The ultimate lawn does not happen overnight. But, if your lawn care company follows this calendar of treatments, your property is well on its way towards the ultimate lawn.
Patience and Skill Required
When looking to define the ultimate lawn care calendar, much of this depends on the user’s expectations. The environment and other factors also come into play but building the ultimate lawn takes some time and is a true relationship between your lawn care company and you as the homeowner. Working towards the ultimate lawn is a year-round task.
Five Steps to the Ultimate Lawn
1. Start with a Soil Test
To properly treat your lawn, you should always start with a soil test from a reputable lab. For consistency purposes, you will want to use the same lab for any future soil test. Here in southcentral PA, we turn to Penn State for our results. These results will let you know if grass is able to thrive in the soil you currently have or if amendments are needed to help change the soil make up.
2. Balancing pH
The soil test will let your lawn care company know the chemical makeup of your soil. Having the correct pH is an important start to a successful lawn. Most cool season grasses thrive at a pH of 6.2 to about 7.0. If your soil is greatly under these numbers changes will need to occur. Recommendations on soil tests are specific to the region where you live. If the soil pH is already within the correct range, it makes for an easier start.
If the pH is on the low end we look to adjust it with a product like dolomitic limestone. If the pH is high (for instance, 8.2), then aluminum sulfate can be applied to lower pH down to the desired level.
3. First Fertilizer Treatment
A good start to the program would be a good shot of quality fertilizer with crabgrass pre-emergent and some potassium and phosphorus. The timing for this application should be based on soil temperature. There are some older theories saying to watch for the forsythia bloom and run with the crabgrass control at that time. Unfortunately we can’t rely on the forythia blooms as studies have proven that a soil temperature of 53 to 60 degrees is where crabgrass plants like to start germinating. Your professional lawn care company is very good at looking at these temperatures and timing it correctly.
4. Battling Crabgrass
Crabgrass always germinates. Lawn care companies cannot completely stop crabgrass from germinating, rather they apply pre-emergent materials to the lawn to keep the plants at their smallest stage.
The crabgrass application sets up your lawn for the entire season, and the fertilizer applications that follow are also very important to the health of your lawn. A properly trained technician will have the correct products on their truck every time they are out on your property to help maximize the benefits of your lawn.
5. Controlling Grubs
Grub control is a very important application when you are going after the ultimate lawn. Those pesky grubs do not like thin, spotty and off color lawns; instead, they attack thicker, lush lawns. A good way to look at grub control is like an insurance policy for your lawn. Grub control is money well spent when you look at the damage they can do and the high cost of lawn renovation. There are even some newer cutting edge options for grubs that include season long insect control for surface feeders and a nice shot of fertilizer, all in one application.
Find the Right Partner for the Ultimate Lawn
In closing, take your time when choosing a lawn care company and make sure the technicians are licensed and certified as it will give you good piece of mind throughout the entire season. A lawn service needs to be looked at like a partnership between you and the technician doing your lawn. As the homeowner, you are present every day and see when your lawn may have more in-depth needs. So make sure to contact your lawn care company with any concerns and good luck on your Ultimate Lawn!
About the Author: Jon MacNamara
Jon is a Commercial Account Manager with over 25 years of experience in the turf, ornamental, and landscape industry. He spent 12 years as a distributor rep providing the products used in the landscape industry, including golf courses and athletic fields. Jon is a graduate of Penn State University’s Turf-grass and Plant Science Management program. As a commercial account manager, Jon’s extensive background in the industry gives him the knowledge to create and help implement the proper programs for his clients. He strives to stay creative in keeping his clients up to date on new products and services while also helping to benefit their facility budgeting needs. Jon enjoys spending his free time with his wife Rebecca and their five children.