Friday, November 27, 2009

Ending on a positive note

I felt my initial,(final) post for the season was a little harsh and decided to end things on a more positive note. After all the holiday season fast approaches and those feelings of good will toward your fellow brethren eventually seep in to your being.

So, let me just say, I hope everyone heeded my advice to aerate, over seed and put down the late fall fert to help your lawn respond quickly next Spring?

If so, give yourself a pat on the back, kick back and enjoy the holidays. For me, that means Christmas with the family and a, no cover New Year's, with my favourite band, Knuckle Babies at the Tilted Kilt in Whitby.

Have a safe and happy holiday season. See you in 2010.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The horror...the horror!

So now that you've been through your first season without your precious juice, how's everyone dealing with the pesticide bylaw?

No, this is not a Halloween post. It is merely to see the effects of the chemical free society we now live in when it comes to our lawns. Many of you now co-habitate with a text book of every weed known to man lurking on your lawn, yet, no effective means to rid yourself of all of them.

Personally, I can live without the pesticides, since there are effective organic methods to control pests; Nematodes, Neem etc. However, herbicides? Well, that's a different matter altogether, especially since Weedman has, supposedly, God's gift to lawn care, Sarritor, all tied up and available to the highest bidder only.

It takes small operators, like me, out of the running and I'm forced to play mad scientist with Top Gun, (based on fatty acids), and Horticultural Vinegar, trying to dumb the mixtures down so they don't kill your grass along with the weeds.

But even if I could get Sarritor, would I use it?

I've seen it be quite effective and fail miserably. Why? Probably a number of factors.

Back in the Spring I did a blog on the product amid extensive research and determined, like previous weed control methods, Sarritor had to be applied in certain conditions to be effective. As you know, the larger the company, the less likely they are going to give a damn about ideal conditions for the application, (see my post on Nematodes last month).

Therefore, you have adequate control on some lawns and not others.

If this product was the bomb in weed control, do you think that my business would have tripled in 2009; most of it from dissatisfied customers from bigger companies who say they use Sarritor?

If this product kept the lawns weed free, do you think Green Lawn, who also have Sarritor in their arsenal, would still be pulling weeds naturally as the first line of defence?

People are starting to wake up from the scare tactics of, "we are the only company who offer effective weed control for your lawn".
Fool me once.

Six bills a year for lawn care is too much, unless you have the larger square footage, especially for an application that is so hit and miss.

As long as the bottom line is, how many applications per day and maximum profit margin, do you think these companies are going to take the time to do what really needs to be done to keep a lawn looking good?

Or is this frightening scenario going to continue?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beware, be aware

This week I was out performing my fall applications when I saw a rival truck from one of the larger companies spraying a lawn down the street.

Thinking that it was a new weed control other than Sarritor, I stopped to ask what he was spraying.

The dude told me he was doing a nematode application.

Well it was quite sunny and hot and as I looked up at the sun I said, "Really?"

"Yup," he said.

Fact: Nematodes should never be applied in full sun, the UV rays kill them.

I looked at the tank on his truck that he was spraying from. "The tank refrigerated?" I asked.

He looked at me like I was from another planet. "No," he said.


Fact: Nematodes are a microscopic worm that should be kept refrigerated until time of use.

"Didn't you used to spray pesticides from that tank."

"Yes," he said. "But you can't spray pesticides anymore."

Finally something knowledgeable.

Fact: Nematodes should be sprayed from a tank that is strictly used for that purpose. Any residual chemical will kill them.

"Well, good luck getting those nematodes to work."

"Look," he said, obviously becoming a little agitated by my banter. "I just do what I'm told by the company."

Fact: Just doing what the company tells you is not always in the best interest of the customer. Especially one who's paying a C note for dead nematodes.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tis the season to be seeding


Now I know many of you out there swear by Spring seeding, but if you listen to the argument, Fall is actually the best time to over-seed your lawn.

Labour Day is the bench mark I tell people who want to ensure the health of their turf come next Spring.

The reason I feel so strongly about seeding at this time of the year is simple. The weeds are virtually done for the year, having gone through their germination process. There just isn't the same competition for the soil that you have in the Spring.

The nights are cooler with an abundance of natural precipitation, yet the days are generally, still warm with lots of sun- an ideal condition for any grass seed.

You are also utilizing the benefit of two growing seasons- that's right- this Fall and next Spring.

One other important item that I will stress is, to use a premium grass seed. The cheaper the seed, the more weed seeds you will find lurking in the bag.

Why go to all the effort of over-seeding your lawn when you are simply compounding the problem by planting weeds that may spring up next year. It's bad enough that tons of weed seeds already lay dormant in your soil, or the top soil you have delivered, waiting for ideal conditions to break free.

Most premium seed have undergone a testing process for weed seed and will have little to none.

I use Eco-Lawn when over seeding mainly due to this. Each and every bag is tested and the results are displayed on the back as my guarantee.

Sure, the seed costs a little more than other brands out there, ( about $40 after you factor in tax), but we're talking about grass that is slow growing, (9 inches a year), has a deep root system that needs very little water, (9 inches in clay soil, 14 in sandy soil), will eventually choke out any weed's ability to germinate, has a natural endopyte to ward off Chinch bug and even survive any grub infestation.

It is also a seed that does not need the addition of top soil to germinate, as long as you have good seed to soil contact.

It's not high in protein, so you're not putting out expensive bird food and it grows well in full sun as well as thriving in deep shade.

To me, it's worth shelling out a few extra shekels to have a lower maintenance lawn.

Remember you get what you pay for and by seeding with a high-end seed now, you won't have to pay later with your time, pulling those nasty weeds.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So as we enter another grub season, please be aware that, the king of the hill, Merit is no longer the treatment of choice for the European Chafer and Japanese Beetle. In fact, with nematodes, (microscopic worms), the only fairly effective control on the market, your options are limited.

I say, "fairly effective", only because there has to be a partnership between the lawn care provider and the homeowner concerning this application. three days of watering in are required for desired control.

Merit falls under the new bylaw and not even if you have a history of infestation, cry health hazard, or crawl into the Ministry's office dripping blood with grubs hanging from your various limbs, can you get an exemption, or approval to use this product.

I know, I've been on the phone to M.O.E. to find out if under certain circumstances it was permissible. Subsequently I've had to say goodbye to a few townhouse complexes that every year have had skunks and raccoons rip their turf to shreds searching for the tasty root-feeders.

But getting 72 different units to water in a nematode application for three days after- it's just not going to happen. The owners of the complex realize this and have decided to save their money for sod replacement.

Nematodes must also be kept refrigerated and applied in cloudy or rainy conditions- UV will kill them. On a day of unsettled weather where it's raining one minute and sunny the next, you could find yourself sitting in your truck for a chunk of time waiting for the appropriate window.

Yet, as an applicator I'm on the same playing field with other lawn companies out there and very willing to play by the new rules.

Don't get me wrong, although I still am a big fan of Merit, I have had a great deal of success controlling grubs using nematodes. However, unless you want to install a nine hole golf course, you are going to have to do your part and water, water, water.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Putting MOE on notice

So Ontarians have been living with the provincial bylaw for a few months now and the weeds have had a field day- no pun intended.

It's not that I mind so much having to pull the weeds when I'm out doing applications- it's just a little more time consuming than applying Sarritor, (which I can't get anyway because a chosen few have a monopoly on the product), or spot spraying Top Gun and Eco Clear that will also burn the grass.

What I do take issue with, is the fact the government wants to have their cake and eat it too- an all too familiar scenario.

You see, now that Lawn Care Providers are forced to operate under new eco-friendly standards, (forget IPM altogether brother), they are still required to have an operating licence from the Ministry of the Environment.

Yet, I can live with the $200.00 dollar cash grab every year and pony-up the dough.

MY problem- and it's a big one- is WHY do I still need $200,000.00 on my insurance in case of environmental damage for organic applications? Not only does this drive my premiums through the roof and cost you, the consumer, more, it's hard for a smaller operator to get.

I'm told by the Ministry, I need this because the corn glutens and the nematodes that I use still have to go through a testing phase and have PCP numbers. I might buy this line if I could actually find a PCP number on my nematodes, but I can't.

I guess they figure we are all brainless twits that have nothing better to do with our day than stand on a bridge and dump bag after bag of fertilizer into the lake.
Maybe we are....I mean, look at the above picture. The lawn stake has been inserted incorrectly. It looks like I'm being told there is "No ice" which I wouldn't expect to find on a lawn anyway.

So, I'm putting the Ministry and any half-wit politicians on notice while they're playing a round of golf on their weed-free fareways; take a serious look at your regulations gentlemen before you add to the ever growing list on the unemployment line.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lawn and disorder

Happy Victoria Day, or May long weekend, or whatever you like to call it. For me it marks the near end of my second round of applications.

This year I have been hearing some disturbing stories from my customer base and consumers alike, about the underhanded behavior of other companies in the lawn care industry.

Some claims, "Even though I told them I quit and didn't want the service anymore, they showed up and did my lawn and billed me in the Spring! Now they say they'll take me to collection if I don't pay."

I'm well aware of this tactic. I used to work for one of the bigger companies and every Spring I'd have four, or five unhappy homeowners, a day, screaming at me because they cancelled. I was never told by the company. I was just given the invoice to perform my job.

However, this year seems to be even worse. Not only is this practice in full swing, but these companies are no longer paying attention to the fact the lawn has already been flagged by someone else. By double application they are risking the health of the lawn and only angering the former customer further.

Then there are the incessant phone calls. As many as three times a week. "Who's doing your lawn? We can give you a better a price. Why did you leave?"

Do they really think these pesty moves of desperation are going to endear themselves to the homeowner who has worked all day and now has to be bombarded by calls from a company they don't want to hear from?

But the worse practices are the companies who show up to assess the property, take the pre-payment and then don't do the work- it is happening!

Or the companies who are slandering others in the industry to get the customer's business. "Don't go with them. They don't use the correct weed control. They won't do the work for you. They are not as efficient as us."

If you define efficient as: Having an unlicensed student technician, with one day training, running through your lawn because he's got forty jobs to do that day and who spends more time filling out your invoice then doing the work - then I guess they are right. I'm not as "efficient" as them.

If you define efficient as: Not being able to have your lawn problems and billing issues solved because you can't get anyone in the office to return your phone calls now that they have your money - then I guess they are right. I'm not as "efficient" as them.

I'm not sure if the new bylaw is making everyone crazy and fight tooth-and-nail for every square foot of lawn out there, or years of greedy practices like these have just made the offending companies stupid?

I would hope it's the first reason, but really there is no excuse to what's going on.

I would like to apologize to the homeowner on behalf of this lunacy because it just makes my job harder when I have to go in and try to rebuild the tattered threads of trust.

I would like to name all the offending parties, but then I'd just hear cries of "We'll take him to court!" Besides you probably have a pretty good idea of who they are. After all, they're the ones who have been screwing you for years.

I would like to say, "Forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing."

But they know exactly what they are doing.

It's what they've always done.

It's just that the consumer is much smarter than they are given credit for.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Aerating the dirty laundry

This week I started doing my aerations.

Why so late you ask?

I should ask you, why did you do your lawn so early?

I know some companies have been attacking neighborhoods with their army of students for weeks now, offering low priced aerations. Some, started...*gulp*... back in late March!

It's a competitive market place out there and I understand everyone wants to be the first to take the money off the street.

What you as a homeowner, don't seem to realize that aerating your lawn that early, to save a few bucks, is actually doing more harm than benefit.

Sure aeration is great for your lawn. I recommend it twice a year- spring and fall. It's great for compacted soils, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach and thicken the root base; breaks up thatch layers; promotes deeper root growth; even helps alleviate grub infestation, but not at the cost of destroying the composition of your soil.

You know how soggy the weather is in April. Do you think adding a heavy machine like an aerator to your soft lawn helps?

I don't tell you this because I want your business. I can't possibly service every lawn out there. I'm just asking you to think long term when it comes to your lawn. You want it to look nice don't you? To be healthy, thick, lush?

Is it really worth the $10 or $20 dollars you saved to be counter productive in reaching these goals?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Save time and money with the new breed of lawn care

The following is an article I wrote which appears in the April 13th edition of the Metro News.

On April 22, which is Earth Day, the Ontario government will implement a ban on pesticides for cosmetic use.

No more Killex, Par III, Merit for grubs ... the list goes on.

This has left many in the lawn-care industry scrambling to find effective alternatives, or reposition their brand, not to mention the confusion of the homeowner running to stock up on pesticides, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

The best way to keep your lawn weed-free and resistant to disease and insect infestation is a sound maintenance program that begins with soil testing.

By testing your soil and having it evaluated by an accredited lab you can find out what deficiencies your soil may have and treat them organically with a program designed specifically for your lawn.

Sounds expensive, but it’s not. This procedure can be completed for around $40.

Next, whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer, or have a lawn company taking care of your lawn, proper fertilization, aeration (preferably twice a year), watering, cutting and over-seeding are key.

Annual fall over-seeding especially is your golden ticket to success, but be careful. Don’t skimp and buy cheap seed. The less expensive the seed, the more weed seeds you’ll be putting back into your lawn. Likewise, topsoil is just as bad. Remember, we are trying to prevent the germination of weeds, not add to the problem.

One suggestion is a low-maintenance seed blend like Eco-Lawn, which doesn’t require topsoil, has a deep root system (22.86 centimetres in clay-based soils requiring little or no water), performs well in shade as well as full sun, and grows slowly. It is also high in endophyte to help guard against foliar-feeding insects like chinch bugs.

Grass seeds like Eco-Lawn are the most inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to keep your lawn thick and weed-free.

Over time, you won’t need to care as much for your lawn, you will conserve water and cut down on lawn mower emissions, without fertilizer, or weed control.

For too long the lawn-care industry has been feeding the top growth instead of your soil, creating a shallow root system for your grass. Why? Because it’s faster and more cost-effective to do it that way.

Now it’s your turn to save time and money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.

Embrace the new breed of lawn care.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Home Show and tell

Alas it's spring and every weekend there's a Home Show happening somewhere. Vendors are coming out of the woodwork after a long winter's hibernation- some in a rather grumpy mood.

Despite the economy, people are still willing to buy, but the perception is, competition for the dollar is fierce.

I saw this first hand at a recent Home Show I had the fortune to be represented at where more that one deck guy, more than one landscaper, more than one hot-tub sales dude all bumped one another for pole position like antsy racecar drivers.

I'm not saying they were all like this, but there were a few who refused to play nicely and resorted to under-handed tactics and- dare I say it? slander- to gain a competitive edge.

I'm from the old school of live-and-let-live. I understand people have families to feed and bills to pay- we all do, but there is enough work out there for everyone, if you have the ambition to find it and the commitment to follow through and deliver the job, or product.

Yet some will insist on trying to strong-arm others out of the arena. Personally I feel the consumer is smarter than they're given credit for and the transparencies of these companies are quite easily spotted.

So shape up guys. Play nice. The world's a big place. Put faith in your abilities not the animosity for your fellow handyman.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The new bylaw is here! The new bylaw is here!

OK, maybe not greeted with the same enthusiasm as Steve Martin's telephone book rant in the Jerk, but none-the-less there's at least some news on the bylaw front.

If you've been living under a rock, I'm talking about the Provincial bylaw banning pesticides for the purpose of cosmetic use on lawns in Ontario.

This has been coming for sometime as, one by one, municipalities drafted their own legislation to deal with this issue. Yet, until now, no clear agenda was in place.

As of Earth Day, April 22nd the playing field will be leveled and traditional lawn care will be outlawed province wide. No more Killex. No more Par III. No more Merit, Dimension, Acclaim....the list goes on.

The provincial bylaw will supersede those already in place by various municipalities.

In fact, as I understand it, only under conditions where there are health issues affecting the public, will traditional methods be considered and then only after alternative methods have failed.

Sounds like IPM to me.

If you're worried about Nazi's marching into your neighbourhood to force compliance, relax. Although there will be no phasing in of the new law, it is not the Ministry's, or the Government's intent to fine, or jail anyone out at 3:00 in the morning with a Miner's helmet spraying Killex on dandelions.

Education will be the buzz word and the key to changing the mind of the homeowner.

Personally I welcome this shift with open arms, having set up my lawn care business to run eco-friendly from the get-go while the major players scramble to reinvent their brands.

With the implementation of various organic methods, it is possible to control pests and have the outstanding lawn you've come to know if you are willing to embrace the new breed of lawn care. Just make sure you do your research before you choose an option.

A healthy, thick lawn is still the best defence against any invasion, whether it be insect, turf disease, or lazy neighbour who refuses to manage his weed problem and subsequently makes it yours.

The best advice I can give anyone who is freaking out over the impending ban is, forget it. Utilize the tools and products you have at your disposal...they will work, whether you're a do-it-yourselfer, or in partnership with a lawn care provider who knows what they are doing. And remember new products will be developed, of which Sarritor is only the first tiny step.

The future of Green can also be friendly.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Joe Landscaper

Today I was going to post something concerning the upcoming Provincial pesticide ban, but no one seems to have the answers. Not the Ministry of the Environment, not Landscape Ontario, not my suppliers, not my fellow lawn care experts. Hell....I don't know for sure either. After all, we're talking about legislation that hasn't even been written yet, but is supposed to be passed in April. Yet, I ask you, is anyone surprised by this?

So, with virtually no information to work with I've decided a post of a lighter nature should take it's place.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Choose wisely

There seems to be some preconceived notions out there about Organic and Natural lawn care: These methods have little or no effect.

While it is true that under the new legislation banning pesticides for cosmetic use, there are no quick miracle cures for a weed infested lawn, alternative eco-friendly methods have been proven to work over time when applied as directed.

The reason the process will be slower is because we've spent years creating super weeds and pesticide resistant bugs, so it only stands to reason turning around and swimming back up stream is going to take a little time and could be difficult.

I believe the best defence to keeping your lawn in a visually-pleasing, weed-free paradigm, is education and following the simple steps that have always worked: Regular intervals of fertilization, yearly aeration and over-seeding, proper cutting and dethatching, efficient watering, and spotting troubled areas before they spread.

It sounds like a lot of work and at times, it can be. That's why it is important to choose a sound lawn maintenance program whether through a Lawn Care professional, or if you're a do-it-yourselfer.

Give eco-friendly a chance. It works if you let it and as far as the Provincial Government is concerned, you really have no other options.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sarritor: fact or fiction?

I've been hearing a lot about Sarritor as an effective weed control and thought it was about time to explore this product, since some lawn companies are pushing it as "God's gift to weed control". Let's compare it to other methods of organic weed control.

Sarritor: A product developed by Dr. Allan Watson at McGill University. Sarritor is a naturally occurring fungus. When applied to a broad leaf weed, the fungus will grow into the weed and absorb the plant tissues until the weed is completely gone. Once the weed is gone, the fungus disappears.

Control: Basically for dandelions. Little or no effect on other broad leaf weeds.

Application: Spot treatment.

Time: It usually takes between 5 and 7 days to eliminate the weeds while leaving white fungal blotches on your lawn until weed is gone.

Lawn Flag: Although registered by the PMRA, pesticide signage is needed. So if you were thinking you were going to escape the guilt trip from an eco-conscious neighbour, think again.

What you need to do: Watering is the most important aspect of getting this product to work. Watering the lawn after the application is finished, or as soon as possible, you need to water for a minimum of 15 mins. If rain is not forecasted for the next few days then you may be required to keep the lawn moist for the next few days, to ensure it does not dry out.

Normal mowing practices can be resumed 3 days after the application of Sarritor. Also try to avoid heavy traffic on the lawn for at least 3 days to allow the product to work more effectively.

Cost: The cheapest 1 year program I could find in Durham with this product was $237.15 prepaid for 4,000 square feet of lawn, but did not include aeration.

Turf Maize Pro: Corn Gluten Meal, organic mixture acts as a fertilizer,crab grass pre-emergent, weed inhibitor.

Control: Smooth crabgrass, all broad leaf weeds.

Application: Broadcast in a spreader at 10 lbs per 1,000 square feet. Will leave the lawn looking slightly orange. This product must be applied as a preemergent in the spring and a post emergent in the fall for best result.

Time: Unlike the previous product, the lawns hue will return to normal with precipitation or watering. This is a preventative application and has little or no effect after the weed has established.

Lawn Flag: If applied as a fertilizer, no pesticide sign is needed.

What you need to do: Water this product, or wait for natural precipitation if it is forecast soon after application.

Cost: Approx $249.00 for the season, included 1 application of Turf Maize Pro as well as aeration and over-seeding based on 4,000 square feet.

Traditional methods: Otherwise known as pulling the frickin' weed out by hand.

Control: Everything if you want to spend hours picking it all out.

Application: Spot treatment. A Weed Hound device I find works best. The Fisker weed pullers take too much of your turf.

Time: Although a little more time consuming than Sarritor spot treatment, you don't have to wait for the weed to die. You simply pull it and it's gone as long as you get the root.

Lawn Flag: Regular company flag, or none at all.

What you need to do: Nothing.

Cost: The most budget conscious program I could find with this element in it, was $149.00 prepaid for the year based on 4,000 square feet.

Eco-clear: Organic liquid compound. Works well on driveways and interlocking, but is not recommended for lawn treatment unless you're looking to kill everything around the treated area much like Round-up. Applied in spot treatment usually and is relatively effective on all weed types.

Regardless of what method or product you decide to use the best way to keep your lawn weed-free and healthy is by a sound maintenance regimen of fertilization, over-seeding, aeration, irrigation, dethatching and cutting. If that's not working , you need to have the soil tested, because there are deeper issues at work.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Go big, or go green

In my last post I mentioned the importance of doing your home work before choosing a lawn care company. The following blog is the reason why this is so vital.

Yesterday I got a call from one of the larger Lawn Care companies touting their supremacy and why I needed their service.

They claimed the corner on the market in organic weed control, trust, customer service, and absolute satisfaction guarantee. "We're not like the other companies out there", I was told.

They never seemed to clue into the fact that I was a lawn service provider myself, even though I politely answered the phone, "Durham Lawn Jockey, Craig speaking."

So, I decided to go through the process of listening to the pitch while trying to fend off the constant push for me to sign for the year.
Keeping my friends close and my enemies closer as-it-were.

Since I'm aware of the current products in place for today's pesticide free application, I decided to test their knowledge and asked what they used to control weeds.

"Sarritor," I was told to control weed(s).

fact: Sarritor was developed at McGill University for the control of dandelions. It has relatively little effect on other broad leaf weeds.

So much for effective weed control.

When I said, I had heard the product had been ineffective when used last year I was told, "Yes, but we've worked out all the kinks and all is good now."

So much for the satisfaction guarantee last year at least.

I was also told they were the only company that had this miraculous cure for my weed problems, followed by a gentle push to get me to sign.

I then informed them that another company was also using this product. I knew this because it was in their flyer last year before I tossed it into the recycle bin.

"Yes," I was told. "But we own the company and have first priority for Sarritor. The other company can't get as much as we can."

Was that a lie then that you are the only ones with Sarritor? So much for trust.

They then informed me that if I signed now, I'd get a free chinch bug control.

"Wow', I said "What do you use for that?"

After putting the phone down to check they came back on line to tell me Delta Guard followed by another gentle push to sign up.

It is true the product is used in granular form to control insects, however, the bag doesn't list chinch siting a control for ants, cockroaches, fleas, ticks. Regulations stipulate that products are for the control of listed target pests only. I disregard this protocol and I could lose my license.

"Are you ready to sign?" I was asked.

"No", I replied. "Not until I talk it over with my wife."

"But if you don't want it you can tell us at anytime."

"I'm telling you now," I said. "Don't sign me up. Don't send a technician to my door until I've talked it over with my better half."

Frustrated, they finally said all right and hung up with so much as a courteous goodbye.

Next day a technician shows up at my door against my wishes.

So much for customer service.

For the record and speaking from experience: you are like most of the other companies out there.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Greener Lawn

The following was an article I wrote for the Fall edition of Local Biz Magazine in Durham.

In the spring of 2009, Ontario’s province-wide pesticide ban comes into effect and homeowners will no longer be able to buy or use traditional lawn care methods. Next spring, the best defence to keeping your lawn weed-free will be to keep it healthy and lush.

But there’s a little secret that others in the lawn care industry don’t want you to know about—a low-maintenance grass seed called EcoLawn that’s been held back for ten years now. This grass is a blend of seven fine fescue grasses and taps a very deep root. Most lawns have turf with roots two to three inches deep but EcoLawn delves nine inches (22.86 cm) in clay soil and 14 inches (35.56 cm) in sand-based soils. All the nutrients your lawn needs are right there for the EcoLawn grass root.
What all this means for homeowners is that, once this grass is established, you don’t need to water as much, you don’t need to fertilize, you don’t need to aerate, you don’t need chemicals for weeds or insects, you just don’t need lawn care. The grass grows slowly (only nine inches a year) so you only have to cut it once a month or, if you choose, not at all.

EcoLawn has been shockingly absent from the big box stores and gardening centres after it was pitched to the big guys ten years ago and denied. Such a block made sense at the time: a low-maintenance grass would cut into the profit margins of lawn mowers, fertilizers, pesticides and the regular grass seed and top soil with weed seed properties in it.

There’s no way that this business model would risk this kind of setup—a solid money maker and an endless cycle that you’ll pay for year after year to protect your curb appeal—but whether by education or government decree, people’s minds are changing. They’re looking for alternatives- green, eco-friendly alternatives that will help the environment, save them time, save them money and offer up a great looking lawn.
Great ideas can only be kept underground so long.
Craig McPherson of Durham Lawn Jockey wants to see a healthier lawn and healthier environment for everyone and their family. He believes we owe it to the planet to be responsible.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What lawn?

I know it's hard to think about your lawn as January draws to a close and the February freeze prepares to howl with the same intensity, but spring is just around the corner.

If you haven't thought about lawn maintenance/ lawn care of late, you're not alone, however, with the shift to eco-friendly and the implementation of Provincial bylaws concerning pesticides and herbicides for cosmetic purposes, you need to understand a few things.

If you have a lawn company, they will soon no longer be able to service your turf with the same methods you have come to know. It's time to revisit your current program and question what your company is going to do, to deliver the same service and results you expect.

With the economy in its current state, can you afford to dump money into a service that doesn't provide you with the desired outcome? Don't get "Greenwashed". Do your research and make sure the program you have contains the proper applications.

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, be aware of what is considered a banned substance. Simply maintaining your lawn under IPM, (Integrated pest management), standards is not adhering to the bylaw. This is zero tolerance and spot treating instead of blanket applications is not permitted even if you are out there at three in the morning wearing a Miner's helmet.

It may be cold, the ground maybe snow covered, but it's time to at least consider the next step for you, as a homeowner, business, municipality.

If you haven't already, it's time to shift, change, become.

Remember, knowledge is the first defence against keeping your lawn weed-free, having a sound lawn care program designed to your needs is the second.

Don't get left out in the cold.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Hello and welcome to the Grass is Greener Blog- A place to find tips and information on creating a healthy, pesticide-free lawn.

Here I will try to answer questions and concerns,I feel are on the minds of the homeowner who wants that lush green look to his property while operating under the current provincial standards for cosmetic lawn applications as they apply here in Ontario.

This may not be specific to your area yet, but could at some point be instituted. If and when that happens you'll be better prepared to adapt to your environment.

The problem is, we've dedicated years to the control of weeds and insects by the use of herbicides and pesticides. We've created super weeds and bugs that have a higher tolerance to the chemicals applied and the concern now is, "how can I effectively maintain my lawn in an organic manner without loosing my turf to one infestation, or another?"

The truth is, there are no miracle cures at the moment, or at least, nothing that works as quickly as the tried-true 2-4-D/ Merit, etc.

Yet, although the rules have changed, there are practices you can adopt instead of waving the white flag to grubs and dandelions.

Practices I will explore here, over the coming months.

Together, we can make your world more eco-friendly.