Lawn Care

3 Tips for Hiring a Lawn Service Company

3 Tips for Hiring a Lawn Service Company

So those are kind of the top three things that I look for. Again, number one is a fact are they reputable. Whether it's online, or from referrals from your neighbors. Number two, do they have good customer service? I can tell you when you give that phone call, that initial shot, if they don't call you back right away, or they don't call you in a reasonable amount of time, you're kind of looking to what the service is going to be looking like for the future. And number three, are they insured?

Tips for Sidewalk Snow and Ice Removal

Tips for Sidewalk Snow and Ice Removal

In hopes for the desperate need of snow in the Sierra Nevada Region it is time to talk about winter weather. The freezing temperatures come with a whole lot of snow and ice that can makes maintaining your sidewalk extremely difficult. Apart from the inconvenience they create, slippery surfaces constitute risk for your health.  Furthermore, most HOA’s require you to keep your property and the surrounding area clean and safe. Otherwise you might become subject of severe penalties in the form harassing letters or. Patio cleaning is not the dream activity for filling your free time. Still, if you know how to do it properly you can save time and efforts.  

Helpful Spring Tips: Aeration and Dethatching

Helpful Spring Tips: Aeration and Dethatching

Why Dethatching and Aerating Your Lawn is a Good IdeaIt's natural to think that in order to dethatch there must be thatch somewhere. Thatch is simply the built up layer of dead grass clippings that accumulates in your lawn just above the soil. Thatch is actually good for your lawn because it helps provide a barrier to prevent disease and other harmful things that might kill the grass. Thatch also allows the soil to retain moisture by not letting water evaporate too quickly.

Top 3 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Lawn Care Service

Top 3 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Lawn Care Service

Spring is almost here and you might be debating whether or not to hire a lawn care service to take care of your weekly maintenance. Maybe your equipment is in the dumps, you don't have the time to worry about the lawn, or you have a little extra cash and want to relax on the weekends instead of working your butt off in the yard. As a professional lawn service provider, I would suggest thinking about the following three items so you can feel confident in your decision. Whether you are hiring the local high school kid down the street, or a professional "big boy" service, here are my two cents on what to consider.  

How to Fix a Broken Sprinkler

How to Fix a Broken Sprinkler

Most broken sprinkler heads involve a simple fix that any home owner can do. The temptation might be to call a service that specializes in sprinkler head replacement, but this could cost upwards of $50.00 for a simple repair that anyone can do on their own.  If your pop-up sprinkler has been broken because of a mower, edger, or string trimmer hitting it, the cost will usually be less than $5.00 and only take a few short minutes to replace.  

How to Repair a Damaged Tree Hit By a Mower

It almost doesn't matter how careful you are or how much you try and avoid nicking trees with a string trimmer or mower, over time it is bound to happen. The key is to not leave the damaged tree unattended, and there is a very simple way to help a damaged tree after a chunk has been taken out by a mower. This situation happen to one of my employees recently, which provided the perfect opportunity to show what should be done if a tree is damaged by a mower. The video below is a real situation where the rear tire of the the mower clipped the base of a tree and took out a 3" chunk of bark. Since the trees in the neighborhood are only a few years old, this damage could end up killing the tree if it is not attended to. It is important to recognize the damage right away and keep the bark that has been torn away from the base. By reapplying this piece of bark, like a missing puzzle piece, and duct taping the damaged area to prevent insects and other diseases from harming the tree during its recovery, the tree should heal over a 3 to 6 month period of being wrapped up and cared for.

 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPFmqkN6z8g[/youtube]

Summertime Mowing Tips

Summertime is here and it is time to make sure that your lawn and lawn equiptment is not neglected. It is very common for people to apply that first fertilizer application, set the sprinkler timers for spring conditions, and then think that the lawn will be just fine the rest of the season. But just as the weather changes and gets hotter, your lawn's demand will also change for what it needs to keep the lush green that it had in the spring. Below are some tips that I would recommend to consider to keep your lawn and lawn equiptment in tip top shape for the rest of the season.  

 

 

1.) Check your Sprinklers:

It is very common for sprinkler heads to mysteriously rotate their direction and start watering the pavement instead of the lawn. This could be due to a mower knocking the sprinkler head, edger clipping the side of it, or even just a loose sprinkler head twisting on its own. Since most sprinkler settings are for early morning it is hard to visually see if all the sprinkler heads are still spraying in the correct direction. To check the system, manually activate the timer and double check that every sprinkler head is running correctly. This might involve manually replacing a broken sprinkler head (approximately $3-$15 per head), or just using a small flat head screw driver and some elbow grease to return the sprinkler to the correct position.

2.) Increase watering times:

If you are starting to see the lawn lighten up in color your lawn might need more water. Double check your watering times from what was originally set for the spring and either add another watering time or extend the current watering times a few more minutes. In the summer it is better to have a deep watering cycle so the roots of the grass extend deep into the soil instead of depending on short shallow watering application. This will help the turf in times of drought, but don't over water to the point where severe runoff is occurring.

3.) Fertilize:

This is a good time to apply a second round of fertilizer to your lawn. Most spring application (quick release fertilizer) will last between 4-6 weeks. It is recommended to apply a slower release fertilizer that will last for approximately 8-10 weeks. Ask your local fertilizer dealer for details about the benefits between quick release and slow release fertilizers to see what works best for your lawn.

4.) Increase mower height:

While most lawns can handle a shorter cut during the spring, the increased heat and periods of drought will cause extra stress on your lawn during the summer. Think of possibly increasing your mower height just one or two "notches" (approximately 1/4" to 1/2") higher than what the lawn was previously being mowed at.

5.) Check your equiptment:

This is a good time to see if you lawn mower and other equiptment needs any maintenance done on it. Check the oil level, sharpness of the mower blade, air filters, spark plugs, and edgers blades to see if anything needs to be replaced or maintained to help the life expectancy of your equiptment. This can either be done on your own with the help of an operation manual or by a local small engines shop for a rather minimal cost.

 

 

Re-seeding a lawn in Reno, NV with Scotts EZ Seed

This week I decided it was time to reseed my lawn because of damaged dog urination spots, digging, and general dog craziness. In the past, for small dog spots I have generally chosen to use Scotts EZ-seed. This product has worked great for me in the field for small bare spots, dog urination damage, and thin grassy areas. This time I decided to put Scotts EZ-seed to the test by applying a 20lb bag to an approximately 10'x10' bare patch to see if it is worth acquiring the $50.00 bag to fill in a larger damaged area. My hope in this process is to do one of two things:

1) Encourage home owners who may not have the know how or the resources to reseed a larger area by the traditional methods to use EZ-seed

or

2) To see if this product works best only in smaller areas and is therefore not worth the money to reseed a larger one.

The video below will show the complete process I undertook in using Scotts EZ-seed on my lawn. I used the EZ-seed in the proper manner, from the prep work to the watering, in hopes that this product does not disappoint. Since I have seen many of my customers use this product incorrectly, I wanted to make sure that I documented that I have done everything possible to ensure success in reseeding my lawn with EZ-seed. Although this product is expensive, I hope that in a short time I can come out heavily recommending anyone to use this product for larger reseeding areas, instead of the traditional methods.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llgvr9J9XQ0[/youtube]

Reno Lawn Dethatching

thatch.jpg

If anyone that has not heard of de-thatching or your lawn guy just tells you to get it done yearly, there are some basic ways you can check to see if your lawn needs to be de-thatched before you go spending a lot of money to have it done. Although de-thatching a lawn can be done by a hand de-thatching rake, I would never recommended doing this unless you want to have an aching back after wasting a day. The most prominent way lawn care services de-thatch is by using a motorized de-thatcher also called a power rake. Obviously the ultimate goal for de-thatching is to provide you with a more healthy, lush, and green lawn. So how do I know if my lawn needs De-Thatching?

The most effective way to see if your lawn has excessive thatch is to take a shovel and cut out a small 6"x6" square of turf and examine if the area between the root system and the blades of grass. If this area has over a 1/2" of brown matted build up of thatch as shown in the picture, than it is time to de-thatch your lawn. A small amount of thatch is actually good for the lawn which help retain water and protect your grass from the harsh summer sun. If the build up is too much than it will prevent water, oxygen, and nutrients from getting to the roots. The best time to have de-thatching done for our cool climate is during mid to late spring when the lawn is actively growing and can quickly recover from the stress of de-thatching. More tips can be found once you determine if your lawn needs to be de-thatched.

If you are debating between having your lawn aerated or de-thatched this season, take the quick five minutes to do this test and see if you have an above average thatch layer. Both aerating and de-thatching can be done at the same time and most lawn care companies in Reno like ours, offer more affordable packages if you choose to do both. I have found a good de-thatching video if you want a better idea of how it works.

 

Customer Service

I read an article today on the 8 rules to good customer service, which made me think if Cory's Lawn Service was keeping to these 8 rules? This is a area of a business that is probably the most key for success, because if you don't go out of your way for your customers then your customers will go out of their way find someone who will. I realize there are hundreds of lawn care trucks driving around in Reno everyday, so why should someone choose Cory's Lawn Service to take care of their property instead of the other guy? Before reading this article I prided myself on our over all customer service, and I still do, but I can see there are still some obvious ways we can improve to help our customers. (Quick Story) A few years ago my wife and I were picking out our Christmas Tree from a lot. I have never really thought about desiring good customer service at a tree lot because its a once a year purchase and half the time I forget where we got I tree the year before. Anyway, after selecting our tree I realized I did not have any cash and told the tree guy we would be back to pick up the tree once we went to the ATM. Right then the guy loaded our tree up in my truck and said, "Just bring the money by later this week whenever convenient. You guys have a nice evening". Since that day, I have continued to return to the same Christmas tree lot year after year and recommend my friends there as well.

So, how can a lawn care service provided a similar type of wow reaction? How can we stand out above the crowd? How can we better serve our customers? This is where the lawn care business can not just be about mowing the lawn and getting the job done, because honestly the next door neighbors kid can do that for a lot cheaper. It means, consistently thinking about small things that customers enjoy that you necessarily don't get paid for. It means, owning up to your mistakes and fixing them. It even means, taking the extra time to chat when Mr. Johnson comes outside to pay you.

Although nobody is perfect, as a business owner it is a priority for us to be thinking and applying these steps daily. If you are a current customer who is reading this I want to know if there are ways we are excelling or lacking in our customer service? Let us know your thoughts, good or bad.

Reestablishing The Lawn Care Blog

Cory BettinghouseWell it has been over 9 months since Cory's Lawn Service has last blogged, and it is time to get back on the horse and try again. The purpose of this blog is going to be about lawn care, obviously. I want to provide my customers, and anyone else who wants to read, with information and tips about lawn care in Reno. I also want to discuss about Cory's Lawn Service as a local business in Reno, what we are doing, what service we are providing, and what things we are working on  to better serve our customers and community. Since starting Cory's Lawn Service in 2006 I have gone from knowing nothing about lawn care or owning a small business to currently having over 100 repeat customers yearly. Over the years I have sought out the tricks of the trade, advise from other local landscape companies, and learned some good old fashion trial and error. Ultimately I have learned to strive for outstanding customer service which translates first to having happy employees and owning up to my mistakes. I believe that it is specifically because of our customer service, that we have repeat customers year after year. Using this blog is another way that I want to continue our excellent customer service by letting people know what things they can do to help their lawns along with other valuable information, discussions, and tips.

Thank you for taking the time to check out Cory's Lawn Service blog. I know according to the calender we are still at the tail end of winter, but we look forward to the upcoming mowing season, along with helping you with anything that you might need done around your property. I am so appreciative of the customers year after year that trust and enjoy the work we do.

Lawn Care Tips

Moving into a new home? Have a damaged lawn? Here are a few tips to restoring your lawn.

Clean it up!

Removing all your weed and brush buildup will improve the quality of appearance and help your lawn grow to it’s full potential.

The best time to clear weeds and brush is the spring or fall, when your lawn is thriving. This allows for the lawn to recover quickly and look its best. In preparation for your clean up, mow the entire lawn. Short grass will make de-weeding and surface preparation easier. It will also improve seed germination rates because more seed will make contact with the soil and seedlings will have greater exposure to the sun.

Take care of depressions and holes

Depressions in your lawn can be caused by poor grading, uneven settling, or the decomposition of buried tree stumps, logs, or roots. Mark any irregularities with a flag or stick so you can find them easily when you are ready to level them.

To level small bumps, raise the sod with a sharp spade and remove the necessary amount of soil beneath it. Cut out at least a 2 by 2-foot section of sod. If you lift smaller patches of sod, they will likely dry out and die. While the soil base is exposed, mix in some compost and fertilizer. Watersoak the area using a hose and press the sod back into place. Keep the area watered to prevent lawn brownout.

Fertilization

Apply the fertilizer recommended by the results of your soil. Use a slow-release fertilizer, putting down more fertilizer than necessary will damage your lawn. The excess fertilizer may eventually pollute waterways. If you did not test your soil, apply a slow-release fertilizer with an Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium ratio of 3-1-2. Apply about 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn.

Microbes and Organic Material

Microbes digest grass clippings, dead grass roots, and stems, providing nutrients your grass. A topdressing of compost mixed with topsoil will add organic matter into the soil without hurting the lawn. Be sure to aerate your lawn after your application. Topsoil and compost can be found at your local nurseries and landscape centers.

These tips should help you on your path to a beautiful lawn! If you don’t have the time, we would be happy to help. Give us a call at (775) 686-0123.