Topics:

  1. Lawn Care – Fertilizer & Weed Control
  2. Tree & Shrub Care
  3. Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Protection
  4. Pest Control Solutions
  5. Landscape Bed Weed Control
  6. Grub Control
  7. Lawn Mowing
  8. Aeration
  9. Seeding
  10. Soil Testing
  11. Mole Control
  12. Mulch for Landscape Beds & Trees
  13. Compost Top-Dressing
  14. General Office Questions

If you have a question that wasn’t mentioned, please call us at (618) 539-9811 or send us an email at info@turfgator.com and we will add it to our list of lawn care FAQs.

Lawn Care – Fertilizer & Weed Control

Q. When can I mow my lawn following a lawn care treatment?
A. It is best to wait 24 hours before mowing your lawn.

Q. Should I water my lawn immediately following a lawn care treatment?
A. No, please allow at least 2 hours for the weed control products to work before watering. As for the fertilizer it is best if your lawn receives water from irrigation or rainfall within 14 days from a treatment.

Q. When can I walk on my lawn following a lawn care treatment?
A. Please allow 2 hours for the weed control products to dry.

Q. How long does it take for weeds that are present at the time of a treatment to die?
A. During cooler weather conditions it may take up to two weeks and during the summer it may only be a couple of hours.

Q. Is my lawn safe for my pets immediately following a lawn care treatment?
A. Please allow 2 hours for the weed control products to dry before pets return to the lawn.

Q. What happens if I get weeds in between lawn care treatments?
A. We provide free service calls for customers that take our complete 6-treatment lawn care program. Simply call our office or send us an email at info@turfgator.com and we will schedule a technician to revisit your lawn and spray any weeds present.

Q. Do you blow off excess fertilizer from sidewalks, patios, driveways and streets?
A. Yes, as a courtesy to you and to avoid tracking fertilizer in your home we always blow off excess fertilizer from sidewalks, patios, driveways and streets.

Q. Do you apply fertilizer during the summer months?
A. For cool season grass varieties such as bluegrass and fescue the answer would be no, as fertilizing during the summer months can cause lawn diseases and can stress or burn a lawn. During the summer months we apply weed control products (herbicides), fungicides, insecticides and organic type products which are safe during the summer months. As for warm season grass varieties such as zoysia or bermuda grass it is just the opposite where it is best to apply fertilizer during the summer months and not during the months the grass is dormant.

Q. What is the difference between traditional lawn care and organic lawn care?
A. Grass plants require 16 various nutrients for optimum growth, besides the three major macronutrients of oxygen, carbon & hydrogen the next two minor macronutrients nitrogen and potassium are generally not at high enough levels in the soil for optimum plant growth. Phosphorus is another minor macronutrient, however Illinois soil typically is enriched with enough phosphorus that the State legislation banned the use of in lawn care programs in 2010 unless a soil samples proves otherwise. A traditional lawn care program has scheduled treatments of fertilizer blends of nitrogen and potassium to feed your lawn where an organic lawn care program enriches the soil thus creating the nutrients for the grass plant. To the grass plant it can’t differentiate between synthetic fertilizers or an organic program so both are effective programs provided they are scheduled and balanced properly.

Q. What is pre-emergent?
A. Pre-emergent controls annual weeds, such as crabgrass from germinating. This chemical barrier controls up to 90% of all weed seeds from germinating. This treatment is done typically in March and early April.

Q. When is it to late to apply the pre-emergent treatment?
A. Annual weed seeds such as crabgrass will begin to germinate when the ground temperature reaches 55 degrees for at least 5 or more days in a row. Typically this occurs in our area around the 2nd week in April. We monitor the ground temperatures very closely in the spring and when the temperatures reach 55 degrees we switch to a post-emergent treatment for control of annual weeds.

Q. What can be done if I miss the pre-emergent treatment?
A. Depending on the time of the year we will either control annual weeds with a post-emergent herbicide or control the weeds in their post state after they have emerged.

Q. What are better, liquid treatments or granular treatments?
A. Provided that the liquid product is mixed and agitated well per manufacturer recommendations or the granular product is applied at the correct lbs per 1k sq-ft, both are effective and can provide the same results. Depending on the lawn care provider and the investment they may have in equipment may determine which method they use.

Q. How often do you come out for lawn care treatments?
A. Our program is a complete 6-step program starting in early March and then our next treatments are scheduled approximately every 5 – 7 weeks thereafter. For additional details of the timing of all of our scheduled services, please see our Target Dates for Services Performed.

Q. What is that light colored grass that grows twice as fast and tall as the rest of my lawn?
A. The proper name is Yellow Nutsedge, but it is also referred to by many homeowners as water grass. Yellow Nutsedge is easily identified with its distinctive triangular shaped stem and v-shaped leaves. The leaves also have a waxy covering.

Yellow Nutsedge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q. Why does my lawn continually get yellow nutsedge every year?
A. Yellow Nutsedge typically grows in areas that are poorly drained and likes full sunshine. Yellow Nutsedge can be very difficult to completely eradicate. Most products on the market are labeled to only control, manage, restrain or suppress nutsedge by putting it into stress and stopping its growth for the particular growing season and there are no pre-emergent products that can prevent it from germinating. With recent advancements in post-emergent herbicides there now is a product labeled for eradication of Yellow Nutsedge. To discuss your options, please call our office at (618) 539-9811.

Q. I heard that you are never suppose to pull nutsedge by hand, why?
A. Yellow Nutsedge has a fibrous root system that develops underground rhizomes with multiple tubers or nutlets at the end of each rhizomes. Each tuber has the ability to produce a new plant, and it is impossible to pull nutsedge out of the ground with its complete root system. Therefore, in pulling the plant out of the ground the root system breaks and each tuber will produce a new plant. It is common for every one plant pulled by hand, another 10 more could sprout up and grow back.

Q. How can I tell if my lawn is dead or just dormant in the hot summer months?
A. If the grass plant just turns brown, but is still standing, it is more than likely just dormant. Minimize foot traffic on dormant areas as this will further stress the grass plant. If the grass plant is brown and is also laying flat to the ground then it is dead and time to consider seeding during the fall.

Q. When is the best time of the day to water my lawn with a sprinkler system?
A. Early morning is the best as evaporation will be less than in afternoons. Evening watering is discouraged as it can lead to lawn diseases. The 150 rule is when day temperatures and humidity added together equal 150 which is a rule of thumb that your lawn is most susceptible to lawn diseases and water on the grass plant overnight from a sprinkler system acts like a catalyst to start a disease. The summer of 2010 had a tremendous amount of rain storms that happened during the evening followed by high day temperatures and humidity, resulting in the highest amount of observed lawn diseases throughout the area in many years.

Q. Why do I always get weeds along edges such as sidewalks, driveways and streets?
A. The pre-emergent barrier applied to your lawn in early spring typically gets broken due to weed eaters and edgers. Also weeds need sunlight to germinate and again weed eaters and edgers expose bare dirt allowing weeds to grow. In addition concrete tends to heat the soil along edges to warmer temperatures compared to the rest of the lawn which is ideal conditions for certain weeds to germinate and begin growing.

Q. What can I do to get rid of mushrooms?
A. Sorry, no products available here so your only option is leaving them or stepping on them. If your son likes to play golf like mine, send him out with a 7 iron and tee them up.

Q. Are weeds within my landscape bed areas included in my lawn care program?
A. No, but we do offer a landscape bed weed control program.

Q. What is thatch and what is an acceptable amount to have in a lawn?
A. Thatch is the grass plants roots growing above ground level and an acceptable amount is ½ inch or less. If you mow your lawn and return the clippings to the lawn which is preferred those clippings will collect in the thatch layer but will decompose and most research has determined that clippings don’t contribute to an excess thatch layer. The problem with thatch is if it gets too thick it can prevent water from soaking into the ground and prevent sufficient oxygen for the root system to grow. When thatch levels exceed ½ inch we recommend aerating your lawn as it provides more benefits and is less destructive than a dethatcher.

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Tree & Shrub Care

Q. What is the purpose of the dormant oil treatment?
A. During the winter months insect pest such as aphids, mites and scale nest in landscape plants. By spraying plants with dormant oil the oil blocks the spiracles through which insects breathe, thus killing them by suffocating them. This is an effective and ecologically friendly way to handle many pests and even some diseases.

Q. Can you get rid of Japanese Beetles?
A. Yes, we use both a contact and systemic insecticide that is very effective against Japanese Beetles as well as many other insects.

Q. Will the insecticides used stain my home or hard-scapes within my landscaping?
A. No, the insecticide has a little white residue but does not leave a stain.

Q. In referring to trees, what is the maximum height you can service?
A. Our spray equipment can actually spray upwards to 100 feet in height, however depending on the location of the tree, surrounding vegetation, neighboring property considerations and wind drift we prefer to limiting our services to about 30 feet maximum.

Q. How do you control bagworms?
A. Timing is very critical in spraying evergreen trees for bagworms. Our insecticide used not only prevents new bagworms from being established it also kills any that may be present at the time our tree and shrub treatment is applied.

Q. Is your program safe for eatable fruit trees?
A. The dormant oil treatment is a safe ecological treatment but the remaining 4 treatments have combinations of insecticides and fungicides which are not safe on eatable fruit trees.

Q. My burning bushes did not turn red, why?
A. Multiple possible issues, first your burning bush needs plenty on sun light, second the soil needs to be slightly acidic and not alkaline. But the most common issue we have experienced is spider mites. Spider mites feeding on a burning bush will cause discolored leaves and leaf drop. Spider mites will suck the sap out of the leaf. This can severely stress the plant. Hot dry weather and water stressed plants favors a population explosion of spider mites. You may see webbing on the leaves and branches. To determine if the plant is infested with spider mites, hold a sheet of white paper underneath some of the discolored leaves and tap the leaves. Tiny dark specks about the size of pepper that move around on the paper are spider mites. (See the next question for more information on spider mites)

Q. I heard not all spider mites are bad, is this true?
A. Yes this is true. Predatory mites are natural enemies of other spider mites and typically predatory mites are red in color with longer legs and are more active. Spider mites are small and often difficult to see with the unaided eye. Their color range from red and brown to yellow and green, depending on the species of spider mite and their appearance can change throughout the season.

Q. What is the difference between contact and systemic insecticides?
A. An insecticide destroys, suppress, stupefy, inhibit the feeding of, or prevent infestations or attacks by, an insect and the mode of actions that they work will either be by contact or systemic. Many pesticides are ‘contact’ pesticides. This means to be effective they must be absorbed through the external body surface of the insect. Other pesticides are systemic in action. Systemic pesticides can be moved (trans-located) from the site of application to another site within the plant where they retain a longer residual protection against insects. At TurfGator we mix both modes of action contact & systemic for a highly effective treatment for controlling insects.

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Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Protection

Q. Where did the emerald ash borer come from?
A. The natural range of the emerald ash borer is from eastern Russia, northern China, Japan and Korea. Before June of 2002, it had never been found in North America.

Q. How did it get here?
A. No one knows for sure, but it most likely came in ash wood used for stabilizing cargo in ships or for packing or crating heavy consumer products.

Q. What type of trees does the emerald ash borer attack?
A. All types of ash tree species are susceptible. Larval galleries have been found in trees or branches measuring as little as 1-inch in diameter.

Q. In North America, what states have the emerald ash borer been found in?
A. In 2002, the emerald ash borer was first reported in Michigan, but has since spread to other states such as; Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Q. What happens to infested ash trees?
A. The canopy of infested trees begins to thin above infested portions of the trunk and major branches because the emerald ash borer destroys the water and nutrient conducting tissues under the bark. Heavily infested trees exhibit canopy dieback usually starting at the top of the tree. One-third to one-half of the branches may die in one year. Most of the canopy will be dead within 2 years of when symptoms are first observed.

Q. What do emerald ash borers look like?
A. The adult beetle is dark metallic green in color, ½ inch-long and 1/8 inch-wide.

Size of emerald ash borer next to a penny

Q. Does it only attack dying or stressed trees?
A. Healthy ash trees are also susceptible, although beetles may prefer to lay eggs or feed on stressed trees. When emerald ash borer populations are high, small trees may die within 1-2 years of becoming infested and large trees can be killed in 3-4 years after becoming infested.

Q. What do Ash Trees look like?
A. The below guide should help in identifying ash trees, however, feel free to call our office anytime and we will send out a technician for a free check on the trees you have on your property and let you know if you have any ash trees.

Ash tree identification information

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Pest Control Solutions

Q. What is the difference between perimeter pest control and total lawn pest control?
A. Perimeter pest control only provides 3-4 foot barrier around the perimeter of the home, thus keeping pests from entering the home. Total lawn pest control is a treatment of the entire lawn from pest invasions. Many home owners concerned with flees and ticks with their pets or home owners with pools or just like to enjoy the outdoors pest free will prefer the total lawn pest control.

Q. How long is the residual control on a pest control treatment?
A. On average we see a 45 day residual control with our pest control treatments. If the summer months are extremely dry we have experienced as much as 60 days of residual control and if we have a very wet summer we have seen the residual control deplete to 30 days.

Q. When can I walk on my lawn following a pest control treatment?
A. As with any treatment it is best to wait until the product is dried which is usually in 2 hours after the application.

Q. Is my lawn safe for my pets immediately following a pest control treatment?
A. Please allow 2 hours for the pesticide/insecticide products to dry before pets return to the lawn.

Q. Will the total lawn pest control treatment take care of mosquitoes?
A. The products we use do include control of mosquitoes and homeowners have noticed a major reduction of mosquitoes.

Q. Are there any natural or organic methods to control pests?
A. Yes, there are many natural or organic methods and products available. At TurfGator we have had more success with broad spectrum insecticides that control 180+ insects as opposed to a specific natural or organic method that works on a few insects and not at all on others.

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Landscape Bed Weed Control

Q. How often do you apply treatments to control weeds within my landscape areas?
A. Our landscape bed weed control program consists of 4 treatments.

Q. Are the weed control products effective in mulch and rock landscape beds?
A. Yes, very effective in both.

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Grub Control

Q. When does grub damage occur and when is the best time for a grub control treatment?
A. White grubs the larval stage of beetles comes out of the ground in early June and return back into the ground in August. It is at this time when they return back into the ground that they do there destruction by feeding heavily on grass roots before they barrel deeper into the ground. Late August and throughout September is the prime time for grub damage. We treat for grubs during June and July during our 3rd lawn care treatment, which provides season long control of grubs.

Q. Are only white grubs controlled with this service?
A. We use a commercial grade insecticide that is the industry’s longest lasting residual control for all types of subsurface and turf feeding pests. Some of the most common subsurface and turf feeding pests controlled are: Billbugs; European crane flies; hairy chinch bugs; mole crickets; white grubs, including black turfgrass ataenius beetles, European chafers, Japanese beetles, May and June beetles, Northern masked chafers, Oriental beetles, Southern masked chafers.

Q. How can I tell if I have grub damage?
A. Grub damage can happen almost overnight, where your lawn looked great and next thing you know it turns brown. The best way to test for grub damage is by pulling on the grass plant, if it comes up easy with no roots chances are you have grub worm damage.

Q. Will a grub control treatment prevent me from getting moles in my lawn?
A. No, moles have two food sources of grubs and earthworms. By eliminating half of their food source will push those to look for food that is more plentiful elsewhere, but if your lawn has a good source of earthworms you still may get moles.

Q. One morning I looked out over my lawn and noticed square patches of sod cut out and rolled back, what happened here?
A. In addition to the grubs causing damage themselves, their presence tends to attract animals, such as moles, voles, birds, mice, rats, gophers, groundhogs, raccoons and skunks, who love to feed on an active grub population; thus, causing further damage to your lawn. In your particular case it sounds as if your lawn has been victimized by a skunk as they do just as you have mentioned with cutting square patches of sod and rolling it back to get to the grub worms.

Q. My neighbor doesn’t take care of their lawn and this year I had major grub damage and they didn’t, why?
A. When beetles look for places to return back into the ground they look for a plentiful food source to feast on. If your neighbor doesn’t take care of their lawn, it is like your neighbor offering bologna for them to eat and you are offering steak to eat, chances are they are coming to your lawn for dinner and not your neighbors.

Q. I didn’t get a grub control treatment this year and my lawn died off in about 1 week and now there are hundreds of grubs just below the surface of the ground. Is there anything I can do at this point?
A. Yes, for starters a granular insecticide needs to be applied to your lawn ASAP which will need to be watered in thus making it effective which will kill off the grub population. Then the excess dead grass should be both raked up and removed and then your lawn will be ready for re-seeding.

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Lawn Mowing

Q. How often should a lawn be mowed?
A. Your lawn should be cut as not to remove more than 1/3 of the grass plant in a given cut. This may be as often as every 4 days during a growing cycle and every other week during the hot summer months.

Q. How often should I sharpen my mower blades?
A. Mower blades are made from a soft grade steel for safety reasons so they only dent and not shatter if they should encounter a hard object such as a rock while mowing. The downside of this is they become dull very quick and will require sharpening every 8 – 10 hours of actual cutting time.

The visual quality of turf is greatly reduced with dull mower blades due to shredding of the grass tips, producing a discolored brown cast. Shredded tips offer more surface area from which water evaporates and increases the chances of disease susceptibility.

To show the difference of sharp vs. dull mower blades we took samples from neighboring lawns one day after mowing. The grass blade on the right was cut with sharp mower blades while the left was taken from a lawn where the blades are obviously dull.

Effects of Sharp vs Dull Mower Blades

Q. Should I collect my clippings or return them to the lawn?
A. Grass clippings are 80% water and return nutrients back to the soil as they decompose so it is best not to collect them and just leave them in your lawn. The only exception is excessive clippings that lay on top should be collected, but if you are cutting your lawn often enough this should not be an issue. Recent research has ruled out that clippings do not cause thatch and they do not spread lawn diseases. Also, not collecting clippings is a responsible environmental practice as well since landscape waste accounts for almost 20% of all curbside waste.

Q. How high should my lawn be cut?
A. In our local area the 4 most common grass types are varieties are Tall Fescue, Bluegrass, Bermuda and Zoysia. The grass plant needs to get high enough to allow photosynthesis and cutting to low can actually stress and kill the root system of the plant. In general with the types of grass varieties in our area setting your mower to cut at 3 – 3½ inches is the ideal height. Two additional benefits of cutting high are root systems are generally proportional to the height of the grass above the ground, therefore the higher the grass is typically cut the deeper your roots grow which help for drought resistance and the available nutrients found in the soil. The other benefit is weeds need sunlight to grow and higher grass blades will shade the ground helping preventing weeds from germinating, this is another natural cultural practice in maintaining a beautiful lawn.

Q. Should my lawn be cut at the same height all season long?
A. No, the first and last cut should always be cut lower than normal and during the hot summer months you may want to increase your mower height. For example if you always cut your lawn at 3″, you may want the first cut of the year to be set a 2½ inches, then the next at 3″ until the hot summer months. Increase to 3½ inches for summer and then back to 3″ during the fall. Again that last cut of the year should be lower so cut it at 2½ inches and you will be ready for next spring.

Q. How do commercial mowers cut a lawn so fast and look great and I can only get a good cut with my push mower at a slow speed?
A. Commercial mower decks are designed for higher speeds and the blades rotate at higher speeds creating a vacuum effect to stand the blades tall prior to being cut. Traditional push mowers do not have the same deck designs and can not create such a vacuum that by pushing the mower faster can result in a poor looking cut.

Q. How do you put stripes in a yard?
A. The stripping look is how the sun reflects off of the grass blades giving a difference of appearance if the blades are laying away or toward you as you look over a lawn. Basically by mowing in one direction and then the next row going back the other way will create this appearance.

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Aeration

Q. How often should I aerate my lawn?
A. Lawns greatly benefit from an annual aeration, however you could aerate twice per year.

Q. When is the best time to aerate?
A. For cool season grass varieties such as bluegrass and fescue the fall is the most preferred time of the year to aerate a lawn, beginning in early September all the way up until the ground freezes. The spring prior to a pre-emergent application is another excellent time of year to aerate. You want to avoid any other times of the year as the holes created by an aerator will break down a pre-emergent barrier, applied in early spring, allowing weeds to germinate. As for warm season grass varieties such as zoysia or bermuda grass, June is the ideal time to aerate a lawn as this is the peak growing time of the year for these type of grasses.

Q. Do I need to mow my lawn prior to my lawn being aerated?
A. Traditional aerators use the weight of the machine for down pressure, approximately 200-300lbs and by cutting you’re lawn prior to aeration helps somewhat in removing that additional resistance. At TurfGator we use aerators with 1200lbs of hydraulic down pressure so cutting your lawn prior to an aeration is not necessary.

Q. How long does it take for the core plugs to go away after my lawn being aerated?
A. Typically they will decompose in a week or two and there is no need to rake or remove them from your lawn.

Q. Does aeration control thatch?
A. Yes, aeration is actually the preferred method of control thatch and is less destructive to grass plant root systems over a typical dethatcher.

Q. What is the difference between an aerator that pulls cores up and one that just punches holes in the ground?
A. One of the primary goals of aeration is to relieve compaction in your lawn. A core aerator does this by pulling out a core in the ground. A machine that punches holes in the ground such as a spike aerator actually adds more compression instead of relieving compaction.

Q. Why is it necessary to aerate a lawn?
A. Turf grasses growing in our area benefit greatly from annual aeration, during the fall months to reduce thatch buildup and more importantly, relieve soil compaction. This service will help improve the recycling flow of air, water, and nutrients to the root system. This, in turn, will help to rejuvenate your grass by allowing the roots to grow deeper, creating healthier grass plants and keeping your lawn thicker and greener. An annual aeration is the single most important thing you can do to your lawn.

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Seeding

Q. Can I mow my lawn immediately after it was just seeded?
A. Yes, mowing even with commercial mowers do not have enough vacuum to lift seeds and re-spread them in your yard. Unless the ground was completely bare a mower should not have an effect on seeds and if an area was completely bare there would be no reason to mow it anyway. Depending on the variety of grass seeds that were planted, seed germination will take anywhere from 10 – 21 days and during this time frame mowing should be done carefully as new grass plants can easily be uprooted with tires from mowers while turning, especially with riding mowers and zero turn mowers.

Q. What is the difference between slit seeding and overseeding?
A. In general grass seeds will not germinate until they are below the surface of the ground and have enough moisture. Overseeding is a process of using a broadcast spreader to apply grass seed on the surface of the ground. To increase the percentage of germination, we recommend in conjunction with our aeration service. The cores created by aeration allow the seeds to drop below the surface of the ground for a better rate of germination. Slit seeding is a process of utilizing a machine with knife blades to create slits in your lawn, which allows grass seed to drop below the surface of the ground, maximizing the percentage of germination. As a general rule if your lawn is at least 80% thick the process of aerating and overseeding is a good choice and any percentage less slit seeding is a better choice. We have experienced lawns that were 50% thick and have undergone the process of overseeding each year and it has taken 3 years to completely fill in, but other lawns that were slit seeded only once and have completely filled in within the first year.

Q. How long does it take for the grass seed to grow?
A. Once the grass seed has made it below the surface of the ground and has enough continuous moisture it will take 10-14 days for fescue and up to 21 days for bluegrass to germinate and show signs of growth. The grass plant will take additional weeks to mature and fill in. During the first couple of months you want the ground to remain moist from natural rainfall or irrigation. Depending on your lawns condition of sun, shade, flat or hilly and even soil conditions this may be the difference of watering daily or every few days.

Q. When is the best time of the year to seed a lawn?
A. Seeding can be done throughout the year as long as the ground is not frozen, but the most optimum time of year is between September 1st and October 15th for our local area. Weather conditions and ground temperatures all play a role in successful seed germination.

Q. Can I seed myself after you aerate my lawn?
A. Yes, many homeowners prefer to seed themselves. It is always best to communicate this with our office if you are on our lawn care program due to weed control products will hamper the germination process. In general it is best not to use weed control herbicides for at least 30 days after seeding or until the newly seeded areas have been mowed at least 3 times. When you contract seeding services with TurfGator we coordinate both the seeding and lawn care treatments for you for the best results.

Q. When can weed control products be used before or after seeding?
A. Weed control herbicides can be used prior to seeding, but it is best to wait until the seconds mowing before using herbicides after seeding has been done.

Q. What are the pros and cons of applying straw over seeded areas?
A. The pros are straw helps control evaporation in shading the suns rays and can somewhat help in erosion control. The cons are straw bails are filled with weed seeds and quite often the next spring you can have some unwanted wheat growing within your lawn, also straw doesn’t hold up to high winds or heavy rain very well. An alternative is straw blankets which contain no weed seeds and are woven in a biodegradable nylon net which provide excellent erosion control while helping the ground stay shaded controlling evaporation. Peat Moss is another excellent option for smaller areas. Peat Moss retains water and is organic matter so when it breaks down it will be adding nutrients to the soil, however it will not provide any erosion control.

Q. How often do I need to water newly seeded areas?
A. Depending on your lawns condition of sun, shade, flat or hilly and even soil conditions watering may be required multiple times per day to once per day. The most important thing is to keep the soil moist which will help in germination and growth of the new grass plant. For more details on watering newly seeded areas, please see our blog post on “taking care of newly a newly seeded lawn”.

Q. I am planning on seeding my lawn in the spring; can the pre-emergent still be applied during the early spring or spring lawn care treatment?
A. No, pre-emergent prevents seeds from germinating so if you are planning on seeding a standard fertilizer blend will need to be substituted in the early spring instead.

Q. Is there anything special that I should be aware of for a newly seeded area?
A. Besides the importance of watering, avoid heavy foot and pet traffic on seeded areas. Also newly germinated grass plants don’t have a strong rooting so avoid trimming with weed eaters as they will up root the grass plant very easily. Depending on the variety of grass seeds that were planted, seed germination will take anywhere from 10 – 21 days and during this time frame mowing should be done carefully as new grass plants can easily be uprooted with tires from mowers while turning, especially with riding mowers and zero turn mowers.

Q. What if the seed doesn’t germinate before winter sets in?
A. Any seed germination or growth that hasn’t matured before winter sets in will pick up in the spring when the ground temperatures are warm enough. A general rule is if your lawn was seeded in the fall it should be completely germinated and matured by the end of the following May.

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Soil Testing

Q. Why should I have my soil tested?
A. Your lawn will look its best when it has the proper combination of nutrients, texture, organic matter and a proper pH level. Without this proper balance deficiency will show in your lawns color, inability to germinate seed and amount of potential weeds throughout your lawn. Testing your soil quickly determines deficiencies and with proper corrective actions you can have a great looking healthy lawn.

Q. How often should I have my soil tested?
A. If soil conditions are good, testing your soil every 3 – 5 years is sufficient. However, if a deficiency is found it is our recommendation to test your soil once a year making recommended corrective actions every year until your soil tests good.

Q. Do you test the soil or use an independent soil testing company?
A. At TurfGator we use an independent soil testing company and will provide you with a complete analysis report of the findings along with recommendations of corrective actions.

Q. Will I get a copy of the test results?
A. Yes, we always provide the test results to you.

Q. When is the best time of the year for a soil test?
A. You can actually test the soil at anytime, but for consistent results if you are having issues it is best to test at the same time of the year every year until conditions improve. To avoid misleading test results we generally wait 4 – 6 weeks after a previous lawn care treatment.

Q. When is the best time of the year to make corrections to the soil based on a soil test?
A. It is dependent on what type of corrective actions that are needed. As for pH issues, limestone can be added at any time of the year, but sulfur can burn the lawn in the heat of the summer and is best to wait until fall or spring. Corrective actions in nutrients can be done at anytime as well as adding organic matter.

Q. What is the difference between fertilizer and soil amendments?
A. Fertilizers directly affect plant growth by adding nutrients to the soil, while soil amendments indirectly affect plant growth by improving the soil’s physical properties.

Q. How important are soil conditions on the appearance of my lawn?
A. Soil conditions are very important and often overlooked by many. We treat thousands of lawns in the local area and the difference in appearance from one lawn to the next is generally one of three things, soil conditions, watering practices and cultural practices.

Q. I have clay soil conditions, should I apply limestone to my lawn every year?
A. No, just because you have clay soil does not mean your soil is acidic. We have tested hundreds of lawns throughout the area and it is a 50/50 shot of the soil being acidic. If your soil is indeed alkaline and you add limestone unknowingly you will cause the conditions to get worse. Also, if you know for sure your soil is acidic you still don’t know how many pounds per thousand sq-ft of limestone to apply. It is best to have a soil test done before attempting any corrective actions.

Q. What is the proper pH level for soil?
A. The pH scale is from 0 – 14 with 7.0 being neutral. Below 7.0 is considered acidic and above is considered alkaline conditions. The pH should be slightly acidic between 6.5-6.8 for ideal soil conditions. To raise or lower the pH level, a soil test is required to determine necessary amounts of additives such as limestone or sulfur.

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Mole Control

Q. Are there any concerns with pets while trying to exterminate a mole?
A. Yes, the bait that we use contains a lethal dose of Bromethalin which can be poisonous to any pet that would dig up the bait and eat it. If you have any animals that like to dig we do not recommend using our mole extermination program.

Q. Are there any methods that are safe for pets?
A. Yes, we have a dry granular product that we can spread over your lawn that is safe for pets. When the product is watered in the dry granular pellets turn into caster oil which moles do not like on their skin. This service is a repellant type program as it will only push moles to other areas. Our success rate with this service is only about 50% as most moles will tolerate the oil if the food population of grubs and earthworms is high instead of searching out for new territories for food.

Q. Why am I getting moles when I get a grub control treatment every year?
A. Moles have two primary food sources both white grubs and earthworms. If your lawn is plentiful with earthworms you still may get moles. However, many customers have had great success in not getting moles by reducing their food source in half with a grub control treatment.

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Mulch for Landscape Beds & Trees

Q. What is a recommended thickness for mulch to prevent weeds?
A. At least 3 inches of mulch is recommended, however as the mulch breaks down over time weeds will start to grow within the mulch itself.

Q. What is the difference between hardwood mulch and dyed hardwood mulch?
A. Hardwood mulch looses its color in a short period of time from the sun and may not give you the appearance of the fresh mulch look around trees and landscape bed areas. Dyed hardwood mulch is the same mulch just dyed with a color. Color varieties such as brown, black and red are very common with homeowners. The benefit is the dyed color remains for a very long time and does not sun fade. Some homeowners can get a full two years before they need to top-dress mulch areas again, so while the initial cost is a little more the long term value is higher with dyed mulch.

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Compost Top-Dressing

Q. When is the best time to apply compost to my lawn?
A. Compost can be applied at anytime of the year as we have top-dressed lawns in the spring, summer and fall.

Q. What is compost?
A. Compost is the product of the controlled decomposition of organic matter that has been stabilized through the generation of heat and stabilized to the point that is beneficial to plant growth. Compost has the unique ability to improve the physical and biological characteristics of soils or growing media. Compost contains plant nutrients but it is not characterized as a fertilizer.

Q. How much compost can be applied in a single application?
A. In an existing lawn a layer not to exceed ½ inch is preferred as this will not smother the existing grass plants. For a new installation of a lawn where soil grading is necessary a full 1 inch of compost is desired to be pulverized into the soil.

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General Office Questions

Q. How will I be billed?
A. After each service is performed a detailed invoice will be left at the front door explaining the service that was performed with a remit slip for making a payment.

Q. Is payment due after each treatment or after each month?
A. All payments are due within 30 days of the treatment performed.

Q. Can I pay my bill through the website?
A. At this time our website does not have the capability to make a payment. We are working on a secured site for payments and will be offering this service in the near future.

Q. Do you accept credit cards?
A. Yes, we accept all major credit cards. Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Q. Do you have an installment plan?
A. Yes, we offer custom installment plans as a convenience to spread equal payments over multiple months.

Q. Do you charge for service calls?
A. We provide free service calls for customers who receive our complete program. Example: if a customer takes our lawn care program which consist of 6 treatments and calls for a service call between applications we would provide a free service call. However, if a customer skips a treatment and then calls during that timeframe for a service call, charges may apply.

Q. Do you charge for estimates or lawn analysis?
A. Estimates and lawn evaluations are always free.

Q. How often do lawn care treatments occur?
A. Typically lawn care treatments occur every 30 – 45 days

Q. Will you call me before you come out?
A. For customers that request notification prior to any service performed, yes we can provide that as a courtesy. For customers with gates or pets left outside it is our standard procedure to call prior to any service performed regardless.

Q. What time will you be out?
A. While it is difficult to schedule exact appointments times for service treatments we can provide general time frames such as early morning, late morning…etc.

Q. Do I need to be home?
A. No, you do not need to be home, but if you have a request or a particular concern, feel free to call our office, send us an email or leave us a note on the back of your remit slip.

Q. What happens if it rains on my scheduled treatment date?
A. If we called you the day before letting you know that we would be out for a service treatment and it rains prior to our visit, you will then be scheduled for the following day. If it should rain following a service visit the same day, most of the herbicide products we use are rain-fast within an hour, but in cases where we are caught in the rain, we will apply additional weed control if needed on a dryer day.

Q. Do I need to renew my services from year-to-year?
A. Service will continue from year-to-year unless we hear from you otherwise. If you should ever want to change service performed or cancel service, please call our office or send us an email as we will need to update our records accordingly.

Q. Do you offer any discounts if I pre-pay for my services for the entire year?
A. Yes, we offer a 7-10% prepay discount.

Q. Is your company insured?
A. Yes, we are completely insured and if the unexpected should occur while performing any service offered at your property our insurance covers all incidents.

Q. Are your technicians licensed?
A. Yes, all of our technicians are licensed by the State of Illinois, Department of Agriculture.

Q. How long has TurfGator been in business?
A. The company was started in 1991 and has been growing ever since.

Q. Does TurfGator offer snow removal?
A. No, we however have partnerships with other service companies that can provide the service of snow removal either as a direct bill or invoiced from TurfGator.

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Q. Is your company insured?

A. Yes, we are completely insured if the unexpected should occur.

Q. When can I mow my lawn following a lawn care application?

A. It is best to wait 24 hours before mowing your lawn.