Choosing Home Lawn Care Services
(see other lawn care information on our website
Hire a professional lawn care service or do it yourself? An important
first step is to understand what areas the company will take care
of and what areas of lawn care are still the responsibility of the
homeowner. If either side doesn't hold up their end of the bargain,
the lawn may suffer. Teamwork is an important concept for both sides.
There are few totally complete lawn care services. Some fertilize,
control weeds, and possibly insects and diseases, but the homeowner
must water, mow, seed bare areas. Other types of services will mow,
rake debris, but not fertilize or control weeds. Watering in most
cases is up to the homeowner.
Another important consideration in any lawn care program is use
of quality fertilizers. Slow-release or controlled-release nitrogen
fertilizers are suggested for most application periods. These are
available in both dry and liquid form, thus just because fertilizers
are applied as liquids does not mean they can't be slow-release
nitrogen. Although cost is higher, lawns will benefit from controlled-release
nitrogen fertilizers, from liquid or dry applications.
Most lawn care programs will include a preemergence crabgrass herbicide
application in spring and broadleaf weed herbicides either in spring
or fall. Insecticide applications should be made only if a serious
insect outbreak occurs; rather than being routine. The same holds
true for disease control. Lawn care applicators in Illinois are
licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to apply pesticides.
Seeding, thatch control, and mowing may or may not be offered by
a commercial lawn care company. Some firms specialize in a specific
service. Finally, there are organic lawn care services that use
alternatives to traditional materials and methods.
Regardless of what type of work you are considering having done,
it is important to establish clear lines of communication with the
firm. They will most likely try to be responsive to reasonable customer
requests and needs, but it may be difficult to be totally flexible.
Keep in mind maintenance services have a full schedule of customers
that may make it difficult to take care of you immediately. Before
giving the okay to begin any work, be sure to understand what they
will do and what lawn care practices are still up to you. Know what
services are included in your contract price and those services
that may be extra. Also, what are company policies regarding unsatisfactory
Carefully weigh all the alternatives when making the choice whether
to hire or do it yourself. Keep in mind you are purchasing the service
as well as the materials, so comparing just the cost of materials
alone is misleading. Compare what all is involved, not just the
bottom line price. For example, what kinds of fertilizers and other
products are used, how many applications are made, what are troubleshooting
procedures. In most cases, you get what you pay for, whether hiring
or doing it yourself.
June/July 2004: Prevent Garlic Mustard
from Setting Seeds | Gypsy Moth: Know the
Facts | Wetlands and Mosquitoes | Understanding
Herbicides | Choosing Home Lawn Care Services