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Will PGR's become more profitable?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by LwnmwrMan22, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I spent the day today spraying Embark 2-S on 4 of the 5 school properties I maintain.

    It runs a 3/5 oz per 1000 sq ft, or up to 2 pints per acre, if you're spraying Kentucky Blue Grass.

    St. Augustine and Bermuda I believe are at 1 pint per acre.

    Anyways, I paid $400 for a gallon of chemical, so 2 pints will run me $100.

    This is SUPPOSED to control growth for 6 weeks.

    Are your costs for 6 weeks of mowing more than $100 on an acre property?

    Obviously there are other costs associated with spraying that acre of turf as well, so let's say $200, we'll double the cost of the spray.

    I just did the trimming areas at the schools, I'm looking to save time and energy more than gas.

    The higher gas goes, along with all the other costs of operations, and if you bought the PGR in a higher bulk or did some price shopping, I'd bet that the smaller properties are going to start to get to be fairly competitively priced, or at least a close alternative, if you factor in you could be doing other properties at this same time.
  2. DuallyVette

    DuallyVette LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,958

    The world is changing !
  3. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    $25-30 /acre, per cut, 7-10 days cycle. I never thought Embark left a place looking that hot afterwards, the growth gets really uneven. Are you loading it in with the weed control as called for?
    I can boom an acre in 20 min but that isn't with loading travel and set up. Are you hand gunning or booming?
  4. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I'm using a gun, with a 25 gallon tank on the back of a 4-wheeler.

    It's not the setup I'd use if I started doing this as an all out spray application to control "high end" turf, again the schools said I could round up everything if I wanted, but 3 weeks later you're out there spraying again because the weeds that pop up.

    I'd probably have to switch to Primo Maxx to do the full property application, which is a bit higher in price, but it also claims a slightly longer control rate as well, up to 8 weeks.

    The last time I tried this, I ran Primo Maxx in a Perma-Green Ultra, with just on nozzle, turned down, in a 2' wide swath.

    It worked okay, kept the trimming to a minimum for about 7 weeks.

    If the Embark works okay on the fencing, then in a couple of weeks I'm going to boom my parents' yard and see how that goes.

    I think with the way the economy and gas prices are going, it's a good time to start to sell a customer on "NOT" cutting the grass, to be able to tell them that rather than keep raising their rates, that, if you can get the chemical at the right rate to where it's a wash whether you mow 6 weeks, or spray and touchup for 6 weeks, that you can say you're going this route to save on gas, IF the customer even notices that the grass doesn't "grow".

    Like Dually said, a person is going to have to get proactive pretty quick to be able to stay ahead of things.

    My profits have NEVER been as tight as they are right now, that's with raising prices this last spring 6-12%.

    And no, no weed control. The nice guys at TG/CL do that for the district cheaper than I can buy my chemical.
  5. Lbilawncare

    Lbilawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,119

    Please keep us posted on how the Embark works for trimming applications. Did you mix any iron in with it? I have a few places where it could save a ton of time trimming and the customer wouldn't even know.
  6. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    I've used Round-up & generic weed chemical (Par III, Killex whatever's on tap)
    with half to 3/4 season control on fence lines etc. The game is to pull pH of the mix down to about 5.9. If the water is too basic/alkaline you might as well be spraying used beer at it. If it gets much below 5.9 it turns the mix into goo. I use phosporic acid from the local liquid farm fertilizer supplier. Some sort of pH meter is a requirement, so you don't screw up the mix completely (been there . . done that... cleaned out the tank). 3 4 gallon backpack loads will burn out a fence line for 10 to 15 weeks, sure save's on the trimming. Our Board has a 'no pesticide' policy so that idea is out the door for us
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    Interesting comment about pH and Glyphosate. Most all herbicide work better with slightly acidic water and will keep efficacy longer. However there are a few like Certainty and manage that work better at high a pH. Because my well water is 6 pH I add baking soda to my Certainty or Manage-Sledge Hammer Etc.

    Chemical Mowing will become more popular as fuel and labor prices rise. Many States are already using Chemical mowing on Roads & Right Aways. Besides turf, trees lining roads are also being sprayed with PGR to slow growth on the ROAD SIDE ONLY to cut trimming costs. It is a whole new world now. PGR are not brand new, Glyphosate was actually invented as a Growth Regulator and found to be an excellent non select at higher rates. Glyphosate is a Non persistent Amino Acid Inhibitor that works as a Grow regulator by slowing down Carbohydrate production. If applied too heavy the plant starves to death. GooGle "Diamond Wet Blade Mowing" and "Brown Brush Monitor" to view Mower Applicators, equipment that mows and applies PGR at the same time. Equipment like this is not cheap but has a great cost saving to the end user.

    PGR like Primo and Embark redirect growth in other directions and slow cell elongation. Because the plant Cells are short they have more Chlorophyll in each and that causes a darker green color. Stolomatic turfs like St Augustine will grow more laterally instead of Vertical. This type of growth helps to thicken the turf and is used when trying to grow in weak turf. In my own operation I use Primo in my tank mix during the rainy season. I don't mow, but I do network with LCO who do. By using Primo my actual cost per acre is relatively small and I get a Darker Green and better fill in of drought stressed area from the dry season.

    IMHO the days of Lawn Boy cutting grass are numbered. As new dwarf turfs are developed along with PGR and robotic mowers the need of a Kid cut grass are gone. Turf Mowing will be done a few times a year by real professionals.
  8. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    IMHO the days of Lawn Boy cutting grass are numbered. As new dwarf turfs are developed along with PGR and robotic mowers the need of a Kid cut grass are gone. Turf Mowing will be done a few times a year by real professionals.[/QUOTE]

    I'm not sure if your are completely correct about the new path, Ric, but as push reel mowers were replaced by rotaries, there will be a new world out there to conquer that will require more capital and more intelligence to do it.
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Ric -

    I haven't read all of your posts, so this question will probably have been asked many many times in the past.

    When you're applying, you're using a gun, correct? Not boom applications?

    Do you get a fairly uniform coverage with the Primo, to the point where an LCO wouldn't have to mow for 4+ weeks?
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I am tank mixing Primo Maxx with my Fert Cocktail that is applied @ 5 Gallon Per Thousand. The fert keeps the Primo from yellowing the turf. I use a 42" wand with a Flat Tip. Because of the volume I apply, I have very little AI in each gallon. Being Human I am not perfect, so I do go light or heavy in spots. The more Carrier(water) used to spray the AI, the less the effect of lighter or heavier applications. I do some boom spraying, but not Primo.

    As for Mowing frequency, All fine lawns I treat are still cut weekly in the rainy season. However Turf height is such, that they mow easy and mulch very well. The flip side to that is Lawns not treated with a PGR are extremely high and should be mowed twice to get the same quality cut. Utility Turf becomes a different story and Different Chemicals. Yes I can get away with 3 to 4 cutting a year. But turf Species and poor quality appearance makes the big differences. The more I research chemical mowing the more I realize how much is involved.

    The Primo Maxx rate on St Augustine is 4 oz per acre. A gallon will do 32 acres. Fescue is 10 times that rate and Blue Grass is 6 times the rate of St Augustine. The price per gallon Hurts but doesn't counts, the cost per thousand sq ft is what counts.

    BTW It was Ciba Ceigy that first developed and sold Primo. They sold it in Tip & Pour Quarts. Syngenta now produces Primo in Gallons only. I believe a lot more people would try Primo if they could buy it in Quarts at an lower out of pocket expense.

    PS. I have been fooling with PGR on both turf and ornamental and Chemical Mowing for a while now. My own yard (Note I didn't call it lawn or turf) is chemically mowed with Roundup @ 6 oz per acre and has been for years. I am investigating doing Chemical mowing on a larger scale Commercial bases. Government work is not what I am looking at. Too much Bureaucratic BS. But I think I can see a market in large property owners and industrial areas. The problem in any of these Niche Type markets is, We see the need but find no demand for such services. Owners will let storage yard grow weeds 6 ft tall before trying to do any thing about it. Or they have any employee spray Roundup. They are not interested it having it done. In present Economy you must be able to show a real cost saving today and not a cost saving down the road. I look at these different Niche Markets more for mental exercise than as a Young dude trying to build a business. But I feel there is a big Need and Demand can be created for chemical mowing of Utility turf

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