Customer Handbook

Introduction

This Customer Handbook was written to provide you with an overview of our service. It contains information regarding Emerald Green’s approach to caring for your lawn, as well as some common questions and answers.

Please take a few minutes to read this Handbook.

Thank you for your business.

Plain Talk

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Our goal is to establish a loyal customer base by providing quality services at competitive prices. Keeping our customers and keeping them happy has been the key to our success, so this is where we put our energies.

There is no magic involved in our services. Almost any lawn-owner could accomplish what we do if they had the time, knowledge, materials, equipment, governmental licenses, and above all, the patience necessary. Since we provide these conveniences at prices comparable to doing it themselves, people choose our service because their free time can be better spent.

Our business is not like any other. We could be described as a huge suburban farm, tending to only one crop, in thousands of mini fields, owned by other people. The crop experiences great stress and in addition to nature’s extremes, it is never rotated, it is never harvested and it is not even completely under our control, since from field to field, our co-farmers (the lawns owners), occasionally use different cultural practices (irrigation, trimming, etc.). These deviations often result from necessity, but established habits and misinformed practices, which are harmful and improper, can add additional lawn stress.

The unique nature of our business is the reason this Handbook was written. We provide it to you, our valued customer, so that you can understand and get the most from the “crop tending” that you pay us to perform. Although we cannot make a lawn grow, with your assistance we can help it grow the way we all want it to.

Always remember that we are co-farmers and we, as a Team, can reach our mutual objective: To develop and maintain a thick, green, quality turf. Don’t forget, when we reach our objective…to pat yourself on the back. We couldn’t have done it without your help.

What We Do

Our service is truly the “elite” of the industry because, unlike all others, our customers are free from burden of extra costs…all material and seed applications are included! This enables our Lawn Technicians to apply, without delay, whatever materials are necessary for your lawn”s progress. We combine this unique benefit with frequent visits and preventative control measures to address potential problems before they become major ones.

Our Philosophy

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The absolute best preventative for undesirable weeds and crabgrass is thick turf density. Although it is difficult to control weeds and crabgrass 100%; most other lawn care companies never truly address this most important problem: turf density. Our first objective is to improve your lawn’s desirable turf. Once this accomplished, we then can begin to apply the proper materials to eradicate the weed and crabgrass populations.

The Plan of Attack

Our effort to increase the density of your turf basically twofold: (1) Our fertilizations are customized promote the growth and reproduction of desirable turf and (2) we introduce the highest sod quality turf types into the lawn via seeding.

A big reason why our program is so unique is the type of seed we use; Kentucky Bluegrass in the sun areas and a combination of turf quality ryegrasses for the shade areas.

Rhizome

Rhizome

The beauty of Kentucky Bluegrass comes from outstanding long term performance.

After germination and maturity, bluegrass plants begin to work for you. They send out underground runners (Rhizomes) to produce new plants, filling in the area around themselves – they are extremely aggressive.

Few lawn care companies attempt to grow such high quality turf. Firstly, they shy away from this approach because the germination of quality bluegrass seed is very moisture dependant and relatively slow (up to 4-6 weeks). And secondly, the cost of bluegrass seed is very high.

In the short term, using a quick germinating seed would be a “customer pleaser” (and cheaper), however in the long term, these bluegrasses will provide highest quality, most durable turf with significantly less problems. Simply, we believe in doing it right or not at all.

Our Commitment

Our most important asset is our people. Your Lawn Technician if fully certified, insured and professional. We employ only experienced, conscientious, hard working people who are completely knowledgeable in all facets of turfgrass management. Response to any question or concern is always prompt and any re-visit or re-treatment is at no additional cost. We are fortunate to have the people we do and their quality work has been responsible for the many flattering comments and referrals which we have enjoyed. It is their commitment to your complete satisfaction that is the key to our success.

What You Can Expect

When you become a customer of ours, you automatically received a guarantee that we will always truthful with you, providing realistic expectations, within practical time frames. No outrageous claims of quick solutions.

Please understand that, because a lawn is a living society of millions of individual organisms, and it impossible to control mother nature, even with proper maintenance, the turf, like us, can become sick or stressed and this can show in its performance. However, with Emerald Green providing the proper material applications and you providing proper cultural practices (watering, mowing, dethatching), a sod quality lawn can be achieved within a realistic time frame (usually 1.5 to 2 years).

Communication will be the key. We will do best to provide you with all the information that you will need. In return, we ask that if you ever have a question or concern, that you communicate with us, promptly. In this way, we can insure that we are both pulling in the same direction.

We are proud to have you as a partner in this endeavor, and together as “co-farmers” we are looking forward to a long and happy relationship!

Common Questions - Soils

1) How important is soil to our lawn?

Quite unimportant. Good soil can be described as dirt which has fewer problems than other dirt. Its purpose is only to serve as a reservoir for food and water, and almost any soil can serve this purpose.

2) Doesn’t our lawn need some good loam or top soil?

No. In the first place, there is very little top soil in this area, and it is quite expensive. Secondly, worthwhile root systems will stretch 12 to 18 inches below the ground, which is far below the few inches of surface loam available.

3) What kind of dirt should we buy to level off a bumpy or uneven area?

Very sandy loam void of large rocks, if possible. Avoid compost, sterilized soil, soil which is rich in organic content, clay soil, and above all, avoid soil which may have come from an area of wet land. Pure sand is excellent, but avoid beach sand which could be high in salt content.

4) Should our soil be tested?

Even if it were found to be rich in nutrients, it would be depleted after a season of growth and its needs would have to be supplied to it. It is best to proceed on the basis that your soil is useless, and then provide the soil with what the grass needs.

5) Should we have our soil rototilled?

No, unless you want to add a soil amendment, which is of questionable value. Anyway, there is no reason to mix top soil (if any) with the subsoil, only to have to try to rake it flat afterward

Common Questions - Weeds and Crabgrass

dandelions

1) Why do we have so many weeds?

Dandelions in particular, weeds in general, do not seem concerned about how long lawn has been under good care. Airborne seed and seed which has been in the soil for years will seek the opportunity to grow in any area of weakness in turf density. Weather extremes usually create these kinds of weak areas, even in the best lawns.

2) Should we dig up our weeds?

Absolutely not. This common activity is extremely harmful to any lawn, since the vacant space usually fills in with a greater abundance of undesirable vegetation.

3) Don’t weeds choke out the good grass?

Contrary to popular opinion, almost never. Rare instances of this occurring from knotweed, hawkweed and chickweed have been observed in this area.

4) Will you get rid of all our weeds?

No, since nature is continually interfering. However, the majority will eventually be controlled.

5) Should weed control be applied on newly seeded areas?

No, not without substantial risk of damage to the seed.

Crabgrass Removal

Large Crabgrass

6) Why do we get crabgrass?

Since most soils are abundant with the seeds of annual weeds, they will germinate when the conditions are favorable. Ground temperatures of 75 to 80, thin turf areas, water runoff areas, and disturbed pre-emergent barriers are favorable conditions.

7) Why does crabgrass seem to take over?

The rapid lateral growth of the leaves on each mature plant makes it appear that the plants are multiplying. This false appearance usually occurs in August.

8) Shouldn’t crabgrass be killed or pulled out?

Absolutely not. Physical removal promotes other annual grasses and even worse, perennial weeds. Crabgrass will die with the first frost, and it provides an ideal seedbed for seeding desirable grass, with which turf can be thickened and future crabgrass prevented.

9) What is the right way to control crabgrass?

Thick turf and proper applications of an effective granular pre-emergent will discourage annual grasses, such as crabgrass.

Common Questions - Insects and Disease

1) Can you prevent insects in our lawn?

Even though the industry has been incorporating new, high-tech control materials; 100% control is almost impossible. Insect’s eggs can hatch or adults can migrate from adjacent areas. Frequent visits combined with preventative applications are our best defense.

Lawn Disease Dollarspot

“Dollar spot” disease

2) Can you stop my lawn from getting diseased?

No. Diseases are usually activated by weather conditions and can’t be controlled until they appear. Keeping your lawn de-thatched, removing grass clippings and mowing with a sharp blade can help prevent the occurrence of disease.

3) After you applied a disease control, my lawn doesn’t seem to be getting better. Why?

Even after disease controls are applied, a disease can be persistent. This is especially true if the weather conditions that began the problem linger. Several reapplications may be required.

Common Questions - Thatch

Thatch

Thatch Development

1) What is thatch?

Thatch is a mat of old root systems, partially decayed leaves and unswept clippings which accumulates between the grass plants, just above the soil surface.

2) What can be done about thatch?

In some parts of the country, the bacteria action in the soil prevents thatch accumulation by decomposing it before it can accumulate. In this area, soil sweeteners and aeration can be helpful but periodic thatch removal is ordinary and necessary part of lawn care.

3) When should lawns be dethatched?

Since different lawns develop thatch layers at different rates, the only answer available is – regularly. However, annual or bi-annual dethatching in late August will usually be a relatively easy job and will normally prevent an unpleasant mess at some future date.

Common Questions - Grasses and Seeds

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1) What is the right grass to grow in this area?

The public’s desire for durability, manageability, econony and beauty can only be filled with bluegrasses in the sunny areas and ryegrasses in the shady areas.

2) How much grassseed should be put down?

During the first year of the establishment of bare dirt areas, a minimum of 14 seeds per square inch should applied (2 million seeds per 1,000 sq. feet.) Subsequent overseeding rates may vary according to existing density, planting methods, irrigation capabilities, timing a objectives.

3) Is grass seed visible?

Yes, but varieties which have seed counts in excess 1 million per pound (bluegrass) are hard for the untrained eye to spot if already applied.

4) What could prevent seed from germinating?

The following things are required for seed to germinate:

  • Live seed
  • Non-dormant seed
  • Temperature
  • Oxygen
  • Light
  • Moisture

There are no other requirements. Federal inspectors ensure numbers 1 and 2 above, while nature provides numbers 3, 4, 5 and part of 6. Only one thing could prevent our seed from germinating, inadequate moisture.

5) Why did the seed in our shade areas germinate faster than in the sun areas?

Deep or moderate shade areas tend to react different than areas in full sun. Firstly, a shade area retains moisture easily which is the key to germination. Also ryegrasses that we plant in shade areas germinate more quickly than the bluegrasses planted in the sun areas.

6) Can you establish a lawn in my shady areas?

Yes and no. The deep shaded areas are impossible to establish permanent turf due to the lack of sunlight and air circulation. These areas will need to be constantly reseeded to rebuild the density of the turf.

7) Should we stay off newly seeded areas?

No, however heavy foot traffic could increase seedling mortality.

8) Why didn”t the seed we planted last year grow?

History tells us that, contrary to customary beliefs, it probably did not wash away, the birds probably did not eat it, it was probably not dead seed, and it was probably not sucked up by the lawn mower. It most likely began to germinate, dried out and died.

9) How much water is enough to get seed to germinate?

Very little volume is necessary. The seeds and seedlings do need to remain moist until they are tall enough to cut with a mower. If they dry out during this period, they will die.

Common Questions - Watering and Mowing

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1) How should we mow?

The lawn should be mowed at least once per week. Right after this mowing is a good time to water, giving the plants a chance to recover the stress of being cut.

Mow down to a height of 2″ to 2 1/2″ (no shorter), for the final mowing of the year which should be as short as possible. It is almost always true that the greenest, healthiest, most weed-free lawns are the ones which are regularly maintained at the longest cut lengths.

ALWAYS use a sharp blade. A dull mower rips an shreds the tissues of the plants, causing them to become brown from a rapid escape of internal moisture and from the diseases caused by the fungal spores which easily enter the wounds.

For appearances sake, clippings should be removed from most lawns in any locale. For the sake of the health of lawn in Massachusetts where our acidic soils interfere with organic decomposition, clippings should also be removed to try to head off thatch accumulation problems. It is not a popular subject but the lignin in the root systen and especially in the fescue grass’s clippings adds to the thatch layer and can sometimes even necessitate yearly dethatchings.

Sprinkler

2) How should we water?

Most lawns should receive between 1″ and 1 1/2″ water per week. This amount of moisture should be delivered in 2 or 3 waterings or rainfalls per week (daily waterings can encourage weak root systems.)

If possible, do not water after 4:00 PM or before 4:00 AM (fungus disease activity is encouraged in dark & wet conditions).

3) How do we measure the amount of water our sprinkler puts out?

By placing a container with straight sides (coffee can) half-way between the sprinkler and the farthest point the spray.

4) Is it possible to water too much?

Yes, it is possible, although very rare. Deep, established root systems could be destroyed by too frequent or overabundance of water. Proper watering procedures prevent any danger.

Common Questions - Service Procedures

1) When will services be done?

Services are performed on a scheduled, routine basis, approximately 3-5 weeks apart. Occasionally we alter our schedule in order to avoid or take advantage of weather extremes and/or lawn peculiarities.

2) Will you normally call us before you come to do the service?

No, since there is no need for our customers to be home at the time we perform the services. However, if for some special reason you need a call, let us know.

3) How long will it take for the Technician to perform an application?

This varies from lawn to lawn, but averages between 10 and 15 minutes.

4) How will we know when you have been here?

On each visit, the appropriate literature will be left for you.

5) Are your materials safe to children and pets?

Our materials are registered, EPA approved and are recommended for commercial use by the major turf management schools. After tens of thousands of service applications, we have not had a blemish on our safety record.

6) Do we have to do anything before you arrive?

No, although well watered turf is easier for us to deal with.

7) How long after the service before we can mow or water?

Immediately, unless weed control or fungus control was applied. If so, please follow the instructions that we leave you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read our Customer Handbook. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. ..we’re here for you!