Category Archives: Seasonal Yard Maintenance

Avoid Lawn Damage Due to Road Chemicals

Winter is the season of snow, freezing rain, and slushy roads. In order to keep the public safe, de-icing materials are used on our highways and roadways. Many homeowners also use these chemicals on paths, steps, and driveways on their property. While they do make driving and walking safer, the chemicals in these de-icers can damage lawns and plantings as the ingredients seep into the ground. Read on to follow some simple steps to avoid lawn damage due to deicing and road chemicals.

  • Don’t pile up snow in the same locations. It is common for homeowners to have a routine of where snow is piled in their yard. Try to spread it around for each storm if at all possible to keep the same areas from getting a high concentration of snow and chemicals.
  • Create a barrier out of netting or plastic that can keep snow and ice melt from blowing or drifting on to your lawn.
  • Remove the snow as it falls so it does not have a chance to freeze. This way you will need less deicer.
  • Keep sewer drains open and free of snow so that the melting snow has somewhere to go rather than just in your lawn.
  • Use a salt alternative such as kitty litter or sand from your town’s DPW. Choose a deicing agent that is safe for landscapes. These products are healthier for the environment and allow for traction on icy areas.
  • Only use what you need. Many homeowners go with the idea that, “More is better.” This is not true when it comes to deicing materials. Only use enough to get the ice to melt, then remove excess through sweeping into a trash bin.
  • As the spring approaches and the sunny days get milder, try watering down the salt content with water. Make sure it is during a mild spell so the water does not refreeze.

 

Questions about your lawn and deicing chemicals? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Winter Wildlife

While we all hunker down for the winter, it can be fun to watch some of the wildlife as they, too, try to stay warm and make it through the storms and temperature changes. If you have wildlife that like to visit your yard, there are some actions that you may want to take to both enjoy watching the critters and keep your lawn and garden safe. Continue reading to find out more about winter wildlife and what they may mean for your yard.

Some common animals that may find your yard appealing during the winter months include deer, coyotes, birds, and animals who may have awoken prematurely from their slumber due to an increase in temperature. These could include skunks, raccoons, gophers, and moles.

As you watch from the window, you may consider helping these creatures by putting out food so they have some sustenance. However, one of the main warnings from the Mass Gov website about feeding these animals is that it does way more harm than good. Environmental and wildlife experts say, “While people have good intentions, supplemental feeding of wildlife typically does more harm than good.”

Here are a few of the reasons why this is not a good practice:

  • Feeding wildlife tends to congregate them in one area making the spread of disease more rampant and allows for predators to more easily find their prey.
  • Feeding wildlife can attract them to a certain yard or area where grass and plantings can be trampled and eaten as well.
  • Competition over food being put out can cause aggression between wildlife.
  • Wildlife may need to travel distances to get to your yard, wasting energy and potentially crossing roads that will put them in further danger.

If you find that you have any of these wildlife in your area, watch and enjoy but allow them to do their instinctual thing and survive the way they know how. If the wildlife is destroying your yard, you may want to install barriers to protect your bushes and plantings.

 

Lawn Care for All Seasons

We all know about mowing, raking, and feeding our lawns, especially in the spring and summer. But did you know that lawn care is a year-round activity? In order for your lawn and plantings to look healthy and strong, there are actions that homeowners should be taking during each season. Let’s take a closer look at how to care for your lawn throughout all four seasons.

Spring

This is the time of year to prep for the upcoming growing season. Before planting, be sure to check when the expected last freeze will be as you do not want to start too early and lose your plantings to one last cold night. During the weeks before you can begin mowing, you may want to do the following tasks:

  • Clean up the yard by raking out leftover leaves from the fall.
  • Sharpen mower blades.
  • Repair or tune up other yard equipment like trimmers and aerators.
  • This may be a good time to aerate your lawn and allow for the nutrients, water, and oxygen that the roots need to reach their target.
  • Fertilize in the early spring.
  • Dethatch any areas of the lawn that look thick with dead grass.
Summer

Now that the growing season is in full swing, you will want to maintain the yard with some common activities that may be needed weekly such as mowing, trimming back bushes and edging the perimeter of your lawn. Water regularly depending upon the needs of your grass and the climate in your region. In addition to these weekend activities we also suggest:

  • Summer fertilization if not done before this point.
  • Treatment for grubs and other pests who may be making their way into the lawn.
Fall

This is a season highlighted by continued mowing, trimming, edging, watering, and feeding the lawn. The largest activity is keeping the grass from being choked by the falling leaves. Keep the lawn clear so that the lawn can continue to absorb any fertilizer, water, and nutrients. The winter is when these ingredients will be needed to survive.

Winter

You may think your job is done during this season but there are a few things to complete before heading indoors.

  • Clean off the lawn. This includes patio furniture, swings, hammocks, garden gnomes, and other items that will kill the grass.
  • Keep the de-icing products off your lawn as much as possible throughout the winter.
  • Clean and store all equipment. This may include having lawn equipment tuned up or repaired.
  • Have irrigation systems professionally shut down and blown out.

Wondering if you are doing the right thing for your lawn? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Last Minute Lawn Care Before Winter

Are you a “last minute” person? Do you put things off? Well, you are not alone. Psychology Today reports that 20% of us identify as chronic procrastinators. The number goes even higher if we take into account people who procrastinate occasionally. Well, if you have procrastinated taking care of your lawn, then you will want to use our “Last Minute Lawn Care” checklist. Here are a few things that you should check on before winter sets in for our region.

  • Fall is an important time to test the soil, fertilize, and aerate. Depending upon how late you are with these tasks, some of them may need to wait until the spring to be completed. Fall fertilizing helps keep lawns vigorous and healthy when growing seasons are long and reduces the length of a dormant period during which the lawn is an unattractive brown.
  • Mow for the last few times. Use the Rule of Thirds, where you do not take off more than one third of the height of the grass at any one time
  • Dethatch the yard with vigorous raking. Thatch can build up and choke out the grass.
  • Rake the lawn to remove fallen leaves. I know it is a chore that no one loves, but leaving the leaves means that they get wet, moldy, and block the needed sunlight, nutrients, and water from getting to the grassroots.
  • Protect tender plantings and bushes. Many homeowners find that wrapping bushes and shrubs help protect them from the cold and heavy snow that can damage branches.
  • Mulching around bushes and trees can help hold in moisture that is needed and provide a layer of insulation. It will also help with weeds and pests in the spring.
  • Care for your lawn equipment. Once you have completed the last of your yard chores for the winter, be sure to clean off and store your lawn tools and mower/trimmer in a dry area. Many people find that this is a great time for repairs and sharpening blades.
  • Clean the gutters. Make sure to clear out the leaves, twigs, and debris that has gotten caught in your gutters. This is a prime spot for pests to flourish if allowed.
  • Pick up all lawn items like garden gnomes, planters, and patio furniture.

Are you ready for winter? Need help putting your lawn to bed? 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.

 

Important Steps for Fall Lawn Care

There is no denying it – winter is on the way and there is nothing we can do to stop it. What can we do to prepare for the cold temperatures, whistling winds, and variety of precipitation that may come our way? For many of us these changes mean tuning up the snow blower, buying ice melt, and taking care of our lawn and garden for the last few weeks of fall. What steps do you take each fall to close up the property and clean up the yard? Here are some of our suggestions this fall for healthy lawn care.

  • Aerate – After a spring, summer, and fall of high traffic all over your yard, the soil may have become compacted. Whether it is due to entertaining or playing, most turf could use a bit of loosening up to get the water, nutrients, and oxygen to the roots. Aeration can really help loosen the ground and get all that good stuff right down to the base of the roots.
  • Fertilize – Find out what your grass needs through testing or talking to a lawn care specialist before you fertilize for the winter. By giving one last feeding, your grass will have a jump start in the spring and “weather” the winter better than without fertilizing.
  • Keep Watering and Mowing – Until your lawn and garden goes dormant after the first hard frost at the beginning of November, keep watering all plantings, grass, bushes, shrubs, and trees. In addition, keep mowing ⅓ of the height of the grass until that time. A well-manicured lawn can help prevent weeds and pests from taking hold.
  • Clean it Up – Remove all lawn and garden items such as garden gnomes, planters, and patio equipment. Rake the leaves and dispose of them properly. Make sure to get every corner so the rotting leaves do not smother the grass underneath.

Need help preparing your yard for the winter? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.

 

Don’t Make These Common Spring Lawn Care Mistakes

Sometimes homeowners find it hard to get back into the swing-of-things when it comes to caring for their lawn each spring. After all, it has been a few months and all those things you thought you would do or, at least, remember to do with your lawn have gone by the wayside. Did you remember to drain the gas and oil out of the lawn mower? Did you plant bulbs last year or agree to wait? Hmmm. Well, while you adjust to your spring lawn care chores again, let us remind you about some of the more common mistakes homeowners make every year so you can avoid them yourself.

 

  • Forgetting to Sharpen the Mower Blade – Yep, this is an easy one to forget about. The mower blade should be sharpened regularly and over the winter was a great time to do it while you don’t need the mower. If you still need to do this, now is as good a time as any.
  • Failing to Test the Soil – Too many homeowners skip this step of finding out how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Without this, you really don’t have any idea about the needs of your lawn.
  • Failing to Remove Items from the Grass – Lots of homeowners allow lawn ornaments, grills, and even cars to stay on the lawn over the winter months, thinking that they will not do any harm. Anything left on the grass can almost ensure that the grass underneath will be long dead and leave a large bare spot on your lawn. To fix this, you may need to reseed completely in this area.
  • Bagging the Lawn Clippings – Research has shown that, while it doesn’t look as clean and tidy and lawns that have every cut blade removed, the results can be astounding. By leaving clippings in the grass after mowing you are adding much needed nitrogen and organic matter to the grass.
  • Over/Under Watering – This mistake is fairly common. Do you see dry dead patches on your lawn or possibly the opposite – puddling? These two conditions are an indicator that you are either watering too little or too much, respectively. Water several times a week deeply. Check with a screwdriver to see how easily the tool sides in to the grass or if it is met with resistance, thus indicating dry ground.

 

Do you need help avoiding lawn care mistakes? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Spring Lawn Care – Where to Start?

Welcome to spring! Are you ready to hit the ground running in regard to caring for your lawn and garden? If the answer is yes, then you may be wondering where to start. Should you start aerating, fertilizing, or treating for pests? The answer may be different for each homeowner, but there are some commonalities in what should be done. Here is a quick guide of where to start when it comes to spring lawn care. 

 

  • Clean Up – Start your spring lawn care with a comprehensive clean up of your yard. That means all leaves, debris, and yard items should be removed from the grassy areas. If you see accumulations of rock salt along hardscapes, clean those up as well. If any dead plantings are in the garden still, remove those as well.
  • Dethatch – Once every little stick, branch, and garden gnome has been removed from the yard, begin dethatching your grass. Thatch is that dead grass built up around your yard. Raking the thatch out allows for new seed to grow and for much needed sunlight, water, oxygen, and nutrients to get down to the grassroots.
  • Soil Testing – When was the last time you tested your soil to find out the pH level? Knowing if your soil is too acidic or alkaline can help you grow a lush, green lawn this year.
  • Aerate – After a fall and winter of soil compaction, your lawn may need to be loosened up a bit. Aerating the lawn either by using a machine or a hand held tool can allow for the high traffic areas and areas that are matted down to to be loosened.
  • Weed/Pest Control – Believe it or not, you may already have weeds or pests finding their way into your lawn. Treatments for both may need to be determined by examining what kinds of weeds or what kinds of pests are invading your grass. Pro-Tech Lawn Care can evaluate your lawn for invaders and plan an appropriate course of treatment.
  • Seed/Hydroseed – Once you have dethatched and aerated, you may notice that some of your lawn is bare or thinning. Ask our specialists about our seeding/over seeding or hydroseeding options to get your grass looking thicker and healthier.

 

Need help getting started this spring? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

5 Benefits of Mulching in your Yard

Every spring homeowners across the nation spend hours and hours preparing their yards, planting flowers, trimming bushes, mowing the lawn, and gardening. For some it is the aesthetic beauty of the yard that motivates them, for others it is the prospect of entertaining outdoors that gets them mowing, clipping, and planting. No matter the reason, it is always good to have a strategy to make your property look the best that it can. Mulching is one such strategy that has many benefits, from weed and pest control to preventing soil erosion. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 main benefits of mulching your yard.

 

  1. Pest Control – Many types of mulches have oils, fragrances, and organic matter that repel many different kinds of pests. Unfortunately, some mulches do attract pests, so be sure to talk to a lawn care specialist before laying down any mulch this spring. Choosing the right type of mulch can add one more layer of protection against the pests that tend to invade at this time of year.
  2. Weed Control – Mulch acts as a barrier that limits sunlight to the weeds beneath. By limiting that sunlight, weeds have less of a chance to prosper under your plantings, bushes, and trees.
  3. Moisture and Nutrient Retention – A layer of mulch (2 inches or so) can retain moisture and limit the effects of evaporation. This moisture retention can be especially important during the heat of the summer when plants need all the nutrients and moisture they can get. Mulch also has the ability to release nutrients into the soil as the organic compounds decay.
  4. Prevent Erosion – As rain water and sprinkler systems accumulate water around your yard, erosion can occur. This is especially true when the steepness of the grade causes water to run or drain out. Mulch has the ability to protect soil and slopes from the erosive power of water.
  5. A Finished Look – While mulch has the ability to prevent weeds, pests, and erosion, it also has the ability to give your lawn and garden a finished look. Mulch is an easy filler that can give your yard a bit of much needed “punch”.

 

Pro-Tech Lawn Care can help get your lawn and garden looking good and growing healthy. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.

Think Ahead and Prevent Pests this Spring

Sure, the weather is still cold outside and the growing season is still a little ways off, but now is the perfect time to start thinking about pest prevention for your lawn and garden. Now is the time for planning so that grubs, fungus, tree diseases, and pests in general do not find a way to ruin your beautiful lawn/garden this year. Here are some suggestions of how you can think ahead and prevent pests this spring.

 

  • Drainage – Last year, did your lawn or garden have a drainage problem? Were there puddles in some areas and dry patches in others? Drainage problems can be caused by many things such as excess thatch, compaction and other reasons. The problem with poor drainage is that it makes your lawn vulnerable to pests who thrive in wet, moldy environments. Have a lawn care expert evaluate your lawn early this spring to see what can be done about your drainage issues.
  • Fertilization and Aeration Problems – Red Thread, probably one of the more common grass diseases, can be caused by nitrogen deficiency and lack of air circulation down to the roots. Do your grass a favor this year and get on a schedule for proper fertilization as well as start the season off right with proper ventilation through aeration for your lawn.
  • Proper Pest Treatments – Think ahead and plan pest control treatments so that grubs, mold, fairy rings, and any of the hundreds of other grass diseases don’t take hold of your lawn this year. Pro-Tech Lawn Care has excellent programs to keep your lawn healthy all growing season.
  • Wildlife Prevention – If you had a problem with critters getting into your garden, trash barrels, or digging up your property last year, plan ahead by building proper fencing for your garden, buy locking barrels, or talk to a pest expert who can evaluate what is attracting the wildlife to your yard.

 

Do you need help planning for this spring? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.