FAQ – Lawn Care-A-Van

Are Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van employees properly trained to apply lawn products?  Is there an agency that oversees applications and applicators?

Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van professionals are certified and registered by the PA Department of Agriculture.  These certifications require rigorous testing, training and ongoing continuing education in product chemistry, insect control and disease suppression.

How do I know if a company is certified by the PA Dept. of Agriculture?

This is an easy one.  Look on the applicator’s vehicle.  If you see a number beginning with “BU”, they are certified.  All of Gumpf Garden’s vehicles are clearly marked with “BU8930”.

Is your business insured?

Absolutely!  Gumpf Gardens, Inc. has been in business since 1957 and adheres to the strictest professional standards.

Are your products safe for children and pets?

The products Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van uses are all approved by and considered to be very safe by the Environmental Protection Agency.  These products are professional grade for use by professional applicators and are not available for sale to homeowners.  They are extremely effective yet very safe.  In fact, we treat many schools and athletic fields so you can rest assured.  We DO recommend that you keep your children and pets off the lawn when weed spray is applied – but just until the product dries on the grass.

If you are extremely sensitive or highly allergic, let us know and we will schedule applications to take place when you are not at home.

What results can I expect from Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van the first year?

If you are new to our program, a lot will depend upon when a homeowner starts the Lawn Care-A-Van program.  If you have started receiving treatments in early spring when pre-emergent weed control is applied, your results will be better than if you started mid-season.  Most weeds are annuals, meaning that the weed plants actually die with frost in the fall.  Unfortunately, the weed plants do not die before they set their seeds to lay dormant until warmer spring weather when germination occurs.  Our pre-emergent weed control applied in early spring prevents the weed seeds from germinating (i.e. from becoming plants).  Obviously, the early spring application provides optimum results.

If you have started with the Lawn Care-A-Van program later in the season, however, you will still get great results.  The fertilization will promote lush green grass and the insect control will prevent most pests from attacking your lawn.  Weed control is still part of our program.  We simply treat the weeds post-emergently, in other words after they spring up.

Improvements to your lawn will vary depending upon many factors.  Obviously, an initially poor lawn will show more dramatic improvements than an initially well-cared for lawn.  In addition, the homeowner can do several things to help the process.  (Please see “What is a homeowner’s responsibility in ensuring that his or her lawn looks its best?” below.)

Can I start Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van program anytime

Yes!

Are there any differences in the products applied over the course of the course of the year?

Yes!

Round 1 includes pre-emergent weed control and balanced granular fertilizer.

Round 2 includes balanced granular fertilizer, surface & sub-surface insect control and post-emergent weed control as needed.  On this application, Merit® Grub control will be applied if requested (small additional charge).

Round 3 includes balanced granular fertilizer and post-emergent weed spray.

Round 4 includes balanced granular fertilizer, post-emergent weed spray and additional insect control.

Round 5 includes winterizing granular fertilizer designed for root growth and post-emergent weed control as needed.

How often are applications made?

Applications are made 5 times per year and occur 6-8 weeks apart.

Do I have to be at home when applications are made?

No. Unless we are instructed otherwise, applications will be made without any interruption to you or your family.

What if it rains after an application?

Rain is actually beneficial to fertilizer, pre-emergent weed control and insect control.

Why I am still getting weeds in my yard?  What do I do about this?

Despite all the best technology, pre-emergent weed control will not eliminate all weeds.  If we have a rainy spring, some of the Pre-M will wash away.  If your neighbors do not care for their lawns as you do, their weed seeds will blow into your lawn.  Seeds are also carried in by birds, squirrels and other seed-eating animals.  This is why Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van continues to treat all lawns with post-emergent weed control.

If you feel you have an unacceptable amount of weeds in your lawn, pick up the phone and let us know (724-843-1930).  Service calls for those customers receiving our full program are free!  We will schedule a technician to come to your home and re-treat for weeds.

How quickly will the weed spray work?

Please allow 10 to 14 days to allow the weed killer to travel to the roots of the weeds and for the weeds to wither.

I think I have grubs in my yard.  How do I tell?

Grub activity results in the severing of the roots of the grass plants.  When this happens, you will be able to roll the grass up like a carpet.  You may even find that animals and birds will dig up your lawn hunting for the grubs as a food source.

How can Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van get rid of grubs?

Our standard insect control will deter grubs, however, there are some areas in Western PA that are more prone to grub damage and require further measures.  If you find you are having grub problems, Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van can treat your lawn with an additional product that will give year-long grub control.  This is a once-a-year application and is a small additional fee.  Pricing is based upon the square footage of your lawn so please call for a price.

What is a homeowner’s responsibility in ensuring that his or her lawn looks its best?

Lush green grass makes any home more beautiful, but it is not without work.  Tips for a homeowners are:

1.     Make sure that you are not mowing your lawn too short.  3” is recommended.  A taller lawn shades the grass roots better requiring less water and thus less “burn-out.”

2.    Make sure that your mower blades are sharp.  Dull mower blades will shred your grass blades making the lawn more susceptible to insects and fungus.

3.    If possible, water your lawn in early morning so that the grass does not sit damp all night encouraging fungus.  Non-electric water timers that turn off automatically are great.  Simply attach it to your hose, set the time as you leave for work.  (These are available at Gumpf’s Garden center.)

4.    Water regularly to a depth of 3” or not at all.  (See below “Irrigation Systems”

a.     Deep watering once or twice a week will encourage roots to grow deeper and thus, be able to gather water from a larger area

b.    Short spells of watering are more prone to evaporation (waste!) and do not promote root development.

c.     If you do not wish to water in dry periods, that’s OK too.  You will not get the same desired lushness; however, the grass will simply go dormant waiting for the next rain.

Irrigation Systems

There is no substitute for adequate water for all living things and your grass is a living thing.  The best-looking lawns are watered regularly and Gumpf Gardens’ professionals can install an irrigation system for you.

Most people’s objections to watering is cost and the time spent watering.  Irrigation systems can help with both of these concerns.

The cost of watering is not so much for the water itself, but for the much higher rate of sewage charges.  When an irrigation system is installed, a deduct meter is attached to the water line.  This meter deducts the amount of water used outdoors from the total amount used by the household (as read by your water authority).  This is important because it means that the homeowner will not pay sewage charges for irrigation water.  (After all, this water is NOT going into the sewer!)

Then there is the issue of time.  An irrigation system is on a timer.  You set it, adjust for the seasonal amount of free water, i.e. rain, and let the system work for you. Easy as that.

One phone call to Gumpf Gardens, Inc. (724-843-1930) will get you a free estimate.

What is proper pH and why do I need to care about it?

In order for fertilizers to work properly and bond with you grass, the acid/alkaline reading you want is between 6.5 and 7.0.  If your pH is less than 6.0, your grass will not be able to make use of the fertilizer as efficiently.  In Western PA, lawns tend to be acidic and require a periodic application of lime.  All lawns cared for by Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van will be tested for the pH of their lawn in early fall (free of charge) and recommendations will be left for the homeowner as to whether or not lime is advised.

What does aeration do and why is it necessary?

Aeration (or core-aeration) increases the amount of water that can be absorbed by your lawn.  It also loosens hard soil and provides breathing room for the roots of your grass.  Aeration is recommended every year but is not included in the program price.  During your fall inspection (free of charge) recommendations will be left for the homeowner as to how critical this procedure is.

Can I re-seed my lawn in spring?

Yes, but with reduced benefit.  Our first treatment of the year includes pre-emergent weed-control.  This product prevents seed from germinating – all seed, both desired and undesired.  If you are planning to over-seed in the spring, BE SURE TO LET Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van KNOW.  We will omit the pre-emergent portion of our application.  The result of this will be more weeds in your lawn, but your grass seed will be able to produce grass.  Rest assured that Gumpf’s Lawn Care-A-Van will treat any weeds that do pop up in subsequent applications.

How do I pay for services?

Your bill will be left on your door with a return envelope or, in the early spring, you can choose our pre-pay option and receive a 5% discount.

My lawn is beyond hope.  What do I do?

Sometimes a lawn IS in very poor shape and needs more that just nurturing.  It still can be remedied.

Whether your home is new construction with poor soil or the lawn has bumps and depressions or it has simply been neglected in recent years, Gumpf Gardens is here to help.

Our trained professionals can re-grade, top-dress with rich soil and re-seed or sod your yard.  Call for a free estimate (724-843-1930).