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Landscaping 7-habits-of-highly-effective-lawn-caregivers

Published on April 9th, 2014 | by Jeff Linderman


Seven habits of highly-effective lawn caregivers

Since I was a young boy, I’ve been immersed in the landscaping and lawn care industry. My family has multi-generational roots in it. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that lawn caregivers generally fall into three category types.

There are the perfect-lawn-obsessed people; they are the homeowners who spend a shocking amount of their time meticulously grooming their lawns and sometimes unknowingly doing more harm than good by over-watering and over-fertilizing.

Then there are the people who are unable to or uninterested in maintaining their property’s landscaping. Their damaged lawns take center stage in yards that make their neighbors cringe with every glance.

Somewhere in the middle of these two common types is my personal favorite: the highly-effective lawn caregiver.

As owner of a landscaping and lawn care business for the last several decades, I know that people with the healthiest, most admired lawns do the following:

1.    They take good care of their outdoor power equipment.

•    They regularly read their equipment owner’s manuals.
•    Small engines are tuned up every season for optimal performance.

Engine tune-up kits, packed with tune-up essentials for particular models, make this easy. Find the tune-up kit for your model at

•    String trimmers are loaded with star or other shaped string line for cleaner cutting.
•    Lawn mower blades are frequently sharpened or replaced to ensure clean grass cutting and to avoid the yellow hue that results when dull mower blades tear the grass.
•    They properly prep their equipment for off-season storage.

2.    They dethatch and aerate.

Thatch, a layer of dead grass and other debris that forms over lawns, must be removed in order to enable the grass to grow. The highly-effective lawn caregiver may rent a dethatcher tool from a home improvement center to make this easy at the start of every growing season. They know that fertilizer application and other care efforts will only work after thatch has been removed. Aeration is the process of moving air between soil and its surroundings. It plays an important role in the healthy growth of grass. These lawn caregivers use a garden fork or professional aeration tool to remove small plugs of soil to foster aeration. Making these passageways enables greater water intake, fertilizer to reach roots, promotes healthier root systems, welcomes valuable microorganisms and develops a far more resilient lawn.

3.    They research before selecting a fertilizer.

Highly-effective lawn caregivers take the time to select the proper fertilizer. They purchase soil test kits to discover what type of fertilizer is best for their soil type and yard conditions (i.e. sunlight, shadiness, grass type, regional climate, foot traffic, etc.). They know that it’s best to apply fertilizer only twice per year, generally in early spring and early fall.

Related post: Seven killer lawn fertilizer mistakes to avoid

4.    They don’t overwater.

Watering is undoubtedly the most commonly misunderstood lawn care task. The best practice is to water once weekly for an extended period to enable deep water penetration. Highly-effective lawn caregivers understand that frequent watering for short periods causes the root system to stay close to the surface, making the lawn far more vulnerable to diseases and pest infestations.

5.    They take action at the first sign of disease and pest infestations.

Brown or golden patches, sporadic and clustered spots and small and large holes are the tell-tale work of diseases and pests. The highly-effective lawn caregiver does preventive work to deter this from happening and takes action to remedy the problems.

6.     They don’t cut the lawn too short.

Highly-effective lawn caregivers knows that the taller the lawn, the healthier the lawn. That’s why they never cut their lawn more than one third of the grass blade length in a single mowing.

7.    They give TLC to their whole yard.

The lawn is the staple element of a yard but effective lawn caregivers recognize that trees, shrubbery, flowers and other vegetation requires careful maintenance, too. Additionally, they research before making decisions about what vegetation to introduce to the yard.

Here’s to you, highly-effective lawn caregivers!

Related info
Seven steps to a perfect lawn
Seven killer lawn fertilizer mistakes to avoid
Lawn mower maintenance tips
Lawn mower repair help


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About the Author

Jeff Linderman is’s in-house outdoor power equipment and landscaping expert. For 25 years, Jeff owned and operated a successful commercial and residential landscaping business. He couldn’t afford the extensive downtime that came when he brought his equipment to be repaired at overloaded small engine repair shops. Instead, Jeff learned how to complete the repairs on his own. This interest in outdoor power equipment grew as Jeff completed extensive manufacturer training. Today, Jeff is a Briggs & Stratton® Master Service Technician, Kohler® Engines Expert Technician and a Kawasaki® Service Technician for Engines and Power Products. He has a B.A. in criminal justice from Michigan State University. Jeff worked for 25 years as a sergeant in the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department while he operated his landscaping business. He’s an avid fisherman and lives in the metro-Detroit area.

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