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.
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
Hi I'm Olive. Even though I stay indoors, that doesn't mean I am safe from lawn and landscape chemicals. Dangerous lawn and landscape chemicals can be tracked inside on shoes and clothing. Once indoors, out of direct sunlight, chemicals can persist in fabrics and on rugs for up to TWO YEARS!
Look for little pellets in the grass, yellow pesticide application signs and move your walk to the other side of the road, especially if your precious pet is with you!
I love to nap on the couch, to play and roll on the rug, (and if you ask me, shoes are fantastic to chew!) The problem is my soft paws, underbelly, eyes and noses are all susceptible to chemical exposure, and chemicals cause everything from minor skin irritation to liver, kidney and GI tract damage in cats. In dogs, they are linked to health hazards from skin rashes to bladder cancer and canine lymphoma.
Please keep poisons out of my house, make a donation to the PRFCT #protectyourpet campaign and spread the message.
Pre-emergent are herbicides designed to kill weed seeds BEFORE they sprout. They are usually granular and are applied to lawns and flower beds in the spring, but they persist for three months – that means prolonged time for human exposure.
Below we have gathered important information about some typical active ingredients and their effects:
Prodiamine – carcinogen, neurotoxicity
Pendimethalin – extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms
Isoxaben – possible carcinogen, kidney/liver damage, toxic to birds
Oxyfluorfen – possible carcinogen, reproductive, birth and development effects, kidney/liver damage, skin irritant, toxic to fish and aquatic organisms
Oryzalin – kidney/liver damage, skin irritant, birth and developmental effects, toxic to fish and aquatic organisms
Trifluralin – extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms
Also, since the active ingredient is usually only 1% ... what are the 99% "other ingredients" ? They are often a blend of equally toxic ingredients that amplify the deadly effectiveness, which means they are even more toxic for you too.
Safe alternative? Although corn-gluten is often recommended as an organic pre-emergent for lawns, it is expensive, and timing is too critical to be effective, so we don’t recommend it. The PRFCT nature-based approach to weed control is to outcompete weeds in lawns. Overseed lawns in the fall or early spring before weeds germinate. In shrub and flower beds plant many small plants close together, leaving little to no space or sun for weeds. More plants is always a better option for filling space than bark mulches from far away.
If a green lawn is a sign of health, then the first brightest, greenest lawn in the spring has to be good, right? If you knew that what it takes to make a lawn jump the season, you might think differently.
Nature has its own schedule, worked out over millenia. Greening up earlier than nature intends requires heavy doses of fast-acting nitrogen. Much of it ends up in runoff and pollutes your nearby beloved water bodies. Over-fertilization causes fast, weak growth, at the expense of deep, healthy roots. This chemical-fueled growth is more susceptible to fungal diseases and insect attacks, which means more chemicals will be needed later on to correct preventable issues. This is the beginning of a cycle of chemical dependence – your lawn on drugs.
Why do you need your lawn to be green before its time? Will you think differently? When you see early green lawns, will you give them the (green) thumbs down? Will you be proud that your lawn will not join the party until it is old enough to drink (natural nutrients) responsibly?