why four lawn treatmentsIf you are rubbing shoulders with homeowners who are genuinely concerned or actively taking care of their lawn, you probably heard the “four lawn treatments” principle once or a couple of times.

And for those of you who have never heard it, the four lawn treatments concept is basically revolving about the 4-step programs for lawn care throughout the year – spread into different seasons. So basically, the four lawn treatments program is one that was first coined by the Scotts 4-step program which became famous in a short manner of time.

What is the Scotts 4-step lawn care program?

In a nutshell, this is a program that was designed for people who like things easy. The Scotts LawnService is built around the desire to have a simplified program which is easy to follow and one that takes the guesswork out of your lawn care.

  • The first step in the program is based on adding a crabgrass preventer plus lawn food to your turf
  • The second step is reserved for weed control and lawn food
  • The third step revolves around adding lawn food with 2% iron
  • The fourth step is all about giving your lawn food to survive the fall

The Cost Of The Scotts 4-Step Lawn Care Program

The cost of the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is not that big. The bags alone can be found for around $110 per bag on Amazon, assuming that you don’t need to buy more than that. However, if you have a large lawn, you may want to reconsider.

While a cheap spreader can be found for anywhere between $60 and $90, the costs start to pile up and add up quickly, going towards the $500 region for the full program. However, the cost is not the only thing to think about here – you need to see whether all of this pays off and whether the program is worth it.

scotts lawn care

So, is the Scotts 4-Step Lawn Care Worth It?

If you have been reading our blog and read the list above, you probably see that this program is very incomplete in many things.

At the same time, this program is lacking a lot of essential information. On a large scale, it is not even closely including all of the things that your lawn needs in order to look and perform at its best.

Below, we are focusing on the actual disadvantages of the Scott 4-step lawn program and generally all “four lawn treatment” types out there. So, let’s begin.

Why Scotts 4-Step (Four Step Lawn Care) Program Doesn’t Cut It

As we hinted above, the Scotts 4-Step Program is severely lacking in many aspects. It is very difficult to give a straight answer and cover all of these aspects. In general, the program was not thoroughly planned and suffers from four main problems.

Problem #1: Applying The Crabgrass Preventer “On Or Before Easter” – WRONG

crabgrass applyingThe best way to review the four step lawn care program by Scotts – is to actually start from the first step of the program.

As you probably know, if you have seen the program, the first step is the crabgrass preventer and lawn food. As the Scotts LawnCare program advises, it is important to get an application down some time “on or before Easter.”

In reality, this timeline is very concerning to any homeowner. Despite the fact that Scotts is actually trying to simplify the program by using a holiday that you will remember, the date of Easter is changing every year. Sometimes, the difference can be 20 days, so it is definitely tough to stick to a changing date and a changing period each and every year.

Now, why are we focusing on this detail?

Well, the timing of when you get your crabgrass preventer (known as a “pre-emergent” herbicide) is absolutely critical to its success. This has little to do with the date and exact time – but more to do with the soil temperatures (20 days in April can definitely make a huge difference).

So, we would advise all homeowners to put the product down prior to the crabgrass seeds starting to germinate. This is only because the product works by forming a barrier that prevents it from growing even more.

Another problem with this first step is that one application won’t be enough to prevent a weed that will be as persistent and unceasing as crabgrass. This is why at Green Turf Care, we always apply two rounds of crabgrass as a pre-emergent (preventer) because of its tenacity.

Knowing that in spring there is a lot of rain, our experts know that this rainfall can break down the product to some degree – which is again why they make sure to put down two applications and ensure that they are doing everything to prevent the weed from growing.

Note: If it does break through, our team will focus on spot-spraying of post emergent crabgrass control and knock it back. Unlike the Scotts 4-Step Program which focuses on one application, we will make sure to monitor the growth of your grass and its overall health.

Problem #2: Weed Control + Lawn Food Is Less Effective Than Liquid Weed Control Products

weed control guideThe second problem comes from the second step of the four lawn care guide by Scotts. This involves the use of weed control and lawn food. Now, if you have ever hired a Pennsylvania lawn service, you probably know that weed control products come in many forms.

Scotts form is actually a granular weed control product which is way less effective than a liquid weed control product which is known as the gold standard in the industry and as a “professional grade” product.

The store-bought product from Scotts actually demands for the lawn to be wet when you apply it (so that the granules break down). However, if there is no rain in the immediate forecast, how are you going to do this?

Scotts is quite upfront about this rule and say that the product must be applied “on a calm day” and “on a damp lawn” or specifically “when rain is not expected for at least 24 hours.” 

If you are doing your Pennsylvania lawn care yourself, you probably know that ideal weather conditions like these rarely show – and won’t show when you want them to. If you are busy and have only weekends to actively work on your lawn, a weather like this is definitely not what you should expect at all times.

Even if you do…

And apply the granular weed control formula on a damp lawn and with the right conditions…

Take into account the following…

Buying the Scotts 4-Step Program means buying store-bought products for your lawn. This means a store-bought weed killer and whatnot else. Well…

Research from Ohio State University has shown that store-bought and non-professional grade products are only 40% effective when compared to professional-grade weed control products. Knowing that weeds are one of the main problems that homeowners have, it is always important to consider a professional-grade product rather than settling for 40% effectiveness.

Note: Besides not being “professional-grade,” the weed killer in Scotts 4-Step Program says to apply “near Memorial Day.” The wrong thing here is the timing – by Memorial Day, your lawn will likely be flooded with weeds because this period is quite late to start attacking them as you want to be.

Problem #3: Lawn Food With Iron Is A ‘Below The Standard Formula For Summer Lawn Care

lawn food summer lawnAt this point, your lawn would be deep in the mid-summer point when it would require a lot of nutrients and a lot of water to survive and be as healthy as possible.

In the Scotts 4-Step Lawn Care program, the third step is associated to giving lawn food with iron. Now, while all of this is good, lawn food with iron is only one of the many requirements that lawns have during summer.

In fact, summer is a period when your lawn care program needs to be complete and focused on attacking crabgrass breakthrough as well as nutsedge and summer annual weeds. This requires their own specialized treatments.

At this time of the year, what is also important for your lawn care program is to have a grub control treatment + a treatment for surface-feeding insects, which can affect your turf in a negative way if it is not properly dealt with.

To sum things up, the Scotts 4-Step Program does not address lawn insects which are a serious threat nowadays – nor it takes into account all the crabgrass and nutsedge outbreaks.

Problem #4: Featuring A Product For Fall Lawn Food – Without any Weed Killers (Again)

weed killers fallThe final step in the Scotts 4-Step Program is the one where the lawn care company advertises a product for fall lawn food. However, by some miracle, they do not address the dangers that weeds present at this time of the year – and how they need to be treated again.

As you know if you are reading our weed control blog articles and guides, weeds are a serious threat in the fall and need to be properly controlled. Aside from them, the product which is advertised in the four step lawn care program by Scotts is missing out a lot of things including soil health which is the secret to a fantastic lawn.

The Bottom Line: Scotts 4-Step Lawn Care Is Not Comprehensive & Very Misleading

The bottom line is that this is a rather generic lawn care program that misses out on tons of details. In contrast to it, there are a lot of professional lawn care companies that are focusing on a far more thorough approach for both residential and commercial lawn care.

While in theory the idea of having a simple 4-step program is something that every lawn owner will appreciate, Scotts is not the best source for a year-round lawn care which includes every single thing for a healthy and lush lawn.

This is mainly due to the fact that every lawn needs more than four applications – and that ideal weather conditions are not always there. 

What’s also important to note is the fact that besides weeds and food, there are many other things that your lawn needs (to deal with) and one that it needs to fight off, respectively. From insects to cold, soil and turf , the overall health is best achieved when you are comprehensive in your approach.

                                                    Our fall lawn management checklist lets you see the difference.


Every homeowner would like to get a program that comes with a guarantee. If the program doesn’t work, they are on their own.

Well, guess what…

Scotts 4-Step Lawn Care is a program that comes without any guarantees. This means that Scotts won’t refund you for purchasing all of the bags. On the other hand, when working with a professional lawn care company, they are going to stand behind their work and guarantee each service.

Which brings us to the final part where we compare Scotts 4-Step program and all four step lawn care programs in general – with our own comprehensive lawn service in Pennsylvania.

What Makes Our Pennsylvania Lawn Service Better Than Any Four-Step-Formula?

Working with a professional eliminates any hassle in regards to your lawn care program.

Not only they are standing behind their work – they will return to take care of anything that is missed out on. This is what our team at Green Turf Care in Pennsylvania prides itself on – and how it proves customers that lawn care is all about the approach.

By hiring a lawn care professional, you are basically investing in a beautiful lawn and knowing that you are getting there through a comprehensive program which includes everything. Hiring Green turf Care means that you will get:

  • Regular control and maintenance on your turf all year long
  • The right weed control applications
  • A unique fertilization service
  • Insect control, grub control and more
  • A full and written guarantee on our work

In short, hiring Green Turf Care means that you don’t want to have to worry about doing lawn care yourself. You will have the right team standing by your side – and professionals who know what your lawn needs and when.

lawn care program

Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Pennsylvania home? Request your quote by contacting us today!