Monthly Archives: June 2016

Hydroseeding

Introducing one of our newest services – hydroseeding. Hydroseeding is a popular and effective method for starting a new lawn. This process includes combining seed, mulch, fertilizer, and healthy soil amendments with water to mix into form thick slurry. This slurry is applied with pressure to the surface for seed germination and turf development. Hydroseeding is a fast, cost effective, safe and healthy way to have a new lawn that will turn your neighbors green with envy. Let’s explore the advantages of hydroseeding for your lawn.

 

  • Cost Effective – Hydroseeding is the most economical choice for establishing the lawn desired without the expense, time consumption, material costs or installation demands of sodding or traditional hand seeding methods. Spreading your own seed may seem like it cost less but to get the same results of a thick, lush lawn would take you bags and bags or seed, hours of maintenance and extra costs like fertilizer, peat moss or straw.
  • Uniform Coverage – While homeowners may believe that they are spreading seed evenly over an area it is impossible to know if the coverage is uniform. Hydroseeding gives 100% coverage and uniformity. Hydroseeding creates an evenly covered area that forms a barrier to keep seed stabilized and retain moisture, fertilizer and other healthy growth-enhancing nutrients. Other beneficial coverage advantages of hydroseeding include its ability to cover large, difficult and inaccessible areas, such as slopes, that are too steep for sod applications.
  • Fast Acting – Hydroseeded lawns typically come in faster. It is not unusual to see early growth in as little as five or six days. And of course, the faster a lawn comes in, the less worries there are for nurturing it through its critical stages of germination and early growth.
  • Aesthetics and Health – Hydroseeded lawns have an attractive, lush, thick, green appearance. Since the root system is more firmly established through hydroseeding the lawn tends to be healthier, holds moisture better and allows for fewer weeds to take root.
  • Erosion Control – Protecting against erosion from wind, rain, sun and pests is one of the prevalent reasons for hydroseeding. The mixture used in the slurry allows for binding with the surface.

Lawn Diseases 2016

New England is a unique place to live. The seasons are nothing but spectacular here and something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. From large stretches of coastline to the beauty of the White Mountains, there is something for everyone.

Being such a unique and special place also means that New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island have specific regional characteristics that influence lawn care principles such as fertilization and disease control. If you call New England home you should be aware of the most common lawn diseases that can ruin your lush green lawn this summer.

Several diseases afflict New England lawns more than others.

  • Powdery mildew  is one of the most common, and typically appears in the late summer. It will disappear when excess moisture in the lawn dissipates; watering early in the morning so the water burns off in the sun can help prevent the disease.
  • Rust  is also relatively common. Standard fungicides can control it. Patience also works; the disease almost never survives New England’s winters, according to the University of Rhode Island.
  • Brown Patch and Large Patch diseases are closely related and will cause similar damage. They have two important differences. Brown patch becomes active in warm to hot weather during periods of high humidity. It primarily affects cool season grasses, although it also affects warm season grasses as well.Large patch is a cool weather disease that affects warm season grasses. Large patch is most commonly seen in the spring and fall.
  • Pythium Blight is also referred to as “greasy spot” or “cottony blight” and is one of the most destructive lawn diseases. It attacks mature turf as well as newly seeded or newly sprigged lawns. It strikes during hot weather, especially during periods of high humidity. It is a lawn disease closely associated with water movement, and poorly drained soils.
  • Dollar Spot Lawn Disease gets it name from the silver dollar sized, tan colored spots found on golf course greens. On home lawns, however, the spots will be from 3 to 6 inches in diameter. The sizes of the spots are related to the mowing height and blade size of the grass. Dollar spot lawn disease attacks low nitrogen turf. If you are having problems with dollar spot, it may be an indication that you need to apply more nitrogen.

Warm Weather Means Weeds!

Invader alert! Invader Alert! Crabgrass approaching!

 

Wouldn’t it be great if our lawns warned us when weeds were beginning the attack on our lush lawns that we labor so hard to make beautiful. Unfortunately, grass does not come with a built-in GPS for weeds.  Homeowners know that part of growing your own garden and maintaining a manicured lawn means that you will also be growing weeds at some point. What does the oncoming warm weather and this past winter’s mild weather mean for our lawns and weeds this summer?  Let’s take a closer look at some common weeds and what the 2016 winter means for their growth this year.

 

Usually, most warm weather weeds go dormant along with turfgrass during the cold winter months. They may even disappear, leaving just their roots or seeds in the soil. So, when you inspect your lawn toward the end of winter in preparation for the growing season, there could be no visual sign of weeds.

 

Well, it is no secret that this past winter (2015-2016)  was one of the mildest on record with record low snowfall and higher than normal temperatures. The warm weather spells that we’ve had the past winter have caused many perennial plants including hosta, flowering trees and bushes and Day Lilies to start growing earlier than normal. In fact the crocuses came out a full month earlier than usual.

Get what else is considered perennial. . . . weeds!  That means that you may have noticed weeds beginning to surface much earlier than normal. Crabgrass, and other weeds, will germinate when soil temperature reaches a consistent 55 degrees for about a week. Since the soil this past winter did not freeze over for an extended period of time, soil temperatures are already, on average, much warmer and reached 55 degrees much sooner this year. Are you concerned about the weeds that may be getting out of control in your yard? Better Homes and Garden has put together a Weed Identification guide to help you name and combat the weeds that may be attacking your lawn.  Your best bet is to contact a professional who can recommend and supply a treatment or options for your lawn. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for an appointment today.

New England Tick Update

After this uncommonly mild winter, the tick season could possibly be the worst on record. The winter that just ended was the hottest on U.S. record. What does this mean for the tick population?  While extreme cold temperatures won’t necessarily kill ticks it can delay their appearance in large numbers. So a warmer than normal winter can opposite effects. Chuck Lubelczyk, field biologist with Maine Medical Center Research Institute reports several important differences in this year’s tick population.

 

  1. The tick season got underway at least a month earlier than usual – March began the tick season for many property owners in and around the New England region.
  2. The warmer than usual winter has extended the season for the blood-sucking parasites.
  3. Following a record setting warm winter, many experts are now predicting that New England’s tick and mosquito population will also be higher than average too.

 

The Dangers of this Season’s Tick Population

With the bad news of the tick population being larger than normal and tick season being longer than normal what dangers should you be aware of?

 

  • Lyme Disease – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics indicate 96 percent of confirmed Lyme disease cases in people in 2014 were reported from 14 states, including all six New England states. Lyme doesn’t occur nationwide, and is most prominent in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in this region but unfortunately not the only disease.
  • Lone Star Tick Disease – The Lone Star tick transmits very serious diseases in addition to spotted fever, including ehrlichiosis, an infection of the white blood cells that can lead to joint pain and lameness in dogs, and can be fatal if untreated. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Animals is reporting that Lone Star ticks are making an aggressive move into New England, and there are known pockets on parts of Cape Cod, and likely elsewhere in Massachusetts. These ticks spread several diseases, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

 

As a reminder the Centers for Disease Control suggests the following prevention techniques.

  • Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
  • Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
  • Consider using an insect repellent containing DEET and applying it to shoes and clothing.
  • Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors.
  • Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails. Avoid overgrown brush and tall grass and contacting vegetation.
  • Do a full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children and pets), and remove ticks promptly.
  • Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls.
  • Keep long hair tied back.
  • When found, remove ticks promptly.

Zika Transmission Update

As of May 2016, the Zika virus disease and Zika virus congenital infection are nationally notifiable conditions. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization(WHO) report 503 travel-associated cases with 48 of those in pregnant women, 10 sexually transmitted and 1 with Guillain-Barré syndrome. These numbers only tell part of the story that is being told in the news as of lately.  zika-by-state-report-05-11-2016-2

 

This map from the Centers for Disease Control shows the distribution of Laboratory-confirmed Zika virus disease cases reported by state or territory.

The CDC and the WHO warn of the main transmission methods including:

  1. Mosquito bites – Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in things like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases.  They prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.
  2. Pregnant Women to Child – A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. Zika is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects including Guillain-Barré syndrome. To date(May 2016), there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding.
  3. Sexual Transmission – Zika virus can be spread by a man to his sex partners. The virus is present in semen longer than in blood so condoms should be used for at least 6 months after exposure.
  4. Blood Transfusion – As of February, 1, 2016, there have not been any confirmed blood transfusion transmission cases in the United States. Brazil has has several reported cases of this transmission type but those are being investigated.