Category Archives: Lawn Care

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.

Fall Lawn Care Mistakes

The leaves have begun to fall, the days have become shorter, and the weather markedly cooler. This can mean only one thing for your yard and property; it’s time to start cleaning and prepping for the notoriously harsh New England winter! While fall is a great time for picking out your pumpkin and going for a hayride, it is also a time to get ready for the weather that winter brings to our region. When prepping your yard, be sure not to make these common Autumn lawn care mistakes.

  • Rotting Leaves – Many homeowners rake up and/or mow leaves that have fallen over the last few weeks. Be sure to get all the leaves, even in the corners of the yard, under decks, and around gardens. Leaves that are forgotten or missed because of their difficult location can begin to rot and kill the grass underneath. Forgetting to clean up the leaves from all areas of your yard is one of the major mistakes homeowners make.
  • Ignoring Pests – As we enter the later fall months, it may be easy to ignore the pests that seem to have taken up residence in your yard: from bees, to wildlife, and even rodents. Don’t make the mistake of putting off treating for pests even though we are late in the season.
  • Improper Fertilizing – Winterizing your lawn so that it is protected through the cold weather is a good idea. A winterizer high in nitrogen will help your lawn over-winter and green up sooner in the spring. Talk to your lawn care specialists to make sure you are using the right winterizer that has an appropriate composition of phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen.
  • Forgetting to Mulch – Mulch doesn’t just provide aesthetically pleasing ground cover, it holds in moisture and heat that many plantings need through the winter. Don’t think it is too late to mulch just because the calendar reads October.
  • Improper Watering – Over-watering can be just as big a problem as underwatering. Fall is a time to check if you have been giving your grass and plantings the right amount of water that will hold them till spring.

Do you need helping figuring out the right steps to prep your yard and garden for the long winter that lays ahead? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care 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 Disease

New Englanders truly enjoy being outdoors during the summer months. Other than grilling out and entertaining family and friends, many homeowners find joy in working on their gardens or nurturing a lawn. Unfortunately, there are many lawn diseases that can hamper this enjoyment and cause brown spots, mushrooms or bare spots. Let’s review some of the more common lawn diseases that inflict damage in our area so you know what to look for and how to treat in the future.

  • Brown Patch – Brown patch appears as circular patches in the lawn that are brownish yellow in color and range from 6 inches to several feet in diameter. It effects all cool season lawn grasses but is especially harmful to ryegrass and tall fescue. This disease is most common during extended periods of heat and humidity – in other words a typical New England summer.
  • Red Thread – This lawn disease appears as red or pink webbing in the lawn. It is common when the nitrogen level in the grass is low and usually indicates that it is time to fertilize. Grasses typically affected include: bermudagrass, bluegrasses, fescues, bentgrasses, and perennial ryegrass.
  • Fairy Rings – An arc or circle of mushrooms is a big sign that you may have Fairy Rings. Irrigation issues or overly moist areas can lead to this fungus problem.
  • Rust Diseases – These irregular brown or yellow splotches on the grass are common in late summer and early fall. They often appear in shady and moist areas of your lawn.
  • Pythium Blight – This water mold disease occurs where irrigation is not draining properly or the soil is overly moist. Pythium blight symptoms include circular areas 1 to 3 inches in diameter and foliage can have a gray, water-soaked appearance and possibly white mycelium on mornings with dew.

If you are working hard to maintain a beautiful, lush lawn and disease is stopping you in your tracks, it might be time to contact our team here at Pro-Tech Lawn Care. Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or 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.

Prevent Pests from Ruining your Outdoor Entertaining

Summer is such a great time for outdoor entertaining around the grill, fire pit, or pool, as the days are longer and the weather is perfect for such events. Unfortunately, these fun get togethers sometimes have uninvited guests such as pests like bees, flies, mosquitoes, and ticks. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to prevent pests from ruining your outdoor entertaining this summer.

 

  • Yard Treatment – Talk to our experts about treating your yard for mosquitoes and other pests that can be a huge pain during outdoor dinner parties. Our comprehensive monthly treatment program can protect your family and guests from ticks, mosquitoes, and other flying pests throughout the active season.
  • Cover Foods – The item that most attracts pests during your BBQ or dinner parties is most likely the food! Cover all food serving dishes when possible or, better yet, move them into the kitchen and have guests serve from inside. One item that tends to attract bees are soda and beer cans. Bees love to nose around in these cans and can sting an unsuspecting drinker. Keep cans and drinks covered as well.
  • Dress for Prevention – While it may be hot outside, the pests love exposed skin. Try to wear long sleeved, light weight clothing that will protect the largest part of your body. Use insect repellent such as Permethrin on clothing and DEET on skin.
  • Use Fans – Mosquitoes and other insects have trouble landing when there is a stiff wind or human-made wind from a fan. Bring out some standing fans and direct them on guests around your patio so that these buggers can’t get a chance to land and bite.
  • Try Insect Repelling Plantings – Up the odds that your outdoors will be pest-free by planting some naturally insect repelling plantings. The following plants are known to have mosquito-repelling properties: marigolds, Rosemary, Lavender, Basil, and Catnip.

 

Talk to our team at Pro-Tech Lawn Care about how you can prevent pests from ruining your time outside with our helpful tips and treatment solutions. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

4 Tips to Prevent Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

As the weather improves, New Englanders tend to start spending more and more time outdoors playing, gardening, enjoying the sun, and entertaining. While humans are getting out more, so are the pests and insects, specifically pests like ticks that can transmit disease such as Lyme. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 300,000 new cases of this tick-borne disease every year. Now is the time to take certain steps to prevent tick bites and potentially Lyme Disease. Here are four tips to help keep you and your family safe this season.

 

  1. Create a Tick-Free Zone – Staying indoors during the height of the tick season is not a viable option, so try to create a tick-free zone around your home. Do this by keeping your lawn, garden, and plantings well-groomed and manicured. This can keep the tick habitat away from your property. In addition, consider a tick barrier by placing wood chips or bark mulch around the perimeter of your property. Some homeowners choose to have their property treated by professionals like our technicians here at Pro-Tech Lawn Care.
  2. Enjoy the Outdoors Safely – If your outdoor plans include being in an area that could have ticks, which is just about anywhere, dress wisely. Wear lightweight long pants and shirts, stay on hiking paths, and protect yourself with tick repellant such as DEET for skin and Permethrin for clothing.
  3. Perform Tick Checks – After being outdoors, make a habit of checking yourself, your partner, and children every evening. Ticks especially like to hide in armpits, along the neck and hairline, in the scalp, behind the knee, and along the waistline. Do not just rely on a sight check; also use your hands to feel for small specks that could be ticks.
  4. Remove Ticks – If you should find a tick, don’t panic! Attempt to remove the tick with tweezers. Getting the tick off in the first 24 hours can dramatically reduce the chance of transmitting Lyme Disease from tick to person.

 

While we encourage people to enjoy the outdoors every spring and summer, we also caution everyone to be vigilant for ticks by proactively treating as well as checking for ticks after each time outside. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care for more information and help treating your yard this season. Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

 

What’s Up with the Ladybugs?

Ladybugs may be one of the more beloved pests, (if there is such a thing). They have cute songs written about them, children love drawing them, and dog-gone-it they are cute. Well that is unless they and hundreds of their closest friends have become your housemates! Why is it that in the fall, and again in the spring these critters find themselves crawling all over your home, sometimes even inside your home? It may be enough to ask, “What’s Up with the Ladybugs?”

 

Ladybugs, while somewhat adorable, are cluster hibernators, which means that every fall they secrete a pheromone that attracts hundreds of their friends and family in search of a place to spend their winter hibernating. Unfortunately, this location may be the walls, eaves, and other hidden places inside your home! This event usually occurs on sunny days in late October or early November. You may notice them right around trick-or-treating time. They are most attracted to homes with natural wood siding and ample sun exposure. They’re also attracted to houses in wooded areas, light-colored houses warmed in sunlight, and especially older houses with lots of crevices to find their way in.

 

In the spring these same Ladybugs are beginning to awaken, which means we repeat the process except in reverse. At first you may notice one or two crawling out from their hibernation into the light, confused but ready for the spring. Then as the days and weeks progress you may see many more working their way back to the outdoors. Help them along their journey or leave them be. Unfortunately, Ladybugs can leave stains and may be seen as a nuisance. The good news with Ladybugs is that these pests are really just an annoyance since they do not pose a health threat and do not damage structures. Do you have questions about the pests in and around your house? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

 

Mow the Right Way

Every Saturday and Sunday we see our neighbors going at it, mowing and trimming their lawns. They all seem to be doing it pretty much the same way. Why is it, then, that some lawns look picture-perfect while others just don’t. Is there some magical secret that some people follow when mowing? Probably not, since lawns are dependent on many factors including: sunlight, water, nutrients, aeration, fertilization, oxygenation, and the list goes on. Mowing is another factor that can help make a property look its best. Here are some ideas to help you Mow the Right Way and get your lawn looking amazing.

  • Keep your Equipment Running Well – It is hard to do a great job caring for your lawn if your trimmers, mower, and lawn tools are not at their best. Get a check up at a local hardware store where they can examine spark plugs, oil, blade sharpness, and general running of the motor. A healthy mower can only help you during the growing season.
  • Mow when it is time. This means that several things should be taken into account. For example: don’t mow when the grass is wet. Mow when the grass is dry. The blades will be upright and less likely to clump when cut. Also avoid mowing in the heat of the day to prevent heat stress on your grass and yourself.
  • Change the mowing patterns regularly. This keeps the grass from bending too much the in direction that you mow. Instead switch it up a bit each time to avoid grass bending and ruts in the lawn where you commonly mow.
  • Stick to the ⅓ Rule of mowing. Never cut off more than one third of the grass at one time to reduce injury to the crown and generate new growth.
  • Consider not bagging the clippings when you mow. The clippings can serve as a great organic addition to your lawn.

 

Is your lawn still not as green, lush, or beautiful as your neighbors’ lawns? Find out why by calling Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.