We all know that guy down the block that seems to have the “perfect yard”. As a property owner it can be hard sometimes to achieve those same results, and often the lawn care vendor you are working with gets the blame. The truth of the matter is that your lawn care vendor is on your property usually only once a week. There are six other days in that week that your property may need some attention and care outside of the contracted services with your lawn care vendor.
I cannot stress how important water is to your property, from the turf, to the trees, to the ornamentals and garden beds, if it is green; it needs water and lots of it. The general guidelines I give my clients would be to ensure that a minimum of two inches of water (from either the rain or ancillary watering programs) end up on you turf throughout the week. The water will help keep the plants on your property cool from the hot summer sun, and also acts as a delivery vehicle for nutrients to the plants.
The importance of fertilizing your turf, trees, ornamentals and garden beds is something that a lot of homeowners don’t seem to properly understand and applications of fertilizer are usually one of the first items to get cut from a budget in order to lower lawn care costs. This is one of the most detrimental things you can do to your property. Imagine if you knew of a parent that told you in order to save money, they have decided to no longer feed their child, instead they will just make sure they have plenty of water and get a haircut every week.
Second only to fertilizing your property is the importance of weed control. Not only from an aesthetic point of view with it assisting in keeping flower beds looking manicured and lawns looking lush and green, but physically it is considerably easier for your turf and flower beds to thrive if they do not have to compete with weeds for nutrients and water. Making sure to control the weeds on your property will increase the visual appeal 10 fold over a season.
I cannot tell you how many times I hear back from an irate homeowner because they feel as though they are getting the short end of the deal when a lawn care vendor “skips” mowing service for that week. I will tell you that in late August and early September, it is very common to not mow a site every week. We do this to ensure the safety of your turf. When it is 97 degrees outside and it has not rained in two weeks, it could be very harmful to cut your turf. From the weight of the equipment on very fragile and dry grass blades, to the opportunity for the fresh cut blade to get burnt from the high sun, it is not always beneficial to mow your site. But that does not mean there are not other things to be doing on the property. Work with your lawn care vendor and tell them you understand the importance of skipping a mowing service and ask them if it is possible for them to maybe spend time working on weed control or clean up instead.
Pruning and Trimming
Trimming and or pruning of the trees, bushes, plants and ornamentals on your property will not only make the property look great with a well manicured appearance, but also assists the plants in establishing healthy new growth. However, if not done properly, or within the appropriate time frame, it can hinder the plant instead of helping it. Most of your perennials need to have the blooms removed once they have wilted in order to ensure that vital nutrients are not being wasted by the plants. Some shrubs and grasses should be “dead headed” at the end of the season, and others should not. Make sure to be aware of the plant material on your site and what it’s needs are, and work with your lawn care vendor to create a plan for maintaining those plants, trees, and ornamentals.
One common error on a property is that the site never gets “hard edged” by a lawn care vendor. It is very important to ensure this is done a couple times during the season. Yes, it does help in giving that highly coveted crisp look to the turf and hard surfaces, but the hidden benefits of hard edging is to separate the soil/turf from those hard surfaces. Concrete, pavers, and other hard surfaces conduct and store the heat from the hot summer sun. When those hard surfaces are in contact with the turf and soil, that heat gets transferred and is detrimental to your turf. Grass needs “cooler” temps and soils to survive, if the soil gets too hot it will die back. Once the turf dies back, it opens that soil to the invasion of heat loving plants, WEEDS. That is why you will often see large weed accumulations next to curbs, patios, and sidewalks. Hard edging creates enough space between the two surfaces that the heat does not transfer and it promotes the healthy growth for your turf.
Mulch and Rock Beds
Mulch can be expensive on some properties, and rock is even more expensive. Often, those expenses are not planned for when it comes to topdressing a property or even replacing missing mulch and rock due to run off or other environmental reasons. However, that rock and or mulch is serving not only an aesthetic purpose, but also acting as a barrier at times to assist in the prevention of weeds erupting in areas they are unwanted. Many times a property will ask what it would cost to address the needs on their property when it come to their rock and mulch, and when they get the proposal they are amazed at the price tag so they decide to red-line the project. Instead of looking at it as a “lump sum” try and work with your vendor to possibly “split” the project into phases if spreading the costs out over the year would make more sense.
If you heed the advice given in this article, and work WITH your lawn care vendor in accomplishing the above tasks, I can guarantee a healthy and beautiful property throughout the season.