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Choosing the right lawn care service

Lawn care and landscape maintenance is now big business in Rowan County. In 1979, Rowan County had only a scattering of lawn care companies. Today, there are more than 120 licensed lawn care and landscape companies-and the number seems to be increasing.

Increased popularity of this service can be attributed to any number of reasons. Many just don’t have time and prefer to hire a company. Baby Boomers have more disposable income, while many are just getting older limiting their ability to take care of landscapes. Others don’t understand fertilization and weed control and prefer someone else do the work. In many instances, it’s more cost effective to hire a lawn maintenance company and not invest in the tools needed for proper upkeep.

Regardless of your situation, homeowners are taking time and pondering utilizing a lawn maintenance company. There are basically three different types of service: partial lawn care, total lawn care and those that offer full lawn and landscaping services. Below are a few tips in selecting a lawn care company.

Level of service. Some only want weed control and fertilizer application. They opt to cut grass themselves. Others will want a total package handling everything from lawn care to keeping bird feeders stocked. Part-time workers often fit the bill for those that only need their lawn mowed once in a while, but keep in mind that these companies are limited. Those that apply pesticides must have and maintain a commercial pesticide license. This requires 10 hours of documented training every five years.

Proper Procedures. Make sure the company follows proper lawn care practices as recommended by N.C. State University Cooperative Extension. Do these companies offer soil testing? Do they follow accepted recommendations when applying seed and fertilizer? Lawn care and landscape companies should be able to outline their maintenance program in detail to give customers assurance of their capabilities.

Guarantee. Lawn care companies should provide results of their work unless of course there are extenuating circumstances such as bad weather, insects or disease problems. Some take time to resolve and also realize that if they impose certain restrictions, problems may still exist. For example, some want a weed-free lawn without the use of herbicides. Unfortunately, this is quite difficult bordering on impossible in most situations.

View their work. Another important method of choosing a lawn maintenance com any is to review their work. Most lawn maintenance companies are conscious of their work regarding well-maintained landscape as a living billboard for advertisement. A personal inquiry from friends and homeowners is a key factor in choosing company that meets your expectations.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .

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