Monthly Archives: April 2016

Why This is the Year for Mosquito Control

We all know how annoying mosquitoes can be, especially when trying to entertain outdoors or enjoy the patio or garden. But did you know that mosquitoes are not just a nuisance but, also a potential threat to your family’s health and well-being? This year, more than most, mosquitoes have been making headlines in the news and all over the internet.

Mosquito-borne diseases have been under intense scrutiny this year due to a rise in the transmission of the Zika virus in the southern and central Americas.The World Health Organization reports that the virus is an international public health emergency. In addition to Zika, there are other mosquito-borne illnesses closer to home that also pose a threat to your family. The West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”) are viruses that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. These diseases can be transmitted to your family and pets through a single bite!

In light of these potential illnesses, isn’t it time you consider mounting a counter attack and reclaiming your yard from mosquitoes? Using a canister of insect repellant is a good start but, wouldn’t you like to have peace of mind by hiring a professional to get the job done right?

Why use Pro-Tech?

  • Experts take the guesswork out of when and where to treat the yard. Pro-Tech technicians can put your property on a monthly treatment plan. This will provide maximum protection throughout the active mosquito season from the first buzz till they are gone for the winter.
  • Professionals use the right amount of product and treat in a way that keeps your family safe. Homeowners that try to do-it-themselves tend to go with the “more is better” solution, which may use too much product and cause chemical issues.
  • Experienced technicians may make recommendations on ways to further reduce the pest populations at your property, including eliminating standing water. With decades of education and experience in this area, we can help you understand about the common ways to prevent mosquitoes from being attracted specifically to your yard.
  • The cost savings for your time and effort can be amazing if you truly value your time spent outdoors this spring and summer season.

Best Practices for Spring Seeding

Have you noticed that your grass just isn’t looking that great? It may be thin in some areas, browning in others or maybe it just isn’t as rich, thick and green as it used to be.  The answer may not be more watering, mowing or fertilizing but rather seeding. While late summer to early fall is usually the best time to establish a new lawn from seed, overseeding may be done in the spring to correct bare patches or thin turf. Let’s take a look at this option to make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

What is Overseeding?

The practice of overseeding lawns includes spreading grass seed over an existing lawn. The practice of overseeding lawns is primarily reserved for cool season type grasses such as tall fescue, fine fescue, perennial and annual ryegrass, and, occasionally, bluegrass. Most cool season grasses like these tend to grow in bunches, close together, which means that thinner areas can exist fairly easily if good lawn care techniques are not followed.

Researchers at Penn State’s Agricultural School report that spring and early fall overseeding can be made following aeration (six to eight passes over the lawn), dethatching, or by using a disk-type seeder that drops seed into slits in the soil. When overseeding, it is especially important that the seed is in contact with the soil and has space to germinate and develop.

Overseeding includes more than just throwing some seed on your grass and watering.  Overseeding includes:

  • Raking the parts of your lawn that you are going to seed and remove any rocks or debris from the surface.
  • Tilling the area or aerating to improve compaction.
  • Irrigating the area lightly to encourage the soil to settle.
  • Sowing grass seed over the soil at the rate indicated for the species of grass you are using. (Read the instructions on the seed package.)
  • Covering the seeds with no more than 1/4 inch of straw to improve water retention and prevent erosion. Remove once the seed has begun to germinate.

 

If this sounds a bit more than you have in mind then, doing it yourself may not be the best way to go.  Contact Pro-Tech Lawn Care for options that may be available so you can get back to that rich, thick grass you once had.

The When and How of Aeration

Ask any gardener the simple question of what grass needs to grow rich and thick and, they will tell you that grass needs nutrients, sunlight and water. In a nutshell, they are right but that answer is too simplistic. A more complete answer would include planning for issues that may stop nutrients and water from getting to the roots in the first place.  One such problem is compaction. Over time, the soil in your lawn may become compressed, which will prevent any water or nutrients from reaching the roots.

So how do you solve this problem?  Any lawn expert will tell you that aeration is the answer!  Let’s look at this process and answer the most common questions when it comes to aeration.

What is Aeration?

You have probably seen lawns that have been aerated.  They look like they have small plugs of dirt pulled up from small holes all over a lawn. Aeration looks like this because it is the process of creating small holes in a lawn in order to allow essential nutrients, water, and air to circulate through your lawn. The more direct path water and nutrients have to the roots means the stronger the plant.  Aeration also helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn.

Should I Aerate?

There are specific instances that would indicate that your lawn needs aeration.  For instance:

  • If your lawn sees heavy traffic with children, pets, neighbors and visitors. Children and pets running around the yard contribute to soil compaction.
  • If you notice that the lawn is having difficulty absorbing the water after a rain storm or watering, this might mean that the soil is so compact that there is no way for it to be absorbed.
  • If you have a thatch problem in your grass.
  • If you commonly park cars, bikes or other equipment on the lawn for extended periods of time.

Once you decide that your lawn needs aeration you will want to plan for it during the growing season. Pro-Tech Lawn Care offers two different options for our customers. Both options are extremely beneficial to your turf and will help to enhance your lawn.

 

Spring Patio Prep

It’s what you have been waiting for!  The spring and summer grilling season is almost upon us.  Warm evenings spent out by the fire pit with friends and family is something you have probably been looking forward to since the first snowfall last December. Here at Pro-Tech Lawn Care, we know that getting ready for the spring season isn’t all about prepping your lawn and garden, it is also about getting your deck and patio ready for entertaining. Here are a few suggestions to make this job easier and your patio looking its best.

  • Clean – One of the first steps to being “patio-ready” is the not so enjoyable cleaning of the deck, patio and furniture.  Hopefully you did a thorough job of clearing away the leaves and debris in the fall, otherwise you may have a mold or mildew issue if leaves have been sitting around wet and cold all winter. A power washer may be helpful to wash away the dirt and grime of winter on all surfaces.  If you have discoloration on stonework, a treatment of muriatic acid or warm water and soap may help. Before you start cleaning pick a sunny day so there will be plenty of time for everything to dry in the sun.
  • Inspect – During the cleaning process, you may have found parts of your patio that may need repair, or that have evidence of pest infestation. This is a good time to make necessary repairs and contact a lawn care company like Pro-Tech to examine your pest problem.
  • Lawn Ornaments – Hopefully, all lawn ornaments and other movable items were put away during the winter.  Give these a good cleaning before replacing them on the lawn.  Try to be aware of where you put these items so that they don’t fade in direct sun or attract wildlife. Remember, grass will die if blocked from the light and water.
  • Lawn Furniture – Depending upon the type of lawn furniture you have, taking care of these items may include: painting faded areas, oiling hinges, tightening screws, washing cushions, sponging down frames, and washing off the umbrella.

It may take a weekend to get everything ready for your first party or BBQ, but it will be worth it in the end when your friends and family help you celebrate the start of the outdoor season.

The Scoop on Fertilizer

Nurturing a lush, green lawn is a labor of love for many gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts. It takes lots of patience, hard work and a bit of know-how to get and maintain that healthy looking lawn. One of the steps to this thick, beautiful grass is fertilizing – the right amount, at the right time and with the right type of fertilizer.  While no two lawns are the same and factors such as shade, irrigation, and types of plantings come into play, fertilizing is an essential part of building a great lawn.

Want the scoop on fertilizer?  Here are some good rules to follow when planning and creating your ideal landscape.

Why Fertilize?

Fertilizer is an important part of your lawn’s care in that it aids with the general health of the grass roots and plant. The healthier the grass is, the more it can tolerate pests, like weeds, disease and insects. A well-fed lawn has a better root system to combat heat, cold, drought, mowing, foot traffic and other stresses. Fertilizer also helps add nutrients, which keeps your lawn looking nice and aesthetically pleasing.

When to Fertilize?

Depending upon your schedule and type of grass, when you should fertilize can vary.  Some homeowners have a limited amount of time and find that feeding their lawn can only happen once a year, while others feed theirs on a schedule that may include up to four annual feedings.

  1. Early Spring is when your lawn is beginning to wake up, so-to-speak, so many homeowners put down a first fertilizer at this point in the cycle. This is a good time to add nutrients and strengthen the root system.
  2. Late Spring/Early Summer is a time when the grass has been very busy growing and using up much needed energy. Feeding the lawn at this point can help replenish that stored energy in the root system.
  3. Summer can be a tough haul for grass especially if there has been any drought, major foot traffic or insect issues.  Fertilizing again during this time can be a great help.
  4. Fall is an ideal growing time for grass since the days tend to be fairly warm and the nights are cool. Most experts agree that if there is a time to fertilize, this is it.  Fertilize before the grass goes dormant for the long, cold winter.

Pro-Tech Lawn Care can set you up with a maintenance schedule that will take all the guesswork out of “when” to fertilize. We can also help you decide on what the right type of fertilizer is appropriate for your lawn whether you have shade, no shade, or other needs in your yard. Call us today to get started!