Sunday, April 10, 2011

Roll, roll, roll your lawn?

Judging from the number of people who ask me if I roll lawns, there seems to be a certain amount of misconception. Maybe it's hormonal? It seems every year men from all corners feel the need to get out there and work on the lawn and in many cases this includes the overwhelming desire to roll the grass.

You should only roll your lawn in the event it has been newly sodded or seeded. Rolling your lawn, much like aerating too early, can actually cause more damage than good. It compacts the soil sealing off the turfs ability to get precious oxygen, moisture and the nutrients it needs to remain thick, healthy and resistant to weeds as well as other turf diseases.

Compacting the soil squashes all the soil particles together.

This means that air spaces necessary for good root growth are eliminated. It also means that water can't penetrate the soil because there are no holes for it to move into. The bulk of the water runs off the lawn and never penetrates deep into the soil to the root zone level. This run off water takes the dissolving plant food with it so the spring feeding is washed down the sewer. In one fell swoop, rolling a lawn eliminates the necessary aeration, prevents water from entering and assists in the removal of spring applied fertilizer.

I can't think of an faster way to help put stress on a lawn than to roll the lawn first thing in the spring.

Sure I could roll lawns then turn around and tell the customer they now need an aeration while doubling my money in one fell swoop, but if you have read any of my previous posts you'll understand by now, that's not what I'm about.

Yet, those of you who golf will say, "the greens crews roll the green. What about that huh? I wish I had a putting green for a lawn."

Rolling a green is not the same as lawn rolling your home lawn. Your lawn sits on a mixture of soil types and these are easily compacted; a green sits on special sand chosen for its ability not to compact. Turf being grown for putting greens is one of the most intensively managed grass surfaces in the world. It is fed, watered and treated for disease on a regular basis exempt from pesticide bylaws. You and I, we don't have the luxury.

Even with the special sand bases, if the putting greens are rolled several times a week, they will usually have to be regularly "cored" to allow for expansion of the soil, and the introduction of water and air. The turf manager at a golf course is treading a thin line between optimum grass health and optimum playing surface. That is his specialty

What is critical to understand is that the soils on the green and your lawn can't be compared and so the lawn rolling practices will be different.

In any case, the next time you feel the urge to roll your lawn, roll, roll, roll the lawn roller into the neighbourhood garage sale instead because unless you want to produce concrete, you don't need it anymore.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Too much too soon

Spring is here, the birds are returning, the days are getting longer, the wind although still with a bite, is warming up and those dudes are pushing aerators from door to door.

I ask you, what would early April be if we didn't have those individuals moving like slugs, pushing their Ryans and Blue Birds of happiness up and down our streets.

However, the truth is, although aeration is a valuable tool in maintaining lawn health by opening up the root system and alleviating compaction, it's too soon to aerate your lawn. You can do far more damage instead of benefit at this point in the season. When I told this to the girl who huffed and puffed her way passed my house with her banged-up Ryan, she had no idea.

Yet, dollars to donuts say, the company who sent her out knows. They're in the lawn care industry how can they not? They just choose to ignore the obvious in order to take the money off the street.

As I've said before, I don't care if another company or individual does a lawn, I can't service them all and for some reason seem to be one of the few who realize this.

What I am concerned about is, the job is being performed incorrectly and the customer is the one who suffers in the long run.

If I spilled paint on some one's expensive drapes while painting their wall because I didn't follow the correct procedure of protecting the window covering before I started, I wouldn't expect that customer to enthusiastically call me back for more work, or refer me to others.

I feel for the girl, she's doing as directed by the company in order to make a living and I don't expect lawn care will be a vocation she readily follows into the future.

No one wants to aerate lawns the rest of their life and she will have most likely moved on by next season. Her current employer should may the customer.

Friday, April 1, 2011

True lies

As I await the start of the 2011 lawn season, I am appalled at some of the rumblings I am hearing concerning the lawn care industry.

A few posts back I noted the rampant slander present, as one company slags another in order to gain advantage in a competitive market place. Now I'm hearing the potential customers are not immune to the lies.

One company has been touting the return of chemical spraying for weeds, spray approved by the government. Another claims exclusive rights to a new German weed control no one else has. Yet another is proclaiming the use of a new weed control for 2011 and again...acting like they have exclusivity.

Most people don't know much about their lawn and when they are given this information they take it and run with it. However, be aware of the truth shrouded beneath a haze of misinformation.

These three separate companies from above are actually talking about the same product. That's right. It's the same weed control I've done a number of posts on already. This is because I, like pretty much every other company out there have been using it since May of 2010.

The product is called Fiesta. The active ingredient is iron and it is an organic control so it can be used under the pesticide bylaw. However, it is not a systemic control and must be applied in two applications not more than 30 days apart.

It's also very expensive.

So I ask, is this missinformation deliberate to try and woo/fleece customers back to the already untrustworthy, or is stupidity really that ubiquitous?

It's no different than the kerfuffle surrounding Sarritor a few years back when one company cornered the market on the only available weed control for use under the bylaw. Later the truth about the lack of effectiveness of Sarritor surfaced and that company is still putting out fires while trying to repair their damage credibility.

In revisiting the statements of the three companies in question; I guess because it's a concentrate and requires certain precautions when using it, it's the same process as when we had chemical control...but a true chemical weed control as you, the homeowner knew

It is manufactured by a German company called Neudorff who are California based, but Fiesta is not sold under the name German yes, but every lawn care operator with a licence has access to it, so

New weed control? well in the scheme of things I guess so, since it's still under a year old in the market place, but new as in, no one has used it Hell, you've probably purchased the diluted Scotts version of it called, "Weed-B-Gone".

You have to ask yourself, if these companies are lying to you about this product, what else are they twisting the truth on?

Don't be an April Fool. Recognize what you're being told for what it's worth: a clever marketing ploy and nothing more.