One of the first things I noticed when Jenny and I moved to Colorado was the amazing weather. However, from time to time along the Front Range, the weather changes abruptly. When you run a service business that works specifically outdoors, you really depend on the co-operation of mother nature, and you learn to live with some variability in the weather, especially in the bookends of our season. Spring and Fall are always the most volatile in Northern Colorado. We can see 80 degrees one day and a Bomb Cyclone the next.
One of the questions we frequently get asked is “why the wind”? The question is often time asked after we have to reschedule part or all of a route due to high wind speeds. This decision has less to do with preference and more to do with legality and prudence. Therefore, I want to take a moment and address this issue in three succinct points. The Label is the Law, environmental stewardship, and professionalism.
- The Label is the Law
When I first started in the Green Industry I was taught importance of complying with the product label from day one. All pesticides whether naturally derived or synthetic go through rigorous testing and research that costs millions of dollars and takes anywhere from 3-5 years in order to get an approved “Label” from the EPA. For a commercial applicator, this label is also a legally binding document. To use a product in a manner that is inconsistent with the approved EPA label is actually a federal offense and is regulated and enforced by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
So, what does that have to do with the wind? Well everything! Almost all aspects of where and how a pesticide is allowed to be used is spelled out on the product label, and that also includes things like but not limited to “WIND SPEED”. For example look below at an excerpt from one of our cool season broadleaf herbicides:
2. Environmental Stewardship
Jenny and I insisted on building our business model around stewardship and sustainability. As an applicator I consider myself and EcoTurf to be gatekeepers of what goes into the lawns and soils in our community. We spend hours scrutinizing the selection and rotation of all our products to avoid building up resistance, and to maximize soil and turf quality. The last thing we want to have happen is to apply any product “off-target”. In high wind situations, it is next to impossible for even the most experienced and well-intentioned applicator to hit the target with the application.
Off-target applications are things such as ornamental beds, fences and siding, sidewalks and driveways, and drifting into the neighbor’s property – also known as chemical trespassing. We have all seen maintenance companies who take care of the green belt and common areas of our local HOA’s, who leave fertilizer granules in the road, sidewalk or drain pans, all that material unfortunately finds its ways into our watersheds. This is not environmental stewardship. Making applications during excessive winds only increases this risk and issue.
Professionalism pulls the first two points together and makes it a total package.
We painstakingly source our products from the highest quality materials and reputable distributors. We study all our labels to understand when where and how to make the most of each pesticide should we decide to use one, while remaining inside the confines of the regulations. We custom mix our blends meticulously based on soil tests, and Colorado’s unique high plains atmosphere. Our emphasis is on nourishing the soil and the plant in order to establish a lush green weed free lawn that will maximize irrigation water and is ultimately sustainable. The last thing we want to do is cast all our carefully selected products into the wind!