Monthly Archives: February 2018

Preventing Dog Damage to your Lawn

If you are like most people, your dog is one of the family. S/he provides unconditional love, protection, comfort and constant companionship. You will do pretty much anything to keep your beloved pup happy and healthy. Unfortunately for many homeowners, having a pup means that their lawn has paid the price, from excessive digging, urine burns, or puppy poop! Is there a way to prevent dog damage without making your pooch unhappy?

With over 62% of American households having a dog or multiple dogs, these backyard scenes are probably not a shock for any of you, but let’s review anyway.

 

  • Brown Spots – If your pup is anything like ours s/he will urinate around trees, bushes, and the general perimeter of the yard to mark the territory as theirs. The brown spots associated with this bodily function are caused not by “acid” in the urine, but rather the high levels of nitrogen in canine urine. There are several methods to treat this including diluting the main areas where Fido goes to the bathroom with water from your hose, checking with a vet for adjustments to his/her diet, and planting grass that is more nitrogen resistant.  Fescue and ryegrass are the most resistant to nitrogen due to the genetic makeup of the roots.

 

  • Holes and Worn Areas – If your pup loves to dig, like so many of them do, you may want to cordon off an area of your yard for your dog to dig. This means each time you let your dog out you will need to train him/her that the designated area is theirs. Many homeowners also create a physical barrier so that pups can roam that area freely. In addition, if your lawn has worn areas you may end up spending many a weekend seeding and nurturing grass to grow in a high traffic area. You may want to create a pathway that is commonly used and cover with mulch or pavers so that you can stop the seed-water-patch cycle.

 

We all love our pups so as a last suggestion, be sure that the treatments you use are safe for your furry animal. If you have questions, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

Planning for a Green Lawn

Sure the temperature is below freezing and your lawn is under inches, if not feet, of snow, but this is as good a time as any to get planning so that your lawn will be thick and healthy this coming growing season. A little pre-planning can really help with nurturing a healthy,  pest-free, and green lawn this spring, summer, and fall. Here are some things to consider now to be ready come the first thaw.

 

  • Equipment – Are your mower, trimmer, leaf blower, and other gardening tools in good shape? Are blades sharpened, spark plugs replaced, and oil changed and ready to go? Now is a good time to get this done as you really don’t want to be on a waiting list for repairs come spring.
  • Create a Timeline – Homeowners who are true “green thumbs” know the value of having a calendar of when things like aeration, fertilization, pest treatment, and general maintenance should be done. Do a little research online or with your lawn care expert to find out what type of grass and plantings you have so you can create your own calendar of lawn and tree care that can help keep your lawn growing in a healthy way.
  • Have a Pest Plan – Most homeowners have a good idea of what to do to mow, trim, and fertilize their lawns regularly, but they often forget about treating for pests including mushrooms, grubs, and grass diseases. Think about problems that you had with your lawn this past year and find out what needs to be done to avoid the pests this year. We suggest having one of our lawn professionals visit your lawn in the early spring and determine soil composition, grass needs and potential pest problems so you can tackle them head-on or prevent them from occurring once the weather warms up.

 

Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Weather Got You Down? – Try an Indoor Garden

Got cabin fever? Join the club! We think that most of New England could use a break from this dreary winter weather. Why don’t you give yourself a little pick-me-up by planting an indoor garden to get you started. Once the weather improves you can move it right outside on to a deck or even into the dirt when the ground begins to thaw out.

 

Getting Started – The first thing you will want to do before you dive headlong into indoor gardening is figuring out what kind of space you have to do this and what kind of sun exposure you have access to. This can be done on a windowsill, a table, or even just in a few pots around your home. In addition to finding adequate space, you want to decide what you want to grow.

 

Choose Light and Containers – Plants need nutrients, water and, of course, sunlight to grow. Find a good place that provides sun for a good portion of the day. Most vegetables and other plants do best with 14-16 hours of sunlight or simulated light. That means if your plants are not getting enough natural light you may want to invest in a grow light.

 

Temperature and Humidity – Obviously a garden indoors can not completely mimic the temperature and humidity of the outdoors. It is winter, after all. Most plants grow best when they are in temperatures ranging 10 degrees on either side of 65-75 degrees fahrenheit. Mist your plants daily to increase their level of humidity as well.

 

Planting Medium – Depending upon the size and style of indoor garden, you will also have to decide on what type of soil mixture you want. Or you could completely grow in water using hydroponics. The choices are endless for an indoor garden.

 

So if the winter has got you down, an indoor garden could be just the thing to lift your spirits!

 

Deer Damage

What an amazing sight it is to watch a white-tailed deer explore nature around us. These fairly gentle creatures can be awe-inspiring to watch especially after a coating of snow or when the morning is fresh with dew. Unfortunately deer can be anything but gentle to your plantings and trees. While deer need to make it through the winter too, what damage can they do to your property and how can you prevent it? Let’s take a look at deer damage. 

 

The white-tailed deer is a vital part of our ecosystem, but recently the population has exploded to the point that it is causing problems in suburban and farming areas. As the population of deer predators such as mountain lions and wolves has declined, the white tailed deer numbers have been growing steadily. The online resource Mass.gov reports that the deer population has topped at 95,000 with many homeowners noticing chewed and damaged plantings.

 

The damage that deer can do varies according to the behavior, age and, in some cases, the gender of the deer. For example, some deer can cause serious damage to newly planted seedlings and established trees by chewing on the leaves and buds. If the chewing happens regularly the deer could reduce growth rates. In addition, bucks rubbing their antlers on the stems can kill the tree entirely.

 

To prevent further damage some over-the-counter remedies include: netting or structures to surround and protect new plantings, spray repellent, and motion sensors to scare the deer away. Here at Pro-Tech Lawn Care we recommend that you give us a call to see what the deer is attracted to and find a humane and chemically responsible solution to your deer problem. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Preventing Salt Damage to Lawns

Wow! What a winter it has been so far with record breaking low temperatures, ice and, of course, the memorable Blizzard of 2018. The plows and road crews have done a great job of making roads not just passable but safe as well. Homeowners have gotten in the spirit too with shoveling driveways, walkways, digging out hydrants, and salting potentially slippery high foot traffic areas. While this is admirable, especially given the severity of the winter thus far, this salting and the use of chemical deicers could harm your lawn and plantings. Let’s take a closer look at salt damage and what you can do to prevent it on your property.

 

While sprinkling salt products along your hardscape areas such as your driveway and walkway may seem like the right solution for the weather that Mother Nature throws at us, it may be doing some serious harm to the grass and plantings along the way. When the snow and ice melt periodically over the course of the winter, the rock salt mixture washes into the soil and can quickly build up to a toxic level. The melted mixture leaves plants with ample moisture in the ground, unfortunately the plants are unable to absorb any of this because of all the salt. This causes wilting and drought-like damage, including the appearance of scorched leaf edges, yellow or brown needles on evergreens, stunted growth, and twig dieback. Salt buildup in the soil also has a negative effect on the soil structure because it causes compaction.

 

To prevent salt damage to your organic areas, try the following tricks to keep salt from damaging your lawn and garden.

 

  • Choose the least corrosive deicers you can find. Talk to your lawn care professional about what might be right for your lawn since all salts are not created equal.
  • Consider using kitty litter or sawdust in areas where deicing is not needed but you are still looking for a little traction.
  • As soon as there is a milder day (not any time soon) try washing down areas that you can access to limit the salt collection.
  • If the snow clears enough sweep up extra or residual salt and place in the garbage instead of letting it sink into your lawn.
  • Avoid piling snow around plantings and along the edges of the driveway. Spread it out as much as is feasible given the weight and type of each storm.

 

Have questions about the type and amount of salt you are using this winter? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.