Seeing Green For Less
Special Report: Seeing Green For Less
It's where your kids play, it adds to curb appeal, and many go to great lengths to keep it lush and thick.
But can you be sure you'll get a richer green after spending more green?
7News asked four different lawn care companies to get to the root of the problem with one Shrewsbury yard -- with our undercover camera rolling, these "grass guys" tell us what we need.
Grass guy #1 says the lawn isn't in bad shape - the dead spots are from grubs- white bugs, which devour grass roots. He assures us there are no grubs now, but he'll put down a pesticide to grub-proof.
He says we'll also need six fertilizer applications, "lime", and periodic weed and surface insect control -- his estimate: $340 for the whole season.
Unlike #1, grass guy #2 says, right now there's no grub problem. He’ll apply fertilizer seven times, add the same treatments as #1 (minus the grub pesticide). He’ll also seed the lawn twice, all for: $350.
Grass guy #3 immediately says, "this lawn is loaded with grubs". He wants to apply grub pesticides twice. He also recommends core aeration. Eight treatments of all this: $523.
Now we're getting confused - and our 4th grass guy doesn't clear things up, he recommends five applications including these treatments in various amounts: total cost, $310.
Each of these grass guys had a different diagnosis, who do you believe?
Lawn care is complicated, so we asked New England's top turf specialist to sort it out.
Mary Owen is a UMass turf specialist, she said, "A good lawn care specialist is going to be curious about what's going on in the root zone."
Owen says landscapers should use proper diagnostic tools but none of ours did. She recommends a probe to check root health, pH testing for soil, and for grubs. "You have to dig down into the turf, and look in the root zone, and see if there are white grubs feeding," Owen said.
Which is what we did, seven times, and found no grubs.
"Bottom line, you need to work on identified problems and not just have applications on a regular basis if they're not needed," Owen said.
Maybe these guys need to go back to turf school.
Before hiring any grass specialist, our expert says to make sure they're licensed to use pesticides and herbicides. Ask for a soil pH test, and root analysis. If they say you have grubs, ask them to spot-check. This extra knowledge could have you seeing green, for less.
Lawn care is very complex: below you will find more information about getting the most out of your lawn.
Mass. Dept of Agricultural Resources - Homeowners guide to environmentally sound lawn care
University of Mass. Turf Program
Soil testing services at the University of Massachusetts
One stop shopping for information about responsible pesticide and fertilizer use from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
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