Be selective when choosing a lawn care service
Terasa M. Lott
Water Resources Agent, Clemson Extension
The winter weeds like henbit and annual bluegrass are making an appearance in the landscape, adding a little bit of green to the brown background of dormant turfgrass. Personally, I enjoy the tiny purple henbit flowers in what is otherwise a rather drab time of year. If you don’t share that sentiment, you are not alone. Weeds seem to be public enemy number one when it comes to lawns.
It’s become commonplace for homes to have rather expansive areas of turfgrass. The problem is, maintaining an attractive, healthy lawn is not a simple task and involves a whole lot more than mowing and blowing. Due to the complexity of turfgrass management, you may decide to use a professional lawn care service. With so many companies to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?
When selecting a lawn care company, you’ll first need to determine what services you need. Some companies focus only on the manual aspects of lawn care (usually referred to as “mow ‘n blow”) and are not licensed to apply pesticides. Companies offering total lawn care service will perform the manual labor but also set your irrigation schedule, perform cultural practices such as aeration, and diagnose and treat pest issues as needed. In South Carolina, companies applying pesticides must have a commercial pesticide applicator license. Look for the yellow decal shaped like the state of South Carolina on their vehicle. Finally, total landscape management companies will perform complete turfgrass care as well as caring for shrubs and trees.
Be sure that the company you choose has expertise and training in turfgrass care and management. This includes mowing at the proper height and frequency for the type of turf in your yard. If the company will be applying fertilizer, be sure they base the application on the results of a soil test. If irrigation scheduling is performed, ask for smart technology that will account for rainfall and prevent excess irrigation.
Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Center offers numerous fact sheets regarding lawn care including yearly maintenance schedules that may be helpful to both homeowners and professionals. Training opportunities such as Turf School are also offered for professionals. Turf School is a one-day course focusing on the technical challenges of maintaining high quality turfgrass. It is being held on Friday, February 13 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center. More information is available at: www.clemson.edu/extension search under horticulture upcoming events “turf school”.
Whether you care for your lawn yourself or hire an outside company, remember that proper care and maintenance is the first line of defense when it comes to those pesky weeds.
Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.