Many of the general public do not know what a lawn care service actually does. Keeping a fine lawn may be seen as quite an old school thing to do, but lawn care businesses are largely very young and growing. Over the last century agriculture products and methods have been forced to improve to keep up with a growing population, these advancements have passed down to turf care.
Standards in professional turf care continue to improve. This is shown on your TV screen with the quaility of surfaces on display at professional sports clubs in comparison to those of yesteryear - and this with more fixtures and extreme weather events separating the best from the rest.
A lawn care service, similar to a professional sports club is also tapping into the product range available to the professional. When several hundred (or even thousand) lawn care customers are gained by a lawn care service, we can purchase products utilising the latest technology in bulk, and with good density of work, apply these products at a very viable cost - helping to gain the best from your garden on a budget. Again with size, specialist machinery can be purchased to carry out services such as lawn renovation, scarification and lawn aeration - machinery that otherwise would need to be hired, transported and used with knowledge and skill.
'But I do it myself...' Fertilisers - DIY v Professional
Warning: the difference in the quality of product that can be purchased from a garden centre is about to be exposed.
The DIY product is nicely branded and promises a quick result. If grass only grew for a six weeks per year, it would be just the job. The nitrogen sources being supplied to the plant are just that - quick release. If you wanted to apply this product 6-7 times per year then it would deliver a hole in your wallet, and an awful lot of thatch to your lawn as it is forced to grow quickly on a McDonald's diet. With growth forced, much undesired waste is produced.
The professional product delivers value for money when considering domestic lawns. The fertilisers used by lawn care services typically will have a 10-12 week longevity in the soil, some of ours as long much as 16-20 weeks utilising coated, controlled release fertilisers - only activating when moisture arrives to avoid negative effects of scorch. A lawn care service will fertilise a lawn which such a product 3 or 4 times per year to give the desired building blocks of a great lawn all year around.
Selective Herbicides - DIY v Professional
This one is a little more well known in that DIY products are certainly not those of professional. Similarly to with fertiliser products, there is a knowledge as to what needs to be applied, at what rate, in what conditions and with what equipment. Herbicides however, pose risk in the wrong hands and when used outside of the label rate.
Professionals not only have access to professional products which give superior results, but are legally required be NPTC qualified to purchase, transport, store, use and dispose of chemicals. Lawn care professionals would be happy to show their documentation for their hard work as we're rarely asked! Professionals understand how these products work and which weeds will be most susceptible. With good lawn care management, the requirement for selective herbicides will be reduced after the first couple of visits from a lawn care service.
Mechanical Work - DIY v Professional
Just a gentle scratch...
The aeration and scarification of your lawn are vital processes, and can be quite time consuming. If a lawn care enthusiast yourself, you will have greater joy in carrying this work out yourself. If your lawn is in need of some greater help then the approach of the professional will be required.
The purchase of proper scarification or aeration machinery is a fair outlay for a lawn treatment business, so would prove a serious outlay for a homeowner who may see little use for the kit. Powered lawn rakes are not professional scarifiers - these wire tines are just that of a rake rather than metal scarification blades. They can be good tools if used regularly to maintain surface thatch levels but not if heavy work is required. Professional scarifiers can be hired, but it is worth weighing this up against using a lawn care service who will understand the needs of your lawn.
Mechanical aerators can also be hired, but are quite something to transport. Historically, hollow-tine aeration is deemed as the most popular for lawns in many cases. Either look to purchase a cheap hollow-tine fork to do your small, difficult to access lawn, or call for a professional. If the hire of a machine is £50 for the day and will take up an hour of your time in transport before even doing any work, paying £100+ on a mechanical service to be carried out at the correct time of year makes for good value from the lawn care provider.
It's possible that the given lawn care provider has experience in sports turf, and in particular, the end of season renovation work. This often includes aggressive mechanical work, overseeding and top dressing. If your lawn is looking very tired after the tough 2018, getting a professional lawn care service on the case could mean huge savings rather than re-turfing a lawn.
Given lawn care service providers are qualified and experienced to spray lawns for the unwanted, they can also do this for hard surfaces. Again - it's less requirement for you to have sub-standard chemicals knocking around in the shed.
It's fair to say we're working in a busy marketplace! If you're interested in bringing your lawn up to scratch in 2019, now is a great time to beat the impending spring rush and get in touch with a leading local business.
Above: A lawn in Nuneaton in May 2018, stripped of moss and thatch, seeded and in the process of being top-dressed.
Below: The same lawn three weeks later just starting to establish. Our modern grass seed mixes give outstanding colour.