Pine Valley

Frequently Asked QuestionsClick here for a free estimate Free Estimate

We have been at this business for a long time. From our knowledge base we have put together answers to questions that we hear a lot. In this section you will find topics that include everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how to water your lawn, questions about chemical safety, how to water shrubs, and everything in-between. If you have any ideas for our frequently asked questions section, please let us know. We will be growing this section potentially forever and welcome your submissions and ideas. Please e-mail ideas to:  or call 704.831.8917

How often do I water my lawn?

This is probably our #1 most frequently asked question and that is why we put it first. So here is your answer: The majority of
the growing season the grass needs one inch of water per week.

    How do I know how much we’ve gotten this week?
  • The best way is to put a rain gauge in the yard
  • or you can put a tuna can in your yard and see how long it takes to get one inch in the can
  • I use sprinklers, how do I know how long to let them run?
  • Put a rain gauge in the yard (or tuna can), start running your sprinkler system and time how long it takes to get one inch of water using your sprinkler system.
  • Do we want to put down the whole inch all in one shot?
  • No – we want to divide it up over 2-3 days and over 2-3 cycles through that day. For example: if we need 60 minutes of water to get one inch, let’s do three ten minute cycles per day twice per week.
  • Which days should we do this?
  • Not the day Pine Valley is coming to mow your grass
  • Typically we would pick the day AFTER we mow and then four days after that. For example: if we mow on Thursday, lets water on Friday and Monday

What time of day should I water my lawn?

Watering should start before the sun is up and be done by 9am at the latest. And again we suggest you water in three separate cycles. If you are going to do three cycles we suggest:

  • 5am, 6am, 7am
  • We do this to break surface tension which reduces runoff and allows more of the water to soak down into the roots. One easy way to do this is to get a $20 timer from a local hardware store.
  • Note: if you get a timer and we mow your yard, please let us know that you have it so we don’t mow over it.

How do I know if my grass is getting enough water?

Go down to a hardware store or Target or wherever and get yourself a rain gauge. Note, if we mow your lawn and you stick your rain gauge in the middle of the lawn and don’t tell anyone, it will probably get mowed. So you might consider putting it somewhere that you can still get an accurate reading without having it in the path of a lawn mower (this happens more than you’d think).

Should I water after it rains?

This is a very common question that we get. And the answer is, it depends on several factors. How much did it rain? (Get a rain gauge if you don’t have one). What type of rain was it?

  • Was it a long easy rain or did we get an inch in ten minutes?
  • If you had an all day soaking rain, you probably don’t need to water this week.
  • But if it all came down in ten minutes, then most of it ran off and went down the storm drain and you still need to water.

Is it possible to over-water the lawn?

YES!!! Absolutely! In fact, too much water can be WORSE than not enough and just as deadly. Excessive watering creates “lazy roots” which means that the roots shrink up, become shallow and weaker because they don’t have to push deep to get more water. So if you are constantly feeding them they don’t get “deep roots” which can lead to a terminal event for you lawn.

How do I get my grass to green up?

There is a lot to this question, but the short answer is, if you want your grass to be green you need to mow it regularly, encourage new growth, make sure your lawn receives the right nutrition, follow proper watering techniques (see our section on proper watering), and have good weather conditions.

Why is my grass brown?

First of all we want to say that if your grass is brown, not to worry about it. It did not die, it is probably just dormant. Dormancy is a natural part of the lifecycle of a healthy lawn and is absolutely normal under certain conditions. There are a lot of reasons grass goes dormant including drought, dry winter air blowing across it can dry out the blade and turn it brown. It could also be that the existing chutes have become damaged by frost and the wind and new chutes are not sprouting. This is one of the reasons that we mow your lawn once in January, to cut off those dead chutes and encourage new root growth. It is also why we start mowing WEEKS before other companies. Mowing in early spring will allow new growth to come up faster and green up earlier.

Do I have a brown spot or brown patch?

There is a difference you know. Brown patch is a disease. If you have brown patch, your grass will have fungus on it that looks like cotton candy. The leaves will have lesions on them. You will have irregular shaped areas in the yard that almost have a “smoke ring” effect, a darker area around the outside of the patch. We treat for Brown Patch as part of our regular fertilization program. If you are worried that you have Brown Patch, take some pictures with your phone or digital camera and send it to us.

A Brown Patch is disease:
  • It will have cotton candy looking fungal bodies on them
  • Grass leaves will have lesions on them
  • Irregular shaped areas in the yard that will have almost a “smoke ring” effect, a darker area around the outside of the patch.
  • We treat for this as part of all of our fertilization services
  • A Brown spot could be caused by:
  • Draught
  • Dog urine damage
  • Could be any number of reasons
  • Brown spots can be taken care of by watering if caused by droughts
  • If from dog urine, you wait for aeration and seeding

Is there such a thing as TOO GREEN?

Yes. Absolutely! If a yard is emerald green, we called that fat and juicy in the golf course industry. In our current conditions (hot and dry with high humidity) a lawn that is emerald green would be ripe for disease and insect invasion. We want to get your lawn “lean and mean” which for us means, not quite as green as you could make it, but we are still feeding the lawn. We are focusing on potassium and micro-nutrients and trying to protect the root and keep the plant alive during difficult times. And, as always, if you are concerned that your lawn might be “too green” send us a picture. We will of course evaluate your lawns health when we are onsite, but if you are not a customer, you don’t have that service. Send us a photo. We’ll tell you what we think. And remember, please take a couple pictures close up, further away, and at different angles so we can see clearly what you have going on.

Can I walk outside barefoot after you spray my lawn?

The simple answer - yes.

What is the most efficient method of watering shrubs?

The most efficient (and best) way to water your shrubs and trees is to use drip irrigation. The water comes out below the mulch line so the water is already in the “root zone” which is ideal. Also, you can water at the best time of day instead of when you happen to be around to do it. What is the best way to water a shrub or tree? The first thing you want to do is make sure you use a “water breaker” device. A water breaker device is simply something that goes on the end of your garden hose that produces a “gentle shower” effect when spraying and can be purchased at any hardware store. One way to know if you have a “gentle shower” effect happening is to point the head straight up at the sky. While pointed straight up, you want the water to shoot up no taller than a closed fist.

How often should I water my shrubs?

This depends, but the best way to tell when to water is when the ground gets dry. If the ground gets dry, its time to water again. How dry should it be before I water it? The best way to tell is, stick your finger in the dirt and if it is still wet or damp a few inches down, you can wait a few more days. If it is powdery or really dry it is time to water them.

Do I water my shrubs in the winter time?

The simple answer is Yes! Here in North Carolina, the arid winter wind dries out your shrubs. You need to water them. How often do I water shrubs in the winter?

  • At least once per month
  • If consistently dry conditions prevail, please check the soil. This will give you a better indication than any generic advice we might give.

How will I be billed?

You can choose to be billed as per service or pay in advance and get a discount:

  • Fertilization (will transfer if you pre-pay and sell your house)
  • Mowing - billed in 12 equal installments
  • Landscaping - 50% deposit and remainder is due upon completion of the job
  • Irrigation - billed in advance (will transfer with the house if you sell it)

It just rained, is my fertilization o.k.?

The short answer: Yes, your fertilizer is fine even though it rained right after we put it down.

Why did the mowers come and not mow?

It is important to understand that depending on weather conditions, some months we will mow much more often than other months. But regardless of whether the lawn needs mowing or not, we will continue our visits to:

  • Perform Edging
  • Spray weeds
  • Pick up any small debris

Why is grass only growing in the aeration holes?

The simple answer is that you didn’t water your lawn enough. Please refer to our section here on how to properly water your lawn. This is an easy problem to fix, but you do have to be diligent about it.

What’s a grub anyway?

You hear so much about grubs, so what are they? Are they an aphid? Are they a worm? What are they? The answer is simple. A grub is actually a Japanese Beetle. More specifically, it is on its way to becoming a Japanese Beetle. Being a grub is simply part of the lifecycle of a Japanese Beetle. Once a grub becomes a Japanese beetle it eats all the foliage off your plants. Here are some of the particulars:

  • While it is a grub, it feeds on the roots of your grass which weakens the plant. When they cut the roots off, it weakens the foundation of the plant, equivalent to weakening the foundation of your house. Not good.
  • Having grubs also invites in predators like moles to the party because moles like to eat grubs.
  • Why don’t we want moles
  • Moles will further damage the roots and create those neat little tunnels under your yard. Not something anyone wants to have happening.

How do I get rid of weeds?

You pull them right? WRONG!!! This is the type of question that prompted us to write such an in-depth frequently asked questions section. Seems like common sense, you see a weed, pull it! It isn’t that simple. We recommend that you spray them. If you pull a weed out of your lawn during the spring and summer, one thing that happens is you break the pre-emergent barrier which in turn can actually create an opening for MORE weeds. And, if you pull them in the fall, you can also pull up young grass plants along with the weed. Don’t pull weeds, spray them. A word about spraying weeds:

  • Often takes up to three treatments
  • Is always included in our fertilization programs
  • What type of spray should I use?
  • You shouldn’t – Pine Valley will do this for you
  • But if I must? – no, you shouldn’t
  • But why?
  • We apply the appropriate amount of chemicals as prescribed by the EPA. It is completely possible to poison your soil. Is your equipment calibrated to the correct rate? Is it calibrated at all? There is a whole litany of reasons why you don’t want to do this yourself. Let us handle it. You’ll be glad you did.

What’s Bugging you? Got Bugs?

Every lawn has bugs. EVERY lawn. There is no getting around it. That is why we spray as part of our fertilization process, to control bugs and keep your lawn healthy. Some common bugs that harm your lawn or are just irritating:

  • Grubs
  • Japanese Beetles
  • Army Worms
  • Fire ants

Are there bugs that harm shrubs too?

There are, and lots of them. Way too many to write about as a matter of fact. You can get an entire college degree in Entomology (study of bugs) if you wanted to. It is an extensive topic. The main thing to know is that our treatment plans take care of bugs. If you are worried that you have bugs that are not being handled by treatments or have bugs and don’t know what they are and want help, one of the best things you can do is send us a picture of what you have and it will help us better identify the problem. Photos are good. Never be afraid to send us pictures.

How should I mow my lawn?

You shouldn’t, you should hire us to do it and spend your time doing those things you really love to do. However, maybe mowing IS something you love to do. If so, here are some questions we hear a lot and we hope you’ll find helpful:

    How tall should I mow my grass?
  • Set your mower at 4 inches
  • In the winter, you can go down to three inches
  • A week before aeration, lower it a couple notches because you won’t be mowing it for a few weeks to allow the seed to germinate
  • When should I mow?
  • Whenever you have time.
  • We suggest you let US mow it and do what YOU do best. Check out our mowing section.
  • How to make those cool yard lines like the professionals do?
  • With a cool mower of course!
  • You will need a mower with a blade that has a very high revolution speed
  • What pattern should I mow my yard in?
  • In a perfect world you would alternate direction every week. But, some areas don’t lend themselves well to this. Do the best that you can.
  • How often should I sharpen my blades?
  • Preferably when they are dull.
  • But in general, probably a couple times a season during peak mowing season.
  • Can someone sharpen my blades for me?
  • Yes – some hardware stores still do it
  • Google it!

How do I choose the best plants for different sides of the house?

There are a lot of considerations here. Some plants do better in different types of sunlight and in different positions around the house. But to be honest, the subject is too broad to fully discuss here. To answer specific questions we need some additional information like:

    Does this side of the house:
  • Have all day sun
  • Afternoon sun
  • Partial sun
  • Is having the plant evergreen all year important to you?
  • Do you want a plant to be low maintenance?
  • Is color important?
  • Be honest…are you willing to water it as suggested?
  • Often when you are walking around or driving around, you might see a plant or shrub and think to yourself, “I’d love to have that in front of my house.” If you see something that you like at your neighbor’s house or while you are out walking, one thing we suggest is to go ahead and take a photo of it and send it in to us and we will help you identify it. Most cell phones have a camera these days. Here are some of the photos we’ll need:
  • One up close
  • One further away – so we can see the size and scale of the plant
  • One with your hand behind the leaf and take a photo, which will give an idea of the leaf size.