If your association is thinking about taking a more natural approach to its landscape, giving up toxic chemicals in favor of organic solutions, consider yourself special.
According to Ian Orlikoff, owner of Eco Logic Land Care in Naples, “Florida is probably the toughest area in the country in which to promote organic lawn care. I have to go all the way up to New York and Connecticut to receive my training,” at such organizations as the Northern Organic Farming Associations in New York, where he received his organic certification. Florida has very few organic certification programs (the Gainesville-based Florida Organic Growers is a notable exception).
“There are certain areas of the Northeast and Canada,” he adds, “and certain areas of Rhode Island and Long Island, where they are going completely chemical-free in their communities as far as ornamental landscape.”
But the steady growth of Orlikoff’s landscaping company, which utilizes organic methods almost exclusively, is proof that Florida is catching up to its neighbors to the north. “The business is building,” he says. “It’s an educational process. The biggest challenge we face with organic programs in condominium communities is that people are kind of short-term minded.”
John Fideli, vice president of Championship Landscape, a company offering organic landscape design and maintenance with locations across South Florida, explains it this way: “With organics, you might not get the kind of rapid result you get with the more traditional chemicals and fertilizers, and a lot of times the people aren’t too keen on that—they don’t want to wait. If they see any kind of insect on a plant—if they have an outbreak—they want it over and done with.”