Monthly Archives: March 2017

Weed Woes

Nurturing our yards is something that New Englanders do not take for granted. After long, cold, harsh winters, we are ready and excited to plant and cultivate our lawn and gardens. That’s why it is especially painful to see weeks and months of hard work in our yards get ruined by weeds taking over the landscaping. It is very disheartening to watch as just a few weeks can begin to take control over entire sections of your grass and invade your planting areas.

 

There are hundreds of varieties of weeds that can make a mess of your lawn from broadleaf varieties, to grassy all the way to woody weeds. Identifying the type that has invaded your yard is always the first step in eradicating and preventing a recurrence. Contacting the experts at Pro-Tech Lawn Care is a great first step in stopping the weed problem in your yard. They can not only identify the weed variety but make recommendations as to how to get rid of them and follow up to make sure your lawn is growing in a healthy manner. They will also be able to help you cultivate a healthy lawn by showing you steps to keep your grass well watered, fed and aerated. Lawns that have the right amount of nutrients, sunlight and water are less likely to be invaded by weeds in the first place.

 

Weeds tend to be obnoxious and are tough to get rid of but with guidance from Pro-Tech we can help you get on the right path to a healthy lawn. Here are a few resources to look at that can help you identify if you have a weed issue as well as what type of weed.

 

Better Home and Gardens Weed Identification
UMass Amherst Weed Emporium

New England Grasses – Kentucky Bluegrass

Spring is such a great time for being outdoors and enjoying nature. Everything is coming back to life after a hard, cold winter and it is a time that we relish working in our yards. The birds, the bees, yard critters and flowers all seem to be growing and active. Spring is a time of year that many homeowners decide to replace or repair the grass in their yard either due to pest damage, water issues or weather damage. Establishing a lush and healthy grass takes time and diligence. It also means choosing the right type of grass for your region and yard.

 

Our Northeast Region is unique in that we have cold winters and moderate summers. We also battle with high humidity. These conditions can be a challenge for many plants and grasses. Therefore, cool-season grasses, such as bluegrasses, ryegrasses and fescues, prevail in the Northeast region of the United States. Northeast lawns need grasses that prefer cool temperatures and naturally resist diseases prevalent in this region.

 

For many homeowners Kentucky Bluegrass has been idea for growing in the climate we experience her in the Northeast. This cool-season, perennial grass delivers finely textured, deep-emerald-green blades and the hardiness needed for cold northern winters. Kentucky bluegrass spreads aggressively, but its root system remains relatively shallow compared to many other grasses. Drought induces dormancy in Kentucky bluegrass, but the grass rebounds strong with watering. Though some are slow to green in spring, Kentucky bluegrass blends well with ryegrass for faster greening. However, perennial ryegrasses can sometimes overtake Kentucky bluegrass, so minimize mixing.

Spring Tool Tune Up

Do you love gardening and puttering around in your yard? Or do you just enjoy the look of a well manicured yard? Either way, spring is the ideal time to give all your tools a once-over before you get into the hard core lawn and garden care that increases as the weather improves. What steps should you take to make sure your beloved tools and machinery such as mowers and trimmers are ready for the spring and summer seasons of lawn care? Here is a quick reference guide of tool tuneups you should consider this year.

Mower Care

  • Whether you do it all on your own or take it to a professional, the oil and air filter should be cleaned and/or replaced. This goes for the tiller, trimmer, or power washer in your shed as well.
  • Drain any leftover gas if you did not already do so last fall. Replace with new gas.
  • Change out last year’s spark plugs.
  • Make sure the blades are well cared for. Sharpen and balance all cutting blades.
  • Check to make sure all debris and grass has been washed out from under the mower and that none is caught in the blade or filters.

Garden Hoses and Hand Held Tools

  • Inspect hoses to see that there are no cracks or openings that will be sure to get you all wet when you start watering.
  • Clean all shearing or cutting tools. You may need to clean, dry and wipe with oil depending upon the type of tool. Be sure to read all instructions to keep your tools in good working order,
  • Check all sprinkler heads if you have an in ground system before starting use.

It is just plain old smart to check and tune up all the equipment you will be using regularly in your yard this spring and summer.

When Can I Start Working on my Lawn

I know! I know! We are all itching to get outside after this winter and get working on our lawns and gardens. Well, it may be a bit too early yet but there are still things you can do get get ready for the spring yard season.

 

  • Start Cleaning Up Gently – According to Today’s Homeowner online, “Avoid heavy and rough raking of the yard until the soil dries out and you can be sure there will not be another hard freeze. Foot traffic and hard raking can compact and damage tender new grass shoots.”
  • Remove any debris such as broken tree limbs, leaves or other items that may have accumulated in your yard during the winter.
  • If you have piles of snow in areas close to walkways or driveways, spread that snow out so it will melt faster. Heavy piles of snow can smother new grass and leave you with dead patches.
  • Start evaluating for pests. Do you need weed control? Decide now to start the lawn season off right. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for an evaluation and discuss treatment options.
  • Start growing some of your garden plants indoors. According to the Farmers Almanac,  there are many plants you can start indoors even in March to get them ready to be transplanted outdoors such as: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Kale and Lettuce.
  • Get your tools ready to go. That includes a good cleaning of hand-held tools as well as a tuneup for your larger piece of equipment such as your mower or trimmers.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Spring can be a rollercoaster so don’t get too far ahead as the temps may drop and set you back a few weeks or days.

 

Will Zika be a Problem this Spring and Summer?

Last year when Zika, (the virus associated with birth defects and microcephaly), became a clear threat to humans in South America and Central America, scientists used computer models along with the assistance of meteorologists and entomologists to predict where local transmission of Zika in the continental United States was most likely to occur. As of today, the only documented cases of viral transmission from a mosquito to a human in the continental United States have taken place in southern Florida and Brownsville, Texas. That’s precisely what the best models indicated.

 

According to Science Insider, “If history repeats itself, as winter approaches and cold weather reduces populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito—Zika’s main vector—this transmission likely will stop and resurface late next spring.”

 

Does that mean that there will be fewer mosquitoes with the zika virus in the spring or emerge stronger than ever? Tropical mosquito varies, such as the ones carrying the dreaded Zika virus, perish in cold temperatures. Unfortunately, the strains inhabiting the Mid-Columbia are made of sterner stuff. We will all have to wait until the spring weather begins in earnest to see what the results will be. Spring weather plays a bigger role in determining if mosquito eggs hatch and become breeding adults. Mosquito eggs hatch when the temperatures rise. But a warm up followed by another freeze could kill the larvae before they can mature and mate. Or the weather could simply warm up enough to produce hatching and stay that way.

 

The Center for Disease Control still maintains recommendations if traveling into a zika prone area including:

  • Travel information from the CDC including maps and strategies
  • Talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider first, if you must travel to an area with Zika.
  • Prevent mosquito bites, including covering up arms and legs and using EPA-registered insect repellent, which is safe to use during pregnancy.
  • Use latex condoms, the right way, every time or choose not to have any type of sex if the male partner has been in an area with Zika during the pregnancy.