How to hire a Lawn Care Service

How to hire a Lawn Care Service
Posted on 02-13-2013 | Permalink
A green lawn is the predominant feature of many of our American landscapes. Residential, commercial, public or private, at home, school or business the lawn or turf is often a large part of the first impression of a property. A healthy, green appearance requires maintenance. There are three distinct components involved in lawn maintenance. Some companies offer complete services while others specialize in one area. The first is mowing and cultural practices, generally understood to be grounds maintenance. This consists of preparing the lawn in spring by a ‘spring clean-up’. This service or process involves removing branches, sticks, twigs and leaves as well as light raking of the lawn before fertilizer or any other treatments are applied.

It is critical to disturb the turf and soil surface as little as possible in the process as the grassroots may be in a fragile state or condition due to frost heaving, wet soil and weather conditions etc., which are common to our landscapes here in the northeast.

Although cutting height varies by grass type (bluegrass, bent grass etc.) most turf species found in our lawns consist of bluegrass, rye and fescues which perform best when regularly cut at 3”s.

Leaves are either removed from the lawn/landscape in the fall or mulched. Many low maintenance lawns are dependent on lawn clipping for a nitrogen/fertilizer source. The next most important service consideration is turf grass management programs. Professional lawn programs usually include fertilization and weed and insect control. Programs usually consist 4 to 6 applications with very specific timing (i.e. preemergent in spring). Optional treatments and applications may be required or suggested (at additional cost). Unlike general grounds maintenance services special training, licensing and insurance are required to apply pesticides and control products to lawns and landscapes.

Landscape contractors are only required to provide general liability insurance, workers compensation and a Home Improvement license. Contractors are not required to have any formal training or education.

Contractors who are licensed for home improvement are prohibited by law from applying weed control, insecticides etc.unless they are also licensed and registered with the State of NY DEC.

Property owners must have a written contract with a certified/registered business. All pesticides and control products are regulated by federal and state agencies. It is the responsibility of the property/homeowner to verify licensing and insurance requirements are current and provided in writing.

The ultimate success and performance of professional lawn care programs depend on the customer/client expectations, the quality of materials and service and consistent and continued evaluation of conditions and effectiveness. All living and growing things (including the human body) are subject to changes, reactions and due to weather and environmental conditions. The law requires labels as well as MDSS (material safety data sheets) be provided for each regulated product applied. Additionally applicators are required to provide neighbor notification in advance (48 hour window) for each liquid spray application. This may affect your choice/selection of product/methods to be used in your treatment program.

It is important to keep in mind products and applications applied to trees and shrubs may also have an effect and impact on your lawn etc. as well as vise versa.

Ideally Tree and Shrub Care should be considered as well as lawn care. For instance if you have trees in the lawn, whatever you apply to the lawn affects the trees as well. The licensing requirements for Tree Care Services ( esp larger mature tree’s over 15’ ) differ from regulations/requirement for Lawn Care.

The third factor to consider is water and irrigation requirements for your lawn. Nature is often erratic in our neighborhood. We cannot change the climate or weather. We often experience periods of excessive rainfall. This may result in or contribute to disease and fungus conditions. Decisions may be made to apply fungicides or cultural methods of control. If however a property is irrigated by a mechanical system changes may need to be made. Ideally lawns should be watered deeply infrequently for proper root development. Easier said than done. Moisture meters, rain gauges, timers etc. can help monitor rainfall to adjust or compensate for nature and weather conditions. Irrigation contractors may have horticultural knowledge or not. Once again the law does not require education and training in landscape design, gardening, horticulture or lawn, tree and shrub care . Most people involved in the Green industry are knowledgeable about their business and care about their work, their clients and their properties.

When it comes to maintaining turf grass professionally it’s all about the best ecological, environmental and economically valuable, practical approach or program.

If you do your homework by making sure your service provider is registered, insured, licensed has a good solid reputation and track record (i.e. Better Business Bureau, Dept. of Consumer Affairs Home Improvement Lic. NYDEC etc.) And provides you with all the information necessary to make an informed choice your off to a good start. Although turf grass is not rocket science, it is science. The following web sites may be helpful. Remember communication and education is everything. Or … you can just hire John Jay Landscape Development all your Lawn, Tree & Shrub Care as well as all your landscape needs Landscape Design, Development & Planning to Gardening Tree Work, Land clearing etc. After all you are already here on our very own web site. Feel free to email or call with any questions you may have and any information you would like to share.

Thank You
Jay Archer
www.cce.cornel.edu

 

Jay Archer