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 – 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.

 

Mosquitoes and Ticks – Don’t Let Your Guard Down

As the end of summer looms, many homeowners may be lamenting the end of the warm weather and outdoor entertaining. While the calendar may be turning to fall soon and summer may be calling it quits, the pests have not! Mosquitoes and ticks are still active until the first sustained frost of the season, which means three or more consecutive days of frost-level temperatures. Depending upon the climate and conditions, this could be well into the fall. So don’t let your guard down yet when it comes to health-threatening pests like mosquitoes and ticks. Read on to find out how to continue to protect yourself through late summer and even into fall.

 

Ticks and mosquitoes do not follow a calendar but, rather, rely on environmental conditions to tell them when it is time to head to hibernation or overwintering. Hibernating mosquitoes don’t die off when it gets colder; they simply seek shelter in places that are protected from the elements, including abandoned animal dens, hollow logs, and even inside your home. These mosquitoes have been known to come out of hiding during warm spells in the winter, before hiding away when temperatures drop once again. Therefore it is near impossible to pinpoint the exact date when we can all stop worrying about these pests. Instead we suggest continued vigilance and following these simple rules for mosquitoes and tick prevention in your own yard.

Mosquito Vigilance –

  • Continue to use insect repellent both on your skin and clothing – DEET or other CDC-recommended sprays for exposed skin, and Permethrin is recommended as protection against mosquitoes for clothing, gear, or bed nets.
  • Reduce the mosquito population in your yard by removing any container that can hold water.
  • Avoid going outdoors during peak mosquito time such as dusk and dawn.

 

Tick Awareness –

  • Stay vigilant by doing daily body checks and looking for telltale signs such as a bullseye bite.
  • Use DEET insect spray and stay away from high tick areas such as tall grasses and bushy areas in the woods.

 

Although the days of summer are quickly dwindling, stay aware and take precautions to avoid tick and mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile, EEE, and Lyme Disease this year. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 and visit our website.

 

The Increased Stinging Activity of Wasps – Late Summer and Fall

Believe it or not, summer is quickly coming to a close with shorter days and sunsets happening earlier and earlier. It’s hard to believe that it was just a few weeks ago that we were discussing how to “Prevent Pests from Ruining your Outdoor Entertaining.”  While you may have taken action against the ticks, mosquitoes, and other wildlife pests in your yard, keep your guard up because right now is the peak wasp stinging season. Why is it that wasps, which have been around all spring and summer suddenly become such a problem at this time of year? Let’s take a closer look at the behavior of wasps and why this is such an active stinging time.

The answer as to why wasps sting more often in the late summer and early fall can be found in the life cycle and reproductive schedule of the wasp queen. According to University of Delaware bee researcher Debbie Delaney, wasps are heading into what can be considered “retirement” during the late summer and fall. It is during this time that the queen wasp stops laying eggs. The worker wasps then change their food-gathering strategy from collecting insects – a protein source for the colony’s young —  to now getting sweets and carbohydrates for their own consumption. These adult wasps have just a few weeks to binge on carbohydrates before they die off at the first hard frost. It is during these last few weeks before either overwintering or dying off in the frost that the wasps go out in search of food items such as the sugar produced by rotting fruit and tree sap. They can also find these sugars in the foods at your patio table or in your garden.

 

Once the queen has stopped her reproductive cycle for the season, these hard working wasps are anxious to find sugar items to eat. These items, such as the fruit at your BBQ or perhaps the beer or soda cans that adorn your patio table are just too much to pass up. Combine this with the generally aggressive behavior of wasps, and this is a recipe for stings during this season.

 

Do you have wasps nests in your yard and are concerned about the impact to your outdoor entertaining, safety of your children, or nuisance of wasps dive bombing during dinner? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 and visit our website. We can help you solve your wasp problem.

 

Gutters and other Pest Havens

No home is immune to attracting pests. However, with regular maintenance and thorough inspections to the most pest-prone areas, homeowners can avoid pest catastrophes such as infestations and damage to the home’s structure. There are some areas of a typical home that tend to be forgotten and sometimes even neglected that pests find and take up refuge. Let’s examine some of these pest haven  areas, and see how you can prevent a pest problem in the future.

Gutters – The gutters attached to your home have many benefits: to keep the water from eroding the soil around your foundation, protect the basement from flooding, stop your roof from leaking, and safeguard the foundation from water damage. Unfortunately, gutters collect water runoff and piles of leaves from one season to the next. This water and natural debris is the perfect breeding and nesting ground for a slew of pests including: squirrels, ants, rats, and mice. Gutters are easy to ignore unless they are causing a problem. We suggest having them cleaned at least twice a year to avoid accidentally creating a pest haven.

Decks and Sheds – While many homeowners enjoy entertaining on their deck and storing their fun yard equipment in a handy shed, most forget that the underside of these two structures can be a perfect place for pests to find a home, breed, and make an utter mess. Every spring and again in the fall, clear out the underneath of these two hard-to-access areas. The dark, moist area can be a haven for a wide range of wildlife that you do not want to encourage to nest in your yard.

Firewood Stacks – We all enjoy a good fire in the winter and fire pit entertaining in the warmer weather. Don’t forget to use the oldest wood first, store away from your home and check the wood before bringing it into your home. Wood is a great place for wood loving insects to hide.

Do you have a pest problem in a forgotten or not often cared for area? Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 and visit our website. We can identify the pest and create a solution that works for you and your family.