Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Frosty lawn path

Cool white blades.
Sure footing if you
Step on the blocks.
Icy tips of grass.
Lead me too,
The way is sure.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Weeds still dying in late October

Even though the weather is cooling down weed treatments are still worthwhile to apply.
Weed treatments in this day and age in Ontario are not as good as the lawn care customers or the lawn care companies would like them to be. But this is what is available and the best that can be done with permissible products.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Customers are the Rule

Happy Customers are the Rule

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mud Street Seeding

The city has had this median hydro seeded just this week. Hopefully this will grow well and be established by spring. During the spring this median is always a sea of yellow dandelion blooms

Monday, October 8, 2012

Oct 7/12 large garlic

7 x7 = 98 in a 4 x 8 bed

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Grubs dying from Nematodes

Found these Nematodes on a lawn today. Their legs were still moving for a while. Lawn was treated August 27th. It appears that it takes some time for Nematodes to do their work.

There were other areas on the same lawn where the grubs were a lot healthier.

Nematodes are just not as consistently effective as we would link them to be.

The other problem is that the raccoons and skunks will still dig in the lawn. In the area where the dying grubs were found there was still a bit of digging going on

Monday, August 20, 2012

Turf King Franchisee Summer BBQ

Celebrating 50 years of great lawn care customer service and healthy green lawns.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

50 year Anniversary Magazine Article

Turf King #Lawncare company marks 50 years in business - Turf & Recreation http://ht.ly/bTlN4

Mike JiggensLawn care company marks 50 years in business
Written by Mike Jiggens   
An Ontario lawn care company with franchises established throughout the province is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Turf King is headquartered in Barrie and has franchises serving areas of Ontario from as far north as Sudbury and North Bay, in the southwest to the Lake Huron and Georgian Bay areas, and in southern Ontario in the Hamilton and Haldimand regions.turfkingweb

The company’s roots were in the United States where it was previously called General Lawn Spray. It had maintained an office in Canada and billed itself at the time in the early 1960s as the largest lawn care company in the world.

The manager of the Canadian branch had originally lived and worked out of the Orillia-Barrie area. The parent company eventually figured there was no money to be made in Canada, and the Canadian office was sold to a businessman who hired a sod grower to become its manager and chief operator.

In 1986, Ken and Maureen Murray purchased the Turf King Barrie franchise and, four years later, he became owner and franchisor of Turf King, establishing his Barrie location as head office. Murray remains today as CEO of the company.

With a degree in agriculture at the time he joined the company, Murray said his knowledge of turfgrass was a little sketchy.

“I knew absolutely nothing about lawns so I learned from him (the former sod grower who served as previous owner) and used my degree to my advantage.”

Murray grasped lawn care in short order, ultimately teaching lawn care to professionals at Georgian College for 10 years.

Shortly after he bought out the Canadian head office of Turf King in 1990, he turned to his longtime friend Gerry Okimi for help in running the company. The two go back to their years as teenagers, having been roommates in school and serving as each other’s best man at their respective weddings. Their wives are also best friends with each other.

Okimi, whose background is in horticulture and who began in the industry working at his father’s garden centre in Mount Hope, became the franchisee of Turf King’s Hamilton operation in 1991.

“I knew Gerry’s background was considerably more suited for something like this,” Murray said, adding his friend is one of the smartest and most trustworthy people he’s ever met.

Murray said there are a number of reasons to explain Turf King’s success over the course of 50 years. For starters, he said the company is “a family-type operation.” Company meetings are held twice yearly, including an annual barbecue each summer.

“Everyone’s opinion is valued,” Murray said. “Even though it’s a franchise organization, we operate as one large team.”

In the event he encounters a problem, he said he can count on any one of his franchisees to lend a helping hand.
Another reason for Turf King’s success was its forward thinking toward alternate pest control products several years prior to the implementation of the Ontario cosmetic pesticide ban.

“We didn’t jump on the bandwagon for banning pesticides, but we explored every single alternative we could find along the way. We tried things long before they were acceptable.”

Turf King began experimenting with corn gluten meal long before it became an approved alternative product.
“We try to be innovative,” Okimi said.

Murray said he would approach his customers with ideas for controlling pests without the need for traditional products which have since become outlawed. He told his customers that if the alternative products didn’t work to their satisfaction, that he could revert to the tried and true conventional products still available at the time for use.
“Most of my customers were good with that idea,” he said. “They liked the idea of being avant garde.”

Those customers, he said, were integral in allowing the company to see which products were effective and which weren’t in advance of the ban.

Okimi said it is important for Turf King to be up front with its customers in the years since the implementation of the ban, letting them know that the products available for legal use don’t work quite the same as those banned. The customers are educated with an understanding of what Turf King is up against.

“You don’t want to lower their expectations, but let’s say manage their expectations,” Okimi said.

The company has lost some customers in recent years because the alternative pest control products aren’t working as effectively as 2,4-D and others which fell to the ban, and they are costlier than their predecessors. But other customers are coming back, he said, because they feel the newer products are sufficiently effective and aren’t as environmentally harsh.

Okimi said he has a healthy percentage of repeat customers, some of whom date back to his days about 30 years ago when he worked at Oriental Garden Gallery in Mount Hope (now called Mountain Garden Centre).

Turf King has introduced a 50th anniversary special this year to attract new customers.

Okimi, who supervises six technicians in a territory which covers Oakville to Beamsville to Haldimand, said he believes that, politically, it would be difficult for the ban to be repealed, but added it could one day be amended to include certain products taken away.

In the meantime, educating his customers is a priority.

“We try to educate them with their expectations,” he said. “I’d rather be a little more up front with people and say it will kill some and some will take several applications, and there’s probably some it won’t control.”

To Okimi, it’s a matter of treating customers the way he’d like to be treated. Among his customers within the Hamilton territory include seniors who are unable to tend to their lawns anymore themselves, high-end residential customers “who can afford not to do it anymore,” condominiums, commercial properties and sub-contracted work for landscape contractors.

Some franchises offer more or different services than others, but the Hamilton franchise specializes in strictly weed and insect control, fertility and deep root feeding. Other franchises may offer tree and shrub care in addition to basic lawn care services if a specialist in that field is among that franchise’s technicians.

Murray himself, in addition to his administrative responsibilities at company CEO, likes to get his hands dirty and does much of the field work himself for his own Barrie-area franchise.

Okimi said a good working relationship over the years with supply companies such as Nutrite has proven to be a success for Turf King. At Turf King’s request, Nutrite has done such custom blending as a fertilizer and grub control combination product to meet the customer’s needs prior the pesticide ban.

Murray said Nutrite “treated us like kings when we were more like paupers,” adding he suspects Turf King may now be among Nutrite’s largest customers.

The use of a good, high-quality fertilizer is “the backbone of your program and gives you a good, healthy lawn and gives you a good start,” Okimi said.

Hiring the right people is the key to a successful franchise, Okimi said, adding he has had good staff retention for the past four or five years. Some other lawn care companies will have crews of about three people at a job site, one of whom is the foreman. Turf King sends one technician to a job site. Okimi said he prefers to hire technicians who are knowledgeable in their trade, trustworthy, dependable and who can work independently.

Murray said the time has come to consider growing the company. Turf King currently has 10 franchises in Ontario, employing about 50 people. He said he purposely kept the number of franchises to a manageable level because he liked the collective family atmosphere it represented.

“But, in our business, if you don’t grow, you die,” he said. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Army worms on Lawns

Near York, Ontario

Gerry T Okimi
Turf King Hamilton Halton Haldimand
95 Hempstead Dr Unit 14, Hamilton ON L8W 2Y6
Website: www.turf-king.ca
 Email: hamilton@turf-king.ca
BLOG:  www.turfkinghamilton.blogspot.com
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/TurfKingHamilton
Signup for our newsletter http://on.fb.me/TK-signup

Army worm damge

Army worm eating at a lawn
Damage is about 30 ft in from the wheat field
Also noticed the grackles having a feast

More info from Pam Charbonneau at http://onturf.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/army-worms-invade-turf-in-ontario/#more-65

Gerry T Okimi
Turf King Hamilton Halton Haldimand
95 Hempstead Dr Unit 14, Hamilton ON L8W 2Y6
Website: www.turf-king.ca
 Email: hamilton@turf-king.ca
BLOG:  www.turfkinghamilton.blogspot.com
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/TurfKingHamilton
Signup for our newsletter http://on.fb.me/TK-signup

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cactus Patch in the Driveway

Just starting to bloom
Cactus shoes available to anyone who wants one

Friday, June 1, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Contoured Lawns

Perhaps this was intentional. You see the sports fields mown to show off the mowing patterns. Part of the aesthetic effect.

So, why not purposely give the lawn a mowing height design? A "mowscape" or a "mow style" or call it a "mow do."

Never know what fads may be around the bend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Green strip by hound

I noticed this strip of green grass along someone's lawn on a curved part of the street.
My guess is that this edge of the lawn has been fertilized by people walking their dogs.
The dog urine has left that small narrow strip much greener than the rest of the lawn.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Crowding out dandelions

In the same boulevard, I found another patch with few weeds. The grass here was greener and denser than the surrounding weed infested lawn.

My guess is that this is a patch of lawn that was fertilized by that some neighborhood dogs.

Crowding out weeds

I passed this small plaza where the lawn is wall to wall dandelions. In the midst of the sea of yellow, were some patches of green that had no dandelions.
I took a closer look- the patches of green are clumps of an thick bladed wild grass. Not a variety that most people would want on their front lawn.

The point though - is that this grass grows very dense. Dense enough that the dandelions were not able to grow where this grass is growing. This shows that having a healthier, thicker lawn is of value in keeping out weeds.

Build the Soil

Building up the soil.
Roots are the important part of the turf. The grass blades are what you see, they are what we enjoy. But if the roots are healthy, the top will be healthy.
And healthy roots depend on good soil conditions. Too often, new lawns are installed at new homes on very poor soil. The topsoil is stripped off, the foundations are dug. Then subsoil is moved around to grade the yards. There may be a little soil scattered under the sod. Often the soil has been trampled down by trucks and machinery, so that the soil is hard and compacted.

At a recent seminar, we learned that 3 things should be done to improve the lawn in these cases. (Although starting over is the best option, it may not be financially feasible)
1.  Aerate the lawn to help roots penetrate the hard packed soil beneath. Perhaps you've noticed the difference between dandelion roots and grass roots. Dandelion roots can penetrate pavement. Grass plants have fine textured roots that have a harder time breaking through hard soil.
2. Apply some phosphorous to the lawn. In established lawns, phosphorous is rarely needed. Once phosphorous is applied, it does not leach away. Established soils typically have good phosphorous levels. Root development is spurred by adequate phosphorous levels.
3. Increase the microbial population. Subsoils are devoid of all the bacteria that normally inhabit a healthy soil. The microbes need organic matter to be able to thrive. Adding organic matter is the best way to help establish a healthy microbial population. Organic matter can be added by topdressing with black soil, peat moss or by using composted dry materials such as our Top 'OM application.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dandy "Lying"

New reality - dandelions in bloom everywhere

Friday, April 13, 2012

Comparison Photos

Visited our son yesterday, (he has a program with Turf King)
The neighbour has another company. I know I have see their sign several times when I drop in to see the grandchildren. So it is not as if they have not had any lawn care services.

Yes, I'll get after him to trim a little nicer, but the colour is so much superior when you use a good fertilizer product, applied professionally and properly. 
I'd say the dogs have done a better job of greening up the other lawn than their lawn care company.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

LeatherJacket Damage to Lawns in March

Found a lawn with much Leatherjacket damage. Often the damage is more from the animals digging for a midnight snack than it is from the feeding due to the leatherjackets.

Severe damage can occur, but it's been a while since we've seen one as bad as this.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lawn and Order

Marketplace’ wants ‘Lawn Order’

Tom Harrington of Marketplace.

That old song Green, Green Grass of Home didn't say anything about aggressive lawn-care companies that just won't take no for an answer.

But as shown in this week's edition of Marketplace, which airs Fridays on CBC, there is at least one large lawn-care company in Canada that will stop at virtually nothing to get your business, no matter how unwilling a client you are.

As we inch toward spring, Canadians have become accustomed to being visited door-to-door by various lawn-care firms, or getting phone calls from telemarketers, or at least being buried by flyers and pamphlets. You virtually can set your watch by their arrival every year.

But using hidden-camera footage, taped phone conversations and an interview with an insider who worked for this particular lawn-care company, Marketplace's Tom Harrington examines some of the alarming tactics being utilized -- vague arrangements of "continuous service," illegal verbal contracts, collection agencies, trashed credit ratings -- to "encourage" you to just throw up your hands and pay.

It seems like this is one company that could use some "Lawn Order." All right, bad pun, but you get the idea.

See also CBC Marketplace- to see CBC's preview

see Our Website www.lawncarehamilton.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Which program should I choose?

Hello Gerry:

I am interested in going with your company.

I like the fact it appears if you have a problem or a question is there usually someone that can answer within a day or two.

This was my main beef with the current company I have. No one was ever there or for that matter cared  and since I am fairly new to all of this believe me, I was not impressed
I am trying to compare your program with what I have now, 

What would be the best thing to do from here.  I was hoping I could get a discount for prepaying or any others I may qualify for.

Thank you, looking forward to hearing from you 

Hi Judy
Sometimes doing the same program as before is okay if that program is what you need.

Sometimes it may be helpful to start from square one to figure out what your needs in fact are.

Most people want a healthy, green lawn-> fertilization. We find it costs the same time for our guys to spread high quality fertilizer as it does to spread mediocre quality fertilizer. Our 3 fertilizer program is equivalent to many other 4 fertilizer programs. 

Most people prefer to not have too many weeds- so at least a couple of spot weed treatments if the lawn is in reasonable shape. Blanket treatments may be necessary if the lawn has been neglected and is very weedy.

You mentioned grub treatment. You may have had a problem in the past. No one can predict if the adult beetles will lay eggs on your lawn this year or not. Certain areas of the city are often more likely to get grubs than other areas. Areas with high grub populations are likely to have more adults that will lay eggs in the summer. 

Some people feel more comfortable, knowing that they have done something to reduce the risk of grub damage. Organic nematodes are not as effective as Merit (the product now banned that was less poisonous than table salt.)

Your neighbour, Bob says he has a problem with crabgrass. This is usually a problem in sunny areas, especially along the edges. An organic crabgrass preventer can be applied. It is about 50% effective. That sounds not bad, but in August the 50% that may come up can look 100% terrible. Because of this it is important to look at other cultural methods to reduce the risk of crabgrass. Mowing higher, re-adjusting the lawn levels along the edges, and seeding to increase lawn density in crabgrass-risky areas may be needed as well.

A prepayment discount is always available to new customers, the paying of which we appreciate but target is not fixed until we figure out what you need.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Violets & Flowering Kale

Color in Atlanta

Mushrooms in the lawn

This is an enquiry email via http://www.hamiltonturfking.ca/ from: Lana 

Hello we bought a home four years ago and had a stump removed. Last summer mushrooms started to appear. Do you treat lawns for this?

Thank you
Hi Lana
Thanks for your enquiry.
The mushrooms in your lawn are most likely due to various wood decaying fungi that are decomposing the wood fibres in the roots of the tree/stump that was removed. It is likely that even if you removed the stump, that there are still a lot of roots beneath the surface.
The mushrooms are not damaging to the lawn. They will not harm it. In fact, as they break down the roots they will add valuable humus and organic matter to the soil. 

The mushrooms will often appear during rainy weather and damp conditions as this is when the reproductive spores are formed and sent off to find new homes. 
If the appearance of the mushrooms bothers you, I normally recommend (to golfers, at least) that a  5 Iron does a good job of removing them. They do normally disappear after a few days.
There is no way to prevent their appearance without removal of the roots that they are decomposing. Any treatments otherwise are not available. I do remember that there used  to be a product for mushrooms 40 years ago, but it seems to me it contained mercury and this would not be a very environmentally friendly product.

Monday, January 30, 2012

But Green is Coming

Even though the lawns are mostly dormant in Atlanta, some sprigs of grass are just starting to show signs of greening up.

Atlanta Georgia January Lawns

Lawns in Atlanta are still quite brown at this time of year. Even snow is very rare here, the lawns go quite dormant in winter.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Sod

new post

Healthier, Greener Lawns www.lawncarehamilton.com

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