Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Treat Your Lawn as an Investment

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Treat Your Lawn as an Investment

Article excerpt

If the grass is always greener on the other side of your street, find out how it got that way.

The booming $7 billion lawn care industry is a business that thrives on word of mouth. Asking neighbors with outstanding lawns how they made it happen or what professional service helped them is a first step to making your own lawn a success.

A hard winter in many parts of the country means many lawns are just beginning to show signs of damage. About 20 percent of households employ a lawn care professional for some or all of their yard maintenance, with the average family spending more than $450 on such services each year.

If you need some lawn care help, get some tips on good firms, check with your local Better Business Bureau about each one and find out whether they're properly licensed by the state. Affiliation with a professional lawn care association is a plus.

Get several price estimates to determine what you'll receive, taking into account lawn size, number of applications and timing of treatments. Find out about warranties or if there's a money-back guarantee or continued service in the event of persistent problems. For do-it-yourselfers handling some of the work themselves, universities usually have extension services featuring consumer courses and information libraries on lawn care.

"More Americans are using professionals because they have busy lives, but even if you don't contract for total lawn care, you can do a lot to help the overall process," said Michael Gaffney, technical resource s pecialist for the 1,200-member Professional Lawn Care Association of America in Marietta, Ga. "Always water properly and keep an eye on the landscaping and lawn for changes, whether the professional is coming weekly, monthly or just every couple of months."

Be sure your lawn mower blade is sharp, Gaffney said. …

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