mo blo 'n go extermination

inkognitoMay 19, 2006

Gardening hey? anyone can do it, you get a cheap lawn mower and a truck of the same value and you are off and running. But that's not gardening I here you pro's saying. Well, apparantly a lot of people prepared to pay money think it is. Knowledge is not even in the picture because anyone can do it so if it doesn't cost much why pay more? Every so often the total ignorance of the people who employ idiots upsets me almost as much as the idiots. We laid 670 sq ft of sod as a small part of a makeover, I roll and cut at 10 days as part of the service. 5 days in, the rain is teaming down (it has rained for 8 days straight so I don't have to explain the condition of this new grass). The freaking bozzo who cuts the grass on the rest of the property ran his Sears special over the new stuff (being kind I would say that he is blind)lifting the sod up to be churned as if in a food mixer did not deter him. Anyway enough ranting, how can we exterminate these people?

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creatrix(z7 VA)

I sell 'fine gardening'- weeding, deadheading, plant monitoring and first aid (cultural practice- I don't do chemicals at this point), light pruning and some planting. I don't want to mow or blow leaves. I want someone else to offer that service. I also kinda like them not knowing too much- else they could do my job for less and I'd have to return to the previous career. Not a happy thought.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 9:06PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Which then leads on to the idea that it is yet another realm where the status quo exists because of what all participants are willing and not willing to do. I know a career mow blow n go who works by himself because the kids he hires can't keep up with him. Currently he is working 7 days per week, at 61 years of age. While he does do occasional landscape installations, the bulk of his activity is mowing, shearing and spraying herbicides. Because he has been willing and able to spend his career doing this 'modern' landscape maintenance work, he has been able to have a career. He knows perfectly well how to prune correctly and so on--in fact he also teaches at a local community college--but he has met the market by providing what he does.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 11:19PM
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gardengal48

I'm not sure they can - or even should be - exterminated. They do fill a need, as is obvious by the number of these operations that abound. And while it is a noble undertaking to attempt to educate the gardening public that 'quality' landscape operations involve superior knowledge as well as more refined care techniques and possibly even a sensitivity to the environment, IMO most of it is going to fall on deaf ears. In many cases, the M,B&G operations do an adequate job at a reasonable rate and, truth be told, it doesn't require any particular skill to operate power equipment. The problem is when they ooze into other areas that do require more specific skills and experience. Hey! I can make money running a lawn mower - look how much more I can make if sell them on pruning, planting or garden design!! The non-gardening public that tends to employ these bozos don't realize that there is more involved to all of these other activities than simply owning a mower and pickup provides.

I do believe there is room in the industry for both skilled and non-skilled practitioners. There are herds of homeowners in my area that feel that meatball sheared shrubs, topped trees and M,B&G/Chem-Lawn type lawn care is the only way to go. And there are just as many others that cringe when they see those pickups descend on the neighborhood. The challenge is keeping the two camps apart. I would think that including a clause in your contract that negates any warranty or guarantee of services if these type of businesses are used within a designated time frame would go a long way in easing your frustration. So the new sod has been churned up like it went through a blender - who is responsible for replacement? Certainly not you if they did not follow your care instructions. Going to the expense of replacing and laying new sod should have a major impact on how likely these folks are to try this cut-rate service again.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 10:04AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>IMO most of it is going to fall on deaf earsToo much exposure to blowers?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 10:31AM
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dabprop(z6 PA)

It looks they will be exterminated soon if Scott's has their way.Their genectically engineered grass sitting in greenhouses now that does not grow much and is weed/disease resistant will be here very soon.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 1:44PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Creatrix,
If the "mo-blo-go" guys learned how to prune and do horticultural Rx as well as you, they would no longer be "mo-blo-go" guys, but real horticulturists. Then you'd just have to deal with healthy competition like all other businesses do.

My objection is when unskilled "mo-blo-go" types claim to do those horticulture things, but don't have the knowledge or hands-on experience to do it. They are scamming customers away from the professionals who do have the skills.

I agree that there is a need for people who just mow and leaf-blow, rake and do the quick cosmetics. They should be able to ply that trade freely. They should not, though, tread outside their skill bailywick and fake having horticultural skills, just to gain a base of unknowing customers who should be hiring you for their remedial hort needs.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 6:13PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I see it differently. I see mo-blow-go as providing what the market wants. Those comparative few who want more will seek out those who provide it. Even then, when answering the call one may often find that what the customer thought was "correct" pruning (or whatever) was the same approach as they could have gotten from a Yard Man.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 6:56PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

You have a good point, bboy. The mow/blow businesses didn't create the demand; it was the lawnowners who wanted someone to do their yardwork for them.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 8:57PM
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miss_rumphius_rules(z6 NJ)

Ink's not even talking about overlap. He's talking about ignorance. What I would really like to know about this story is who did the client hold accountable?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 6:26AM
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inkognito

Good point Miss R. When I first discovered this mess I reported to the owner and he said that he would get the guy to repair it, 'magine that! Whenever I install a garden I always insist that these people (who are seen as 'gardeners') keep away from it, if they touch anything then all guarantees are void. This particular client is totally clueless about gardening and is therefore open to abuse, around here the guy who cuts the grass also clears the snow the only card the client has is the money card. This particular 'gardener' is mean and monosyllabic and the client is afraid to upset him. The bottom line is that I shall repair the grass and he will pay again. Four years ago I planted 300 tulips in this same garden and in the spring the gardener dug them up before they had hardly sprouted. The year before May/June when I did the back garden I put in a Eunymous alatas to block a view at the side, it was a big specimen that was actually part of the nursery display and not stock but they sold it to me when I convinced them that it was the only plant for the job. The third week in June is meatballing week here and the guy reduced this newly planted shrub by half. My client has changed 'gardener' three times and this is not the only job of mine to receive this mistreatment. I won't bore you with the complete list but when I first came to Quebec from England I was told that perennial gardens don't work here as they don't make it through the winter. The janitorial style of maintenence was new to me and it was a shock to see rudbeckia, ornamental grass, hosta and whatever weed whacked to the ground at the end of October to facilitate leaf blowing. When I could stop this practice the perennials thrived. I can't talk directly to the 'gardeners'as they do not want to know: ignorance.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 8:21AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

caveat emptor - let the customer learn from painful experience when he is stuck with the damage and/or replacement expense, and thus let Darwin thin out the bad "gardeners."

Unremitting ignorance can't be eradicated from the professional "gene pool," but maybe that puts the onus on us to provide more public education on what to look for in a garden, and in a garden design/maintenance pro and plan.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 10:29AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Exactly. Mow-blow-go operators are in business because plenty of people out there hire them and keep them in business. The quick once-over with power equipment arose to meet a demand, suits both participants. Some lawn services here may be charging something like $150/hour by now, I suppose. It works because they are on each property a fraction of an hour. Knit a bunch of nearby properties together into a route and the money comes in.

Lots of property owners don't care about anything more than getting the place cleaned up. Unsheared trees and shrubs look the same to them as unmown grass. They want the gardening company to attack their place and whip it into shape. Finesse and delicacy are not part of the mindset. Horticultural training not required.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 2:10PM
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