Robbie's Posts (4)

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How to Revive a Worn Out Lawn

Is your lawn weedy, mossy, baldy or just plain tired looking? In this blog we’ll show you how to revive your worn out lawn and make your neighbours turn green with envy.

 

Ireland is one of the best countries in the whole world for grass to grow in. We have a mild climate, plenty of rain and strong soils. Everything grass needs to thrive. Having said that, growing grass in a lawn is different to growing it in a field or at the side of the road. We’re asking a lot from it. We stomp all over it, we mow it when it tries to grow and we do tend to ignore its needs. If we took the same attitude with our food crops – we’d be pretty hungry.

So it’s no surprise that from time to time, a lawn starts to look tired. The good news is, with the right expertise and the right timing, it’s perfectly possible to revive a worn out lawn.

https://www.premierlawnsni.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Newtownabbey_garden-300x225.jpg 300w" alt="beautiful lawn in newtownabbey" width="640" height="480" />

Absolutely no doubt about it. A beautiful lawn, like this one in Newtownabbey, really can add value to a property.
However, beautiful lawns don’t happen by accident. It takes regular TLC and occasional renovation to keep a lawn looking this good.

First, diagnose the problem

I’ve worked on golf courses and domestic lawns for over 25 years. And in that time I’ve seen pretty much every grass-related problem you’ve ever read about.

In my experience, a worn out lawn can be due to one (or a mixture) of these 5 things

  • Compacted soil
  • Thatch
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Shade
  • Wrong grass wrong place

Any of the above will make it difficult for desirable lawn grasses to thrive. And when the grasses get weak, Mother Nature will send in alternative groundcover plants like moss, dandelions, and plantains.

Let’s look at each problem in turn and I’ll tell you how to fix it.

Soil compaction

Let’s be honest, on the clay soils around Belfast, soil compaction is pretty difficult to avoid. Just walking on your lawn on a damp day can squeeze the soil particles together and close up the tiny air pockets that sustain plant roots.

I see soil compaction as a positive thing – it means you’ve enjoyed your lawn. And, with the right equipment, it’s easily remedied.

Aeration is the lawn expert’s favourite technique for relieving compaction. Small cylinders of soil are removed from the top 10cm of the lawn. Hollow-tine aeration leaves little perforations all over the surface so that air, water and nutrients can be reach the roots.

Some people recommend using a garden fork and I have seen some spiked sandals for sale supposedly for lawn aeration. Personally I’m not a fan of either method, I think they compact the sides of the hole they’re making – which is unhelpful. Better to hire a machine and an operator and get the job done properly.

Within a couple of weeks of hollow-tine aeration in the growing season, you’ll see a marked difference in the colour of your grass.

https://www.premierlawnsni.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/aerator-Small-300x169.jpg 300w, https://www.premierlawnsni.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/aerator-Small-768x432.jpg 768w" alt="Robbie lynn" width="853" height="480" />

This is a mechanical aerator.
If you look carefully at the lawn behind me, you’ll see where the machine has punched little holes into the soil to relieve soil compaction. I’m holding one of the plugs that have been removed.

 

Thatch

If you dig out a section of your lawn and look at it side on you’ll see 3 distinct layers. There’s the soil of course, and the grass. Between the two is a brown coloured layer that we lawncare people call “thatch”.

Thatch is a tangle of dead leaves and debris. A nice thin layer is healthy, but if it gets too thick it actually stops water, air and nutrients being absorbed by the soil. In effect, it starves and suffocates the grass. The thatch layer is also thought to harbour the spores of fungal lawn diseases like fusarium and redthread.

Thatch is easily removed by scarification. Now scarification looks brutal. And it removes scary amounts of rubbish leaving the lawn looking (temporarily) quite sorry for itself. I use a machine which basically scratches out all of the moss, dead leaves etc. You could use a spring tine rake to do the same job. Be warned though, it’s harder work and takes longer than you’d think. Great if you want to burn off a lot of calories!

Again, once the lawn has recovered from scarification it’ll be greener, healthier and lovelier than you’ve seen it in a good while.

Poor nutrition

Every living thing needs three things. Air, water and food. If your grass doesn’t have the right nutrients at the right time of year it won’t be healthy. Typically, it will look pale, the sward will be thin and it will be prone to those fungal diseases we’ve already mentioned. Neither will it recover well from wear and tear so you’ll see bare patches.

Poor nutrition is easily rectified – just feed it. But be sure to use the right balance of nutrients otherwise you could make the situation a whole lot worse.

Shade

Shade is the gardeners’ enemy. Grass, like most other green plants, needs light to fuel itself. In low light conditions it becomes pale, weak, spindly and thin. It’s quite common for moss to appear in the shadier parts of a lawn – we’ll talk more about moss in the next blog.

If you can’t solve the shade problem by cutting back hedges etc, there are shade tolerant lawn grasses on the market. Talk to your local lawn care expert about over-seeding and about adapting your lawn care regime to nurture your shaded lawn.

https://www.premierlawnsni.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1_thick_mat_of_moss-300x225.jpg 300w" alt="thick mat of moss" width="640" height="480" />

Moss is a common problem in lawns but it’s normally a symptom of something else.
You’ll often find moss in shady areas, where soil is compacted or where the grass has been scalped by overenthusiastic mowing.
At Premier Lawns our approach is to treat the moss And address the route cause of the problem.

 

Wrong grass wrong place

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “wrong plant, wrong place”. Well it applies to grass too. There are many different species and varieties of lawn grass. Each has slightly different likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Most lawns contain a mixture of grass species so that they can meet most of the demands we place upon them. However, if your lawn is based on grasses that don’t cope well with the location or the way you use and maintain your garden, it will struggle. Again, an expert can advise you on the best way to revive and manage such a lawn.

Problem located – now you can build a lawn renovation programme

We’ve looked at the sort of things that can, and frequently do, cause a lawn to struggle. We’ve also looked at possible treatments for each element.

In truth, most worn out lawns I see are cause by at least 3 of those 5 elements. They have thin, pale grass, are infested with moss and weeds and more often than not I can see bare soil too.

Here’s how I tackle a worn out lawn

My Granny used to say “you have to make a mess before you can clear up” and that’s exactly what I do. It’ll be a sorry state for a few days but it won’t take long to recover.

  1. Scarification: Clear out all the debris so the plants can breathe and we can see exactly what we’re dealing with.
  2. Aeration: Open up the soil structure and get some oxygen to the roots
  3. Overseed: If the lawn is very thin I’ll overseed it to boost the plant population. Using the appropriate grass species for your lifestyle and the soil/light conditions
  4. Feed: Give everything a really good balanced meal and treat any mineral deficiencies at the same time.
  5. Regular mowing regime: Mowing regularly and at the right height will encourage your lawn to thicken up and grow more vigorously. Many of my clients are happy to do this themselves.
  6. Follow up feed and weed: 6-8 weeks after the first feed I’ll apply a second treatment, because the lawn will be hungry again. At this stage I’ll also treat any moss or broadleaved weeds that might be trying to sneak back in. If your lawn has been overseeded I’ll avoide using herbicides until the new grass plants are really well established.

Reviving a worn out lawn is hard work but it’s rewarding

I’ll not pretend that lawn renovation is easy. It’s not. Oh it sounds simple when you see it written down, but without the right machinery it can be time consuming and back breaking. Plus, all it takes is a little bit too much fertiliser applied in one go and boom – the whole lawn is burnt to a crisp.

It’s a bit like plumbing or car mechanics – just because you’ve watched a Youtube video and bought the right spanners – doesn’t mean you’ll get it right first time.

Nevertheless, it feels great when you know that your lawn looks so good it’s making passers-by stop and stare and the neighbours are quite jealous. Plus, lawn renovation is usually considerably cheaper that re-turfing.

For expert advice, a FREE independent assessment and some help with the tricky bits – why not give me a call?


 Mobile - 0797 626 7104 / Telephone - 02890 869 565  / Email - Robbie@premierlawnsni.co.uk
 
 original article can be found on my website
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2018 Get Jobber Review

Get jobber Review 2018

Scroll to the bottom of this review to get a $150 Jobber credit for a referral code.

 I’m a get jobber addict, back in 2016 I wrote another review of Get jobber, however, since that review, lots has changed so felt it warranted a new review.

If you have any questions drop me a line and I will try and answer them.

 Since then, they have introduced the client hub, push notifications, job forms, improved moblie app and a load of other stuff - so read on. 

 

What is Get jobber?

It’s essentially a tool helps you quote, schedule, invoice, and get paid faster!

It’s a mobile/cloud-based software that is used to schedule appointments, quote, invoice, route and help you run a better service business. Its original aim was to help landscapers be more productive, however, it can be used by any of the service industries now. (Landscapers, lawn care, painters, snow removal, Carpet cleaning, cleaning, general contractors, appliance repair, HVAC, etc)

Clients are one of the most important parts of any business and that’s why you need an organised client history. With Jobber you’ll see past quotes, jobs, visits, invoices, and a full billing history associated with each of your clients. Names addresses any emails etc sent via jobber such as follow up emails or feedback forms.   

 It can be accessed by multiple employees on the go and still see all the same information at the same time. Update something in the office and it sends pushes out an update to the worker in the field and vice versa.

 

 

While this list is nowhere near exhaustive of the features in jobber I hope it helps you understand some of the basics of how it will help you run and manage your business.

Within get jobber you can create custom fields and tags, you can fully customise Jobber’s client manager to work for your business. You’ll be more organised, which means you’ll look even more professional when interacting with your clients. It’s well ingrained in my marketing strategy  

If a client contacts you, it’s very fast to look up their details as the search functions in jobber are very good. The search tool helps you find clients, jobs, and invoices, or you can sort by custom fields.

Before I used to use Jobber there were invoices that would slip by, sometimes I might have forgotten to invoice after a job was complete, or if payment was collected.

Now after each job and before I leave the property I invoice on the go and the majority of my clients pay me online.  All of my clients that pay me once online via stripe, insist that they pay me everytime online as it's that easy for me and stripe vaults their details so the next time its even easier for the client to pay, meaning I get paid faster as most people pay direct from the invoice from their phone!

As a side note; once clients pay online via the payment gateway jobber marks those people off as paid, sends them a receipt and it's one last task for you to do. 

Using it has helped me stay at least one step ahead of my local competition, clients love getting reminders before visits, written quotes, invoices and receipts & paying online.   This, of course, has now been largely improved on since my last review as they now have the client hub and all past paperwork can be seen in there.

 

 It can be a bit of process adding your clients in if you're already established, however, the more you use jobber the more you will get out of it. It's very intuitive though, you should be able to pick up and use it from the get-go, create a few clients, add a few jobs and have a play about with it from the get-go.

You can import your existing customers as a CSV or vCard file, Jobber synchronizes with QuickBooks Online, so you can import your customers from there as well.

The main features are;

Accounting Sync

Keep your data up to date and eliminate double entry with Jobber’s accounting sync.

Chemical Tracking

Easily track, store, and report on chemical and pesticide usage.

Client Communications

Improve job completion rates and boost your customer service by communicating with your clients at key points before, during, and after a job.

Client Hub

Offer your clients around-the-clock support without putting in extra hours.

Client Manager (CRM)

Keep track of important client details whether you’re at the office, on the way to a job, or out in the field.

Drag and Drop Calendar

Schedule or reassign jobs quickly and easily—simply point, click, and drag

Expense Tracking

 

With Jobber, it’s easy for you and your team to track expenses no matter where you are.

GPS Tracking

Every time someone on your team clocks in, edits a job, or creates an invoice, Jobber tracks their exact GPS location.

Job Forms

Build custom forms so your team is prepared in the field. In seconds you can create custom forms or checklists so your team has everything they need on the job.

To-do checklists

Use a checklist to walk your team through the steps of what they need to do next at a job. Checklists are a great training tool for your team, and ensure consistent service each and every visit.

Team Permissions

Control what information your team can access in Jobber.

Time Sheets

Your team's time is easy to input and edit, and you get a clear picture of labour costs.

Time Tracking

When your team member starts a job they can also clock in by starting a timer in Jobber, and when they clock out, Jobber updates both the job and the team member’s timesheet to reflect the time spent working. Easy to start, easy to stop, and you get a clear picture of time spent at each job.

Work Requests

Make it easy for clients to get new work on your radar.

Clients can submit a work request through your client hub, accessible via a secure personalised link included with each of your emailed quotes and invoices.

Notes and attachments

If needed the app lets you attach photos and files to a client’s account, and collect signatures, whether you’re attaching photos of completed work or a job contract, you’ll always have access to a client’s complete and detailed history, in the office and out in the field.

 

 

  

The client hub

The client hub is where your clients can go and see all the quotes, invoices etc…
Approve quotes and request new work/quotes

It’s very easy to navigate and clients can see all past quotes, invoices and receipts, pay online, submit work requests and accept quotes. The thing is, we all have clients that get behind and then the numerous emails chasing payments begins. Now with the hub, they can log in and see any outstanding amounts helping you get paid faster.

The client hub is automatically set up with your company branding and clients log in via their email sent with all invoices, so no need to worry about passwords etc.

You can log in to the client too, so you can see what they see.

 What the client sees is very polished and works incredibly well.

Signature Collection

 

If your business requires signatures to move forward with work, you can collect a signature when a client clicks ‘Approve’ on a quote.

 

 

 

 

Scheduling and Dispatching

Within a click or two, you can create a job, choose a client and assign it to your team. 

Schedule incoming jobs as one-off visits or recurring contracts.

With Jobber’s scheduling filters and color-coding options, you can organise every visit, task, and reminder in your schedule.

Choose from a month, week, grid, map, or list view of your team’s schedule, to get a clear visual of availability for multiple team members

On the desktop side, you can view all your jobs on a map and plan your routes easily (You will need to be on the Connect or Unlimited plans to use the Routing features)

Drag and drop calendar

Easily reschedule jobs to different days or times, or reassign jobs to a different crew or team member. It’s literally as simple as clicking, dragging, and dropping.

 

Push notifications

When you make a schedule change to an employee’s current workday they will receive a notification on their phone within a minute of you making the change.

They’ll get a notification in the field if they have a new, rescheduled, or cancelled visit that day.

 

 

Payments

As already discussed in an earlier part of this review, jobber lets you take payment directly from the invoice  via epayments

(These rates are correct for the date this has been written and may be subject to change). Since my last review most of the price per transaction has decreased. 

 

Jobber Payments

First off lets talk about jobbers own payment gateway (Only available in North America)

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction on Core and Connect plans
2.7% + $0.30 per transaction on Unlimited plans

Jobber payment also comes with card scan

Collect payments faster in the field without any hardware. When you finish a job just pull out your phone, hold up the credit card, and scan it—the card number fills out automatically in the payment collection form.

The other options are Square, PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, and Authorize.net

 Square charge 2.5% to pay from invoice or 1.75% Per chip and PIN or contactless payment

Paypal  - From 3.4% to 1.9% + 20p per transaction depending on sales

Braintree payments - 1.9% + £0.20 per transaction

Authorize.net - 2.49% + £0.15p per transaction or a flat fee of £19 per month and no additonal charges

Stripe - 1.9% + 20p per transaction for UK-issued cards. 2.9% + 20p per transaction for international cards (This is the one I use and in all my time have never had one problem)

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Some results from a get jobber survey

On average jobber saved users 6.8 hours per week of office time.

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Over view of features....

Pricing

 A fairly big change since my last review.... It used to be you had the core services and then added chargable add ons such as more users or chemical tracking, epayment etc. to it as you needed. Now it's all bundled together. (Prices are in USD / £ ) There is a discounted plan for yearly payment too.

 

 

If you have found this post useful and want to try out jobber for the first time, why not use my referral code and sign up to get jobber - We both get £150 worth of credit along.

Link

 If you have any questions I will try and answer them the best I can.

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Caring for your lawn during the summer

 Tips and tricks to help your lawn thrive during the summer

Summer is upon us and a lawn is a place for all of the family to play and enjoy. However, summer can be one of the most challenging seasons for your lawn as it endures more wear and tear as people enjoy the outdoor weather.

To keep your lawn looking green and healthy it is important to provide a helping hand, this can be done with cutting the lawn on a regular basis - usually once week is sufficient. The golden rule for always cutting your lawn is never to take more than one third off the top as any more weakens the grass.

Summer is also great time to start regular lawn treatments, these will help strengthen your lawn and keep it weed free.  When treating your lawn for weeds it is important to use a systemic weed killer that kills the weed right down to the roots.

The forecasters are predicting lots of hot weather this summer... If only!

 

If the predictions are true it's not only your pots and herbaceous beds that require your help during a hot spell.  To keep your lawn green and lush it needs a helping hand too - provided there are no hosepipe restrictions in force.  During a hot extended dry spell why not get the sprinkler out and give the lawn a watering, the kids will love playing in it too.

 

How do I know if my lawn needs watered? 

 

  • Brown and yellow patches appearing.
  • When you walk on the lawn the grass does not spring back up.

 

 How to water the lawn

 It's recommended not to water daily as it is better for the environment -  infrequent heavy watering is better than daily splashes!

The simplest method to water your lawn is to use a lawn sprinkler, if you're unsure of how long to leave the sprinkler on for set a cup under the spray and when full it is time to move the sprinkler to a different part of the lawn.  

The best times to water are either early in the morning or in the evening, when it is cooler.

 

How to determine if under your lawn is wet enough 

The best way to determine if the soil is wet enough is to dig or cut a small hole and examine the soil. Properly watered soil will not be soaking wet, but moist, dark and cool.

Another way of determining if there is sufficient moisture in the soil is to stick a pointed knife into the soil. If the knife can be easily pushed into the soil and upon removal is cool and clean, your soil is moist.

 

What else can I do to help my lawn survive a barbecue summer

 Whilst you cannot prevent drought, you can take measures to prevent the damage drought causes your lawn.  The most important thing to do to ensure your lawn is healthy is a regular programme of spring, summer and autumn lawn maintenance that will help lawns resist drought and recover strongly afterwards.

  • Keep it weed free - treat the lawn for weeds as they take up valuable water.
  • Feed your lawn - poor nutrition can also be a cause for dull and dry looking grass in the summer months.
  • Scarify your lawn to remove unwanted moss and thatch. Scarification allows water, nutrients and oxygen access to the soil resulting in a healthier more drought resistant lawn.
  • Aerate the lawn, this will deliver any moisture directly to the lawn's root system.
  • Raise the height on the lawn mower, this puts less stress on the plant.   

Premier Lawns offers a range of services to help keep your lawn in tip top condition.

Lawn treatments - Feed and Weed

Aeration

Scarification

 

For further information, visit our website www.premierlawnsni.co.uk and view our new video on lawn renovation. 

Premier Lawns is owned and run by Robbie Lynn, Robbie is a member of The Chartered Institute of Horticulture.

  Contact Robbie on 07976267104 / 02890 869565.

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