There’s always that one neighbor with the perfectly manicured, perfectly green yard. You have to admire it and be jealous of it at the same time. Or do you? Rather than envy your neighbor’s lush green grass that looks like a carpet, you can do something about your own yard to transform it. Mulching and lawn care and maintenance services are two steps in the right direction. Landscaping companies offer multiple lawn care and maintenance services, including mulching, that will transform your yard within six to twelve months. Your own yard could look as good as your neighbor’s if you work at it.
Services Provided by a Landscaping or Lawn Maintenance Company
Testing Soil and Fertilizing It
First and foremost, the company’s crew determines just what exactly is missing from your lawn. A lack of lushness could be due to a lack of the right nutrients in the soil, lack of fertilizer, or lack of aeration. Some companies will provide a soil test to see if the soil is contributing to a poor looking lawn.
Once it has been determined what is missing from your lawn, steps are taken to change it. What you need to know is that not all lawn fertilizers are the same, and that the wrong fertilizer can have a damaging effect. That is why it is so important to figure out what is wrong with your lawn in the first place. If your lawn does need fertilizer, tests help determine which fertilizer to use.
Maybe your yard lacks nitrogen, or maybe it lacks potassium. Nitrogen encourages thick, leafy, green growth, while potassium encourages plant and vegetation growth. The two complement each other by first helping to grow and then making growth very green.
Of course, it could also lack phosphorus. Phosphorus is the booster to the other two nutrients. However, each of these needs to be applied in a perfect balance to your yard. Too much of one nutrient or too much of the wrong nutrient results in spotty growth or dead patches.
If you are not sure which fertilizer to buy, but you want to do the job yourself, at least have a soil test completed. The soil test by an expert will tell you exactly the right balance of fertilizer needed to reach your green grass goals.
There are two methods to weeding. Weeding is very important to a lush green lawn because weeds grow quickly and often choke the water and life out of grass around them. Part of lawn care and maintenance services is either physically removing all of the weeds (often a very difficult and tedious task) or chemically removing them.
Most lawn care and maintenance services lean toward the latter solution. A mix of fertilizer for the grass and weed pellets for killing and preventing weeds is applied to your lawn twice a year. An application in spring prevents weeds from taking root and jump-starting grass seed growth.
An application in the fall kills weeds and destroys their seeds so that new weeds cannot pop up next spring. The fall application also provides a nutrient boost for the grass you have, which will die and go to sleep over winter. (If you live where there is no snow or cold weather, then the second application in fall just keeps your grass looking its best.)
Of course the occasional physical weeding may still be necessary. Not every weed grows out in the open, and weeds that grow along fences often need pulling. Professional lawn care and maintenance services attend to this as needed.
Lots of homeowners ignore the step of aeration. It’s easy to see why removing several plugs of dirt from the ground twice a year might not be something most homeowners would want to do. It leaves a bit of a mess, and the holes in the ground can seem rather pointless.
However, the opposite is actually true. By aerating your lawn and removing all of those plugs of dirt, you are creating room for more seed and more opportunities for fertilizer and nutrients to get to the roots of existing grass. The result is a thicker bed of grass with longer, stronger roots.
It is highly likely that you do not own an aeration attachment for your mower. Hiring professional lawn care and maintenance services to aerate your lawn for you is quick and easy. Once you see the results aeration has on your lawn, you can’t argue that it is totally worth the cost and the temporary holey-ness.
Disease and Insect Control
Grubs, ants, and other pests can destroy a lawn faster than dog urine. Grass can acquire diseases too. After you have aerated, fertilized, seeded and weeded your lawn, you have to protect it against insect pests and disease.
It’s a lot of work up to this point, but when you have to fight off things that will eat and kill the grass from below the roots, it becomes a full time job. Your neighbor with the beautiful lawn probably spends most of his free time on the weekends just prepping for and caring for his lawn. Not everyone has that kind of time.
When you need help with this step, professional lawn care and maintenance services come to the rescue. They apply special treatments to the lawn that kill insects and kill their larvae before they hatch. Similar treatments are used to address diseases. Not all of these chemical agents can be applied at the same time, which is why the applications are staggered.
Mulching is also done one of two ways. Either you leave the grass clippings on top of the new-mown grass, or you use a different kind of mulch to complete the mulching step. Lawn care and maintenance services will use both for mulching, but it depends on the condition of your lawn and the need for mulching.
For example, if you have bare spots in your yard where grass isn’t growing well, it is first aerated, then seeded, and finally, mulch is applied. Mulching with grass clippings over these bare patches accomplishes three things:
- It keeps moisture in the soil to help grass seed take root.
- It covers the seed as it grows so the seed isn’t devoured by birds.
- It decomposes and adds grass nutrients to the soil so that the new grass underneath is well-fed.
In this case, mulching protects and feeds. The same mulching approach is used to grow an entire lawn of new grass and for the care of sod-installed yards.
Another example of mulching utilizes bark mulch. Bark mulch is chipped wood and is generally used for decorative purposes, although it does have the added benefit of keeping moisture in the soil. A number of newer and more modern types of mulch serve different purposes, but have similar benefits. These types of mulch include:
- Rubber mulch comprised of repurposed and shredded rubber or tires
- Plastic mulch made from shredded plastic
- Compost, which is often homemade to control the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in it.
- Organic mulch, which doesn’t have any chemicals added to it and is healthier for most plants
- Newspaper mulch, which is shredded newspaper or other shredded paper recycled for mulching purposes
- Stone or gravel mulch, which prevents weeds from cropping up where you don’t want them to
In addition to these options, there are also biodegradable mulches and living mulches. Biodegradable mulches break down after time to add valuable nutrients to your lawn. Living mulches creep from underneath your lawn, killing weeds but leaving grass alone. You can discuss at length with your lawn care and maintenance services whether your yard needs any mulching and what kind of mulching would be best.
You probably already mow your lawn with some frequency. Mowing contributes to new growth as it allows sunlight to get down closer to the roots of the grass. Tall grass blocks off sunlight, making it harder for grass to properly undergo photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process of creating the chemical that makes green things green.
An effective mowing schedule is twice a week in warmer months and less often in cooler months. If you have particularly rainy weather where you live, mowing more often might be in order to keep the grass short. If you don’t have the time to mow, that’s another service offered by most professional lawn care and maintenance services.
Tree and Shrub Trimming
Do you regularly get smacked in the head or face by low limbs or shrub brush? It’s hard to focus on your lawn and making the lawn green if you can’t avoid these tree and shrub issues. The lawn maintenance services may offer tree and shrub trimming, especially if they mow your lawn and encounter similar issues. It’s a one-time charge that makes a difference in how you manage your yard and all the tasks that come with it.
If you want a tree or shrub removed entirely, you might have to find a separate service. However, once removed, the lawn care team can plant lots of grass seed and treat the area as though it was just a bald spot. Apply mulch and/or grass seed.
Hardscaping is adding inorganic areas to your lawn like patios, pathways, and pools. Sometimes, these elements can be used to deter growth of grass, weeds, etc. It can also be an effective tool for creating landscaped areas that are both interesting and decorative. It’s one of the lesser known lawn care and maintenance services, but one which you might like once your yard is mostly the way you like it.
The lawn care and maintenance services you hire will design your hardscaped areas for you. You approve them, and the professionals install the hardscape. This includes footpaths through your yard or walkways leading to doorways or patios. Hardscaping can be separate from or included with your landscaping design and creation.
After the hardscape areas are complete, mulching may be used to keep water from pooling around the hardscapes. The mulch pulls the water away and into the ground to keep these areas from looking flooded. Lawn care and maintenance services will offer you different choices for the mulch to use around the hardscapes based on your desire to be decorative versus functional.
Probably the biggest issue with taking a vacation in warmer months is the fact that your yard will suffer unless you have someone look after it. It will need to be mowed, weeded, watered (if it doesn’t rain), and cleared of debris or grass clippings. This is where lawn care and maintenance services really shine.
All of the above services and a few not mentioned can be requested and scheduled when you head out of town on your next vacation. Find the right local lawn care and maintenance services that offer vacation care and then you can leave worry-free. You don’t have to hire a lawn boy or wonder if your brother-in law will actually come over and do the work. You can leave it up to the pros you hired before you left.
The added benefit to hiring professionals to look after your lawn while you’re gone is that when you come home you don’t have to worry about doing the yard work for a few days. You will have time to recover from vacation and then shift back into your daily routines. You can even extend the lawn care services for a week or more beyond your return home if you feel that you won’t be able to do the yardwork yourself.
Likewise, if you are sick or have had surgery, these services can help. You hand yard management off to a professional company and focus on healing. Your yard will look great while you work on getting better.
Find the best mulching and lawn care services for you.
Now that you’ve gotten a rundown of some of the more obscure lawn services out there, including mulching, you should be ready to get it done (or hire somebody to do it for you). If you need a place to start looking, start with us here at Allen Outdoor. We’d be happy to have a conversation about what types of services are right for your lawn.