Category Archives: Lawn and Tree Pests

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.

 

Fireplaces and Pests

As winter draws near, most of us begin to take our entertaining indoors. Gone are the carefree summer nights of BBQs and fire pits. However, if you still long for the sight, smell, and comfort of a crackling fire, your living room fireplace will have to suffice during the winter season. There are some caveats when dealing with fireplaces, and the large potential for pests. Let’s look at some of the facets of winter homeowners should be aware of in regard to avoid pests in and around fireplaces.

If you think a fireplace is a comfy place to gather around, especially during the depths of winter, you are not wrong. But guess who else thinks so – wildlife and pests! Fireplaces and chimneys can harbor numerous pests, from wildlife that find refuge in the dark cavern, to pests who find a ride inside on firewood. Here are some suggestions of steps to avoid pests of all sizes and shapes around your fireplace.

  • Firewood – Check all firewood coming into your house. In other words, give it not only a visual inspection when you take it off the wood pile but also give it a few good bangs to be sure there is not an infestation of any variety of pest that you may be bringing inside. Check for scratches and gnaw marks that may be indicative of rodents living in your wood pile. Check that there are no active infestations. Use the wood in a timely manner. The longer it sits in your yard, the more likely pests have found a way to live and hide inside.
  • Check the Flue – Rodents, birds, squirrels, racoons, and other wildlife have been known to build nests inside chimneys that are accessible from the roof. Shut the flue when you are not using the fireplace to be sure these pests do not have access to the interior of your home. But be sure to open each time you use the fireplace.
  • Fireplaces should also have a cover or seal that can keep pests from getting inside your home. Many homeowners like the safety aspect of a fireplace screen to keep children and pets from getting too close to the flames. It can serve two purposes – to keep pests out and protect your family from the heat of the flames.

Fireplaces can be a haven for pests of many different varieties. If you find that you have pests living in your firewood stack, talk to the pest specialists at Pro-Tech. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Care for Bushes, Plants, and Trees this Winter

Winter is on its way, and boy can it pack a wallop when it arrives! The cold, wind, and precipitation can be pretty harsh not just on humans, but on the landscape as well. When preparing for the winter weather, it is important for homeowners to remember their bushes, plants, and trees. To care for these plantings, let’s look at the threats as well as solutions to protecting the landscaping in your yard this winter.

Winter’s Challenges

Sure, winters in New England are tough, but it is important to recognize the challenges your plantings face in order to protect them.

  • Salt Damage – Salt spray is a huge problem if your plants are near walkways, driveways, or close to the road.
  • Sun “Burning” – Dry winds and winter sun can dry out or “burn” conifer needles and broadleaf evergreen foliage, which continue to transpire (give off water vapor) during winter.
  • Animal Browsing – In this region, it is common for deer, rabbits and other animals to get desperate and gnaw at the plantings and bark that is still present during the heart of the winter.
  • Heavy Snow – When snow piles up during a storm, tender branches can break or become damaged due to the weight of the precipitation.

Winter Solutions

While each yard is unique, it may help to try some of these solutions. These help to protect your plants from the cold, wind, salt, heavy snow and, of course, the wildlife.

  • Avoid salt damage by shoveling or plowing away from the roots of plantings when possible. On dry days, sweep or remove salt build up so it does not have a chance to be absorbed into the ground. Use minimal salt around areas that have plantings. Lastly, read the packaging on deicers to be sure you are causing the least damage to organic matter while still allowing for safety on walkways.
  • Animals need to survive the winter as well, so we really can’t blame them for nibbling on trees and bushes occasionally. Covering the plantings that are most prone to animal browsing can help save them from the chewing and gnawing of wildlife. The coverings or wrappings can also act as an insulator.
  • Snow Damage – Some level of snow cover is good for plantings as it holds in moisture and heat. However, if you notice that the heavy snow is bending or damaging branches, then either remove the snow carefully or construct a small protective cover that allows the plant to be spared the brunt of the heavy snow.
  • Protect young trees from sun-scald with bark or tree wrapping that can be removed as the spring nears.

Do you have questions about protecting your trees, bushes, or plantings this winter? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Plantings in the Fall?

Hot apple cider, pumpkins, and crisp leaves crunching underfoot – all these things remind us of fall. But what about planting? Not usually something you think about when it comes to this time of year, right? Planting in the fall; is it even feasible? Planting isn’t just a spring and summer activity. Believe it or not, there are some species that do very well when planted in the fall. Let’s take a closer look at some plants that could actually benefit from planting this fall.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, “Fall has distinct planting benefits. Autumn’s cooler air temperatures are easier on both plants and gardeners. The soil is still warm, allowing roots to grow until the ground freezes. On the flip side, in spring, plants don’t grow until the soil warms up. Fall has more good days for planting than spring does, when rain and other unpredictable weather can make working the soil impossible. And there’s a lot more free time for gardening in autumn than in always-frantic spring. Plus, the late season is usually bargain time at garden centers that are trying to sell the last of their inventory before winter.”

So what could you consider planting this fall?

  • Spring Bulbs such as: Daffodil, Tulips, Grape hyacinth, Siberian squill, Allium, Fritillaria, Dog’s-tooth violet, Glory-of-the-snow, Winter aconite and Snowdrop.
  • Pansies are good to plant in the fall because the ground is still fairly warm and will allow the roots to get established.
  • Turfgrass is a good bet for fall planting as well. Cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass should be fertilized in early September and again in late October or early November to give a boost for earlier spring green-up.
  • Bushes and Shrubs find fall to be an ideal time for taking root and getting established. Be sure to fertilize and water before they become dormant so they will start strong in the spring.

Do you have questions about fall plantings? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

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.

 

Lawn and Tree Disease Series – Dutch Elm Disease

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forestry Division, reports that every year millions of trees across America succumb to drought, disease, pests, and wildfires. Forestry ecologists and scientists are increasingly alarmed, and say the essential role of trees – to provide clean water, lock up carbon, and shelter whole ecosystems – is being undermined on a grand scale. Much of this crisis is being driven by climate change and the spread of diseases and pests. In an effort to educate and inform our readers, this month we will be doing a five-part series on Lawn and Tree Disease.

Dutch Elm Disease (DED)

Dutch elm disease has killed millions of elm trees in the U.S. since the early 1930s. Symptoms of this fungal infection include yellowing of leaves and wilting. The branches and stems of elms also develop streaks of discoloration. The fungal infection impacts the the vascular (water conducting) system of the tree. This results in clogging of vascular tissues, preventing water movement to the crown and causing visual symptoms as the tree wilts and dies.

Dutch elm disease is spread by bark beetles. These beetles travel between sick and healthy trees, thus spreading the disease even further. It is crucial to remove infected trees from your landscape and grind them into wood chips. This stops the beatles from spreading. Dutch elm disease treatment options also include preventive fungicide injections that help protect trees for two to three years, planting trees that are Dutch elm disease-resistant, and properly pruning the branches.

These beautiful trees not only clean the air and provide shade, but also add value to your property. So this fall, take a few moments while you are doing yard clean up to look up and examine the branches, stems, bark, and leaves of the trees in your area. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for help or information. Reach out to us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

Lawn Care Packages

Do you need to protect, improve, or just maintain your lawn? Pro-Tech Lawn Care offers a variety of levels of lawn care packages to help enhance and maintain the health of your turf. Taking care of your lawn goes well beyond a homeowner mowing and trimming every weekend. At Pro-Tech Lawn Care, we can help your lawn look and stay beautiful through soil testing, pest control, and disease mitigation. Read on to find out more about the specific levels of lawn care services we offer.

Lawn Care Protection Program – In this comprehensive plan, our lawn care specialists can evaluate your lawn and determine what protections it will need to get healthy or, in some cases, remain healthy. Included in this level of lawn care plan is:

  • Soil testing
  • Evaluation of Soil Test to determine fertilizer and pH needs for the year
  • Weed Control
  • Grub Control
  • Pest Control
  • Disease Mitigation

Lawn Improvement Program  – In addition to the services above, this level of service also provides multiple visits from our team to perform all of those services, as well as additional visits for preventative grub control, weed control applications and, as needed, insect control.

Lawn Maintenance Program  – For lawns that are needed to be maintained, our service technicians make multiple visits including:

  • 5 scheduled visits to your property throughout the growing season. During 4 visits, your technician will perform fertilization, broadleaf, and grassy weed controls services.
  • During one of the services, a preventive grub control application will be performed.
  • The 5th service is scheduled for July or August and includes grassy and broadleaf weed controls.

Don’t know what level of service you need? Talk to our friendly and knowledgeable technicians who can evaluate the needs of your turf and help you decide only what is needed to make your lawn lush and beautiful. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 and visit our website.