Beware of Lawn Care Company Scare Tactics

Once again, we are hearing from clients who state that their nationwide lawn care companies, whom will remain nameless, have left information that their property is under major attack from multitudes of insect and fungal issues. This scare tactic has been going on for years and most of you may have already experienced it.

To generate new sales, major national lawn care companies pay ‘bonuses’ to their lawn care employees who take the time to leave a supposed ‘property evaluation’ detailing all kinds of insect and fungal infestations supposedly spotted on their client’s trees and shrubs. Whether these employees know the names of certain insects and funguses given to them by these companies or not, what we find repeatedly is that what these companies say they see on your trees has nothing to do with these mentioned insects or funguses.

Many natural, environmentally related circumstances cause unavoidable leaf issues. Almost every residential property has trees or shrubs with Winter Burn or Summer Leaf Scorch, which is attributed to some unseen insect or fungus by companies who operate this way.

If you have received a notification like this, and wish to pursue it, we ask that you set up an appointment for their representative to meet you at your property. Tell them that a Tree Green representative will also be there to meet both of you, on a day and time of their choosing. We will discuss these purported issues and then you can decide what you want to do from there. We guarantee you that they will have some reason to avoid this.

The point is, if their lawn care people really knew and understood complex tree and shrub issues, they themselves would be treating trees and shrubs for those companies, not treating lawns. We don’t want to come off as bashing the competition, as we know that is not a good business practice.  But these tactics cause us so much aggravation, and so much wasted time answering questions from nervous clients, that we feel the need to call these companies out on this deceptive practice.

An Odor-Free Insecticide Spray

We have an exciting development for the Fall of 2015 and beyond. We think you will find this very interesting! We now offer a new ODOR FREE product for insecticide tree spraying applications!

In the past we would receive occasional phone calls from clients who didn’t like the odor associated with one of the products that we use for certain spray applications. We understood the complaints as we didn’t like the smell either, but we used the product because quite simply, it was by far the best product that we ever used. It got the job done. It was a very broad spectrum product that killed a plethora of insects with excellent systemic residual value; meaning its effectiveness lasted for weeks. We also knew through prior testing of the old product, that even if it rained just 20 minutes after we sprayed it onto a tree, the rain would not matter. The spray was embedded into the leaf and would do its job.

Recently however, we heard about another product that our supplier said was even better.

Since we never rely on or use a product that we haven’t personally tested ourselves, we set out to do just that. This is how we test…..

We took a Linden tree (the Japanese Beetle’s favorite target) and sprayed half of it with the old product and half with the new product. We let the tree dry and clipped off a small branch with 3 leaves attached from each side of the tree and placed them into separate glass ‘bug aquariums’. Then, we drove to an area that was being hard hit with Japanese Beetles (the toughest insect there is to control with spraying applications) and placed 9 healthy beetles in each aquarium.

Within 2 hours all the beetles in the aquarium with the new product were on the bottom, dying. It took 4 hours for the beetles on the old product to fall to the bottom but either way, no leaf damage. So far so good. We continued this process every day for 28 days. Both products continued to perform but it was evident at the 21 day mark the old product began to fall off on its effectiveness where the new product was still working great. It took 28 days for the new product to begin to lose effectiveness. The leaves showed a little more feeding damage than in the previous days so we knew that ‘most likely’ the new product was as good as claimed.

Most likely you ask? Yes. There was one more test to do before we were sure. How would this new product hold up to rain? Would it retain its effectiveness if it were to rain soon after an application?

We sprayed another tree with the new product and clipped off one of the treated branches. We waited just 15 minutes for the spray to dry. Then we actually submerged the branch into a bucket of clean water and vigorously swished it around (under water) for 5 minutes which is way more water than a tree would ever see during any rain storm. We let the leaves dry again and put them into another bug aquarium with 9 healthy Japanese Beetles. Unbelievably in less than 2 hours the beetles were on the bottom dying with no leaf damage. The tiny bites they took off of one side of the leaf, that were barely noticeable, was enough to make them stop feeding and to kill them.

We kept that branch alive by submerging the cut end in a jar of water within the tank and kept introducing fresh beetles every day for the next week. The new insecticide didn’t miss a beat. Every day all the beetles were dying on the bottom within 2 hours. We knew what we needed to know; that this product was even better than the old product and all with no odor. What a nice find!

It is important to note that all products labeled for residential use are tested and monitored by the Department of Agriculture and EPA. Products of the past like DDT aren’t made any longer, and rightfully so. The product formulations available today are deadly to tiny insects, but safe in their tank mixed form for people, pets and wildlife. It is also important to note that the sprays that we use on trees and shrubs are actually safer and less toxic than store bought spray cans of ant, termite and spider products that folks use inside their homes when necessary.

One might ask… why doesn’t every company use top quality products such as those used by us? Because of the cost. Most other companies compete in the industry by offering low pricing. To achieve that they have to use the most inexpensive products available, products that might kill on contact but basically lose their effectiveness in two days. To get great results you need the products that provide them.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Appalling News Story About Ghosting

Perhaps you saw a news report on Friday August 14th about lawn care companies discussing something that they referred to as “Ghosting”. “Ghosting” is a term used by lawn care companies to describe workers who show up at a client’s home, knock on the door to see if anyone answers, drop off a bill, put a flag in the yard indicating their work was performed, and then drive off without performing services. This report was appalling to us! What we really hated was the fact that it could put some measure of doubt into our clients’ minds as we often are at homes when homeowners are not there.

Allow us to give you three reasons why this would never happen with a Tree Green representative.

First and foremost – we are honest and ethical. We work really hard at gaining your trust and we want to keep it. One accusation like this could destroy a company and rightfully so!

Second – we never knock on a client’s door to ascertain whether or not they are home unless we have a circumstance where we need a dog to be let in, a window to be closed or a car moved to avoid water spotting or some similar situation. We have always told our service technicians not to knock on doors. Why? We have clients who work night shifts. We have clients with sleeping babies. We have clients with home offices who are busy. We have clients who are ill or recovering from medical procedures. Quite simply, there are a lot of reasons to not knock on the door or ring the doorbell. When our workers are on your property they always do the assigned work efficiently, whether you are home watching from a window or not.

Third – We feel we have the most professional, intelligent work force anywhere in the tree industry. Why is that? Of our 32 “in the field” applicators, 31 of them are full-time police officers and firemen working part-time for extra income for their families.

Why do we have that type of work force you might ask? It is because we are seasonal. We can only treat trees eight months of the year. In the winter there is plenty of work for our office staff to do, but there is literally no work for our field applicators. As you might imagine it is a real drain on a business having workers on the payroll all winter long when there is absolutely no work to do. As a result, our field applicators have the winter off from their part time jobs with Tree Green and are raring to go when the season starts up again in March.

We realized over 35 years ago that training intelligent, friendly, people-oriented officers and firemen to become part-time Arborists was the way to go. We spend several years training our Arborists in the field and then, when we know they are fully knowledgeable and ready, they are tested by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to become licensed applicators. To us it was an ingenious solution for our company and also for our clients.

So the point is, Tree Green workers are responsible, honest and ethical people. They would never even consider leaving an invoice for work not done properly.

To us here at Tree Green, the behavior shown by tree and lawn care providers on ABC News is no different than stealing. It is flat out theft of someone’s money and should be punishable to the full extent of the law, and hopefully will be.