Choosing a Lawn Service

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If you’re tired of a tired-looking lawn and want some help, here are some questions to ask when hiring a lawn service.

  1. Will the company perform an initial site analysis before recommending a specific lawn care program?  What does that analysis include?
  2. If it includes a soil test, will it be done by the University of Minnesota Soils Lab or another reputable laboratory?
  3. How much nitrogen will the lawn service apply to your lawn over the season? Compare this with the Extension Service recommendations in the chart at the bottom of this page.
  4. What weed, insect or disease problems are identified in the site analysis? Don’t be afraid to ask the service to point out those pests to you and the particular symptoms that led to that diagnosis. This will help you be more observant and informed about what is going on in your yard.
  5. How does the service manage insect, disease and weed problems?
    This question will help you find out if the company will do spot treatment for specific problem areas or weeds rather than a blanket treatment. The response, “We treat the whole yard to make sure the problem doesn’t spread,” is not a reason for blanket treatments.
  6. What is the company’s measure of success, and are those measures consistent with what your expectations are for the lawn?
  7. Can the company make needed soil improvements? For example, will it do lawn aerification for compacted soil? If that service is something it cannot do or choose not to do, then it may not mention compacted soil conditions to you even though that may be a major contributor to poor health and vitality of a lawn regardless of any fertilizer program being used.
  8. Is there a designated person you can call if you encounter a problem or concern, and does that person have the authority to make adjustments?
  9. Are company personnel aware of the city ordinances that prohibit mowing or blowing grass clippings or other yard waste onto streets, trails or sidewalks, and applying fertilizer to impervious surfaces?

High Maintenance Lawn

 Maintenance Practices  # of nitrogen (N)
applications to apply @
1 lb. N/1000 sq. ft.
Timing of Applications 
 Irrigate and remove clippings


 Oct.-Nov., May-June
 Irrigate, clippings not removed


 Aug.-Nov., May-June

Low Maintenance Lawn

 Maintenance Practices  # of nitrogen (N)
applications to apply at
1 lb. N/1000 sq. ft.
Timing of Applications 
 No irrigation, clippings removed


 Aug., Oct.-Nov.
 No irrigation, clippings not removed