Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Saying a whole lot of nothing

So...the IPM Symposium for 2011. If I don't type another word you already know all you need to.

Perhaps it was the smaller atmosphere of last year in Barrie, but this year's, all-in-one extravaganza in Toronto was nowhere near as informative, or interesting.

Most of the yawns came, as per usual, from the Ministry of the Environment-they never fail to disappoint.

A Study on leaching chemicals into the ground water, although of interest, I found more amusing as they were hard pressed to find waterways and tributaries in Ontario that didn't snake through farm land and golf courses. The result of lower contaminants in ground water stirred a "well duh" moment and not a true reflection on what's really happening out there unless you factor in the wasteful expenditure of tax payer's money.

Even the information on Fiesta just reiterated what I already knew: Two applications 30 days apart for effective control, the product is not systemic, applications over 30 degrees is a no-no and the product is outrageously priced. I was however, told to wait until next year for more results while further tests were conducted.

You think with the outlaw of adequate controls there might be a little urgency to develop more reliable organic controls. Yet the Lawn Care Industry only accounted for 4% of all pesticide use, so what's the rush right?

Perhaps if I had walked away with one of the door prizes I might have felt my time was better served, but all I see when I look at my IPM certification is no answers and a whole lot of nothing.

Monday, January 3, 2011

One man's solution is anothers poison

So, it's been a while since I last posted something and I trust everyone had an exceptional holiday season. I hate to jump into the deep end right off the start but...

I came across a very interesting blog about Fiesta the other day and I thought I'd share it with you. After all, Fiesta is the best of a bad lot on the market when it comes to legal control for weeds.

I understand this is a new product that no one has had for a full season yet, but I'm already seeing cracks in the armour.

From my experience and my opinion this product is nothing more than a cash grab for Scotts and Neudorff given the price of the product and the ratio at which it must be applied for effective control. It's a feeding frenzy taking advantage of an industry desperate for reliable products and a consumer fed up with regulations in his own backyard.

But try making profit on a blanket application of this product when your cost for an average size lawn is already $50.00 and I'm being conservative. That's at least 31x higher than the old tri-kill.

Man! Someone's making a lot of money, but it isn't me.

So, let us examine the shortfalls of Fiesta other than price.

Ever hear the expression, "too much of a good thing"? With Fiesta it's hard to claim Organic and environmentally sound when we're talking extremely high volumes of active ingredient,(hydroxyethylenediaminetriacetic acid ( HEDTA ) to form FeHEDTA.)

In fact, the minimum dose is over 700ml of product per 1000 square feet of lawn. By comparison the old methods- you know, the products that will kill your pets and eat your children- was 56ml. Just sayin'.

Also of note, Fiesta is not a systemic control, which is to say, if you don't spray those little buggers twice in a 30 day time frame, your weeds just come right back for the smile and wave photo opp. With the recommendation, you only spray twice per season, pick Spring, or Fall for your tea party. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The label will tell you not to apply Fiesta when temperatures reach 30c. What the label doesn't tell you is you have to factor in humidity to the equation. I'm thinking there were some burnt lawns last year.

Yet, for an organic product I have some questions as to why more protective clothing is needed when mixing and applying a weed control with low toxicity? Fiesta has an Oral LD50 greater than 5000 mg per kg. Wait a minute! That's the same as Killex.

After all I've said, I'll still continue to use this product- mainly because my options are slim and none, and slim just left town. But I might just go back to pulling more weeds until I can see what Phoma Macrostoma can do in 2012.