Category Archives: Grass

Lawn and Tree Disease Series – Fairy Rings

As we conclude this month’s discussion of lawn and tree diseases, we want to remind homeowners that they will be the first to notice a problem or symptom in their yard. Look for changes in the coloring and health of your turfgrass each time you mow or trim your lawn. You will spot the changes first. The earlier treatment begins, the sooner your lawn will be restored to its healthy, lush thickness and coloring. This week we are taking a closer at the not-so-magical fungal disease called Fairy Ring. While this disease is steeped in myth and folklore, including the idea that the rings bring luck or fortune, lawn care experts will tell you that this disease is not one to be ignored.

Fairy Rings

Fairy Rings are a type of fungal disease that look innocently like a ring of mushrooms. In fact, instead of a fanciful fairytale ring built by fairies, these arcs or circles of mushrooms are a sign that there is something wrong under foot. Fairy rings are caused by a diverse family of soil-inhabiting fungi called basidiomycetes. They typically appear as dark green circles in the lawn ranging in size from a few inches to 200 feet or more in diameter. A circle of mushrooms develops around the infected area – thus named the fairy ring! These “rings” can become unsightly and damage the grass roots below the surface. The fungus then depletes the soil of the needed nutrients to grow, and kills the turf.

Treatment

Controlling this fungal disease can prove to be fairly difficult. Depending upon the size and severity of the rings, lawn specialists can determine if dethatching, aeration, chemical control, or reseeding is necessary. A well-cared-for lawn is the best prevention for this disease. This includes regular watering, dethatching, fertilizing, and soil testing.

Do you have Fairy Rings in your yard or another type of fungal disease? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website to request more information or an evaluation of the disease that may be impacting your lawn.

 

Lawn and Tree Diseases – Dollar Spot

As we continue to examine the many types of diseases that can affect the trees and grass around your property, we want to remind our readers that, while they should keep a vigilant eye on their plantings and lawn, diagnosis and treatment is best left to the professionals who can identify the disease correctly and create a treatment plan that is right for your property. This week, we are taking a closer look at the lawn disease known as Dollar spot, including the identification, symptoms, and treatment options available.

Dollar Spot

This disease is often underestimated because the small round spots only grow to about a few inches around – about the size of a silver dollar! Unfortunately the spots, which lesions in the shape of an hour glass on the width of the blade of grass, can mean that the disease is killing the turf clear down to the root. This, in turn, could cause serious damage to your beloved lawn. Dollar Spot, like the other diseases discussed this month, is also a fungal disease.

This disease specifically thrives when:

  • the temperatures get between 70° F to 90° F,
  • the soil moisture is low,
  • the humidity is high,
  • there is low nitrogen fertility,
  • there is too much thatch on the lawn, and
  • homeowners cut the grass too short.


Treatment

Since this disease thrives when the soil moisture is low, a good course of treatment is a watering schedule based upon the climate and precipitation in your area. Included in a treatment plan should be an examination of the nitrogen levels and the health of the soil. If the disease has gotten a hold of the roots in patches around your yard, reseeding may be necessary.

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website to request more information or an evaluation of the disease that may be impacting your lawn.

 

Lawn and Tree Disease Series – Brown Patch

Over the past couple of weeks we have been discussing the diseases that can impact your trees and turfgrass that you have so carefully nurtured throughout the growing season. While no lawn is immune to disease, there are some steps homeowners can take to avoid the growth and spread of these damaging diseases. This week, we are examining Brown Patch including the symptoms, causes, and treatments to get your lawn looking healthy and green again.

Brown Patch

Brown Patch first appears as circular patches in your lawn that are brownish-yellow in color and range from 6 inches to a few feet in diameter. The small circles can grow and join with other circles to create larger patches of the disease. This aptly named disease is caused by a fungus called Rhizoctonia. It is one of the most destructive of all turf lawn diseases in that it can sneak up on a homeowner and destroy large patches of lawn seemingly overnight if the conditions are right. Brown patch is most likely to occur during extended periods of heat and humidity when night-time temperatures remain above 68° F.

Susceptible Grasses

Brown Patch loves all types of grasses and attacks a wide variety of grass types indiscriminately. Lawns that receive large amounts of fast release nitrogen fertilizer are most susceptible. This disease can wreak havoc on tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass.

Treatment

Once your lawn has been tested and evaluated by a professional, there are a variety of treatments. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care to find out the right treatment option for your lawn this year. Reach out to us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Lawn and Tree Disease Series – Red Thread

Last week, we began our five-part series on Lawn and Tree Diseases with a discussion of Dutch Elm Disease. This week we are shifting our attention to diseases that can impact your lawn. Red Thread is one such lawn disease that can damage the overall look and health of your turfgrass. Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms, types of grasses affected, and what you can do if you spot this disease in your yard.

Red Thread

The telltale sign that your lawn is infected with Red Thread disease is the appearance of dying patches with red or pink fibers interwoven between blades of grass. The most common cause of this particular turfgrass disease is low levels of nitrogen in the soil. Usually this disease emerges in late May or June, but can be present at any point during the growing season. The conditions that favor red thread growth include: low levels of nitrogen, temperatures between 68° F and 75° F, and high levels humidity.

Susceptible Grasses

The grasses that are most typically affected include bermudagrass, bluegrasses, fescues, bentgrasses, and perennial ryegrass.

Treatment

Red thread can survive for years if left untreated. Since it is not possible to control the weather or the fungal pathogen, it is a good idea to stop this disease by treating the soil through fertilization to raise the nitrogen levels. Have a professional test your soil and regularly feed your turf to avoid this disease and keep your lawn looking lush and green.

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for help with your Lawn and Tree Disease. Reach out to us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Hydroseeding, Broadcast Seeding, or Sod?

Most homeowners who tend regularly to their lawn and garden want a healthy and aesthetically pleasing landscape. Our customers often seek out our help in regard to making their lawn full, green, and healthy. They often ask what method will best create the look they are hoping for: hydroseeding, sod, or broadcast seeding? Since each method has advantages and disadvantages, here is a quick breakdown to help you decide which method is right for you.

 

  • Budget – Deciding on which method to use to create a healthy lawn may come down to what the homeowner can afford. Sod tends to be the most expensive option, followed by hydroseeding, and then broadcast/hand seeding. What level of cost are you willing to meet to get the lawn you desire?
  • Germination Time – Sod is the quickest way to receive an instant lawn. Roll it out, water it, and voila! The hydroseeding procedure involves using a mixture or slurry of grass seed, wood-fiber mulch, fertilizer, and binding agents. These items help to speed up seed germination, which can take place sometimes within a week. Hand or broadcast seeding may take many weeks to even months to fully germinate and grow in. It may also need overseeding to get bare patches. How patient are you? Are you willing to wait for the perfect lawn or do you want it immediately?
  • Time of Year – When a homeowner wants the perfect the lawn, timing is a key component on which option to pick. For example, sod can be installed at anytime in the spring, summer, or fall. It just needs watering and some care so the seams do not shrink and become visible. Hydroseeding is best done from late spring to early fall. The best time to broadcast seed is in the fall, followed by summer, and then spring, respectively.
  • Other Thoughts – If your yard is large or has areas where erosion is common hydroseeding may be a good choice as it can stop the erosion while not costing an arm and leg, like sod would.

 

Do you need help getting your lawn to look fantastic? Having trouble deciding which option is best for your property? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Grass Types and the New England Climate

If someone asks you what type of grass you have growing in your lawn and your answer is “green,” then you may want to do a little research to find out what type of grass you have and how to care for each type. Different types of grass grow best according to certain factors such as: climate, shade, soil moisture level and environment in your specific yard. Let’s take a look at grass types and how to care for each.

New England is known for its picturesque landscape and changing climates. Due to factors such as rocky soil, freezing cold winters, sweltering hot summers, and everything in between, choosing a grass seed that is appropriate and will grow well can be a challenge. Here are three types that may do well in your yard. Check out the characteristics and qualities to see if it may be right for your yard.

Perennial Ryegrass Characteristics

  • Has a medium-coarse texture
  • Fast growing usually within 5-7 days
  • Tends to not survive more than a few years without careful care and pest control techniques
  • Grows well in a wide variety of climates and is a popular choice for overseeding warm season grasses
  • Leaf undersides are shiny and smooth
  • Often blended with other grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass

Fescue Grass Characteristics

  • Comes in two types – tall and fine
  • Fine fescue is well suited for conditions of shade, low soil moisture, low fertility, and soils with unfavorable pH levels
  • With proper care, fine fescue can last for years without getting bare in spots
  • Often blended with other cool-season turf grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass and sometime ryegrass
  • Germinates in roughly 14-18 days, and will fill in “bald spots” in the lawn as it grows

Kentucky Bluegrass Characteristics

  • Quick-growing, hearty seed that germinates within 18-21 days
  • Great for filling in bare patches during the cool months
  • Fairly resistant to disease and wear
  • Areas that are damaged or high traffic areas can fill in on its own
  • Grows best in full sunlight, but mixing it with a fine fescue helps increase shade tolerance

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you need help deciding what type of grass seed your property would do best with. Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Is Snow Bad for Your Lawn?

New Englanders are accustomed to snow, ice, and wind, from November through till almost April. We have learned to adapt to the treacherous driving conditions, the freezing temperatures, and precipitation that can change from rain, to sleet, to snow in the matter of a few minutes. While we humans may be able to handle the ups and downs of winter snows, what about our lawns? Do snow, wind, and temperatures damage our lawns? Here is what the experts say.

 

  • Snow is an insulating blanket for our lawns. Snow cover of four inches or more during harsh freezes acts as an insulator and  protects plants and roots from the air and drying freeze conditions.
  • Snow protects your lawn from transpiration. Transpiration is a form of evaporation from plants such as blades of grass or young plants.
  • As the snow melts in the spring it is great for the groundwater supply. That water is absorbed into the roots and the soil to help during the long, hot, dry summer months.
  • An absence of snow during the winter months when the temperatures are extremely low and the air terribly dry can be harsh on your lawn. Without an insulating blanket of snow, the frost line can penetrate deep into the soil. This could damage tender plantings.
  • Walking on the snow on your lawn can cause damage to the crowns of your grass. As young children make snowmen or sled on your lawn the brittle crowns can be broken or crushed. They may not be able to recover in the spring. Just be careful where and how often you walk on your lawn while there is a snow cover.

 

For more information on protecting your lawn and garden during the winter months, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Is Your Backyard Ready?

Finally the warm weather is here and we can all enjoy the backyard, patio, lawn or garden. Are you backyard ready? Preparing your property including the lawn, hedges, trees, and garden takes lots of work and time. Growing lush, thick, pest-free grass is not an easy thing to do. Keeping ticks and mosquitoes at bay is also a struggle from the spring all the way through the first frost of fall.  Here are a few tips to make sure you are ready for backyard season.

 

  • Clean it Up – Remove any debris that has accumulated. Raking up areas that have been matted down by snow can help bring the grass back to life.
  • Seeding and Hydroseeding – Consider employing professionals to seed your yard, especially if you have large bare patches. Pro-Tech Lawn Care can help you fill in brown spots and get your lawn back!
  • Aeration – This allows water, air and nutrients to reach the root zone faster. This can result in new growth and increased root development.
  • Repair – Salt and snow can really damage a yard, so do the needed repair work to make the entire yard look like new again.
  • Pests – Don’t forget that while all flowers and trees are waking up again this spring, so are pests! Grass, plantings and tree pests can damage, if not destroy, the lawn. Have a thorough inspection done by our expert technicians to ensure that your lawn and garden is protected this season.
  • Mulch and Prune – As you inspect your yard take note of areas that need pruning and re-mulching. Keep branches away from your home as they become a “bridge” for pests to enter the structure.
  • Soil Check – When was the last time you has a soil analysis? Ask our team to test your soil so you know how and when to fertilize, feed and water your lawn.
  • Protect Against Mosquitoes and Ticks – Do you tend to find ticks on your skin or clothes or get eaten alive by mosquitoes when you step outside? Talk to our professionals about treatment options for your property.

 

The First Mow of the Season

Feels like this time would never come right? This long cold winter had us all feeling like the warm spring weather would never get here. The first mowing of the lawn is a much anticipated event for so many homeowners just as a baby’s first haircut is for new parents. For those of us who “baby” our lawn, there are things you should do to have that first cut be a successful one. This is a brief checklist of how to prepare your mower for the first mowing of Spring.

  • Mower Blades – Make sure the blades of your mower are sharp and clean. If not the will dull blades will rip off the tops of the grass blades instead of giving them a clean cut.
  • Tune Up the Mower – Have a professional check out your mower and install new spark plugs. A tune up can also check that the motor is working well and will not break down in  mid season.
  • Use Fresh Gas – Hopefully at the end of last season you drained the gas from the tank or ran it until the gas was low. Gas that’s been left to sit over the winter can accumulate moisture that harms small engines. This is especially true for fuel containing ethanol. A fresh tank of gas is a good way to start the season.
  • Change the Oil – A fresh can of oil is also a good idea to start the mowing season off right. Be sure to check the mower instructions so that you are using the right type of oil.
  • Inspect the Lawn – It is always a good idea to check the lawn before you mow to be sure that branches, twigs or items are not in the way of the mow path. This is especially important after a long winter where frost heaves, sprinkler heads and other items can be in the way of the mower blade.
  • Rule of Thirds – Mow height tends to be a personal choice but most experts recommend not cutting off more than one third of the height at a time.

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