Lawn care seems like it should be easy and that’s why so many homeowners decide to do it themselves. Being a lawn care company, we see a lot of former do-it-yourselfers who eventually give up and hire us to make their lawn look great. So where do they go wrong? From what we can tell, DIY lawn care mistakes fall into four categories.
- Using the Wrong Products
- Applying Product Incorrectly
- Underestimating the Expense of Lawn Care
- Poor Timing
1. Using the Wrong Products
There are many lawn care products on the market aiming to solve all kinds of problems. If you accidentally grab the wrong product, no amount of tips or tricks will help you improve your lawn. Worse yet, the wrong product can actually wreak havoc on your lawn!
One of our favorite examples is the customer who grabbed the wrong product to spot treat for weeds. He accidentally chose “Weed and Grass Killer.” Instead of killing off those spotty sprouts around his yard, he wound up with bright, dead patches the next day!
Even if a product flub doesn’t directly kill your beautiful lawn, it certainly won’t get the job done.
Another example is the customer who tried the DIY option first, but then called us later because he wasn’t seeing the results he wanted. We found grubs on his property, but he assured us he’d sprayed for grubs early in the reason. Turns out the flea product he had sprayed with didn’t work on grubs. By the time we got to the scene, their lawn had a serious grub problem.
2. Applying the Product Incorrectly
Finding the right materials is only half the battle. Once you’ve found the correct product to fix the problem on your lawn, you’ve got to apply the product to the lawn properly. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how often using any kind of product with chemicals can do serious damage.
Take a look at this example – the right products went down, but they went down the wrong way! Even something as simple as fertilizer can be tricky if applied incorrectly. If you’re going to try to take care of your lawn on your own, always make sure you carefully follow the directions on the bottle.
If you’re still determined to give DIY lawn care a go, check out our handy Year-Round Lawn Care Guide for Homeowners
3. Underestimating the Expense of Lawn Care
A healthy lawn requires more than just a once-over with the mower. In fact, if that is all that is being done, it may actually contribute to an unhealthy lawn – especially here in Lubbock. Healthy lawns require fertilizer, seed, weed control, grub control…it all adds up. Most homeowners don’t realize the cost of lawn care until they add up all of their receipts at the end of the year. When you combine the cost with all of the work involved, paying for lawn care doesn’t look nearly as expensive as you thought it was. Here are a few unique challenges to keeping a healthy lawn that homeowners have trouble with:
Despite what many homeowners believe, not all grass is the same. DIY’ers might be wondering:
- What type of grass do I have? (Bermuda? Buffalo? Fescue?)
- When should I re-seed?
- How much seed goes where?
- At what temperature do I seed?
- When do I water the seed?
In the end, just to properly reseed your lawn, your yearly cost could be anywhere from $100 to $300, depending on size of your yard.
Related Read: 5 Signs Your Lubbock Lawn Is Struggling
If you want a truly healthy lawn that can withstand the Texas heat, you’ve got to fertilize. Typically, a lawn needs to be fertilized two to three times throughout the year, once or twice in spring and summer, again in the fall. You’ll need to test your soil in order to know exactly when your lawn needs another round. Depending on the size of your lawn you might be spending anywhere from one hour to three each time.
Of course, it’s also important to consider the kind of fertilizer you’re going to use. You’ll need to choose between organic and chemical fertilizer, as well as form (such as liquid or granular). Don’t forget any special tools you’ll need to apply your selected fertilizer! Those costs add up.
Weeding and Pesticides
One of the biggest confusions in DIY lawn care is proper weed and pest control. While pesticides or herbicides might take care of the symptoms of an infestation, it’s only going to pop up again if you don’t treat the cause.
However, the DIY’er will most likely spend a lot of time on trial and error as they locate the real source of their lawn problems. Poor mowing, too much or too little water, or even using the wrong lawn care products can lead to a lawn full of anything but grass. Until you figure out the true cause, or causes, of your lawn’s pests, consider your costs “TBD”.
The “Oops” Factor
Clearly, lawn care is more than just a summer project; it is a central habit of home ownership – a habit which requires a great deal of special knowledge about the trade and the climate. The true price of professional lawn care is often far more affordable than the DIY route, especially since a mistake in any of the three, above-mentioned areas could cost even more money later.
4. Poor Timing
Getting the product down at the right times is probably the trickiest part of DIY lawn care. There are windows you need to be aware of or your products will be ineffective or even detrimental.
Winter Grass Takes over Your Turf
Grasses like Bermuda go dormant, but they continue to live and grow, albeit very slowly. Other grasses like Poa annua, Rye, and Fescue clumps take advantage of the cold weather and start causing trouble. It’s very important that homeowners get these pesky winter grasses taken care of sometime in January or February. After that, it’s too late.
What’s the best way to get rid of crabgrass on your lawn? Use what’s known as a ‘pre-emergent herbicide’ to prevent crabgrass – which just means that you need to apply it before the crabgrass has a chance to take hold in your lawn. For homeowners, this means you don’t want to miss this window. Once crabgrass makes a home on your lawn, it’s there for the season.
Waiting Game: 2-Year Minimum
There is one time in lawn care when you’ll need to wait, at least for a while. Everyone wants their lawn to be perfectly green after a visit or two, but Mother Nature doesn’t quite work that way. We find it takes at least two years of quality, consistent lawn care service to get any given lawn to be about 90% weed free. Find a good lawn care service you can trust, then, be patient.
Decided it’s time for a lawn care professional? Read this first: 4 Things to Consider When Hiring a Lawn Care Company
Oftentimes, homeowners contact a lawn care company when their lawn looks less than desirable, and they want their beautiful, lush lawn back. Unfortunately, most lawn pests and problems take root much earlier than homeowners can see.