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5 Expert Lawn Care Tips: An Interview with Ed Grau of Grau Landscape and Design, Inc.

By Ed Grau

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Grau Landscape & Design, Inc. was created in 1991 by Ed Grau. Ed studied ornamental horticulture and landscape design at Broward Community College and the University of Florida. Ed has a wealth of knowledge and experience in bringing out the best in design and planting practice. Ed has also studied urban planning and business, so you can count on Grau Landscape to design amazing grounds for you at a sensible price. Grau Landscape & Design, Inc. currently employs eight professionals, so no job is too big or too small. We have a large assortment of professional equipment and services. Ed Grau was born and raised in south Florida and resides in Boca Raton.

What's something that most people don't know about lawn maintenance that they should know?

Landscape maintenance is the most difficult segment of my business, keeping to a regular schedule with summer rains and satisfying the customers insatiable appetite for an immaculate appealing lawn. We have to battle infestation of countless critters and creatures that most people have never heard of. Fungi that can wipe out specific ornamentals and turf in a matter of days. Unrelenting heat and rain in the summer, then periods of dryness that we can only compare to the African Sahara. But we battle it all to have our crews complete the task in a timely manner. So yes I would say just performing the task in itself is accomplishment to keep our customers satisfied.

Is there a specific length that grass should be cut? Why is this?

Yes, there is and it varies with each species of grass. There are many guidelines to these rules and I would say cutting on weekly basis in the summer is usually sufficient. As for golf courses that maintain Bermuda or Zoysia they may cut at 1/2" intervals, while Regular St. Augustine sod can be cut between 2" to 3-1/2" depending on shade/sun, etc. There are so many situations but it's fair to say trying to never cut more than 1/3 of the leaf length will avoid scalping and sunburn.

What is mulch and what should be done with it?

Mulch typically is a combination of recycled tree limbs and wood byproducts. It's shredded into fine pieces approx. 1" to 4" and can contain natural colors or be colored to red to any shade of browns. Mulch is very useful aesthetically, as well as providing a weed barrier as it breaks down it provides countless nutrients for the surrounding plants.

What is the smartest approach to fertilizing lawns for homeowners in Florida?

3-4 times per year and applying a weed feed in the spring before the grass really kicks in if needed. Slow release high ratio formulas will last longer and provide an even longer lasting feeding. A healthy lawn will fend off weeds and be more drought tolerant than a weaker, malnourished yard. But be careful to follow all directions by the provider. Misuse use of any recommended label rate is extremely irresponsible and not beneficial to the sod/plants . . . as a matter of fact, over fertilizing will cause plenty of problems such as fungal outbreaks and a feeding bonanza for insects. So follow the rate!

What advice can you give someone who has too many weeds in their lawn and wants to get rid of them?

If the weeds are more established and prevalent than the actual incumbent lawn, spray it with a herbicide and re-sod. To re-sod, remove the old sod/weeds and treat the area to be sodded with a systemic insecticide to control grubs and/or any pilfering insects that will attack and feed on the new lawn.

It may help as well to aerate the area and correct grading and drainage issue at this time. Each situation will be different consult with your local IFAS brochures and recommended procedures for the re-sodding. If the yard only has minor weeds and is in fairly good health, a weed and feed that can be purchased at your local garden center should suffice. As always, follow the recommended rates when applying the chemicals they will vary for sod types the time of the year and the area to cover.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

Word of mouth has been my biggest growth factor.

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