Beware of the Weekend Warrior

oldmowerIn an industry made up of an alarming number of “fly by night” and “weekend warrior” types, the consumer must be extremely cautious. Many of these providers will be working without the proper credentials or insurance. Homeowners should know that upon hiring the underinsured, they themselves are liable for any property and or physical damage caused by the service provider. This includes personal injury and damage caused to the provider’s equipment as well!

This situation becomes even more volatile when chemical pesticides are involved. Be certain that the provider has all of the necessary licensing required for each product that is applied to your property. Certification signifies that the applicator has received proper training and instruction on how to safely and effectively apply pesticides and fertilizers. The provider should be aware of their surroundings and how any given treatment may affect surrounding areas and whether special notification is required.

The customer should always ask for a list of referrals, make sure that the provider is proud of his work and has built lasting relationships with their client base. Ask to see a portfolio of past jobs or the address of an existing account so you’ll know better what to expect. A reputable business will understand that every account should sell your business and they should be able to offer multiple sites for inspection.

Finally, the customer should know what to expect with the service. Often your “gut instinct” is the first indication. If a provider exits a rusty old truck that’s dripping oil all over the street, pulling a trailer without working lights and hauling equipment that looks like it was reclaimed from the salvage yard, you should be cautious. Admitting there are exceptions to the rule, it is likely there is a very logical reason why this person owns this jalopy that’s now parked in front of your house. Reliable service providers have a strong customer base, steady work allows for updated equipment, keeping equipment clean and mechanically sound comes from pride, pride in one’s work means a job well done, an attractive landscape creates happy customers who tell others. This is our business model and it’s practiced every day.

Are you procrastinating?

Most people falsely assume that spring is the best time to implement a fertilization and weed control program. Using excuses like, “it’s gone this long, I’ll just wait and start next fresh next year” or ” Why bother, the summer is almost over anyway” just to name a couple.
The truth is that the best results are achieved when starting treatments in autumn. Turf grass responds quickly to fertilizer applications starting in early fall. Fertilizing at this time helps to repair damage that may occur during the hot and dry or the hot and humid summer months.
Damage will appear in hot and dry months with dormancy and die back with stress brought on by extreme drought and poor soil conditions. In warm and wet months the high humidity will cause fungus to grow and spread throughout lawns. This will appear as spots or rings of dead and discolored grass amongst apparently healthy turf. In either case, when the turf’s vigor slows, the weeds will appear and quickly spread.
A high quality slow release fertilizer is the best defense against the damage described above. An early fall application of fertilizer will stimulate new growth and grass will quickly spread into the areas damaged. This is an essential first step in “responsible weed control”.
If a period of prolonged stress has brought weeds into the site or if you are staring a program for the first time, weed control will need to be obtained. The cooler autumn temperatures will allow herbicides to work more effectively on the growing plants without the risk of volatilization. With the weeds gone the turf-grass will be able to spread into these areas without competition.
Turf-grass is perennial and will go dormant for the winter months. Much like an animal before hibernation, grass will take in as much food as possible before going to sleep. When the weather cools and top-growth stops, the root system is still alive and growing. It is here that the extra nutrient is stored. A winterizing fertilizer and Core Aeration is the best way to achieve a deep rooted healthy stand of turf. The nitrogen stored in the root system along with residual nitrogen left in the soil will cause the turf to green up early and stimulate growth. It’s this early season “jump start” that becomes the defense against midseason weeds.

Japanese Beetles, Eggs, Grubs, repeat…

With each changing season Mother Nature has offered a new set of challenges. Challenges that continue to remind us all that no matter what we think, we have absolutely May+Bug+Grub+-+Melolontha+Vulgarisno control over most things. We need to set down our smartphones and rely on our eyes and common sense to make the best decisions.

The traditional method of control is to target the newly laid eggs with specific timing to reach a majority of the egg population, thus preventing the next generation of larvae.  The wet season and mild temperatures created an abnormal situation prolonging the presence of Japanese Beetles.  Attempts at control were futile against the extended cycle of feeding, breeding and egg laying.

We advise all of our customers to monitor their properties closely. If anything looks suspect call us immediately and we will inspect the site. If grubs are present an insecticide application will be required. The treatment is granular and will need to be watered in, naturally, by irrigation system or manually. This needs to be done within 24 hours of treatment for efficacy.

Animals forage after late season grubs.

Their meal lies beneath the sod.


A little about Tompkins Lawn Care

We are pleased to offer our service to many communities throughout east-central Iowa. Referrals have expended our growing service area that now expands North and South from Urbana to Riverside and East to West from Mechanicsville to Williamsburg.

We’re not the biggest company but this is by design. My competitors prove that the biggest is most often the worst. We’re not a price point company who makes empty promises and leaves you without any noticeable results. We are however, a locally owned company that’s growing the right way.

Customer referrals have expanded our market and customer retention throughout the past 17 years equates to growth without advertising. Our customer turnover per year is less than 1.5%. This minor blip on the screen is almost entirely the cause of our somewhat transient local professional community. We’re the best company you’ve probably never heard of!

Please check out this website and let us know if you have any questions.

Spring time basics

riding-spreaderAs our service programs for fertilizer and weed control normally consist of 5 applications and core aeration, we are at each property as many times. If for instance, a problem arises due to insects or fungus etc., we are just a phone call or email away. If you have concerns, let us know and they will be dealt with.

We usually aerate in the fall season but there are always a few to do in spring ie: new accounts in severe need. Although some companies will begin applying their first round, it will likely be too early to do so. If the pre emergent is applied too early, the herbicide will leach through the soil before it can prevent the weeds it was intended for. In my opinion, this is not only fiscally irresponsible but environmentally irresponsible too. Depending on air temperatures and available sunlight, we will begin our first treatment when the soil temperature is appropriate.

We are loaded and ready for spring!

Do You Have New Home Sod?

Now is the time for lawn fertilizer! All lawns will benefit but for new lawns, starting a program now is the key to its establishment. Efforts now pay two fold next year. Don’t make a mistake by waiting. Tompkins lawn care will protect your investment and bring out its best. You’ll need to act quickly but the reward is huge.