Monthly Archives: December 2018

Lawn Care Resolutions

2019 is right around the corner and that means it is resolution season again! Many of you may be thinking about resolving to eat better, exercise more, or spend less money. If you are a green thumb or just love having the greenest, thickest, plushest grass on the block, then we have another idea for you. What about doing something a little different this year and making Lawn Care Resolutions??? Here are some you may want to make for 2019.

Resolve to Test Your Soil

Not many homeowners know the right amount and type of nutrients that their soil needs because they have not tested their soil. If you don’t know the pH level, nitrogen analysis, or nutrient deficiencies of your soil, then you could be wasting your time and money buying and applying the wrong products. Let this be the year you find out what your lawn really needs with a simple and fast soil test.

Resolve to Treat for Pests

One of the biggest problems that causes turf death or deficiencies it the presence of pests. Resolve this year to have your lawn evaluated by a pest control company who can tell you what pests may be keeping your lawn from being beautiful and healthy.

Resolve to Know When to Feed, Weed and Water

Many homeowners don’t actually know when and how much to feed, weed, and water their lawns. Do a little research about the amount of nutrients and water your lawn needs. Also, look up the common types of weeds and how to rid your lawn of them so you don’t end up plucking out a flower instead of a weed. Don’t have the time? Call Pro-Tech to help you out.

Resolve to Try Something New

If your lawn is not looking its best, try something new be it: planting a new species of flowers, trying out a new grass seed, or dethatching areas that need it. Trying something new could be just what your lawn needs next year.

Happy New Year to all of our clients from the Pro-Tech team!

Mosquito-borne Illnesses: A Year in Review

Mosquito-borne illnesses are diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. Every summer, we dedicate several of our blogs to Preventing Mosquito Bites and Mosquito-Proofing Your Yard but often after the outdoor entertaining season is over, many people put their worries about these nuisance pests behind them. Thankfully, two organizations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) keep us informed about the number of cases these diseases cause each year and where the majority originate. Here is a quick review of their findings from the past year.

According to the World Health Organization, “Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals in the world. Their ability to carry and spread disease to humans causes millions of deaths every year. In 2015 malaria alone caused 438 000 deaths. The worldwide incidence of dengue has risen 30-fold in the past 30 years, and more countries are reporting their first outbreaks of the disease. Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever are all transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. More than half of the world’s population live in areas where this mosquito species is present. Sustained mosquito control efforts are important to prevent outbreaks from these diseases. There are several different types of mosquitoes and some have the ability to carry many different diseases.”

Hitting closer to home than the Zika virus, dengue and yellow fever is the occurrence of West Nile in our region. According to the CDC, as of October 2, 2018, a total of 48 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2018. Overall, 1,611 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 933 (58%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 678 (42%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

Be sure to stay in touch as we enter another season of biting insects in just a few short months. If you want more information about treatments to keep the mosquitoes away from your property next spring, contact Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

Snow and Your Lawn

The official 2018-2019 winter weather forecast from the Farmers Almanac has been published and you guessed it, New England is about to have yet another cold and snowy winter. For those of us who have to drive in the white stuff, or worse yet, shovel it, this is NOT good news. But what about your lawn? Could snow actually be good for your lawn? The answer is in fact, yes. Here’s why…

Snow Benefits

The vicinity around Boston, Massachusetts gets around 50 inches of snow each year. Some years we get far greater and other years far less. On average, however, we see our fair share of snowfall. The good news is that a light blanket of snow (around 4-5 inches) and the regular melting of this snow can actually be good for our lawns and plantings.

  • Snow is a fantastic insulator. When the temperatures in our area drop to below freezing, the layer of snow can be protective and insulate your turf from the harshest winds and sub-zero temps.
  • Snow protects your lawn from a what is known as “transpiration.” This evaporation process from the leaves and blades of grass can cause a drying of the organic matter in your lawn and garden. Usually, this happens when plantings are open to the dry wind and sun. A coating of snow stops this process.
  • Snow melt also helps the groundwater supply. When the temperature warms above freezing, the melting snow is absorbed into the water table beneath ground level and acts as a moisture reserve during the hot dry months of summer. Melting snow also has the nice effect of evenly pulling nutrients into the root zone.
Snow Warnings

Snow can be a positive factor when it comes to your lawn and garden. However, here are some warnings when it comes to snow.

  • Stay off snow-covered or frozen lawns to keep from harming the fragile crowns of the grass. This means that when you build a snowman or track through your lawn, you are potentially harming the grass beneath.
  • Avoid leaving large amounts of salt or deicers in the snow. Salt and chemical melts can burn and harm the grass beneath. Use minimal amounts and only where needed.
  • Be aware that excessive piles of snow along walkways and driveways can cause snow mold. Try to prevent large piles from accumulating in one area.

We can’t keep the snow from falling, but rest assured that it can be a benefit to your lawn and garden this winter. Stay warm and safe and, as always, if you have questions, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Firewood and Pests – A Quick Review

Do you have a wood burning stove or fireplace and are concerned about the pests in your firewood pile? Since we often field calls from our clients about problems with pests in firewood stacks and those that hitch a ride indoors during the winter season, we thought this would be a good time to remind all of our readers about the steps you can take to protect your home from firewood pests this year.

Common Pests

Your firewood stack is a perfect pest hotel. Inside the stack, smaller rodents and insects are safe from predators and the pile is usually warm and protective. Common pests that can find harborage in a firewood stack include:

  • Carpenter ants
  • Termites
  • Longhorned beetles
  • Wood-boring beetles
  • Bark beetles
  • Mice and Rats
Prevention Tips

While it would be impossible to prevent insects from hanging out in your woodpile, it is possible to stop them from using your wood as a way to enter the interior of your home. Here are some prevention tips to follow:

  • Keep your woodpile 10-20 feet away from your home to stop insects from infesting a stack placed right up next to your structure.
  • Leave the firewood outside until it is to be burned. Bring in only what you need for the day/night. Burn the wood immediately. The reason for this is that insects in firewood stored outdoors generally require several days to warm up in your home before they become active.
  • Bang or knock the wood before you bring the pieces inside. Many a mouse has been known to cling to wood while being carried inside!
  • Keep the wood off of the ground and stack it loosely to improve airflow and speed drying.
  • Use the rule of first in, first out when choosing wood to burn.
  • Buy local wood to keep from introducing non-native species.

Have a firewood pest problem? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Overwintering 101

Most homeowners mistakenly believe that pests simply go away, disappear, or die off during the winter months. While it is true that many insects seek shelter in buildings during the cooler months, often called overwintering, they are still around and can cause problems. Overwintering pests generally become a problem in the fall and again in the spring. Let’s take a closer look at what overwintering really means and the pests that tend to behave this way. We will also discuss some steps that you can take to prevent your home from becoming a target.

Overwintering

Conditions in New England can be difficult for survival for many species of wildlife and insects. The sub-zero temperatures, ice, snow, and limited access to food can make activity nearly impossible and survival is not a given. Many species then turn to hibernation or migration to “overwinter” in our region. The inside walls, attic, basement, or crawl spaces of your home may make for an ideal location to overwinter. Pests such as stink bugs, boxelder bugs, beetles, and even rodents spend the colder months overwintering until the climate improves. They can do this as adults or in other stages of the life cycle. In addition to your home, overwintering locations can include: inside sheds, under tree bark, or beneath fallen leaves or other plant matter on the ground, among other places. The ultimate goal is to find a location that is protective and allows for survival.

The Signs

Many homeowners do not even know that pests have been overwintering in their home until the warmer months when they start to reemerge from their winter hiding spot. Most overwintering insects go unnoticed, but there are signs that you may want to be aware of. In the late fall, be aware of beetles, ladybugs, or other insects clinging to the side of your home, especially where the direct sun hits your structure. Another sign is usually in the early spring when these insects begin to reemerge like the stink bugs. In those cases, the sign will be an actual insect or many insects in your home trying to make their way outside. They will head toward windows and light sources in your home as a way to find a way back outside.

Prevention

The best way to prevent insects from choosing your home is to eliminate access to the interior of your structure. This means doing a thorough examination of your property and sealing all openings, gaps, cracks, and utility openings. Seal doors, windows, piping, vents, chimney openings, and all the ways you can visually see that an insect could find a way into your home.

Need help with overwintering insects in your home? Call Pro-Tech at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.