Did you know that since 2009, Beautiful Blooms has been using OMRI approved organic pesticides to care for plants in your landscape and since the spring of 2012 the only synthetic pesticide we use in the care of your landscape perennials and shrub beds is Roundup®? It’s true!
In early spring of 2012, I took our inventory of synthetic pesticides to the local hazardous waste processing facility and we have not looked back since. I have to say…it felt really good to do that, that day.
In June of 2013 we used up our last bag of synthetic fertilizer for landscape beds and when Mary Beth asked if she should order more I said “Nope, we’ve got that covered with organics now”. What I was referring to was using compost tea with various organic additives. We have a compost tea brewer and we brew 20-80 gallons of tea per week for use on all of the properties we care for. The results are tremendous. We see an improved perennial in just a few days or weeks, shrubs react a little more slowly and typically show their improved health the following year after applications have begun. Remember—compost tea is a soil treatment and healing our soils after years/decades of degradation through the use of conventional chemical use take a little bit of time.
At this time, the only synthetic pesticides that we use in the care for ANY landscape is for the treatment of pests or diseases on trees and broad leaf herbicides for killing weeds in lawn areas or Roundup® for killing weeds within landscape beds. All other pesticides that we use are OMRI listed organic.
We will further reduce our synthetic pesticide use in 2014. One area of concentration will be to limit our use of Roundup® to new bed preparations and extreme weed pressure situations. While I would like to say we will fully eliminate our pesticide use, I do not feel that is 100% responsible to do…yet. Let me give a few explanations.
There are many trees in our landscapes that need to be protected from deadly insect infestations. Trees are not just pretty to look at, they also purify our air, stabilize slopes, shade our earth, take up water that would otherwise runoff, cool our homes, provide habitat to other creatures, and more. Trees that were once appropriate to plant in our landscapes, such as the Ash tree, are now under fire by non-native insects. Until replacement plantings are established, it is worthwhile to protect the health of the tree in question.
Our market has not caught up to demands and clearly people need to make choices when it comes down to dollars and cents. Each year, more and more alternative organic options are available to control outbreaks of pests. As these products are proven effective and become affordable, then making the switch to being 100% organic on all properties we manage will become a reality.
What we can do in the mean time is significantly limit the amount of synthetic pesticides that we do use by only applying them when there is a problem, our choice is limited or there is no suitable alternative organic option, and then only apply to the affected area. As an example, it has always been our primary practice in lawn weed control to only apply herbicide to the weed—not the entire lawn. This requires the applicator to carefully walk the entire lawn and spot spray only the weeds. We feel this extra effort is well worth it. The amount of raw chemical that we use in one full season is a small fraction of what other companies’ use who only apply “wall to wall”.
Also in 2014, we will offer a fully organic lawn care management option. This is not a program that may not appeal to everyone, but now more than any other time…it is our top request. This program will not be a pseudo organic program where just an organic based fertilizer is applied but rather an entirely “new” way of managing your lawn. A way that restores vigor to your soils first and therefore benefits your lawn. This is a “new” way of doing things for our generation, but really…it’s a return to the ways of our grandparents and great grandparents. I can’t wait to tell you more about this program! Watch for more information on this very soon.