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View Full Version : Dropping Chemlawn, need advice


411craig
08-14-2003, 02:06 AM
I am going to start fertilizing my lawn starting this coming spring and would like some advice. Chemlawn is just not cutting it, they have made three applications and it doesn't seem like the grass is coming along like I would expect for the money they charge (about 1.2 acres @ 175.00 per app. X 5 visits a year.) The yard has not been fertilized for several years prior as we just moved in late spring. Had trouble getting a company to come out in time to do a preemergent application so this didn't help matters either. I figure I could get a nice spreader <-- any ideas? and the chemicals and have a nicer lawn for less money than I am paying out now. Also I could apply what is necessary, and not what Chemlawn decides to dump in their tank for all the lawns on their route, which likely have different needs. I worked in the lawn and landscape business for about 6 years but don't have lots of expierence with fertilizer/herbicide apps. I am guessing one of the first things would be to test the soil to see what it needs and go from there. There are a few pics of some weeds and the lawn HERE (http://home.woh.rr.com/phreakflier/lawn.htm). Sorry, know I should have compressed them a little more. I can provide more pictures if needed.

Thanks,
Craig

jonw9
08-14-2003, 12:34 PM
I am going through the same thing myself, except for that it appears as if your lawn looks better than mine does. I am just tired of paying to have brown grass and weeds. For a spreader, you would probably be best off with a tow-behind rotary spreader, unless you were thinking about liquid applications.

I am going to stick with granular. I am not sure who is the best. Scotts, Lesco, Vigaro, Bayer, etc. I figure doing the lawn myself may not save me money, but I am hoping it at least looks better. Good luck to you and let us know how it goes!

411craig
08-14-2003, 01:08 PM
Well, woke up this morning to find a little flag in the yard. They decided to do a "grub control" app. after being told not to. I am going to refuse to pay the bill and tell them not to come back. $265 their trying to charge for a service not authorized!:angry:

BermudaRectangle
08-18-2003, 06:02 PM
I dropped ChemLawn last year because I felt like there was no visible benefit to my lawn. So I maintained the fertilizer and weed control program on my own.

Bad decision! My lawn was overrun with weeds by the end of the summer! :dizzy:

My personal program didn't get the lawn any greener either, so I gave up and called them back the next year.

The weed control is much improved, and I have the neighborhood "Yard of the Month" sign on my lawn this month... ;)

So I reluctantly pay the fee to have them do the yard. Like many others, I have precious little time to tend to the yard...

jonw9
08-19-2003, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by BermudaRectangle
I dropped ChemLawn last year because I felt like there was no visible benefit to my lawn. So I maintained the fertilizer and weed control program on my own.

Bad decision! My lawn was overrun with weeds by the end of the summer! :dizzy:

My personal program didn't get the lawn any greener either, so I gave up and called them back the next year.

The weed control is much improved, and I have the neighborhood "Yard of the Month" sign on my lawn this month... ;)

So I reluctantly pay the fee to have them do the yard. Like many others, I have precious little time to tend to the yard...

No offense but, if you don't have the precious time to tend to your yard, could that be the reason you had a weed problem? I have a green service come to my house, and my neighbors yard looks better, and he just uses Scotts.

I just got tired of the guy showing up and half-assed spraying for 5 minutes with the mixture of the day. You are correct that more time and effort, and possibly more money may be required. I guess if it doesn't look good/better than I can always call them back like you did.

Nebraska
08-19-2003, 09:21 AM
What you guys do not realize that in most cases the problems that exist in a yard are problems that are beyond the control of the lawn care operator. i.e. mowing height, watering practices, and weather. As a lawn care operator we continually send out and provide step by step instructions on proper horticultural care of turf that addresses these issues and no matter what there are a certain percentage that do not take the time to follow those instructions or have even seen them (although they are provided 6 times over the year and explained in detail in the beginning).

jonw9
08-19-2003, 10:26 AM
Originally posted by Nebraska
What you guys do not realize that in most cases the problems that exist in a yard are problems that are beyond the control of the lawn care operator. i.e. mowing height, watering practices, and weather. As a lawn care operator we continually send out and provide step by step instructions on proper horticultural care of turf that addresses these issues and no matter what there are a certain percentage that do not take the time to follow those instructions or have even seen them (although they are provided 6 times over the year and explained in detail in the beginning).

I am not saying the quality applicators don't exist, I am just not one of the lucky ones to have one on my property. I understand a large portion of the lawn resides on the homeowner. I am also saying that compared to my neighbor, who also mows at 3", waters as often as I do, and also experiences the same weather has a better lawn with standard products than I am achieving with my "professional". That is why I come to this site, for helpful information that I can use to make my lawn better.

On my application receipt, there are not any reccomendations checked, not more higher, loer or otherwise. Heck, the type of grass isn't even marked, most likely because Joe sprayer doesn't know either.

mower_babe
08-27-2003, 12:25 AM
we cannot seem to find a decent spraying company either. I know that it is not an uncommon predicament.

Rustic Goat
08-27-2003, 03:02 AM
411, your idea of a soil test would be a first step to take. One from the local Ag. Extension, not off a store shelf.
Then find someone that does granular apps.

wriken
08-27-2003, 08:23 AM
Originally posted by 411craig
Well, woke up this morning to find a little flag in the yard. They decided to do a "grub control" app. after being told not to. I am going to refuse to pay the bill and tell them not to come back. $265 their trying to charge for a service not authorized!:angry:

good luck on trying to get out of paying for it, they will hound and hound you. I have a few older clients that got suckered into there services. I really feel sorry for them.

Green Pastures
08-27-2003, 11:30 AM
So let me guess....

The lawn has not seen fertilizer for two years prior to Chemlawn taking over, and you "expect" some sort of magical green thick lush lawn in less than one season?

Is that about it?

:rolleyes:

Do you realize how much work it is to PROPERLY fertilize/pre and post emergent weed control/fungus control/grub control 1.2 acres?

Do you have a rotary spreader? $300 @ Lesco.......

Anything other than a small hand sprayer? 5 gallon backpack type $ 200 Solo. 200 gallon tank for your pickup truck $3000

Applicators license so you can legally purchase chemicals that will actually work, unlike the water in a bottle you can get in the lawn n garden section at Home Depot. $100 a year for the books and $70 a year for taking the test.

Can you purchase the commercial grade chemicals that will do the job? Recent purchase @ Lesco 2 oz.....that's right only 2 oz of fungus control ......$48. Banner Maxx is about $600 a gallon provided you have an applicators license.

I'd think LONG and HARD before I fired Chemlawn.

Why not call the manager out to your property and show him/her what you're disappointed with. Ask if your expectations are reasonable. Discuss your expectations.

There are MANY different levels of service available from Chemlawn.

I've found that if you are a call once and then just pay the bill every month type of customer, Chemlawn SUCKS. You have to stay on top of them.

BUT, if you are actively involved in the decision making of how your lawn will be treated and what it will be treated with....AND have the manager out to your property several times a season they are among the best fert services in the nation.

Be pro-active not re-active.

Randy J
08-27-2003, 08:10 PM
Sorry to go against you on this one Scott, but I think if a person enjoys working in their yard, they can get a better yard than a company like Chem-Lawn can get them. That's not to say a smaller more personal LCO wouldn't do a better job, but I see no reason for a person not to treat their own lawn - if they enjoy the work.
I personally don't like the Scotts programs. If you can find a quality nursery in your area, they often sell better fertilizers/week & feeds. And you might want to check out the threads concerning Organics currently running. I certainly agree with Scott on one thing though - for 1.2 acres it's going to be expensive.

Randy

GLAN
08-28-2003, 12:18 PM
All of you bring valid opinions to the table.

I have seen homeowners with the Scott's 4 step progam have a decent looking lawn. Though there is one problem. They are combination bags of fert and pesticide. Unfortunately with that program your not applying the pesticide at the correct time.

For you homeowners I would suggest if you want to do it yourself. Go to a reputable garden center. Not the chain Home Depots' unless that is all you have there. Why not even try going to a wholesale supplier Like an Agway.

There will be a little trial and error till you get it right.

DO FOLLOW THE LABEL INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION TO THE LETTER. Do not think that "Oh maybe a little more, cause I have a problem" If the label says retreat 2 weeks later or even several weeks later, do it.

Lots of crabgrass. Do the 2 applications it indicates you can do on the label. Much better than doing 1 heavy app, not following the directions.

You had Grub problems. Well then use something like Merit that will provide an extended control. Rather than a heavy app of Dylox.

Broadleaf weeds. Apply at the rate indicated on the label according to your method of application. It says to retreat, then do just that. Don't mix double in the sprayer thinking your going to only apply once and kill the suckers.

Fertilizer, use a quality slow release. Ask as to what they have and recommend.

Be diligent in your efforts and you will get results.

jonw9
08-28-2003, 02:20 PM
There is a Lesco shop a bit from my house. Do they sell to regular home owners, or only certified professionals? I would assume that this would be one of the better routes than the Scotts. Does anyone know approx. how price compares to Scotts?

Now I am up in the air about either doing it myself, or still paying All-Green to do it, but just ride them harder like Scott said.

Off Topic: I e-mailed Lesco about TFC a couple of weeks back and got no response. Does anybody know how much ti would roughly cost to treat 1/2 acre, number of applications needed, and if this is available to a non-licensed guy. Thank you again.

simplicityjeff
09-08-2003, 10:03 PM
We were in the same boat as many of you. We moved in last summer and I didnt have clue one of how to care for a lawn. As this summer approached, we were looking for a vendor to trat our lawn and we chose Natural Lawn of America and I cant stop raving about the results. We have about 1.2 acres of land and they charge us about $95 per application, with at least 3 and at most 5 apps per season. Since I have a baby girl and a wonderful dog, I chose Natual Lawn of America b/c of the organic materials. Check them out - http://www.nl-amer.com

sjz60
09-20-2003, 01:02 PM
I have about 1.5 acres in a development, that I take care of myself. I have an irrigation system. Lawn is mixture of tall fescue and perennial rye (all turftype).

I have religiously used Lesco products sold at Home Depot, including Lesco seed..followed the instructions as much as possible. My lawn is clearly one of the best in my development, although doing this myself takes quite a bit of time, and still costs $$. Lesco had an independent rep working out of the local Home Depot who was very helpful with application tips, etc.

I have found the Lesco products to be cheaper than Scotts, and my results have been excellent..The local Lesco distributor told me they would not sell to residential people, but I got the feeling I could make up a business name and be able to purchase through them instead of HD.

I have found that applying lime really gave an extra boost on top of everything else, and I am also starting to to my own soil testing in some trouble spots to figure out what extra steps I need to take. Overseeding has been done, and the lawn has gotten so thick that there are very little weeds in it. Clover seems to be my biggest problem.

Good luck.

Grassmechanic
09-20-2003, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by jonw9
Off Topic: I e-mailed Lesco about TFC a couple of weeks back and got no response. Does anybody know how much ti would roughly cost to treat 1/2 acre, number of applications needed, and if this is available to a non-licensed guy. Thank you again. I think TFC ( Tall Fescue Control) has been discontinued, but I could be wrong. If you have a heavy tall fescue problem, you would be better off (faster, cheaper) going the Round-up method and re-seeding the whole yard. If you only have a couple clumps, then the TFC, if they make it, is the way to go. TFC works very slowly, 8-12 weeks for total control, but it does work good. The last time I bought it (1988) it was around $50 for a card with 10 blisters/card. Each blister made 1 gallon of spray. It is designed as a spot application rather than a blanket spray application.

craigs lawncare
09-20-2003, 04:04 PM
Originally posted by Green Pastures
So let me guess....

The lawn has not seen fertilizer for two years prior to Chemlawn taking over, and you "expect" some sort of magical green thick lush lawn in less than one season?

Is that about it?

:rolleyes:

Do you realize how much work it is to PROPERLY fertilize/pre and post emergent weed control/fungus control/grub control 1.2 acres?

Do you have a rotary spreader? $300 @ Lesco.......

Anything other than a small hand sprayer? 5 gallon backpack type $ 200 Solo. 200 gallon tank for your pickup truck $3000

Applicators license so you can legally purchase chemicals that will actually work, unlike the water in a bottle you can get in the lawn n garden section at Home Depot. $100 a year for the books and $70 a year for taking the test.

Can you purchase the commercial grade chemicals that will do the job? Recent purchase @ Lesco 2 oz.....that's right only 2 oz of fungus control ......$48. Banner Maxx is about $600 a gallon provided you have an applicators license.

I'd think LONG and HARD before I fired Chemlawn.

Why not call the manager out to your property and show him/her what you're disappointed with. Ask if your expectations are reasonable. Discuss your expectations.

There are MANY different levels of service available from Chemlawn.

I've found that if you are a call once and then just pay the bill every month type of customer, Chemlawn SUCKS. You have to stay on top of them.

BUT, if you are actively involved in the decision making of how your lawn will be treated and what it will be treated with....AND have the manager out to your property several times a season they are among the best fert services in the nation.

Be pro-active not re-active.


Actually, I like Chem Lawn!
I have re-seeded three lawns in the last two seasons because of their poor service. The grubs really seem love Chem-Lawn too! By the way, these lawns are now my customers. So yes, by all means, I recommend Chem Lawn to all of my NON-CUSTOMERS when I am ready to pick up another account. :rolleyes:
Craig:D

Green in Idaho
09-27-2003, 10:30 PM
There are applicator services other than ChemLawn.

Try someone else for a bit.....:cool:

The Lawn Boy Pro
10-02-2003, 05:17 PM
I say SCOTTS 4 STEP program. I like scotts becasue its not granule, its practically powder. Sure, it isnt a good idea to put it down on a windy day, but at least it seems to work overnight!

Ground Master
10-07-2003, 06:12 PM
I agree with Green in Idaho. Look for a local guy/company who will treat your lawn like his own.

mower_medic
10-16-2003, 09:44 PM
I am a mechanic at Lesco and have seen my co workers sit down with people(home owners and professionals) for 1-2 hours and make out a yearly plan for their chemical and fert needs. I wouldn't e-mail them as it takes quite a bit of time to explain all the information you need to know to grow a nice lawn, and it is usually very busy and they don't have the time it takes to answer all the questions in an e-mail. They are very willing to sit down and talk face to face with you and work out a schedule with you though. Especially in the winter time when it slows down for them. They also have an agronomics tech support line you can call at their corporate office that can help you too. They also provide soil testing.

mower_medic
10-16-2003, 09:46 PM
additional note: Lesco is a publically held corporation, therefore they have to sell to homeowners too unless it is a restricted use product or a product that is not labeled for residential use.

Green in Idaho
10-16-2003, 11:05 PM
What does being a public company have anything to do with "therefore they have to sell to homeowners too."?????

olderthandirt
10-22-2003, 02:21 AM
Your service by Chemlawn is Guranteed If your not happy call the manager and have him come to your home. You do not have to pay for a service you did not authorize them to do.Never sign up for more than one treatment at a time tell them you want to see the results after a treatment before you sign for another. My best friend is the district manager of chemlawn in N. Oh. so I know a few of there secrets.

Metro Lawn
11-20-2003, 12:21 AM
There are so many factors to consider. I would suggest seeing the Lesco guys, they are great and sell great products. If you have a lawn tractor to cut your lawn, buy a pull behind spreader and small boom sprayer unit. Both items will be less than what you are paying Chemlawn. You can use dry for all applications unless you have weeds. Nothing beats liquid for broadleaf control. Another factor: How compact is the soil? I had a customer with the same problem. Did everything right, but the lawn still looked bad. I suggested aerating it and a month later it looked awesome.

SodKing
11-21-2003, 09:22 PM
Lawn Boy...You should be worried that you will get fined by your state Pesticide Control Division. Just because you can buy a product over the counter, does not mean you can legally apply it.

To everyone else... Chemlawn is not the only company out there. Check your state landscape association, ALCA, PLCAA, for other companies. Myself, I have a degree in Plant Biology, I am the president of a regional lawn care company, and have been treating lawns for almost 15 years, and I never set foot in Chamlawn. I did teach their applicator what a grub looked like though.

Runner
12-09-2003, 07:44 PM
jonw9,
Where abouts are you? If you are near me, I will show you a fert. program that will astonish both you AND your neighbors. On our regular program yards, we grow grass so thick, that we can do what we call "the golfball test" on it. That is, at the end of the season, we can go out into the yard, have the grass mowed at 3" high, and drop the golfball. This grass is so thick and hardy, that the grass will hit the grass, and stay right on top - even at 3". One thing you have to understand about the "big green" companies, is that they are NOT lawn companies... they are MARKETING companies. Their managers are even told this at their meetings. Their main goal is sales and quantities, not quality. As far as the poster in Ohio, that was paying $185 for 1.2 acres,... he was getting taken, and HARD. Even for his area. The going rate for him should've been around $120. With THAT company, you can ALWAYS talk them down, too. You are getting junk for product, though. Usually straight nitrogen 46-0-0. It gives you a quick green and alot of top leaf growth. Well, to the average consumer, they say. "Wow, that fertilizer must really be working, because this stuff is growing to beat the band!" When in all actuality, it is getting less healthier, and depleting all the while. That's right,... that's what straight N does. It stresses the plant out by elongating the cell structure, and leaving it more susceptible to disease and other damage. This is why it gets all weak and wimpy, and just sort of lays over limp in the hotter weather. (that's a whole 'nother chapter, though). With the RIGHT ferts, the turf gets it's other important ingredients, and micro-nutrients to build a thick, healthy root system, and turf that is extremely thick. With turf this thick, you have very little problems with weeds or other wise, because nothing stands a chance in this healthy turf.
I love educating new customers on stuff like this, because then I am always backed up with the results. Pleased customers are where I get my gratification. When I get the referals to the neighbors and friends, that is a great compliment. As far as the other franchise programs,.. well there is no comparison, because it's apples to oranges.

PrecisionLandService
01-16-2004, 11:20 PM
You cant fix a lawn in one season..... Typical homeowner.... U will NOT bring a lawn back in one summer takes a few years !!

kootoomootoo
01-17-2004, 12:12 AM
Have fixed plenty of lawns in weeks as I am sure a few other guys have on here.

GreenKind
03-21-2004, 12:34 AM
Fire chem lawn, they are out spraying for quota's, go with the smaller guy who cares about "his" accounts..

Smaller companies are more able to customize your program.

Lovbcstiller
03-21-2004, 07:04 PM
Go to a good garden center. not like ***-**** or **** *****. Most good garden center will have a Lawn specialist on staff. Most good Landscape Companies have a lawn appicators.

jonw9
04-14-2004, 09:44 AM
Originally posted by Runner
jonw9,
Where abouts are you? If you are near me, I will show you a fert. program that will astonish both you AND your neighbors. On our regular program yards, we grow grass so thick, that we can do what we call "the golfball test" on it. That is, at the end of the season, we can go out into the yard, have the grass mowed at 3" high, and drop the golfball. This grass is so thick and hardy, that the grass will hit the grass, and stay right on top - even at 3". One thing you have to understand about the "big green" companies, is that they are NOT lawn companies... they are MARKETING companies. SNIP

I live near Lansing, so it would be a bit of a ride for you. I would actually like to do the stuff myself, but which products, from where, and how much are all things I am worried about.

I already signed on for another year, but will make sure to stay on top of the guys this year, and if I see anything I will be calling the manager.