All posts by Mike Sperling

Deer Damage and Control

For many of us, spotting a white-tailed deer in our yard can take our breath away. They are gorgeous, majestic creatures which feed and raise families on the edges of woods and neighborhoods. While watching them can seem almost surreal, deer can also cause some serious damage to our plantings, trees, and bushes if they regularly visit the same yard and eventually raise their young in the area.


White-tailed deer have been growing in population for the past few decades and have reached well over 30 million according to the Department of Agriculture. That can spell disastrous consequences for farmers and homeowners who live in areas where the population explosion has pushed the deer even closer to gardens and agricultural lands. The population growth is caused in part due to the decline in predators such as grizzly bears, wolves, and cougars, as well as a decline in the hunting rates. The white-tailed deer is a species that flourishes in “edge” habitats so deforestation and building progress does not seem to impact the deer numbers.


Due to the location of “grinding” teeth within a deer’s mouth, these creatures twist and pull plants apart from ground level up several feet depending upon the size of the animal. When plantings are not available, these deer may strip the foliage off trees and even rip at the bark. Obviously this damage is compounded by the sheer number of deer that need to feed, especially in the northeast region of the United States.


Homeowners may need to take some steps to stop the damage or face losing even the strongest of plants and bushes in their yards.

  • Exclusion – Use exclusion techniques such as fences to stop the damage. Homeowners may need to consult with professionals about the type and height of fencing that is needed depending upon your property and the types of plantings.
  • Scare Techniques – Some homeowners have taken to the traditional scarecrow scare technique while others have tried the more technologically advanced technique of sensors that blast a loud noise or flashing light if a deer trips the sensor.
  • Repellents – Some homeowners try repellents that cause deer to avoid the area for feeding. However, be certain this is something you want to try if you have small children, pets, or just want to avoid chemicals of any sort.
  • Call the Professionals – Call lawn care experts who can examine you deer issue and find a solution for your unique property. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

5 Tips for Avoiding Firewood Pests

On cold winter nights, there is really nothing better than a warm, crackling fire with a glass of your favorite beverage and your family and friends gathered all around. Not much can ruin this idyllic vision of winter happiness, unless of course the firewood that you brought in had some unwanted visitors! Be aware that mice, rats, termites, beetles, ants, and spiders commonly find haven in and around firewood stacks. While it is pretty normal for pests to find their way onto items stored outside, what is not expected is bringing those critters into your living areas. Here are our top 5 suggestions on how to avoid firewood pests while still being able to enjoy your fireplace or wood burning stove this winter.


  1. Firewood Stacks – Keep firewood stacks away from your home. Ideally more than 20 feet is suggested as you won’t be inviting mice, rats, and other critters to nest near your house or invite pests to enter your dwelling. It is also suggested that stacks of wood be elevated off the ground to maintain airflow beneath the pile. This helps reduce moisture problems which attract insects.
  2. First-In First-Out Rule – Most homeowners know this rule when dealing with firewood stack outside the home but it is worth a quick reminder. Use ​the oldest wood first, restacking the pile periodically if it makes it easier to access the older logs. This will help to keep pests at a minimum as it will prevent infestations from building up.
  3. Inspect Before Bringing In – It may seem like a simple idea, but always tap the wood on the ground to shake out any pests that may have decided to make a home in or around the wood. Inspect the wood to make sure there are no pests still attached.
  4. Use Local Wood – Using wood from outside your local area means that you may be harboring non-native pests. If those pests are transferred to your property you may have a new worry next spring as they can “set up shop,” so to speak, in your yard.
  5. Never Stack Indoors – It may seem more convenient to stack your wood in the basement, garage, or on a porch for easy access during the winter – don’t do it! Insects can emerge to take up residence within your home’s structure. In addition, the firewood pile can also provide attractive places for rodents or other wildlife to nest.


Have questions about pests that found a way into your home via firewood? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

Fall Lawn Equipment Care

Lawn equipment is notorious for taking a beating throughout the growing season. It gets caked with dirt, debris, grass, and all sorts of items around your property. Mowers, trimmers, and gardening tools should be carefully cleaned, maintained, and stored every winter so they are ready-to-go come the warm spring weather. Here are a few reminders of how to care for your lawn equipment this fall:


  • Drain the oil and use up all the gas so that there is no chance of it getting frozen in the motor, tubes or valves.
  • Remove the blade and schedule a sharpening so it will be sharp for the first mow next spring. Be sure to clean the undercarriage of any grass.
  • Schedule any maintenance that needs to be done on the mower including changing spark plugs, draining fluids, and an overall check up.
  • Store properly in an area where it will not be exposed to the winter elements.



  • Clean and dry your trimmer.
  • Consider having an end-of-season check up done so that it will be ready once you need it in a few months.
  • Drain fluids if it is a gas trimmer and check connections if it is an electric trimmer.
  • Store in a dry, safe area where the temperatures and precipitation will not harm the equipment.


Gardening Tools

  • Wash and dry all gardening tools so that they are free of dirt, debris, and moisture. Even a little bit of moisture can start the rusting process.
  • Store in a clean, dry place so that they avoid cold temps and winter precipitation.


Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you have questions about caring for your property at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.


Last Mow – How Low Should You Go?

Well folks, it’s that time of year again, when we start thinking about putting our gardens to bed and giving the grass that one last mow of the season. It is a bit of a double edged sword, though, in that we can stop our weekend chores of mowing, trimming, and weeding, but it also means that the winter weather and precipitation will begin all-too-soon. This is usually the time when we often hear questions like, “Is there anything special we should do for the last mow?” or “How low should I cut?” Let’s take a look at special considerations for this last mow of the season.


  • When? The last mow usually occurs when the temps have dropped below 50 degrees during the daylight hours. For inland New England, that could be late October, but for coastal areas that could be early- to mid-November. We suggest the final cut be done right before the estimated first frost or right after.
  • Why One Last Cut? Giving one last cut of the grass right before winter helps keep it healthy throughout the colder months. Without a pre-winter cut, lawns can develop a moldy fungus due to excess moisture or leaves that have been allowed to collect. Hopefully you have also had an opportunity to fertilize one last time before the grass goes dormant because the roots will need one last shot of food and nutrients.
  • What Height? The last mow of the season should be at an ideal height. If the grass is left tall during the winter, that extra top growth will bend under the weight of snow and rain, trapping cool moisture that quickly breeds winter fungal diseases. This will mean extra work to get your grass healthy in the spring and rid the lawn of pests and disease. The Rule of Thirds should help you. This rule advises not to cut more than a third of your grass off at any one time. If you have allowed it to grow out of control you may need to do several mowings to get it to a shorter length before the first frost hits.
  • Any Special Tips? Make sure you have removed all leaves and debris as they will possibly kill the grass below and reveal brown or dead patches in the spring.


Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you have questions about the care of your lawn and the pests that may have taken root during this last growing season. Call Us: (603) 382-9644 | Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.

Think Now About Snow Removal

New England is an amazing place to live with the seasons changing every few months. The spring brings beautiful budding plants and trees, summers are warm and breezy, fall gives us a trees with leaves that put on a spectacular show . . . and then there are the dreaded winters. Ugh. Are you ready? Probably not, but now is the time to be thinking about snow removal. Yes, you heard us correctly. Snow removal should be arranged months in advance so that you secure a company that you trust and can rely on when the cold temperatures and precipitation arrive. New England has historically seen its first snow storms in November and Mother Nature is pretty fickle in waiting for snow until we are all ready.  Here are a few reasons why you should schedule your snow plowing soon!


  • Mother Nature can be brutal and she doesn’t keep to your personal time schedule. If the snow arrives in the middle of the night, snow removal can happen before you get going for the day! Hiring a company to take care of your snow removal needs means you no longer have to stay glued to the weather channel and fret all night long.
  • Professional snow removal takes away the fear an employee or a client slipping and falling on your property. Business owners don’t need the fear of an injury or, worse yet, a lawsuit if such an event happens.
  • Save your back and your time by having driveways, parking lots, and walkways cleared by professionals who make it their mission that your home or business is safe. Lifting snow can be strenuous and can take forever if you are doing it alone or have a large area to clear.


Call Pro-Tech for your commercial snow removal needs this winter at (603) 382-9644 or visit our website.


Do I need to Mulch in the Fall?

Most of us think about mulching as a spring activity that adds some fresh, organic matter to our colorful, blooming plantings and under our newly budding trees. In this way, mulch adds visual beauty to gardens, walkways, and driveways. But what about mulching in the fall? The answer to this is a resounding yes, and here is why…


  • Warmth and Protection – Mulch can help plants and trees better cope with cold weather. If you live in New England, you know how harsh the winter months can be on people, let alone all the trees, plants, and soil in your yard. Mulch can be thought of as blanket for your plants, shrubs, and ornamental trees. When applied around the base of trees, bushes, and plantings, mulch insulates the root system.
  • Controls Erosion – Mulching in the fall means that there is ground cover around your prized plantings and trees that will aid in stopping erosion once the spring showers begin in earnest. Winter wind and spring rain can mean unprotected soil that blows and washes away. Mulching can help!
  • Adds Nutrients and Organic Matter – Trees, shrubs, bushes, and plantings all need organic matter and nutrients to grow and be strong enough to stave off diseases and pests. Mulch can add those nutrients and organic matter so that your plantings stay healthy all winter.
  • It’s Cost Effective – Mulching can be a fairly cost effective way to save the plantings in your yard rather than having to replace them because the winter caused too much damage for them to rebound in the spring.


Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at 603) 382-9644 or visit our website for all your lawn and garden needs this fall.

The Importance of Winterizing your Irrigation System

When it comes to lawn care and closing up shop for the winter, winterizing or doing a winter “blow out” of your sprinkler or irrigation system should be a top priority. Most irrigation systems are “out of sight”, but they should most definitely not be “out of mind” this fall. All systems should have a professional blow out, a manual drain, or an automatic drain job performed in order to ensure the system remains in good working condition come springtime. Here are a few of the reasons why winterizing your irrigation system is so important…


  • Freezing Temperatures Can Damage Irrigation Systems – We all learned in school that water expands as it freezes. This means that if an irrigation system has even a little water left in it, it could freeze and cause some serious damage to the entire system. Water left in the system could cause fittings, sprinklers, valves, pumps, pipes, and other parts of irrigation systems to burst and break.


  • Insurance and Warranty Issues – If a blow out or other winterization process is not performed correctly on your system, you may be voiding any warranty on your irrigation system, especially those that specifically require winterization for refund or possibly insurance coverage purposes.


  • Time and Money Savings – The cost of replacing or repairing an irrigation system that was not properly winterized is exorbitant compared to the price of a blow out. Most new irrigation systems cost around of five thousand dollars depending on the type and size of your yard. Add that to the hassle and time inconvenience of having to repair a burst valve, sprinkler or, worse yet, a flooded basement, then the choice is easy.


Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you have any questions regarding your lawn and preparation for the winter season at (603) 382-9644.

Fall Landscaping To-Do List

Are you ready for winter – the snow, the cold, the ice? Yeah, probably not, but there are some still some fall landscaping preparations that you should do before the weather gets too cold or the snow starts to fall. As the weather begins to take a turn for the worse, you will want to complete your annual fall clean up and shutdown of your lawn. Here is a quick guide to help you close up your yard for the season and put away all those lawn care tools that you used every weekend.


  • Clean it up – Now is the time to clean up all those leaves that have been falling! Make sure you get all of the leaves and debris off the lawn, even the pile behind the shed that you have been avoiding for the past year. Dead leaves and debris can smother the grass and cause brown spots that you will need to repair in the spring. Leaves also allow for disease and pests to thrive.
  • Plant – Put in those last bushes and shrubs that you have been putting off planting. The fall is a great time for this as the weather is usually ideal and gives the planting a chance to establish roots in the cool, moist soil.
  • Mow – Cut your grass one final time as you notice the growing beginning to slow down. Remember the last cut should only take off about a third of the height to make sure the blades can still absorb food.
  • Aerate – If your lawn looks compact in some areas and the grass is not growing well, this may be a good time to aerate your lawn. Aerating allows for nutrients and water to get down to the roots.
  • Fertilize – Grass roots still grow until the temperature reaches 40℉, so continue feeding the lawn until that time.
  • Store Equipment – Store all lawn equipment properly so that they do not rust or decay over the winter. This is a good time to have your mower and other lawn care equipment checked and blades sharpened.
  • Pest Patrol – Now is a good time to evaluate which pests damaged your lawn or garden and make a plan for next spring on how you will solve the issue.


Contact Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 if you have questions or issues with your lawn care this fall.


Putting the Garden to Bed

This time of year can be very bittersweet for all the “green thumbs” out there. It is a wonderful time of year due to the plentiful harvest and blooms that are the result of hard work and nurturing all season long. But there is also a bit of melancholy in that it is time to put the garden to bed for the winter and begin to close up shop until next spring. Here are a few steps that you should take to get your garden ready for the winter months.


  • Final Inspection – Inspect your garden area, whether it is a perennial garden or veggie garden, and check for pest problems, whether you had any during the growing season or not. If you find any evidence of a pest problem contact a lawn company such as Pro-Tech Lawn Care that can evaluate which pests may have been damaging your plantings and how to resolve the problem now or in the spring.


  • Clean Up – Pull all dead annuals that have had last blooms fade. Harvest all the above ground veggies and fruits. Leaving any out over the late fall and winter is an invitation to wildlife to seek out your property. Rake out overgrown areas so that pests and rodents do not have an area to nest. Disinfect and clean all gardening tools at this time instead of putting that off until spring. Rust and decay can happen over the winter if they are not cared for properly each fall. This is also a great time to get tools sharpened and repaired so they will be ready to roll once the warm weather of spring arrives.


  • Cut Back – Depending on the type of perennials and garden you have, now may be the time to cut back and neaten up your growing area.


  • Prep and Planting – Don’t forget about those bulbs and plantings that should be placed before the first frost. Prepare your planting beds now with compost and manure for planting in early spring.


  • Protect – Now is the time to protect tender plantings and bulbs by shielding them from the cold through either mulch covering or wrapping in burlap or plant protection products.


Believe it or not, spring will come faster than you think! Contact Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 if you have issues putting your garden to bed this fall.

Tree Pests

Does your yard have trees that add beauty, much needed shade, and some personality to your landscaping? If so, you may want to bone-up on your knowledge of tree pests and what you can do to protect these plantings in your yard. Each type of tree is susceptible to different types of pests and diseases so learn first what types of trees you have scattered around your property before you begin inspecting and evaluating for issues. Here are just a few of the most common tree pests that impact trees in our New England area.


  • The Winter Moth – You probably recognize these critters every fall as they start to emerge and destroy oaks, maples, basswood, white elm, crab-apple, apple, blueberry, and cherry trees. The adult moths can even be active into January. During these months the adults lay their eggs in the bark and on the branches of trees. When the larvae emerge in the spring, they eat the buds of the trees and destroy everything in their path.


  • The Beetle – The Asian long-horned beetle feeds on maple, horse chestnut, birch, poplar, willow, and elm trees. The females chew grooves in the bark to lay eggs within it. When the larvae emerge they continue chewing and destroying the bark of the trees, as they nourish themselves and grow.


  • Stink Bugs – The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a problem for shade trees and fruit trees in our area. Brought into our country accidentally from Asia, these critters have been laying eggs on the undersides of leaves, and have even become a problem when they overwinter in buildings and homes.


If you are unsure of the types of trees in your yard and want to know more about the pests that could damage them, contact Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644.