The best way to make sure that your Northern NJ lawn stays green and healthy year-round is with professional lawn service and maintenance. A professional landscaping company can provide quality lawn care services that are often difficult to achieve and manage with DIY care.
Once you decide to hire a professional lawn service, you don’t have to worry about lawn care and maintenance any more, but you may have some initial questions about your property needs. If you’ve never worked with a landscape company before, or you’re not sure about the company and services, ask questions upfront that address your concerns and needs. This will help to clarify your lawn care and maintenance needs and the quality of work and service the company provides.
1. Can You Tell Me About Your Company?
To find a professional lawn service company that fits your long-term property needs, it’s helpful to ask some important questions to give you better insight into the company’s knowledge, experience and skill levels within the landscape industry.
How long have you been in business?
The length of time a company has been in business is a good indicator of success. A company that’s been in business 10 to 20 years is obviously providing skilled, quality services with satisfied clients.
How large is your company?
A larger company typically has a larger crew and staff to accommodate busy workloads and service issues. Make sure your landscape provider is capable of handling all of your property needs in a timely manner.
What are your professional qualifications?
Qualify the company’s professional background. Often, professional landscaping companies are owned and staffed with people who have a background in landscape architecture or horticulture – a valuable asset.
Are you licensed and insured?
Qualified landscaping companies should be professionally licensed and insured to provide professional lawn service. They usually have a current business license, liability insurance and workmens‘ compensation insurance.
Do you have referrals?
If you’re dealing with a qualified Bergen County landscaping company, they probably have an established reputation, so it should be easy to get credible feedback or referrals from neighbors and homeowners in your area.
Do you have examples of your work?
Any reputable landscape company will be glad to show you examples of their work, as well as any press, notable awards and special recognitions they have received.
2. How Often Will You Perform Services?
Basic Lawn Care and Maintenance
Regular lawn care and maintenance is essential for a green, healthy, well-maintained lawn. Without regular services, your Bergen County lawn can quickly become overgrown and full of weeds. Most landscape companies provide basic professional lawn service care on a weekly basis to keep growth and weeds under control. Professional crews who are trained, experienced and well-equipped will provide basic lawn care and maintenance services that typically include:
- Regularly scheduled weekly lawn mowing
- Edging for sidewalks, walkways and driveways
- Regular weed control
- Cleaning of pathways, walkways and driveways
- Spring and winter yard cleanup of dead growth and debris
- Summer and fall yard cleanup to prepare for winter
In addition to basic lawn care and maintenance services, there are other important services available that can be scheduled as needed throughout the year. These services include:
- New planting and foliage
- Lawn renovations
- Tree and shrub pruning
- Irrigation repairs
- Garden design
- Organic lawn care
A healthy, green lawn uses a lot of energy to produce new growth, but most soil doesn’t have adequate nutrients to feed the grass and build healthy root systems throughout the year. Fertilization helps your lawn to combat cold, heat, drought, mowing, foot traffic and other outdoor stresses. Your professional lawn service plan will probably include regular feeding schedules to keep your lawn green and healthy year-round. Fertilization is typically done four times a year:
- Early Spring (March – April) – After a long, cold winter, your lawn wakes up in the spring hungry to nutrients that were eliminated during winter. Fertilizing your lawn in early spring strengthens the root system that’s essential to healthy, stable leaf growth during warm weather.
- Late Spring (May – June) – During late spring, your grass is using up stored energy to grow and weeds are actively growing as well. Fertilizing with the right products in late spring provides nutrients for continued lawn growth and essential weed control.
- Summer (July – August) – Summer heat, as well as drought, foot traffic and insects put stress on your lawn. It’s especially important to fertilize warm-season grasses in the summer to encourage fall growth. Fertilizers can also offer added protection from summer insects.
- Fall (September – October) – Fall brings mild, warm days, cool nights and rainfall with morning dew, ideal growing conditions for your lawn. Fall is an especially important feeding time to strengthen your grass, so it can survive the upcoming winter.
- Late Fall (October – November) – With the approach of winter it is essential to give the lawns one last application of fertilizer that is high in potassium which will encourage root development throughout the winter.
Mulching helps to promote rich, fertile soil that nourishes your lawn and promotes healthy grass growth. As the mulch decomposes, natural matter is absorbed into the soil keeping it loose and aerated. This process naturally increases moisture in the soil and promotes strong root growth for grass and plants. Typically, mid-spring is the best time to put down mulch to promote spring and summer growth, but often a layer of winter mulch can help retain soil moisture and provide insulation from the cold. As part of your professional lawn service, mulching provides many benefits:
- Retains moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering.
- Maintains an even soil temperature.
- Protects the soil from erosion.
- Reduces soil compaction from heavy rains and foot traffic.
- Prevents weed growth.
- Provides a well-manicured appearance for your lawn and garden.
It’s important to hire a qualified and experienced landscape company that you trust for your professional lawn service needs. Their landscape knowledge and expertise will be a valuable asset to you and your lawn. You should feel comfortable relying on their advice and feel free to ask questions and address specific concerns about your landscape wants and needs. Open communication and trust is key to a good working relationship, so make sure you hire a professional landscape company who’s a good fit for you and your property needs.
3. How Are The Costs For Services Determined?
Professional lawn service costs will vary based on your location, property size, terrain and the services you choose for your home. It’s important to discuss your immediate and long-term lawn care goals with your professional lawn care provider, so they can give you an accurate assessment of costs.
What Services Do You Need?
First, take a good look at your front and back lawns and think about your wants and needs. Even if you’re not sure what really needs to be done, you probably know what you like and don’t like about your yard, so you can discuss those things with your professional lawn service provider.
If you just want basic services, your cost will be relatively low and comparable to other landscape services in your area. If you have more complex goals, the costs will be higher based on your specific needs. If you have budget restrictions or requirements for your professional lawn service needs, be sure to discuss that with your lawn care provider.
To help determine your landscaping needs, ask yourself some simple questions about what you’re trying to accomplish with your landscape plan:
- Do you want picture postcard beauty?
- Do you need more privacy and security?
- Do you want a low-maintenance lawn?
- Do you want a landscape that will conserve water and costs?
- Do you want a safe chemical-free landscape?
- Do you want to add color with blooming plants?
- Would you like to add decorative walkways or pathways?
- Would you like to include a swimming pool, pond or outdoor spa?
- Would you like to add an outdoor waterfall or fountain with water sounds?
4. What Areas of My Lawn Need Improvement?
After a walk-through of your property, your landscape contractor can give you an accurate assessment of your existing landscape and offer suggestions for improvement. A healthy lawn requires proper amounts of water, fertilizer and regular professional lawn service to establish a good balance. Your landscape contractor can point out problems and provide treatments to fix them. You can also point out any existing lawn problems you’re aware of, so treatment can be expedited. Some common lawn problems and questions may include:
Why does my lawn look better in some areas than others?
Your lawn has different amounts of sun and shade throughout the day based on surrounding trees, shrubs and plants. It may also have inconsistent soil types, nutrients and drainage controls, as well as problems with insects, diseases and wildlife in some areas and not others.
How do I control weeds?
Weed control depends on the type of weeds you have in your lawn. There’s a wide variety of stubborn broadleaf and creeping weeds that grow in Northern NJ landscapes. Some have stronger root systems that cause faster growth and spreading, so it’s essential to identify the specific type of weed.
How can I get rid of brown spots from my dog?
Dog urine causes brown spots on grass, but it’s hard to prevent if your dog is outdoors at all. Although the spots are brown, they may turn green again with more irrigation or lawn food. Adding bark around the base of your trees, a favorite place for your dog to urinate, will also help protect the grass.
5. How Can I Control Insects and Diseases in My Lawn?
Problems with insects and lawn diseases can cause extensive damage to your lawn and landscape. It’s important to get the problems under control as quickly as possible to prevent more damage, so identifying the specific cause is essential. Pest maintenance and professional lawn service through a qualified, professional landscape company is advised for best, long-term results.
All lawns are subject to disease, especially when they’re malnourished and ill-maintained. Most lawn diseases are caused by some type of fungi that invades the grass and soil. Fungal spores are often spread by rain, wind, insects and contaminated soil. Here are some common fungal diseases and insects that can invade your Bergen County lawn:
- Dollar Spot – This fungus looks like patches of silver dollars in the lawn and thrives on malnourished, dry lawns.
- Rust – Typically in late summer, rust fungus appears on grass blades turning grass a rust-like color.
- Plythium Blight – Invading mostly newly seeded lawns in spring or fall, this fungus causes patches of black, flattened or soggy grass that can get up to 2 feet wide.
- Fusarium Patch – Appearing mainly in late winter and early spring, this fungus causes 1-3 inch circular patches of dead grass.
- Fairy Ring – Usually seen in spring or fall, fairy rind causes areas in the lawn to turn bright-green. These rings can get up to 50 feet wide.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms are a common fungus growth in rainy weather. They won’t harm your lawn, and can be easily knocked down with a rake or lawn mower.
- Army Worms – In the fall, army worms that resemble caterpillars can cause brown spots in your lawn. They usually feed at night and can eat the grass right down to the soil.
- Chinch Bugs – In August and early September, you may see large, circular patches in the sunny areas of your lawn that turn yellow, then brown and then die. These yellowish spots that will spread throughout the lawn are caused by chinch bugs.
- Grubs – In June or early July, grubs can cause brown patches that will become extensive by fall. If your grass looks scorched and sod lifts up easily around patches, you probably have a grub problem.
Getting disease and insect problems under control can take some time. Regular treatments and professional lawn service care will be necessary to eliminate the problems and prevent recurring ones.