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Lawn Care Service Advice


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#1 Gretchen

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:23 PM

I listened to a lawn service representative the other day describe their 6 times a summer approach to adding fertilizer and weed killer. The fertilizer every 8 weeks with a nitrogen amount of 24, no phosphate, and some potassium plus weed killer that will get rid of all lawn weeds including Creeping Charlie using all granular that is safe for pets and children right away. I've never used a lawn service and we have a major infestation of Creeping Charlie so I am tempted but is that much nitrogen harmful and what residual effects might there be from having weed killer applied?

I would appreciate all comments about lawn services, advantages and disadvantages.

Gretchen

#2 Guest_dcsmith796_*

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:28 PM

I've never used one, but rather then just accepting that it is a weed killer "...safe for pets and children right away..." I would ask to know exactly what herbicide (and pesticides if any) are being used and research them myself. Luckily in this Internet age that is pretty easy.

Also, those numbers on fertilizer (like "nitrogen amount of 24") are like the "proof" number on alcoholic beverages - they're percentage of the total volume. So 1 pound of 24-x-x over 1000 square yards could be less nitrogen than 3 pounds of 10-x-x per 1000 sq. yards, just like 1 oz. of 100 proof hard liquor is less alcohol than 6 ounces of 20 proof wine. To know how much is being applied, you need to know the rate of application as well as the percentage of the nutrient.

Even knowing the rate and percentage, you won't know if that's not enough, perfect, or too much without a soil test, although chances are they won't be able to adjust the amount if it is wrong. I assume they drive around with a pre-mixed concentration in a big tanker, and can't tailor it to individual lawns. But at least you could tell if it was grossly excessive or not.

#3 Cricket

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:03 PM

Most info I've heard on CC is that it's best to treat it the first two weeks of October as its going dormant. It takes up nutrients in the fall to store along with the weed treatment...

Second best is early spring when it flowers and just after - lawn service would have a short window to spray...

Might be something you could do twice yourself rather than contract for multiple fertilizing and weed control that's not needed...

We've used weed-b-gone for oxalis in the past to treat CC - once CC was thinned out turf had a chance to fill in...

If any CC popped up I lifted the tendril out by using two old dinner forks to go down on each side- meet at the middle underneath then pop the section up-continued that way along the tendril till it was completed loosened. That way no pieces break off to resprout. I wouldn't want to attack a patch of CC using this method but it works for maintenance.

#4 Gretchen

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:26 PM

Very helpful responses about Creeping Charlie, aka CC and the rate of the application that's as significant as the numbers of N-K-P. Good idea to ask about exactly what is being used as well as to be sure that it's just a herbicide.
Then, there's the big question of exactly how important is it that I would spend $$$ to have lush lawn in a world where some would like $ for seeds and a big of land so their family could eat.

#5 Len S.

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:41 AM

The most effective herbicide a homeowner can use on creeping charlie now (just prior to and during flowering) contain the active ingredient triclopyr. Ortho Weed-B-Gon with a purple label can be found in most garden centers. When combined withe the active ingredient quinclorac it's even more effective. Bayer Advanced All-In-One Lawn and Weed Grass Killer has quinclorac. These products are safe for pets when used as directed. It's very important not to use higher concentrations. Most likely you will not completely eradicate this pesky weed with one try this spring. Go at it again in early fall (mid to late September) when it starts actively growing again and absorbs herbicides more readily. Repeat the application in two weeks. Next spring should show significant results.

Thick and extensive growth can be tackled with a detaching rake. This will result in a loss of grass plants and require reseeding.

I'm prejudiced against lawn care companies. They promote visits whether really needed or not and are way more expensive for many of the same treatments you can do yourself. Also they have a "one size fits all" approach to lawn care which does not necessarily fit your situation. The fertilizer recommendations are a good example. How can they recommend a fertilizer ratio without getting your soil test data?

Fertilizer application rates are determined by the nitrogen component. No more than 1# of N per 1000 sq. ft. should be applied at any one time. In spring slow release organic fertilizers are best and should be applied at the end of May. Think Memorial Day. They will release N throughout the summer. The next time to fertilize will be early September. Applying N every 8 weeks as they recommend will eventually stimulate more growth than the soil bacteria can process resulting in a buildup of thatch.

#6 Cricket

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:17 PM

How Timely B) Opened my True Value flyer that came in the mail today and Ortho Weed b Gone concentrate Tough Weed Killer is on sale - End date April 29 - We have this and the same type product made by Bonide - switching off between the two....

#7 Daniel Davis

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 12:26 AM

I agree with Len, he is right on the money with the active ingredient, timing of application and the notion that one .
There is no magic one shot gets rid of creeping charlie or any other weeds. It takes time, monitoring and a plan. Whether it is spot treating, hand pulling (I like the dinner fork suggestion), and learning that some weeds are okay in the turf.

I remember just a few years back the lawn service companies used to offer 4 applications a year. Now I have fliers in the mail for 6, 7, 8 applications a year. And the reason... I believe they are trying to use the more is better - if we can make your lawn look better with 4 applications, it will be even better with eight. As Len mentioned, each application should be applying no more than 1 lb of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. feet. This year I have had people bring me fliers and quotes with stated application rates of 3lb and 4lb of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. (Believe they are again playing the more is better - 1 lb is good, 3lbs is better sales trick.)
Most lawn do not need more than 4 lbs of nitrogen applied per year - TOTAL.
They get paid per application. But there are many factors on weed issues.

Several factors on how they apply their application. If they have a tank and spray, that is better. The application will make good contact with leaves and be absorbed better. If they are applying with a spreader, a weed killer has to be applied when the leaves are wet so it can be dissolved and absorbed into the leaf of the weed. But in both types of application - they are applying the herbicide to the entire lawn.
Now if I were attempting to remove a wart, would I apply wart remover to my entire body.
Spot treating is the best application. Spray it only on the weeds, not the entire lawn.

They do offer one benefit, and that is the timely application of nitrogen to a lawn. They will show up just as they promised every eight weeks. (I use the application notification markers they leave in my neighbors lawn as an indicator to examine my lawn and see if it needs another application of nitrogen.)

Just applying nitrogen is what makes the lawn turn green. Measure your lawn and find out the total area of turf. If you would like help in determining the area, just reply back and can assist with that. Once you know the total turf area, then can purchase just a lawn fertilizer (no weed and feed or insect control products). Use a broadcast spreader and apply the determined amount (again can help calculate that for you if needed), can use the "Holiday Schedule" for when to apply.
1st Application - around Memorial Day
2nd Application - 4th of July at half the rate (if you irrigate, if not than skip this application)
3rd Application - Labor Day
4th Application - Halloween

MSU Turf program has some good information on fertilization and weed control at http://turf.msu.edu/home-lawn-articles

#8 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 08:59 PM

I am totally blown away by all of this information. You people are wonderful.

Me, I am such a coward about lawn. To grow a hundred thousand of the same plant, across all the different conditions that can exist in a single yard, and get the lawn to look uniform -- THAT is a feat!

#9 Rudy

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 12:26 PM

I pretty much follow Dan's "holidays" schedule. Been doing it for years and the lawn looks almost as good as my neighbor's, who has a service do the 6x/yr thing. I don't have any crabgrass to speak of, hence no need for pre-emerge. Just a few broadleaf weeds and I go out with my tank sprayer (or a spray bottle) a few times a year to do those in. Hence no need for broadleaf killer all over the lawn. Sure saves money too. I used to have a service, but fired them when they did the "last" (winterizing) application at end of September. With our warm weather this year, I think I'll move up the Memorial day round till mid-May.

I sure do appreciate all the info you guys provide here!

#10 DennisB

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:28 AM

We have an infestation of Creeping Charlie in our cottage lawn in Ontario where they do not permit use of chemical weed killers.   A neighbor suggested spraying a solution with 20 mule team borax.  Has anyone had experience using this rather than using a chemical weed killer?



#11 Steven Nikkila

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:21 PM

Borax is the common name for sodium tetraborate, a naturally occurring substance produced by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. It is a salt and a very alkaline (pH 9.3) substance and we would be hesitant to use it without looking into it more. First of all what should the solution be a 10% mix, 5%? Then try to find out how long it stays in the soil, does it effect the soils pH, will it hurt the lawn and other desirable plants near by and how effective is it on the target weed. 

 

If you decide to use it let us know what happened, good or bad.



#12 DennisB

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:33 PM

Re: using Borax for Creeping Charlie -  the recommended dose was to make 3 % solution (a paste of 10 oz of  Borax in 1/2 cup of warm water, then to dilute it in 2 and 1/2 gallons of water) and spray it on an area 25 square feet.  I appreciate the issue of salt and how it would affect the PH.  I will try it on a small area and see what happens this spring.



#13 precisiongreens1

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 05:21 PM

Tips For Lawn Care Business Owners1. Know your costs. If you don’t how can you know how much tocharge.

Read as many business books as you can.

Don’t buy more equipment than you need. Always have a backupplan if amower goes into the shop but don’t have one sitting that you neveruse.

Keep your accounts on a tight route. With fuel prices you cannotafford todrive 45 miles out of the way to do a $50 mow.

Don’t get into too much debt. It is tempting to finance all yourequipmentwhen credit is so easy to get. I would advise using cash and workingyourway up slowly. But if you cannot resist easy credit, just be careful anddon’tget in over your head.

Don’t be afraid to tell friends and family what you are doing. Theymay beyour biggest customers and advertisers. Word of mouth is verypowerful.

Make sure your clients know your payment terms. Make everythingclear to all parties.






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