Every Spring or for that matter throughout the summer and fall you are likely to get a visit from your local lawn care company. Although many full service companies that also cut your grass can perform fertilizing and weed maintenance there are a number of specialty companies that will tell you they can restore your lawn and get rid of your weeds if you sign up for their year long maintenance program.
Although there are times when such a service can be a benefit for some customers it is important to look at exactly what you are getting and how much it will cost. If you do not examine the cost vs benefit then you could be wasting lots of money and turning over the care of your lawn to someone less then qualified.
The first thing that you should look for when selecting a lawn care service is licensing. Every business must have a general business license but in addition any company that applies pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers must go through specific training and certification by your state and possibly the federal government.
In addition to licensing you should look for bonding and insurance to make sure that any products applied to your lawn whether properly or improperly will be covered as to damage to your other plants, damage to your home and hardscaping and any illnesses that may happen due to its use.
Disclosure of Products Used
For health reasons you need to make sure that any chemicals that are used on your yard are properly disclosed to you and if you have any health concerns in your family you take that list of chemicals to your doctor or veterinarian before you agree to the treatments.
You should fully understand how long you should not allow your children or pets on the lawn after a treatment and what signs to look for in relation to health problems.
How Many Treatments And How Often
Having just received a quote by mail from a national chain I was interested to see that some of the services are not mandatory. For about $500 the company says they will provide up to 6 treatments. Two in each of the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons.
Included in the spring and fall treatments is fertilizer and weed control however the two summer treatments say As Needed meaning they may decided when you are away from your home that no treatment is necessary. This could leave you with a summer full of weeds and nothing to say about it.
Total cost per treatment is $83.33 and this includes the two optional summer treatments.
How Much If You Do It Yourself?
Treating your lawn for Crabgrass, Insects and Fertilizing is something you can do yourself. The process is pretty simple and takes about an hour or as long as it takes to mow your lawn with a push mower.
In the spring you want to apply a Weed and Feed Fertilizer that will stop new weeds and promote good grass growth.
If you have grubs or insects then you can use a three part fertilizer that will take care of insects, weeds and fertilizing all at one time.
A 20 pound bag should be enough to cover the same 9,000 square foot yard as the lawn service company says will be covered by their plan and the cost of one bag is from $15 to $25 depending on if insect treatment is necessary. You can also find sales to lower your cost.
You will also need a fertilizer spreader these push bin type spreaders can apply a full bag or half bag of material in about an hour and are very easy to use. Simply pull the trigger and walk.
I personally would not employ a Lawn Care company to take care of Fertilizing and Weed Control. The cost is 10 times that of doing the work yourself and the benefit is very minimal.
The only exception I could see is if you are renting a home as a landlord and need to maintain the property that is a distance from you or if you will be on vacation for an extended period (many months).
However if you are older or if you just do not have the time to do the work yourself remember what to look for when hiring someone: Licensed, Insured and a list of approved Chemicals.
If they ask you to prepay for the whole year or sign into a contract make sure you can get a refund if you are not happy with the service or results.