Monthly Archives: December 2014

Choosing Grass for the New England Climate

New England is known for its changes of seasons.  Mild, wet springs lead to hot, dry summers, and then on to the burst of color in the crisp air of fall.  While all these changes are the hallmark of living in this beautiful region, choosing a grass that can survive in this  changeable climate is critical for the health and growth of your lawn.  Grasses that grow well in the northeast region include cool season grasses.   They tend to grow quickly in the spring and fall and go dormant during the winter months.  Here are some suggestions of grasses that do well in the ever-changing seasons of the northeast.

  • Kentucky Bluegrass – This grass thrives in sunny locations in your yard and tends to be hardy and long lived.  It grows quickly and vigorously.  It will go dormant in dry conditions or extreme heat.  It produces soft green to dark green blades and mixes well with Perennial Rye Grasses.
  • Perennial Rye Grasses – Like Kentucky Bluegrass, perennial rye grows quickly even in the northeast’s short growing season.  Perennial rye grass tolerates partial shade as long as it is watered and fertilized appropriately.
  • Fine Fescues – This type of grass provides the best option for shady lawns.  This type also tends to be be drought resistant.  Fine Fescues tend to be fairly delicate therefore should not be planted in an area with a lot of foot traffic.
  • Tall Rescues – This type of grass tends to be more hardy and drought resistant.  It is best to use a mixture of grass when using this grass to fill in bald spots.

Shaded, sunny, dry or wet – a lawn professional can help you decide on the best type of grass or grass mixture that will thrive in your New England yard.  Consult Pro-Tech Lawn Care for a free estimate and a consultation about the type of grass that would be best for your lawn and yard.

Ice Melt and the Health of your Lawn

New England winters are notorious for their low temperatures, howling winds, and extreme snowfall.  Most New Englanders are a hardy stock that can handle the snowy roads and blistering cold.  We crank up the fireplace, shovel out the driveway and swarm up with hot chocolate . . .  and wait for spring.  The North East is populated with seasoned weather people.  We know to stock up and have the shovel, snow blower and rock salt ready.  Right?

Well, if you love your lawn and how green and healthy if can look in the warm spring sunshine, then you may want to reconsider the rock salt.  In know you are saying, “But ice is slippery and dangerous!” While we 100% agree that walkways and driveways should be shoveled and maintained for safety, there are some things your should know before you start throwing down the sodium chloride. Let’s look at the damage that Rock Salt may cause to your lawn.

The Hazards of Ice Melt

  • Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride) is effective at melting the ice off your steps and walkways.  However, it is also very corrosive to plants, animals, and your lawn.
  • Rock salt is a large amount of salt put into the environment.  The plants and animals can not handle the large amounts and thus the balance of the water and ecosystem is upset.
  • Salty water will cause brown spots, and dead grass in the spring if the water runs from your driveway toward your lawn or if rock salt sat atop your lawn in a snowpile for much of the winter.
  • Rock salt can also run into drainage systems and also cause an unbalance in the system.

Healthier Alternative for your Lawn and Garden – Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)

CMA  is one of the safest deicing products due to it’s low corrosive potential. This means less damage to cars, vegetation, sidewalks, and of course, your lawn.   CMA is biodegradable and its ice melt properties are comparable to most standard salt formulations.  The unfortunate part of this product is it’s price.  The  cost can be 20-30 times more than traditional rock salt products. Homeowners must make the decision to spend the money on the deicing product or risk the potential of repairing damaged lawn and plantings come spring.

Talk to your lawn care company about alternatives suggested for your area.  The extra time it takes now may save you a lot of heartache and time in the spring.

Hazards of Ice Melt on Lawns

New England winters are notorious for their low temperatures, howling winds, and extreme snowfall.  Most New Englanders are a hardy stock that can handle the snowy roads and blistering cold.  We crank up the fireplace, shovel out the driveway and warm up with hot chocolate . . .  and wait for spring.  The North East is populated with seasoned weather people.  We know to stock up and have the shovel, snow blower and rock salt ready.  Right?

Well, if you love your lawn and how green and healthy it can look in the warm spring sunshine, then you may want to reconsider the rock salt.  I know you are saying, “But ice is slippery and dangerous!” While we 100% agree that walkways and driveways should be shoveled and maintained for safety, there are some things your should know before you start throwing down the sodium chloride. Let’s look at the damage that Rock Salt may cause to your lawn.

The Hazards of Ice Melt

  • Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride) is effective at melting the ice off your steps and walkways.  However, it is also very corrosive to plants, animals, and your lawn.
  • Rock salt is a large amount of salt put into the environment.  The plants and animals can not handle the large amounts and thus the balance of the water and ecosystem is upset.
  • Salty water will cause brown spots, and dead grass in the spring if the water runs from your driveway toward your lawn or if rock salt sat atop your lawn in a snow pile for much of the winter.
  • Rock salt can also run into drainage systems and also cause an unbalance in the system.

Healthier Alternative for your Lawn and Garden – Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)

CMA  is one of the safest deicing products due to its low corrosive potential. This means less damage to cars, vegetation, sidewalks, and of course, your lawn.   CMA is biodegradable and its ice melt properties are comparable to most standard salt formulations.  The unfortunate part of this product is its price.  The  cost can be 20-30 times more than traditional rock salt products. Homeowners must make the decision to spend the money on the deicing product or risk the potential of repairing damaged lawn and plantings come spring.

Talk to your lawn care company about alternatives suggested for your area.  The extra time it takes now may save you a lot of heartache and time in the spring.

 

Choosing a Lawn Care Company

Last week we discussed reasons why choosing a lawn care company may be right for you and your family.  Now that you have made the decision to hand over the yard work, how do you choose the right lawn company.  How do you tell the amateurs from the professionals?  Here are some things to consider when searching for a professional to handle your precious yard.

  • Reputation – Do your homework!  Start by looking up the company on the internet.  With the dawn of Yelp and other business review sites you can gather all sorts of good information from, pricing, quality, and reliability just from a few keystrokes.  Once you have sorted out the shoddy lawn contractors from the more experienced ones you will want to do a quick ratings check with the Better Business Bureau. Outside of internet and BBB reviews ask your neighbors and friends who they recommend.  Word of mouth may help you lower your list down to some of the best companies.
  • Licensing and Insurance – If the company is licensed and insured you know that this is not just a side business but rather the company’s main source of work.  In addition, if a worker is injured on your property or a lawn mower throws a rock through your car window, you want to know that they are insured for damage and that you are not liable for injuries.
  • Customer Service – Does the lawn care company call you back or communicate effectively with you? Does the company give you a written quote? Are the employees polite and helpful with any questions you have? Does the company respond promptly to your concerns?  These are all questions to consider when choosing a lawn care company.
  • Equipment – While equipment varies for each job, does it seem to be well maintained? How often are blades sharpened? How often do they clean and maintain the engines or motors? Overall, how does the equipment rate- professional grade or common?

These are just a few things to consider when choosing a professional lawn company.  Remember that in every industry there are duds, but there are also companies that make it their mission to have good customer service and provide a great service for a reasonable price.

Reasons to Hire a Lawn Care Company

While the old adage that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence may not be accurate, your lawn may indeed need more care than you have the time or energy to give it.  Do you wonder how neighbors, friends, and relatives keep their yards looking so lush and green? Do you dread spending every weekend maintaining the plantings, bushes and edging?  If you are weighing these questions and struggling to keep up with the care and maintenance of your yard, now may be the time to look at hiring and lawn care company.  Let’s look at the reasons why an expert lawn team may be just what you need to maintain your property.

  • A Time Saver – Perhaps the biggest reason homeowners decide to switch to a lawn care company is the time saving aspect.  Who really wants to waste precious family time caring for grass, plantings, trees and bushes.  Doing a yard by yourself not only involves the time it takes to cut, fertilize, aerate, and seed the lawn.  It also means the time to buy supplies and equipment, maintaining that equipment and of course the inevitable clean up after clipping and cutting.
  • A Money Saver – Lawn Care contractors have professional level equipment and staff that can quickly and expertly care for your lawn.  Those companies subsidize their overhead with the volume of work they do.  If you had to buy similar professional equipment it would cost you a small fortune.  Along with the equipment comes the fertilizer, seed and the constant watering that would add to your “do-it-yourself” bill.  Most Americans spend between $400-$500 a season on lawn care.  In most cases hiring a lawn company can save you time and money.
  • An Expert Look – While caring for your yard by yourself may produce a fine look, care by an expert takes it to another level.  People hire experts for a reason, because they know exactly what they are doing and they do it very well.  A professional will know how to make your yard look its best.

Whether your yard has become a hassle, or it is taking too much time away from the things you love, or perhaps your senior parents can no longer handle the workload anymore, the reasons for switching to a lawn care company are valid.  Hiring a lawn care company that has years of experience can solve all those problems.  If you would like to save time, money and a lot of stress, call Pro-Tech for a Free Estimate.

Impact of Lawn Care on Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the attractiveness of a property, as viewed from the street for a potential buyer.  There are many things beyond the homeowner’s control that can detract from the attractiveness of the home such as: messy neighbors, tacky billboards, a busy road, or or a struggling school district.  There are, however, things that homeowners can do that will create a positive first impression of your home and property.  Real Estate experts say the number one thing that you can do to pique the interest of today’s picky house hunter is to keep a well-maintained lawn and yard.  From both a real estate and psychological viewpoint lawn maintenance is the biggest indicator of initial appeal to a property.

Curb Appeal by the Numbers: A Real Estate Perspective

According to the National Association of Home Builders, home buyers are looking for landscaping that is not only eye-catching but also has the ability to increase the resale value when it comes time to sell.  They quote a recent report that states that good landscaping can add up to as much as 28% to the overall home value. They also report that a nicely manicured lawn, edging and colorful plantings can cut the time a house stays on the market by 10-15%.  So not only can quality lawn care increase your home’s value but help it sell fast when the time comes.

Curb Appeal-  A Psychologist’s Perspective

Making a good first impression is always important regardless of whether it is in regards to business, dating or even at school.  Therefore, it makes sense that making a favorable first impression to house hunters is incredibly crucial to making the sale.  Those first moments a potential buyer pulls up to your curb sets the tone and expectation for the rest of the house.  Psychologists call this the “halo effect”.  This means that the impression the homeowner gets from the “get-go” will set the expectations for everything else.  This halo effect can mean that if a buyer sees a beautiful and neat lawn, he/she will view the entire home with that same “halo”.

The outside care of the home can tell the client that the inside will either please them or not.  Why not start the  home tour with the promise that the home and yard have been properly cared for and maintained.  As the old saying goes. . . “you only have one chance to make a good first impression.”