Learning Center

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Do I need to be home for Lawn Lad to provide an estimate?

Generally speaking, yes. If we do not have an existing relationship, we prefer to meet in person so that we can discuss your landscape needs. Once a relationship has been established, we can provide estimates for service without having to meet if the project is self explanatory. The time it takes to meet and discuss the project or services is brief and will save time in the long run. After we meet, our quote will be specific to your needs.

When is Lawn Lad available to meet?

Generally speaking we are available during the working week from 7 a.m. to about 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday morning appointments are generally reserved for longer site consultation and design meetings.

How long will we meet?

Depending on the number of items we're discussing, the scope of services and the area, we could meet for as little as 10 minutes or as long as 45 minutes.

Does Lawn Lad charge for estimates?

We will come out and meet with you for our first consultation at no charge to you. We will spend up to 45 minutes discussing your landscape and answering your questions. We will provide you with quotes to specific projects that are defined (e.g. landscape maintenance, turf care, etc.) at no cost. If an estimate is going to require design or consultation work in order to define the project to solve stated issues, than we will offer to provide design and consulting services at a charge for that time. Drawings and written notes from design and consultation services will be provided for your reference. Engaging Lawn Lad for design or consultation services does not commit you to having us perform the recommended services.

I don't know if my project is too small for Lawn Lad?

We will provide one spring clean up or lawn aeration if that is all you require. We are able to provide services as you request them on an as-needed basis, or provide a complete line of services that cover your landscape needs year 'round. Whether you want two plants installed or a whole landscape make over, we would like to be your single source for landscape solutions.

I don't know if my project is too big or right for Lawn Lad?

We won't know until we talk. We will be the first to admit if a project is not the right fit for our company. While we do provide a broad range of landscape and horticultural services, we recognize that certain projects may be better performed by a specific specialist in their respective field. Lawn Lad has relationships with other service providers that are specialists in their fields and we can provide direct referrals to those service providers or bring them in as subcontractors if necessary, depending on the project. The relationships we have established with certain service providers allows us to offer a wider range of services that often are combined to complete one project, making it a seamless experience for you, the customer, without having to serve as a general contractor.

Do I need a contract with Lawn Lad to receive services?

We want to make it easy for you to do business with us. We will provide you with a written quote for the work that we propose and request the signed contract before we begin most services. Many of our contracts, or service agreements, are continuously renewing from year to year, but you are not obligated for any period of time. If you want Lawn Lad to provide service for one day or 10 years, the only reason you will engage us is because you want to, not because you're locked into a contract. Your total satisfaction is very important to us, and if you're not satisfied we don't want you to feel stuck in a contract. You may cancel at any time. Our service agreements or contracts simply act as an operating agreement between us so that the roles and responsibilities of each party are clearly defined. You may feel confident that you will get the work done for which you have contracted and we will be confident in knowing that we will be paid in a timely manner for the services we provide.

I just need to have a one-time seasonal clean-up done, can you do that?

Yes. We will provide limited services or expanded service offerings depending on your needs.

Does Lawn Lad require a deposit before beginning work?

In many cases no, we only require a signed contract, which is your promise to pay us for work that we will complete at your request. For landscape management services, we do not generally take a deposit. Some of our contracts offer a discount for pre-paid service, which you may select if available. In some cases we may request a deposit to cover material expenses for installation or enhancement projects.

What are the payment terms for Lawn Lad?

Payment terms depend on the type of work. For landscape management services we generally invoice either at the end of the project with payment due upon receipt of invoice or at the end of the month for recurring scheduled work with the terms being net 15 days. For installation and enhancement projects, there may be a required deposit, and the net will be due upon completion. With some services we offer a discount for pre-paid services, in which case there will be continuing charges for those services.

What forms of payment does Lawn Lad take?

We accept cash, personal and business checks, Mastercard and Visa. Financing options for landscape projects through Wells Fargo credit is also available.

How long will it take for Lawn Lad to begin service?

It depends on the type of work for which you have contracted. Landscape management and turf care work will be scheduled to begin as soon as the schedule permits. Weekly service visits may begin almost immediately if service is started during the season. Installation projects are scheduled on a first come, first serve basis and the wait depends on the need to provide design services, ordering of materials and our back log, which may be two to eight weeks depending on the time of season. Enhancement projects may take one to four weeks to begin depending on the scope of work. We try to accommodate special schedules and events that may be coming up. Preference is given to our customers who have already scheduled services. We will discuss our availability during our initial conversations, so you know what you can expect.

How many men are there in a crew?

It depends on the type of work that is being done. Because each job is different, we will evaluate the scope of work and the timeframe for completion and determine the effectiveness of different crew sizes for a particular project or task. For specialty service calls (e.g. irrigation system maintenance, lighting, etc.) one man is generally on site. For landscape maintenance services, two to three men may be on site. During spring and fall leaf clean-ups, we may have up to five or six men on a crew. Installation projects will vary from generally two to four men depending on the type of work and size of project.

What is a man-hour?

A man-hour is a unit of time. Some work is performed on a flat or fixed-rate basis, while other work is performed by the man-hour, or on a time and materials basis. Man hours are calculated based on the number of men on site and the amount of time spent on site. For instance, a two-man crew working for three hours equals six man-hours.

Do I have to be home when Lawn Lad comes to my home to do work?

Generally you do not need to be home for us to provide service. We can do the majority of our work after our initial meeting. If changes to the project are required, we may need to meet to discuss these changes. There may be instances when we need access to your home or garage to access mechanicals or control boxes.

Is Lawn Lad insured?

Yes. We carry insurance for both your protection and ours. We carry Workers' Compensation insurance in case a worker becomes injured while working. We also carry general liability and commercial vehicle insurance.

Does Lawn Lad have permits to work at my house?

If permits are required in your city for the work we are doing, we will acquire the necessary permits to comply with local ordinances.

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General Turf Care

What do the three numbers on a fertilizer bag mean?

The three numbers represent the amount of each of the mineral elements in the bag of fertilizer. For example, a bag of lawn fertilizer that might have the analysis of 24-5-12, representing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K) in the bag. The number for each element represents the percentage of material in weight for the total bag. For this example, in a 50 lb. bag, there would be 12 lbs. of actual nitrogen, 2.5 lbs. of phosphorus and 6 lbs. of potassium. Reading the label provides rate information that shows how much N-P-K will be applied during an application.

When and how often should soil testing be performed?

Soil testing should be done when a new lawn or planting is going to be installed, or when there are problems in the landscape that may be related to soil fertility. We will soil test a lawn whenever we begin service for a new property. This information provides us with a benchmark. We will then retest every two to three years to update our information so that we make adjustments as necessary.

Why do you take more than one soil sample for testing from my yard?

We take one sample from each major lawn area. For instance a front lawn and back lawn are two different areas that we test. If a lawn area is small (less than 1,000 sq. ft.) we may not test it separately unless there are specific problems in that area. Bed areas are tested, when necessary, separately from lawn areas because turf and ornamental plants have different requirements from the soil. We generally soil test beds by request only, or if we see indicators that suggest testing would be useful in certain management situations.

What is the difference between a soil test and soil analysis?

Soil testing should be done when a new lawn or planting is going to be installed, or when there are problems in the landscape that may be related to soil fertility. We will soil test a lawn whenever we begin service for a new property. This information provides us with a benchmark. We will then retest every two to three years to update our information so that we make adjustments as necessary.

Why does my lawn still get crabgrass when a pre-emergent was applied in the spring?

Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that completes its life cycle in one year. Weed seeds can lay dormant in lawns for several years. When thinning turf allows the dormant seeds to become exposed to sunlight, and sufficient moisture is present, the seeds will germinate. A pre-emergent herbicide application made in early spring, generally mid March to early April, before soil temperatures reach 50 F, will provide 10 to 12 weeks of control. The pre-emergent produces a chemical barrier on the surface of the soil that kills seedlings when they first emerge (including intentionally seeded areas exposed to the herbicide). The herbicide is effective if the application was made properly and if the surface of the soil area that has been treated is not disturbed. By June or July, the effectiveness of the pre-emergent has diminished. Crabgrass generally appears along driveways, curbs or sidewalks where turfgrass is weak due to compacted soils that result in thinner turf.

What should I do about the crabgrass in my lawn?

Lawns that are healthy and that do not have a history of crabgrass may not require a pre-emergent herbicide application in the spring. A healthy and vigorous lawn is the best defense against crabgrass. Once the pre-emergent application has worn off, post emergent applications can be made when there are enough plants to warrant the application. One or two crabgrass plants can simply be pulled by hand or by using a trowel or weeding knife to remove more of the root system. Post-emergent applications may stress surrounding turf and should only be made when there is a significant population of the plants that will yield a lot of seeds for the next season. Crabgrass dies when cool fall weather arrives, so if a post-emergent application is made it should be made early enough to warrant the application prior to the onset of fall. If the problem is persistent, a second pre-emergent herbicide application can be made, generally in early summer before the efficacy of the first application diminishes entirely. This will provide another eight to 10 weeks of control.

Why does my lawn get diseases?

Diseases occur only when three things are present in what is called "The Disease Triangle." The three things that must be present are a sucecptible host (the turfgrass), the pathogen (the fungus or disease), and the proper environmental conditions. Certain types of grass are more susceptible to disease and may require fungicide applications to prevent disease from occurring or stop the spread of existing diseases. Good cultural conditions can mitigate the potential for disease. Please see information related to disease control.

What are grubs and why are they so destructive?

Grubs are the larval stage of several different types of beetles and chaffers. Adult beetles and chaffers lay their eggs in early summer after emerging from the soil. The larvae then grow during the summer months, over winters in the lawn and emerges as an adult the following year in late spring to early summer. During their growth and development, grubs feed on organic matter in the soil. The thatch layer just under the turf is high in organic content. The grubs tend to feed just under the thatch layer by chewing through the roots of the turfgrass plant. By late summer the evidence of grub damage becomes apparent when lawn areas suddenly turn brown, due to lack of roots and water, and can be rolled up like carpet because the root system is no longer holding the grass in place.

What is the likelihood my lawn will get grubs?

Lawns that have a history of grub activity are generally more likely to have grubs again in the future. Landscapes that are irrigated also have greater chances of having grubs for several reasons. Beetles and chaffers need to lay their eggs in moist soil because the grub larvae need to absorb moisture in the first 24 to 48 hours of their lives. Without moisture, the grubs won't survive. Beetles either lay their eggs after a good rainfall or, in the absence of rain, they are attracted to landscapes with irrigation systems. Lawns that have irrigation systems tend to grow more actively and accumulate thatch more quickly. Grubs feed on thatch, so lawns with irrigation provide moisture and generally a better food source.

How do I control grubs?

The best way to manage grubs is through a preventative grub control application made early in the season. Products on the market provide control for a long enough period of time that when applied in late May or early June, they last through the time frame of when beetles lay their eggs. The amount of insecticide required to kill insects, or in this case grubs, is based on the weight of the insect. The larger the insect, the more chemical required to be effective. In the early stages, it takes very little insecticide to kill grubs and therefore the applications have less chemical than applications that are made after large grubs have been identified. The cost to repair or replace lawns damaged by grubs can be expensive, and because low doses of product are required, pre-emergent applications are the best method to control grubs. If grubs are identified and are in sufficient population to cause problems, a post-emergent application can be made. Grubs identified in early spring generally do not warrant an application due to their size and the required dose to kill them. Also, by that time the grub has almost completed its lifecycle in the soil and is doing very little feeding damage to the lawn. If grubs are noticed in the early spring, a preventative application should be applied in late May or early June to prevent a new generation of grubs from returning to the lawn.

If my neighbor's lawn has weeds, will my lawn get weeds?

The more weeds that are present in a neighborhood or in the vicinity of your lawn may increase the risk of weeds in your lawn once the neighboring weeds go to seed. The best prevention against invading weeds, which can be carried by birds, animals and wind, is to have a healthy lawn that can outgrow invasive weeds.

I have moss in my lawn, what should I do?

Moss is what we call an environmental weed. It grows when conditions are right. Moss requires regular, sustained moisture. This moisture may be available because of compacted soil that doesn't let moisture drain, lack of sunlight and restricted air circulation. Moss can also be an indicator of acidic soil conditions, but this can only be verified with a soil test. Moss, if left unchecked, can crowd out desirable turfgrass. The site conditions should be altered to make growing conditions less than ideal for the moss. Aerate the lawn regularly, possibly twice a season if necessary. This will increase surface drainage and help to dry the lawn area by exposing more soil surface to the air. Limb up trees to allow more sunlight to shaded areas and to help increase air circulation. Do a soil test if one has not been done previously, and apply lime if required. If watering your lawn either by hand or automated irrigation system, water less frequently and for longer periods of time, letting the surface of the lawn dry out between waterings.

I have a shady lawn, can I have a good-looking lawn?

Grass does not grow well in the shade, period. However, in our landscapes we want and expect grass to grow in the shade. Depending on how heavy the shade is, the site conditions and the type of grass, success will vary. Trees will compete with turfgrass for moisture and nutrients. Shade reduces the amount of sunlight that can get to the grass for it to photosynthesize and create food for itself, therefore it becomes weaker overtime, eventually dying out. Shaded turfgrass has weaker root systems due to the growing environment, which results in grass that is less likely to recover from stress (i.e. drought, disease, insects, wear and tear). Regular seeding is required to keep a shady lawn looking decent.

Why is fertilizer applied in November when the lawn is not growing?

If you had to select only one application of fertilizer to make to your lawn each year, the "winterize" application would be the best option. The application is made late in the season when the grass plant is done producing top growth. The nitrogen from this application penetrates the soil and is absorbed by the turf plant and stored for the following spring. In early spring, the grass gets a burst of energy and is ready to begin growing right away. This early growth allows the lawn to fill in and thicken up before weeds can take hold. Further, the thicker, full lawn that is growing early can begin photosynthesizing to create food for itself, beginning to build increased tolerance to stress early on in the season. The early start to growth provides the fundamental building blocks for a successful lawn throughout the coming season.

Can I get rid of the creeping bent grass in my lawn?

Creeping bentgrass in a bluegrass and rye lawn is considered a weed. Although there is a newer selective herbicide available for crabgrass control, it is not an effective management tool in the home landscape. Either accept the varied conditions that creeping bentgrass creates in the lawn or eradicate it with a non-selective herbicide (e.g. Round-up) killing it. Complete control over the long haul is difficult because creeping bentgrass will often reappear.

Why do I still have weeds after several weed killer applications?

Depending on the type of weed, there can be several generations of weeds in one year. With many dormant weed seeds in your lawn, thinning lawn areas allow dormant seeds to become exposed to sunlight and with moisture can begin to germinate. Also, some weeds require several applications to kill. One application may only stunt the weeds' growth while a second or third may be required to eradicate them. Some turfgrass species, such as creeping bentgrass, are more susceptible to herbicide damage, so lower doses of weed killer must be used during the application, resulting in decreased efficacy and the need for multiple applications. Weeds should be treated when they are actively growing in the spring and the fall. Treating weeds at the wrong time of year may render the application ineffective. Further, if the weeds that have been targeted are treated with a product not labeled for their control, the application will have no result on those weeds. Applications that miss their targeted areas will also not have any effect. Granular weed control, which is commonly included in fertilizing packages available in retail outlets, does not provide effective control because the herbicide must come in contact with the weed. Unless the lawn is damp at the time of the application, the herbicide likely falls off the leaves and into the thatch, missing the weeds all together. This is why liquid spot weed control applications are more effective than broadcast granular applications.

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General Landscape Management

How much grass can be cut at one time without damaging the lawn?

You should remove no more than a third of the grass plant at any one mowing. If your lawn is 6 inches tall, and you want to get it to 3 inches, you're best to do it in two mowings. Cut the lawn to 4 inches, and then wait several days to cut again to get it down to 3 inches.

Why should I sharpen my mower blade?

Rotary mowers don't actually cut grass, instead, they whack the top of the grass blade off. Reel mowers with a reel and bed knife actually cut grass. Reel mowers require more maintenance and are therefore more expensive to operate. Most homeowners and landscape companies providing cost effective service use rotary mowers, which are more forgiving when they run over sticks, nuts and other minor obstructions in the lawn. Because the rotary mowers essentially whack the top of the turfgrass plant, the less sharp the blade, the more tearing occurs. The torn tip of the turfgrass looks bad and is also an entry point for disease. Sharp mower blades provide a more even and consistent cut while minimizing the potential for damage and stress to the lawn.

How often do I need to sharpen my mower blade?

Mower blades should be sharpened when they are dull. Under normal homeowner conditions, this may only be once a season, possibly twice. Our mowing crews change blades once to twice a weak at a minimum due to our higher volume of cutting. Mowing over sticks, rocks or other obstructions will dull the blades more quickly.

How can I sharpen my mower blade?

Carefully remove the blade from the lawnmower (regularly removing it makes it easier to take on and off). You can either use a hand file (time consuming and generally not as effective), a handheld grinder, a bench grinder, or take the blade to someone who can sharpen it for you, such as a hardware store or a service center for power equipment. Handheld grinders produce uneven finishes and are less desirable. Bench grinders may not be set up for lawn mower blade sharpening and may only work on certain types of bench grinders. Service centers that provide this service are the best option because they have special grinders designed to produce a factory fresh cutting edge. Lawn Lad will provide sharpening service to any Turf Care customers who provides us with their lawnmower blade. Inquire about details.

Do grass clippings cause thatch?

Grass clippings are approximately 80% water. Clippings left on the lawn produce little to no thatch accumulation in the lawn. Thatch is dead bio-mass that accumulates faster than it can break down naturally. Generally this is the result of dead turfgrass plants or plant parts that have heavy, thick growth parts with more tannin in them, such as the crowns of the turfgrass plant, stolens and rhizomes. Little sticks and other debris can also build up, adding to the thatch layer.

How much water does my lawn need?

Generally speaking, a lawn needs about 1 inch of water per week. Supplementing Mother Nature with irrigation may be necessary to maintain a green lawn. It takes about 25% as much water to keep a lawn green than it does to make a lawn green.

When is the best time to water?

Early morning is the best time to water. Excess moisture will evaporate during the day. Watering during the evening hours and allowing the turfgrass plants to remain wet all night will increase the likelihood for diseases. Watering during the hottest part of the day is less effective because more water will evaporate during the watering. Early morning watering for a long enough period of time to let the water soak deep into the soil, without puddling, is ideal. Watering deeply will allow you to water less frequently.

How can I tell if I'm watering my lawn enough?

Measure the output of your irrigation system by putting rain gauges throughout the areas being watered. Time your irrigation for half-hour or some specific increment. Once you determine how much water falls during that time frame you can determine how long you will need to water to get 1 inch of water per week. You probably will not be able to apply all of the water in one application because the soil cannot absorb it all at once and will run off, which is ineffective. Water as much as the lawn will absorb without puddling or runoff and repeat as necessary until you've applied 1 inch of water. A drought-stressed lawn generally begins to brown out and look less vibrant. Hard, compacted and dry soil is another indicator of how moist the soil is. Try putting a small hand trowel or soil probe into the ground. With moderate pressure, you should have no difficulty inserting the trowel more than half an inch to 1 inch into the ground.

How do I keep grass from growing in my beds?

Certain types of grass spread with underground runners called rhizomes and above-ground runners called stolens. The simplest and least expensive method, and most natural looking, is to install a spade edge to prevent grass from spreading into the bed. A spade edge is a 3-to-5-inch deep vertical trench, allowing the bed to slope into the trench and dividing the lawn from the bed. The edge needs to be deep enough to prevent rhizomes from spreading underground. Spade edges are easy to maintain, low tech and low cost. The use of edging products to separate lawn from bed areas is another option. The use of stone, brick, cobble and manufactured edging products provides a structured separation between lawns and beds. Certain materials can enhance or distract from the landscape, so materials should be chosen carefully to reflect the feeling and tone of the landscape. If installed properly, materials used for edging require less maintenance than spade edging, but cost more initially to install.

Is there a way to prevent weeds from growing in my beds?

In addition to installing a spade edge or a material edge to separate lawn and bed areas, certain cultural practices will help to reduce weeds from growing. The more dense the planting in the beds, either ornamentals, perennials, annuals or groundcovers, the less room there is for weeds. A layer of mulch inhibits weed growth. Pre-emergent herbicide applications can also be applied during intervals throughout the season to minimize broad leaf and grassy weeds from becoming established.

How much mulch can be installed in my beds?

Generally no more than 2 inches of mulch should be applied to landscape beds at any one time. If new mulch is being applied and there is existing mulch in the bed, the total amount of mulch should not exceed 2 inches.

What kind of mulch should be used in my beds?

There are different kinds of mulch that each serve different purposes. Generally, we recommend and install double shredded hardwood bark mulch for general mulching, weed and moisture retention. Specialty mulches may be used in certain situations, such as cocoa shells in rose beds or raw, non-aged wood chips in open beds where plant injury is not a concern. Aged bark mulch applied properly will not cause damage to plants. Mulch should not be built up against or come in contact with plants, particularly delicate annuals and perennials.

When should mulch be applied to beds?

Mulch should be added when old mulch has decomposed and is no longer providing the benefits it should. Depending on how active the decomposition is for the bed, mulch may last six months or several seasons. While mulch can be applied in any season, care should be taken when mulching in the early spring. Do not allow more than 2 inches of mulch to build up in any bed. Mulching too early in the spring season can lock moisture into the soil, increasing the potential for root rot of landscape plants. It is advisable to let the beds dry out from spring rains a little bit before applying mulch, which may be late May or early June.

Should I fertilize my shrubs and trees?

Fertilizing is beneficial for several reasons. Fertilizer encourages plant growth, which allows the plant to create more food and energy for overall increased health. Fertilized plants generally develop stronger roots systems and are more resistant to stresses (i.e. drought, insects, disease and damage). Plants in a natural environment get nutrients from decomposing organic matter such as leaves and dead plant parts. In our urban landscapes, dead and dying plant material is removed from the landscape for good sanitation. Organic matter and nutrients need to be replaced, which is accomplished in part through fertilizing. Top dressing beds with mulch, leaf humus and compost is another way to replenish organic material and nutrients.

When should fertilizer be applied to shrubs and trees?

A slow-release granular fertilizer application for shrubs can be applied in early spring, providing up to six months of feeding with certain products. Applications should be made just prior to or during bud break and the early stages of the plant leafing out. Liquid deep-root fertilizer for small and large trees should be applied in fall. Nutrients will be stored in the plant over winter and be available for the following spring.

What is mycorrizae?

Mycorrhizae is a beneficial fungus that lives on the root tips of plants. The fungus breaks the organic matter down in the soil making it available for the plant. This fungus is naturally occurring, and without its presence, plants cannot benefit from the organic matter in the soil. For many plants, a commercially available form of mycorrhizae is available. Mycorrhizae applied to the back fill of plants at time of installation stimulates root growth. Plants benefit from the addition of mycorrhizae applications due to faster root development, leading to overall plant health and vigor. Mycorrhizae applications are also beneficial when made to mature plantings through liquid deep-root injections. Mycorrhizae generally does not to be reapplied to an area unless plants are removed or soil excavated or disturbed. Mycorrhizae is beneficial for deciduous plants, some evergreens, perennials and annual flowers. Ericaceous plants, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, holly, and Mt. Laurel do not benefit from these applications.

What is the best way to rid my patio and walks of moss and algae?

Walks and patios that are in shaded areas tend to have more moss and algae growth than areas exposed to sunlight. Sandstone, which holds moisture and has a cut, smooth surface, becomes very slick from moss growth even in slightly shaded areas. Where possible, for long-term control, change the environment to minimize the potential for moss and algae growth. Limbing up surrounding trees to increase exposure to sunlight, and trimming and heading back plants will increase air circulation. Check that excess moisture drains away from the affected area. In areas where moss and algae need to be removed, power washing is an option, using high-pressure water to remove growth from the pavement areas. Products such as Mossicide, available from retailers, may also provide some temporary control but will need to be reapplied regularly. Some household solutions of vinegar or bleach may also be used, but care should be taken to ensure that run off from the patio or walks does not come in contact with surrounding plants.

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General Lawn Installation and Development

When is the best time of year to install a new lawn?

Spring and fall are the ideal times to install new lawns. Spring-seeded lawns will be more prone to annual weeds compared to fall-seeded lawns. The most essential ingredient when establishing a new seeded lawn is water. The weather is cooler and there is more rainfall during spring and fall months, reducing the need for irrigation. Regardless of when the lawn is installed, it is critical that irrigation be available to supplement rainfall. Sod lawns can be installed at any time, but again need regular irrigation for establishment, making spring and fall the ideal installation times.

Are there different methods of installing a lawn?

New lawns can be installed in several ways depending on various factors. The more work required to correct grade and drainage problems, remove stumps, mitigate soil compaction, and to remove existing thatch will require a more extensive lawn installation process. While a similar process is followed for each lawn installation, the variables are the existing site conditions and the expectations for the finished result. When considering different lawn installation alternatives, it is important to weigh the current site conditions, expected end result, cost and proposed solutions. Lawn Lad may recommend several alternatives depending on your priorities and current site conditions.

Is sod or seed better?

Seeding a new lawn provides a lower initial cost compared with sod. However, seed lawns take longer to fill and become fully established, ultimately requiring more labor and time than sod. Sod lawns provide an "instant" lawn with a shorter time frame for establishment. However, sod has limited seed variety generally bluegrass which may not be appropriate for all site conditions.

Do I need to have an irrigation system for the new lawn?

Your new lawn will require irrigation whether it comes from above ground hoses and sprinklers that you manually set up and turn on, or an automated in-ground sprinkler system. In-ground irrigation systems provide consistent results with ease of control. For smaller lawn areas, in-ground systems may provide more convenience than effectiveness, depending on the owner's willingness and ability to manage proper levels of moisture for the new lawn. For larger lawns, an in-ground irrigation system provides an advantage over manual systems that are more cumbersome to move, set up and operate with consistency. During warmer, drier spells of weather, a new lawn may need to be irrigated two or three times per day, requiring diligent follow through by the owner to ensure effective watering. An irrigation system helps to alleviate this burden. An investment in an irrigation system provides not only a good tool for the establishment period of the lawn, but also for ongoing maintenance for years to come.

Does my old lawn need to be removed?

With new lawn installations, we will kill the existing turf and weeds. Removal of the dead grass or sod depends on how thick the thatch layer is, site conditions, budget and the owner's expectations for finished results. It is not always necessary to remove the old lawn, however, improved quality is almost always the result of doing so. While removing the lawn adds cost over not removing it, the end result almost always justifies the additional investment.

I don't want to install a new lawn, can we renovate it instead?

A lawn renovation is almost always an option. One of the primary considerations for a lawn installation versus renovation is the expected end result, site conditions and the time frame available to produce results. If the owner is patient and the property has decent site conditions, then renovations make sense. Lawn Lad representatives will evaluate your site conditions and recommend options that will meet your expectations and priorities.

Does Lawn Lad offer a warranty on new lawn installations?

Lawn Lad will provide a warranty for new lawn installations when the property owner elects to sign up for our Lawn Development Program (see details under the Services section). It takes time for lawns to establish and our Lawn Development Program is designed to provide the necessary services to ensure a high quality lawn. We will provide one year of fertilizing, weed control, spot seeding and consultation in addition to other services to provide you with the peace of mind that you are not managing your lawn alone.

What happens if my lawn doesn't come in completely or to our satisfaction?

If you have signed up for our Lawn Development Program, we will be monitoring your lawn and working with it, minimizing the potential of incomplete lawn establishment. If necessary we will reseed areas that have washed out or did not germinate completely. For standard lawn installations without the Lawn Development Program we will discuss options with the owner to offer suggestions and solutions to remedy the problems. We will quote the cost for remedial work or services that are required.

Do I have to sign up for the Lawn Development program?

No. You may choose to sign up for the Lawn Development program and the included services and warranty at your discretion.

What happens when the services for the Lawn Development program expire?

At the completion of the lawn installation, the Lawn Development Program, if selected, commences and provides for services and a warranty for one year from the date of installation. At the one year anniversary the owner may sign up for continuing turf care and maintenance services. The customer is under no obligation to continue service, but may choose to do so at their discretion.

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What is hydro-seeding?

Hydro-seeding is the simple procedure of applying a slurry of grass seed, fertilizer, hydro-mulch and water in one liquefied application. Various soil amendments and soil stabilizers may also be used in the mixture, depending on the needs of the environment. Hydro-seed machines mix together the seed, water, fertilizer, tackifier (glue), and green wood fiber mulch to create a slurry. The slurry is sprayed on the ground with a high-pressure hose that helps it to reach all kinds of terrain, including steep slopes. When the slurry dries, it creates a crust over the ground, protecting the area from erosion. The crust also protects the seeds from being washed away in the rain or eaten by birds.

Is it called hydro-seeding or hydro-mulching?

Hydro-seeding was devised as a method of distributing and planting seed by spraying seed with water. Hydro-mulching was later developed as an improved method of hydro-seeding. Hydro-seeding became hydro-mulching when mulch was added to the mixture, and when the application on the ground was thick enough to hold the seed in place, resist soil erosion and help retain soil moisture.

Many people commonly refer to the process of applying a seed and mulch slurry as hydro-seeding. The consumer should be aware that there is a difference between hydro-seeding with paper-based mulches and hydro-mulching with wood-based products. For simplicity, Lawn Lad installs its lawns using the hydro-mulch approach with high-quality wood fiber mulch, but we call it hydro-seeding to avoid confusion with other installation techniques.

In most cases, for grass to emerge evenly and consistently, it is necessary to hold the seed in place and have moisture for germination. The key to good, consistent grass growing results is a good mulch application.

Scientific research conducted by a number of universities has shown that certain woods, ground with a special process, make the best mulch. It has also been determined that tackifier significantly improves the performance of all mulches. Today, hydro-mulching usually implies using wood mulch, applied at effective rates. The best mulch material is virgin wood fiber containing a tackifier. Effective rates range from 35 to more than 75 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Paper mulch cannot be applied at a rate higher than about 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet because it tends to form a detrimental crust.

Does hydro-seeding cost more than other seed installations methods?

Installing a seeded lawn is less expensive than a sod lawn. The same steps to prepare the lawn are used regardless of how the lawn is installed. Hydro-seeding is comparable to the cost of installing a seed lawn using mulch or peat moss.

Will Lawn Lad hydro-seed my lawn if I prepare it, and how much would it cost?

Lawn Lad will hydro-seed for other contractors and homeowners who have done their own seed bed preparation. We generally supply all that is needed for the hydro-seeding installation. The cost ranges from $0.08 to $0.15 per square foot depending on the materials being used and the size of the area being installed.

Do you use paper-based or wood-fiber mulch?

We use 100% wood-fiber mulch unless specified otherwise by the client. Wood fiber provides better moisture retention than paper-fiber mulch, requiring less watering and improved sticking power. The wood fiber acts like an initial thatch layer during the early development of the lawn, which shades the seed and helps to retain moisture in the soil.

What type of grass seed is used in hydro-seeding?

Most types of grass seed and grass seed mixtures can be used in hydro-seeding. The type of seed that is selected for your area will be based on your intended use for the lawn, your soil type and site conditions.

Why is the green color gone from my hydro-seeded lawn?

The green dye that was present during the initial application may fade and disappear in as few as two days in some cases, and as much as several weeks in other cases. The colorant has no bearing on the quality of the hydro-seed or the impression that the hydro-seeded lawn has washed away. Wood-fiber mulch turns a light brown color, shortly after which the new grass seedlings will appear.

How much should I water my hydro-seeded lawn?

Refer to our maintenance guidelines for new seeded lawns for more detailed information. Initially water is essential to the development of a strong root system in your hydro-seeded lawn. Newly hydro-seeded lawns should be watered as much as two to three times a day, depending on the season. Special care should be taken to ensure that the lawn is NOT saturated during watering and puddles DO NOT form on the lawn. The goal is to have a consistently moist area for the best germination results. Watering guidelines change as the new lawn begins to establish.

When should I fertilize my hydro-seeded lawn?

A starter fertilizer was applied with the new lawn at time of installation. A supplemental application of slow-release fertilizer may be made at about the time of the first mowing, generally two to three weeks after the installation.

Can I walk on the hydro-seed once it is applied?

Only as much as is absolutely necessary. Heavy traffic on a newly seeded lawn can permanently damage the new grass. Walking on a freshly hydro-seeded lawn can leave depressions in the lawn, and in some cases cause bare spots to form. Avoid walking on the lawn when it's moist and when new seedlings are germinating.

How soon will I have grass?

Often hydro-seeded lawns will begin to germinate in is as little as five to seven days. Most grass types will take between three and four weeks to fill in. Depending on how often the lawn is watered and the type of grass seed used, it can take up to eight weeks to see strong growth.

When should I first mow my hydro-seeded lawn?

As a general rule of thumb, the first mowing is recommended once the lawn reaches 3 to 4 inches in height. This is generally when the turfgrass plants develop multiple leaves in the same plant. Do not remove more than a third of the grass blade at one time.

Do I need any special equipment to mow my hydro-seeded lawn?

No. The most important item you can have when mowing your new lawn is a very sharp mower blade. Try to avoid sharp turns when mowing a fresh lawn so as to avoid tearing the grass out with your tires.

Is hydro-seeding guaranteed?

Lawn Lad provides a professional installation and continuing care information to assist the owner in getting their lawn established. Often incidents such as torrential rains or acts of nature are beyond our control and are not covered. A common problem in the development of a new lawn is not watering the property sufficiently, which causes the yard to appear spotty and incomplete. We only guarantee lawn installations if the owner elects to enroll in our Lawn Development Program, which provides a warranty for a successful lawn installation.

Is hydro-seeding better than sod?

A hydro-seeded lawn is 60% to 75% less expensive than the costly application of sod. However, having your lawn sodded will give you a picture-perfect lawn in as little as one day. Hydro-seeding may take a few weeks to see your lawn germinate and even longer to fully develop. The ultimate outcome of your lawn depends on the aftercare and attention you give to your investment.

Do contractors have to have a license to hydro-seed?

In the state of Ohio contractors are not required to have a license to install seed lawns. Some cities or municipalities require a contractor to have a permit to install lawns in their cities, but it is not specific to hydro-seeding.

Can I apply pesticides to my hydro-seeded lawn?

Pesticides (e.g. weed killers, insect control) should be avoided until your lawn is well established. A common practice is to wait at least six to eight weeks from the date of installation before any pesticides are used on your new lawn. New seedlings are more susceptible to pesticide damage. Fungicides may be required if a disease appears, however, in most cases fungicide use can be prevented by following proper watering guidelines.

Do I need to have a soil test done before hydro-seeding?

A soil test is an important tool in evaluating your soils requirements. In most cases Lawn Lad will do a soil test prior to the lawn installation to determine the pH and nutrient levels. If a soil test can not be done prior to the installation due to the schedule, we will perform a soil test after the installation and initial establishment period before the turf care services begin.

Can a hydro-seeder spray something other than grass seed?

Absolutely. Hydro-seeders can often spray wildflower mixtures, horse pasture mixes and many other mixtures.

What's the best time of year to have my lawn hydro-seeded?

Mid to late spring and early fall are the most conducive to growing new lawns. However, they can be installed during the warmer, hotter days of summer as long as there is adequate moisture available for the lawn to establish.

I see green stains on my foundation and my walkway after my yard was hydro-seeded, will it go away?

Absolutely. The green dye that may have splashed onto your foundation or walkways will usually fade away within a few days and can be hosed off with a garden hose.

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Sod Lawn Care/Installation

Is a sod lawn better than a seed lawn?

Choosing a sod lawn installation over seed is based on priorities, expectations and budget of the decision maker. While seed is less expensive than sod at the time of installation, seed takes more time, energy and water to establish. The added establishment cost for seed lawns makes the relative cost of seed and sod similar over the long run. Ultimately both provide the opportunity for a beautiful, lush lawn. "Better" is in the eyes of the beholder.

Why does sod cost so much more than seed installations?

It takes sod farms approximately 18 to 24 months to create a crop of sod ready for harvest. The sod is then cut from the field, transported to the site and installed within 24 to 36 hours. The coordination and implementation of labor, equipment and materials is rather significant. The lawn and soil preparation for seed or sod is the same, so the additional cost comes from the added labor and material needed to lay the sod.

What type of grass seed is used in sod?

Most sod is grown in sunny fields that are ideal for turfgrass that grows well in full sun. Blue grass is most commonly used for sod. It is a cool-season, full-sun turfgrass species that provides a great residential lawn. Some bluegrass sod is over-seeded with perennial rye or fescue, providing a variety that is more adaptable to other uses.

How much should I water my sod lawn?

It is critical that sod not dry out when installed. Sod that dries out may shrink and pull apart the seams, leaving them vulnerable to weed infestation. It is equally important not to over water. You know you are over watering when water puddles on top or runs out from under the sod. The season will determine how much watering you will need to do. Refer to our maintenance guidelines for new sod lawns for more detailed information.

When should I fertilize my sod lawn?

A starter fertilizer was applied to the new lawn at the time of installation. A supplemental application of slow release fertilizer may be made at about the second or third mowing, generally four to five weeks after the installation.

Can I walk on the sod once it is applied?

Only when absolutely necessary. Watering a new sod lawn and keeping it continually moist means the underlying soil will be moist and potentially soggy. Walking on the lawn, particularly in low areas, may cause damage. Avoid walking on the lawn for as long as possible.

When should I first mow my sod lawn?

The rule of not removing more than a third of the turfgrass plant when mowing applies here. Sod will grow quickly and need to be mowed in seven to 10 days from the date of installation. Reduce watering to only lightly sprinkling the lawn just enough keep the grass from drying out one to two days before mowing. Reducing watering before mowing will minimize the potential for damage.

Is a sod installation guaranteed?

We only guarantee lawn installations when the owner elects to enroll in our Lawn Development Program. Lawn Lad provides a professional installation and aftercare information to assist the owner with establishing their lawn. The most common problem in the development of a new lawn is not watering sufficiently, which causes the sod to dry, pull apart and wither. Incidents such as torrential rains or acts of nature are beyond our control and are not covered, but we do all that is necessary to make a successful new lawn most likely.

Do contractors have to be licensed to install sod?

In the state of Ohio contractors are not required to have a license to install sod lawns. Some cities or municipalities require a contractor to have a permit to install lawns in their cities, but it is not specific to sod installation.

Can I apply pesticides to my sod lawn?

Pesticides (e.g. weed killers, insect control) should be avoided until your sod lawn is well established. A common practice is to wait at least six to eight weeks from the date of installation before any pesticides are used on your new lawn. Fungicides may be required if a disease appears, however this can be prevented by not watering too late in the day or at night.

Do I need to have a soil test done before installing a sod lawn?

A soil test is an important tool in evaluating your soil's requirements. In most cases, Lawn Lad will do a soil test prior to the lawn installation to determine the pH and nutrient levels. If a soil test can not be done prior to the installation due to the schedule, we will perform a soil test after the installation and initial establishment period before the turf care services begin.

What's the best time of year to install a sod lawn?

Mid to late spring and early fall are ideal times to establish new lawns. However, installation during the warmer, hotter days of summer is possible as long as there is adequate moisture available for the lawn to establish. Sod lawns have even been installed during winter months if the sod can be cut. The bottom line is to keep sod moist so that it can create a new root system.

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