EcoMIGHT’S Naturally Organic Weedkiller Fills a Void for Alternative Earthcare’s Comprehensive Organic System
Alternative Earthcare has spent the last 15 years crafting an effective, comprehensive organic system that can serve both its residential and commercial clients using the most organic, least toxic methods. During those years, the management team has tried a multitude of products with varying levels of success, keeping those that live up to their marketing promises and discarding those that do not.
“We are testing new products regularly,” said Tom Cush, director of commercial services at Alternative Earthcare. “We’ll come across a new offering in our email or in social media, and we test it to see what results are. Some products work and others don’t. Some are cost-prohibitive; we just can’t apply a product every three weeks. Some dissipate too quickly with rain or temperature changes. The bottom line is that it must be effective and affordable for our customers.”
An ongoing challenge for Alternative Earthcare has been how to effectively control poison ivy with an organic solution. “All the organic products we tried just browned out the top of the plant without killing it,” said Greg Regan, co-founder of Alternative Earthcare. “We had abandoned the other organic solutions for poison ivy. When we found EcoMIGHT, we tested it at different dilution rates with the poison ivy, and we’ve had really good results.”
Alternative Earthcare is now moving forward in using EcoMIGHT’s W.O.W. product at various customer sites. EcoMIGHT is a systemic, naturally organic herbicide that kills to the roots and is non-toxic when used as directed.
Serving School Properties Launched Organic Focus
Founded more than 25 years ago, Alternative Earthcare has served a wide variety of both residential and commercial customers in the Long Island area. It has built a well-known reputation for maintaining landscapes for more than 40 school districts in the state.
“About 15 years ago, there was a big push for organics in our area for both residents and schools,” Regan explained. “The media was releasing stories about contaminated groundwater on Long Island and reporting on the connection between pesticides and breast cancer. We saw the storm clouds on the horizon and started to investigate sustainable and organic approaches to lawn care.
“By around 2008, a state law was passed that required schools to notify parents and provide a product label for any herbicides or pesticides used on school property,” Regan explained. “We were already serving schools, and so, we started experimenting with compost teas, soap-based products, and our own homebrew using different types of lemon and cedar oils over the years.”
Alternative Earthcare has successfully built an arsenal of organic and natural products, which helps schools maintain their sports turf, control vegetation growth, and manage insect populations as safely as possible.
Difficulty Finding Safe, Effective Weedkiller
Although Alternative Earthcare found many organic, natural ways to manage many aspects of its landscaping business, it still struggled with finding a safe yet effective herbicide.
“We’d love to be able to stick to all organic products, but we have customers that demand results,” Regan said.
“For years, we struggled to find something that worked, and often we had to use glyphosate-based synthetics to get the results our customers wanted. We were very conflicted about organics until we found EcoMIGHT. It’s definitely part of the future.”
Invasive Grasses Huge Problem for Cemeteries
Alternative Earthcare provides landscaping services for large cemeteries–many of which struggle to fight Bermuda grass growth. “We have one customer that operates a 50-acre cemetery and managing Bermuda grass is a nightmare,” Regan said. “Bermuda grass grows sideways so if they don’t keep it constantly trimmed, it covers the deceased nameplates so loved ones cannot find grave markers.
“I had actually met with chemical companies on-site to find a synthetic solution,” Regan said. “They told me to mix glyphosate with other chemicals–and the Bermuda grass came right back up. EcoMIGHT successfully kills Bermuda grass as well as nutsedge and poison ivy.”
Although EcoMIGHT is a non-selective, systemic herbicide, Alternative Earthcare has found different application methods that allows the company to successfully kill unwanted plant growth around desired plant materials.
“We found that backpack sprayers were too pressurized when we wanted to kill Bermuda grass or poison ivy that was growing intertwined with something like a rhododendron,” Cush said. “We experimented with application rates and processes to successfully kill only unwanted plants.”
Dedication to Sustainability Pays Off in Long Run
When community pressure along with local legislation and bans began in the New York area 15 years ago, Alternative Earthcare began the slow switch to safer, organic landscaping solutions.
“We saw the handwriting on the wall,” Regan said. “We knew we had to change or we’d die on the vine. It’s taken us time to create an organic program that actually works. At new properties, it takes a couple of years to build up the soil to get plants to respond.
“For many years, there was an anti-organic environment because the word had gotten out that organics don’t work,” Regan continued. “We’ve had to gain trust. Not everything happened at one time. We had to come up with different solutions to specific problems. Now, there’s not a school district in the state that doesn’t know about us. We’ve built a trusted reputation throughout Long Island.”
Alternative Earthcare will continue to seek other products like EcoMIGHT that can help continue to further its mission to provide a comprehensive organic landscaping system that is economically viable, effective and safer for future generations.
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