Posts Tagged ‘lawn contracts’

Looking Ahead to the 2015 Lawn Care Season

2014 Was a Good Year
It sure feels good to be able to say that 2014 was a good year for grass, at least in the Northeast. This can mostly be attributed to adequate moisture and no substantial heat waves. Cooler temperatures in general meant lawns did not go into heavy dormancy and therefore did better on the whole compared to the recent past. While spotty insect activity was typical, as was disease issues which had a better chance to flourish in the moist or humid conditions, taken on the whole, 2014 was a darn good grass season.

 

Don't wait until the spring to make your lawn plans

Don’t wait until the spring to make your lawn plans

 

Good Start to 2015
Unless your lawn underwent a tragic event, most folks are poised to start the 2015 lawn season in better than average shape. Great fall weather, with a touch of drought meant most lawns could prepare for the winter, especially if given some extra love. A cautionary note – a winter of ice and prolonged snow can still lead to winter kill, ice damage, and snow mold as March yields to warmer weather.

Review Your Lawn Program
As a home or business owner overseeing a maintained lawn or landscape, you should keep a few things in mind during the winter months before the daffodils pop. Review your 2014 services and be sure to give extra attention to your new 2015 program, most of which are mailed or e-mailed during the winter for acceptance. Are the current treatments sufficient? Are the products employed the right choice for the job based on your location or proximity to water for instance? Perhaps there are services which could be added or even dropped based on your budget or goals for 2015.

In any of these cases, knowing what your program was and will be is critical in stacking the cards in your favor for success in 2015. Once spring arrives, time passes quickly and often folks are busy with other activities, sometimes missing an important calendar window such as spring crabgrass or tick suppression in May. Reviewing and approving your landscape program over the winter removes this obstacle and ensures a more streamline flow come spring, eliminating the chance of starting off on the wrong foot so to speak.

Benefits of Early Approval of Lawn Program
As a provider of these types of services, Chippers can speak first hand as to how vital knowing the “who, what, and where” of our clients by the time taxes are due. The reason is simple; it ensures the proper timing and scheduling of important applications, particularly in the busy months of spring. The “what” helps us procure the precise materials demanded to do the job based on the program selection. Once the snow does go, the “who” ensures a timely application for superior results. The “where” helps us with efficient and effective scheduling.

In addition, there are often financial incentives for you for signing up early. Many companies provide early sign-up or even prepay discounts as a direct reflection of the importance of preseason approval.
No matter whom you employ to care for your lawn or landscape, be sure to ask questions if unsure about a given treatment, its need, or the products used. No matter what you may have heard or believe, there are numerous alternatives to accomplish the same result with organic or natural products.
A little effort now can put you in control of your landscape budget and yield big results come spring. Your lawn care or tree/shrub program should be in the same category as planning you garden with all those colorful seed catalogs with the promise of delicious fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Plan now for great results in 2015.

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Time to review and renew your 2011 lawn care program

Published by JKeefe on January 3rd, 2011 - in Lawn Care Companies

The winter months bring back not so distant visions of once green lawns and surrounding trees.  As odd as it may seem, scheduling any kind of lawn program while snow is on the ground is actually a sound process.  There are many good reasons to activate a lawn or plant health care program during the winter to insure prompt service once mud season arrives. 

Review your lawn proposal this winter

The weather plays a large role in the spring as to what and when certain treatments can be done- mostly due to temperature and moisture.  High heat speeds up insect, weed, and disease development- in some cases by weeks not days.  While this may not seem of great importance, temperature plays a huge role in advancing or retarding certain pathogens, ultimately affecting your landscape.  If you do not have a program “online”- ready to go- this timeframe can easily be missed.  Cold weather can slow down the ability of your lawn to recover and green up fast.  The later the first application of fertilizer, compost tea, or lime is applied, your grass is missing vital time for improved color and recovery from winter damage.

I have seen several years where the temperature rose into the high 70’s to lower 80’s in April and May- making some types of weed control applications harmful to turf without proper precautions.  The same can be said about not scheduling early plant health care sprays- you simply miss the window of opportunity for obtaining decent results on a variety of insect and disease issues.

Moisture content can wreak havoc on turf and shrubs in the spring- especially if the spring is cold and rainy.  Such weather greatly advances snow molds and leaf spot on turf while creating apple scab on fruit trees.  Low moisture can reduce seed germination without proper irrigation if aeration and overseeding are done in May or June.  Having overseeding or aeration already scheduled during the winter insures they can be completed at the proper time frame in the spring since they are already booked.  A great green care company will watch weather trends and activate services during the appropriate time frame- you deserve this kind of service.

Timing is the third reason to have your program already setup during the winter.  Many applications have a narrow window of opportunity and if missed, results suffer such as pre-emergent crabgrass control or broadleaf weed control.  Soil temperature and timing are very important on these kinds of applications.  If you think you may remember to call- it may already be to late- spring is a crazy time of year.  Another fabulous reason to schedule your green care treatments during the winter includes a signing bonus if available or a prepay offer for sending in the contract early.  Look for these kinds of financial incentives in addition to a high quality- diversified green care company.

If you have not read the “researching a lawn care company” series on this blog- be sure to check them out since they were statistically the most read in 2010!

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Review your lawn contract before renewing

If it seems to good to be true- you may be right

Did your doctor ever tell you to get a second opinion?  Hundreds of commercial lawn care contracts will be mailed out shortly to residential homes in remote parts of NH and VT.  Even more lawn contracts will be mailed out to commercial customers in the hopes that those in the appropriate position will sign, mail, or simply fax it back with no questions asked.  I propose that each contract deserves not only a second opinion, but a thorough examination line by line item.  The national and larger regional lawn care companies typically roll your program over from year to year.

Most lawns are not being examined to determine true needs but rather recycled in archives from prior years like a CD player on repeat.  While this automated process may approach adequate at best, I sincerely doubt you are receiving a turf care program worthy of your hard-earned dollars.  Furthermore, I doubt most existing clients even understand what they are receiving and why versus what is available in their market area.  Let me expand on this theme.

Many remote lawn accounts are labeled and classified as ”commercial”, with most customers unaware of this practice.  These kinds of accounts are processed at a high volume utilizing heavy machines called Turf-Trackers or even tractors.  These machines do a decent job on large properties or fields but are anything but light and are not ideally suited to home lawns or smaller settings.  An inexperienced operator can easily cause damage while running the machine over frost covered lawns, shaded locations, and especially slopes.  Turf can be easily torn, compacted, and ripped up without careful attention from the driver.  These machines make it easy to operate at an aggressive speed as they work to achieve the goals set for them by the larger corporate office.  If these facts don’t cause you to raise an eyebrow, please read on.

Unfortunately, many of these “commercial” contracts are recycled revenue without any fresh investigation data to support the renewal.  In fact, I would wager that most if not the majority of these accounts are seldom looked at beyond the production dollars they represent each year.  Simply put, the large national chains are usually too far away and their attempts to service remote regions often severely stress their limited staff and outsourced customer service centers.  Most national lawn care companies utilize lawn programs like McDonald’s “Happy meals” except without the toy because you get a few fertilizer visits, grub control, and a lime treatment.  Who would question that?

Does your phone call get forwarded to a call center or does a real person answer your call?  Are you able to reach your lawn care office or do you even know where it is?  Are you supporting your local economy or something much larger?

How can these large lawn care services claim and advertise to be local when they drive nearly 2 hrs to service lawns in remote areas of NH beyond their primary service market?  Is that local service?  Again, any company that pre-mixes fertilizer in a liquid medium and then applies it to every lawn in a single day is doing their clients a basic injustice as outlined in my blog post (http://mrgrassblog.net/2010/04/22/price-and-the-…awn-treatments/ ‎).  Mixing concentrated fertilizer into a liquid is an easy and inexpensive way to administer a lawn program.  As I said before, yes it works well for some lawns but not all lawns.  You get exactly what you pay for with this type of treatment, a quick buzz of green.  There are lots of natural and organic alternatives to this kind of turf care.

Before you sign on the dotted line, before you pre-pay for your entire year upfront- get a second opinion from a local lawn care company.  I welcome the questions and the challenge to take your property to the next level.  If you are not in our service area, I have companies I can recommend to you- just leave a comment to this post.  Even if you decide not to make a change, doesn’t it just make sense to get another opinion like a car or house repair?  Don’t just sign without thinking about what things could be like in 2011.  I know it’s easy to just send the lawn contract back, but a free second opinion from any other turf health care company is time well spent.  Make this winter the time where you decide to explore what has been going down on your lawn in the past and why!  Support your local economy and research who services your town for lawn treatments.  Exploring new options can be educational, fun, and you might even receive better results!

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