New Home Owner--Hire Lawn Service or Do it myself??

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I placed lawn winterizer down in October, just before my lawn went dormant. We have about 10,000 sq ft of Bermuda Grass.
As spring is upon us, I want to eliminate all the weeds that are cropping up in the front and back, and I definitely want a nice grassy yard--I believe it contributes to resale value and aesthetics.
Several of my friends use TruGreen Chemlawn (or a similar service) at about $60/application x approx 7 applications a year. I've read lots of horror stories about this service, but my friends seem satisfied. I called them on the phone, and I wasn't impressed.
I called a different company, quote was $85 x 7 applications, but this gentleman seemed much more polite, informed, and has been doing business (BBB mbr to boot) since 1980.
On the other hand, I could have a go with Scott's throughout the year. The Winterizer needed about 3 bags worth at around $22/bag. So, somewhere in the middle...although I don't know how many applications of fertilizer I might need throughout the year.
I'm interested in what you do for your lawn, the cost, and what the results are. I'm not too concerned about the cost, although that is a consideration. I'm results driven.
Thanks,
D
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Do it yourself. Stick with Scott's or a brand recommended by your garden center.
TruGreen is bad for your lawn (too much nitrogen). I usally do a high nitrogen in March (depends on your climate as to timing), a 15-5-10 in June (don't do high nitrogen in the summer or your yard will burn), and then another booster in September. In Texas we "winterize" in late November ;-).
Also, don't use Scott's weed-n-feed near your tress. bad for them!
Good luck-
Kevin

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Scotts Weed and feed if bad for EVERYTHING. First, you don't want to fertilize at the same time your weeds are coming up. Second. a lot of the poison runs off into ground water and rivers/creeks.
Sorry Scott.

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Bob--
I take it then you are against a do-it-yourself solution and go with a professional company??
Who do you use, what is the cost, what are the results?
Thanks,
D
wrote:

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Thanks for your reply.
On Sat, 10 Mar 2007 15:41:58 GMT, "Capt. Courageous"

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Jim,
Amazing! Thanks for the pictures...I'll check them out.
Regards,
D.

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Dingo wrote:

Lesco lawn care fertilizer products are vastly superior to all other manufactures. the old saying we are what we eat has meaning in more areas than just human food consumption. feeding the lawn is but one of several steps needed in order to obtain the results displayed in the pictures of my lawn. maintenance is one area where most home owner do it yourself types make the most mistakes and therefore do the most damage.
different types of grass require different methods of maintenance as well as different feeding schedules with varying fertilizer mixtures so as to produce the healthy condition required for a lush pleasing to the eye lawn.
if you'd like to know more concerning what's needed for your own endeavor, then I'd need to know the geographical location and the type of grass you desire to create your lawn with. with that, be informed there are some growing areas where certain types of grass will not perform well and therefore are worth reconsidering.
best
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Jim,
I would like to know more concerning the lawn. My wife and I are first time home owners, and the home is new. The lawn was sod, and I believe it is bermuda grass. We live in Arkansas, and right now we have a preponderance of weeds that aren't very tall, but seem to be spreading rapidly with small purple flowers. I want to get it under control ASAP, but I don't want mess it up by attacking the problem from an ignorant position...meaning...the more education I can get, the better.
Thanks.

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Dingo wrote:

http://www.super-sod.com/info-maint-lawn.html
after the page loads select Bremuda. the information is right on.
their home page is at: http://supersod.com /
follow their instructions while using Lesco products and soon people will be asking you who is doing your lawn.
a very important factor many people over look is lawn mower performance. if you can meet the cost requirements then make the purchase of a Snapper 21 inch self propelled. the Snapper is the complete machine. with the quick change out from rear bagger to mulcher and then to side discharge you'll have a complete lawn maintenance machine in one unit. their self propel unit has not been redesigned in over 35 years and holds up very well. the disk drive is the one element of the unit prone to wear, however it is easy to change out. mine, shown in one of the pictures I shared with you is five years old and used in my lawn care business. the disk drive element is worn some but not yet in need of a change out.
regardless of what mower you use the most important {single most} important point is to NEVER attempt to cut the lawn with anything less than a sharp blade. a quick clean cut leaves the grass blade in a healthy state with very little healing required. a dull blade hacks the grass and causes damage requiring a healing process and results in yellow tips at the end of the grass blade.
issues concerning mulching, bagging or side discharge are the result of your mowing schedule. by staying a head of your lawn mowing requirements, mulching is the best over all choice. for example, Super Sod is telling the Bremuda lawn owner to mow when the lawn reaches 1.5 inches in height and to cut the lawn back to a height of 1 inch. this means we are removing .5 inches. under this circumstance we can safely mulch that .5 inch back into the lawn without the possibility of creating a thatch smothering layer over the soil.
suppose for example you go on vacation for 2 weeks and return to find the lawn at a height of 3.5 inches! this could be a very bad thing for the overall long term health of your lawn. but since you've got the Snapper 21 inch self propelled with the high vac blade and the rear bagger attachment waiting in your storage shed, then this condition is no problem for you. you can either cut using the side discharge blowing the clippings into wind rows to be collected in the bagger, or you could just bag as you mow. after realizing how well that worked out you'll most likely extend your next vacation for an extra week.
now there is another well kept secret most don't want you or other lawn owners to know anything about and it is called LIME. locate your local county soil and water conservation government agency and take to them soil samples from your yard. have them tested and make note of the pH. by gaining an understanding for soil pH and how lime plays an important part of maintaining a correct pH you can reduce your weed problems and reduce your fertilizer requirements.
best
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Jim,
I accessed the website you recommended and studied up on Bermuda. For this time of year, it suggests weed & feed for fertilizer during the pre-emerge time. However...my lawn is still dormant...it's the weeds that have gone crazy. Is weed and seed still appropriate? And, should I mow before applying? I plan to handle this on Saturday, so I wanted to make sure I didn't skip any steps.
Thanks.
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Dingo wrote:

even though I still stand by their site information Eggs reminded me of a better way to deal with the weeds in your dormant lawn. see the exchange in this thread between Eggs and myself concerning the use of glyphosate. glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUp and is a kill all. neat trick though is how glyphosate will only be absorbed by what is not dormant therefore your dormant grass will not be harmed.
do not mow before applying and wait until you see yellowing in the weeds showing they have absorbed the glyphosate and are on their death bed. 5 to 7 days between application of any weed killer and a mowing is usually enough time.
Eggs is one who has displayed an understanding for these things and his advise is worth considering.
try not to get sucked in by the economically challenged persons and their not so great cost saving ideas concerning the use of cheap fertilizers.
best
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There is no magic to fertilizer brands. Lawn fertilizer is simply a mixture of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Nitrogen can be bought in slow release and fast release (and mixtures of the two). Potassium and phosphorus are essentially the same across brands. Slow release nitrogen can be expensive. ...fast release relatively inexpensive. Most lawns don't need potassium and phosphorus on a yearly basis after an intial application or two since they bind to the soil and aren't washed out. Excessives of either will stunt plant growth - especially phosphorus, which limits the absorption of iron and nitrogen when it gets too high. Get your soil tested. You can send it to a university lab (check Penn State or Texas A&M - there are many others) for about $10 or less. Put in what they recommend and nothing more or you are wasting your money at best and harming your lawn at worst.
In the typical case where the lawn already has enough phosphorus and potassium, get straight nitrogen. If you don't mind speading once per month, you can get inexpensive fast release in urea or ammonium nitrate - check at a farm supply house - the regular places like Lowes, etc won't have this - you just have to be very careful spreading or it will burn the lawn. For easier application, get a mix of slow and fast, or if you want the convenience, find a commercial seller who carries only the slow release.
--
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D,
I would never use a service such as TruGreen. For one thing, they apply herbicide and pesticide whether you need it or not. If you have ten weeds, your entire lawn gets treated. Too much unneeded chemicals. Because we have small dogs, I do not want ANY unneeded chemicals on my lawn. I use fertilizer (usually Scotts) and spot treat any weeds with a spray bottle of 2-4D (Weed-B-Gone). This may sound like a lot of work, but not if you keep on top of any weeds that get started. A morning stroll around your yard is all it takes. The first year we lived here it was hard to keep up with the weeds, but as I got them under control, now it is not a big deal and I use VERY little weed spray. I do not use a pre-emergent, so I have to take care of the crabgrass by digging it out. I make it an evening project an it is not that bad. Just a note, my neighbor uses a service and had a huge weed infestation last year. Also, never use weed and feed. Why would you apply a product to promote growth at the same time as a product meant to kill? It is bad for the trees and we also have flower beds all around the lawn that we would not want weed killer on. Plus it is overkill to put weed killer all over the yard when you may only have weeds in small areas. If you have a weed problem in a large area, then use the Weed-B-Gone with a hose end applicator to get it under control, then a spray bottle to keep up with it.
Dale
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DP said:
[snip]

A lot of that depends on the type of turf grass you have. Most common turf grasses are unaffected by the herbicides in "weed and feed" products.

If it were *that* bad for established trees, every golf course you see would have ZERO trees. That's not the case though, is it. Noone uses more chemicals, nor more powerful chemicals, than those used on golf courses (especially private ones). In a business where *everything* must look perfect, through the entire season, do you really think that they're sacrificing the trees, for the turf? No, they're properly applying the correct, specific product, at the proper rate, at the correct time.

And, properly using a drop spreader, with the correct settings, will harm your flower beds NIL. Unless, of course, one was trying to treat their lawn in 25mph winds. If that's the case, they probably don't deserve the luxury of a nice flower bed in the first place.
Chemicals are fine, used properly. If you're not willing to take the time to learn about them, to read the MSDS sheets, to learn how to properly apply them safely, then by all means hire a professional. But, do a bit of research first. Were I to hire one, I would avoid the "big name" companies, and find someone local. Preferrably with a degree in turf management, from a reputable school. Check several, and decide which one is best for you. Tell them up front your concerns (pets, kids, flowers, trees, ponds, whatever) so that *each* of you knows what is to be done (and not done). If they can't work with/around your concerns, they're not worth a damn. Move on to the next one on the list. Ask for references, and follow up on them. Drive by a few places they maintain, and see what the site looks like.
I do my own lawn maintainence, have MANY flower beds, vegetable beds, several shrubs and trees, and a greenhouse. If I wanted to hire someone to do a part of what I do, that's just how I would treat it; as hiring someone. I check several, and pick the one that's right for the situation. It's a HELLUVA LOT cheaper to do it yourself, though. And you gain the knowledge of just what's happening with your lawn, and the satisfaction that *you* are the one keeping things on track.
[rest snipped]
--

Eggs

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That is for sure about chemical usage in golf courses. I aksed my father in law (retired golf course manager) what they used for weed control. A weed and feed product would be too expensive for the large areas. They used regular fertilizer and sprayed the grass with 2-4D. This is in Colorado, things are done differently in different parts of the country. I also realize that in a more year round growing climate, weeds can be a bigger problem. I also still do not see putting the weed killer all over the lawn when I have maybe ten weeds in the whole yard.

Good point. I did not go on to say that I enjoy the ease of using the same fertilizer on my flowers and veggies as I use on the lawn. One product does it all.

Good advice, but it just doesn't work that way. By far mos "professionals" will use herbicide and pesticide whether you need it or not. Easier to spray for weeds that are not there than to get called back because some weeds appeared. We have some companies that advertise as "green" landscape maintencance companies. I do not know how they operated differently, as I have never contacted them. Yes I do know how to use chemicals properly, I just very much prefer to use as little as possible.

I use a hired landscape service for mowing, edging, etc., but do not take them up on the application of chemicals. You are right that I want to know what's happening with my lawn.
DP

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DP said:

You keep saying the "ten weeds in the whole yard" thing. I'm thinking you don't recognize all of the "weeds". Noone I've ever seen had only 10 weeds in their entire yard, not from only spot treating.
As an example, our fairways are zoysia, and last week were sprayed with glyphosate. The zoysia is dormant, and anything "green" such as unwanted cool season grasses, or young weeds, are eliminated without damaging the zoysia.

Then, you're not fertilizing correctly, and don't have an understanding about fertilizer ingredients. Flowers and veggies have MUCH different nutrient requirements from grass. 'One product' does NOT do 'it all'.

Then a good start for you would be to study the nutrient-requirement differences between flowers, vegetables, and grasses. And, learning what nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (as well as trace minerals and nutrients) do for/to plants. ;)
--

Eggs

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Eggs Zachtly wrote:

[....]
[....]
Hi Eggs,
on the day a class instructor taught us about using glyphosate on dormant hot weather grasses was one of the best class days I ever spent. cut my herbicide cost big time that new knowledge did. yep, good class that was.
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Jim said:

Hiya Jim,
Yup. Makes absolute perfect sense, huh? =)
If Zoysia didn't have such a short season here, I'd go for it. My yard is a perfect candidate. I prefer green, though. So, I'm settling for tall fescue. Not a bad compromise, IMO. =)
--

Eggs

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Eggs Zachtly wrote:

yep. sometimes when I'm out on a job site applying glyphosate to a dormant hot weather lawn I think I should look up that instructor and say thanks for all the money saved and then being able to pass on that savings to my customer makes the deal even better. and then there's the improved result over the herbicides I'd been using. continuing my education in the area of lawn care has had several fine rewards.

from the pictures I shared with the OP of this thread you can see I have fescue around my house. here in NC I can keep that fescue lush green 12 months out of the year. iron is the trick during the heat of the summer months.
down around my barn the fescue could not stand up to the heavy traffic of the trucks and tractors so I plugged the area with wire grass which is a first cousin to Bermuda. Bermuda and wire grass stand up to high traffic and have the same characteristics. I used that area to test the using of glyphosate on dormant hot weather grass before taking the practice to my customer lawns. it's always good to have test beds.
Jim
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I bow to your superior knowledge. I only have about 10K square feet to worry about, so yes I use the same fertilizer and then supplement my roses, veggies, etc. through out the growing season. I live in Colorado, with a somewhat short growing season and weeds can easily be controlled if you keep up with it. This is not Florida, Mississippi, or California with the year round weed problem. In my neighborhood, dandelion and thistle are the most pesky weeds, with other weeds popping up in their germination time. What I do works for me and my dogs. I love my yard and get much enjoyment from fiddling in it. I am soooo anxious for summer here.
DP
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