Monthly Archives: March 2016

Finding a Great Lawn Care Company

With spring almost upon us now, it is time to start thinking about our lawn and gardens. In fact, you probably have been dreaming about it since the first flakes started to fly this winter. While most homeowners can handle the mowing and the cultivating of their gardens, most need help with other things like: soil testing to determine your fertilizer and pH requirements, weed control, grub control, insect control of turf pests, and disease mitigation. You may also want additional services such as tick and mosquito control given the various illnesses and viruses that can be transmitted via these pests. That is where a professional lawn care company comes into play.  Here at Pro-Tech Landscaping we pride ourselves on providing quality lawn care and top-notch customer service.  We ask you to consider us when searching for a lawn care company this spring.  Here are some things you should consider when finding a great lawn care company.

  • Reputation – Start by checking out the company you are considering on the internet.  There are plenty of review sites like Yelp that can get you started. In addition, there are testimonials usually on each website. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the company is in good standing.  Finally, ask around to your neighbors and friends to find out who they think has done a good job.
  • License and Insurance – Since the company that you choose will be working on your property probably with equipment find out if they are properly insured and licenced in your area.
  • Contracts – If you are getting regular treatments ask about a contract that will ensure you get what you are paying for.
  • Price – Obviously talk to your technician about the cost and any hidden fees that may occur.  Also ask what happens if you require a service call in between applications.
  • Customer Service – This is such an important part of choosing any company for work.  Meet the technicians that will be doing your lawn and get a feel for how quickly they handle your issues as well as how they conduct themselves in a professional and friendly manner.

Spring Lawn Mistakes

Face it, we all make mistakes. Lawn mistakes are extremely common. In fact, many of us are making the same mistakes with our lawn over and over again. Thankfully, spring means we all start with a blank slate and start fresh.  Here are some mistakes to avoid this lawn care season.

  • Buzzing the Lawn Too Short – Many homeowners are a little excited to get the spring season started so they begin too early and cut too short. Cutting off too much of the grass blade will limit the ability to absorb sunlight, which is important for photosynthesis. This will make the plant less healthy and more prone to disease. If the lawn is scalped down to the dirt, weeds are also more likely to take over the area.  Nice, thick grass is one of the best weed prevention methods.
  • Overwatering – The best idea with watering is to water less frequently but deeper. Overwatering can lead to moss, mold and mushroom growth.
  • Dull Mower Blades – Mowing with dull, nicked, or bent lawn mower blades will actually tear the grass blade and not leave a clean cut. A torn or ripped blade of grass is also more prone to disease and insect damage. Sharpen the lawnmower blades at the start of each season and check periodically to make certain they remain sharp.
  • Fertilizer Mistakes – One of the most common mistakes made with lawn fertilizers is either applying too much or applying it at the wrong time of the year. If applied too heavy, it will actually burn the lawn. Often times when spring comes around people feel a need to fertilize their lawns in hopes of seeing a green plush lawn as soon as possible.  A slow release fertilizer may be the best course of action for residential lawns. The best time to fertilize a lawn is when it is actively growing. For northern lawns this means spring fertilizing, then limit as the weather gets warmer. When cooler weather returns in the fall, the lawn can again be fertilized.

 

Be Mower-Ready this Spring

Remember last fall when you were so relieved to be done with mowing for the season? That last mowing of your lawn was bittersweet right?  You were glad to be done with outside lawn work for a few months but you also knew that it meant a few months of cold and snow. Well, now winter is slowly coming to a close. . . finally. It will be a few weeks yet before the weather gets nice enough to do any of the preparations for planting and caring for your lawn. It is a time, however, to make sure your equipment is ready to roll once things start growing again!  Are you “mower-ready”?

A yearly inspection and tune-up (either by a professional or on your own, if you are especially handy) it’s important to ensure all parts of your mower are working properly and safely. Here are some tips to getting your mower in shape for the season to come.

  • Fuel – Did you leave the fuel in the tank or did you remember to empty it last fall?  Fuel can go bad in as little as one month so check that all gas has been drained. Once you have confirmed that the fuel tank is bare refill with fresh fuel. (Consult owner’s manual for the correct fuel type for your mower.)
  • Air Filter – Filters on a mower can quickly become filled with dirt and grass that flies during each mowing. If it becomes too clogged then it deprives oxygen from the engine resulting in sputtering and coughing of the engine and poor overall performance. Depending upon the type of air filter your engine uses, either replace or wash and dry with soap and water.  Again, consult that manual to the correct method of replacement or cleaning.
  • Oil – Before each use of your mower you should be checking the level of oil.  At the beginning of each season you should also be replacing the old oil with new and changing out the oil filter.
  • Spark Plugs – Mowers are constantly getting wet, dirty and collecting muck.  Spark plugs, therefore, should be replaced yearly for best performance. Spark plugs can quickly become rusty or damaged.
  • Blades – Dull blades cause grass tips to turn brown and, weakened blades are at higher risk for pests and disease. If the blade seems dull, bent or is not cutting properly, replace with a new one.

 

Getting your mower reading for this spring season is a crucial step in getting that well-manicured lawn that you have always wanted.

Common New England Grasses

Ever wonder about the grass in your yard? Are you growing the right kind for your area?  Are you caring for it the right way?  Could it look better with a bit more attention?  Finding the answers to these questions means studying up the types of grasses that grow best in our northeast climate.  Let’s take a closer look at the two major types and also several specific kinds of grasses that grow best in our constantly changing weather pattern in New England.

There are two main types of grasses used in residential lawns across the United States. Warm season grasses are appropriate for the long, warm summers and humid weather of the southern part of the country. Cool season grasses are better for the myriad of weather patterns known to exist in the northeast. These cool season grasses are hardy enough to withstand the cold temperatures. The most common of the cool season grasses include: Bentgrass, Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass.

  • Bentgrass – This type of grass is also known as creeping bentgrass and makes an ideal lawn grass. Bentgrass has bluish-green leaves that are long and slender and is known for its heavy, matted down look. This species of cool grass thrives in lower temperatures, making it an excellent choice for homeowners in the New England area.
  • Fescue – Fescue grass has a deep green color and grows fairly quickly even in partial sun and shady areas. Fescue is drought tolerant during which is a plus since many summer in New England can run a deficit in rainfall. However, this grass type is not all that sturdy, so it’s not recommended for areas of high-traffic.
  • Perennial Ryegrass – This grass species does well in a year-round mild climate and is able to handle cooler winters with little damage to your yard. Unlike the Fescue species, this grass does not grow well in shade. In hot summer months, it needs irrigation to stay green and healthy. Many homeowners blend this grass with Kentucky Bluegrass.  This technique will help it stand up to high-traffic and harsh weather conditions. Perennial ryegrass can endure heavy foot traffic, making it a good choice for families with children.
  • Kentucky Bluegrass – This grass species is among the most popular of the New England grasses, due to its ability to thrive in cooler climates. Leaf blades average 3 to 4 inches long and are bright green in color. Kentucky bluegrass seeds produce a lawn that is thick and lush. However, Kentucky bluegrass does not do well in excessive heat or shade.

 

Ask our professional technicians about which grass might be best for your lawn.  Call Pro-Tech Lawn care today at: (603) 382-9644 | Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

Top Tree Pests

From backyards to the lush forests, trees add so much to our world. Not only do trees have many benefits for the atmosphere but also add beauty, color and depth to our surroundings. The beneficial qualities of trees consist of a long list of characteristics such as the ability to: add oxygen to environment, absorb  carbon dioxide, conserve water use, prevent water pollution and soil erosion just name a few.  Unfortunately, along with the good comes the bad.  There are numerous tree pests that can damage and even contribute to the death of many trees in the United States.  Let’s review some of the most common pests that are harmful to our majestic trees.

  • Gypsy Moth – This notorious pest has been infesting hardwood trees since the 1980’s. It has defoliated close to a million or more forested acres each year. This coming spring look for egg masses that can hatch into hungry larvae that can quickly defoliate entire trees.
  • Ash Borer The Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle that is blamed for killing millions of ash trees annually and forcing quarantines on firewood and tree nursery stock in several states. the larvae feed on the ash bark and eventually girdle the tree.
  • Asian Longhorned Beetle – This pest has been reported in more than 14 states and is threatening many more.  The adult insects lays eggs in an opening in the bark. The larvae then bore large galleries deep into the wood. These “feeding” galleries disrupt the vascular functioning of the tree and eventually weaken the tree to the point that the tree literally falls apart and dies.
  • Forest Tent Caterpillar – This pest can be found wherever hardwood is grown.  The caterpillar will consume foliage of most hardwood species but prefers sugar maple, aspen and oak. The FTC can strip extensive stands of trees of all leaves.
  • Aphids – Leaf-feeding aphids are usually not damaging but large populations cause leaf changes and stunting of shoots. Some aphids inject toxins into plants and distort growth.