We’re going to go ahead and discover why most people are having trouble getting disease control or why others aren’t giving control at all. Let’s look at this. We have to look at the science. This is purely about
science and facts. There are two things in the pest control marketplace science, facts and marketing. And the problem is that most people are given to marketing and believing what they read versus doing the actual reading about what the pesticide product really does. Now let’s take a look at this.
What do we need to have a disease in a garden.
We need three things. Basically you need the plant to be
present. You also need the host of the pathogen that attacks to host the plant
that’s present to be there and then you need an environmental trigger that
causes the disease to become active. But the disease is already there.
This happens in two different methods. One of them is what
is known as a soil borne disease meaning the disease is always in the soil. It
is always present. You can’t inoculate it and you can’t eradicate it. It’s
always there. It’s always going to be there.
The way you have to think about this is a disease that when
the right triggers happen it becomes alive. But it’s always there. So there is
no such thing as anybody who is going to eradicate them. All right. So what do
we got to look at. Now we have three things that needed for the plant. And
there’s two things the soil borne and the disease becomes either active or
inactive. All right.
So now we’ve got to look at understanding what type of
control can you get.
And there is two things that you need to understand that are
technical terms but there are also legal terms and that is control and
suppression and you might be thinking for yourself. I don’t want to get
suppression. I want to get control for my client. The client is thinking I
didn’t hire you to suppress it or to bring it down or reduce it. I hired you to
control it. And the reality is that in some cases you will have no choice but
to only offer suppression. We’re going to discuss what are the things that
causes us to not get control.
Well the number one thing is cultural practice.
What is cultural practice. It is your mowing your mowing
height mowing frequency is the mowing with a sharp blade. Does the person doing
the mowing understand how to properly treat that machine to prevent it from
spreading a disease to other gardens and then also irrigation.
Are you irrigating at the right amount at the right time of
day and in the right frequency to not cause the disease to see the wrong mowing
waiting too long is gonna help get disease cutting that lawn to short is going
to cause it to get a disease because they get stressed it makes it more
susceptible. And if you don’t have a sharp blade and you’re shredding the lawn
Well it makes it more susceptible if the disease is present.
What we talk about in professional pest control is professional integrated pest management without integrated pest management. We can’t do our job. Think of it this way. You go to your doctor and you tell your doctor tells you you’ve got diabetes. Well you’re eating fast food out. You’ve got a sedentary
lifestyle. You’re not exercising and
you’re eating sweets.
Doctor says you need to give up the sweets you need to start
exercising and you need to get on these pills without you doing the other to
your diabetes is never going to get under control. Same thing with the
pathogen. Same thing with an infection without doing the right things. You
don’t get the control you expect. Here’s the worst part.
You now hired a company or you sold a contract for a quarterly pest control service.
Well the reality is that you can’t control diseases on a
quarterly service program and we’re going to find out why with scientific fact
of why it can’t be done. Number two is most companies that are selling pest
control are used to selling insect pest control insects are one thing lawn
You know mosquito lawn spraying for fleas ticks for ants is
one thing when you get into pest control for Lawn and Ornamental. You have five disciplines that you need You need to
understand the plant.
You need to understand the pathogen you need to understand
the insect that attacks that plant. You understand the nutrition and then you
have to understand the agronomy. What is your soil like. You have to learn five
things more than if you’re doing just insect control. So if you are a customer
asking your pest control guy who doesn’t have experience in doing lawn or
ornamental to get into it it’s not his expertise.
Second of all if you are an expert in lawn ornamental and you’re selling a contract that
is 90 days How are you going to get control in between. And that’s the problem
you see. OK. So let’s look at the science here.
This is a four hundred and thirty one page manual that tells
every chemical manufacturer what they must produce in order to register any
pesticide any chemical in any product in the US. And this is what they go by.
And this is what they can claim based upon these standards.
So what I want to show you is what it takes to get you the
control that you think you need. It says down here you look at Part B down here
at the page for claims that a product controls or prevents plant disease or
nematode past the product should generally provide under moderate to severe
pest pressure at least 70 percent control of the pest organism.
Now you’re saying to yourself I don’t want 70 percent
control I want 100 I want at least ninety five but not 70. Well the reality is
that all the product has to prove to say control or prevents is 70 percent. So
you’re going to get 70 percent at least. Or more or prevention of pest control
with any particular product that claims it controls pests.
So when the customer goes to the big box store and looks at
a chemical product and it says that it controls 50 pests or it controls 50
diseases yes it does.
However how much control they’re going to get. That’s
another matter let’s look at suppression part see under certain circumstances a
level of effectiveness less than that which is considered optimum or complete
may be claimed and be appropriate lesser claims such as aids in control or
suppresses may be made if less than 70 percent control of the plant disease or
nematode is obtained stop because this is not what I signed up for is what
you’re saying and I’m telling you that in some cases that is the best you’re
going to be able to do.
The customer that is the best you’re gonna be able to get
there is no way to do it and it has to be based upon what is on the label. So
let’s take a look at the label let’s take a look first at a disease so we
understand it. And here we have what is known as brown patch disease.
let’s look at what causes brown patch disease rhizoctonia solani
Now this article is in the University of Florida. I’ve his
extension probably one of the best entomology programs in the country and this
is written by Monica Elliot who I actually know is one of the premier
pathologists and especially when it comes to plant and palm pathology if you’ve
ever taken the palm course by Monica Elliot you will be a palm expert because
she only gives this course about once a year it’s a two day course that they give
in Broward at the Broward Community College and she teaches that course and it
is an amazing course.
It’s two days by the way but we’re looking at rhizoctonia
solani. OK. This is the pathogen that rhizoctonia solani or what is known as
brown patch. OK now turf grass affected all warm season turf grasses all turf
grasses that are in the south of the United States are what is known as warm
season turf grasses as specialty St. Augustine grass and zoysia grass can be affected.
Now in Florida night especially in Miami Dade. Ninety five
percent of all the lawns that are installed are St. Augustine lawn whether it’s
Palmetto or Floratam.
There’s other species but those are the two most common.
Very few people have zoysia and much less people have lawns like Bermuda or seashore
paspalum. OK. They’re almost nonexistent. Very few people have it because
they’re very expensive to maintain. And those are known as turfs.
So now what makes the fungus occurrence.
It’s very simple it’s right here the disease is most likely
to be observed November through May when temperatures are below 80 degrees. Now
you’re in Florida. Think for a minute. You’re in Florida. We have three almost
four USDA zones in South Florida.
We don’t get frost in Miami but you do get it in northern
and central Florida. So you have temperature variances if you’re in Texas you
have temperature variance in Texas also that are different than what we have
here in Florida.
Ok. So now when the temperatures go below 80 degrees you
will start having these fungal problems. But remember you have to have the
pathogen there and a customer may say I’ve I’ve lived in this home for 14 years
and I’ve never had this. Well now you do. And now you own it because it’s going
to be there forever and every year from now on that this happens these triggers
happen. You will get that disease. Now it’s permanent.
It is normally not observed in the summer months. Right here
OK. Not observed in the summer months you get other summer diseases but not
this one we have diseases in all four seasons infected. Infection is triggered
by rainfall look over here by rainfall. Excessive aggregation or extended
periods of high humidity resulting in the leaves being continuously wet for 48
hours or more.
Stop your irrigating at night which you shouldn’t be.
Your watering your lawn manually at night you shouldn’t be.
You’re going to have a problem if the temperature drops below 80 degrees and
triggers the pathogen. It makes me if you get rainfall and it rains all night
and then you have overcast the entire day where it didn’t burn off and
everything stayed moist.
You’re gonna have a disease. So this is the result of what
we have things that are out of our control that we can’t predict nor can we
plan for there no contingency for this.
All right. So now you’re looking at the disease here and you
have what is known as the necrotic ring around the outer side of this disease inside.
The disease has already taken effect and it has killed the lawn whatever it’s
going to kill it’s keep spreading outward this way and then eventually these
touch and you get a big giant patch because they all join together. This is
what is known as brown patch and also similar to large patch disease.
Now here’s what happens you get a mis diagnosis you think
you have Chinchbug your landscaper says you have Chinch bug, Well these are the
signs to know that this turns orange because the disease is progressing and
it’s killing it and it’s moving outward.
If you put an insecticide and you have a disease, you’re
never gonna get control. A misdiagnosis on the disease you also have to know
what the disease looks like to know if it’s even on the label of what you’re
trying to control.
So without knowing rhizoctonia salani or salani you have no
idea. All right so let’s take a look at a chemical label. All right this
chemical label is what’s registered with the EPA. All right.
This is what it looks like when they register this fungicide product with the EPA.
They submitted the label because of the testing it went through and the EPA approves it for what it is intended to do. There are a couple of things on the label that everyone needs
to know Whether you’re a homeowner or whether you’re a professional.
And that is this it is a violation of federal law to use this product in a
manner inconsistent with the labelling.
This label has twenty three pages look up here twenty three
pages. If you have no idea what it says that you have to wear personal
protection equipment that you have to wear gloves that you have to wear
respirator that you have to wear a body suit in some cases.
How do you know you’re not violating federal law. That is the
problem. You can buy products. People are buying products whether in the store
over the counter or even online now and not knowing that they are violating the
law by mis applying.
Well who’s going to know. Well the question is what if
something happens. The second thing is if you’re a professional and something happens,
and you violated anything on this label you can come out on state charges
federal charges fines and even imprisonment.
That is the fact. And this is why it’s so important that
people get the training if you’ve never gotten training if you’ve never taken CEU
classes if you’ve never sat in an eight-hour course on how to properly apply a
pesticide you could cause damage to yourself or other people.
And so what we’re looking at is the label that this is what
the label says and this is why we can’t make more applications more often or
high where we want to because the label says not to. Let’s take a look at rhizoctonia
so which causes two diseases it causes right here. Zoysia patch disease and
large brown patch disease it says.
And here’s what I’m reading over here. Apply the disease
when it first appears. OK. Let’s stop let’s look at commercial let’s look at
commercial application and a homeowner application if you are running a business
and you have one hundred and fifty clients and you’re doing six to 10 clients a
day that you’re servicing and you’re doing maybe then 50 a week OK so maybe you
can do two hundred a month.
How do you know on two hundred clients if they have a
disease on their line you can’t? That’s the reality. The client cannot expect
you to know that you have a disease because you’re not there.
They are there and the landscaper is there every two weeks and they are the ones that are responsible for informing you that there is a disease problem on the lawn because what the customer signs up for is a quarterly service program and then expects you not to or expects not to have any diseases on the lawn or any problems because they hired you and it can’t be done. The science doesn’t support the marketing and continue on 14
In other words you have to continue applying it when the
disease is present to control it every 14 days. And I know what everybody’s
thinking. Well they just wrote that in there because they just want to sell you
No because it had to go through testing to prove that that’s
what it controls. And the legal amount that you’re allowed to apply by the EPA
is based upon that which is two to four ounces let’s say of this product per
thousand square feet.
If it is an ounce pesticide product that’s the legal limit. You can’t go above it.
Now it also says hey rotation and tank mix. So you have to
rotated with other chemicals you can’t use the same one all the time because
you’ll get resistance and you have to combine it with a product like Mancoseb in
order to get the control for 14 that you can’t use it by itself.
When you start talking about buying fungicides and and
having three to four fungicides on a truck that’s easily a thousand dollars
worth of chemical the customer goes and says well why can’t you make more
I need you to make another application. The reality is it is
very costly and when most people this is why I said at the beginning most
people do not include it in their contract because it can’t be done.
So fungal applications are usually at an additional cost per
application that is needed to get the control that the customer wants let’s
look at another label say what granules are way better.
Well let’s take a look at granular risrhizoctonia solani with
a granular a 2 to 4 pounds let’s say and right up here says two to four pounds
per thousand make one or two applications fall when conditions are favorable
for disease development every 14 to 28 days you’re going gonna get up to 28
days now but that’s not guaranteed.
It’s between 14 and 28 days 14 to 28 days so we look at
another product we look at a product named Eagle OK. So you’re rotating between
products. While Eagle says the same thing one to two point ounces one point two
ounces per 1000 14 day intervals. It must be applied with another product like
for being application conditions are favorable. Now what is a favorable
condition meaning you have to make it OK. When that temperature drops.
So you literally have to either put all your clients on a to
prevent the disease on a four day party a 14 day program and charge him every
14 days for the entire winter season to get this control or you’re still going
to have a ton of outbreaks.
That’s the reality now in Suffolk County New York. There is
a special label right here that you have to follow this so their label
restrictions that we have to follow and we can’t violate them. Let’s look at
suppression. Well I don’t want to pay for suppression. I want to pay for
All right so I’ll take all patch we take this out of here so
you can see a 23 page label that you have to memorize as a pest control
professional and let’s say you have 20 labels.
Can you imagine how much knowledge you have to have in your
head to do this job let’s look at this take all patch apply mid-July when the
disease symptoms first appear and repeat 14 day intervals for suppression you
can’t control take all patch it’s less than 70 percent. Remember I told you it
tells you right there nobody is deceiving anybody. No manufacturer is not
The problem is you don’t have the knowledge because you have
to read the label and you have to know and take a course to understand what it
is that you’re doing. And so many landscapers are out there applying pest
control for their clients doing applications of fungus because they can buy it
over the counter.
They can buy it at the big box store not knowing what
they’re doing because they don’t know this. And the client doesn’t know the
danger they’re in because a person who is unauthorized unlicensed it takes.
Look guys it takes to take a test to be able to do this is in Florida. It’s three years of experience six to eight hours of examination and you prepare for three months. That’s how difficult it is to learn to do some of these
things. And we do it over and over.
So understanding the science versus the marketing versus the
unrealistic expectations versus the hope and pray you have to follow the label
you have to follow the science you have to do what is right both for the client
and help the client understand this.