It’s spring and finding a lawn fertilizing service can be almost as easy a finding something flowering. Sometimes the lawn fertilization companies can also be as irritating as the allergies spring flowers bring on.
The above picture demonstrates poor application technique by a lawn fertilizing service. the light colored areas left and right of center are crabgrass infestations as a result to the technique. At the top of center you can see where the spreader passes fork left and right with a triangle of crabgrass in the middle.
Fortunately some people are not bothered by allergies, and some are not bothered by their lawn fertilizing service. How do they manage to get great lawn fertilization services? Successful consumers know the devil is in the details, not the price. Great lawn fertilization results need not be expensive, but they can not be had at low, low prices.
To get dependable fertilizing results on a clients lawn, lots of stars need to be aligned. Some one in the company needs to have a lot of agronomic or horticultural knowledge about soil, plants and water, to read all the conditions and know what to do. That may come from a college agricultural degree, or university sponsored short courses. Another option is years working with such a lawn care professional, and absorbing the practical and technical knowledge required.
Part of the knowledge needed will be about lawn fertilizer, and pesticide products. Another piece is about grass and genetics. Then we can add in knowledge of equipment and weather. Like everything else in our lives, the world of lawn care has experienced technical and technique changes.
Today’s grass varieties have undergone many improvements, to make then slower growing, darker green, and more resistant to insects and diseases. One thing that hasn’t changed, is the ability to grow a really nice lawn in the shade, because plants need sunlight for photosynthesis. A reputable and knowledgeable company will tell you when it is too shady to grow grass, then refuse to take your money. Depending on the company they may offer to have someone from their landscape staff speak to you about alternatives or refer you to a suitable landscape company.
Push spreaders are now relegated to applying product to awkward pieces of turf, that really should be landscaped in another manner. The best lawn fertilizing services today, use motorized equipment for sophisticated precision in product application. Machine speed and dosages can be adjusted on the fly to meet conditions. Application rates are carefully tailored to machine speeds and widths of coverage. Machines never develop fatigue late in the day like foot soldier applicators do, so the results are always “just right”.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING A LAWN FERTILIZING SERVICE
Professional companies are properly licensed in their state, and comply with all state and federal regulations. They can produce proof of licensing for the company and application technicians. The idea is trust, but verify. Ask for a copy of the license or verify the numbers they advertise and provide, with your state regulatory agency. Company identification and license number should be prominently displayed on vehicles and paper documents you receive.
Lawn care professionals don’t purchase their products from big box home centers, Walmart or the local hardware store. Casually inquire who supplies their products. Wholesale supply companies are required to check licensing when selling regulated products. Consumer products purchased at the retail level require no license checks, so that can be a sign your company is not licensed. And if they are not licensed, they are not insured.
Ask how the products are physically applied, and the sequence of basic applications like fertilizer and weed control. It makes no difference if the fertilizer is liquid or granular, but the company should be able to apply those two products simultaneously, and bundled together as a single application charge.
If they are using a push spreader and charging for a fertilization visit, and come back another time to spray weeds with a back pack, or truck mounted sprayer and charge for 2 applications, stay away. They are most likely hyping a program with more visits as superior, when the best lawn fertilizing companies are equipped to perform both services with a single visit and charge.
Soil tests are an essential tool to optimize lawn performance in some areas of the country, because natural nutrient levels and the pH of the soil can vary. Lawns can be managed on a cookie cutter approach successfully, because the basic nutrient needs of grass in a particular region of the country are the same. However in southern New Jersey, our soils are naturally acidic, and vary from sand to clay. These two opposite soil textures, can take different amounts of lime to adjust their pH, even though the pH level may be identical in the soil test. These same soils are also low in calcium and potash (potassium) and can also require specialty applications to boost those levels.
Who makes the application to your lawn? The applicator should be able to communicate with you about your lawn. That means in language and lawn management issues. The lawn tech should be able to produce a pesticide applicators license on demand. In some states fertilization licenses are also required.
The communication and technical skills of the tech you want to want to work with, are not entry level job skills. The best of these individuals have skills and a work ethic that would transfer to other well paid, and responsible employment opportunities outside the green industry. Not only to lawn fertilizer companies compete with each other for the best employees, but with other career opportunities outside the green industry.
In the end, lawn care companies that consistently produce great results and high customerthe best lawn fertilizing company satisfaction have made big investments is their time, Knowledge, technology, equipment and human resources.
They will never be low on price, but will always be able to deliver what you and your lawn need, to look the very best.
It is better to pay more than you planned, than less than what you should.