Posts Tagged ‘vt lawncare companies’

Do It Yourself vs. The Lawn Professional. Time & Money

Your free time is worth a lot!

There is an old saying “time is money” which refers to how valuable time is to everyone.  One might say that weekend time, or time away from work might be considered the most valuable, as it relates to family, friends, and recreation.  Time is a premium commodity and is both highly prized and savored by Americans after an exhausting work week.

This exact philosophy applies to caring for your home lawn, regardless of its size.  Many people hire a company to mow their lawn because it saves them hours per week that they can spend doing more enjoyable activities.  The same correlation can be made to applying lawns treatments to keep your lawn healthy and green.  Applying a lawn treatment might seem easy on the surface.  However, doing the treatments right and using the correct products can pose a serious dilemma to the average home owner.  Let’s consider the real cost of time and money involved with these types of activities.

First, you need to have a spray rig or a dry spreader to apply lawn materials.  Most spreaders available at the hardware store are sweet little things, not really setup for ease of use.  Consider hard plastic tires versus air inflated commercial grade tires while walking an acre, no comparison!  Now you have invested in a $60 throw away lawn spreader with no real serviceable parts.  Now comes the hard part, what are you going to put down on your lawn?

A toy spreader for home use, very sweet

You now have to shop for the actual goodies, the fertilizer or lime; perhaps even blended with some other items to knock back weeds, bugs, or minimize crabgrass growth.  There are lots of commercial formulations made by large companies trying to simplify this difficult task by labeling the times of year as “Steps” for instance.  This is where Step One would be in the spring and Four or Five would be in the fall.  While the essence of this seems logical, what is or is not going on in your lawn certainly may not reflect your real lawn care needs at a given time during the growing season.  What’s the big deal you might say?

Well, if you are treating for chinch bugs but really have a grub problem that is a real problem.  You have now applied a pesticide unnecessarily and have not solved the issue at hand.  Don’t forget, these products are not cheap; you can lay down a quick $100 to treat a quarter of an acre without even looking at the receipt.  Don’t forget about the damage still being done or the cost of a lawn renovation.  Diseases and insects are real threats and are not easy to diagnosis without some field experience and education.

Back to the time element; the time involved shopping, carrying the bags back home, and actual application can easily turn into half a day barring any confusion, weather issues, or other time consuming delays.  Most lawn care products also have rates and ranges, but that assumes you know what you’re treating. The TV ads make treating your own lawn seem easy, like grilling up a burger on a Saturday night, but this is oversimplified.

Best case scenario, you bought everything you need – and used up most of your prized Saturday morning and into early afternoon putting down a weed and feed plus lime, plus crabgrass inhibitor.  Let’s assume you did the job right.  How does this really break down in terms of time and money spent?  Most products you find at the hardware store are either setup for a 5,000 or 15,000 sq.ft. yard. A recent online search brought up the following data to fertilize a lawn and treat it for both broadleaf weeds and crabgrass:

I will use a common lawn size of 8,000 sq.ft. Which means you will need two bags of the aforementioned product @$65 each, now you have to store a partial bag for use next spring.  Hmmm, wonder if it will be useable next year?  $130

1hr shopping for fertilizer and bringing it home   $25

1hr for application/cleanup                                $25

Approximate total cost of $180, excluding your spreader.  Remember, I said the job was done correctly, what if it was not?  Oh my.

A professionally licensed and insured applicator in VT or NH could do the same treatment in 15-20 minutes and charge you between $60 and $95 depending upon your location and actual materials/rates used, which do vary.  The old saying, “you get what you pay for” surely does have a legitimate basis.

If you want the job done right, would like more free time, and still want to enjoy your landscape, perhaps this is the year to explore alternatives to doing the work yourself.  The math sure looks good, what about your lawn?!

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October lawn projects prepare your lawn for colder weather

October is a great month for lawn work

Fall is an excellent time to repair your lawn. Especially after experiencing a ten year heat record this past summer.  Regardless of what went wrong, having a game plan now is critical toward taking advantage of warm autumn soil, cool nights, and ample rainfall.  This typical weather combination makes fall an ideal time to repair and improve lawns in NH and VT.  So what can be done?  What should you consider in terms of products or services this fall to help your home lawn?

Aeration and overseeding should be at the top of your list because both will help your lawn in numerous ways.  Review my prior blog posts for the numerous benefits of aeration and overseeding.  So long as soil moisture is good, aeration can be done well into early November while most seeding should cease by the end of October.  Topdressing any bare spots before the weather turns too cold is a great way to repair damaged areas of your lawn.

Sandy soils, new lawns, and those with thin topsoil depths are at a disadvantage in terms of supporting a high quality lawn without planned treatments.  Applying calcium lime, natural or a high potassium fertilizer can maximize turf health now before colder weather arrives.

Work done in October can turn an otherwise weak, thin, or damaged lawn around; setting the stage for spring.  The healthier you get your lawn during October the better your grass is prepared for the winter.  Remember, most crabgrass control products do not allow seeding and use of that product simultaneously next spring.  Although spring lawn seeding and repair can be fruitful, the weather often plays a huge roll regarding rainfall and heat.  You will also face annual weeds as they germinate in new soil, presenting serious competition to your young lawn.  These two factors make fall (versus spring time) the opportune time to make repairs and achieve maximum results.

October Checklist:

-      Aeration with possible overseeding

-      High Calcium Lime

-      High potassium fertilizer

-      Schedule snow mold treatment for November

-      Balanced fertilizer if last treatment exceeds 2 months

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Ten Reasons to improve your lawn in NH or VT

Published by JKeefe on January 25th, 2011 - in Lawn Care Companies, Misc.

 

The Environment #10 and #9

#10  A healthy lawn reduces water runoff and soil erosion which in turns protects our lakes and streams from sediment moving from the land into the water.  Turf is a living filter which protects ground water quality through a vast network of roots, thatch, and leaves.  There are many lawn products that can be used close to or up to the water without harming that ecosystem such as lime, kelp, and further back slow release products.

#9  A healthy lawn will absorb 6 times as much rainfall as a common hay-field.  A healthy lawn entraps pollutants and with the help of soil microbes, biodegrades them safely.  Coating grass seed with mycorrhizae improves turf defensive capabilities against insects and disease issues often reducing the need for fertilizer in a calendar year.  Compost tea is a perfect example of how to improve the soil and help your lawn simultaneously.

 

Functional Benefits #8 thru #4

#8  A healthy lawn dissipates heat and reduces the energy required to cool homes and buildings- thus saving energy.

#7  Turf grass abates noise and reduces glare.

#6  A mown lawn decreases disease carrying ticks and reduces fire hazards near wooded areas.

#5  Well maintained turf grass reduces injury from sports played at home, school, or elsewhere.

#4  A well cared for lawn is actually a low-cost asset that can be physically used or enjoyed for pure viewing pleasure.

Health  #3 thru #1

#3  Studies show the cycle of growing grass and the color green lift human spirits and provide both thoughts and feelings of happiness, privacy, and serenity.

#2  Well maintained turf is known to have therapeutic effects on humans as measured by heart rate and blood pressure- increasing recovery rate of hospital patients.

#1  Hiring a licensed, experienced turf professional will help you accomplish some if not all of the benefits above while insuring the job is done correctly.  Free up valuable time and spend it with your family or friends!

As you can gather, grass is simply more than just a lawn!  Winter is the perfect time to explore the advantages of utilizing the skills of your local turf care provider.  Perhaps this is the year to explore natural or organic products?  Stop guessing and wondering if you are putting down too much or too little material while wasting your valuable Saturday or Sunday.  Send that e-mail or make that phone call today and get your lawn on the right path in 2011.

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