Lawn Care Programs and Their Treatments: Comparing Apples to Oranges

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Apple to orange comparisonHow many lawn treatments do I need per year? And what services should be included in my lawn care plan? How do I know if I’m really getting what I need?

While you may know that you need to find a lawn care program to fix or maintain your lawn, what you don’t know is exactly what you should look for in a program.

You may have a lot of questions and it can be confusing when every lawn care company seems to have something different to offer. You don’t want to be ripped off by receiving more treatments than you really need, but you also don’t want to miss an important service.

It’s a conundrum. You ought to be able to compare lawn care programs, have your questions answered, and ultimately find one that is going to give you the lawn you want without breaking the bank in the process.

The truth is, comparing one lawn care program to another is a lot like comparing apples to oranges. With different companies packaging their programs in different ways, it can be difficult to determine just what your lawn really needs.

We understand it’s confusing. That’s why we want to help you wade through all of that advertising noise in order to get to the heart of what really matters.

Because we care about the local Lehigh Valley community, we want to be sure that you’re making a wise choice that will lead to the best possible service and results.

How Many Lawn Treatments Per Year?

It’s easy to get hung up on the number of lawn care treatments a company offers. After all, this is a major point often touted in advertising. But the fact of the matter is, it’s not so important how many visits your lawn care company is performing. What’s important is what lawn care treatments they’re providing while they’re there.

A thorough lawn care program will take into account what services need to be performed strategically throughout the year and will incorporate them into the number of visits that they provide. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what that specific number is, as long as all of these services are being completed.

lawn-care-programs-pricing

Though it’s a temptation to use the number of visits as a point of comparison, this is definitely a case of comparing apples to oranges. Just because a company offers more visits does not mean they are doing more for your lawn. In fact, it’s even possible they’re charging you for visits you don’t need. That’s why you need to get to the bottom of what’s included in your program.

Evaluating What’s Included in Lawn Care Programs

When comparing lawn care programs, what you really need to evaluate is what’s included. In order to do that fairly, you could create a two column list on a tablet where you compare (side-by-side) the treatments each company has to offer.

We’ll outline what’s important to have as part of your lawn care plan so that you can be sure the company is covering what you need.

At the bare minimum, you want the lawn care program you’re looking at to include the following three components, which will help your lawn to defend itself against weeds and receive the nutrition it needs to thrive.

Fertilization

Lawn fertilization serviceThe use of a professional fertilization product applied at appropriate times throughout the year will supply your lawn with the nutrients it is lacking. At Joshua Tree, we use organic-based bio-stimulant fertilizer, a material not commonly used by most lawn care companies. It will promote a healthier lawn than solely using synthetic fertilizers.

We perform five fertilization treatments throughout the season. While you shouldn’t get too hung up on number of visits, you of course want to ensure they’re making enough. There would be a big difference in the results if a company only did two fertilization treatments as compared to five.

Custom Tailored Broadleaf Weed Control

Tackling weeds is a complicated venture. After all, some of the weeds that thrive in the Lehigh Valley are tough to control and may even require a multi-faceted approach. This is why it’s important to choose a company that custom tailors their weed control program to your property’s specific needs.

Lawn care liquid weed control application

You may not have the same weeds as your neighbor does so you don’t want a company who will just blanket everything with the same product. You want a company who will execute a variety of weed control tricks in order to get the weeds on your property under control.

A big differentiator between lawn care programs out there is that many of them do not change up their plan based on the property’s specific circumstances. They take the same course of action no matter what. This is a potential reason why no progress may feel as though it’s being made.

A company that truly has your best interest at heart will use specialized products, even if they cost the company more. These products can target harder to control weeds like violet, ground ivy, and oxalis, to name just a few. Unfortunately, many companies only resort to using these products if they get a complaint that their normal products aren’t working. They take a reactive approach rather than being proactive.

Crabgrass Pre-Emergent and Post-Emergent

crabgrass-near-drivewayIn addition to broadleaf weed control, you also want a lawn care plan that includes pre-emergent crabgrass control in spring, which will prevent the majority of crabgrass from growing in the first place.

A program should also include crabgrass post-emergent in the summer, which would take care of any crabgrass breakthrough that occurred.

This often happens along pavement edges or other weakened spots of the lawn where it’s easier for crabgrass to thrive.

Vital Additions to Your Lawn Care Program

While fertilization, broadleaf weed control, and pre- and post-emergent are considered the basics, there are other important services that you might also want to be included in your lawn care program. These additional services will give you even more value.

Preventative Grub Control

Grubs in lawn soilDue to their destructive nature, you may also want to consider adding grub control to your lawn care program. Grubs, which is the collective name for several species of beetles in the larval stage, cause damage by eating the roots of your lawn.

While some people assume they do not need grub control because they don’t see any grubs, you may not notice grub damage until it’s severe. They key is to prevent grubs in the first place, which is why many lawn care companies insist on grub control as part of their lawn care programs.

Limestone Application

Lawns which are struggling with optimum color or vigor are often a result of acidic soils. In the Lehigh Valley, this is a common concern. That’s why you might want to consider adding a limestone treatment to your lawn care program. This is a service best performed in the fall.

Adding limestone in the fall will give your soil the entire winter season to absorb it and adjust its pH accordingly for the spring. As the soil’s pH changes, it allows the lawn to take better advantage of the available nutrients not only within the soil but also through the fertilizer additions being added through your program.

Core Aeration and Overseeding

Lawn being aerated Lawn aeration is one of the best ways to thicken up your lawn and improve its overall health. This service involves using a machine called a core aerator to pull small cores of soil throughout your lawn and depositing them back onto the surface. The resulting aeration cores break down over time, recycling nutrients back into the soil.

This service helps to break up compacted soil (common in the Lehigh Valley), allowing more nutrients, water, and oxygen to penetrate deep down to your lawn’s root zone, where they’re really needed.

When overseeding is performed at the same time, this allows your new grass seed to make their way into the holes, providing better seed-to-soil contact. This gives your new grass the best start. Some lawn care programs include either one or both of these services as part of their offerings.

Building Services Into Your Lawn Care Plan

Just like different companies offer different numbers of visits, they will also build these mentioned services into their programs in various ways. You’ll want to evaluate what’s included in each level of a prospective company’s lawn care programs.

Lawn care spot treatmentOf course, a lot of companies appear to just have one lawn care program. However, when you explore further, you might see that it doesn’t include much and everything else is an add-on service. Once you start adding up all of the services you want, it can become costly.

This is a tricky way of advertising their services as it often makes them appear to be a lot less expensive than they really are. You might even compare them to another company and assume you’re saving a lot.

But when you actually start adding up the cost of all of the add-ons you end up paying for, it could possibly end up costing even more than the company you were weighing them against. This is why you need to be clear at the onset what you’re getting for your investment.

A lot of companies can make this information difficult to find. For this reason, it is helpful to find a lawn care company that spells out exactly what they offer and what’s included right on their website. Transparency is so important in the lawn care industry, which has gotten a bad reputation as a result of those companies who are sneaky or have a lot of hidden costs.

Lawn seeding services performed by Joshua Tree technician

Another factor that can affect lawn care cost is labor. As you’ve likely come to see, there is a lot more involved with lawn care than you might have thought—particularly if it’s being performed correctly. Therefore, the caliber of the team can also affect the pricing. You want well-trained technicians who are truly experts at what they do to be working on your property. But this may cost a little more than the company that employs just anyone.

Another important factor in the way lawn care companies build services into their programs is how often they’re on your lawn. As we mentioned, the number of visits doesn’t matter as much as what’s being performed while technicians are there. However, it is important that the visits are spaced out and that they are visiting throughout the year.

In addition to performing the correct service at the correct time of year (as that really does matter in its effectiveness), this provides the added benefit of having a professional eye on your property throughout the seasons.

This means that if you have a disease or a pest problem brewing, it will be caught early and can be dealt with before it becomes more serious (and costly!). This is a huge benefit to investing in a lawn care program with well-trained and experienced technicians. It will give you some peace of mind knowing that a professional is looking out for your property, with your best interest at heart.

Let Us Be Your Guide

We truly do understand how complicated it may be for you to weigh your lawn care options and we want to help. If you have any questions about what our services include or how they stack up to other lawn care companies in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA, we’ll give you the honest answer.

As people who also live right here in the Lehigh Valley, we want the best for you, whether that means you choose our services or not. Regardless, we want to be available to guide you in making an educated decision.

Joshua Tree lawn care sign in nice lawnAt Joshua Tree, we offer three lawn care programs so that you can find the program that best suits your wants and needs. All of our programs include organic-based bio-stimulant fertilizer as well as free service calls and follow-up evaluations. That’s because we know that issues can arise in between our visits, and we never want to keep you waiting.

Choosing the best lawn care program is an important decision that will ultimately lead you to a better lawn. You’ve already taken the first step by educating yourself about what matters. Now, you just need to take the time to evaluate these programs as a whole. Don’t get caught up with gimmicks or advertising noise. Just focus on what matters. And if you need our help in doing that, we’re here for you.

If you’d like to find out more about our lawn care programs in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA, which include three lawn care pricing options, then contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at 610-365-2200.

Tips for hiring lawn care company in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA

Image Sources: apple and orange

Joshua Malik

Written by Joshua Malik

With an intense passion for arboriculture and lawn care, founder Joshua Malik brings to Joshua Tree over 20 years of experience in the tree and lawn care industry. And he expects the same passion in his team by employing representatives and field personnel who have achieved and maintained proper industry credentials to ensure clients benefit through best practices.