ChemLawn / Scotts

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I live in Northern NJ and am thinking about contracting with a lawn service to take care of the fertilizer and other weed treatments?
I have about 1/3 acre of grass. Will the results be any better then what I could accomplish myself?
Any recommondations.
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I'm not in love with your choice of vendors, but what the hey. The results should be as good as, if not better, and if not, free service calls are offered by all chemical lawncare firms.
Might I suggest a local smaller outfit tho?
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Depends on your goal. If the point is to poison children and birds, you can do that more cheaply yourself. If the goal is to have a better lawn, you can do that for next to nothing, with nothing but grass seed and intelligent mowing. Interested?
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Nice advice, Doug. What do you do for a living?
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Interesting question. Why do you ask?
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Well you just broad painted an entire green industry (one that I'm in) with one paint stroke.
Poison your children and birds?
Makes me wonder what -wonderful- thing you do all day. It obviously doesn't involve growing grass.
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For the moment, set aside the organic lawn care products I see advertised by some companies and consider ONLY the Chem-Lawn variety. And, focus NOT on fertilizers, but on bug and weed killers. With me so far? Now: Change my mind about those things by pointing to ***independent and properly conducted research*** which proves that those things are safe, both for contact (by people & animals), ingestion (by animals), and runoff into groundwater.
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Yes sir Doug, I sure am. Please elaborate.
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So far grass seed and mowing has given me weeks, fungus at least once a year, and grubs. I'm interested in your suggestion, and how they will yield a better lawn.

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Where do you live?

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I live in Northern NJ.

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OK. FYI, read this first. You'll enjoy it. Another participant in this thread will not. Oh well. The person you pay to apply lawn poisons may actually believe they're safe, but that's only because the manufacturers are such effective liars. Bottom line: They are not safe, and cannot be tested in a way that's considered valid by any well-informed adult. Further, the "inert ingredients" are anything but inert, but they are exempt from testing regulations due to effective lobbying by the chemical industry. http://www.beyondpesticides.org/lawn/factsheets/facts&figures.htm
This google search will give you enough information to keep you awake nights. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=pesticide+inert+toxic+ingredients&btnG=Search
A healthy lawn will deal with almost anything except the worst of grub attacks, and those can be dealt with without hiring a chemical thug.
1) Get a soil test. Do it yourself, in several different places. If you're not confident about it, call your local cooperative extension. Some will do it very cheaply. Here (Rochester), it was a dollar per sample last time I checked. Your pH may be way out of whack, which not only contributes to lousy growth in general, but can also relate to the fungus you mentioned.
2) The fungus: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing it appeared in spring, especially if there had been snow cover for any length of time. It's supposedly caused by leaving the grass too long at the last mowing of the season (late autumn). Those are the ONLY mowings for which you should set your mower very low.
3) Mowing: Beginning with the first mowing in spring and continuing until the last couple, the mower should be set at its maximum height, and you should leave the clippings in place, unless you've let the lawn grow to the point where the mower's dropping huge clumps that you know are going to smother what's underneath. You'll recognize what's too much of a clump, and it should be a rare occurrence, unless your mower's not good at mulching.
4) Feeding: There are plenty of granular foods which contain no insect or weed killers. Watch the weather and try to apply when it's going to rain. Or, water it in yourself. Frankly, you don't need to feed as often as the experts say, especially if you're leaving lawn clippings in place.
5) Grubs: As you visit garden centers, take note of who sells biological controls, so when you need it (and you're panicking), you wont' have to drive all over town looking for it. I haven't needed it in years, but when I did, the bacteria was bacillus thuringensis, which you'll see abbreviated to BT. These bacteria are also used to control various food crop bugs. The particular species may change from time to time if grubs develop resistance. You will NOT see immediate results from the bacterial controls. You may have to wait until next season, but it WILL work.
6) Soil quality: If you dig down maybe 6", after a heavy rain or watering, take a handful of soil and compress it. It should crumble as easily as cake. If it's a bitch to dig into, it needs to either be amended with peat moss (blended in, not just thrown on top), or perhaps aerated, a service you can pay for. In other words, the problem could be that the soil itself is lousy (add organic matter), or it's been compressed for some reason. After a few years of healthy lawn growth, it will loosen up, but in order to get grass growing on bare ground, you'll have to help it.
7) Learn to love burlap and bricks when seeding new areas. I've never used that fluffy stuff that highway crews use to seed large areas. Maybe it works. But, I've always good luck covering new seed with burlap and holding it down with bricks. Keeps birds of eating the seed, and equally important, it helps maintain moisture during germination, and keeps rain or your hose sprayer from scattering the seed. That's important because the goal (however unachievable) is to keep the area constantly moist, but not muddy. The burlap's reusable, and bricks always come in handy for something, like throwing at the Chem Lawn truck.
8) Water deeply, but don't obsess about it. The whole idea of grass is silly. We push it to live in places it would not grow naturally. Where it does grow naturally, it turns brown in the summer and greens up again in the fall. We hack it off with mowers before it can go through its natural cycle, and then wonder why it behaves stupidly. We grow varieties that looked so beautiful to the British that they decided to bring the tradition here hundreds of years ago. Great, except that their climate is somewhat cooler. Anyway...water deeply, but don't expect constant green.
Above all, be patient. These are plants, not machines. It took me three years to get my lawn in shape, after which it needed almost no care at all for 20 years.
By the way, here's a link to your cooperative extension: Main page: http://www.rce.rutgers.edu / Home resources: http://www.rcre.rutgers.edu/garden/ (soil test link at the bottom!)

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" Bottom line: They are not safe, and cannot be tested in a way that's considered valid by any well-informed adult."
I think that about says it all. It shows how unreasonable guys like you are. No amount of testing, no data, nothing could ever convince you that any pesticide is safe. You might be well informed, but certainly you aren't rational.
And you conveniently focus on grubs and one type of spring fungus, which you don't even identify, like they are the only insect or fungus problems a lawn is likely to encounter. I guess we should just ignore the dozens of other common ones and pretend they don't exist.
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The only way to test whether a substance is safe to ingest is to (can you guess?), INGEST IT. This is how new medicines are tested. You wouldn't want your kids to take drugs that weren't properly tested. Why would you want them rolling around on a lawn that was sprayed with stuff that cannot be tested? In addition, if you stopped pretending to be unaware of the dangers of the so-called "inert" ingredients, you'd admit that they're kept quiet because many are already known to be dangerous.

I'm not pretending they don't exist. I've never encountered them. Doesn't matter. There's always a better way than poison to improve a lawn or a garden. But, your industry thrives because people are too busy or lalzy to research the dangers of what you sell, and they're too fixated on instant gratification.
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"The only way to test whether a substance is safe to ingest is to (can you guess?), INGEST IT. This is how new medicines are tested. "
Ever hear of lab tests using animals? You're probably against that too. And if we follow your silly logic to it's logical conclusion, then lots of things are suddenly on the banned list. Things like air freshner, household cleaners, plastics, even the clothes your wear, because no one has eaten them. LOL
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It might help to know how old you are. Part of your misunderstanding may stem from having missed many years of chemical industry shenanigans.
Lab animal tests are not reliable, but chemical makers have great fun with the idea, in two ways. If a regulatory agency like the EPA uses animals to test a chemical and finds that it's harmful, the chemical industry responds that you cannot extrapolate those test results to humans because we respond to substances differently than some animals.
Paradoxically, the chemical industry will use animal tests to "prove" that their products are safe. They want it both ways, demeaning the results of tests when it's convenient, and worshipping the results when they feel like it. This nonsense has been going on since the 1960s. The industry made it more convenient for itself back then, by passing legislation (whose name I forget, but can find out) which makes the "inert" ingredients exempt from most tests. As I'm sure you know, many of those inert ingredients are known to be harmful. Toluene, for example.
You point out that some household products can be harmful, and you're right. So can table salt and toothpaste in sufficient quantities, and athletes sometimes drop dead from drinking way too much water before an event. But with pesticides and herbicides, you're dealing with a product that is almost impossible to control. Thugs put little flags on the lawn warning people to stay off of them for 24 or 48 hours, but it's already been shown that the chemicals are still present on the surface. Nonsense.
To make matters worse, many lawn chemical thugs hire idiots to do the application. My wife was fortunate enough to be home one day when a Chem Lawn monkey was about to spray herbicide on the neighbor's lawn, adjacent to our vegetable garden, with a strong wind blowing constantly toward the garden. When she went out to stop him, he told her it was perfectly safe FOR USE ON FOOD CROPS. Read that again.
In NY, the thugs are required to provide the exact names of the crap they're applying, if ANYONE asks. We got the names, did a little research, and found that they were NOT approved for use anywhere near food crops. The owner of the local franchise lied to us when we called him about it. Based on this, we went to our town justice and obtained an injunction against the company and the neighbor, which prohibited them from applying any kind of chemical on one side of their property. The injunction ordered the police to arrest either party if the rule was violated.
So, don't tell me what you know unless you can provide proof from sources completely independent of your industry.
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Heh, chowder head. It's not "my industry", I have no connection to the lawn care business. But neither I nor most the rest of the world considers those who use pesticides to be thugs. It's just another example of how extreme your silly ideas are and why no one takes guys like you seriously. I don't advocate the over use of pesticides. But properly used, they are reasonably safe.
"When she went out to stop him, he told her it was perfectly safe FOR USE ON FOOD CROPS. Read that again. "
That could be true. Maybe you should find out what it was before jumping to conclusions. Of course you don't care what the chemical is, you know it's unsafe right? Sounds like you like to pay 3X for organic produce too. Most people choose to buy the std produce, knowing that it too is reasonably safe, except for extremists like you. If agriculture went where you'd like to take it, we'd all be paying 3X for food. That would divert money that could be well spent on healthcare, or education where it would have certain benefit, and send it down an environmental extremist's rat hole. Sounds like you're perfectly willing to eliminate farm chemicals and watch millions in poor countries starve to death.
So stop using home cleaning products, shampoo, sun screen and a thousand other things too, cause they all have chemicals in them. Then crawl back into your cave and leave the rest of us alone. Sorry, gotta go now, I'm gonna go spray the weeds in my driveway!
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I don't like pesticides so I pour gasoline on them, then light them on fire. :)
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guys
But
Any decent veterinarian will explain to you how Scotts 4-step program, especially "Step 2" is believed to be extremely bad for pets. I can't remember the pathophysiology as it was explained to me, but if anyone is interested I can find out.
Jo
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"Any decent veterinarian will explain to you how Scotts 4-step program,
especially "Step 2" is believed to be extremely bad for pets. "
You mean like this vet from the Univ of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicince? Here's what he has to say:
"However, for pet owners who want to spruce up their yards and prefer to use lawn care products, reading the label and using the products properly is the key to keeping pets safe. According to Dr. Petra Volmer, veterinarian and toxicologist at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, problems usually arise only when people apply lawn care products incorrectly or when a pet is accidentally sprayed or allowed on a freshly sprayed lawn too soon.
Most lawn care products fall into three categories: fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. "If you use these products correctly and read the label, most really do not cause a problem," says Dr. Volmer. "In general, most residential-use products have low toxicity."
Or how about this from the good old ASPCA:
"4.What about pesticides and fertilizers that might be in the garage or tool shed?
Make sure your pets do not go on lawns or in gardens treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides until the time listed on the label by the manufacturer. If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer for clarification before using it. Always store pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides in areas that are inaccessible to your pets.
The most serious problems resulting from fertilizer ingestion in pets is usually due to the presence of heavy metals such as iron. Ingestion of large amounts of fertilizer could cause severe gastric upset and possibly gastrointestinal obstruction.
The most dangerous forms of pesticides include: snail bait containing metaldehyde, fly bait containing methomyl, systemic insecticides containing disyston or disulfaton, zinc phosphide containing mole or gopher bait and most forms of rat poisons. When using pesticides place the products in areas that are totally inaccessible to your companion animals. Always store pesticides in secured areas."
Seems neither the veterinarian from the Univ of Illinois vet school, nor the ASPCA think typical lawn products are "extremely bad" for your pet. Now don't get me wrong. I try to limit how much herbicide/pesticide I use for a number of reasons. And I make sure to follow the label directions and keep pets off it for a reasonable amount of time after application to minimize exposure. I exceed the recommended minimum times to stay off. That makes sense. Alarmists who think anyone who applies any chemical to a lawn is a "thug", in my view, are just as whacko as people who use these products needlessly.
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