As Americans, we like solutions that are quick and simple. After all, our lives are busy and if there’s a way to simplify something, we’re all about it. It’s the very reason why “hacks” is such a popular search term on the Internet. Whether it’s “household chore hacks” or for outdoor work, we often want to know the easiest way to do it.
This is why something like Scotts 4 Step Program has become so popular. It takes the guesswork out of something that otherwise seems complicated and time-consuming. While Scotts is the well-known name (and was the one to make 4 step lawn care popular), there are other brands, too. Plus, some homeowners cobble together their own program using individually bought products.
The trouble is, sometimes when you find a shortcut, or a “hack,” it means cutting corners. Though it might simplify your lawn care routine, a 4-step program is not going to give you the results you’re seeking.
We understand why homeowners like an easy program like this but we also hate to see them disappointed. That’s why we’re digging deeper into what’s included in 4 step lawn care—but more importantly, what’s missing.
In theory, the idea of a 4-step program sounds great. Simplification is something that everyone loves. However, these types of “programs” are often touted as being “complete,” when in fact they are missing a lot of important steps.
Let’s look at the 4 steps and where they may fall short.
Generally, 4 step lawn care starts with crabgrass preventer (pre-emergent) and “lawn food” (fertilization), both of which are important. However, using crabgrass preventer effectively is a bit more complicated than this simplified program makes it seem. For one, crabgrass preventer is only going to be effective if applied in an appropriate time frame. This product is only effective prior to crabgrass germination. Though this is certainly something homeowners can tackle on their own, we find that the ideal application window is often missed.
It’s also worth mentioning that store-bought products tend to be much less effective than the commercial-grade pre-emergent products utilized by a professional lawn care service. With a pro, you're also paying for trained lawn care technicians who are licensed to spray commercial products.
The next step in 4 step lawn care is more fertilization and weed control. Again, you are talking about store-bought products here as opposed to commercial-grade so the effectiveness has to come into question for this reason alone.
However, the other big problem is the fact that the weed control method in this simplified program is attempting to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach. But different weeds often require different treatments (and at different times of the year). A truly effective approach must be varied. It should even include specialty controls for certain weeds. This is another example of a way in which a simplified program cuts corners and doesn’t cover everything.
Another mistake is using granular formulations to try to control weeds. Liquid products, along with a wetting/sticking agent can really help get all of the necessary control materials on more parts of the target weeds.
The next step is more lawn fertilization, which is great, but your lawn needs so much more than that. This step in the program falls around mid-summer when we should continue to be attacking weeds and even addressing crabgrass breakthrough that the preventer missed.
One thing that this program fails to include is fungicide treatments to reduce turf diseases in the summer (and into the early fall). You might also need to add effective insect control treatments if you are dealing with surface-feeding insects or grubs.
The final step in a 4 step lawn care program is “fall lawn food.” It fails to address weeds, even though they need to be treated again. In fact, there are different weeds as we head into the fall months that will require different controls.
A simplified program does not include limestone with magnesium or calcium, either.
Another big fail of a condensed program is the fact that it doesn’t give you options. It takes this one-size-fits-all approach to your lawn even though all lawns are not the same.
At Master Lawn, we believe that homeowners deserve to have different options so they can find the lawn care program that best suits their lawn. That’s why we offer 3 different lawn care programs.
One of those is a hybrid option which includes organic, bionutritional probiotic soil additives to reduce the need for pesticides over time. The 4-step process has nothing like this.
When you are investing in a professional, you not only get access to those better products (applied correctly by a professional) and a more complete lawn care program, but you also get access to their knowledge and expertise.
Whether it’s Scotts 4 Step Program or another program, when you are doing it on your own, there’s no professional eye on your property looking out for problems. This means some subtle early damage from a pest or disease could be missed and have the time to become a much bigger problem.
The truth is, you deserve to have the help of a professional who truly understands what your lawn needs (and when) so that you don’t have to be the one figuring it out. When you hand your lawn care needs over to the pros at Master Lawn, you get to hand over your worries, too. We take your lawn care wishes and make them our command.
Ready to let Master Lawn handle your lawn care needs for your Memphis, TN or Northern MS home? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.