There are a few oddities in life I don’t think I’ll ever figure out like; Just how do you get freezer burn? why isn’t there a channel #1 on your TV? and why are the chances greater that you’ll die on your way to pick up your lottery winnings than actually winning? I may never know these answers but that’s Ok, I won’t lose too much sleep pondering such insignificant things. There is one oddity however that has plagued me for over 25 years and no matter how much I’ve tried to embrace it, it gets under my skin like a rash and when ever I have to confront it, I just want to scream!
Why Do Pest Professionals Treat Lawns?
Now I can appreciate the value of firing up a rig, hauling out 250 feet of hose and attacking a nasty flea infestation in a back yard but that’s not the type of ‘treatment I’m speaking of. You see, it seems that the pest control industry has somewhere along the way decided that along with killing roaches, treating termites and taking on the occasional bee’s nest it would be a perfect fit to weed and feed lawns and even treat shrubs? As if I don’t have enough to learn and know already now I’m suppose to be able to identify weeds, lawn diseases and know what plants like shade or sun. Hello? Is this odd to anyone else or is it just me? How do you crack and crevice a lawn and how did we go from a duster in a kitchen to a shower head applying some fungicide on residential turf? Who was the original person who spoke up in a meeting one day and said- ” termite sales are down-we outa be fertilizing lawns?” Just how was that connection made?
It’s A Maddening Service
Let me tell you, I deal with mostly retired folk who don’t want to see a single bug in, on or even near their home. Some even call expecting service when they find a bug on their driveway- dead! but that pales in comparison to the calls I get because years ago I went along like a sheep to the slaughter and passed my lawn test and began spraying yards. People could have the most beautiful emerald green lawn and if one weed pops in, it’s as if all hell broke loose. One gal won “Lawn Of The Month” in her community and she showed me the newsletter, award sign in the lawn and then took me out back and scolded me for a patch of clover that popped up from under the shed. I could list story after story of how people mow to low, water too much or too little, let dogs piddle and kill the grass and still my spray should be the ultimate elixir and their grass should be the greenest on the block. It is the one category of my business where I’ve all but given up on trying to educate or even save unhappy clients. With chemical costs at about 20% for lawns I just don’t know why I continue but tomorrow the phone will ring– “30,000 square foot St.Augustine lawn- how much?” and I’ll mutter a quote and much to my dismay get the job.
The Grass Is Not Always Greener
It is an interesting phenomenon and an oddity I could have listed at the start of my little rant. So many of my lawn customers compare their yard with one across the street or just next door and become dissatisfied. Indeed from their vantage point the neighbors grass seems more lush and not a weed to be seen. But I’ve actually taken many a client for a walk across those yards they admired from afar to show them they have problems too. Bald spots you couldn’t see, weeds tucked in around the sprinklers and any number of defects. Still, the lure of the plushest, greenest lawn on the block causes them burn you out with call backs and eventually to look to other companies thinking they’ll finally get their ‘dream lawn.’ In so many cases however I’m just one guy in a long line of fired vendors because no one can live up to this homeowners demands. A lot of these folks go full circle and call us back a year or two later- some of their lawns look alright while most look like war zones. This is because they either did things themselves in between the regular service of the companies they hired or went full time on their own. Either way it happens I always pause a bit and think back to the days when they demanded re-sprays, more fertilizer, or the times I was on the phone till 10 pm talking about the life span of a chinch bug to an angry uncooperative customer. Although I never have and most likely never will- just once, I’d like to say. Spray Your Own Damn Yard.Well, maybe not.