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Lawn care Tip: Beware of mites!

Anytime we spend any appreciable amount of time outdoors, we should be aware of the possibility of bringing home a few new friends with us, including mites. However, the great outdoors isn’t the only place we encounter mites, say lawn care experts. These microscopic bugs can be found literally everywhere.

These insects have small rounded bodies and eight legs. You aren’t likely to be able to see them, since they are almost impossible to detect with the naked eye and are much smaller than ticks. Since we have difficulty seeing them, it is unlikely that you’ll know if they’ve hitched a ride on your clothing or are lurking in your closet or even on your pets.

There are different variations of mites, including dust mites, spider mites, mange mites, sarcoptic mites, gall mites and demodex mites. Mite specialists say they receive their name based on where they live and thrive. For example, dust mites tend to live in the home where there is dust.

You may notice you have mites by the mild to severe skin irritations that follow when they interact with us or our pets. Dogs or cats may constantly dig at themselves trying to relieve the itching mites cause. Similarly, we may notice red, dry patches of skin on our bodies that constantly itch.

The best remedy, according to the lawn care specialists, is to combat mites is by cleaning and keeping up with our cleaning regimen. Wash bed sheets and pillows often and with hot water. Vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture, being sure to get into cracks and crevices. Consider getting perimeter pest control to make sure these insects are unable to gain access to your home.

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Automatic Lawn Mowers (A Review)

Advances in landscaping technology are always making our lives better and often freeing up time for us to spend having fun rather than working. Although, some things are purely American, including mowing our lawns. However, with the invention of automatic lawn mowers, that notion may be heading for the archives.

Our technological funny bones were tickled with the Roomba was invented. Finally a self-directing vacuum cleaner! How awesome would it be if that same technology was applied to mowing the lawn? Well now it has! There are many different brands of automatic lawn mowers on the market, with Husqvarna being one of the top, according to landscaping professionals. If you’re looking to make your life a little easier by purchasing one of these three models, here is some information you may want to consider when making your choice. If you don’t think an automatic lawn mower is for you, you may change your mind after reviewing this information.

Automower currently has three models: the 230 ACX, the 220 AC and the Solar Hybrid. All three have certain characteristics in common, including:

  • Ability to cut uneven or complicated landscapes
  • Three razor-like blades
  • Low noise
  • Able to find its way back to the charging station when low on power
  • Anti-theft alarm
  • Backlit keyboard & display
  • No emissions
  • Timer
  • Pin lock code

The 230 ACX is able to cover ¾ of an acre before needing recharged. This unit has a MSRP of $ 2,699.95. The 220 AC is able to cover ½ of an acre and runs slightly cheaper at $ 2,399.95. The Solar Hybrid is the world’s first fully automatic lawn power that is partly powered by the sun. It uses much less energy than any other conventional lawn mower. The attached solar power enables the mower to extend cutting time before it requires recharging, which means your lawn will be able to be cut in a shorter amount of time. Depending on the amount of sunlight available, the Solar Hybrid is typically able to cut a ½ an acre. The idea behind this automatic lawn mower is to mimic the grazing habits of sheep. As the manufacturer’s website states: “Cut a little all the time in a random pattern.” The Solar Hybrid functions regardless of weather conditions.

All models are able to have the height adjusted by turning a knob. The blades are located far from the outer edge to ensure fingers are not sliced if they happen to lift the edge of the mower. All mowers will automatically shut off if lifted off the ground.

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Lawn Care Tip: Protecting your lawn from dogs

With all the running, jumping and going to the bathroom, dogs can do quite a number on your lawn. There are some products you can purchase that promise to eliminate urine spots from your lawn, but this might be more trouble than it’s worth to have to try and seek out every spot and treat it thoroughly. There is also the issue with trampled or worn grass, and unless you’re ready to dig up your existing turf and plant sturdier grass, you will need another option for protecting your turf from your pet’s paws.

Tree care specialists recommend planting clover in the areas where your dog likes to frequent for his bathroom needs. Dogs often retreat to a certain spot time after time, so planting clover in this area will allow him the comfort of thinking he’s getting grass, but his urine will not have the same effects on the clover as it does on grass. The nitrogen and salt in urine is what causes the grass to become discolored, but clover is resistant to these chemicals and will remain green. Clover is also beneficial because it doesn’t require the same amount of upkeep and watering as regular grass.

Another tree care tip for the wearing of your turf is installing a pooch path. As stated before, dogs are creatures of habit and tend to pick out the area around your fence as their potty spots. Tree care professionals advise against growing grass in this area and instead suggest installing a crushed gravel path or a stone walkway. This will also work for your dog’s other paths through the yard. Instead of having trampled grass, you will have a creative and luxurious-looking pathway that will add character to your lawn and landscape.

If you don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of keeping up with your dog’s potty spots, contact us and ask about how to combat the effects your pet may have on your lawn.

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Lawn Care Tip: Protect your tree during winter with black plastic

Fruit trees are very sensitive to cold weather and recently, some states such as Georgia and Florida experienced an unexpected frost that damaged much of the fruit. However,  lawn care professionals say there are ways to prevent extensive damage when the weather turns colder than what the trees can handle or are used to.

Sun scald is very damaging to all trees, but especially fruit trees. The direct sunlight causes the cells within the tree to unfreeze, but the drastic change in temperature once the sun goes down can crack or split the bark, if not cause it to fall of completely.

Lawn care experts say a great way to prevent sun scald from negatively affecting your fruit trees is by wrapping your trees in black plastic during the late fall months. Choose a sturdy black plastic (you may be able to find some at your local gardening outlet) and begin at the base of the tree, wrapping the plastic in an upward motion. You will probably have to overlap the layers in order to sufficiently cover the entire base of the tree. Fasten the plastic by using staples (staple the plastic NOT the tree) or using a powerful adhesive, taking care to avoid getting any on the tree itself. The tape could damage the bark.

Be sure to check on the wrap throughout the winter and early spring to make sure there are no gaps or places where the plastic wrap is coming undone. If you properly protect your tree during the winter months, you should have a healthy, vibrant tree once spring finally rolls around!

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Lawn Care Tips for Exotic Weeds

The one thing any homeowner does not want is to find their lawn swimming in a sea of weeds. Not all of us are lawn care experts, so we probably aren’t aware of half the weeds out there other than your standard crabgrass and fescue. However, there are several types of weeds to be on the lookout for and here is the description of some of the most exotic types.

Mouse-ear chickweed sounds nothing like a weed, other than the “weed” part at the end of its name. However, it is indeed a weed and can be discovered in the late spring and early summer when small, white flowers begin to appear. The leaves are narrow, long and fleshy and also have a fuzzy appearance. The best time to eliminate them is in the spring because by mid-summer they have begun to sprout seed heads.

Oxalis is another spring/early summer weed. It stays close to the ground, which makes it easy for it to remain on your lawn even after mowing. If your turf is damp, does not have proper irrigation and is heavily shaded, it is the ideal growing conditions for oxalis. This weed is distinguishable by its bright yellow flowers with purple or reddish leaves and stems.

Purslane has rubbery leaves that are thick and sprawling, along with five-petaled yellow flowers that are in full bloom when the sun is shining its brightest. Lawn care experts say the seeds of this weed are most dangerous because even though you may remove the weed and its roots, the seeds lay dormant in the soil for years. This lawn sabotager loves hot, dry weather and is often found in thin areas of a lawn or in turfs that have been seeded in the summer.

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Pruning Can Be Easy

Many homeowners are intimidated by the prospect of pruning. Knowing that improper pruning can lead to a sick or otherwise compromised tree or shrub can be too much for some people, especially after they have invested so much in their landscape.

No matter how scary the idea of pruning is, it should be a practice you get into with comfort and regularity because a well-pruned plant is a healthy plant. Pruning improves the flow of moisture and nutrients through the plant, as well as allows thriving areas to receive most of the nutrition while dead or dying areas are removed from the plant, according to lawn care professionals.

Pruning is one of the best practices you can perform on the plants in your garden and landscape. Lawn care experts say becoming proficient at pruning plants just takes experience and the right tools. Here are four basic tools that will take care of pretty much all your garden pruning tasks. You should keep these tips in mind when selecting your hand pruners, loppers, shears and saws:

  1. Don’t be cheap when it comes to investing in pruning tools. Good quality tools stay sharp longer, cut easier and will last longer, paying for themselves in the long run.
  2. Keep your tools sharpened to make cutting easier and to produce clean cuts that heal faster. A sharper pruning tool also puts less stress on your hand, according to lawn care professionals.
  3. Keep your pruning tools clean and clean the blades in between trees or shrubs. One pruning cut on a diseased branch can spread disease throughout your garden. Wipe the blade clean with rubbing alcohol. Don’t ever put your pruning shears away without cleaning them first.
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Lawn care lighting: Go with LEDs

Many people are turning to LED lighting these days to save money and to be environmentally conscious. Little may they know that this same conservation can take place outside the home as well. If you’re looking to add landscape lighting to your property, lawn care experts say LED lighting is a great option.

LED lawn lighting can provide the same function as regular outdoor lighting, but at a reduced cost, according to lawn care professionals. LED lighting companies claim that using these types of lights will save you 90 percent on your electric bill, and are easier on your wallet in the long run. Even though LED lights cost more than typical outdoor lights, they last much longer than other bulbs, which means you’ll have to replace them less often, some lasting 15 to 20 years.

Because LED lights are low voltage, lawn care agents say the risk of shock is lower than common light bulbs. LED lights also do not become as heated as other types of outdoor lighting, which means fingers, pets, plants, etc. won’t be burned by the heat.

The best reason to go with LED landscape lighting is the most advantageous to the environment. Lawn care authorities say LED lights have a lower carbon emission rate. Though this might not make a huge difference in our own time, future generations will benefit from the decisions we make today.

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Lawn Care Tip: Identifying Black Medic, Broadleaf Plantain & Curly Dock

Many homeowners confuse black medic with white clover because of its three leaflet clover-like leaves that make them appear very similar. Lawn care professionals say you are likely to see this weed in your lawn in the months between May and September. Unlike other weeds that stick out like a sore thumb, black medic is low-growing and generates bunches of tiny, vividly yellow flowers that are noticeable in the late spring and early summer. Lawn technicians say their stems are slightly hairy and they grow in dry soil that is high in phosphorous.

Another irritating weed that homeowners are likely to spot in the early spring and be hounded by until September without professional lawn care intervention is the broadleaf plantain. This weed is grayish-green in color and begins its lifecycle in mid-spring. The egg-shaped weed has wavy-edged leaves that grown near to the ground. In the early summer, lawn experts say the seed stalks will begin to rise and will last through early fall. Unfortunately for a lawn care professional without the right expertise and weed control program, broadleaf plantains can overtake desirable lawn grasses by suffocating them. They key to eliminating this bothersome weed is to eliminate the seeds; lawn care agents say this plant grows from seeds and re-sprouting roots.

Curly dock is another incessant weed that pops up in lawns. This weed has lance-shaped leaves which turn a reddish purple color in the summer and fall. A narrow spike emerges from the center of the plant where small greenish flowers occur. Lawn technicians say you are more likely to see this weed during bouts of hot, dry weather. As the grass suffers, curly dock thrives.

Don’t let weeds be a drain on your lawn; contact your local lawn care professionals for a rigid and effective weed control program.

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Post-construction tree care

There are steps you can take to protect your trees and the roots below from damage during construction on your property, however, plans aren’t always followed and mistakes are made. So what do you do to provide care to your damaged trees?

If your tree has experienced damage to its exterior, the first place to start is with the bark. Any tree bark that has been damaged should be shaved away to encourage healing. Lawn care experts recommend using a sharp knife to trim around the wounded area in a rounded motion, not cutting any deeper than is necessary to avoid cutting into healthy bark. Removing the damaged bark will promote moisture and nutrients into and around the bruised area. Just like a wound on human flesh, the tree will have a scar, but if the bark is properly cared for, the tree should heal around the wound.

If a large section of the tree has been damaged, for instance more than half of the tree’s circumference, you may want to consult your local lawn care company to save it from dying. Trees will not immediately exhibit symptoms of damage, but without proper nutrients and moisture getting to all the parts of the tree, branches will become brittle and break off, leaves will fade and eventually the tree will stop growing at all. Your tree company can stop the dying process of the tree through intensive lawn care that involves corrective pruning, fertilization and curative irrigation.

If your tree has become damaged during the construction process, call your local lawn care company as soon as possible to save this vital feature of your landscape.

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Lawn Care Tip: Sprinkler Buddy

Unless you have a sprinkler system that automatically goes into the ground after it has completed its watering chores, you may be familiar with the damage that can occur to your irrigation system when performing such lawn care services such as mowing. Thanks to the ingeniousness of Leo D. Gauthier III, there is now an easy way to minimize or completely eliminate the chance of damaging your sprinkler system with the invention of the Sprinkler Buddy.

The Sprinkler Buddy was designed to help homeowners and possibly lawn care technicians be more aware of the presence of sprinkler heads by indicating their presence on the lawn. According to Gauthier, the Sprinkler Buddy promises to be able to fit any model of sprinkler head by measuring, cutting, inserting and installing the Sprinkler Buddy over the irrigation parts.

The Sprinkler Buddy gives homeowners and lawn care technicians a clear warning so anyone who performing any type of lawn maintenance will be well-aware of the product. Instead of ruining your lawn mower and your sprinkler system, possibly resulting in expensive damages, the Sprinkler Buddy provides a more cost-effective solution.

Gauthier says the Sprinkler Buddy can be installed by the homeowner, but if you want to make sure it is installed correctly, you can inquire to your lawn care company whether or not they use Sprinkler Buddy or if they can help you properly install it prior to their maintenance.

For more information, visit Gauthier’s website or contact your local lawn care professionals for more information on this innovative and helpful lawn care product!

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