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What Can I Do To Keep My Yard From Flooding?

What Can I Do To Keep My Yard From FloodingHurricane season extends from July through November, and after witnessing the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma we all understand just how serious that can be.  Fortunately, most of us here in Georgia will not have to deal with effects like those that were felt in Florida and the Gulf Coast, but inclement weather and serious flooding are still serious issues with which many people have to contend.  The lawn care specialists at Turf Shield know that heavy rains, particularly when they persist over an extended period, can place stresses on your grass and plants.  In some cases, they may even reduce a beautiful lawn into little more than a muddy pond, which can severely damage root systems and leave your plants more vulnerable to attack by fungal organisms in the soil.  Although there is nothing that we can do about the weather, there are several things that you can do, both in the short-term and the long-term, to help keep your yard from flooding.

Short-Term Prevention

If you know that there is a good deal of rain coming in the near future, taking a bit of time to prepare can make all the difference:

  • Clear Drains and Gutters: When gutters are clogged they can overflow, spilling large amounts of water into areas that may not be equipped to deal with it. Clearing out this excess debris, and taking the time to collect fallen leaves so they cannot be swept into drain covers where they could cause blockage, will help keep water from collecting in your yard.
  • Ensure Soil is Well Aerated: When soil is compacted, it can be difficult for water to soak in. Instead, the water sits and collects on the surface and eventually floods the garden.  Aerating your lawn not only helps oxygen reach the grass roots which is essential for healthy grass growth, but it also provides a way for the water to sink into the deeper levels of the soil.
  • Add Organic Mulch or Leaf Mould: Placing an additional layer of mulch onto your lawn and flowerbeds will increase the absorbency of the soil, allowing it to capture and hold more water so that less collects on the surface. Typically, bark or leaf mould (a compost of fallen leaves and grass clippings) is sufficient, but in areas that are prone to flooding it may even be a good idea to mix a good top soil with a little sand.

Long-Term Planning

The best way to avoid flooding problems in your yard is to plan your landscaping strategically so as to eliminate, or at least reduce, the possibility.

  • Minimize Concrete and Hard Surfaces: These surfaces effectively remove ground that can absorb water and replace it with areas where water runs off and collects nearby. By using smaller bricks or slabs to create a patio sitting area, you can maximize drainage.
  • Level-Off Yard Depressions: Slopes and hills create areas where water will collect. Leveling the entire yard with extra top soil prevents water from pooling in a single area and even helps encourage more even and consistent overall growth.
  • Create Designated Run-Off Areas: If it is impractical to level-off depressions completely, you may be able to create specially designated run-off areas. This allows you to channel pooling water to areas that are less problematic, like perhaps a rain garden where water-loving plants and shrubs can thrive even while excess water slowly percolates back into the soil.

Unexpected and extreme weather conditions can make taking care of a yard difficult, but having a team of experienced professionals on your side can make all the difference.  If you have questions about your lawn, or about any of the customized lawn care treatment packages that we provide, please contact Turf Shield to get more information, or follow Turf Shield on Twitter or Facebook to get all the latest lawn care tips.

Your Overseeding Questions Answered

Your Overseeding Questions AnsweredYou’re wrapping up a summer of enjoying your lawn, but when you pause and look at your fescue yard, you suddenly notice that it’s full of brown or bare patches. This can happen for any number of reasons – unwanted insects, drought, disease, heavy traffic, or compacted soil, just to name a few. In many cases, a process called overseeding can help you whip your lawn back into shape, and it’s one of the many professional lawn care services we provide at Turf Shield.

What is Overseeding?

In a nutshell, overseeding is the practice of spreading more grass seed on top of existing grass. This helps by filling in patches of damaged lawn or simply increasing the density of an overall thinning yard. Overseeding can be done only on “problem areas” or over the entire lawn.

Who Can Benefit from Overseeding?

As we mentioned, overseeding is a great option for people with fescue turf who have dead patches in their lawn or for people with a thinning lawn who want denser grass. Generally, though, overseeding your lawn is only helpful if the damage covers less than 50% of your yard. If more than half of your lawn is dead or damaged, it’s typically best to have the remainder of it killed so that you can start new.

How Can I Get Successful Overseeding Results?

In order to get an even and effective result in your overseeded lawn, it’s best to leave this job up to the professionals. In fact, it’s often not cost-effective to do it yourself anyway because you would need to rent specialized equipment. However, even if you hire a professional, it’s a good idea for you to know the ingredients for successful overseeding, so here are a few tips you should know:

  • Improve the seed-to-soil contact (a necessary part of new grass growth) by including professional lawn aeration in the overseeding process. This allows water, air, and nutrients to more effectively reach the seeds and roots.
  • Get your timing right – overseeding usually works best in late summer or early fall.
  • Before you begin overseeding, find out what caused the damage to your lawn in the first place, be it insects, weeds, diseases, or another problem. This will help you keep your freshly overseeded lawn from having the same issue.
  • In order to reduce competition between your existing grass and the new seeds, cut your current grass to the lowest acceptable height before you overseed. Keep in mind that this will vary based on the type of grass you have, so be cautious about cutting it too short.
  • Practice a very specific lawn care routine for your freshly overseeded yard:
    • Water your grass heavily after it’s overseeded.
    • In the first 10-14 days after overseeding, water grass lightly each day, allowing it to soak into one inch of soil.
    • After these 10-14 days, water your lawn less frequently but with a greater amount of soaking to encourage the roots to grow deeper. Eventually, transition into the recommended watering schedule for your grass.

For homeowners who have lawns full of dead patches and damaged grass, overseeding can actually be a relatively easy way to regain a more lush and enjoyable lawn. With the help of experienced lawn care professionals like Turf Shield, this season is the perfect time to overseed. To find out whether this may be an option for your yard, schedule a consultation with Turf Shield. For more lawn care tips and helpful information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Summer Lawn Pests

Summer Lawn PestsFrom shifting weather conditions to specific kinds of weeds, every Georgia home-owner knows that each season brings its own unique lawn care challenges. One of these varying challenges is pest control. Different trouble-making insects wreak havoc on your grass at different times of the year. For the typical lawn-owner in Georgia, there are three primary pests to look out for in the summer:

Southern Chinch Bugs

Interestingly, these bugs are particularly damaging for St. Augustine grasses (a common type of grass used in Georgia), although they can cause mild damage to other types of warm season turf as well. Southern chinch bugs suck the moisture from your grass, then inject a poison that kills it, ultimately leaving dead patches that look much like drought damage. You can reduce your risk of southern chinch bugs by keeping your lawn trimmed (since these pests thrive in wet thatch), and by steering clear of overwatering and overfertilizing. If you do find your yard infested with these insects, call Turf Shield Lawn Care to set up a consultation and discuss your pest control options.


The term “grubs” actually includes the immature forms of several different types of beetles. Typically living just under the surface of your soil, they like to eat grass roots, often until you could simply lift up an area of your grass like carpet. Grubs tend to mate in early summer, and then lay eggs which hatch around mid to late summer and reach their peak feeding age in early fall. Start keeping an eye out for grubs now so that you can treat them while they’re still susceptible to pesticides and before they cause serious damage.


As with grubs, there are several types of caterpillars that can do serious lawn damage, although the most common varieties include tropical sod webworm and fall armyworm. These pests feed on the actual blades of grass, biting holes out of them before ultimately eating away larger areas of grass. You can limit your susceptibility to caterpillar damage by applying water and fertilizer appropriately (not excessively), and by seeking treatment as soon as you notice caterpillars in your yard.

Getting your lawn in tip-top shape (and keeping it that way) is a never-ending job. There’s a lot to learn if you want to adjust for the many seasonal issues that can affect your grass. That’s why our professional lawn care experts at Turf Shield are here to help. To find out what we can do for your grass, schedule a consultation with us today, or for more lawn care tips, follow Turf Shield on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Getting Answers to Your Basic Lawn Care Questions

Getting Answers to Your Basic Lawn Care QuestionsWe all like to think of our lawns as places where we can kick back and relax.  However, as any new home owner can tell you, getting your lawn into tip-top shape can be a lot more complicated than most people think.  There are many different factors to consider, and even the simplest questions can be difficult to tackle without some expert advice.  That’s why the lawn care specialists here at Turf Shield thought it might be helpful to field some of the more common questions about lawn care.

When mowing my lawn, is it better to leave the grass clippings on the lawn or to bag and dispose of them?

Grass clippings are about 90% water and 4% nitrogen by weight, so when you mulch clippings you are actually returning much-needed organic matter and nutrients back to your soil.  Bagging your grass clippings is really only recommended if you are forced to mow when your grass is long and wet or when you have to get stray clippings out of the way for aesthetic reasons.  In most cases, composting your lawn clippings while mowing your lawn is more economical, better for your grass, and better for the environment.

How can I get rid of mushrooms that spring up on my lawn and keep them from returning?

Mushrooms usually appear when fungi deep in the soil are breaking down rotting wood, old tree roots, buried stumps, or leaves.  This process actually benefits your lawn, since the decomposing organic matter in the soil releases nutrients that your grass can use.  The best way to get rid of mushrooms is to remove their food source, which could mean simply digging up a piece of buried construction debris or waiting for an old stump to decompose.  Do not try to use chemicals to control mushrooms on your own.  Fungicide treatment, which is one of the services we offer in our lawn treatment packages, can be difficult and is best left to professionals.

How can I tell which plants are weeds and how can I control or prevent them?

In this case, an experienced, professional opinion can make all the difference.  Broadleaf weeds like dandelions, chickweed, and clover may flower and look like pretty plants, but can still cause problems, while grassy weeds, like crabgrass, can quickly take over your landscape before you even realize they are there. Because weeds often grow under the same conditions as regular grass, the very things that keep your lawn healthy can feed your weeds as well.  Weeds have a hard time taking hold in lawns that are already thick and healthy and pre-emergent weed control in the early spring can help kill weeds before they have a chance to become a nuisance.

Lawn and garden maintenance can be a lot of work, and every yard requires a customized approach, so if you have any questions about your landscaping needs, or about any of the lawn care treatment packages that we provide, please contact Turf Shield to get more information.  Don’t forget to follow Turf Shield on Facebook  or Twitter to get all the latest updates and lawn care tips.

Weed Control Tips from the Pros at Turf Shield

Weed Control Tips from the Pros at Turf ShieldWeeds have long been one of the natural enemies of any homeowner trying to maintain a healthy green lawn. By competing with healthy grass for moisture, nutrients, light, and space, weeds can throw any lawn into disarray. While certain herbicides can help, no single product will be able to keep your lawn completely weed-free.

Proper weed control takes time, effort, and knowhow. Completely ridding your yard of weeds may not be entirely possible. After all, weeds are as tenacious as they are annoying. But you can thwart them by growing a thick, healthy lawn that doesn’t give weeds the space they need to take root. Check out the following tips for how to keep your grass lush and green this summer by keeping the weeds out.

Regularly Inspect your Lawn for Weeds

The first step in any weed control plan should be regularly inspecting your lawn for weeds. It’s best to spot them when they begin to pop up instead of when they have already taken hold of your yard. Make time to look around the yard and keep tabs on what’s going on. Look out for signs of potential trouble like browning or thinning grass. One of the best times to inspect your lawn for weeds is when you are mowing the grass.

Hand Pulling

If you are already dealing with weeds in your lawn, pull them out by hand is still the most tried and true method for weed removal. Focus first on pulling out the weeds that are setting seed if you do not have time to pull them all. One of the key strategies in the war on weeds (or any other meddlesome plant life) is not allowing them to reproduce and spread. Additionally, wet weeds will be easier to remove by hand, so wait until after the next rain shower or use a sprinkler before you begin. When hand pulling, be aware of potentially poisonous weeds.

Mow Your Lawn a Bit Higher

Mowing your lawn too low can weaken your grass by reducing its ability to produce enough nutrients. It also allows sunlight to reach the soil surface, which can help crabgrass and other weeds begin to sprout and grow. Though the ideal lawn height can depend on your specific type of grass, between 2 and 4 inches is typically recommended.

Fertilize Just the Right Amount

A good fertilization program can help keep your lawn dense to keep most weeds out. But it’s important not to use too much. In addition to wasting your money, over-fertilizing can actually increase the chances of runoff. Additionally, using too little can lead to a thinner, sparser lawn that allows weeds the space and sunlight they need to thrive. We recommend getting a soil test to help determine the right amount of fertilizer for your lawn.

Though there is certainly much more to know, we hope these beginning steps will help you get the jump on any weeds that you may come across in your yard this summer. If you’re still unsure of how to best protect your home and lawn, you can always call the lawn care professionals at Turf Shield. We offer a wide array of lawn care services that we tailor to the unique needs of all of our customers to keep their lawns healthy, strong and looking great. For more information, please contact Turf Shield today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more lawn care tips, news and updates.

Summer Lawn Mowing Tips from the Pros at Turf Shield

Summer Lawn Mowing Tips from the Pros at Turf ShieldEverybody loves summertime. Summer brings warm weather and plenty of time to relax and enjoy our favorite outdoor activities. While we may love the summer weather ourselves, the long, hot summer can be punishing on our lawns. That’s why this time of year, your lawn may require extra care and attention. Still, even if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, many homeowners may not know just what their lawn needs in order to keep their grass green and healthy throughout the summer months.

That’s why the lawn care experts at Turf Shield are here to provide a few lawn mowing tips that can assist homeowners trying to keep their lawns healthy through the hot Georgia summer.

Don’t Cut Your Grass Too Short

One of the most common mistakes people make this time of year is cutting their lawn too short. Your grass is alive and needs to breathe. If it is cut too short, your grass’ ability to produce energy for growth can be limited. When the grass is cut at a proper height, it will develop stronger roots. This in turn will lead to a lawn that is healthier and more able to handle the stress of the summer heat. Remember that different types of grass have different growth habits that you should keep in mind when planning your summer mowing routine.

Don’t Forget the “One-Third” Rule

So now that you understand the importance of grass height, it’s time to determine a specific height at which to mow your lawn. As a general principle, we recommend sticking to the “one-third” rule: never remove more than one-third of the grass height at one time. Since less plant tissue is removed during your mowing, your lawn will have an easier time keeping itself cool.

Make Sure to Keep Mower Blades Sharp

Much like the razor you use to shave, the sharper your lawn mower blade, the better your results will be. When a lawn is cut with a sharp mower blade, the grass will heal faster than if it was cut with a dull blade. Dull blades can actually tear the plant tissue instead of properly cutting it, leading to a brownish appearance and a lawn that is more vulnerable to stress and disease. Keeping your mower blades sharp can prevent your lawn from browning and protect your grass from further harm.

These tips can help protect your lawn from the intense summer heat, but the truth is that the best way to maintain a healthy lawn through the summer is to take care of it year-round. Your lawn will handle the summer more easily if it is kept in a state of good health throughout the year. This means keeping up with your mowing, as well as proper fertilization, watering, and pest control. These elements combine to help produce a consistently healthy lawn that will be more than ready when next summer rolls around. For more summer lawn care information, please contact the experts at Turf Shield today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more lawn care tips and updates.

The Basic Lawn Care Treatments

Having a beautiful, healthy lawn requires much more than a regular mowing schedule. Various types of lawn care treatments can allow you to not only address problems like pests and diseases as they arise, but actually to prevent these problems from happening in the first place. Whether you’re new to lawn ownership or you’ve just decided to start taking a more active role in your lawn care, understanding the basic treatments to expect can help you know when it’s time to call in a professional like our team at Turf Shield Lawn Care.

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Remember, all these lawn treatments have their own time and place, so trying to do them yourself can sometimes cause more problems than it solves. Making sure your lawn has what it needs isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. Your unique soil, the type of grass you have, the other plants in and around your yard, and many other factors will affect your lawn’s needs. To find out what we can do to whip your lawn into shape and keep it looking its best, schedule a consultation with Turf Shield Lawn. Plus, for more lawn care tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Maintaining a Healthy and Pet-Friendly Lawn

Maintaining a Healthy and Pet-Friendly LawnLawn care isn’t always easy, and no one knows that better than pet owners who frequently have to take several added factors into consideration.  Because pet waste can leave unsightly brown or yellow spots on grass, it can sometimes seem as though having a happy pet and a beautiful lawn are mutually exclusive.  Fortunately, that is not the case.   In addition to the many lawn care services that we provide at Turf Shield, there are also a few simple tips that you can follow to keep both your pet and your lawn safe and healthy.

Control Foot Traffic to Prevent Damage

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from damaging your lawn is to keep the two separated.  Creating a permanent mulched area at the back of the yard and training your dog to do its business there can be a very effective way to maintain control of the situation.  Moreover, making a clear distinction between traffic areas and growing areas also allows you to regularly fertilize the areas you want without endangering family or pets.

Disguise or Repair Damage as it Happens

Salts in animal urine can leave behind brown spots ringed by dark green, fast-growing grass in places where your pet has relieved itself.  Usually, this effect is only temporary, but allowing the grass to grow higher can help make it less noticeable and watering the affected areas as quickly as possible can dilute the effects. Badly damaged spots, however, may need to be repaired by reseeding or patching with sod.

Carefully Follow Instructions and Professional Advice

When applying chemicals to your lawn like fertilizer, herbicides, or insecticides, check the package carefully for directions and warnings.  Most products will recommend keeping pets off the lawn after application for a certain period of time.  Also make sure to clean up any product that has been spilled on driveways, sidewalks, or walkways to keep it from washing into traffic areas.  Finally, always remember to store lawn products in a safe location where children and pets cannot reach them.  If you have any doubts about the proper course of action, the lawn care specialists at Turf Shield will be more than happy to give you detailed, professional advice.

Taking care of a yard can be a full time job, and there are a lot of different variables to consider.  If you need help maintaining your lawn, or would like to learn more about any of the customized lawn care treatment packages that we can provide, please contact Turf Shield for additional information.  Don’t forget to follow Turf Shield on Twitter or Facebook to get all the latest updates and lawn care tips.

Do Temperature Fluctuations Hurt My Plants?

Do Temperature Fluctuations Hurt My PlantsLawn care is all dependent on the season. There are certain steps you need to take during the spring, during the summer, during the fall, and during the winter to keep your grass and other plants healthy. But what happens when the temperatures swing so much that it seems as if all four seasons are happening in one week? In metro Atlanta, we’ve had our share of temperature fluctuations in the past few months, and while it seems like there is more consistency heading our way, the recent issues have left homeowners asking, “can all these temperature changes hurt my plants?”

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, they can. Each species of tree, shrub, and other plant has a certain range of temperatures it can endure without damage. This should be a factor when you first choose the types of plants you want in your yard. But even if all of your plants can withstand the typical temperatures we see in a Georgia winter, they need a period of time to adjust and essentially “brace themselves” for the cold. Normally, autumn serves this purpose.

But in the case of our recent weather, several weeks of warm, spring-like weather were followed by a sudden cold snap. Even if that colder temperature is well within a particular plant’s tolerance range, when the plant is accustomed to warmer weather and does not have time to adjust to a sudden cold snap, the lower temperatures can cause damage than they normally would.

So what can you do to protect your plants from sudden drops in temperature? It all depends on the specific plants in your yard, so our lawn care experts at Turf Shield Lawn Care can give you more direct guidance. But in the meantime, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure the trees and shrubs you have are well-suited to the climate of the southeastern US.
  • If you’re expecting a sudden cold snap, cover the susceptible plants with quilts, plastic, blankets, or other items to minimize the cold.
  • If your soil is dry, consider watering your plants a day or two before the drop in temperature, because this can help the soil hold in more heat.
  • Take precautions to keep your plants healthy all year round, to help them stay stronger and potentially less sensitive to cold snaps.

For homeowners who are dedicated to having a beautiful and healthy lawn, the uncontrollable temperature can be quite a burden. But there are always measures you can take to reduce damage and hopefully keep your plants healthy and happy. To find out what you can do to have a more enjoyable lawn, schedule a consultation with Turf Shield Lawn Care.

How to Properly Budget your Landscaping

How to Properly Budget your LandscapingLandscaping can be a great way to improve the value of your property and make your home look great. Like any home-improvement task, a landscaping project requires planning. And there is perhaps no more important aspect to your plan than a practical, realistic budget. Creating a budget is a great way to gauge the scope of your project and help prioritize what is most important. By focusing on the areas you use most or require the most immediate attention, you will certainly get the most bang for your buck.

To help you get the most out of your hard work, we are happy to provide some tips for developing a landscaping budget for your projects:

Set Clear Priorities

Before you begin any project, you must identify what you want do to as well as what is most urgent for your property. For instance, it doesn’t make much sense to splurge for a new patio when there are more pressing issues to attend to such as treating diseased trees or addressing drainage problems. There is a chance you may only be able to afford one of the other, so it pays to know what is needed so you can choose your priorities in advance.

Take Full Advantage of What You Have

You should always make a full inventory of what you already have on-hand. It may come as a surprise how many useful items are hiding in plain sight around your property. Sometimes instead of replacing plants, simply relocating, pruning, weeding, or sprucing them up with mulch can help turn them from an afterthought to an asset.

Think Long-Term

We recommend focusing on “maximum value” areas. These are the areas of your home or yard that will help provide the best return on your investment. Take a minute to think about long-term considerations like how long you plan to live in the home and what the long-term maintenance costs may be. Does it make more sense to break your project up into phases over time? Sometimes spending a little bit more now can be extremely valuable later on.

For many people, the best way to maximize their budget is to hire a professional lawn care service like Turf Shield. By letting the professionals handle the landscaping, you may develop a better understanding of how to most efficiently budget your project and avoid costly mistakes along the way. For more information on our entire line of lawn care services and how we can help you with your landscaping project, contact Turf Shield today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more lawn care tips and updates.