PRFCT Tips

Tagged with "Professionals"

Allan Pollack Morris

Eco Anxiety Antidote

January 18, 2023

If you use a landscaper for the maintenance of your property, the beginning of the year is contract renewal time. Of course you are probably starting this year anxious about your health and the environment and you aren’t sure whether signing up for a weekly dose of noise and poison in your yard is the best thing to do. It just doesn’t quite feel right, which adds to your eco-anxiety. But instead of worrying more, you could use this moment to do good. Guaranteed good for the environment, and super healthy for you and your family.

You just need to ask your landscaper to do things a bit differently by switching to nature-based practices. He/she may not know how, and chances are, you don’t know either. So who does know? Sadly, there are very few nature-based landscapers, and there probably isn’t anyone better for you to hire than the one you have got. So unless they flatly refuse to try, don’t fire them. Let’s engage and train the ones we’ve got, and send the message out that this is the future of land care. It is healthier for them too.

Everything you need to get started is in our PRFCT LeafLet Basics of Nature-Based in English and Spanish. For a typical annual maintenance schedule, which you can use as the basis of your new contract, go straight to page 21 – review it with your landscaper. It should not cost more, there are no products to purchase.

What is nature-based? Here’s the nutshell: Healing, not Harming. Let nature do the nurturing.

  • No toxic fertilizers or insecticides. Fertilizers overstimulate plants and make them susceptible to disease. The right plant for your soil, doesn’t need them. Insecticides are not target specific, they kill beneficial insects and soil organisms. You don’t depend on your landscape to eat, so why not share it with a host of wonderful life forms that could find refuge there?  
  • Retain, recycle and reimagine all biomass. Keep what your property produces (grass clippings, leaves, twigs, weeds, etc.) and feed it back to the soil. It is the food your place made for itself. Better than anything you can buy, and without the carbon footprint. (See PRFCT Lawn Basics for more).
  • Plant at least 2/3 native plants. Plants did fine without us humans for eons, so if you plant the ones that evolved in your conditions, they will still be fine with very little from you. Plus, they provide just the right food and shelter for local birds and pollinators. (See 2/3 for the Birds for more).
  • Avoid and remove invasive plants. Get to know which plants are invasive. (See the Invasive Plant Atlas for more). Don’t buy them. Remove and replace any you have already got. (See Beyond Pesticides for more).
  • Water properly. Very seldom. Very deep. Over-watering is one of the most common landscape malpractices. It leads to a wide range of plant and soil problems and promotes tick and mosquito populations.  
  • Minimize pruning. Every cut is a wound. Plant with plenty of space for trees and shrubs to grow to their natural shapes. Leave deadwood and standing dead trees, unless positioned dangerously, they provide unique food and nesting opportunities.
  • Relax and enjoy. Your landscape is not your living room; forcing it to be tidy, clipped, and fixed in time is “dead room.” Let it be alive; always changing and creating new surprising delights for you.

Keep in mind, your landscaper doesn’t necessarily know any more about this than you do. So make sure he/she understands that this is an adventure in earth friendly relationships and as long as they are willing to truly commit to the practices, you will be happy. It is a whole new way to relate to your land.

Hooray, eco-anxiety reduction in action! You are doing something unquestionably good for the earth. (Not to mention yourself, your family, and your pets). Once you get started, you will find there was nothing to fear. It is all fascinating, joyous, and beautiful. 

Photo by Allan Pollok-Morris

April 9, 2020

The PRFCT Relationship

April 09, 2020

Why not take advantage of this at-home opportunity to get to know your property better -- to work on your relationship? Have you spent quality time with your place, looking and listening? Learning from it. Do you understand and embrace its needs? How do you decide what is best for it? All on your terms?   
 
Go outside and take a good look at every square foot of your place, without judgement. What is going on? What is doing just fine, and what needs you? Appreciate all that is beautiful that happened all on its own. 
 
You and your land have been living together;  is it time you took a vow to be true to it? No cheating.  A relationship based on mutual input, not domination.    
 
What does that mean? This year’s PRFCT Tips will be your guide. 
 
Step One: Review all the maintenance and fertilizer/pesticide treatments you or your professionals have been applying to your property. What are they? Why are they needed?  
Check out their health and environmental effects here:  https://www.beyondpesticides.org/resources/pesticide-gateway
Or email us with questions: info@perfectearthproject.org 
 
Go back outside. Is your property bursting, buzzing and chirping with life? Treasure it. Make that vow: I will do this place no harm. Practice.  
 

Sept 10 TIP

KEEP OR KILL?

September 10, 2019

A friend called recently to ask for our opinion on a backyard situation. A large number of caterpillars were descending from webs in a tree and nibbling on his plants. He called in a tree expert who recommended that the offending tree be cut down and removed. Was this truly the only way to manage the problem?  

Happily, we could tell him to do nothing: keep the tree, and not to worry about the plants. The caterpillars are Fall Webworms, whose webs start showing up in late summer.

The parents are  pretty little white moths. They are native to the US; highly prolific, they lay their eggs in sunny spots on a large variety of host trees. The eggs hatch into the “worms” which weave the nest (same as silk worms). The nests protect them from predators, but they must come out to eat more leaves.  
As it is late in the growing season, the leaves they eat have already done their photosynthetic job and losing some of them to the webworms is no real loss to the parent plant. Many of the caterpillars will in turn become food--for birds and predator insects who need the protein for migrating or overwintering.  

So, just let them be.
Sadly, the people who don’t know about all this may be spraying, pruning, or even chopping down a whole tree.  Compare that to what a few little caterpillars can do. 
 
Note: Our last tip mentioned that milkweed doesn’t provide resources for anything but Monarch butterflies. This is not true, there are a large number of butterflies, bees and insects that benefit from milkweed, and I was quickly brought to task by some of our well informed readers, many thanks to them. Here’s more https://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/Wings_sp11_milkweed.pdf 

Nate And W

Clean Air Lawn Care

May 11, 2018

A Company on a PRFCT Mission:

The Clean Air Lawn Care franchise was created out of a desire to change the negative impacts of lawn care on the environment. They use solar powered equipment, adhere to many PRFCT principles and have become allies in
promoting toxic-free lawns for the health of people, pets and the planet. 

Interview with Clean Air Lawn Care CEO Kelly Giard

Q: You weren’t always in the landscape industry, what drew you in that direction? 
A: Our original mission was to become a disruptive business model that lead the way in driving down the 10-12% of the nation’s air pollution from lawn care to close to 0%. That challenge is what drew me and still does. We have since broadened out to adopting the same mission with regard to eliminating chemicals from lawn care with organic practices.

Q: At PRFCT, we feel that organic is the future of the landscape industry. How did you come to identify that gap in the landscaping world?
A: After doing 3-4 years of solar powered mowing we saw that there wasn’t a national leader in authentic organic lawn care. It was a leadership gap we felt we could establish and build our brand around. Customers are starving for an effective organic service once they understand it’s an option.

Q: How do you accredit and educate the landscapers that join the franchise?
A: Most of our new owners don’t have a landscaping background.  They are typically green entrepreneurs with a white-collar background.  We primarily vet their authentic commitment to our principles and practices. From there we do an extensive week long training at our HQ followed by a 1-2 day on site training.  Longer term, we constantly organize and encourage the collective knowledge of our owner group to develop best practices for delivering the best organic lawn care we can for our customers nationally.  We believe that a combination of science and field learning lead to the best results.  This year we are starting a program where after 2 years of doing organic lawn care, our owners can fly back to our HQ and work with our team and scientist from their locale to develop a fertilizer we will manufacturer that is optimal for their community’s soils and climate.



Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge in getting homeowners to embrace and adopt organic lawn and landscape services?A:  Awareness.  Once the customer understands it’s an option, they want it.

Q: Any other inspiration you’d like to share for founding Clean Air Lawn Care?
A: Our owner group inspires me every day. We have exceptional people that own our locations. They are the ones that make the magic happen.

Q: Where do you see the company in terms of growth, demand and supply in 5 years?
A: We added 17 new territories in 2017 and we are targeting 25 for 2018.  Our business is accelerating and I expect that to continue over the next 5 years. The customer is waking up.

Marders R Lewin Photo

Charlie & Kathleen Marder: PRFCT from the start!

From the beginning of their business in 1975, Charlie and Kathleen Marder have taken a stand on protecting land from pesticides while offering an alternative to “cookie cutter” landscape designs.

In Marder's property care departments, nursery and garden shop, they are aggressively committed to all-organic practices to this day. That is why the Marders have partnered on our #ProtectYourPet campaign to let animal lovers know pesticides are dangerous to your pet!

The Marders name is synonymous with stunning, healthy landscapes – you can kick the toxic chemical habit and still have a fabulous property, one that is safe for you and your pet. Thank you Marders for supporting our #ProtectYourPet Campaign! Help spread the word with a donation of any amount.

Lawns were essentially organic before World War II, after which they went downhill because of an excess of nitrogen petrochemicals and a massive PR campaign that made clover a public enemy. Clover is actually good for lawns.

– Charlie Marder to Hamptons Cottage and Garden

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