We get this question a lot so, so here's a mini episode with my thoughts.
In Utah (cool season grass) I recommend seeding in the fall when there are a lot fewer variables to work around and the weather is on your side.
Hey, Hey, what is up everyone? This is Ete with another quick episode of EcoLawn Science. We get a lot of the same questions. So I'm gonna make some shorter, you know, three to five minute episodes to get more to the point and answer your question. So the question that came in is, "When is the best time to seed my lawn? I have bare spots. I need to repair them." The short answer is: the fall. We are, it really depends on where you're located and what type of grass you have. Are you in the Northern region of the country in the South, East, West coast. It's called the zone. What zone are you in? And you can actually, there's a map online. If you Google "what climate zone," it will show you. Once you have that, you need to understand what type of grass you have.
So in Utah, we've got a lot of KBG, Kentucky Bluegrass, different varieties or species of it. But for the most part, the majority of lawns are that. Kentucky Blue is a cool season grass, which means the best time to seed it and repair it is the fall. There's a few reasons for that. Best time is autumn and that's because the soil is still warm from the heat of the summer. And then you also have your evening temperatures begin to cool down. And so the cool evenings are going to encourage that fast germination. But the, the warm days are going to help it to, to grow, to germinate. Cool season grass like Kentucky Blue, it does best when the soil temperature, not the air temperature is, between 50 and 65. And so this roughly is gonna match the air temperature of 60 to 75 degrees. So for us here in Utah, it's kind of the end of summer.
The general rule for cool season grass, like Kentucky Blue is to seed at least 45 days before the estimated date of your first frost. So if your first frost is October 15th, you want to back it up 45 days and apply your seed. Now generally it's not always going to be perfect, but that's the best estimate. One of the advantages is you have a lot of natural moisture when you, as you know when you seed a lawn, you need a lot of water and most people are not set up to do it properly. So by doing the fall you increase taking advantage of dew and natural moisture, which is going to significantly help your grass to grow. And so fall is the best time. The second best time is going to be the spring. In the spring you do hit some conflicts. One of them is, you know, you have all these weeds that, you know, the soil temperature start hitting 50 degrees and higher. They want to pop up first, they want to germinate. So you're going to have a lot of competition with weeds if you plant in the spring versus the fall when the weeds aren't as active and you've got them under control. Another thing is if you are using a crabgrass pre-emergent that is going to potentially slow down and work against you with your seed. And so those are the few reasons. A lot of people here love to do it in the spring. I try to push fall, fall, fall seeding, aerating, thatching, renovating, anything in the fall is the best time.
So one last quick thing is when you seed in the spring, let's say you get it and you time at right. And, you know, you do it as soon as the grass begins to be dormant.But then what can happen is if you have an early summer or heat wave and that lawn, that new seed is not established, the roots aren't deep enough that could come and wipe it out. So one more reason why the spring could be dangerous. Now it could work out, you could have the perfect timing, no heat wave right into July and you've got it made. And that's awesome, but it's definitely more risky and there's more chance of not having the success that you want.
I hope that answers your questions. If you have any more questions, feel free to send me an email or reach out and our contact info is below in the notes. Thank you.
Just because you are hiring a lawn company does not mean everything will be perfect and that you do not have to do anything. In this episode we talk about the three main parts to a healthy lawn and the importance the homeowner plays in all of this.
To have an amazing lawn you need to feed the lawn and soil, water correctly, and mow correctly. Often I see many people do 1 or 2 of the 3 and expect an amazing lawn. But that's not how it works. These are things you have to watch and inspect each month throughout the entire season.
Hey, hey everyone, what is up? This is Ete with another episode of Eco Lawn Science. Hope you're having a great day. Mine's going pretty well. Thanks for asking. Today I want to talk a little bit about expectations when you have a lawn care service.
So when you have a company like mine that is out there performing the treatments on your property, trying to get the weeds out, keep that lawn healthy and you're hiring those guys, you know, there's some work that you have to do as the homeowner to really make this work. And I want to kind of jump into that because that comes up a lot. I recently interviewed a landscaper in Park City as someone I look up to, respect a lot, for one of my other shows–I have a show called The Company Next Door where I interview other entrepreneurs, anyway–and she said this. She does installs and she, you know, does incredible work on some of the best, greatest properties in Park City. And she said, you know, she said, Ete, what I do is when I show up, I listen to the client: so the homeowner, their needs. And then I listen to the property, the landscape. And I kind of help this whole conversation and I connect them.
And I really liked that, uh, that approach. And I think we're missing that sometimes in this industry. You know, it's just, we come, we ride big machines, we blow off, we make a lot of noise and, and we, we get the lawn looking good and we do the right things there. But sometimes there's this like, it's disconnected. The homeowner might not understand something: Well, why is this happening? Why don't I have this? I pay you guys, why is my lawn not perfectly green? And so anyway, that's kind of what's led to this conversation today. So a little bit about that is we can only do, and I say we as service professionals, we can only do so much, right?
The best clients, my favorite clients and the favorite lawns that I've been able to work on over the years are the ones where the homeowner and the, the company they hire, are locked up. You know, they have the same understandings, they have a great communication and they're working in some ways, side-by-side to get the best lawn. And that doesn't mean they're calling me every week, "Hey, I just saw this, this," but it's just more, we locked that up before we start: the right values and the right goals and everything is just clear. And then there is a system of communication where they understand, hey, when something's not right, let me, let me check in with these guys. And I don't have to check in yelling and screaming. Like some people could like, you know, "Why is there a weed? I pay you!" without really truly understanding, you know, the biology and what's going on in the soil. Because we obviously can't control that as service companies, but people really believe that sometimes. And so, but working together in this, this kind of synergistic way where there's a great communication and a great reply and things are getting done.
And so as far as expectations go, you know, we as service professionals, we can apply the fertilizers, you know, we can take care of the weeds, we can feed your soil, we can add organics to the soil and build it up and compost teas. We can do all this, but if other parts aren't done, this is really not that valuable. You know, we can't own our own, take a, a living organism and make it green when we're there once every five weeks. It just doesn't happen.
And the two biggest parts...So it's kind of a three piece deal, right? You've got the feeding and the growth and the weed control and the soil biology, that all that, that's one. That's, that's the company you hire. Then over here, the second one–think of a triangle–the second little, little corner is the maintenance: the mowing, the weed whacking around the edges, you know, the edging, the blowing off, you know, those types of parts. That, that's the second part. And the third part really is the irrigation, is the watering. So as you know, that triangle, the company you hire, they only can help with the one thing. But without everything, those three corners working, you know, synced up, it's not going to be that ultimate result. You're not going to maximize the money and you may not be happy. Because sometimes people think, "I hire you to make my lawn green. Why isn't it green?" And depending on where you are, like especially here in Utah, irrigation is everything. And so yeah, I can feed and treat and, and work at the biology all night and all day, but without those other two pieces really dialed in, I can't make, I really can't make a ton of improvement that I want to make. And that frustrates me. And so that's not a good fit.
And so let's talk a little bit about the other pieces because this part you're already hiring out if you're using a company. If you're not, then yeah, we're talking about fertilizing, we're talking about, you know, feeding the soil, the things I've mentioned. But then the other part with the mowing, one thing I see is a lot of companies, people will hire companies and they'll mow too low, they'll scalp the lawn. Or they're just constantly running heavy machinery when the lawn's a little wet. The timing's wrong and they damaged and they stressed the lawn out. I've seen it. And then peak of summer, 99 degrees, the lawn is brown and dormant and people are out mowing on top, just adding more stress, right? And so those really aren't good practices. And those are all working against what we're trying to do. Not only are they not helping, they're actually counteracting. And so that's, that's where you got to have that sync up. You know, ideally you want to mow higher. I actually recommend going up quite a bit, three and a half to four inches. And I know some people will freak out at that. But hear me out.
Let me tell you some of the benefits that we're looking at when you can move it up. And just so you know, what I'm sharing today is backed up by many universities. But the one that I liked the most was put out by the Michigan State University Extension and they love three and a half to four inches and, and I've always loved that as well. So here's some of the reasons why. You know, when you mow low, you're going to scalp the lawn. When they cut it too low, they scalp it, that's really harmful and adds a lot of stress to the lawn. So when your blades are up, the chances of scalping are significantly less. It also allows you to clip like 20-30% of the leaf blade each time you mow, which is kind of the ideal proportion for it to be beneficial, to regenerate. You know, there's a lot of benefits to that. It helps to establish the larger root system, which the result of that is it's more drought tolerant, right? When the summer comes, it survives well because the root system has just been flourishing. It helps with broadleaf weed and even crab grass control. And people are like, what are you talking about? It's because when you can grow higher, it shades that soil surface, keeping it a lower temperature. And as you know, the higher that temperature gets in the soil, the more chances and the more rapidly those weeds are going to germinate. And it also helps to kind of fight off grubs because of that larger root mass, you know. And one last thought on that is, because it helps minimize the weeds and the grubs, the best part of that is you're not using as much weed controls and you're not having to use as many insecticides on the lawn, which also benefits the microbiology down below the soil.
So yeah. So raise those blades up, keep them sharp, make sure they're sharpened routinely so that they're not just ripping. And the other thing is make sure they're cleaned. A lot of people don't clean their blades. You may have a company that they'll come and mow and they'll mow 30 lawns in a day and those blades don't get cleaned for months. The problem is some, that can be a carrier for some diseases, some fungus that will attack the lawn. Spores, they will attach to those blades and you will spread it to the next property. A client could get, you know, a fungus issue and say, "Hey, I'm hiring you guys. Why do I have fungus?" Well, it's because of this, you know, and so again, we got to work lockstep with the mowing companies.
Okay, let's talk about the third corner in our little triangle, which is irrigation. So here in Utah we have great rainfall or snow throughout the spring, usually throughout May, you know, there's all kinds of snow and rain and just we get plenty of spring moisture and then June it starts to dry up, but homeowners who have, who take care of their landscapes, they'll have some type of irrigation. So they'll run those in June, but come July, August, we don't see a single drop often in July or August. And so, and June as well, often so you could go two to three months without it. And so we subsidize it with our irrigation. And again, that's, that's part of the problem too. Every lawn is going to be a little bit different as far as how much water it needs. It's going to, you know, the soil type, the soil structure, those are all the components that are going to define what does it really need.
But some kind of important things that I like... You know, obviously it's a big concern here in Utah because we are in a drought area. And so the state has really come down and they've created something called Slow the Flow. And that is a program, and I've actually met the director and I've been to some of the things, but basically you can sign up and for free, they'll come out and they'll run tests for your sprinklers basically to make sure are they set up and efficient. You know, did you install yourself and put the wrong kind of heads in so that it's not being utilized? Are the timer's off, you know, those types of things and they'll help you and they'll guide you. So that's a great tool that I, I recommend and I love that, that our state's doing that.
But really that's the first part is making sure that your irrigation, you have the right heads, you know, you have the right, and that they're in the right places. I have on my property, a spot that browns out every year because the head that's supposed to hit this area is buried behind a huge rock. I mean a big boulder. And so the boulder gets plenty of water. Again, total waste and drives me loony. I'm trying to get it fixed. But that spot browns out because it's not getting hit.
So one of the smartest things is again, you can utilize these programs, have them come out, they can give you a better plan if it's not, you know, effective. And then you can maybe redo or make the changes necessary. This is everything here. You've got to keep that lawn wet and again at every property it's going to be different what I mean by wet, but you know, on average, you know, maybe an inch a week, it really is gonna depend, you know, on, you know, is it a shady area? You can put less. Is it a sunny area? It might need more. But just this idea of, this is such a crucial part. You know, we can fertilize it and mow right. But if it's not being watered properly, the food's not going to go where it needs to go. It's just going to dry out. It's, we, you know, we're a mile high up in the sky here, you know, our elevation. So that plays into it.
What I'm trying to say in all this is your expectations...You can have a great lawn. You can have a great landscape. But first, make sure you understand these three corners of this triangle, you know, the irrigation, the feeding, food source, and then the mowing and make sure they're all sync together and make sure they're all working together.
You know, from my company when we're out and we see in the summer, on a client, a spot that looks like it's going to be drought, you know, we try to notify them. "Hey," (we send them an email), "just so you know you know"–or we take a picture–"this is what we saw." You know, "Can you go ahead and check your sprinklers?" And there's this whole thing.
But if everyone works together, then yeah, you can have a great lawn, a great property. But if not, and you're just doing one of the three things, that's, that's where it gets hard. And so as simple as this all sounds, you'd be surprised how many times I get that phone call, "Hey, you guys came out, but it's not as green as it should be." And then I come to find out, "Oh, our sprinklers have been off for a month," you know, and it's like, well, okay. Or "Oh yeah, it hasn't been mowed in two months and we've got weeds everywhere." You know? And so it can be very frustrating and so anyway, that's what led to this, this episode.
So hopefully this helps. I know this was a pretty simple one, but I guess it needs to be heard cause it's always coming in. Anyway, have a great day.
How high should I set my mower blades? How often should I mow? What do I need to do to maintain my mower so I don't injure my grass? What are the benefits of mowing my grass higher instead of keeping it low? Can my mower spread fungus to other parts of the lawn?
In this episode we discuss what role having proper mowing practices play into having a healthy lawn.
Hey, hey, what is up everyone? This is Ete with another episode of Eco Lawn Science. Today's content and the discussion will be based on a question that we just got from a potential client. So, someone who's not a current client of my service company, but they've been looking in and they had questions and that's some of my favorite ways to get these topics because I'm trying to make something helpful for everyone. So, the question was, they were asking really about mowing and about mulching and what kind of mower do I get and how often should I mow and how high should I mow and all these things and I know this is like a basic topic, but there's some science to it and also as basic as it is, lawn mowing it's often done wrong in a lot of ways and you see it all the time.
So, hopefully today we'll dig into a little bit of that and talk about what are some of the ideal practices for having a healthy lawn? So, as you know, mowing is a crucial part of having a great lawn and great lawn care and health. In my episode expectations, I talk about the triangle. There's three corners that all work together. The first one is mowing, the second one is feeding and fertilization, and third one is irrigation. The three main components. So, I do talk about this and that as well, but this one is specifically for the mowing side. When you come to mowing, you see every guy or girl when they're 12 or 13 or 14. It's always one of the first jobs you have is you go out, you mow the grass, and then your neighbor says, "Hey, come mow mine. I'll give you 25 bucks." And you do that one. And next thing you know you're mowing four lawns a week.
A lot of people have that story and some follow it and they build out huge businesses and some it's just a good little summer job to make a few bucks to go have some fun in the summer. So, again, it's kind of a basic thing. It's something that everyone does, but we don't ever talk about it. When you Google it, there's so many different opinions and thoughts on mowing. I mean, it's obviously an entire huge industry, billions of dollar industry in America. Everything from high tech robots down to young kids, teenagers out to make a buck and everything in between. So, let's talk a little bit about some good and some bad practices.
So, the first thing I really want to push on is the length. I think one of the key ingredients to having that healthy lawn is truly the length. Often people mow very, very short, like golf course short, like a putting green. In putting greens, they use a specific type of grass and they have an insane amount of maintenance and a full staff maintaining it because to have that short grass, you have to maintain it a whole different way. So, that doesn't usually work in a homeowner situation. What can often happen is what they call scalping. So, let's say you're mowing and maybe there's a little bit of a drop-off or a little bit of a slope somewhere. So, because of the unevenness of the ground and how low you have your blade set, you can literally hit an area where you almost hit the dirt and you just really scalp it and you just damage it.
You'll know because that area will be yellowish for a bit. It'll leave stress because when you scalp that lawn, you're causing it a lot of stress and it's really negative effects long term on the grass. It can grow back and it usually does, but you pay a price for it. So, a lot of people like to mow very low and either the way it looks or just then they don't have to mow it again, but the truth is, the higher the grass, and I don't mean a foot long, but when you get to that three, three and a half inch mark, there's a lot of benefits of it. So, I recommend going there. I recommend anywhere from three to four inches. Four being on the high side. Three and a half is awesome.
I mean, first of all, I love the way it looks. You get to see more of the grass. It's a little more of a natural feel, but it's not so tall that it's bending over and it looks unkept. You can maintain a three and a half inch lawn that looks good, but you have to maintain it. Some of the benefits of having that three and a half plus inch lawn are these. Actually, believe it or not, it helps with weed reduction. It helps with crabgrass reduction. It helps with less insect issues and the reason for those are when you have taller grass, like three and a half inches, it actually provides a little bit of shade for the soil and below the soil in the seed bank is where weed seeds are sitting, waiting for that perfect opportunity to emerge and to come up.
A lot of what inspires that is heat. There's a lot of heat below the surface, a lot of soil temperature. The hotter it gets, that's when your crab grasses start to really want to germinate. And these seeds just go, "All right, it's go time." They're just getting excited. So, when you have that grass, it actually provides a little bit of shade for the soil, therefore cooling it down just a little bit and in some cases it makes a difference between a ton of weeds and just a little bit. So, that's one benefit. That's for weeds and crabgrass. So, another thing is for insects, because when you allow your grass to grow up a little taller, it can actually flourish a little bit and it's going to have a healthier root mass below.
So, when you have that healthy root mass, you're going to have less insect fungal issues because there's going to be more biodiversity in the soil. There's going to be more living organisms and things working well. So, when those negative or damaging insects or fungi come in, you have the beneficials to offset it. So, just right there, those are some great reasons. You'll obviously save in costs and you'll save in environmental impact because you won't have to use that GrubEx. Or you may not have to use it as much. Or you may not have to use as much weed control. So, just a lot of great reasons. Again, one of the ones that I've mentioned is just that shade that it provides. So, as you get into those hot drought seasons July, August, and it's just hot and dry and soil temperatures are really starting to pay a price and warm up, which often leads to browning out and drought spots. That higher grass can again shade it and help to cool down the temperatures of your soil.
So, good benefits there. One of the best recommendations that I like and I've seen is they call it the one third rule. That means basically don't ever mow off over a third at a time because if you're mowing consistently and regularly and just a little bit at a time, you can actually let that drop back into the soil and recycle. You're utilizing already existing fertilizer, natural nutrients that are in that grass. Let's say you have a four-inch lawn and you say, "I'm going to cut it down to two." Well, that's two inches. You can't do that because if you were to cut two inches and leave it there and not bag it, actually that's too much that'll turn into thatch and build up and it'll be too much grass and that will become a problem.
It'll be a breeding ground for insects as opposed to a beneficial fertilizer or help assistant to what's happening. So, you want to cut regularly and in about one third. You don't want to cut off more than a third. Sometimes you have to. You go away for two weeks, you come back, and it's a disaster. Okay. You grew two inches, you're cutting off three inches, you're going to want to bag it at that point. But again, you're losing all those valuable nutrients. So, the best thing is to mow often, frequently, and do the one third rule. So, cut off a third of the blade at the time and just let it keep growing.
Another thought on that is ... so picture your grass. Picture a four inch tall blade and sometimes in the summer you're looking at it and the tops are green and lush and then you look, but you can see below it's a little yellowish. What's happening is that top is the greenest part and all the energy's going up there and so when you cut that off in thirds, you're actually helping to get rid of the yellow because what's going to help is it's going to allow it to use some of that energy and that storage down to the lower part of that blade, the first inch, the first inch and a half, and start greening that up as well. Where if you use a nitrogen fertilizer, it's really going to go to that top part. So, you can actually really help the color and the overall balance of your lawn by doing that.
One of the biggest things, make sure your blades are sharp. People don't pay attention to this. They change your blades every three years. You're going to start ripping the tops of the grass blades and you'll see it. If you look closely, pull some grass out, you'll see how jagged and rough it looks and that can cause issues and stress as well. I mean, picture going to get a haircut and they're using just scissors that are like five years old and instead of just a nice clean cut and it's dropping off, it's jagged and it's pulling, it's ripping your hair. It doesn't feel good and that's what's happening to your grass. The soil, you're disrupting it. Keep your blades sharp.
The last important thing is to keep the blades clean. People do not clean their blades often. What happens is, let's say you run over a pathogen or some type of fungus and you go to your neighbors and you're cutting your neighbors or let's say it's in your front yard and then you go to backyard and then a month later you see spots everywhere. Well, a lot of times these can attach themselves to your blades. Think about it. Think under the mower for a second. It goes over, cuts the grass, and it spins around up top and hits some things and then it shoots out. In that, you could be spreading those spores. You could be spreading a fungus to other parts of your lawn. So, just make sure that you're regularly cleaning them so that you don't spread anything that's bad. Especially if you see something that looks like maybe a fungal issue on the front yard, don't spread that to the back.
So, anyway, those are just a few basic tips. Oh, the last one is on mulching and I already have said it, but that was the initial question is make sure when you mulch to have sharp blades and get a mower that .. there's different types of mowers. If you're going to mulch and recycle, get one that can really mulch well. Find them on the best ability to mulch. Again, if you do this and you follow the one third rule, you shouldn't run into too many problems further down the line. If you're cutting off two inches at a time and you're leaving it and it's going to fall in the soil, it's going to create an issue. So, if you're going to not bag, you have to cut regularly. And that's going to mean something different for everyone. Sometimes, like in Utah I go, "That's actually every four days." In the spring, if I go a week because of the rain in the spring, my grass is like two inches taller. I mean, it gets way high.
So, you're going to cut every four days. But, again, the advantages are you're recycling nutrients and so you're saving time and work and even money as far as the bagging and your time. But you are out there more often. So, it's whatever you want to do. But, if you are going to mulch, just do it right. And the same thing goes for leaf mulching. I've talked about this in episode four. If you're saying "I want to utilize the nutrients in these leaves" you better have a great mower that can really grind things up and shoot it out. But don't let it shoot out too thick of a layer or it will suffocate and kill off the roots of the grass. A little bit at a time is awesome. And that's why I like the robot mowers, what they're doing, because they're cutting every day. They're always running around the property. Cut a tiny bit at a time so that can easily be recycled without causing future thatch build up, future insect problems, et cetera. Anyway, I hope this helps. Have a great day. See you.
Did you know you can fertilize your plants and lawn with fish guts?
In this episode I discuss how it works, what kind to get, what it is best for and some of the pros and cons of using fish as a fertilizer source.
Hey, what is up everyone, this is Ete with another episode of Eco Lawn Science. Today I want to talk about a new technology that is ancient. So I guess it's neither. It's something that the Native Americans did way back in the day and all kinds of Islanders have done. And what that is, they've used fish as a source of fertilizer for their crops. You know, for corn, indigenous people around the world have used fish to feed and add biology back into the soil. And so I want to talk a little bit about that cause there's been for the last 10, 15 years, fish fertilizers have been very popular in organic lawn care. It's been a minute since I've used them and we'll discuss why I stopped. But overall I liked the products. I love the concept. I love recycling and not wasting things.
So the way they make it usually is, you know, you go to some areas, like let's say, the one company I used to use is out of Boston, back on the East coast. And there was a fishery right there on the water. They'd bring the fish in, you know, they get the filets off and then you have all this leftover stuff, you know, the carcass, the bones, the scales, the skin that they...People don't eat those. Rather than waste them and just throw it away they realized that they could take these parts, the parts that are often wasted and basically recycle them. They, they kind of grind them down. And some, there's different processes of ways to make fish fertilizer and not all fish fertilizers are the same. And I want to say that in case I forget to come back to that point.
You need to understand the process is very important on how they're making the fish fertilizer. So what's cool is, yeah, instead of wasting all the bones, the scale and the skin, they're actually using it and they're putting it back into garden flower beds. You can use it on lawns and even some trees. And it's a really cool thing. Not only does it fertilize, but it actually helps, you know, feed some, some living material, right, some organic biology back into the soil. And a lot of them–there are a lot of brands selling fish fertilizer–a lot of them are OMRI listed, so they're fully organic. Just a lot of cool benefits of fish fertilizer. One of the things I love is that when you use on an all natural fish fertilizer, they're processed differently in the soil because they contain the nutrients that need to be digested by organisms like the bacteria, you know, the Soil Food Web things that we've talked about.
All this microbial activity actually enhances the strength and the vigor of the plants and that overall increases the amount of organic matter in the soil. So a little on the Soil Food Web, this is a great way to, to help it out and be part of it. It has, you know, it increases the soil fertility by providing these primary nutrients that these plants need to thrive. So just a really cool product. I like all that.
Again, there's all kinds of different brands, different types. You can get some at the Home Depot, the Alaska brand, it's like a 5-1-1, are the numbers on the label: great for annuals, vegetables, herbs, all these types of things. If you're going on a larger scale, it would be expensive to buy it that way. But they have a great product. I've used it and I like it. The one that I actually liked the most comes, is the one I was referring to. I think it's Boston. It's been a while since I've used it, but the product was called Neptune's Harvest or it is called Neptune's Harvest. And again, it's all, it's all natural. It's organic. And the numbers on the...It comes in these five gallon drum, little like buckets, and it has a 2-0-2, so 2% nitrogen. But again, you don't need the high nitrogen when you're working with organics because the way it's processed and broken down is eco-friendly. It has all these benefits and really cool. I really like the Neptune's Harvest. I liked their product, I liked the company, I liked their core values. So I like a lot of things about it.
The hard part for me and the reason I stopped using it is, there's a couple of reasons. One is, to do it on a large scale to all of our clients, it goes down heavy. You put down two gallons of this stuff per acre. So you know, you got one of these big tanks, a 200 gallon tank or so, and you're trying to put down the proper product and the square footage. I mean you could need, wow, a five gallon pail on one of those. They just got to go down heavy and you got to do it 2 or 3 times a year to see the benefits. So it definitely went down heavy, about 6 ounces per thousand, which that's not actually, that wasn't actually a big deal for me. We have products with similar rates. The other thing was just the smell.
So it definitely has a fishy smell. I think the best way to explain it is it's like, it's like you're down the shore, you know, it has that kind of smell. So for some people I know they liked it. You know, I had some clients in Park City, I remember sprayed it, they were from the East coast, like Jersey area. And I remember they were like, "I love it when you guys come in. Just reminds me of being on the beach." But for many it's just a foreign smell and they just can't get past it. So I had a lot of clients that just got stuck on the smell from the hydrolyzed fish and the seaweed that's in it. So that literally was the biggest thing that stopped me from using it consistently.
As far as pricing, they sell it 1, 5 five gallon, 55 gallons, 275 gallon totes, a five gallon pail or that little bucket of their 2-4-1 hydrolyzed fish fertilizer, which makes up to about 640 gallons. You get that for about 150 bucks. So if you do the numbers, it's definitely affordable in a good program.
Again, for me it was just the smell. I remember one time we were spraying and the wind came. I think it was one of my partners, Tim, was with me. We were up in Park City. It's a very windy area and it just washed it all over us. And I felt like I had fish guts on me, so I didn't love that. So in windy areas, maybe not so much, but in areas that are very calm or if you get up in the morning before the winds come and you apply it, it's not too bad. It just smells like you're down the shore. For some they won't, they won't be able to stand it. For some others they will. I know we actually had a couple of complaints from neighbors who said, "what are you guys applying?" So that was enough to shut it down. Now could you apply it with a masking agent? Yes, you could get a winter green oil, something like that, like a Hawkeye, I think it's called that Lesco makes and that could work just fine. But overall that was my big thing.
I love fish fertilizer. I love the recycling element. I'd love to find a way to get it back into my program. I think where it really shines is in the flower beds, garden plants, these type of areas. You know, it's organic, it's healthy, it's recycled, it's just a cool product. I love the concept. I think on a lawn care program it's not, it didn't work great as a standalone to give me that dark green lawn that the clients want. I think if you have a lawn that has a healthy soil food web and it's been fed for years with humates, organic products, compost teas, it would thrive off of this. But if you had a lawn that's been treated by synthetic nitrogens and chemical treatments and you just switched over to fish fertilizer, you're going to see a significant lack of color. The lawn's not going to be as green as the client wants because you've got to build up that biology in the soil over time and have a healthier food web. So if you do have that scenario, this product will work great on the lawns. So that's my take. Overall I love it. I think Neptune's Harvest is a great company.
The last thing I didn't mention is the shipping was hard and maybe that's changed cause I haven't used this for about 6 years. The shipping costs is hard for me here in Utah, but I'm sure if you're there in Boston or on the East coast or on the West coast by a plant that's making it, you can bring it in local, you're going to save a lot of money and it will be very affordable to use as a lawn care provider. Anyway. I hope that helps. If you're a homeowner and you want to put some on your, your gardens just go over to Home Depot or on Amazon, look up Alaska fish brand. They sell it to homeowners in a smaller, and you can also get Neptune's Harvest in smaller packs. But yeah, you can get that, apply it on your plants three times a year. It's awesome.
I hope you have a great day. See on the next episode.
I learned about this app in Hawaii. It turns litter clean up into a fun competition. It's great for kids and for everyone, and can be used anywhere with any amount of time that you have.
Hey, hey, what is up everyone? This is Ete with another episode of Eco Lawn Science. I am back from my trip to Oahu. I did a few interviews there. I hope you heard my last one with Spencer Ingley, BYU professor, ecologist, environmentalist, whatever you want to call him. He's the man and I love that episode. Today I want to share a quick tool that he actually shared with me after the interview that is so awesome that I just hope that everybody can go and download it because it's kind of a game changing tool in some ways. And what it is, it's an app called Clean Swell, C-L-E-A-N, swell, S-W-E-L-L. It's a free app and it's actually put on by the Ocean Conservancy, which was part of Spencer's trip to Antarctica. They worked with Airbnb. But this app is awesome. What they did is they gamified litter pickup and I looked at a few different apps that are doing this, but I liked this one the most.
I know they use this a lot in Hawaii and what they do is, so what my experience with it was on a Saturday in Hawaii, a lot of people, they do beach cleanups a lot because there's so much garbage that rolls up on their shores from all these countries around the ocean, around the world, and they use this app and people just show up. But the cool thing is you can use this app any day of the week anywhere you are. So if you have 10 minutes and you say, I want to make a difference or I want to do service or I want to give back, I don't care how much time you have or where you are, you open up your Clean Swell app and there's a home button, a history button, a profile button, and then what you do is you hit start collecting, you put your date and you put how many people are with you and then your type of cleanup.
So it could be a mountain cleanup, it could be a trail or a beach cleanup or a street, anything. And then it's cool. You hit start my collection and you literally pick up garbage. But what you do is it has a bunch of icons. So if you pick up, let's say pick up five straws, you tap the stroll icon five times. So there's icons for all the different types of garbage that you could pick up. And the reason that's important is we need to start, we need to track those things so that we could see, okay, first of all, what is the biggest litter that's happening here and what do we need to do to change it? So if we're finding a million straws and nothing else, all right, well we need to start looking at maybe some local companies that are, that are selling straws and figure out, okay, why are so many getting dumped in the street? Is there any way to educate people more or can we switch over?
And so the idea is you can kind of not only make a difference by removing litter and doing some good, you can do anytime you want with as many people as you want. You can do a service and give back and you can actually track the type of item so we can really see what is impacting whatever the area that you're, that you're working on. And maybe you can make a difference there. One of the fun things is if you go to the "my history", when you're done, it shows how many cleanups you've done, the time you've spent, the distance covered and the pounds of trash. So it's kind of like I said, they gamified it. I mean, I'm looking at this man, I want to get to a hundred pounds of trash. All right, I better get back out there.
I have a 9 year-old son and you know, if I want to teach him, hey, you know what, we got an hour today, let's go do some service and we don't have anything else that we're focused on that day. Maybe instead of, if there's no one around us that needs help, we can just go out and pick up and clean up the streets and in our own ways, we can all make a difference while having fun. Kids love that. You get badges, the more stuff you pick up, um, and it connects you, like Dr. Ingley was saying, with the environment, and it reminds you how important it is and it reminds you to put your, you know, use less and put your stuff away.
Anyway, that's all it is. Clean Swell. Get the app. Make a difference. And hope you enjoyed this little tip. Have a great day.
This is one of my favorite episodes!
I had the chance to interview Spencer at his office in beautiful Laie, Hawaii.
He recently returned from a trip to Antartica that was sponsored by AirBnB and the Ocean Conservancy. He was part of a small team of 5 (out of over 140k applicants around the world) that were sent to one of the most remote locations in the world to study micro-plastic pollution.
In this episode we discuss the state of the environment and what we can do to reverse some of the damage that we have caused. We also discuss how connected everyone on the earth is and how the things we do in our own backyard can impact others around the world.
The message that he shares is so important and this interview was very inspiring for me!