With the beginning of the season started we often hear: “What landscape maintenance program is best for my house?” We thought it was time to write this information down.
Here in Texas, a weekly landscape maintenance program is the most popular choice by far. Why is that? Is there really that much difference between once a week and every other week maintenance? Taking a closer look at a few factors will help us understand the importance of this decision.
Once A Week Or Twice A Month – Choosing The Right Landscape Maintenance Plan
First off let me say that Kingreen discourages bi-weekly maintenance. We believe it leads a disadvantage to both you, the customer, and to Kingreen because the growing conditions in Texas provide for vigorous plant growth. Let’s explore why we prefer to have once a week maintenance vs. that that shall not be named (bi-weekly maintenance).
If you miss a week in the spring then your lawn will likely end up looking like a bad hair day and that’s the last thing we want our customers to experience. We usually mow Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass about 32 – 36 weeks out of the year and here’s why:
Can you really “watch” the grass grow?
In our area grass grows fast enough that if you mow it every other week, you might not be happy with the results. Bermuda grass in the summer — when fertilized properly, the weather’s cooperating and your irrigation system is working correctly — will grow at such a rate that if you mow it after two weeks of growth, it will look as if you have scalped the lawn with a yellow or brown appearance. This is bad news for your precious grass that you’ve spent so much time keeping green.
“Not to worry”, you think, “it’ll green right back up after three or four days when it’s really growing well.” This is true in the short run because Bermuda is surprisingly resilient to poor mowing conditions and poor watering habits. But what really happens when the grass is constantly abused to this extend is loss of life.
Cutting more than 1/3 of the total grass blade leaves brown patches and opens up the potential for disease
You see, the grass pictured is about 5 inches tall. You should never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade off the leaf structure. That means you’ll cut approximately 1.25 inches off the top at most leaving you with 3 to 3.75 inches of perfectly finished grass. But what happens when you wait two weeks? Your precious Bermuda gets closer to 6 or even 7 inches tall forcing you to cut down at least half or more of the grass blade simply to keep it under control so your neighborhood HOA won’t send you another nasty letter or your little Yorkie will feel comfortable walking through your yard without feeling she is walking through the “Yorkie Amazon”. Cutting that extra 1.5 inches will cause brown patches, clumps of grass left behind from the lawn mower and potentially open the grass up to future diseases.
Your (or our) lawn mower is not made to cut through safari-grass. Even though we use higher horsepower machines, they still struggle to cut lush, thick bermuda more than 1/3 of the grass blade. What happens is that the engine will slow down which slows our blade and causes a tearing effect of the leaf structure rather than cutting it clean. When there is not a clean cut, you open the potential for all kinds of disease. This is another reason to keep a sharp blade (don’t worry, we sharpen them often).
Fewer Mowing Visits Will Not Cut Costs In Half
It’s easy to fall into the false assumption that if you only mow half the time of a normal maintenance program then you will pay half the cost. While the cost might be slightly lower in the short term, over the long term you will incur more costs to keep your lawn looking aesthetically pleasing. Let’s say you are determined to only allow your maintenance company to mow every two weeks. What this means is that they will essentially be doing double the work since the grass will grow two weeks worth of time. The mowing will take more time due to a slower ground speed to protect the grass. The edging will take longer since it has now, two weeks of grass grown over onto the sidewalk.
To break it down with time, if your lawn takes 30 minutes to mow on a weekly basis, then mowing every two weeks will no longer fall in that 30 minute window and likely will take closer to 45 minutes to complete due to an extra week of growth. Most landscapers know this and will increase the charge for mowing on a bi-weekly basis.
So you still say, “well I am at least saving a few dollars each mowing”. Not so fast. Ever heard of robbing Peter to pay Paul? That’s essentially what you’ll be doing. You can just take those few extra dollars and put them in the trashcan after each mowing. The few dollars you’ll save on mowing will likely be spent on extra water, fertilizer, or disease control products in order to keep the lawn in shape. Or the worst case scenario would be an entire new lawn.
We suggest weekly mowing because we understand the importance of keeping our customers happy. When the lawn looks good people smile and when people smile, we sleep well at night. Most lawns need these services on a weekly basis:
- edging curbs and bed lines
- trash and debris removal
Cleanliness and a loss of curb appeal are the biggest risks home owners and property managers deal with if they choose a bi-weekly maintenance program.
Weekly upkeep provides for added curb appeal, prolongs the life of your landscape & structure and secures your investment which in turn boosts your property’s value.
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