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Lost faith in local professionals

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by phydeauxman, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. phydeauxman

    phydeauxman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I take great pride in my lawn and have invested much money and much of my own time and effort into getting to look as best as possible. I have tried all of the local professionals that I am aware of (Lawn Doctor, TruGreen, Scotts) but all they want to do is dump chemicals in my lawn and try to sell me more stuff that I don't want. What I really want them to do is to tell me what is wrong with the problem areas of my lawn...the problem spots they keep dumping chemicals on with no imporvement...and come up with a plan to improve those areas. I also want them to rid my lawn of "most" weeds. They all fall down on the weed irradication when it comes to edges like along the driveway and when it comes to Nutsedge. I don't mind spending the money (within reason) but I want results for the money I spend. I have decided to ditch all of the so called pro's for next season and try to handle it myself.

    The immediate advise I need is on the following items:

    - We put a pool in last year and finally have the yard ready to reseed those areas that were torn up in that process. I have tried Rebel seed in the past and have had some results with it but given the fact that we do not have a sprinkler system and we have periods of no rain at times, looking for something that may hold up a little better. In my research so far, I am considering trying Pennington Smart Seed. Any feedbakc on this selection? Of particular concern is the septic lines in the yard. Grass on either side of the lines is deep green and is some of the thickest in the yard but on top of the lines is thinner and turns brown easy during drought periods.

    - What is the best way to control Nutsedge? Should I not worry about this to next season or is there something I should apply now that will help control it next season?

    - The grass in my yard is Tall Fescue, what should I be putting on the lawn to winterize it and give it the best jump start for the next season?

    - One of the trouble spots in my lawn is around some of my trees. I have a mulched bed of 6ft diameter around my trees and the grass around some of the trees is showing mower distress and is becoming thin. I keep my mower deck at 3 to 3.5 inches year round.
     
  2. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,743

    I dont know where you live to give advice on what type of fertilizers etc to apply. It is too late to treat for nutsedge this year.

    However, I will address the fact that you have "given up on all" professionals. You have only tried the national outfits, that are more marketing companies than lawn care companies, that is why you feel that you are only having chemicals dumped on your lawn and trying to be sold more stuff.

    As a smaller lawn service it frustrates me no end to hear that "all" word thrown out when you have not gotten past the nationals.

    Look a little further in your local market. I can name 6 companies off the top of my head (mine excluded) that that would put your lawn to where it needs to be the right way.

    Of course you will pay a bit more than you paid the big guys but that is because you will get the service and attention and results from the smaller guy.

    Sorry for the rant but I cant tell you the number of times I hear, "I am just going to do it myself because I have tried everybody and the professionals dont know what they are doing" Not true, find the local company that cares about keeping customers and doing the right thing.

    One of the those professional managers from a big outfit that you speak of once told me that as long as they have more customers signing up than they do cancelling it is a good year. (they lost 1,000 customers that year, more than my whole business has) just food for thought.
     
  3. TheNatural

    TheNatural LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Go for it!

    I recently cut back on the chemical aspect of it all myself and I'm having better results. My biggest improvements have come from top dressing the turf with a good quality compost. Getting all that good organic life back in the soil was my goal and it seemed to work for me. This year my turf needed less water to stay healthy and green. It grew slower which was fine with me because it meant less mowing. Areating and overseeding it always helps as well. I do use Scotts starter ferts when I patch or overseed. I give it a light shot of Scotts turfbuilder in the spring and last week I dropped a normal application of the Scotts winterguard formula for its fall feeding.
     
  4. phydeauxman

    phydeauxman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Thanks for the reply Turf Hokie (Go LSU Tiger's). I know there are good professionals out there and I know they can do it better than I can. I tried to pick my words carfully in the original post by saying "All of the local professionals I know of", I am still searching for someone other than the ones I listed but in my area, Harpers Ferry WV, have not run across any yet. I do not plan to renew with the ones I listed any longer and will go it alone until I can find someone I can trust will produce results...and can afford.
     
  5. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,842

    phyd -- there is a thing called a telephone. If I saw ANY company "dumping chemicals", I'd complain too.........and the DNR should be involved at that point.

    "Trying to sell you more stuff": Actually, I think you still have the right in this Country to "just say no". :hammerhead:

    Weeds along the edges --- Why weeds there and not in the rest of the property???? (I think professionals on this site already know why).
    Try this.........."measure the grass" AFTER it's been mowed to determine it's "actual height". If you string trim, please measure these areas too. :dizzy:

    Nutsedge....all the above lawn compnaies can erradicate it. Again....there is a thing called a telephone if you truly want their help. :confused:
     
  6. phydeauxman

    phydeauxman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Thanks for the reply. Not sure what you mean the telephone comments. If you are referring to calling those companies and complaining, been there and done that. I did that with Lawn Doctor and Scotts to the point that they don't even want my business any more. Was not being over critical with them...just wanted them to take care of my entire lawn...not just the easy to get to places. AND, I wanted all of the weed species treated, not just the common ones. Scotts wanted to charge me extra to do the Nutsedge. I understand there may be special chemicals/measures that need to be used to get rid of it but when I signed up with them they did not say "we will get rid of everything but Nutsedge for this price".

    TruGreen wants my business so bad they are willing to do free overseeding in bare spots. That is not the answer to me...I want to know why I have bare spots.

    I am not a lawn professional and am not trying to be one but I do want the best lawn possible. Working 60 hours a week does not leave me much time to pamper an acre lot but I am also not going to continue to throw money away on self-proclaimed experts.
     
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    I think most people have touched on the points of interest. See there are many types of grass and all do differently in different conditions. Under trees can be a water/nutrient issue as the tree will win over the grass or it could be a light issue for the type of grass you have. Over the septic pipe, well is it very shallow? This could be your issue.

    As a NJ licensed applicator I can personally tell you that people want golf course results, but almost never want to spend the money. Yes proper treatments, mowing, water all play a major role in the lawn health. However, if your soil is no good in one particular area than none of these will provide your intended results.

    National outfits in general care about production alone. So yes you start complaining, which you might be entitled to, and they bail out after a few visits. Reason being there is always someone else is willing to take your spot and not complain because they know they are still paying less than a company that cares. Try full service landscape companies, phone book and the net. A good company will start with soil testing and an explanation of the results, followed by a plan on how to fix the problems.

    On the problems along the edge. Well no one can tell without seeing it. However, in my experience, 99 or of 100 problems I see are created by the homeowner or the maintenance guy trimming it too short. Hang your deck over the edge and there is no need to trim on a horizontal plane. Trim on a vertical plane to crisp up the edge.

    I will close with what I tell nearly everyone I meet about this.

    Forget everything you ever thought you knew about lawn care because likely 99% of it wrong. Start with good soil, then good seed, follow with good maintenance and you will get good results. Miss any one of these and you will get only fair results.

    Good Luck
     
  8. CAROLINALAWNMAN1

    CAROLINALAWNMAN1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    echelon in early spring works as a preemergent for nutsedge....there are a couple of ways as a post emergent but the best ways require mixing with surfacants etc and you could do more harm than good if u r not evaluating it properly..u can use an msma product for spot treating...tall fescue can be slightly sensitive so just just one quick spray to actively growing plants ..certain weeds and grasses do require different chemicals that cannot be mixed with each other..many times it can be a process where u r trying to get rid of the biggest problems first and then moving on to the next one.only u know how far u are willing to go..if u r intending to plant seed then u have to worry about certain treatments that r killing the weeds and will kill your seed as well...u need someone to give u an honest evaluation with a plan to fix it... .keep you r cutting height at 3.5" to 4" that grass should b cut higher....
     
  9. Gordo2

    Gordo2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Some words of wisdom here! Tips along those lines if you DIY:

    - Get your soil tested available at a local cooperative extension. If you've never done this (search on how to take the samples), you will more than likely be shocked at the amount of lime your soil may need. Here in VA where we have acidic soil, it's not uncommon to get a recommendation for 100lbs/1000sqft (applied over a few applications). Lots of people drop a bag or two and call it good...
    -Follow the fertilization recommendations (available from your cooperative extension) for your local area (normally only applying fertilizer in the fall).
    - Problem areas can frequently be traced to soil quality - rocks or hard compacted clay just under the top inch or so of soil. In some cases you may need to dig the area up (till) and incorporate organic matter (peat or manure).
    - Trees are a butt kicker; they soak up loads of moisture. I have an inground sprinkler system and still can't keep my areas around big trees green during mid summer/dry spells. I've dug out big tree root balls in the dry part of summer to find the soil at the base moist while the surrounding area is bone dry.
    - Weeds: Start with early spring application of pre-emergent (haven't seen any at Home Depot or Lowes; available at John Deere Landscape stores - search for a local store). I've gave up on drop type week killer (weed & feed). Spot treat with a selective spray herbicide (Gordon's Speed Zone is great stuff - expensive, but mixes with water and goes a long way). Be patient; getting weeds under control can take a few seasons.

    A local lawn pro knows this stuff and can definitely get you moving in the right direction if you decide to go that way. Call around and ask for some references to view - talk to the owner if you can.

    Best of luck,

    Gordo
     
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,298

    Tree win over grass .... perhaps for light, but for water and nutrients .... not if the effective roots zones are occupying the same soil volume.

    @OP

    IMO anyone who sells you a "program" with "x" applications is only concerned with their bottom line, not your landscape. Find someone who will determine what your landscape needs, and is willing to do what is needed to build a healthy, sustainable soil and landscape without the need for monthly chem dumps.

    I'll also add if your area has a need for irrigation due to normal environmental conditions then you might want to rethink your desire for turf type grasses.
     

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