The past month has been very wet with a bit of heat mixed in for just the right amount of stress on weakened lawns. Wet weather means your lawn is more likely to contract common diseases due to high moisture and humidity caused by rain or drizzle. Leaf spot to a lawn is like having a common cold to humans. Most lawns get leaf spot but it passes without much fanfare with the onset of summer and warmer weather. There are occasions when leaf spot can manifest into a more serious stage, sort of like getting pneumonia from a cold. This stage is called “melt-out” and is the result of a significant infection, large enough to cause damage to the growing point of the turf plant, the crown. A weakened crown is susceptible to injury and plant decline, or even death, depending upon the weather. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘scotts lawn care’
Spring is an ideal time to topdress and aerate your lawn; two steps that can really improve your lawn. Topdressing is a process where you add a thin layer of compost or soil on the lawn surface to add organic material. This process is ideal for seeding as it makes a nice surface for grass to germinate. Instead of adding yards or truck loads of soil and starting from scratch, some lawns can be salvaged with just ¼ to ½ inch of topdressing. This process won’t bury existing healthy grass but fill in around it like water around an island, creating a great seeding surface. Another benefit of topdressing allows you to seed over any weed or crabgrass barrier which may have been recently applied since doing so into the soil would be futile; it just won’t work because the chemicals prevent seed germination.
Spring aeration and overseeding is an excellent process which can help thicken up a lawn, with or without utilizing topdressing. Aerate when soil moisture is good to enhance seed germination in the holes created by the machine. (a line about overseeding?)
Everyone has some degree of winter damage or bare spots from plowing or salt use over the winter. May and early June are ideal times to repair these often neglected areas of your lawn. Addressing these weak links will make the entire lawn look better during the summer. Left unchecked, bare spots will yield crabgrass and broadleaf weeds no matter how many times you spray. The solution lies with replacing open soil spaces with healthy turf grass. Perennial rye is a great grass to use in the spring because it germinates fast and is tough. Crabgrass is a fierce competitor so the sooner you get “good” grass to germinate; the better off your lawn is as summer approaches. No amount of spraying will suppress the inevitable weed infestation as bare soil heats up and fills in with fat crabgrass plants.
Take advantage of May and June’s cooler, wetter weather and get your lawn ready for summer before you leave for the beach this year!
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!