turfgrass

good lawn care company?

good lawn care company?

wickedpete – posted 31 October 2003 21:03

I know this must be taboo to you lawn care junkies, but I burned up my first lawn and don’t trust myself to put the right stuff/amount down. Who do you feel is the best company to take care of an Emprie Zoysia lawn?

I was thinking of going with Truegreen since they are large and should have a good knowledge base. Should I tell them some specific things I want them to look for or just let them go at it? Thanks in advance.

PS, once my lawn gets looking great, i will probably take it over down the road, but I dont want to screw this up off the bat.

ted – posted 01 November 2003 10:09

really don’t recommend anything with TruGreen/Chemlawn. they were a really good company when they were just Chemlawn-really led the industry in research,etc. Now, they describe themselves as more of a “marketing company” that just happens to be in the lawn care business. Find a local company ( there’s lots of them, anywhere) and deal more directly with management or perhaps the owner. And as always, follow their recommendations. Most homeowners rely on word of mouth from a relative or friend or the guy at the hardware store and wind up causing alot of problems in the lawn. The success of a chemical lawn care program depends in great part on the willingness of the homeowner to water and mow correctly, it can have a great effect on the overall success. Good luck.

jr – posted 01 November 2003 13:06

I’ll second that, absolutely not to Trugreen. The larger companies do not hire people who are knowledgable about your landscape. They hire people who can mix and apply prescribed formulas concieved by some manager in an office somewhere. They are not trained to detect problems in the landscape like fungus, insects, or weeds. Hire an independent operator always. That way you know they have the knowledge and experience to deal with your problems effectively. Obtaining a pest control operator’s license is not a casual affair. Hiring somebody who has one lets you know that the person in your yard was not a convenience store cashier last week. Trugreen and the other large companies have one person with a PCO license that is permitted to supervise (by voice contact, meaning telephone or 2 way radio) up to 30 unlicensed employees. This means that the person servicing your yard has little to no training, limited supervision, and in most cases is relying on some ambigous flow chart to direct his applications.

ted – posted 01 November 2003 15:04

it’s really important to get someone who can diagnose what your lawn issues are. it’s alot more than just spraying what’s in the tank, you have to take the extra step to calibrate sprinkler systems and make recommendations to the owners. I’ve always felt that good advice is more important than any lawn care product. there’s alot of folks out there that don’t know what they’re doing, and it makes it very frustrating for the homeowner, as well as the professional people in the industry

ted – posted 01 November 2003 15:09

p.s. i’m not sure i answerered your original question, which was about the zoysia. there’s no one particular company that would know more about the zoysia than another. zoysia has a different sort of maintenance guidelines, basically less fertilizer, and less water. you more than make up for it in dethatching and using the proper lawn equipment, such as a reel mower. check out the purdue web site, they have alot of info on zoysiagrass, just remember to adjust the timing of the applications to your particular locale, since purdue is in Indiana. for sure, don’t treat it the same way as fescue or bermuda, it’s a completely different animal.

wickedpete – posted 02 November 2003 02:32

thanks guys! I OK’d them to winterize my lawn, but I will look around for a local company. One that I talked to hadn’t even heard of zoysia, so that worried me a bit. At least truegreen had heard of it which is why I decided to go with them.

Should I cancel the winerization deal b4 they do it? I need to have this done soon, so I may not have time to find another company.

wdrake – posted 02 November 2003 07:08

Some suggestion from University of Florida turf authorities on how to select a company.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/LH030

wickedpete – posted 03 November 2003 06:39

quote:Originally posted by wdrake:Some suggestion from University of Florida turf authorities on how to select a company.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/LH030

Hey, thanks! This almost makes things more difficult since noone I talk to is happy with their lawn care. Also, the two I’ve talked to say they need to apply 6-8 times per year as opposed to 2-4. Looks like finding a good company is just as hard as taking care of it myself.

ted – posted 03 November 2003 09:15

where are you?

wickedpete – posted 03 November 2003 14:07

Jacksonville, FL… the other company I talked to besides Trugreen was Bug-Out (they do lawn care outside of pest treatment) who hadn’t heard of Zoysia. He asked another guy at the office and he told me they have that on their “test site”. I didn’t want to become another “test site”.

PS Trugreen winterized the lawn yesterday. They used a liquid and granular fertalizer as well as put down weed control and pestacide. Is that too much at one time!? Also it rained heavily that morning and again late last night, so I don’t know if what they did was washed out or not. Hmmm, what to do

[This message has been edited by wickedpete (edited 04 November 2003).]

ted – posted 05 November 2003 12:39

go to plcaa.org- they have a list of certified, credentialed applicators in your area. they put down weed control fert. and insecticide all in one application? it’s not too much but it’s sounds a little suspicious. as for the rain, it depends. it ok for the fert. and the insect control, but you would have wanted for the weed control to have dried on the lawn before it got washed off. rain is a highly overrated problem in the industry, all homeowners think that if it rains within 3 years of the lawn application the ap is no good! generally it’s great for it to rain before the ap, but not too soon afterward.

wickedpete – posted 05 November 2003 13:25

quote:Originally posted by ted:go to plcaa.org- they have a list of certified, credentialed applicators in your area. they put down weed control fert. and insecticide all in one application? it’s not too much but it’s sounds a little suspicious. as for the rain, it depends. it ok for the fert. and the insect control, but you would have wanted for the weed control to have dried on the lawn before it got washed off. rain is a highly overrated problem in the industry, all homeowners think that if it rains within 3 years of the lawn application the ap is no good! generally it’s great for it to rain before the ap, but not too soon afterward.

LOL, maybe 3 hours, huh? Thanks, I’ll check out that website.

Alex_in_FL (Lex) – posted 24 December 2003 09:43

You have a challenge and happily you have recognized it. Most of the companies that leave free estimates appear clueless. I say this because they provide the exact same recommendation for my front and back yard. However, my front is floratam and rear is zoysia!!

My suggestion is to talk to the applicator before he arrives and ensure that he/she knows you have zoysia. Then ask what chemicals they plan to use.

Please post if you picked and company and why you decided on that company.

Alex

Jack – posted 26 December 2003 20:19

Trugreen came into my area and bought out all the small companies. They retained a bunch of the good and weeded out the bad. I believe firmly in two things when it comes to lanscape companies. 1. You can not watch them close enough. 2 None of them are any good some are just not as bad as others. You need to become knowledgable in what you are trying to do and tell them what you want. They should be more than happy to work with you and your budget. Nothing hurtsthem more than an upset customer. The word of mouth is priceless. Do not sign any long term contracts with any body. I use my county ag agent for advice. JV

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 05 January 2004 12:44

Clearly it sounds like you have the physical capability and the time to do this yourself but you are just afraid of doing the wrong thing. I have a suggestion that will save you a bunch of money and worry.

Organic management can do absolutely no harm to your grass or your wallet if you learn only one thing: You don’t need to use compost all the time. Here’s the plan in order of importance.

1. Stop using any chemical herbicide, insecticide, grubicide, miticide, fungicide, or fertilizer. Just that fast you’ve “gone organic.”

2. Water deeply and infrequently. If your soil is sand, this may mean you water twice a week in the heat of summer for 30 minutes each time. If your soil is more clay or has a lot of organic material in it, then it means you water no more than once a week in the heat of summer and for an hour or two at a time. Basically you water when the grass shows signs of drought. What this step does is develop deep, drought resistant roots. It also favors grass over weeds.

3. Mow as high as the lawn mower will allow. Some zoysias get clumpy if they go too long without mowing at all, so you need to mow it some. Tall grass supports the deep roots you are shooting for in step 2. Short grass cannot support deep roots, so this is what you want. Tall grass uses less water than short grass, and tall grass shades out the weed seeds to keep them from germinating.

4. Fertilize with an organic fertilizer whenever you want to, but do it regularly. That could mean twice a year or 6 times a year depending on what you can afford in time and money. My favorite organic fertilizer is corn meal ground to a meal, not a powder and not large chunks of corn, but ground up somewhere in between. The application rate is 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. 40-80 pounds per 1,000 is fine, too if you can afford it. In fact, if you accidentally dump an entire 50 pound bag out on the lawn, as long as you get most of it swept up, you will be fine. Just don’t smother the grass with it. You can water it in or not, but it does not work in perfectly dry soil. Eventually it will get damp enough to start working for you. Corn meal, and any ground up seed, bean, or nut, works by providing protein to the soil microbes. The soil microbes turn the nitrogen in protein into plant food. Until the microbes process the corn meal, you have nothing, so don’t expect overnight results. What this means is you cannot burn anything with corn meal, but in 3 weeks you can expect to see significant greening and fast growth, just like with chemical fertilizers.

Alternatives to corn meal are alfalfa pellets, soy meal, linseed meal, cottonseed meal, and even used coffee grounds from your favorite local coffee shop. The application rate is roughly the same – somewhere between 10 and 80 pounds per 1,000 square feet depending on what you can afford. However, corn meal has antifungal properties which should be of strong interest to anyone with zoysia. If you use corn meal every 90 days year round you should never have a fungus problem.

I fertilize my St Augustine on Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day.

JWMM – posted 12 February 2004 11:48

TruGreen is generally not the best company. One question would be is your zoysia planted in the sun or shade areas of your lawn. Zoysia is primarily a full sun type of turfgrass, and does poorly in the shade regardless of the chemical program. It is a very hardy grass and will take most any type of herbicide or fertilizer program. The draw back to zoysia is the amount of your time in maintenance. Because it grows so thick it chocks out most weeds. Insects are not a major problem but some diseases are. The most common and most debilitating one in our area (Oklahoma) is Zoysia Patch. The density of the turf is the real problem. It will need to be scalped annually and dethatched at least every other year. It was designed to be mowed at about an inch but because of its density many homeowners let it go to 3-4 inches, which is too high. Zoysia is about the highest maintenance lawn I have dealth with. Many people treat it with the same program as bermuda. That’s OK, but you waste a lot of fertility. You can check with your state extension office for specific recommendations. I would not recommend the organic approach. Too much work, not enough benefit and costs a lot. JWMM

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 03 March 2004 23:46

JWMM said, “I would not recommend the organic approach. Too much work, not enough benefit and costs a lot.”

Maybe he didn’t read what I suggested because this is just the opposite of my program. I do much less work (absolutely zero hassle), my grass is usually greener than the neighbor’s, and my cost is much less than any of my chemical fertilizer program neighbors. I don’t use any herbicide, insecticide, or fungicide and I don’t dethatch or scalp so those alone cut the cost and work factor way down. And my fertilizer costs $5/bag (or less) and covers 5,000 square feet. Basically I fertilize a few times, water and mow. I never worry about weeds, insects, or disease because the healthy soil takes care of those issues.

I don’t necessarily want to debate that but when someone tells me that black is white, I have to reply. JWMM’s experience might be different but with the program as I laid it out, the results will be great.

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