Prevent Pests from Ruining your Outdoor Entertaining

Summer is such a great time for outdoor entertaining around the grill, fire pit, or pool, as the days are longer and the weather is perfect for such events. Unfortunately, these fun get togethers sometimes have uninvited guests such as pests like bees, flies, mosquitoes, and ticks. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to prevent pests from ruining your outdoor entertaining this summer.

 

  • Yard Treatment – Talk to our experts about treating your yard for mosquitoes and other pests that can be a huge pain during outdoor dinner parties. Our comprehensive monthly treatment program can protect your family and guests from ticks, mosquitoes, and other flying pests throughout the active season.
  • Cover Foods – The item that most attracts pests during your BBQ or dinner parties is most likely the food! Cover all food serving dishes when possible or, better yet, move them into the kitchen and have guests serve from inside. One item that tends to attract bees are soda and beer cans. Bees love to nose around in these cans and can sting an unsuspecting drinker. Keep cans and drinks covered as well.
  • Dress for Prevention – While it may be hot outside, the pests love exposed skin. Try to wear long sleeved, light weight clothing that will protect the largest part of your body. Use insect repellent such as Permethrin on clothing and DEET on skin.
  • Use Fans – Mosquitoes and other insects have trouble landing when there is a stiff wind or human-made wind from a fan. Bring out some standing fans and direct them on guests around your patio so that these buggers can’t get a chance to land and bite.
  • Try Insect Repelling Plantings – Up the odds that your outdoors will be pest-free by planting some naturally insect repelling plantings. The following plants are known to have mosquito-repelling properties: marigolds, Rosemary, Lavender, Basil, and Catnip.

 

Talk to our team at Pro-Tech Lawn Care about how you can prevent pests from ruining your time outside with our helpful tips and treatment solutions. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Nothing can ruin a day of gardening, playing, or entertaining quite like the annoyance of mosquitoes. They buzz in your ear, bite your ankles and cause welts that itch like crazy! Not only are these little pests a nuisance, but they can also be dangerous as they can carry and transmit diseases. Zika, West Nile Virus, and a list of other mosquito-borne diseases carried by these pests can make humans very ill and, in some cases, can be fatal. Here are a few tips to mosquito-proof your yard this year so you can enjoy it for what it was intended.

 

  • Remove Breeding Sites – For a typical yard this means removing all sources of standing water around your yard, whether it is a pet bowl, an upside down frisbee, a kiddie pool, or a spare tire hidden behind the shed. Fix leaky hoses, properly store pool covers, and clean out gutters that may harbor a hidden breeding location.
  • Keep your Lawn Well-Manicured – Long grass is a great place for mosquitoes to get out of the sun. Keeping your grass short and yard well-maintained is essential to mosquito control.
  • Treat your Yard – Many homeowners are turning to mosquito treatments, especially along fence/property lines and along foundations. Talk to our experts at Pro-Tech Lawn Care to see how this could benefit your family.
  • Avoid Peak Hours – Mosquitoes tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. The lack of wind, sunlight, and heat makes this an ideal time for feeding. If you must be out during this time, wear lightweight long sleeved/pant clothing and protect yourself with Permethrin on clothing and DEET on skin.
  • Encourage Neighbors to Get Onboard – If your yard is mosquito-proofed and your close neighbor is not then your efforts may not work. So get your neighbors on board and help them create a mosquito-free zone as much as possible.

 

Need help making your yard mosquito-proof? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

4 Tips to Prevent Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

As the weather improves, New Englanders tend to start spending more and more time outdoors playing, gardening, enjoying the sun, and entertaining. While humans are getting out more, so are the pests and insects, specifically pests like ticks that can transmit disease such as Lyme. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 300,000 new cases of this tick-borne disease every year. Now is the time to take certain steps to prevent tick bites and potentially Lyme Disease. Here are four tips to help keep you and your family safe this season.

 

  1. Create a Tick-Free Zone – Staying indoors during the height of the tick season is not a viable option, so try to create a tick-free zone around your home. Do this by keeping your lawn, garden, and plantings well-groomed and manicured. This can keep the tick habitat away from your property. In addition, consider a tick barrier by placing wood chips or bark mulch around the perimeter of your property. Some homeowners choose to have their property treated by professionals like our technicians here at Pro-Tech Lawn Care.
  2. Enjoy the Outdoors Safely – If your outdoor plans include being in an area that could have ticks, which is just about anywhere, dress wisely. Wear lightweight long pants and shirts, stay on hiking paths, and protect yourself with tick repellant such as DEET for skin and Permethrin for clothing.
  3. Perform Tick Checks – After being outdoors, make a habit of checking yourself, your partner, and children every evening. Ticks especially like to hide in armpits, along the neck and hairline, in the scalp, behind the knee, and along the waistline. Do not just rely on a sight check; also use your hands to feel for small specks that could be ticks.
  4. Remove Ticks – If you should find a tick, don’t panic! Attempt to remove the tick with tweezers. Getting the tick off in the first 24 hours can dramatically reduce the chance of transmitting Lyme Disease from tick to person.

 

While we encourage people to enjoy the outdoors every spring and summer, we also caution everyone to be vigilant for ticks by proactively treating as well as checking for ticks after each time outside. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for more information and help treating your yard this season. Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Don’t Make These Common Spring Lawn Care Mistakes

Sometimes homeowners find it hard to get back into the swing-of-things when it comes to caring for their lawn each spring. After all, it has been a few months and all those things you thought you would do or, at least, remember to do with your lawn have gone by the wayside. Did you remember to drain the gas and oil out of the lawn mower? Did you plant bulbs last year or agree to wait? Hmmm. Well, while you adjust to your spring lawn care chores again, let us remind you about some of the more common mistakes homeowners make every year so you can avoid them yourself.

 

  • Forgetting to Sharpen the Mower Blade – Yep, this is an easy one to forget about. The mower blade should be sharpened regularly and over the winter was a great time to do it while you don’t need the mower. If you still need to do this, now is as good a time as any.
  • Failing to Test the Soil – Too many homeowners skip this step of finding out how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Without this, you really don’t have any idea about the needs of your lawn.
  • Failing to Remove Items from the Grass – Lots of homeowners allow lawn ornaments, grills, and even cars to stay on the lawn over the winter months, thinking that they will not do any harm. Anything left on the grass can almost ensure that the grass underneath will be long dead and leave a large bare spot on your lawn. To fix this, you may need to reseed completely in this area.
  • Bagging the Lawn Clippings – Research has shown that, while it doesn’t look as clean and tidy and lawns that have every cut blade removed, the results can be astounding. By leaving clippings in the grass after mowing you are adding much needed nitrogen and organic matter to the grass.
  • Over/Under Watering – This mistake is fairly common. Do you see dry dead patches on your lawn or possibly the opposite – puddling? These two conditions are an indicator that you are either watering too little or too much, respectively. Water several times a week deeply. Check with a screwdriver to see how easily the tool sides in to the grass or if it is met with resistance, thus indicating dry ground.

 

Do you need help avoiding lawn care mistakes? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Fungus, Mold, and Mildew… Oh My!

There are many things that can ruin our lawns, from pests to Mother Nature, but trifecta of destruction can be done by fungus, mold, and mildew! Yuck. Lawn fungal diseases can take on a variety of forms, from dark brown patches to slimy moldy looking areas. None of it is healthy and should be dealt with to get your lawn back to a healthy state. Let’s take a look at some common fungal diseases that can harm your lawn, as well as what could be the root cause of them.

 

Common Fungal Diseases

 

  • Brown Patch is a turfgrass disease that is caused by the Rhizoctonia species of fungus and tends to strike during hot, humid weather. It is one of the most destructive lawn diseases as it can destroy large areas of turf virtually overnight when the weather conditions are just right. The disease begins to show growth when temperatures reach 65°, but the most active growth of brown patch lawn disease occurs at temperatures of 80-85° when humidity levels are very high. The appearance of large swaths of brown patches are usually the first sign of the disease that homeowners notice.
  • Fusarium Blight is also known as Necrotic Ring Spot and is a devastating, soil-bound disease that is most noticeable and damaging during the prolonged hot, dry conditions of summer. This disease first appears near sidewalks, driveways, and on areas with direct sunlight. This disease may appear as a round area of dead grass with a small area of thriving grass in the middle.
  • Dollar Spot develops in a distinct circle about the size of a silver dollar. This disease tends to occur when nights are cool and the dew is heavy. Excessive thatch and high humidity also gives rise to this disease.

Causes of Lawn Fungus

Your lawn is naturally full of mold, spores, and fungi of all different types. Most of this is harmless unless conditions become ripe for disease growth. Conditions that can cause this include:

  • High levels of thatch and soil compaction
  • Drought
  • Overwatering
  • High humidity for extended periods of time
  • The wrong amount or type of fertilizer

 

Do you suspect that the rings, brown spots, thin patches, or slimy areas may be fungus, mold, or mildew growing in your lawn? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

What’s Up with the Ladybugs?

Ladybugs may be one of the more beloved pests, (if there is such a thing). They have cute songs written about them, children love drawing them, and dog-gone-it they are cute. Well that is unless they and hundreds of their closest friends have become your housemates! Why is it that in the fall, and again in the spring these critters find themselves crawling all over your home, sometimes even inside your home? It may be enough to ask, “What’s Up with the Ladybugs?”

 

Ladybugs, while somewhat adorable, are cluster hibernators, which means that every fall they secrete a pheromone that attracts hundreds of their friends and family in search of a place to spend their winter hibernating. Unfortunately, this location may be the walls, eaves, and other hidden places inside your home! This event usually occurs on sunny days in late October or early November. You may notice them right around trick-or-treating time. They are most attracted to homes with natural wood siding and ample sun exposure. They’re also attracted to houses in wooded areas, light-colored houses warmed in sunlight, and especially older houses with lots of crevices to find their way in.

 

In the spring these same Ladybugs are beginning to awaken, which means we repeat the process except in reverse. At first you may notice one or two crawling out from their hibernation into the light, confused but ready for the spring. Then as the days and weeks progress you may see many more working their way back to the outdoors. Help them along their journey or leave them be. Unfortunately, Ladybugs can leave stains and may be seen as a nuisance. The good news with Ladybugs is that these pests are really just an annoyance since they do not pose a health threat and do not damage structures. Do you have questions about the pests in and around your house? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

 

Spring Lawn Care – Where to Start?

Welcome to spring! Are you ready to hit the ground running in regard to caring for your lawn and garden? If the answer is yes, then you may be wondering where to start. Should you start aerating, fertilizing, or treating for pests? The answer may be different for each homeowner, but there are some commonalities in what should be done. Here is a quick guide of where to start when it comes to spring lawn care. 

 

  • Clean Up – Start your spring lawn care with a comprehensive clean up of your yard. That means all leaves, debris, and yard items should be removed from the grassy areas. If you see accumulations of rock salt along hardscapes, clean those up as well. If any dead plantings are in the garden still, remove those as well.
  • Dethatch – Once every little stick, branch, and garden gnome has been removed from the yard, begin dethatching your grass. Thatch is that dead grass built up around your yard. Raking the thatch out allows for new seed to grow and for much needed sunlight, water, oxygen, and nutrients to get down to the grassroots.
  • Soil Testing – When was the last time you tested your soil to find out the pH level? Knowing if your soil is too acidic or alkaline can help you grow a lush, green lawn this year.
  • Aerate – After a fall and winter of soil compaction, your lawn may need to be loosened up a bit. Aerating the lawn either by using a machine or a hand held tool can allow for the high traffic areas and areas that are matted down to to be loosened.
  • Weed/Pest Control – Believe it or not, you may already have weeds or pests finding their way into your lawn. Treatments for both may need to be determined by examining what kinds of weeds or what kinds of pests are invading your grass. Pro-Tech Lawn Care can evaluate your lawn for invaders and plan an appropriate course of treatment.
  • Seed/Hydroseed – Once you have dethatched and aerated, you may notice that some of your lawn is bare or thinning. Ask our specialists about our seeding/over seeding or hydroseeding options to get your grass looking thicker and healthier.

 

Need help getting started this spring? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

5 Benefits of Mulching in your Yard

Every spring homeowners across the nation spend hours and hours preparing their yards, planting flowers, trimming bushes, mowing the lawn, and gardening. For some it is the aesthetic beauty of the yard that motivates them, for others it is the prospect of entertaining outdoors that gets them mowing, clipping, and planting. No matter the reason, it is always good to have a strategy to make your property look the best that it can. Mulching is one such strategy that has many benefits, from weed and pest control to preventing soil erosion. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 main benefits of mulching your yard.

 

  1. Pest Control – Many types of mulches have oils, fragrances, and organic matter that repel many different kinds of pests. Unfortunately, some mulches do attract pests, so be sure to talk to a lawn care specialist before laying down any mulch this spring. Choosing the right type of mulch can add one more layer of protection against the pests that tend to invade at this time of year.
  2. Weed Control – Mulch acts as a barrier that limits sunlight to the weeds beneath. By limiting that sunlight, weeds have less of a chance to prosper under your plantings, bushes, and trees.
  3. Moisture and Nutrient Retention – A layer of mulch (2 inches or so) can retain moisture and limit the effects of evaporation. This moisture retention can be especially important during the heat of the summer when plants need all the nutrients and moisture they can get. Mulch also has the ability to release nutrients into the soil as the organic compounds decay.
  4. Prevent Erosion – As rain water and sprinkler systems accumulate water around your yard, erosion can occur. This is especially true when the steepness of the grade causes water to run or drain out. Mulch has the ability to protect soil and slopes from the erosive power of water.
  5. A Finished Look – While mulch has the ability to prevent weeds, pests, and erosion, it also has the ability to give your lawn and garden a finished look. Mulch is an easy filler that can give your yard a bit of much needed “punch”.

 

Pro-Tech Lawn Care can help get your lawn and garden looking good and growing healthy. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

When to Worry About Ticks and Mosquitoes

Every summer we hear the warnings about disease-spreading pests like ticks and mosquitoes. If you are like most people, you probably don’t start worrying about these pests until you find a tick crawling on you or you get bit by a mosquito. We are here to remind you that these pests are not just annoying, but can carry disease and should be taken seriously. While most of us equate these pests with the heat of summer, they can, and do, emerge in the early spring months.

When to Worry About Ticks and Mosquitoes

Don’t be lulled into complacency when it comes to protecting yourself from these pests. Early May is usually when New Englanders begin noticing mosquitoes exposing themselves at dawn and dusk, and then eventually all day long. As for ticks, April to September are the most active time for them to emerge and become problematic. However, many ticks emerge as early as March when a quick warm up occurs.

What To Do

Just as you would during the peak of tick and mosquito months, take some simple precautions to avoid these biting pests.

  • Apply proper insect repellant to clothes and skin when necessary. Just because it is spring doesn’t mean that they are not carrying disease.
  • Take precautions like wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks when heading into the woods.
  • Avoid being out during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are at their worst.
  • Keep standing water away from your property where mosquitoes reproduce.
  • Check everyone for ticks after spending time outside. Take a shower to attempt to wash away ticks that have not bitten you yet.
  • Put dry clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks.

Visit our blog again in the coming months as we will keep you updated on tick- and mosquito-borne disease and how you can prevent them. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Mow the Right Way

Every Saturday and Sunday we see our neighbors going at it, mowing and trimming their lawns. They all seem to be doing it pretty much the same way. Why is it, then, that some lawns look picture-perfect while others just don’t. Is there some magical secret that some people follow when mowing? Probably not, since lawns are dependent on many factors including: sunlight, water, nutrients, aeration, fertilization, oxygenation, and the list goes on. Mowing is another factor that can help make a property look its best. Here are some ideas to help you Mow the Right Way and get your lawn looking amazing.

  • Keep your Equipment Running Well – It is hard to do a great job caring for your lawn if your trimmers, mower, and lawn tools are not at their best. Get a check up at a local hardware store where they can examine spark plugs, oil, blade sharpness, and general running of the motor. A healthy mower can only help you during the growing season.
  • Mow when it is time. This means that several things should be taken into account. For example: don’t mow when the grass is wet. Mow when the grass is dry. The blades will be upright and less likely to clump when cut. Also avoid mowing in the heat of the day to prevent heat stress on your grass and yourself.
  • Change the mowing patterns regularly. This keeps the grass from bending too much the in direction that you mow. Instead switch it up a bit each time to avoid grass bending and ruts in the lawn where you commonly mow.
  • Stick to the ⅓ Rule of mowing. Never cut off more than one third of the grass at one time to reduce injury to the crown and generate new growth.
  • Consider not bagging the clippings when you mow. The clippings can serve as a great organic addition to your lawn.

 

Is your lawn still not as green, lush, or beautiful as your neighbors’ lawns? Find out why by calling Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.