Posts Tagged ‘lebanon lawn care’

Autumn lawn care is great

There is no better time of year with autumn’s crisp blue days and cool nights to help your lawn make significant gains to prepare for winter…and to start spring strong. Warm soil and reduced weed competition means all sorts of good things when it comes to fall seeding and repairs.  My previous blog post explained the benefits of core aeration and over seeding, but there is much more that can be done to prepare your grass for winter and next spring. 

Fall is the best time to help prepare your lawn for winter and next spring.

Fall is the best time to help prepare your lawn for winter and next spring.

Before we talk about what to do now, we must quickly look back to the past summer’s humidity and extensive rain not to mention residual issues from the heat and drought of 2012. .  These weather factors caused widespread insect activity, disease issues, thinning, and in some cases damage to the point of necessary repairs, from small to large.  Ongoing insect damage in the form of chinch bugs are currently brown patches that may continue growing in size!  Grubs are getting large enough now to also cause browning and will continue to eat grass roots right into November.  If you were unaware of these past issues, you are now informed and educated so the rest of this fall can be productive as it pertains to your lawn.  So what now?

Even if your lawn did not experience any of the problems I described above, autumn is the ideal time to help your lawn store energy in the root system by proper fertilizing.  The key here is not to apply too much or too little fertilizer.  Not putting down enough fertilizer on your lawn will not hurt, but the results won’t be there; although you may have fun in the process.  Putting down too much material can cause an excessive flush of growth and predispose your lawn to ice or cold damage come wintertime. Balance is always an important rule of thumb regarding lawn treatments, but exceptions and variations do exist.  For instance, a lawn which has minimal care all season can receive lots of “critical care” in a short period of time versus a lawn which has been on a regular program may see lower rates or different product usage.  While lawns may appear to be alike, they each have personalities unique to their own surroundings such as trees, sunlight, buildings, fences, and exposure to wind.  The care your grass receives should be taking these variables into account with the arrival of fall and foliage season here in New England.

Hardening your lawn off as the nighttime temperatures drop is important and includes dropping your mowing height in October, ending up around 1.5” on most grass types as the final cut in November.  A short cut helps reduce winter, ice, and snow mold damage in your lawn.  Even greater benefits can be gained with proper fall lawn fertilizer treatments such as potassium and zero phosphate products to encourage healthy roots full of carbohydrates.  Like a big Italian spaghetti dinner, your lawn can feast and go into the winter with reserves so your chances of recovery and an early spring green up are enhanced.  There is lots of time to help your lawn this autumn, so don’t let September and October pass without taking advantage of the opportunity to leverage your lawn into an even greater asset in 2014.

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A cut above; what makes a great lawn care company?

Published by mrgrass on June 28th, 2013 - in Lawn Care Companies

You may be very satisfied with your current lawn care company or maybe you are shopping around for one.  Regardless of your situation, you undoubtedly want the best.  But what is “the best”? If you are like most consumers, price may pop into your mind as an initial factor in your decision.  However, if you dig deeper, you will find that price really is only one variable when comparing services.  As in any important decision, sometimes all you see is frosting on the cake and not enough substance.  The lawn care industry has evolved over the past decades and while there are many similarities, there are more differences which end up being the value of the service you ultimately hire.  Specifically, there are huge differences in a company’s real experience as it relates to company size, experience, and customer service.  Let’s examine each of these components in the context of a lawn care company in NH or VT.

A great lawn care company

 Company size relates to who created the lawn program and what materials are used or not used for a variety of reasons.  For instance, larger lawn companies have regional lawn programs that are pretty much the same over a geographic area for consistency and ease of implementation.  Smaller lawn care companies have a greater ability to offer more tailor-made offerings and make spontaneous changes during the year because they are not bound by a set program of an it’s either on the menu or it’s not.  While both types of companies and programs have a lot in common, there is more flexibility and ability to customize a program to your needs with a smaller organization.  In fact, what some of the larger companies offer can be very canned in nature, often with online measuring devices being used to price your lawn.  Personally, I cannot imagine getting a quote and recommendations without a qualified manager with the appropriate agronomic training providing an actual on site visit; like I do with Chippers’ turf division.  How can any real advice be provided if your property has never been seen or the sales rep just left a retail sales job to canvas a neighborhood and pitch a lawn program?  Clearly there are differences in price and approach, to each their own. 

How about experience?  Do you search for a doctor or plumber with lots of experience or are you content with an apprentice?  Again, the experience of your lawn technician is very important because nothing substitutes real life, hands on experience, both in diagnosis and proper application technique.  While anyone can learn in a short period of time the basics of good lawn care, time is the real teacher when it comes to creating and maintaining a high quality lawn.  Larger firms have a difficult time retaining and training massive amounts of employees because while some parts of lawn care are easier than others, the work is demanding and takes a special individual.  I have trained hundreds of employees and know this first hand from experience with 28 years in the industry.  When you look at a lawn treatment bid from two different companies, one is $45 and the other is $60; remember to consider the experience factor.  What are you really getting and what is important to you as it relates to experience?  Diagnostic skills are very important to determine what past, present, and future problems may impact the health of your lawn.  Experience shows that the more time in the field the better your program and results will be once in place.  I have written many blog posts about how difficult diagnosing disease, insect, weed, and environmental problems can be without substantial experience in turf care.

Customer service has become nonexistent in the service industry over the past few decades and in other businesses as well.  Customer service used to mean a real person answering a phone and if they did not know the answer, they put you in touch with who could.  How many businesses that you deal with today are not associated with an 800 number and you need to press five buttons just to reach a department?  I have found that consumers are starving for customer service at any level that resembles humanity and caring; this goes for lawn care as well.  At Chippers, we have real people answering the phone and if you want to reach a manager; your call will be returned the same day or the next at the latest.  Can you believe that?  I thoroughly enjoy giving my e-mail as a source of communication to aid Chippers’ lawn care customers so they can ask me questions any time.  I even provide a direct cell phone number since I’m in the field looking at lawns a lot!  If you have a lawn care company right now, can you reach a manager or quickly get an answer to your question?  If your lawn care company is large, my bet is an answer of “no” in most instances.  It’s just the way it is, good or bad; that’s your call as it relates to what is really important to you.  I have found many people who had been enticed by low prices become frustrated because their former lawn care company had no customer service at all, or very little.

There are not good or bad lawn care companies, but there many who will satisfy what you are looking for and they exist, you need only find them with a little work and luck.  You don’t have to settle for grape juice if what you really want is a great wine.  Don’t get frustrated, ask the questions and get what you pay for because customer service, experience, and knowledge are very important in the business world, lawns included!  Good luck and may your lawn be green and may you be happy with both the experience and the outcome.      

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Treating for weeds in a lawn

Published by mrgrass on May 24th, 2013 - in Broadleaf Weeds

 

June is normally a great month to treat for common broadleaf weeds in a lawn for several reasons.  First, June weather is generally ideal for attacking the weeds because soil temperatures should be above 50⁰F and your target weed must be actively growing in order to metabolize the product used to treat the weeds. There are weed control products for the common weeds we all know, such as clover, dandelions, violets, hawkweed, and lots of other equally pesky but lesser known varieties.  A lawn does have a more refined and clean look without weeds, however, there is a growing population that is much more tolerant of our weedy friends then in past history.  Reducing most weeds in your lawn must be a conscious, proactive effort in terms of timing and materials used.  Broadleaf weeds can be categorized into a range from easy to difficult to reduce.  Easy to control weeds include dandelions while those hard to control include ground ivy.  Ground ivy has a thick, waxy covering on the leaves and its viney nature puts it on the top 10 most difficult to reduce list.

Left side sprayed for weeds, right side left alone

Have no fear, with the right products and a good plan of attack, even a lawn infested with ground ivy can see a 75% reduction in a single growing season with an aggressive spray routine.  Targeting dandelions in the spring and fall tends to yield acceptable results because this plant is generally easy to control, especially during prime growing weather in the spring and fall.  Control measures can range from dry or granular coated products to area treatment in liquid formulation, all the way to a complete liquid spray blended with other products or alone.  Generally speaking, granular products are slower to control weeds and cause a slow disappearance of clover.  These types of treatments have a contact and root uptake mode-of-action in order to reduce dandelions in your lawn.  Granular broadleaf weed control products are more  gentle on your lawn providing a lighter touch.  If you watch your patches of clover for days, you will be disappointed and will not see the kind of “knock down” achieved by liquid sprays of a similar or same material.  When liquid weed sprays are combined with a sticker agent, this causes the product to adhere to the weed leaf surface and to be taken up by the root system once rainfall or irrigation arrives.  Because a liquid spray is soluble, you see faster evidence of the treatment often visible within days as leaves twisting, tanning edges, browning and other signs of imminent demise.

Organic weed control is also available and does a wonderful job controlling easy to knock down weeds and the bad boys such as violets and ground ivy.  Organic weed control will also reduce moss in your lawn; preparing it for future seeding. 

The picture in this post illustrates a clear line where chippers sprayed a liquid blend on dandelions and what the lawn looked like 10 days after the treatment.  The left side of the lawn was sprayed and the right side was not treated; pretty amazing.  Regardless of your priorities, weeds will always be present in our landscapes and the decision must be made to chemically remove them (remember, there are organic options), physically remove them, or just let them be weeds.  Have a great Memorial Day weekend and if you see a weed you don’t like, remember, you have options. 

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