The past month has been very wet with a bit of heat mixed in for just the right amount of stress on weakened lawns. Wet weather means your lawn is more likely to contract common diseases due to high moisture and humidity caused by rain or drizzle. Leaf spot to a lawn is like having a common cold to humans. Most lawns get leaf spot but it passes without much fanfare with the onset of summer and warmer weather. There are occasions when leaf spot can manifest into a more serious stage, sort of like getting pneumonia from a cold. This stage is called “melt-out” and is the result of a significant infection, large enough to cause damage to the growing point of the turf plant, the crown. A weakened crown is susceptible to injury and plant decline, or even death, depending upon the weather. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘lawn master’
50 million Americans care for their own lawns, covering an estimated 31 million of acres of grass. This amount of lawn area could cover all of New England with 80% of this grass residing in home lawns [Ref 1]. Even with these older figures, we can draw a few basic conclusions including home owner’s account for a significantly larger figure than those who have their grass professionally maintained. We can also surmise that this is a lot grass area to care for over the growing season with potential ramifications. Furthermore, the volume of products applied by novice, well-intentioned Americans far outweighs that of licensed and insured turf care professionals. So what’s really at stake here? What’s the big deal?
There are a few important factors that should be taken into consideration when comparing the perceived financial savings as opposed to hiring a professional turf care company. First and foremost, you have the environment. With so many “do it themselves” (who I will call DITs), one can imagine a larger impact to waterways when material is unintentionally applied too close to rivers, streams, lakes, or storm drains in cities . Even though the same rules apply within a state, who is going to notice or inspect the DITs? No one I suspect would be the simple truth. Well intentioned or not, without training, field experience, and education, this huge amount of DITs simply don’t have the tools necessary to make proper decisions and apply treatments to turf with the desired results.
This is a unique problem as it relates to other fields as well such as with a plumber or electrician. A home owner can do his or her own work, with the final inspection being done by a certified, licensed agent in many cases as a final proof of quality. After all, there is an inherent safety issue with electrical work to those living within the building. Codes must be upheld and followed for reasons of safety. What would happen if this same concept applied to the turf industry? Imagine requiring a final certification or a site visit prior to applying a weed and feed to your lawn, either near a waterway or even in a city. Regardless of location, products including fertilizers can find their way into a water system when applied incorrectly, at the wrong rate or analysis. While this might seem extreme, I propose that most DIT’s do not know the majority of Federal or State legislation governing the applications of lawncare products such as herbicides, insecticides and simple fertilizers.
There is a common saying in many professions that they ‘rely on their tools in their tool box’ to get the job done right. These tools can be diversified and help each professional complete a job, whether a mechanic, physician, or lawn care company. Each business has varying degrees of education, on the job experience, and certification or licensing to attain each level of competency. I have been in the green industry for 25 years now and have seen the mistakes made by DITs, as well as by those in the industry with a lack of proper training and education. It seems like common sense that insuring a quality job is done right, with the right tools would be a top priority in any business, including the turf care industry.
I propose that regardless of what is being applied to turf to make it healthier, or to benefit the home owner’s quality of life, the treatment itself must be done to specifications and within the guidelines set forth by each body of legislature to insure our environment is kept safe for generations to come.
I find it unsettling that so many DITs have access of some of the same professional products I use in formulations readily available at their local hardware store yet without the guidance and licensing required of our business. In the end, it all comes down to numbers as cited in the opening paragraph of this blog post: the millions outweigh the professionals. This information is certainly food for thought as you prepare this winter for the upcoming spring thaw and the inevitable flurry of activity outside on your own lawn. Perhaps this is the year to explore different options, such as choosing a path that makes both your lawn green, and keeps green in your wallet, while obtaining the results you demand in a safe and eco-friendly way.
 The Lawn Institute, 1855-A Hicks Road, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008.
A turf program can be defined as creative, client responsive, results oriented, or even thoughtful. This kind of lawn program would be highly desired and sought after for lots of reasons including the ones already mentioned. A turf program could be dated, budget driven, restrictive, or even canned. Your lawn care program could include some of these attributes good and bad. What do you get out of your lawn service? Are you generally pleased and feel your lawn requires no further attention? Perhaps the prospect of seeking additional advice seems just too much of a bother? After all, if it is not broken- why fix it? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, just the realization, and the possibility that doing things the same, year after year- produces equal or less results over time. This may not necessarily be a bad thing. Maybe greater results could be visualized in your own lawn with a fresh look this season? Would an expert analysis be worth the time? What do you think?
Alternative lawn treatments exist and should be explained as to why they work and how they work for both you and the environment. If you are served the same TV dinner lawn program each season (fert/grub/lime) without any additional input, perhaps there is more to be said- or maybe less? Does your lawn care company work in your town nearly every day or does it launch special visitations because the drive is so long? Which company can provide better customer service, the one that has a 1.5hr drive one way, or the other which can be at your front door in 10 minutes? These are good questions.
Chipper’s belongs to the Local First Alliance of the Upper Valley and is a proud charter member serving our surrounding communities and giving to those in need generously. In the same respect, we encourage our neighbors and communities to support each other, to support businesses whose employees live and work in our towns. We are proud to service wonderful towns like Hanover, Etna, Lyme, New London, Grantham, Woodstock, Sunapee, Lebanon, and so many more. If you choose to use an outside vendor from faraway places such as Rutland or Manchester to service your lawn for instance, this does not support our immediate local economy. If supporting your local community is as important to you as it is to chippers, consider a second opinion on your lawn this year and discover how both realms are possible- a great looking lawn and knowing you make a difference by supporting those who live in and around your town!