Choosing A Lawn Care Company
by Alec McClennan, on March 21, 2023
Life is busy. You probably have a long list of things that you consider more important than what you treat your lawn with right? You're not alone, most people devote about 10 minutes to thinking about their lawn when they see the dandelions sprout. At that point, they either make a trip to the local hardware store or pick up the phone and call someone to come out and "take care of" the weeds. l would argue that what you put on your lawn is worth a little more thought and I'll explain why below.
Why Avoid Lawn Chemicals?
Traditional lawn care chemicals have the potential to cause all kinds of health issues and there is very good reason to consider a healthier Organic Lawn Care Approach. Your lawn is supposed to contribute positively to your overall health. It should be a place where you and your family can run around, get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Why then, would we consider putting chemicals on the lawn that according to many can actually cause health issues? For more information about some of the health effects of commonly used lawn and garden chemicals, visit Beyond Pesticides.
How To Avoid Lawn Chemicals?
The good news is that the lawn care industry is finally realizing that the public is interested in healthier alternatives and Organic Lawn Care options. The bad news is that there are a lot of companies starting to pop up touting a "Natural-Based" or "Organic-Based" approach, which is really really the same old chemical approach with a different label. There's no doubt, picking an Organic Lawn Care company can be confusing!
Read on for some tips about what to look for and how to choose an Organic Lawn Care company that is safer for you, your family, your pets, and our environment.
What To Watch Out For?
Here are some standard chemical programs that appear to be organic programs until you look a little more closely.
Some lawn programs tout Bio-Nutrients and claim to reduce chemical usage by up to 50%. If that's the case, then it is an improvement from the old-fashioned standard chemical program. Upon further inspection, however, it becomes obvious that they still use all the same pre-emergent chemicals, post-emergent chemicals, chemical insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers that a standard chemical company uses. So, for all practical purposes, it really is a chemical lawn care program posing as something safer and more sustainable. If you don't mind the standard dose of lawn care chemicals, this could be an option for you. However, if you don't want to be exposed to chemicals, then this is not the way to go.
The lawn care company brochure below is a great example of the confusing marketing out there. It boasts a Natural-Based fertilizer. While this sounds good, the description does not tell the whole story.
Natural-Based and Organic-Based are tricky labels. In order to call something Natural-based or Organic-Based it needs to contain at least 25% of its material by weight from organic sources. That means it is 75% synthetic. Often the organic material in Organic-Based products is composted sewage. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it really is a standard chemical program that adds in a little organic material as a nutrient source and still requires the same old chemicals to prevent and kill weeds, insects, and diseases.
Questions To Ask Your Lawn Care Provider When Going Organic
Here are a few questions you can ask to get a better sense of what you'll really be getting from your lawn care provider.
1. What Do You Use For Pre-Emergent Weed Control?
Genuine organic companies will use a plant-based, pre-emergent weed control...usually Corn Gluten Meal. If a company uses a chemical pre-emergent weed control, remember that this forms a chemical blanket that sits on your lawn for 3 to 4 months in order to prevent weeds. But, natural, Corn Gluten Meal is found in many of the foods you eat and is a much better, and safer, choice for pre-emergent weed control.
2. What Do You Use For Grub & Insect Control?
Genuine organic companies will use Milky Spore or beneficial Nematodes to control grubs. Beneficial nematodes may be the better choice for controlling grubs because Milky Spore only controls Japanese Beetle grubs. Both are non-toxic. If a company uses Imidacloprid (Merit, Mach II, GrubEx, Bayer Advanced) or some other form of grub control, that is a chemical that will sit on your lawn's surface for the entire season. Milky Spore and Beneficial Nematodes are the safer choices.
3. How Do You Control weeds?
If a company uses organic fertilizer that does not suppress weeds, then you'll probably have a fair amount of weeds. If they use Corn Gluten Meal, there will be fewer weeds. If they rely only on chemicals to control weeds, then you'll be getting the toxic consequences of the chemicals from those treatments.
4. What's In Your Fertilizer?
Organic-Based or Natural-Based fertilizers contain 25% organic material...the rest is synthetic. Plant-Based, feed-grade fertilizers are made from good quality compost and compost teas and are generally the highest quality fertilizers you can get, helping your lawn and landscape thrive, without chemicals.
5. Do You Offer Both Organic & Chemical Fertilizer Programs?
Companies that do mostly chemical lawn care, but offer an organic option are generally less committed to helping you reduce or eliminate the chemicals in your lawn care, as opposed to companies that focus solely on providing an organic approach.
Hopefully the insights and questions we've shared will help you choose an Organic Lawn Care company that will provide you with a beautiful lawn and peace of mind, naturally. If you're in Ohio, Indiana, or Pennsylvania, there is a good chance we can help you with our services. We would be happy to help you learn more with a Free Organic Lawn Care Quote. If you live outside of these areas, you might consider visiting our Online Store. You can purchase products we have used and tested in our service business. If you really want to hire a company and can't find one in your area, give us a call and we will do what we can to refer you to someone who will treat your lawn organically.