Condo Media - June 2011 - (Page 40)

LANDSCAPING by Kelly Flagg and Priscilla Hansen Organic Lawn Care The Myths and Realities he hot word in condominium associations at the moment is “organic” lawn care. Whenever I hear this word, I always do my best to educate the customer to lean toward Integrated Pest Management (IPM) when dealing with any living plant — including landscape. This involves more than just a “spray and pray” philosophy, since a good looking lawn is 1 percent treatments and 99 percent maintenance. keep your gardens clean and help aerate the soil. However, some “organic” measures are not effective and shouldn’t be used. For example, a beetle bag, contrary to popular belief, will actually attract Japanese Beetles to your property and to the bag. Homeowners measures are taken quickly to keep the turf strong and vital, so it is healthy enough to ward off intruders. Army worms can eat 1,000 square feet of lawn in hours, decimating the turf and roots. Having routine inspections by a licensed professional is a good way to make sure your lawn stays healthy. These professionals can track insect activity, take note of hatches and assess outbreaks, and if pesticides are needed, they can apply the proper pesticide at its proper rate. When you use a professional, you do not have to handle the pesticide, mix the chemicals or store the chemicals, greatly reducing the risk to you, your family and your environment. Whenever possible, it is best to create a bio-diversified environment where all insects, birds, toads and plants can help create a strong healthy environment. In short, the best bet is proper plantings, proper maintenance, a little fertilizer, treatments as needed and loving care. With a bio-diversified environment, you can greatly reduce, if not eliminate completely, the use of pesticides on your property. If you prefer not to use a lot of pesticides (or none at all), it is imperative that proper landscaping maintenance is taking place so you are giving the environment the help it needs to stay healthy, rich and vital. CM Kelly Flagg is the vice president of sales and marketing at Flaggship Landscaping Inc., and Priscilla Hansen brings years of lawn care expertise to Flaggship Landscaping. T Maintenance vs. Treatments To combat most pests, proper maintenance is generally just as effective as treatments. Keep your lawn three inches tall and you can combat crabgrass and other weeds. Keep your lawn properly watered, drained and thatched, and you can prevent most lawn diseases such as redthread, fairy ring and rust spot. A good thick turf will combat most weeds, and a light, periodical spot spraying is all that should ever be necessary on a healthy lawn. Trying to attract birds, toads, bats and insects to your garden also can control pests. Yes, I said “attract insects.” Many insects, like ants and spiders, clean the soil and keep the area clean of bacterial disease. Plant butterfly bushes and bee balm to attract bees, and marigolds will attract ladybugs. Consider putting up birdhouses and bat houses to attract swallows and bats, and they will take care of pesky mosquitoes and moths. Cool and shady rock gardens will attract toads and other industrial insects that believe these bags are effective because the result is a bag of dead beetles, but what is often overlooked, is that it was like a picnic for the beetles, and all their friends came from miles around to see what was going on — no wonder the beetle bag is so full. Limiting Pesticides We have talked about eliminating weeds, pests and disease — without one treatment of pesticides. So the question is: Should pesticides ever be used? Pesticides have their place. If there is an outbreak of a crop- or turf-destroying insect — such as chinch bugs, sodweb worms, army worms or Japanese Beetles — it is imperative that proper preventative and post-emergent 40 CONDO MEDIA • JUNE 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - June 2011

Condo Media - June 2011
From the CED’s Desk
Editorial Board
CAI News
CAI Regional News
Asked & Answered
Homeowner’s Corner
Fuel Economy
Vendor Spotlight
Legislative Update
Advertisers Index
Classified Service Directory

Condo Media - June 2011