Prevention is always better than cure. And the simplest way to care for your customer's plants and grass (including artificial grass – see below) is to minimise spray drift and run-off – and thus reduce the possibility of plants and grass coming into contact with softwash chemicals.
The "3-Drench" method of preventing harm to plants and grass that may come into contact with softwash chemicals
Drench all vulnerable plants that could possibly be exposed to spray drift or run-off, with copious quantities of fresh tap water:
1) Immediately prior to applying a softwash chemical.
2) Immediately after application of a softwash chemical.
Include all hedges, shrubs, grass, flower and vegetable beds that border paths and patios, or are next to wall that is going to be treated, and all other plant life that could conceivably be exposed to spray drift or run-off.
Drench all lawn edges that could be exposed to spray drift and run-off.
Pre and post drenching with a gentle and light spray – not a high pressure jet, which could damage plants – of fresh tap water washes the leaves of your customer's plants and dilutes the chemicals in the ground, reducing the potential for harmful effects to near zero.
Mentioning these facts to your customers who may be wary of of having their gardens exposed to chemicals can go a long way to re-assure them that their plants will be safe.
We tested the drenching principle by spilling several litres of 5:1 Benz Lightning Cleanze onto a lawn, then immediately drenching the lawn. No ill-effects were noticed.
Quick tip: In our experience there is absolutely no need to post-treat your customer's plants with another product, such as liquid fertiliser.
Pre and post drenching with fresh water, combined with minimising spray drift and run-off with skillful application techniques, works just fine. It is the simplest, fastest, cheapest and most effective way of protecting your customer's plants.
Lighting Cleanze – usually at 10:1 – is the simplest way to get dirty grass clean on the first treatment. Then offer your customer an ongoing "Clean & Maintain" programme consisting of regular treatments with Bio Cleanze.
In most situations either Bio Cleanze or Perma Cleanze are going to be the safest option. Choose a time when rain is unlikely and will offer sufficient time for it to competely dry. By the time it rains again the softwash chemical will have biodegraded, and been absorbed by a porous surface, sufficiently so as to not be harmful.
That said, always allow a border zone of at least 500 mm from the pond's edge that is not treated, which doubly ensures that surplus product will not reach the pond.
Because all chemicals must be kept out of the pond, gentle low-pressure jet washing away from the side of the pond is one way of mitigating the risk, ensuring that rinse water is moved away from the pond and not into it.
If Bio Cleanze accidentally enters a pond in which there is a lot of algae, the algae may break down some of the active ingredient. So it could be safe to introduce new fish into the same water. But if no-one knows for sure how contaminated the water is, the only totally safe and sensible course of action would be to empty the pond and refill.
By taking great care and using a low pressure jet washer skilfully when rinsing, Tornado Cleanze can be applied closer to the edge of a pond because it's gel nature means it does not run as much as other products.
And of course ensure that all chemical containers are kept in a safe working area removed from the pond and from which the public, customers, children and animals are excluded. Ensure that all chemical mixing is done in this safe area and any spillages are immediately cleared up.
Quick tip: Tornado Cleanze can sometimes produce considerable foaming when being rinsed, so use low pressure when rinsing and keep agitation to a minimum.
Educate your customers on ways to keep their patio clean – for example, by immediately removing leaves and grass cuttings, keeping the underside of any plant pots placed on the patio clean – and employing you to give a regular Bio Cleanze "Clean & Maintain" treatment every 6-18 months. Then they will enjoy a permanently clean patio all year round with no further need for jet washing.
To ensure that in actual practice Bio Cleanze is safe for plant life, we conducted these tests using vastly more biocide than would ever be the case from spray drift or run-off.
Area to left of above photo: We saturated the area with fresh water, then applied 2 litres of Bio Cleanze – 25:1 mix. We waited for 10 minutes, then rinsed off with copious fresh water.Area to right of photo: We did not first wash with water and did not rinse after applying the same quantity of biocide.
One week later the dramatic results speak for themselves. The area we treated with water went slightly dark for a few days and some discoloration of the grass is noticeable but no plant life died.
Note: We ran the same test with Lightning Cleanze and obtained similar results.
These extreme tests – using quantities of Bio Cleanze and Lightning Cleanze far in excess of the dosage customer's plants could reasonably be expected to receive in working practice – conclusively proved the importance and effectiveness of pre and post drenching plant life before applying softwash chemical treatments.
A happy ending: Both areas of grass recovered fully without re-seeding. Even the area you see to the right of the photos recovered completely with the grass regrown in only a few weeks.