When choosing a lawn care company, be sure to get what you need

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbur Post
A recently retired couple who built a new home in Salisbury was very interested in establishing and maintaining their new lawn.
After a few minutes of discussing proper lawn care and equipment needed, they began to seriously ponder hiring a lawn maintenance company. The increased popularity of lawn care services can be attributed to a number of reasons.
Lawn care and landscape maintenance is big business in Rowan County. In 1979, Rowan County had only a scattering of lawn care companies. Today, there are more than 50 established lawn care and landscape companies.
Many homeowners just don’t have time and prefer to hire a company. Age has crept up on some, limiting their ability to take care of landscapes, while others don’t understand fertilization and weed control. Many have sharpened their pencils and feel it’s more cost effective to hire a company and not invest in the tools needed for proper upkeep.
Regardless of your situation, now is a great time to hire a lawn maintenance company. There are basically three different types of service: partial lawn care, total lawn care and those that offer full lawn and landscaping services. Below are a few tips in selecting a lawn care company.
– Determine which level of service you need. Some only want weed control and fertilizer application. They opt to cut grass themselves. Others will want a total package handling everything from lawn care to keeping bird feeders stocked.
Part-time workers make sense for those who only need their lawn mowed once in a while, but keep in mind that these companies services may be limited. Those who apply pesticides must have and maintain a commercial pesticide license.
– Make sure the company follows proper lawn care procedures as recommended by N.C. Cooperative Extension. Some companies offer soil testing as a part of their service. They should also follow accepted recommendations when applying seed and fertilizer. Some lawn care and landscape companies outline their maintenance program in detail to give customers assurance of their capabilities.
– Some lawn care companies may provide some type of guarantee of their work. However, in some situations extenuating circumstances such as bad weather, insects or diseases can create unforeseen problems, voiding a guarantee. Some problems or situations take time to resolve and homeowners must also realize that if they impose certain restrictions, the problem may still exist. For example, some people want a weed-free lawn without the use of herbicides. Unfortunately, this is quite difficult, bordering on impossible in most situations.
– Obviously, another important method of choosing a lawn maintenance company is to review their work. Most lawn maintenance companies are conscious of their work regarding well maintained landscapes as a living billboard advertisement. A personal inquiry from friends and homeowners is a key factor in choosing a company that will meet your expectations.Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County; 704-216-8970.