Go Pro or DIY?

Submitted on July 5, 2016

We all know those “handy” types who can build a new deck over a weekend, drywall the basement, or install that new bay window with ease and precision! Then of course there those who romanticize the notion that they are handy, when really they have no business trying to tackle certain projects. We’ve all seen those unfinished disaster projects on the various home improvement programs. When it comes to deciding whether to do something on your own, it boils down to a few key criteria:

Time - Are you able to commit the right amount of time to properly tackle a project or assume the responsibility of an ongoing task?

Ability/Inclination - As in the home improvement example, many of us romanticize the idea of building something with our own hands. While this could very rewarding if done properly, it is important to assess your own inclination/ability for the given task or responsibility. Generally speaking, human nature dictates that the less natural ability you have to do something, the less inclined you eventually become to continually and consistently follow it through.

Legalities - When deciding on whether to hire a professional, unwisely some people circumvent legal requirements such as permits and/or licensed electrical work to continue with the home renovation example.  In other words, if you have to break the law, don’t!  Just get it done properly the first time by calling a professional!

Quality of Life - When it comes to any do-it-yourself project or ongoing responsibility like lawn care, you have to really decide how you want to spend your time. With lawn care, you have to spend a certain amount of time researching the legally available products and equipment you will need to fertilize, aerate, over seed etc.  You will need to set up a schedule on your calendar to keep track of what’s been done, and what’s coming up. You will need to troubleshoot potential lawn issues as weather patterns and other environmental factors change the lawn’s appearance throughout the season. If you legitimately enjoy the challenge of this, then caring for your lawn on your own may be quite rewarding and enjoyable. If these things sound daunting, hiring a professional like Weed Man is a natural solution!

Everyone has friends, neighbours and relatives who proudly boast about their self-maintained lush carpet of green; also known as their lawn.  When you ask them to share their tips, tricks and remedies, you will hear a vast array of contradictions from one person to another. Academic institutions and government agencies offer a lot of credible and sound advice online when it comes to lawn care best practices.  At Weed Man, we certainly pride ourselves on providing the most up-to-date information using timeless, sound agronomic principles as our guide.  Of course, as is the case with anything online, one has to be selective and most importantly consider the source! A good example of this is people who self-diagnose medical issues. If you are looking in the wrong spot, you are bound to frustrate your doctor! Whether you take care of your lawn yourself or you hire a professional adhering to the following principles will set the stage for maximum results! Mow Properly!  Unless you mow properly, the best lawn care program (applied by you or a professional) will produce very limited results. Follow these mowing rules:

  • Mowing with a razor sharp blade. Sharpen your mower blade 2-3 times/season
  • Mow high! Set your wheel height at least 1-2 settings above the middle position on your lawn mower
  • Alternate your mowing direction to keep the grass growing straight. This helps maximize air and light circulation.
  • Mow the grass often enough to remove the top ⅓ of the grass blade. This may mean mowing 2-3 times/week in the spring during times of rapid growth; and as little as once every 2-3 weeks (or not at all if dormant) in the hot dry, slow growth summer months.
  • Don’t mow in the heat of the day or when the grass is too wet.

Water Properly! For optimal health, your lawn needs 2.5 - 4 CM of water weekly, supplied ideally by Mother Nature in the form of rainfall. If rain doesn’t deliver this, you should consider supplementing with your sprinkler. Here are some best practices for watering your lawn:

  • Local watering bylaws/restrictions always take precedence over lawn watering. Please ensure you familiarize yourself with all possible restrictions
  • Water only when the lawn needs it. Over watering is not only wasteful; it creates shallow/lazy roots that will dramatically reduce your lawn’s drought tolerance with a sudden heat wave.
  • Deep, infrequent watering (45 min – 1 hour in each area with your sprinkler) is better than light sprinkling
  • Water early morning rather than evening. Cool morning conditions allow the soil to better absorb moisture. A little later morning/ afternoon conditions will evaporate excessive moisture off grass blades which helps prevent disease. Grass blades typically stay wet for prolonged periods with evening watering; which promotes the spread of disease.

Consider the Surrounding Environment:  Basic assessments of the environment your grass is growing in will help immensely in maintaining a healthy lawn. Consider the following:

  • Soil Type:  Is your lawn growing in more of a clay-based or sand-based soil? The answer to this question will shape how and when you do things such as rake, water, aerate and over seed.
  • Shade or Sun: Knowing whether your lawn is growing in shady or sunny conditions is important for a number of reasons including seed selection for over seeding work and mowing decisions such as height and frequency.
  • Surrounding Vegetation: Beyond the shade vs. sun question, consideration should be given to the types of trees/shrubs growing around your lawn. For example, a coniferous tree/shrub that sheds needles can cause acidity challenges if it shed a lot of needles. It may be impossible to sustain grass plants in these areas. Another consideration may be to prune trees to allow more light and air circulation to strengthen your lawn.

As mentioned, adhering to these principles will maximize the results of your lawn care program.  It’s also important to remember that lawn care requires patience. Expecting a lawn that is in very rough shape to turn into a lush carpet of green within a month or two is never realistic. It may take a few seasons of dedicated effort to turn a very rough lawn around. Weed Man is an international network of professional lawn care experts that has been growing and maintaining healthy lawns since 1970. Whether you decide to hire a professional like Weed Man or you take care of your own lawn, we are always just a click or a phone call away... We are always happy to help! We sincerely hope that you utilize our website or your local Weed Man professional as a resource.

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