4 Problems with the Scotts 4 Step Program (and Better Lawn Care Alternative)

push fertilizer spreaderAs someone who cares about getting a healthy green lawn, you might be considering or have looked at the various DIY products out there. There are certainly plenty of them that promise fantastic results and even make it look incredibly simple. The truth is, our lives are busy and anything that is simple and quick is appealing. Lawn care product manufacturers know this and they market to those desires.

That’s exactly why the Scotts 4 Step program is so popular. The program promises 4 simple steps to achieve the lawn care results that you’re seeking. The folks at Scotts understand that lawn care can be complicated and they’ve done what they can to simplify the process.

Unfortunately, with those simplifications, there’s a lot missing. The fact is that lawn care is complicated. And any program that tries to simplify the complexity is probably going to fall short of what your lawn really needs.

Of course, you don’t just have to take our word for it. Let’s walk through what Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care includes and what’s missing.

1. Scotts Simplifies the Attack on Crabgrass

One of the biggest gripes of homeowners here in the Lehigh Valley is the prevalence of crabgrass.This tough-to-control weed can spread like crazy and really wreak havoc on an otherwise good-looking lawn.
Crabgrass
The first step of the Scotts 4 Step program is the application of crabgrass preventer and lawn food, which is advised to get down some time “on or before Easter.” In an effort to simplify the process, Scotts is not clear just how important the timing of the crabgrass preventer application really is.

In reality, it has less to do with a specific date and everything to do with the soil temperatures. That’s because the idea is to get crabgrass preventer down before crabgrass germinates. This product works by preventing crabgrass from germinating. If crabgrass has already germinated, it’s not going to be effective. All of that is dependent upon the soil temperature.

While this program doesn’t want you to know what a tough enemy crabgrass can be, you can count on us to be honest with you. The truth is, even with our professional-grade crabgrass preventer products, applied by trained technicians, we’re still seeing some breakthrough on lawns. For this reason, we are also using post-emergent products to spot-treat any breakthrough we find.

This is an area where the Scotts 4 Step program is severely lacking. It’s a store-bought product so you can be sure there’s going to be some breakthrough. But it’s not addressed in this supposedly “complete” program.

2. Subpar Products to Tackle Tough Weeds

Next, in the Scotts 4 Step program is weed control plus lawn food. These are important elements of a lawn care program.

However, our biggest gripe would be the quality of these products. Like anything in life, the higher quality the product you use, the more effective it’s going to be. The higher quality fertilizer you use, the better it’s going to work. Plus, when it comes to the tough weeds here in the Lehigh Valley, the fact is that a store-bought product isn’t going to cut it.

For one, the Scotts weed control product is granular, which is far less effective than liquid weed control products, particularly ones that are professional grade. With a granular product, the lawn must be wet when you apply it in order for the product to “stick.” But it can’t rain within 24 hours of product application or else it will wash away. This is really not as headache-free and simple as the Scotts folks would have you believe.
lawn care liquid weed control and fertilizer
But in addition to all that, this program doesn’t take into account that many properties need specialized weed control products for the varied weeds that they have at their Lehigh Valley home. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a simple, one-size-fits-all approach to weed control, even if Scotts would like you to believe there is.

3. Missing Elements of a Robust Lawn Care Program

At this point in the Scotts 4 Step lawn care program we are at step 3 and in the mid summer. This step is lawn food and iron. Again, these are important elements, but they’re not all your lawn needs.

This is the time of year when your lawn care program should also be attacking crabgrass breakthroughs (which really does keep persisting), but also addressing nutsedge and other summer weeds, many of which can require their own specialized control.

Your lawn care program should also be addressing lawn grubs, which have the power to decimate your lawn. Lawn grub control is absolutely essential here in the Lehigh Valley but the Scotts program never brings them up.
Grubs
Similarly, surface-feeding insects should also be addressed and yet Scotts has nothing in its program about insect control at all. The further we get into this program, the more it becomes obvious how it falls short.

4. An Abrupt Ending to a Program that Already Fell Short

The final step in the Scotts 4 Step lawn care program is fall lawn food. It does not address weeds even though weeds don’t simply stop popping up. In reality, different seasons bring different weeds.

There are also other vital lawn care services in the fall that can make a tremendous difference for the health of your lawn which would be available through a professional lawn care provider. In addition to fall lawn fertilization, here in the Lehigh Valley we’re also adding limestone to lawns which struggle to have optimal color or vigor as a result of our acidic soils.

4 Step Lawn Care is an Overly Simplified Marketing Gimmick

Clearly, all the way from steps 1 to 4, the Scotts program has fallen short. The reality is that they’ve tried to simplify a process that really can’t be simplified. As a result, it’s a program that is incomplete. Besides the fact that these are store-bought products that attempt a one-size-fits-all approach to lawn care, it’s also missing a lot of services that you’d end up needing to add on anyways.

Plus on top of all those shortcomings is the fact that with a program like this, there are no guarantees. It’s not like you have someone you can call and complain to and get your money back. But when you work with a professional lawn care company, they should be returning if their treatments are not working for some reason or you need something extra. A lawn care company is going to stand behind their work.

When you work with a professional it also eliminates the hassles. Instead of having to figure out what else your lawn needs (since the Scotts 4 step program doesn’t cover it), a pro will already know exactly what your lawn needs to thrive. They’ll also know the ideal timeline for all of the applications.

Working with Joshua Tree for All of Your Lawn Care Needs and More

As simple as 4 step lawn care might sound, it still means work on your end and will still not lead to as good results as you could have gotten from a pro. In reality, you have better things to do than worry about this stuff. That’s why when you hand your lawn care needs over to Joshua Tree, you get to hand over your worries, too.

Not only can we make sure that your lawn care program includes everything your lawn needs, but we can also offer other services like pest control and tree care, if you have other needs on your property. For our clients, that’s tremendously more value than they could ever get out of a bag.

If you’d like to find out more about how Joshua Tree might be your best choice for lawn care, tree care, and pest control in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA lawn, then contact us for a free consultation or feel free to give us a call at 610-365-2200.

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