Your Questions About Lawn Care Tips

Michael asks…

What are some basic lawn care tips?

I’ve NEVER been big on keeping up a lawn & still not excited about it. But now that I’m a homeowner, I want to begin to take some basic steps to make my yard a lil’ better. With that being said, what are some things I can do? Thanx in advance for your answers.

Tony answers:

Watering requirements for your lawn will depend on a lot of different factors and will vary considerably from lawn to lawn and area to area. In general, in the hot summer months, lawn made from bluegrass or ryegrass will need about 2 ¼ inches of water every week. Less in cooler weather. If your lawn is made from fescues less frequent watering is needed as this type of grass has a deeper root system and can store more moisture between waterings. Buffalograss and blue grama grass also require less watering and can often stay green for weeks between watering even in the hottest summer months.

If your lawn is protected from the wind or is shaded it will also require less watering than a more exposed lawn. However large trees and mature bushes and shrubs compete with the grass for any available water so lawns surrounded by these may require more water. A healthy, well fertilised lawn also needs less frequent watering than a neglected lawn.

Applying Water

Before watering it is a good idea to find out how deep the roots go as this is the depth you need moisture to penetrate. Take a soil probe, stick or a shovel and check out the root depth. The first time you water check the depth that the water has penetrated and the time this took and use this as a guide to the length of time needed to apply water in the future. The type of soil will influence how long and how much water it takes to sufficiently penetrate the soil. A heavy clay soil will be harder to penetrate than a light sandy soil. Take care not to over water which is especially easy for a sandy soil.

How Often To Water

The frequency of watering is again dependent on the soil type. Heavy clay soils retain water much more efficiently than light sandy soils and need much less frequent watering. It is better to use less frequent watering where possible as evaporation wastage is less and this also helps to discourage weeds.

Water is best applied slowly to prevent wastage by run off, particularly on clay soils or heavily thatched lawns. Using a sprinkler is an efficient way to water, easier to do and the sprinkler can easily be moved to different areas. Water is absorbed better by the soil and roots and run off is minimal. Run off can also be minimised by aerating the soil. Particularly if it is heavy clay, and reducing thatch by raking.

When to Water

The lawn will take on a wilted appearance and may look gray or purplish blue when watering is needed. Another way to tell is if footprints stay instead of the grass springing back up fairly quickly. Small areas of wilting often develop and these can help you predict when watering is needed. If you see spots develop do a spot water and expect to water the whole lawn in the next two days.

Deep irrigation and less frequent watering can ‘harden’ a lawn so that it stands up to short periods without water more easily. However even for a hardened lawn don not allow it to go too long between watering as this may make it more susceptible to diseases and weeds.

Watering in the fall or winter may still be necessary but will, of course, be needed much less frequently than in the summer. Provided the ground is not frozen a good interval between watering is about four weeks. Take special note of lawns on shallow soil or those on exposed south or west facing slopes as these may require more frequent watering.

The Time of Day

Watering in the late evening or early morning is ideal as it tends to be less windy and more humid at these times so loss due to evaporation will be less. It is often thought, incorrectly, that watering in the evening encourages diseases. You should also find out if there are any by-laws in your area that restrict the use of hose pipes or sprinklers to certain times of the day.

Nancy asks…

I have crab grass and mixed grass, what are some good lawn care tips?

It looks like i mostly have fusia? or what ever it is called, the thin blade grass. But I have some grab grass and it looks like a mix of other thick blade grass.
I want to
1. Fix the dead/bare spots
2. Get rid of the other types of grass
3. Have a healthy green lawn
4. Know of some good products to use

Is it to late in the summer to fix this or do I have to wait till next season?

Tony answers:

I would suggest that you use a good post emergent crabgrass killer. Something containing MSMA or fenoxaprop. If you can’t find that use quinclorac, but it doesn’t work nearly as well. Then in the fall when it cools down, aerate your lawn and seed the bald areas with a good tall or fine fescue. Use a starter fertilizer on the whole lawn and then overseed the other areas with fescue seed as well. Cover the bald areas with straw or use patchmaster in those areas. Then next spring apply a good preemergent crabgrass material before the next set germinates. This might be tricky as you need to give the other grass a chance to germinate but need to beat the crabgrass before it comes up.

Good Luck!

Steven asks…

How often should you water your lawn? Any tips for lawn care?

Tony answers:

It depends on where you live but here in Texas I water 3 times per week and put down weed & feed in the spring and fall. My lawn does really good with this schedule!

George asks…

Does anyone have any tips for starting a lawn care business?

I am starting my own lawn care business and would be very grateful for any tips or hints as to how to get started off on the right foot. Thank you in advance.

Tony answers:

Have a business plan. Might be better to start as a part time business in order to grow accounts until you can make the transition to full time. Look for some small business classes. Most important GET INSURANCE!. Put a rock through a window without insurance and you just put out what your insurance premium should have cost. Hurt/injure someone…..Even worse. Also check out www.lawnsite.com or www.lawncafe.com

John asks…

Need tips on how to start a lawn care business?

Im looking for tips on how to start a lawn care business, prices, and how often i should cut there lawns

Tony answers:

Start here – http://www.lawnsite.com/
It’s a forum site for people in the business.
You’ll find the forum “Starting A Lawn Care & Landscaping Business” helpful.

Questions about prices and how often to cut are very dependent on your area and the types of properties you are working on. In all reality the price you charge should be the highest your market will bear. There are many expenses in this business that most people miss, like operating supplies (trimmer line, extra mower blades and belts, 2-cycle oil), repairs, gas, gas and more gas for every piece of equipment you use. Just make sure your costs are covered FIRST. You’ll be a little off on your first estimates, but that will fix itself with experience.

Here’s just a few tip I learned over 20yrs. In the business, there’ll be plenty more on Lawnsite –

Buy the best equipment you can afford. Used commercial equipment is still way better than homeowner gear any day.

Word of mouth is the best and cheapest advertising as long as you quality work.

Listen to your customers. They usually know what they want, but can’t always figure it out. It’s your job to guide them. If you can keep them happy, they’ll stay with you for good.

Don’t overbook your jobs. The fastest way to loose customer is not to show up. Expect bad weather to back you up sometimes, and allow for the possibility.

Don’t go around under-cutting the competition just to get work. You may need help someday. There’s plenty of grass to mow.

You will never please every customer, all the time. You are your own “customer service rep”. Be polite, but don’t cave in to unreasonable demands. You’ll go broke.

Be fast, but make sure you maintain high quality. At this point, most of my customers are paying almost $1 per minute I am on their property. I could be faster and make more money, but the unhappy customers and call-backs wouldn’t be worth it.

Hope this helps you out.
Good luck on your business.

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