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Selecting a Lawn Service
Questions to Ask
Rain and melting snow carry small amounts of oil, grease, soil debris, and other pollutants to rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Lawn fertilizer and pesticides are among the pollutants that have been found in storm water runoff.
Lawn service providers throughout Southeast Michigan are being asked to minimize fertilizers and pesticides-but chemical use reduction depends on customer interest. The following information will help local residents find lawn care services that meet their own goals-and protect water quality.

Questions to Ask Yourself 
  1. What are your goals? Are you concerned about potential pollution from storm water runoff? Are you concerned about exposure to lawn pesticides?
  2. Are you interested in a "rescue operation" for your lawn to remove excessive weeds and/or to rejuvenate lawn grasses and soils-before starting a healthy lawn program?
  3. Are a few weeds in your lawn acceptable? Are you will to dig a few weeds by hand?
  4. Are you willing to follow recommended mowing and watering practices? Tall grass (2 1/2"-3" after cutting) is healthier and shades out many weeds. Frequent watering (daily, if possible) is the most essential factor supporting a green, healthy lawn.
  5. Are you willing to consider "extra" services such as core aeration or over-seeding? Seeding may be helpful for increasing turf density and crowding out weeds.
  6. Are you interested in low-maintenance ground covers in shady areas as a substitute for grass?

Questions to Ask a Lawn Care Service 
  • Do you offer an on-site consultation?
  • Do you recommend a soil test before offering a fertilizer program?
  • Do you offer natural organic and/or slow-release nitrogen fertilizer options?
  • Do you offer a low-phosphorus or zero-phosphorus fertilizer option?
  • Do you offer reduced pesticide or zero-pesticide options?
  • Do you wait until mid-April to begin fertilizer applications?
  • Do you clean up granules from hard surfaces?
Questions About Landscaping Companies? 
Questions about environmental and health effects of specific chemicals?
Contact the National Pesticide Information Center (800.858.7378)

Source: Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority (SOCWA)

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