Warm weather is here and with it comes lawn care. Some people enjoy it while others abhor it; of course, that is where the lawn care companies come in. Whether or not you are doing it yourself or paying someone to do it for you, it’s a good idea to know what needs done so you aren’t paying for services that aren’t necessary and you are ensuring that your lawn is lush and beautiful all summer long.
First things first, it is a good idea to rake again. Ya, I know, in the fall you raked and raked and raked… (or someone blew for hours and removed your leaves for you). Now that it is summer, it is a good idea to rake/dethatch again to remove the layer of dead grass (decomposing leaves, organisms, etcetera) that sits on your lawn. A thin layer is good, but if it is greater than half an inch it can keep new grass from getting the nutrients it needs. Use a dethatching rake to do it right.
Testing your soil is another good idea. Healthy lawns require good soil. Spring is a great time to test the pH of your soil. This will help you decide what kinds of “food” your lawn is going to need. You can purchase a kit at your local hardware store like Great Lakes Ace on Michigan Street in Grand Rapids or call your local nursery or lawn care company and ask if they will professionally test your lawn.
Aerating your lawn helps it to get the air, water, and nutrients it needs. Soil compacts throughout the year making it difficult for the grass to get the air, water, and nutrients it needs. A 2-3 inch core aerator is what you need. Break up the chunks that the aerator pulls up, and they will help feed your lawn.
Feeding your lawn is important. It’s best done in mid-spring, but you can do it lightly towards the end of spring to give your lawn the food it needs. Pay attention to the directions on the package because, as with anything, too much of anything isn’t a good thing.
In the hottest months, don’t mow your grass too short. Each grass type has an ideal length, so find out what type of grass you have and follow the recommendations. A good rule of thumb is to set your mower to the highest setting and only cut off 1/3 of its length. Taller grass is healthier.
Hiring a lawn service
If none of these tasks seem remotely appealing, a lawn service is the way to go. Here are some of the things you need to consider when hiring a company to care for your lawn.
- What is their reputation? Ask friends, family, your realtor for good recommendations. Check out their reviews on Google and other sites like Yelp, Nextdoor, and HomeAdvisor.
- Are they insured? You want to make sure they are insured in case they do any damage that will end up being paid by you, for example, cut an utilities line, put a hole in a fence, or even get hurt while working on your property.
- Are they the kind of business you want to work with? Ask around and ask them directly about their customer service, their response time to calls, and their reliability.
- Do they require a contract? Many lawn companies ask for a contract. It can be a Catch-22 as some bad companies don’t give you as good of service because they know that you will be paying them regardless. Whereas good companies will always try to do great work because they take pride in what they do. By not having a contract, you won’t know for sure if they will have time for your lawn each week which can lead to a disruption in services. Try to negotiate as short of a contract as possible to protect yourself and make sure you know exactly what services you are paying for (in writing). Also, make sure you know their policy on unacceptable work quality and how they will handle your dissatisfaction. And, don’t use autopay; instead, pay them each month, so that you maintain some control.
- What are you getting? Be sure to ask for exactly what you want and determine what specific services are part of your contract. Do they bag everything up? Do they edge each time? Will they be trimming your shrubs? Will they treat your weeds? In other words, make sure you are clear on what you are paying for!
Warm weather is here to stay friends, and we at 616 Realty hope you have a wonderful summer creating amazing memories in your outdoor spaces.