Posts Tagged ‘scotts lawn care’

Topdress and Aerate Your Lawn This Spring

Spring is a great time to fix your lawn before the summer heat moves in.

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!

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Why is a NH Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating important to your lawn?

Published by JKeefe on October 20th, 2010 - in Lawn Care Companies

The NH office of the Better Business Bureau is located in Concord at the following website: http://concord.bbb.org/

The BBB allows consumers the opportunity to examine the track record of local businesses in a wide variety of industries, lawn care included.  Within the BBB, a business can apply for accreditation  http://concord.bbb.org/Business-Accreditation/, once approved a given business has agreed to live within the BBB code of Business Practices.  There are eight principles that summarize an accredited business http://concord.bbb.org/bbb-accreditation-standards/.  This type of pledge clearly illustrates the committment to the consumer.  Becoming accredited is a pledge from a given business to the consumer relating to how serious they take their particular line of work and how willing they are to be transparent and resolve issues or complaints if they arise.

There are many businesses who are accredited within the state of NH and many that are not.  In the case of Chippers, we are an accredited business with the BBB, meaning we have applied and been accepted under the guidelines listed on the BBB website.  The largest provider of lawn services is not an accredited company.  Lets move onto the BBB rating and determine what it means to the average consumer.

The BBB rating is like a credit rating, it is a score determined by the BBB resulting from not only volume of complaints, but tracks if they are resolved and how quickly they are resolved.  Every business makes mistakes, what sets a great business apart from a poor or deficient one would be billing practices, customer service response, and the ability to resolve the mistake.  Lets look closer at this BBB rating.  Like a credit score, it sums up the likelihood or predicts how you, as a consumer are likely to be treated as a client.  The BBB score is also an indicator of general business practices that would be of interest to you such as customer service and billing.  In other words, a BBB rating can be summarized as how likely- statistically- you are likely to encounter a problem within a given business.

For example, Chippers has an (A+) rating, the highest rating possible.  On the other hand, a large firm doing business out of Londonderry NH has an (F) rating from the Concord BBB- the lowest possible.  The following report has been taken directly from the NH BBB and outlines the deficiencies within the nations largest lawn care company operating in NH:

“This company has received a pattern of complaints. Complaints allege that after the company does work for the consumer they automatically return the next year to care for the consumer’s lawn even after the consumer has canceled the service. Consumers state that they cancel the company’s return visit, but they company still comes out and then bills the consumer for the work done. The company has responded to most complaints by issuing refunds, but they have failed to remove the cause of the complaints.

Before you renew or accept your 2011 lawn services with the nation’s largest provider of lawn care, consider this information and perhaps there are alternative lawn companies that could provide better billing, customer service, and results.

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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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