Saturday, July 24, 2010

Literally....the grass is greener

So we are in the midst of the perfect storm- wet Summer last year; mild Winter and temperatures that had weeds popping early April; late approval and delivery of the newest weed control by the PMRA, hot Summer this year.

But what does all this mean?

Well, excessive grub damage that I can't treat until mid August at the earliest for one, Chinch Bugs who have made a triumphant return after a two year absence, weeds I can't spray because the new Fiesta weed control burns lawns in temps over 30 degrees factoring in humidity and Crabgrass that has run rampant over the last few weeks despite, in some cases, putting down a pre-emergent in May.

And let us not forget the wonderful HST. Now, not only do I have to tell the customer, there's nothing I can do while their lawn quickly disappears to the elements, I have to tell them it's going to cost more.

"But why does my lawn have all this stuff and my neighbours doesn't?" Many customers ask.

Actually if you look closer you'll see that those living next door to you, do have problems. It's just, from a distance everything looks status quo. And if they don't then there's some cheatin' going on.

In fact, I overheard a conversation the other day, how the old Tri-kill is now selling for $1,000.00 for a 10 lt. jug on the black market.

Wow! A G-note for something I used to pay under a $100.00 for.

As a Lawn Care company owner, I feel a sense of helplessness mixed with frustration over this whole mess. I mean, golf courses and farmers are still exempt under the bylaw and they are dousing their crops/ turf. So if you feel the environment is reaping the benefits of the pesticide ban, think again.

Think of all the acres of farm land and golf courses in Ontario and the picture may seem clearer as all the pesticides still seep into the ground water.

The anger felt is not just me, it's the homeowner, the competitor, the distributor, the manufacturer.

Yet, I am abiding and doing what I can. That means once the temperatures cool down, I can get nematodes into the soil to combat grubs, I can spray, the very expensive, Fiesta without fear of toasting a lawn....and crabgrass.....well, since Acclaim is no longer on the menu and Corn Gluten will not affect established weeds, there is nothing I can do.

In fact I'm sure if there were a nuclear holocaust tomorrow the only things to survive it, would be cockroaches, my step-mother and crabgrass.

In the meantime, stay cool, remain composed, and understand the situation.
Grass is resilient and your lawn can recover with care. In time, so will you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Return of the giant hogweed

No this is not a post about an early 70's progressive rock song by Genesis, this is an actual article posted this week about the invasive weed up near Renfrew Onatrio, that is threatening to move south. This plant can cause severe blistering on your skin and potential blindness if you get any sap in your eyes.

Just great! Try telling your kids not to touch it when this weed grows in excess of 6 metres tall and stands out like a sore thumb.

In the same breath I came across this article, how a new University of Guelph study reveals some organic pesticides can have a higher environmental impact than conventional pesticides because the organic product may require larger doses.

Could they be talking about Fiesta, that works well enough, but has to be applied to the point of run-off? Or, corn gluten fertilizers that have me applying with my spreader wide open? Or, perhaps the 500 million nematodes I'm putting down per acre to combat grubs?

Look, I'm all for what's best for our environment, but to be told that I can't use traditional means to combat weeds and then be told that, "we're not sure the organic methods are any better in contamination", can see the dilemma especially when Phomamicrostoma is still 2 years away from hitting the market.

My thoughts on the matter are, the powers that be, jumped the gun without having a suitable replacement so they could look like they were doing something.

Yet, don't think there weren't some back room handshakes on this whole deal and someone out there isn't rolling in the green while we all roll in clover and *ouch* Canadian thistle.

I now have a product that costs 3x more then what I used to pay for the Tri-kill and I have to apply at a rate 4x heavier to be effective. It only stands to reason there will be more leeching into the soil. Meanwhile, weeds with a deep tap-root are just laughing.

Heracleum mantegazzianum! Giant hogweed lives!