Why is your company called Ecoquiet Lawn Care?
We use electric mowers, and the name of the company sums up the advantages of electric mowers. Electric mowers are both eco-friendly and very quiet. Electric mowers are only responsible for 5 lbs of CO2 per day (calculated from the MA grid) as opposed to 100 lbs of CO2 for a gas-powered mower. Occasionally, I also use mechanical mowers as well for certain jobs.
Can you explain a little more about why electric mowers are better than gas ones?
I use electric mowers because they are a great middle path solution. Unburnt hydrocarbons (benzene and carbon monoxide) produced by gas mowers with two-stroke engines are very bad for the environment: 33% of gasoline is not fully oxidized and so gas mowers produce a variety of air pollution. Also, even if you don’t care about air quality, electric mowers are quiet. So, I’ve found that even people who don’t care about the environment like the electric mowers.
What other lawn and garden techniques do you use that could be considered eco-friendly?
Currently, there are environmental problems caused by the run-off of fertilizer into the soil, so I am working to bring back older methods for keeping lawns healthy that were used before fertilizer was widely available, such as enhancing nutrient content with compost, and using clover or other plants that fix nitrogen. I also do not use any pesticides. Instead of pesticides, I use bio-controls, such as nematodes, a kind of microscopic worm, which gets rid of grubs and other pests. In addition to being carcinogens, many pesticides are problematic because they kill all the insects and other life in the soil--good and bad---without which the lawn cannot thrive. Bio-controls such as nematodes, in contrast, do not interrupt the natural balance of the lawn. It is also interesting to note that if you have a thriving lawn, with well-balanced soil, it can benefit your bushes, trees, and garden as well, since they are dependent on proximate soil for nutrients.
You are basically saying that there are three primary ways you provide eco-friendly lawn care. Are they all connected?
Yes. there are three things I emphasize to develop a healthier, more eco friendly lawn: the use of electric mowers to reduce CO2 emissions and unburnt hydrocarbons, the use of traditional permanent practices that increase soils ability to produce and retain nutrients instead of fertilizer, and the use of beneficial insects instead of pesticides. They do not all have to be connected, but they work better together. I tailor what I do, depending on particular lawn-care needs, and customer preferences.
Is it possible to have a show quality lawn with these methods?
Yes, and have less risk of acute pest infestations that can cause lawn disasters. You will have a more stable lawn that is even resistant to neighborhood lawn infestations
Does it cost more?
For the full service it comes out cheaper because of the savings in reduced fertilizer and elimination of pesticides.
Do you have tips for the amateur?
Yes, electric lawn mowers are now about the same cost as gas powered mowers, and cheaper over the long-term. For fertilizer, avoid instant gratification, instead use a long-term solution like compost.
Do you only take care of lawns?
I’m interested in any eco-friendly solutions. For example, I’m interested in installing water collection systems for rain. Also, I’m interested in stone-work, and planting moss. I am also interested in the planting of native species.
Do you only take care of lawns?
I went to UMASS horticultural program for three years. I also have NOFA certification in best lawn practices. I’ve learned a lot about cultural practices for maintaining healthy lawns from Chip Osborne, founder of Osborne Organics.
Why is Ecoquiet good for Concord?
Concord works to improve environmental practices. For example, there is a growing amount of homes using solar energy and the town passed the plastic water bottle ban. Also, the historical nature of Concord makes it the kind of place where people appreciate the greater quietness of electric mowers. Concord is, after all, the home of Thoreau’s writing, which would certainly point in the direction of more eco-friendly lawn care.
What will Ecoquiet do next?
I’m looking into making renewable energy from leaves – leaf logs that can be burnt for heat. This is a new idea pursued in England. For someone already clearing leaves, this seems like an obvious direction. Instead of going to landfills, leaves could be used as sustainable energy source.
Thanks to Jen Soalt for conducting the interview, and ECOQuiet Lawn Care can be reached at their website www.ecoquietlawncare.com or dialing (978)-201-0061.
NOTE: It is important to notice the relation of over fertilizer use to "algal blooms". Due to humans using far too much fertilizer on their lawns, it results in runoff fertilizer seeping into waterways. This extremely nutrient rich substance causes massive "blooms" of unwanted algae in bodies of water, for instance in our own White Pond.