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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are your products safe to use around children and pets?

Yes. Our products are made from natural products and are non-toxic. There is no re-entry time after application of our products. Your children and pets can go on the lawn immediately after the treatment is done.

2. Do your products really work?

Yes, they really do. All of our products are specifically designed to improve your soil and to feed the grass. We have scientific test data and customer testimonials that demonstrate superior plant growth rates and resistance to stress.

3. How are your products applied?

Yes, they really do. All of our products are specifically designed to improve your soil and to feed the grass. We have scientific test data and customer testimonials that demonstrate superior plant growth rates and resistance to stress.

3. How are your products applied?

All of our products are applied by using a hose end sprayer. If your lawn is smaller than 12,000 square feet the products are shipped to you in a ready to use containers with the sprayer attached to it.

4. Are your products liquid or granular?

All of our fertilizer and nutrient products are natural or organic liquid foliar concentrates. We feel that liquid application is more efficient and cost effective.

5. Does it take longer for your products to work?

It does take a little bit longer, but not a great deal longer. The reason synthetic chemical fertilizers, that are applied by chemical lawn care companies, work so quickly is because they are water-soluble and dissolve and leach immediately. The downside to this is that up to 60% of the product ends up "off target" and inevitably in ground and surface water.

6. How do I control weeds and disease without chemicals? How about insects?

We offer a combination of organic and natural preventative weed control solutions with our Spray & Play™ and Fiesta products. However, you will find that, if you adhere to proper practices when it comes to mowing and watering, weeds will become less of a problem. Also, as you improve the health and pH of your soil with our products, the grass will be thicker and stronger creating an environment that is much less hospitable for weed growth. A little tolerance is necessary too. What is really wrong with a few dandelions or patches of clover?

As for disease activity, you will immediately see a decrease in nuisance diseases that result from overuse of synthetic chemicals and are a side effect of a sterile soil environment. Healthy soil creates healthy plants! We can offer suggestions for insect control, grubs, etc., without hurting earthworms and other beneficial insects. You will also find that as your soil improves, and your turf becomes healthier, the need for controls decreases significantly.

7. Why should I switch?

Think about millions of acres of lawns being treated with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. What is the effect?

A. Human health issues

These synthetic chemical fertilizers cause skin irritations, digestive symptoms and other health issues. Many synthetic fertilizers contain dangerous chemicals and heavy metals and should be avoided. Fertilizers made from hazardous waste byproducts may contain arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, and radon. These toxins are known to cause cancer, kidney disease, diminished fertility, and birth defects. Of the 26 most widely used pesticides in the U.S., 12 are classified by the EPA as carcinogens. Americans use approximately 380 million pounds of pesticides per year. (U.S. EPA. 1998. Office of Pesticide Programs, list of chemicals evaluated for carcinogenic potential).

Young children are particularly susceptible to damage from these products and, since they frequently play on lawns, they are at risk of exposure from direct contact.

B. Water Pollution

Overuse and run off is a common problem and can lead to ground water contamination and water pollution. When synthetic fertilizer washes into streams and rivers it can build up, causing eutrification (excessive growth due to a surplus of nutrients). Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients found naturally in the air and in water systems. Fertilizer run-off dumps too many of these nutrients into the water. The resulting algal bloom occurs when water plants become invasive. Fish are unable to get the nutrients and oxygen they need from the water. Also, many pesticides can harm fish, even in very small amounts.

C. Soil Depletion / Sterile Soil

Fungi, and other beneficial microorganisms that naturally occur in the soil, work symbiotically with plants, helping them obtain oxygen from the soil. Some synthetic fertilizers and pesticides disturb this process. When overused, these products make the soil sterile and deplete it over time.

D. Eco-system Damage

Beneficial insects can be decimated by pesticide use, since pesticides are designed to kill. Most insects are beneficial, performing valuable functions such as pollination. Due to our use of pesticides, the bee population in the United States has suffered dramatic losses in recent years. It makes sense to avoid harmful pesticides in order to preserve beneficial insect populations which control pests naturally.

Thus, you should switch to natural, organic lawn care primarily because it is better for human health safety and for the environment. It also works just as well or better.When there is a healthy and effective alternative to a more dangerous method it just makes sense. If you are pregnant, have small children, pets or chemical sensitivities there is no reason to create a potential risk by using dangerous pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilizers.

8. Is it more expensive to use organics?

Our products and liquid application method are designed to be a cost effective alternative. Compare our cost to a chemical lawn care service, or to buying all of the products individually. We think our program is very comparable to other lawn care options.

9. What is so bad about chemical fertilizers

We could write an entire book here but will focus on a few important issues. Synthetic Chemical fertilizers pollute ground and surface water, because they leach readily. Experts have surmised that up to sixty percent of a chemical fertilizer application ends up off target. There is a "dead zone" the size of Rhode Island in the Gulf of Mexico that is legitimately caused by chemical fertilizers being carried by the Mississippi River. There is no aquatic life whatsoever in this area during certain times of year because algae blooms deplete oxygen. These algae blooms are caused by nitrogen runoff. Streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and bays are also affected. Regulations have begun to restrict the use of chemical fertilizers to combat algae blooms. Secondly, chemical fertilizers are a very short-term solution to having a nice lawn. Perhaps you've noticed that the more you use…the more you need. Synthetic chemical fertilizers sterilize the soil and actually create a chemical dependency for your lawn.

So, choose the natural, organic way instead. You help protect the environment and still get a great looking lawn.

10. How much should I water?

It sounds silly but you should only water as much as your lawn needs and it's difficult to put an exact amount on "how much" is enough. When your lawn begins to show drought stress water it deeply. As long as it is raining occasionally you don't need to water your lawn. When it gets hot and dry you should try to water your lawn a few times a week. Infrequently and deeply is ALWAYS better than everyday for ten minutes per zone. If your lawn begins to go dormant from lack of water, it's okay! It's a natural defense mechanism to stay alive and it will come back as healthy as ever when sufficient water is available. You will find that by using organic products you will see a HUGE reduction in the amount of water needed to keep your lawn green.

11. Do your products smell bad?

Some of our products have kind of a slight earthy odor, but it is not noticeable after the treatment has been applied.

12. Should I bag or mulch my clippings? Will the clippings contribute to thatch?

If you can you should always mulch your clippings. Grass clippings hold tons of nutrients and moisture. They will not contribute to thatch. In fact, when you switch to organic products you will notice that the thatch layer in your turf will decrease significantly.

13. How high should I mow?

Always mow as high as you can.

14. Do I need to do a soil test every year?

We suggest doing a soil test every TWO years. The results will be effective for about that period of time.

15. My lawn care company says that they are "organic based." What does that mean?

Well, it usually means that they are trying to make you think that they are safer than chemical lawn care companies. It's unfortunate, because it may be false advertising and attempting to lead you to believe that they don't use synthetic chemical fertilizers and dangerous pesticides. Many lawn care companies use "Bridge" products that contain chemical sources of nitrogen and phosphorus combined with reconstituted sewer sludge (Biosolids) and call it "organic based." Most of the time these companies also continue to use pesticides freely and with no concern for reduction.

In addition, just using a "organic" product like chicken manure, without the added beneficial microbes and nutrients that Fire Belly provides, will simply not work very well.

16. Do you perform soil testing, and if so what is the cost and procedure?

We do not automatically include soil testing as part of the program but do highly recommend that if you’ve never had one done you do.

The Fire Belly Lawn in a Box acts as a season long program to treat your lawn without chemicals but oftentimes it makes sense to determine if there are any significant surpluses or deficiencies in your soil. The two main things that you should be looking for are a pH reading and a reading of the percent of organic matter in your soil. PH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity and organic matter will determine how your soil will adjust to the switch to organics. If either are significantly off we can make suggestions to help you deal with them.

Usually the best place to have a test done is through your local cooperative extension.