Lawn Care FAQs

frequently asked questions
What makes your company different?
Only Ford’s Hometown Services Has a Unique Balanced 3-step Customized Approach to Lawn Care Plant Health!

“Take a 3-step Approach to a Beautiful and Healthy Lawn”

We offer: 

  • Premier Fertilization & Weed Program
  • Laboratory Soil Testing w/ Corrective email recommendations
  • Expert Lawn Evaluation Report
I found a lower priced company, why should I go with you instead?
  • Our timed-release temperature controlled fertilizer is a true golf course grade fertilizer with a 4-month slow release feeding, not a 2-3 week nitrogen load feeding like our competitors. These fertilizers are more expensive, they have a significantly longer duration of effect, and due to the duration they feed the lawn more consistently between applications. These types of products are far superior to what the vast majority of our competitors use, and they are healthier for your lawn.

  • We include a maintenance liming and grub preventative rather that it being an optional service. If you are paying money to take care of your lawn, these services should certainly be included. One bad grub issue can undo all of the hard work, money, and time you have put into your lawn. Liming is essential to the health of the lawn, and to the effectiveness of the program you are paying for, and as such, should be included in any comprehensive lawn care program!
  • Our program includes many other things that our competition does not. We include a full micro-nutrient package, a preventative surface feeding insecticide, sea kelp bio-soil stimulant to improve microorganisms in the soil, and a high potassium summer guard to help reduce stress and help with water intake.
Which program should I use?
  • If you maintain proper watering & mowing requirements, are looking for a top quality program, want more frequent visits, or are seeking better weed control results, then we highly recommend the Premier Program. This is our flagship program, and it has a reputation for being one of the best lawn care programs in the state. Providing you keep up your end of the bargain by following the recommended mowing and watering guidelines, simply select the Premier Program and watch your lawn become the envy of the neighborhood.
  • If you are looking for a more budget conscience program, the Budget Smart Program may be the best choice for you. It is recommended for customers who do not water often, and those who are looking for a more beginner friendly and basic program. If you are unable to maintain proper watering requirements, being that grass is a cool season crop, you should expect summer dormancy and a small increase in weed activity between visits. The lawn should look great in the spring and fall when soil temperatures are less than 70 degrees, but no lawn program can keep a lawn lush and green during the drought and heat stress of the summer without proper watering and mowing, so please keep this in mind.
Will my price be the same every year?
Like most companies, we do a very small cost of living adjustment periodically due to the cost of inflation. After your first year, the one-time promotional discount for new customers will expire, but your application prices are locked for next year with our “Two Year Price Lock Guarantee,” you will have the opportunity to pre-pay for an additional 5% off every year, and any customers on multiple programs receive an additional 5% discount as well! 
What is the importance of a soil test?
  1. A soil test will show us the level of nutrients in soil and help us to determine the PH of the soil. Maintaining proper PH ensures that the plant can absorb 100% of the nutrients present in the soil itself, as well as the nutrients we apply as a part of our program (due to the Cationexchange). If the PH is low and the plants can’t absorb the nutrients, it seriously impacts the health of the plant and diminishes the results of the program that you are paying for. A low PH must be fixed by corrective liming in order to maximize the health of your lawn, and significantly increase the effectiveness of fertilization! 
  2. The liming included in the program is maintenance liming. The purpose is to maintain the current PH each season. However, if your PH is off from the start, we will only be maintaining an incorrect PH level. A soil test will help us make a corrective adjustment to reach a neutral PH of 6.5. 
  3. There is a symbiotic relationship between all nutrients and the grass plants themselves, and maintaining proper levels is extremely important to lawn care. The soil test will provide us with the organic matter percentage, macro and micro nutrient deficiencies, and also determine harmful levels of nutrients so that we can make adjustments. 
  4. Additionally, a soil test is required by Massachusetts state law in order to apply phosphorous.

Soil PH Analysis

Nitrogen provides:  Shoot growth, color, disease, and drought resistance.
Phosphorous provides:  Exceptional seedling and root growth.
Potassium provides:  Resistance to heat, drought, cold, traffic, and disease

When will the soil test and evaluation be performed?
The first step in the program is very time sensitive, and as such, we may need to perform it before your evaluation is completed. Be assured that the President of the Company or the Turf Department Supervisor will be going out to your property as soon as they can, but it is no concern if they are unable to perform the evaluation before your first application. The information that is gained from the laboratory soil test, inspection, and evaluation will be used throughout the season to correct issues and make recommendations, but again, the most important thing when you are starting out is that the crabgrass pre-emergent is completed on time, and your lawn receives a desperately needed feeding as soon as possible!
I now understand why I need a soil test, but why does it cost $50.00?

We do not profit from the $50.00 fee. It simply covers the cost of

  • Pulling soil samples from several areas of your yard
  • Packaging and shipping the samples to a laboratory
  • Paying the fees for the laboratory to perform the test
  • The president of the company or the turf department supervisor writing up a custom evaluation and emailing it to you with full recommendations and observations about your property.
Will you be able to get rid of my crabgrass?

Crabgrass is best controlled with pre-emergent herbicides before it germinates in early spring. Our first application is a fertilizer with pre-emergent crabgrass control. If you receive this service it will significantly reduce crabgrass, and you should experience fantastic results throughout the season. In addition to the pre-emergent, we will spot treat any crabgrass with a post-emergent herbicide throughout the season. If you do not receive the first service or if you sign on with us after May 7th, you will probably see a higher amount of crabgrass during your first season, but we will still work to fight it off and produce the best results possible for you!

When should crabgrass pre-emergent is applied?

As soon as possible in early spring. Crabgrass starts to germinate when soil temperatures reach 56 degrees for 3 days in a row (please remember that soil temperatures vary from the temperature of the air), so it is very important to get that product down before that happens.

Why do I always have crabgrass in some areas, but not in others?

Crabgrass grows in full sun; it does not grow in shaded areas. It is a warm season weed competing with a cool season grass. Soil along driveway, walkway, patio, and sidewalk edges are called “hot spots”. These areas are much higher in temperature and grass becomes non-competitive against crabgrass. Herbicides cannot hold off crabgrass all season on those areas without proper watering and mowing to help the grass plants compete!

Are the chemicals you use safe?
  • Yes, if applied correctly. Our highly trained technicians are licensed with the state, and follow proper application guidelines to the letter. All of the products we apply are approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and we follow the label of the product, which is the law. Additionally, we leave detailed instructions informing our customers exactly what we did and what they need to do, along with providing a required Pesticide Consumer Notification that answers all your questions. Finally, we will pre-notify you before each visit.
  • If you are absolutely against pesticides and can live with insects & weeds, we do offer a more expensive certified Organic Lawn program.
How long after treatment do I have to stay off the lawn?
It depends on the service that we are doing, but according to the labels of the products we use; it is typically after the product dries, or after you have watered the product in. We leave detailed post treatment instructions to inform you of anything you need to know or do after one of our applications, and the answer to this question for a specific service will be available on those post treatment instructions.
Is it a problem if I have a garden?

No, we have excellent control over all of our applications. They are selectively applied by our trained and licensed technicians. We can also make a note to avoid your garden as an extra precaution.

Why am I paying more for the organic program even though it doesn’t include pesticides?
  • The 100% organic fertilizers cost 10 times more than traditional fertilizers. We do not use a bridge product that is only 10% organic like many companies offer. We use only 100% organic!
  • Also, the only weed control is competition, which is why aeration and over-seeding is done every year.
Will either of your programs harm the honey bees?
No, we are certified pollinator protectors and will avoid all flowering plants during our applications to ensure that the pollinators remain safe and can continue to provide their much needed services!
Will anyone notify me when you are coming out to perform an application?
We have a scheduling department that will call you before each service to let you know approximately what day we are coming (weather permitting). Heavy rain, wind speeds over 10 mph or temperatures at 85 plus degrees can delay our services. These delays are mandated by the labels of the products that we use, which is law and must be followed to ensure effective and safe application.
Do I need to be here when you come out to perform an application?
No, we will leave a noticeable yellow sign in the lawn, as well as your invoice with information regarding the service, and as the previous answer states, you will receive prior notification of any applications.
How soon after the first application will I see results?
The lawn should start to green up within 7-10 days, depending on the weather. The results from herbicide treatments should be visible 24-48 hours after an application. Curling and yellowing of the weed leaves with be apparent. We should be able to kill 60-70% of the weeds on each visit, and so the level of weeds will progressively diminish over time. Following proper mowing and watering practices will assist in this regard. There are 2-3 herbicide application included in your program (based on which program you have selected) so after the final application you should see very few weeds.
How long after an application should I wait before mowing my lawn?
If we applied a liquid herbicide application, you should leave the lawn alone for 48 hours giving the product time to translocate systemically into the plant. All fertilizer applications should be watered in before mowing.
How often and for how long should I water my lawn?
The goal is to soak the soil to a 6 inch depth on every watering. The time needed to reach 6” depends on the type of soil (sand, silt, clay). However, the times between watering strongly depends on temperature and evaporation rates at different times of the year. Please follow the directions provided by your technician on each visit as they change throughout the season.
Will I get the same technician on each service?
Most of the time yes, we cannot be certain every time because of the day-by-day work schedules and changing weather, as well as technicians missing work for whatever reason. All of our technicians are highly trained and licensed by the state of Massachusetts and each of them is Quality Pro certified.
How do I tell if I have grubs?
Beetle larvae, also known as grubs, feed on roots. One major sign of grub activity is that the grass will be easy to pull up, like a carpet off the hard wood floor, due to the diminishing of the root system of your lawn. The damage is typically found in sunny areas, as grubs will not typically be present in the shade. Also, foraging animals that feed on grubs (such as skunks and crows) will dig up the lawn, providing you with solid evidence of grub activity. However, the only way to be sure is to actually check beneath the thatch layer for small white larva. 2-4 larvae per square foot are expected and will not damage the lawn. Any more then 5-6 larvae per square feet should be treated immediately.
Why did my lawn tear up when I raked it?
  • Grubs that feed on grass have severed the roots. In this situation, a curative grub application is needed as soon as possible. We will protect the lawn against future infestations with the yearly grub preventative application that is included in the program.
  • The roots drowned because of inadequate drainage, or they suffocated because the lawn was too compact. In this situation, we recommend fall core aeration and reduce watering.
  • Grass in shaded areas are not rooted and anchored deeply into the soil. Pruning and tree removal is needed, if applicable. You should not rake or de-thatch in shade to prevent this issue.
  • You have Bentgrass, a patchy surface spreading weed grass that is present in some lawns. We do offer specialty herbicides to rectify Bentgrass issues, but they are not included in the program.
How short should I cut my lawn?
Mowing height differs depending on type of grass species, and the time of the year. Most cool season grasses in this climate require a cutting height of 3 inches. More importantly however, one should never mow the grass when wet, or take more then 1/3 of the leaf blade off in one mowing. Please sharpen your blades once or twice a season to maximize mowing effectiveness and preserve the health of the turf.
Can I grow grass in the shade?
All grass species need 60-70% sunlight a day. Any less and they cannot capture food reserves from the sun (photosynthesis). Shade grass species are slower growing cultivars and tend to do better, but they too need some sunlight. While germination of grass is possible in shade since it does not require light, grass cannot sustain itself for long periods of time in deep shade.
Why should I seed in the fall and not the spring?

There are several benefits associates with fall seeding:

  • Seed germination in the spring, due to cold soils, can take longer to mature vs. the fall when the soil temperatures are still elevated from the summer.(8 weeks vs. 4 weeks)
  • A longer maturity time also means higher watering bills and as well as more time spent watering.
  • Since rooting is limited in spring vs. fall, entering summer stress is risky and can reduce results significantly.
  • We cannot use our usual crabgrass pre-emergent on newly seeded areas, requiring us to up charge for a more expensive pre-emergent that can be seeded into. Additionally, it may not produce the same level of control as the usual product, leaving your lawn with more crabgrass and other weeds for the season.
  • We cannot spay post emergent herbicides until your 3rd application since the new grass plants will not be mature enough.
I put down seed, but nothings coming up. Is there anything I can do to get my grass to grow?
  • If seeding during the spring, try fall seeding instead.
  • Ensure that the new grass plants are being properly watered (three times per day)
  • Consider trusting us with your seeding efforts, as we have access to starter fertilizer that will help the grass to mature, and we have substantial expertise when it comes to seeding.
How long after seeding can you spray for weeds?
The new grass should be mowed at least 3 times before being treated with an herbicide. This is when it’s considered mature.
What is aerating and why is it so important?
  • Aerating is a cultural practice that pulls cores of soil from the lawn. These cores are not removed but are recycled back into the lawn after a few watering’s. Aeration helps to relieve compaction, improves drainage, and reduces moss. It helps the efficiency of water and nutrient movement to the roots. It also reduces thatch by increasing microbial activity that feeds on thatch. The U-Mass Turfgrass Extension recommends aeration every year. Golf courses do it twice a year. It is one of the best practices you can do for your lawn.
  • Core aerating should be done in the fall when rooting is at its best due to soil temperatures. Aeration also creates an opportunistic platform to over-seed.
Why are fungicides not included in the program?
Diseases are so unpredictable it would not be feasible to charge you every year for a service you may not need. Additionally, we would not want to put down a fungicide if it isn’t necessary, as unnecessary pesticide applications are something we try to avoid (yes fungicides are indeed pesticides)!
Why do I have a disease? Is there anything I can do to prevent diseases?
It only takes 48 hours of prolonged wetness for disease to set up. It can take about a week after to see visible signs. Avoid watering at night or before rain is expected. Also, checking thatch levels and the PH of soil can help solve issues that cause disease. We offer fungicides to suppress the disease in the event that you get one.
Is there anything I can do about the brown spots in my lawn caused by my dog?
Yes, you can buy a bag of pelletized lime and put a handful on the spot or dilute with water immediately after your dog urinates. This will neutralize the acidity and help significantly reduce the damage. Also, there are pills you can get from your vet that will reduce the damage that your dog is doing to the lawn. If possible, try and designate one area for the dog to ruin.
How often should I have my lawn de-thatched?
You should de-thatch your lawn if the thatch level exceeds ¼ inch. Make sure never to de-thatch in the shade, as it is shallow rooted and will tear up. This process should be done only before your first crabgrass application in early spring or in late September.
Do you do dethatching?
Sorry, due to time constraints in the spring (crabgrass control) and fall (aeration and seeding), we do not offer this service. However, we have many fantastic landscapers we can refer to you.
Do you have a referral program?

Actually yes, we have one of the best ones around. For each customer who signs up for any of our annual programs (lawn, pest, tick or mosquitoes) you will receive a $100.00 credit towards our services. Then we will offer your friend our offered promotions (if applicable), plus an additional $20.00 off.

How can I pay my bill?

Pre-pay (by check, cash, or credit card), or after each service by the same methods, and on our website (although pre-payment cannot be processed on our website).

5% PRE-PAY DISCOUNT

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*PROMOTIONS ARE FOR NEW ANNUAL CONTRACT SALES, APPLIED TO FIRST SEASON ONLY. 5% ANNUAL PLAN BUNDLE DISCOUNTS WILL BE APPLIED AUTOMATICALLY ON SECOND SEASON

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