And if you think it matters to just us in the green industry, think again. Project EverGreen has released the first in a series of surveys designed to gauge consumer attitudes about green spaces, what we do to maintain them and how we do it. The results? Some are good: 100 percent of the respondents agreed that well-maintained lawns, trees and shrubs add to the value of their property, and 75 percent of them agreed that green industry suppliers (lawn care, landscape, irrigation and sod professionals) care about the environment. Others responses indicate that there is still a need to educate consumers about the benefits of well-maintained green spaces, which is the mission of Project EverGreen.

Some of the answers on the survey, compiled using a random sample of opinions from 1,235 homeowners nationwide, suggest what many of you may already know: They have conflicting beliefs when it comes to this industry — they want to be surrounded by beautiful green spaces, but their feelings become more negative about the methods used to achieve and maintain them. Specifically, 92 percent agreed with the statement that “lawn care companies provide a useful service, such as lawn disease control,” but 72 percent also agreed that chemicals that lawn care companies use negatively affect the environment. While 84 percent said that pesticides are a useful tool for fighting weeds, disease and insects, 55 percent of them do not believe that the chemicals lawn service companies use help the environment. They agree that fertilizers are a useful tool for maintaining a healthy lawn (92 percent), but more than half (52 percent) believe fertilizer has a negative impact on the environment.

It's obvious that while these consumers appreciate the results of using these products, they need some more assurance — and education — about them. Den Gardner, executive director of Project EverGreen, says that the group will use this research to target its efforts to educating consumers on these topics. “It will help us focus on areas where consumers have differences of opinions about the value of green spaces and the materials needed to keep them green.” Gardner says. “Concentrating education efforts in these areas will be a high priority for us.”

Building on the success of its widely-distributed “It's More Than a Landscape, It's a Lifescape” envelope stuffer and leave-behind piece for lawn and landscape professionals, the organization has recently released a pocket-sized reference guide entitled, “Creating a Greener World.” The guide is designed to help you communicate the benefits and important how-tos of maintaining lawns and landscapes to your customers.

The good news is that while consumers may be conflicted and need more education in some areas, the research indicates that they “overwhelmingly agree that the green industry provides a useful service, cares about the environment and uses materials safely.” And 89 percent of them agree that using professional lawn and landscape companies improves their lawn and landscape. Keep up the good work.

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