaganda on all sides of the foolish app issue, as does the client.
In reality, anyones belief system, doesn't change the reality of how the turf will perform. You can believe that over fertilization is making your lawn better, than soil building, but that doesn't make it so. However their belief system will never allow a foot in the door.
If I can get my 'foot in the door' I can save them money, and make for a healthy lawn with safe healthy environment for people and pets to live... but I need to get the foot in the door with something less expensive than a compost app, if possible. I agree that compost with overseeding in the spring, will out perform any squirt and fert, pre-m silliness that currently exists. However, average Joe agrees with most LCOs that the root inhibitor w/high N, is paramount to a healthy weed free lawn.