Your lawn care service will inevitably field questions about the safety and environmental impact of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides used in the course of your work. It is essential to train your field staff and office employees in exactly how to respond to those questions.
It will help if you provide a brochure or printout field staff can hand out and office staff can send via email. Below are some common questions and suggested answers. Your product supplier may also have suggestions. Before incorporating a statement into your training and literature, be sure it accurately describes chemicals and procedures used by your business.
Are your chemicals safe?
Our company only uses chemicals registered or licensed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and our state department of agriculture. The United States has one of the most stringent pesticide regulatory systems in the world. In fact, most pesticides are subject to more testing than pharmaceutical drugs. Each licensed/registered product has been thoroughly evaluated to ensure it is effective and poses minimal risk to your family, pets and the environment. And as an extra safeguard, though our products are all registered with the EPA, we apply the minimum amount necessary.
Do you use poisonous chemicals?
Many natural substances, including water and tomatoes are poisonous if used inappropriately or a person ingests too much. We only use products that have been tested and approved by the EPA, and follow all precautions regarding application and storage. So, as used, our chemicals are not poisonous.
Can’t I buy fertilizer and weed killer and do this myself?
Products you buy at your neighborhood home and garden center will likely contain some of the same chemicals found in our commercial products. What we provide is a professional lawn care service with effective and economical treatments that take into account the type of plant/grass, consistency of the soil, and environmental conditions.
Before any application, a highly trained technician will inspect your property to determine exactly which products to apply and in what strength. If you are on a seasonal contract, we may schedule inspections in between anticipated applications. When we apply fertilizer and pesticides it will be with industry-standard equipment and techniques. This protects your family, ensures full coverage and minimizes waste, run-off and overspray.
A Virginia Tech study published in the Washington Post found that most homeowners have no idea how much nitrogen they use when fertilizing and that they apply chemicals in ways that damage water supplies.
Do you use organic fertilizers and pesticides?
“Organic” is a technical term that simply means a compound contains carbon and hydrogen, so many artificially manufactured lawn care products are chemically “organic.” Some lawn care services promote their products as “organic” to suggest the chemicals are natural or environmentally superior when that is in fact not true. One prominent lawn service labels as “organic” fertilizer with up to 70% synthetic ingredients.
Our products, many of which are technically organic, have all been registered by the EPA as environmentally sound. Our fertilizers, week killers and pesticides include many elements that occur naturally in the environment, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur.
Is the lawn safe for children and pets after chemicals are applied?
Our products are approved for residential use. Once weed killer or fertilizer has dried on the surface of plants and grass, it is practically impossible for it to transfer to skin or clothes. When we treat your lawn, our technician will post written instructions to remain off the treated lawn for 24 hours from the time of application (the extended length of time being an added precaution).
Will your fertilizer, weed killers or pesticides persist in the environment?
No. After our products are applied they are quickly broken down quickly by soil microbes and other means into harmless, natural substances – water, carbon dioxide and humus. This occurs within a short period of time, generally less than thirty days.
Do you use 2,4-D? I heard it causes cancer.
2,4-D, a product that is commonly used for weed control, is among the most highly tested products in the world. Since its development in 1942, 2,4-D has been safely used on lawns, golf courses, parks and other turf areas. When applied by trained technicians and according to label directions, it provides effective control of broad-leaf weeds without posing an unreasonable risk to humans, pets or the environment. Research results can be seen on the internet www.24d.org.
What questions has your staff fielded about chemicals? Do you have any suggestions for us?