63- Topping off the season with a good Top-dressing

Here we are in November. Your lawn's been through a lot and you want to help it out as much as possible. The foundation of a good, healthy lawn is good, healthy soil. Build and balance your soil, build a healthy lawn. One way to help balance and increase the health of your soil is top-dressing. What is that? Generally speaking, top-dressing is a mixture of goodness for your soil, typically some blend of sand, peat, loam, compost, etc. What you need in the blend depends on your soil's specific needs. Top-dressing (the verb) is to put down a thin layer of that mixture over your lawn. This helps develop your soil and can help even out those lumpy areas in your lawn. Top-dressing is a great way to get your lawn in better shape. Learn more about how to top-dress in this episode of Eco Lawn Science.

Temperatures have dropped considerably, especially at night (how 'bout that 1º weather last week?). Your lawn is entering dormancy; it's going to sleep before the harsh winter. What do you need to do for your lawn right now? Should you mow, fertilize, clean up leaves or let them stay? What can you do to prep for the spring? Get answers on this episode of Eco Lawn Science.

Roots, roots, roots. Want a great lawn and healthy, resilient plants? You need to get those roots growing. We've had Doug Dickie of Carbon One on the show before, and he's a plant knowledge power house. Today, Doug discusses how to push root growth right now, in the fall. He knows his science, and while he talks about the process of root growth, complete with a discussion of hydrogen ions, respiration, and energy storage, we promise you won't get lost. You will, however, come away with a better understanding of growing strong plants. It's Doug Dickie on pushing fall root growth on this episode of Eco Lawn Science.

You may be doing your fall lawn applications right about now,  the all-important last application of the season. But fall can also bring some extra windy, blustery days. Should you treat when the wind's a-howlin'? What problems can that cause? What can you do to try to avoid any windy app issues? Find out in this episode of Eco Lawn Science.

Today, Ete sits down with John Perry, founder of Bio Green, author of the Lawncology blog and YouTube channel, and founder of Greene County Fertilizer Company.

John Perry is a rockstar of the lawn care industry. If you have anything to do with lawns professionally, you know who John is and you know that he is one of lawn care's top influencers. Considering the fact that lawn care is a $100 billion a year industry and employs over a million people in the US, that's a pretty big deal. Ete, as you may or may not know, owns a lawn care company, so this was a double whammy of excitement for him--a super successful business owner and another person to geek out on lawns with.

When John was 12 years old, his family moved from Houston to Park City. This was when Park City was not yet Park City, back when there were two stop lights in town. John was homeschooled which suited his need for a self-driven, self-paced education. 

Apart from his studies, he was also schooled in the practical, real life details of entrepreneurship. John's mom was a serious entrepreneur, and he grew up with a front row seat to what business ownership looks like. His mother started and ran several businesses, from property management, to cell phone dealerships, to owning a car rental company. One of her first business ventures was running a landscaping business. She would bring her kids along to her various jobs, so that even from the beginning, horticulture was a part of John's life.

Very early on, John knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He recognized that "I want to build something that's my own. And I want to make it bigger than the small pond." He learned about different aspects of business from his first jobs onward. He remembers working at ski shops from the time he was 13. There he witnessed first-hand the expansion process of a small business, from one shop, to multiple shops. He also got some experience in managing customers.

He started his first business–a polymer injection company–at 22, and eventually recognized that not having residuals was a big problem. Instead of constantly seeking out new clients, he wanted to sell to an established client base. In 2005 he started Bio Green, a lawn spraying company, which would eventually boast 86 locations around the country. Here he established licensing agreements, and minimum purchase agreements for the fertilizers he was making and selling. In 2014, he started Greene County Fertilizer Company, a large fertilizer manufacturing business which allowed him to white label products and sell them to other companies.

John's success owed just as much to his knowledge of soil and plant science as to his business acumen. Over the years, he had accumulated a vast amount of information about how to grow healthy plants which he wanted to share, so he decided to write a book. He started the blog, Lawncology, as a way to process his thoughts and find inspiration for the book. After a lot of coaxing from his team, he then started a YouTube channel of the same name. Both have been incredibly successful and have vaulted John to a position as one of the top lawn experts and influencers in the country, not only with industry folks, but also with the public at large, anyone with an interest in growing things.

In this episode, John offers some fantastic business advice. He has plenty to say about the difficulties of entrepreneurship. He also discusses the pitfalls that the "two different kinds of people who start businesses" often fall into, how to find a great salesperson, the importance of transparency, and the idea of separating your identity from the business's identity. 

Hear some great stories and learn from John Perry in this episode of The Company Next Door.

Perhaps you've seen the rather disturbing pictures of swarms of floating, dead fish. Or maybe you heard about the public health warning telling people to avoid contact with the water at Utah Lake this summer. Algae Bloom is a serious problem. Today Doug Dickie (check out the Carbon One episode) returns to the show to discuss the science and issues behind algal bloom and a possible solution, Algae Block.

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