Using a Lawn Service with Arborists? How This is a Great Move for Grass and Trees

Thursday, March 29, 2018

tree care technicianIf you have a landscape made up of both a lawn and trees, then you want to be certain that both are addressed the way they need to be. But you may not be certain if what’s best for your lawn is also healthy for your trees—and vice versa.

That’s why you may assume it would be incredibly helpful to find a company that handles both. After all, you ought to be able to have a great lawn and healthy trees. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have the best of both worlds.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest concerns for lawns and for trees, how they are intertwined, and how they are best dealt with. In your quest to have both a thriving lawn and healthy trees, understanding these concerns will be key.

How Arborists in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA Deal with Tree Roots

Some common complaints we hear about tree roots growing above the lawn surface is that they are a trip hazard, a hassle to mow over, they have an unsightly look, and they make the yard feel less usable. Oftentimes people try to address this concern by covering the roots with topsoil.

tree in lawn with mulch

But this is a big mistake that could actually kill your tree.

That’s because tree roots need oxygen in order to thrive. If you cover your roots with a thick layer of dirt, you are smothering them.

A better alternative is to mulch over the roots. Extend your mulch areas out far enough to cover those big surface roots and it should address your key concerns. It aesthetically looks much better, no longer gives you grass to worry about mowing, covers up the trip-and-fall hazards, and makes your yard more usable. This is the best practice for the tree, and the way experienced arborists in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA would address your concerns with roots.

Concerns About Mowing and String Trimming Around Roots

We often see a lot of tree trunk damage as a result of string trimming and mowing around the root system. This can be very problematic for your tree. If you’re damaging the bark (which is where a tree’s vascular system starts), then you can be causing a defect for the flow of moisture from the root system to the rest of the tree. Even mower tires scraping up against the bark can cause this.

As mentioned above, the best solution is to put mulch around your tree. Then you won’t need to trim or mow right against the trunk.

If you’re using a lawn mowing service, then it is important to educate them, as well. The truth is that mowing companies rarely have any expertise in tree care and it’s quite likely they have no idea they’re doing damage that could cost you the health of your tree.

Fertilization from a Lawn Service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA

tree fertilization technicianFertilization is a common service offered by lawn care companies. Tree fertilizing is also a common tree service. Unfortunately, if you’re receiving both services, you may be over-fertilizing without even knowing it. This is problematic as over-fertilization can lead to pests, diseases, and even root damage for your trees.

In addition, over-fertilization, particularly with fertilizers which are high in nitrogen, can put an incredible amount of stress on your trees or lawn and lead to their decline.

However, if you have the same company doing both services, you can avoid this concern. They can make necessary adjustments by using a different product or backing off on the amount.

A Note on Soil pH

It’s also important to mention that your lawn and your trees have very different soil pH preferences. Lawns prefer a pH that is 6.5 to 7.0 (pretty neutral). However, many species of trees prefer soil that is more acidic (around 5.0 in some instances). The difference may not seem that big on its face but if you consider the fact that pH works on a logarithmic scale, and each whole number change is actually a 10x amount, it’s quite significant. That means a tree needing soil that is 5.0 is actually 100x more acidic than what a lawn needs.

When lawn care operators add lime to lawns and under trees and raise the soil pH, somes tree can have problems taking in nutrients. However, a lawn care service with arborists, that understands both the lawn and the trees’ pH needs, would be able to have the discussion with you about how this challenge is created, and allow you to make an informed decision to nurture one or the other.

Lawn Herbicides and Their Effect on Tree Roots

If you’re working with a lawn service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA that has little to no experience with trees, then you may be concerned about their knowledge of how the products they use can affect trees.

But a lawn service with arborists is more likely to be diligent about whether their products can have an effect on trees. At Joshua Tree, we have done a tremendous amount of research in order to choose the best products for our clients’ needs. It was important to us that our products were safe for both lawns and trees.

We’ve also had a strong focus on understanding proper application and training our technicians. That’s so important to ensure both the lawn and trees are receiving what they need. For instance, you’re not supposed to spray product overtop exposed surface roots but unfortunately, many lawn care companies do it all the time.  

Dealing with Shade

shaded lawn grass and treesYour trees and lawn are inevitably linked when it comes to how much shade you’re dealing with on your property. If you do have a heavily shaded property, then you’re already aware that it is challenging to grow grass in shade.

The main reason that grass cannot grow in the shade is that it needs sunlight. Even shade mixes require approximately five to six hours of sunlight per day in order to grow to its fullest. Therefore, the best approach to grow grass in the shade is to allow more sunlight onto your property. This can be achieved by using tree pruning services from arborists in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA. By trimming the canopy in order to allow more light to filter through, you should be able to have more success at growing your lawn.

Using a lawn service with arborists will be beneficial as they’ll understand both the needs of your lawn as well as your trees and be able to ensure both are getting what they need.

Addressing the Watering Needs of Lawns and Trees

While a lot of homeowners use an overhead sprinkler to irrigate their lawns, this may be negatively impacting your trees if you have low branches. That’s because overhead watering causes your tree leaves to get wet which can make it very prone to disease. Wet foliage creates the ideal environment for the spread of leaf spot diseases, mildew, and other fungal concerns.

Trees are best watered with the use of a porous soaker hose. A soaker hose operates at a low pressure in order to deliver a uniform volume of water without wetting the foliage of the trees.

In terms of how often to water, a lawn typically needs an inch-per-week of rain. If your lawn is not receiving enough from Mother Nature, then you may need to supplement with hand-watering or an irrigation system that is directed away from soaking your tree’s foliage.

Trees are very different. When trees are newly planted, their watering needs are high. The factors such as soil, temperature, air movement, and tree size, can vary for recommendations of just how much and how often trees need to be watered. A tree care professional can guide you on the exact recommendations for the trees you have.

During periods of consistent rainfall, an established tree may require no additional help from you in terms of watering. However, during periods of drought or inconsistent rainfall, you’ll want to use the soaker hose method to provide extra moisture to your tree’s root system.

Often, homeowners set up sprinklers to water lawn areas and trees together. Just understand that it’s fairly easy to water lawns sufficiently in this manner, but trees require a much slower and concentrated delivery method.

Finding a Lawn Service with Arborists in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA

Joshua Tree Professional Tree & Lawn Care truckThere’s no question that lawns and trees have two very different sets of needs. And while they can co-exist wonderfully, it’s important to work with professionals who truly understand the needs of both so any services are not counter-productive to their health.

The truth is, most lawn companies do not know much about trees. In fact, they often do a lot of things that can be detrimental to trees.

Conversely, most tree companies don’t know much about lawns.

Because of this, a lot of homeowners end up hiring a lawn service and a tree service to separately care for each. But even this can be problematic. Unless the two companies are actually conversing with one another, they could easily be working against one another without even realizing it.

The key to having the best of both worlds is to find a lawn service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA that also has skilled arborists. Not just a company that has some lawn experience or some tree experience—but a company that truly knows them both. This is not exactly an easy feat, as finding a lawn service that has arborists on staff is pretty rare. Finding the right company will help ensure the best success for your lawn and landscape.

Choosing Wisely

Joshua Tree Professional Tree & Lawn Care sign in PAAt the end of the day, it is your choice that will make all of the difference in how well your lawn and trees perform. Finding a company that understands the needs of both can provide you with a lush lawn and beautiful healthy trees that will live up to your expectations.

At Joshua Tree, our first experience and history was with trees. When we added lawn care years ago, it was a result of the direct and ongoing requests of our customers who wanted a company that could service both and had some of the concerns mentioned in this article.

When we made that decision, we did a tremendous amount of research and training to ensure that we could provide expert lawn care and continue to uphold the reputation we had built with our tree care.

By providing both services we are able to ensure our clients’ landscapes get everything that they need to thrive. And because of that, our clients can have peace of mind knowing their landscape is being properly cared for.

If you’d like to find out more about our lawn care services or our tree care services, then contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at 610-365-2200.
Identifying tree and shrub insects, disease, and mites.
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.