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Home & Garden: Choosing a lawn maintenance company

Commercial lawn care and landscape maintenance have become a thriving business in Rowan County. In the early ’80s, there were only three landscape maintenance companies. Today there are well over 50 established lawn care and landscape companies and the number continues to increase.

Popularity growth for lawn care services can be attributed to several reasons. Many families just don’t have time and prefer to hire a commercial landscape company. Age has crept upon some limiting their ability to take care of their landscapes. Others have no interest in learning about the often-confusing requirements of fertilization and pest control aspects of lawn care maintenance.

An increased number of homeowners are considering hiring a lawn maintenance company. In many situations, homeowners have done a cost analysis and discovered it’s more cost effective to hire a company rather than invest in the tools or physical requirements needed for proper maintenance. There are basically three different types of landscape maintenance services: partial lawn care, total lawn care and full lawn and landscaping services (landscape gardeners). Whether it’s the kid up the street mowing a few days a month or a full-service company, homeowners need to make sure they have a plan. Below are a few tips in selecting a lawn care company to suit your needs.

Level of service. Some may only want weed control and fertilizer application. They opt to mow their lawn themselves, thus they only need partial service. Others will want a total package which handles everything from lawn care to keeping bird feeders well stocked. Part-time workers often fit the bill for those who only need occasional care. Please be aware that some companies offer only limited services. Lawn care companies applying pesticides must be properly licensed by the NC Department of Agriculture.

Acceptable practices. Proper lawn care procedures as recommended by N.C. State University and the Cooperative Extension Service are vital. As you research, ask if these companies offer soil testing? Do they follow accepted research based information when applying seed, fertilizers and pesticides? Lawn care and landscape companies should be able to outline their maintenance program in detail to give customers assurance of their capabilities.

Reliability. Many lawn care companies provide some guarantee of their work. However, there are extenuating circumstances such as bad weather, insects or diseases problems that often occur in our climate. Customers must realize that some problems, especially lawns, take time to resolve and realize that if they impose certain restrictions, problems may still exist. For example, some want a weed-free lawn without the use of herbicides. Unfortunately, this is quite difficult, bordering on the impossible due to our environment.

Recommendations. Probably the most important method of choosing a lawn maintenance company is to review their work. Most lawn maintenance companies are conscious about their work, regarding well-maintained landscape as a living billboard of advertisement. A personal inquiry from friends and homeowners is a key factor in choosing a company that will meet your expectations.

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