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Your lawn plays a crucial role in the exterior beauty of your home, so its maintenance is imperative. Hiring a professional to care for your grass will help avoid patches, browning and pests or diseases. On average, homeowners spend about $158 on lawn services although that varies based on the types of treatments a lawn needs. Here are some cost considerations when you?re looking at services.
How Much Does an Average Lawn Mowing or Maintenance Service Cost?
The national average estimate for lawn mowing and maintenance is between $214 and $322. It will often include a cut, weeding, trimming and pesticide treatment. Some services will price individually, while others will have monthly or weekly packages. Professional standard services might include:
Assessment: They will examine your lawn and create a treatment plan to keep your grass in good condition.
Fertilization: They will use fertilizer so your grass is green, beautiful and healthy.
Insect and weed control: They will use organic or non-organic pesticides and insecticides to protect your lawn.
Additional services: Some may include aeration and overseeding.
Investing in a service is worth the cost if you're busy and don?t have the time to do it yourself. Lawns mowed to an acceptable length--two to four inches--can handle climate stress, grow fewer weeds and will retain moisture. Prices will vary by location and whether the service is for a commercial or residential property. Urban landscapes will also cost more to maintain. Grass cutting rates will also vary depending on the frequency of mowing. If you have your lawn trimmed too infrequently, it will be more difficult to maintain. They are also based on square footage, though there is a minimum cost. It?s also important for lawn care professionals to know if you?ll want the front and backyard trimmed or just one.
Some lawn care services offer fertilizer or weed control application in addition to their standard packages. This is especially important for homeowners who want their grass looking vibrant and well-cared for year-round to avoid brown lawns. In these cases, lawn services not only provide fertilizer but also offer recommendations for the types of grass that work best in different climates and with different soils. A full-care lawn service can even install new grass or lay pallets of sod.
More services are offering eco-friendly alternatives to standard lawn care. These services utilize organic or natural treatments for fertilizing grass. This has the added advantage of making the lawn child and pet-friendly because the compounds in the fertilizer contain fewer harmful chemicals and synthetic elements. They also use more environmentally friendly equipment or offer to compost lawn waste, keeping it out of landfills and making good use of the nutrients derived from organic sources. These services may also share tips for how to reduce water usage while maintaining a healthy lawn.
Edging, otherwise known as landscape curbing, helps to create a visible, yet beautiful line between the grass and bed. Some of the materials you can use include:
Homeowners who want landscape edging installed should consider matching it to their walkways or patios. It?s also a good way to create a new flower bed in your backyard. See how much landscape curbing costs.
Fertilizing your lawn is key to keeping your soil healthy throughout the year. The kind of fertilizer you apply must have nitrogen, either fast-release or controlled-release. Lawn care professionals will usually offer a balance of fast and controlled. You also will have the choice between organic or synthetic fertilizer. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but many invest in organic fertilizer because:
It?s less likely to dry out grass to where it could burn in extreme heat conditions.
Compost, one of the popular organic fertilizers, is good for improving soil quality.
Its one con is that it contains less nitrogen than synthetic, so you have to buy more of it to properly fertilize a lawn.
There is also winterizing fertilizer for warm season grass, like bermuda and turf. Winterizing turf should be done in the fall. Unlike regular fertilizer, this has a lot of phosphorus and potassium but will increase a lawn?s hardiness against the cold months. See how much it costs to fertilize your lawn.
Lawn aeration is essentially poking holes in the soil so air, water and nutrients can get to the roots. It also helps the soil to move. How do you know when it?s time to aerate your lawn? Here are some signs:
When the yard is being heavily used by children, pets and family
When it?s part of a newly constructed home
Has a spongy feel or seems dried out
Has sod as the bottom layer with soil layering atop it
The best season for aeration is spring, so your grass can heal after having the holes poked in it. The best tools to use are either a spike aerator or a plug aerator. With a spike, you will poke holes in the ground with a tine or fork. Plugs will remove cores of soil from the grass. The plug will often work better because it removes soil rather than poking holes. Dethatching or power raking moves away dead grass, excess grass and putting holes in the ground and is considered another method of aeration that costs less. It can cost between $100 and $200 depending on the size of your lawn. See how much lawn aeration costs if you have it done professionally.
Average lawn mowing prices range from about $30 to $80 per visit, depending on square footage, and large cutting projects can cost more as a result. Most lawn care services charge a flat rate per visit for lawn cutting and additional fees for extra services like edging, leaf-blowing or seasonal cleanup visits. You can determine how often the service comes, like once per week during the peak growing season. In terms of seasonal cleanup, a final autumn visit can include mulching or bagging leaves. An early spring visit may be needed to clear winter debris prior to regular mowing. Each service determines its own rates, and it can vary depending on many factors.
In suburban communities, the lot size may be a factor in the cost as well as distance.
Their estimate might also include labor and materials for the job plus upkeep for the equipment.
Maintenance costs for a mower may exceed those for a personal mower due to the higher level of usage, but a company that maintains its mowers will do better quality work than those who do not.
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Choosing a Lawn Mowing Service
When looking for a lawn care service, you should choose based on factors like price and eco-friendly options. You should also look at:
Hiring a lawn service has many advantages for the homeowner.
The service will save time, particularly during the summer. A lawn service can potentially save two hours of work each week, adding up to as much as an entire day of extra time over the course of the summer.
A professional lawn service does not cost as much as it may seem when compared to purchasing, servicing and fueling a lawn mower. This may be especially true of full-service lawn care companies, which offers many services that a homeowner would be ill-equipped to do for themselves such as aeration, fertilization and installation of large quantities of grass.
Many lawn care professionals have years of experience, training and even education that can they can put to work to create and maintain the ideal lawn. In some areas, it is not uncommon to find technicians who have a background in turf management or other fields relating to lawn services in addition to their experience and on-the-job training.
In terms of disadvantages, hiring a lawn care service can require some time and research. You have to be willing to ask for references, look into their reputation and carefully consider how the service options offered fit into a budget. Failure to do so may result in hiring a service that does not sufficiently meet your needs.
A budget-friendly option is hiring independent contractors, such as neighborhood teens who cut grass for a small fee during the summer. These individuals will generally have their own equipment and transportation and typically charge lower rates. They do not have as much experience or offer the range of services that lawn care professionals do. The quality of work is extremely varied, although word-of-mouth will often let homeowners know who provides the best service. As a final cautionary note, independent contractors that do not have insurance can be a liability to the homeowner if they are injured on the job. Homeowners should be familiar with their own insurance policies and weigh the possible risks and rewards carefully prior to hiring a neighborhood teen or other uninsured person to mow their grass.
Hiring a lawn care service to clean and maintain your yard can save you time. This way you can spend time doing more important things than mowing, watering and pulling weeds. Before getting estimates, you should make an itemized list of everything you would like done.
Spring lawn maintenance is key to preparing for new plant growth. You should remove old and dying branches, cut back any flowers and shrubs and fix any patches or brown spots. Some other major categories include:
Watering your lawn should be done periodically but not so much to drown it or not enough to dry it out. Some signs of dried-out grass include:
Footprints staying in the grass
The best time to water your lawn is the morning to avoid evaporation or wind. Usually grass needs at least one inch of moisture a week. A good tip to lawn watering is following drought restrictions. They can be hard on the environment and your grass, leading to damage. You can also prevent runoff water by monitoring your yard for puddles. Sprinkler systems are an easy, effective method for keeping your lawn green. The top four sprinkler types are portable, stationary, rotary and oscillating. Portable and stationary sprinkler systems are good for specific areas. Rotary and oscillating sprinklers are better for medium to large lawns. Consult with a professional to determine if one type or a mix of two works best for your lawn.
How you winterize a lawn depends on the grass type. Warm season grasses go dormant as temperatures drop in the fall and don?t awake again until the spring. Cool season grasses take on many nutrients throughout the year and require additional nutrients in the fall to survive. Here are the different approaches:
Cool Season: Apply a traditional lawn winterizing fertilizer twice, first at the end of summer and then at mid to late fall.
Warm Season: Apply a potash (K20) fertilizer containing low nitrogen and high potassium.
Weeds are any plant that grow out of place. Some types of weeds you might remove are:
Weed seeds are especially hard to remove because they are easily spread by wind, animals, garden tools and water. They can also remain dormant for years before starting to grow. The usual response to weeds is spraying herbicides but can be dangerous for your plants, pets and children. Along the same lines are leaves that have to be removed every year before the winter starts. Otherwise you can have dead spots and patches. You can control those patches with chemicals but run into problems. Leaf removal is crucial in environmental control of weeds as well, as they can kickstart their growth. Some essentials tools for leaf removal include:
Some are better for smaller lawns while others for large acres. Lawn care professionals will know which tool to use, but you can also purchase them if you plan to DIY. See how much leaf removal costs.