There is a common misconception that once the last mow has been done that homeowners can close down the yard and settle in for a long winter before they have to worry about their yard again. It would be nice if we could all put any and all yard work out of our minds before the snow starts to fall, but there are a few lawn care mistakes that homeowners make that you will want to avoid in order to start your lawn off healthy next growing season.
- One for the Road – While it may seem like the fall/winter precipitation may be enough for the trees, shrubs, and bushes to survive the winter months, you may want to give them all one last long drink of water so that they do not become dehydrated.
- The Wrong Winterizer – Just as it is important for your plantings, trees, and shrubs to get one last drink, it is also important that they get one last dose of nutrients in the form of a winter fertilizer. Ask a professional which fertilizer is best for your grass type.
- Avoid Leaving Items on the Lawn – Some items may seem like they belong as permanent fixtures around your property, like your bird bath, children’s soccer net, garden decorations, or holiday lights/decorations. Some homeowners even park cars on lawns in an attempt to avoid on-street parking. We suggest avoiding the mistake of leaving these items in one place for too long, especially for the several months of winter. Doing so will make the grass under it brown up and become a bare patch. Bare patches signal unhealthy grass, which in turn signals pests to take hold.
- Leaves on the Lawn – In addition to removing lawn decorations, we suggest avoiding the mistake of leaving leaves on the lawn – yes, even in those hard to reach corners. Leaves that have fallen and have been left on your lawn will smother the grass by preventing sunlight and air.
If you have questions about what you need to do to put your lawn to bed before winter call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.