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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.

Now is the Time to Protect Your Lawn from Insects

Now is the Time to Protect Your Lawn from InsectsNow that winter is behind us, it’s time to get serious about your lawn care for the new year. After winter, especially a mild winter like we just had here in Atlanta, pesky insects can begin to rear their heads earlier than usual. Since most insects hibernate through the winter, they enter spring hungry and on the pursuit of food (usually in the form of your lawn and shrubs). A mild winter only wakes them up sooner. That’s why it’s so important to treat your yard for lawn pests earlier than usual to help protect your grass, as well as your family and pets, from infestations down the road.

Though garden insects are never popular, they aren’t all bad for the health of your lawn. In fact, some insects can even be beneficial for your yard. For example, ground beetles can help the health of a lawn or garden by feeding on soil-dwelling pests, like maggots and cutworms. However, other lawn insects can damage your landscape and require extermination. It’s important to know which insects are the harmful ones that you should be looking out for.

The following insects can negatively affect your lawn if not properly treated:

  • Aphids
  • Fire Ants
  • Caterpillars
  • Leaf Miners
  • Spider Mites
  • Centipedes
  • Chiggers
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks
  • Japanese Beetles

The sooner you begin treating your lawn for insects the better. Acting now to kill early-invading bugs can provide the head start needed to fully protect your lawn and property as the spring makes way for summer and the weather begins to really heat up. Regardless of how you plan to treat your lawn, organically or with chemicals, make sure to follow the label directions carefully to ensure maximum effectiveness and safety. You can always call on the experts at Turf Shield for assistance. Contact Turf Shield today to discuss how we can help treat your lawn for even the most vicious of lawn pests. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more lawn care tips and updates.

Spring is A Vital Time for Lawn and Garden Maintenance

Spring is A Vital Time for Lawn and Garden MaintenanceTaking care of a lawn or garden can be a year-round job.  From raking and pruning in the fall to watering and mowing in the summer, each season requires different yard maintenance tasks and attention to different details.  However, arguably the most pivotal time for yard maintenance is in the early spring, right when the weather is beginning to warm up and warm season grasses like Zoysia and Bermuda are coming out of their winter dormancy.  Specifically, early spring is the time for two absolutely vital lawn and garden care activities: pre-emergent weed control and soil aeration.

Pre-Emergent Weed Control

Weeds often prove to be one of the most frustrating things about maintaining a yard.  Not only are they unsightly and force us to mow our lawns more often, but they are also extremely difficult to get rid of once they are established.  One of the best ways to avoid the problem is to prevent weeds and other undesirable plants from ever taking root to begin with.  The process of pre-emergent weed control utilizes specifically-targeted herbicides to kill the weeds at the earliest stages of growth, before they have even emerged from the ground.  This can even have long-term benefits, since weed seeds can remain viable for years, just waiting for a chance to pop up, and pre-emergent weed control breaks the cycle of constant regrowth.  Although applying the weed killer to your lawn is less labor intensive than pulling up established weeds by their roots one-by-one, it is still best to have this treatment done by the lawn care professionals at Turf Shield.  Some products, if used incorrectly, can do more harm than good and the precise timing or their application can be critical.  Using a chemical that targets the wrong kinds of weeds or stunts your new grass’ growth can end up causing you even more money in the long run.

Early Season Soil Aeration

When excessive foot traffic or the weight of heavy equipment causes soil to become overly compacted, it can prevent the proper circulation of air, water and nutrients.  Over the fall and winter lawn thatch and heavy organic debris can accumulate on the soil surface, starving the roots of essential elements.  Aeration lawn treatments basically involve using one of several different mechanical devices to perforate the soil with small holes, allowing the air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots.  This helps the roots grow deeply and helps produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn.  Again, timing is critical and will depend on the specific type of grass you have.  Our lawn care specialists can help you determine a specific schedule for lawn care treatment packages that will give you optimal results.

Lawn and garden maintenance can be a lot of work, but a healthy lawn can provide your family a safe and beautiful place to play, while providing the perfect natural frame for your home and life.  If you have any questions about any of your landscaping needs, or about any of the customized 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.

When Should I Fertilize My Lawn in the Spring?

When Should I Fertilize My Lawn in the SpringWhile the Georgia weather has been all over the map, it appears that we can finally look forward to more consistent spring weather. Understandably, because our warm-season grass here in the South goes dormant and turns an unhappy brown throughout the winter, many homeowners want to head outside with a dose of fertilizer at the first sign of warmth, to help their grass return to its bright green as quickly as possible. While fertilizing in the spring can be a vital part of lawn care, there are some things you need to know first.

  • Do not fertilize too early.

When your grass is still coming out of dormancy, it is particularly sensitive to fertilizer, and during this stage, the fertilizer can actually damage the grass. To make sure your fertilizer truly helps your lawn rather than hurting it, you should postpone lawn fertilization until you’re sure that the grass is fully out of dormancy—a good rule of thumb is to wait until you’ve had to mow three times. In our area, this generally happens during April or early May, but it varies from one location, grass type, and soil type to the next.

  • Get a soil test before you fertilize.

Fertilizer is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone’s soil has its own deficiencies, so to make your fertilization efforts go as far as possible, it’s always a good idea to start with a soil test to see what nutrients your lawn needs most. This will allow you or your lawn care professional to more accurately choose the right type of fertilizer, or to know if there are other lawn treatments you may need.

  • Don’t hesitate to hire a lawn care professional.

Fertilizing correctly can be trickier than it sounds, from getting the right timing, to selecting the right fertilizer, to applying it in the correct amounts. Hiring a professional lawn care specialist will put your mind at ease that your fertilization be as successful as possible to help your lawn grow lush and beautiful so you can enjoy it throughout the summer.

Remember, fertilizing is an important part of making your lawn as beautiful and enjoyable as it can be, but it’s only one part. To discuss professional lawn fertilization as well as pre-emergent weed control, pest control, aeration, seeding, or other treatments your grass may need, schedule a consultation with our experienced lawn care experts at Turf Shield.

Push Mowers vs. Riding Mowers: Which is Right for You?

Push Mowers vs. Riding Mowers Which is Right for YouA lawn mower is arguably the most essential tool required for any lawn maintenance. Any lawn mower can help you cut your grass evenly and prevent it from growing out of control, but certain types of mowers make more sense depending on the type of lawn you’re trying to take care of. We have provided a simple list of pros and cons of both manual push mowers and riding mowers to help give you a better understanding of which type of mower will best suit your lawn care needs.

Push Mower Pros:

  • Generally less expensive than riding mowers
  • Perfect for handling smaller lawns
  • Can get in and out of tight corners and other areas for fine trimming that riding mowers cannot achieve
  • Requires less fuel and cheaper maintenance

Push Mower Cons:

  • Can make mowing larger lawns arduous
  • Small bag for grass clippings mean frequent stops for emptying
  • Far more labor intensive and physically demanding

Riding Mower Pros:

  • More convenient for mowing larger lawns
  • Requires less physical exertion from the operator, which makes it ideal for users with weaker muscles or heart conditions
  • Can effectively cut weeds and all types of grass
  • Easier for mowing non-level or hilly lawns
  • Can provide a simple, even cut as long as blades are properly sharpened
  • More comfortable to operate, which can mean less time needed for breaks and more efficiency on the job

Riding Mower Cons:

  • Generally more expensive than push mowers
  • Difficult to make tight turns, making fine details and edges more challenging to navigate
  • Potential danger of tipping over on steep hills
  • Requires more fuel and more expensive maintenance

As we have expressed, there is certainly a trade-off to consider when deciding which type of mower makes the most sense for your lawn. Before making any decisions, we recommend thinking long and hard about your lawn and what kind of maintenance it will require. If you’re still unsure, you can always reach out to the lawn care pros at Turf Shield. Our staff has over 40 years of experience and will do everything possible to make your lawn care project as simple and pain-free as possible. Contact Turf Shield today to speak with one of our representatives. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more tips, news and updates.