Lawn Advice - Right Time, On Time, Every Time
There are a lot of Landscapers and Gardeners who 'claim' to know a lot about lawn and grass. There are numerous trade suppliers to the industry who specialise in their range of products and advice associated with them.
There has been a steady rise in the establishment of Lawn Treatment Companies over the last few years also adding their bit to the advice bank. So why is it that the advice given to lawn owners varies so much and is often so inaccurate and poor?
Those studying for horticultural qualifications will spend about an afternoon learning about lawns and the rest of the course learning about other aspects of horticulture. The Royal Horticultural Society educational system will spend about as much time on lawns as the colleges.
Once again, the largest part of a garden receives the least amount of study time which is why there is a big void of lawn knowledge. Having said this there are some excellent professional turf managers who have studied nothing else in amenity horticulture than grass and it's use in sports turf management.
This week sees the start of 'The Season' where natural turf features greatly on the television. Royal Ascot, Wimbledon Tennis Championships, all played on natural turf.
During a visit this past week by The Lawn Company, we undertook a complete lawn survey for a client with some 3,000 sqm of lawns. It became evident that what lawn owners predominately require is the impartial advice on their lawns then a written plan of action whether they then decide to undertake the recommended treatments and mechanical operations themselves or instruct a lawn care organisation to perform the required tasks.
By the time they pay for a Comprehensive Lawn Survey & Technical Report, they may have spoken to more than one person about their lawns' past present and future state of well being or more often than not, its problems over the years. It becomes evident during discussion with the client that they have received many different solutions to a particular problem and thus become confused as to who was right, often becoming sceptical to the level of advice received.
It should be far simpler than that. 'Advisor's' or 'Lawn Experts' should follow the traditional basic science of turf culture but apply modern advancement in technology to a particular problem both for products and equipment the advice given out to lawn owners would be so much better and accurate!
The core subject of lawn care has not changed since we started manicuring lawns around our properties hundreds of years ago. This particular client had been sold inferior grass seed which looked so different to the rest of the garden, almost agricultural. Now they have a real problem of trying to 'match in their patchwork quilt' of varying grass species and growth cycles and colour.
Their mower had 'just been serviced' but the blade was so blunt the tips of the grass plants were really ragged and torn. An individual had lifted some turf alongside a terrace to bury some cables and completed the task to leave the strip of turf broken and uneven when it should have been over seeded and top dressed to restore the micro levels. A gardener had spot sprayed the lawn with selective weed killer and decided to 'add a little bit more chemical' to the spray tank, resulting with some burn marks to the lawn.
The first part of the Lawn Survey was to undertake an accurate measurement of the lawns. After all the success of all treatments of Selective Weed Killer, Lawn Fertiliser and Moss, Insect and Disease Control products depends upon it as application of them to the lawn is always a fine tuned calibrated process.
The second part was to discuss the life of the lawn and history of care whether undertaken by the owner or via external contractors. The lawn owners were more than capable of looking after the lawns themselves but with some input on products, timing and a flow chart to allow immediate but prolonged improvement.
This formed the third part. The fourth part involved education in the use of the chosen turf care products and some hands on practical sessions to show the designated individual tasked with looking after the lawn some tricks of the trade to make their life easier.
The fifth part will include some after visits and some ongoing assessments to see how well they were taking up the advice and implementing it. The emphasis is to ensure that they get value for money and then follow the flow chart and set aside a budget for the lawn each year, but most of all spend their hard earned money wisely.
At the end of the session and upon receipt of the formal report, the lawn owners will have a warm and comforting feeling, assured that they now have access to an impartial organisation that can assist them in their quest for a better lawn. More importantly, they are prepared to accept the professional advice and get some real ownership of their lawns.