Choose lawn care carefully

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 6, 2011

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
Lawn care and landscape maintenance is big business in Rowan County. In the early í80s, there were only a few landscape maintenance companies. Today, there are well over 50 established lawn care and landscape companies and the number is increasing.
Increased popularity for lawn care services can be attributed to a number of reasons. Many property owners just donít have time and prefer to hire a company. Older age has crept up on some, limiting their ability to take care of landscapes, while others donít understand fertilization and weed control. Some have done a cost analysis and feel itís more cost effective to hire a company and not invest in the tools needed for proper upkeep.
Regardless of your situation, many people are considering hiring a lawn maintenance company. There are basically three different types of service: partial lawn care, total lawn care and full lawn and landscaping services. Below are a few tips in selecting a lawn care company.
Determine which level of service you need. Some people 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 often fit the bill for those who only need their lawn mowed once in a while, but keep in mind that these companies are limited. Those that apply pesticides must have and maintain a commercial pesticide license. This requires 10 hours of training every five years.
Make sure the company follows proper lawn care procedures as recommended by N.C. Cooperative Extension. Do these companies offer soil testing? Do they follow accepted recommendations when applying seed and fertilizer? Lawn care and landscape companies should be able to outline their maintenance program in detail to give customers assurance of their capabilities.
Lawn care companies should provide some guarantee of their work unless, of course, there are extenuating circumstances such as bad weather, insects or diseases. Customers must realize that some problems take time to resolve and also realize that if they impose certain restrictions, problems 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 and regard a well maintained landscape as a living billboard for advertisement. A personal inquiry from friends and homeowners is a key factor in choosing a company that will meet your expectations.