Angie's List | Lawn Care Treatments

Many homeowners strive for the perfect, emerald green lawn, but it takes more than regular mowing. Fertilizing is worthwhile in any climate, but it's a necessity when the soil lacks nutrients.

If you decide to hire a lawn care company get at least three estimates, they should be estimates at your home where they evaluate your yard. You should get a written document of what is going to be done on each application and be there for the first couple of applications so you can ask questions and learn how to best take care of your lawn.

When it comes to lawn care you typically aren't even home, as a consumer, when the job is done so unfortunately we hear horror stories where the company didn't actually do what they said they were going to do or they actually damaged the lawn. You want to be sure you have a good company that knows what they are doing.

One Angie's List member suspected her lawn care company wasn't actually doing the work they said they were so she set up her own sting. She watched from inside, she typically wasn't home when the work was done… While watching from inside she noticed that all that was done to her yard was the stake saying "fresh application." She ended up confronting them over it.

Denise says, "Well the reason why we decided to hire a lawn care company is because my husband owns his own company and he is quite busy at that so we thought they could come out and treat our yard and make it look better."

"The we had the lawn care company come out to spray our lawn and make it more green, get rid of some weeds and try to build up the grass more and make it just look better. We've been in our house for 5 years and wanted to really improve the lawn more," Denise elaborates.

She continues, "We never really actually saw them spray the yard, there would just be a little sign in the yard that said they had done the spraying and on the yard itself the weeds would be brown at the tip but they would never go away. Several times we called in and asked them to come back out and retreat and they would attempt to and another sign would be left, but the weeds would never go away."

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews , asked highly rated lawn care companies about applying treatments to your lawn.

· Organic and synthetic lawn fertilizers are a good tool for maintaining a healthy lawn: Fertilizer promotes a lush growth, strengthens roots and helps to prevent invasive weeds and pests.

· There are many varieties of lawn fertilizer available: Most consist of three key nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The most popular types of lawn fertilizer are granule and liquid.

· Avoid over-fertilizing: Spreading too much fertilizer can overwhelm your grass. Fertilizer adds nitrogen to your lawn, but if you add too much, it can actually dry it out and kill it. You'll be able to tell if you over-fertilized if you notice yellow or brown spots where the grass has died.

· Don't overuse chemicals: Pesticides can be essential to preventing infestations and disease but should be used with great caution. Some pesticides are very harsh on a lawn and can cause as much new damage as it prevents in old damage. All pesticides should be checked for natural ingredients which should take preference over harsher chemical based pesticides.

Unlike with mowing, lawn treatment doesn't produce immediate results, so it can be difficult to monitor the quality of service. In some cases, homeowners went months or even years before realizing they were paying for shoddy service.

Lawn Care Contractor Marcus Hoone says, "The things people can look for – there are three or four of them - the first being a flag in the corner of the yard and an invoice on the front door. The second would be spreader tracks in the yard. The third would be granules of fertilizer, usually you can see them along the edges of the yard and the fourth would be look at any weeds that are in the yard and see in about a week or so they should be curling up and dying."

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a high-quality fertilization & treatment service

  • On-site estimate: Don't hire a company that won't inspect your grass before starting work. The technician should provide an in-home estimate and measure the size of your lawn, understand your grass type and take note of existing damage.
  • Don't trust generic, guaranteed, quick cures: Each lawn is a unique, growing plant, and even lawns side-by-side in the same neighborhood may need different treatment. Recovery will depend on a number of factors.
  • Beware low price: Be wary of treatment companies with flashy ads that sound too good to be true. If the price is extremely low, expect an aggressive upsell.
  • Think it over: Avoid companies that encourage you to sign a service contract on the spot.
  • Read before you sign: Get a written contract, read and understand it before you agree to hire. It should include a refund policy and guarantee. Get a detailed invoice after each visit that
    • details the scope of work.
    • Check out your lawn: Make a point to look at your lawn if you are not home during a treatment. Lawn care specialist say homeowners should see fertilizer granules in their yard for at least a few hours after the application in most cases.

    Angie Hicks affirms, "When hiring a lawn care company to work on your lawn it's going to be a long-term relationship. A beautiful lawn is not made overnight so you want to establish a relationship with a reputable company."

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