Lawn Care and Turf Management – Frequently Asked Questions


Question: What is a weed?
Answer: A weed is defined as any plant growing out of place or growing where they are not wanted.

WHITE CLOVER (Trifolium repens)

Question: what is clover?
Answer: A low growing Perennial: consisting of dark green leaves, comprised of three leaflets: leaflets are oval-shaped with slightly serrated edges. Reproduces by seed and can root at nodes. Stems are smooth to slightly hairy. Flowers are white with pinkish tint. It is best adapted to clay silty soils with adequate irrigation.

Question: Why do I have clover?
Answer: Under wet compact conditions clover is very common. Clover seed can stay dormant for up to 40 years in the soil. Clover is warranted with our PREMIER &BUDGET programs. Call us any time for a free spray if you can’t wait for the next service. We also recommend a Fall aeration to reduce compaction. Please call for pricing.


Question: You just spayed my lawn and I still have a lot of Broadleaf weeds. Why?
Answer: There can be over 13,000 dormant weed seeds per cubic foot of soil. some studies have shown that certain weed seeds stay viable in the soil for up to 80 years. In addition, many weed seeds blow in from adjacent properties. Proper mowing height, irrigation, fertilization, cultivation, and control of insect and diseases will help thicken and help resist weed invasion. Our service provides weed control three times annually with both the PREMIER & BUDGET programs. We use the highest rates allowed by law and label. The first visit will kill approximately 60% of the weeds. The second will kill approximately 60% of the remaining weeds and so on. Each passing year the weeds will become less and less. If you are a customer for more than 1 full season we will provide a FREE broadleaf weed control at any time when requested. The only exception is for violets and ground ivy. See below

WILD VIOLETS (Viola spp.) & GROUND IVY know as Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)

Question: What do I do about the Violets and Ground Ivy in my lawn? Isn’t this covered on my program?
Answer: No, violets and ground ivy are not fully covered with the program. As described above we do spray three times annually. This only slows and stresses the weed. Unfortunately, violets and ground ivy is no doubt the hardest broadleaf weeds to eradicate. Even when sprayed with our program, they can recover after a few weeks. We recommend two addition, but specifically targeted, herbicide treatments between normal program visits to keep the herbicide pressure on them. Unfortunately, this optional service is an additional charge. Please call for pricing.

Question: Will I get rid of my violets for good with the additional applications?
Answer: If your neighbors and flower beds have violets they may return in the future. It is nearly impossible to get 100% control.


Question: What is Crabgrass?
Answer: Crabgrass is a common lawn weed. It is a annual weed that propagates by seed in early Spring, produces seed for the following season, and dies within the same season. Each plant can produce over 150,000 seeds per plant. It will take over any area of soil not occupied or that is non-competitive. Crabgrass likes full sun to partial shade. It is not commonly found in shaded areas.

Question: When do you apply Crabgrass pre-emergent ?
Answer: Pre-emergent’s work great before soil temperature reach 56 degrees for three consecutive days. This is normally before May 1st in central Massachusetts. Commercially we can use a chemical that extends the window by about a week.

Question: When is it to late to prevent crabgrass?
Answer: As described above. Each day after the window is gone, decreases the percentage of control that we can accomplish for that season. We do however have a post-emergent herbicide to help aid in the control of straggler plants.

Question: Is my crabgrass treatment warranted?
Answer: Yes, as long as we preformed the pre-emergent in the Spring.

Question: Why am I getting Crabgrass ? Didn’t I pay for a crabgrass preventative in April?
Answer: We use the highest amount of pre-emergent herbicide allowed by the label and law. There are several reasons for crabgrass failure.Your crabgrass preventative has a chemical residual that last for approximately 8-12 weeks depending on weather. There is little to no residual protection by late July to protect your lawn from dormant weed seeds. In addition; the hot dry weather slows the turf growth and slows its competitiveness. Thus allowing weeds and crabgrass to pop up quickly. A second reason is if the lawn was raked or de-thatched after our application was applied and the crabgrass chemical barrier was broken. A third reason may be if the pre-emergent application was done very late on the first service lowering the control percentage. Crabgrass is warranted under the PREMIER & BUDGET programs. We will work hard to stay on top of the crabgrass with a post-emergent herbicide throughout the season. Each year populations of crabgrass will vary depending on weather, moisture, and mowing height.

Question: Will I have Crabgrass every year?
Answer: It will get better over the years as seed population decreases and the lawns thicken . We cannot get 100% of the crabgrass. Please expect some crabgrass, especially on the edges of pavement were heat slows growth of turf and allows dormant seeds to germinate. The good news is crabgrass is an annual so it will die naturally in the Fall. Again, we will try to stay on top of it during the season. Your best preventative is high mowing and proper watering. Lawn care is a partnership and we need your help too.

Question: Your tech was just here a few week ago to spray and I still have weeds and crabgrass,Why?
Answer: Many people do not know there is over 13,000 weed seeds per cubic foot of soil. As weeds die off, many weeds are replacing them simultaneously that were to small to see or spray thru the foliage. Again proper watering and high mowing is the key. In addition; our post crabgrass herbicides can take over ten days before it appears to have symptoms of dying.


Question: When do I water?
Answer: NEVER water in the evening. Thou evening watering can be more efficient, moisture on the foliage combined with temperatures and humidity can cause disease. Always water in the early morning for best results. Water no earlier than 4:00 am and no later than 8:am. If your irrigation system has too many zones, we recommend breaking up half the zones one day and the other half the next day.

Question: Why can’t I water during the day?
Answer: More than 50% of your water will most likely evaporate or run off before it can be absorbed in the soil. Also, the water can boil the roots on a hot day and possibly kill the turf. This is defined as Sun Scald. However it is fine on a cloudy cool day.

Question: What is the proper way to water my lawn?
Answer: Every lawn is different. Soil structure, organic matter, soil compaction and water pressure/ volume can change from lawn to lawn. First: the goal is to penetrate six inches down. this may take on average 45 minutes per area or zone. With a shovel see how long you need to run your irrigation to penetrate six inches, then make note. Second: Because of rain and temperature flocculation’s the frequency of watering is always changing. Put an empty tuna can outside and fill with water after you have run the irrigation to a six inch depth. When the water in the can has evaporated by 80%. It is time to water again. The key is deep infrequent watering.

Question: Why is a six inch watering depth so important?
Answer: When the soil starts to dry at the surface the lawn roots will search out moisture.The proper watering results will create long deep roots that will help protects the lawn from drought stress and diseases. A frequent 20 minute watering will in most cases only reach a 1-2 inch depth. This will create shallow rooting. The roots will now be exposed quickly to stress making it much more prone to drought and disease.

Question: My irrigation system was set by my irrigation company. Is this ok?
Answer: NO! My experience is most companies simply set the irrigation to run for 20 minutes on each zone every other day. This is incorrect and can lead to shallow rooting. This can also lead to drought and disease damage. Again follow the “DEEP BUT INFREQUENT WATERING RULE OF THUMB”

Question: How can I reduce my water bill?
Answer: The same principles above should be followed. one option is to have a separate water meter installed to reduce your sewer bill. We do however have a new Moisture Management Program that can reduce your watering requirements up to 50% or more. The application cost is at a fraction of your water bill savings.Please visit Our Moisture Management page for more details.


Question: What is the proper mowing height?
Answer: For most cool season grasses we recommend 3.5 inches during the warmer months. Use a ruler.

Question: Are there exceptions to high mowing?
Answer: You should mow at about 1.5″ only once directly after your Spring clean-up in preparation for your first crabgrass service. Also, mow at 1.5 ” on the very last mowing of the season, this will aid in the reduction of snow mold diseases.

Question: Why is mowing low bad? It looks good that way!
Answer: The roots mirror image the height of the grass blades to support the plants needs. (Photosynthesis, carbohydrate storage, water capacity) Example: A 2″ mowing height will result in a 2″ root depth. vs… a 3.5 ” mowing height will have a root depth of 3.5 ” or more. A single grass plant may have up to 387 miles of roots. Also, a low mowing height will dry the soil more rapidly by providing less shade. This will increase weeds,crabgrass, and add to drought stress and disease. Appearance and health will be much better at a higher height.

Question: What are the do’s and don’ts of mowing?
Answer: Mow high. Never mow the lawn when wet. Switch mowing directions each time you mow to avoid compaction and to avoid turf to grow in the same direction. Use sharp blades to avoid disease and pale appearance.

Question: When and how often do I sharpen my mower blades?
Answer: After your Spring clean-up and any time the lawns foliage is looking frayed vs… a sharp cut.

Question: How often should I cut the lawn? What’s the 1/3 rule?
Answer: Never cut more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time. This will stress the lawn and create drought and disease. In the spring this can take a very long time for the plant to recover from an improper mowing and then it may be too late for the summer. This means it will be more often in the Spring compared to the slow down growth during the Summer.


Question: What are plant diseases?
Answer: Plant diseases are disorders caused by agents of the physical and/ or biological environment surrounding the plant. These are broken into two groups. Infectious and non-infectious.

Question: What is a Non-infectious disease?
Answer: Non-infectious disease are injury to the plant by non-living agents, such as spills, drought, salinity, temperatures,mechanical damage, low mowing or heavy traffic.

Question: What is a infectious disease?
Answer: Many infectious diseases are made up of living bacteria, viruses, fungi, and nematodes. Almost all lawn diseases are caused by fungi.

Question: What is a fungi? A microscopic organism that feeds off the food supply created by the plant through photosynthesis. Fungi cannot produce there own food.The fungi will enter the plant thru the weakest area of the plant during stress. Example: dull mower blades thrash the plant rather than cut it clean. This is a good entry point.

Question: My lawn is brown in some spots. Is it drought or disease?
Answer: Proper identification should be performed by a turf grass manager. It is not uncommon that there is underlying issues such as ledge.

Question: How did I get a disease on my lawn?
Answer: Sooner or later, every turf grass area will develop various disease problems. In order for a disease to develop, three factors must be present. The host, which is the particular variety of grass planted, the pathogen, which is soil born and never goes away even with fungicides, and finally the environment factors. You can plant more disease resistant cultivars that help reduce disease but will not completely eliminate them. Unfortunately the pathogen is permanent. Diseases are brought about mostly by natural and cultural stress. Many factors contribute to stress. . Mother Nature, drought, too much rain, long periods of rain, heat, humidity, compaction, thatch, mowing practices, watering practices, traffic, mower blade sharpness, infrequent mowing, etc. Corrections helps but will never eliminate the possibility of disease.

Question: What are fungicides?
Answer: A fungicide is a chemical application that will suppress the pathogen within or on the outside of the plant for a short period of time.

Question: Can I get the disease again?
Answer: Yes, the best advice is to be pro-active and correct any cultural practices you can. Eliminate any potential stress factors to reduce potential infection. Remember that the pathogen can not be killed in the soil and the host (your lawn) will remain. The fungicides have short residuals and under similar environmental or cultural conditions the disease(s) can come back.

Question: Does,t my program protect me from diseases?
Answer: Not completely. Ford’s Hometown Services has no control of most of the stress factors listed above.

Question: Why doesn’t my neighbors have the same disease?
Answer: Every lawn is different. The frequency of mowing, mowing height, mechanical transfer of diseases, watering practices, traffic, host, sharp blades, thatch, compaction, puddling, etc. The list goes on.


Question: My lawn always browns out in one particular area every year. Why?
Answer: If possible probe the area. This most likely is a drainage or ledge/rock issue. You should evaluate this area carefully. The soil may be sandy allowing water to pass thru quickly. Or there may be a rock or ledge underneath. The soil may be fine but the ledge hold a lot of heat. The end result is the same. The dry soil adds stress to the plant and in a lot of cases sparks a lawn disease. A small but real issue can also be a natural gas leak. Be careful probing the area.

Question: Can you pre-notify my landscaper instead of me for your service?
Answer: Yes, we can also call both you and your landscaper.

Question: Do you contact my neighbors?
Answer: NO

If you have any questions and do not see an answer please use our Contact Us Form to enquire about them.