Yard Killing Plants You Should Know About

Yard Killing Plants You Should Know AboutThis time of year we start to see yards shake off the last remnants of winter as flowers and plants burst into bloom. A nicely manicured lawn full of vivid bright colors, fluttering butterflies, and fragrant smells that fill the air – what’s not to love? At Turf Shield, our motto is “we make your lawn healthy and that makes you happy” because it’s a matter of pride and happiness in your home and a matter we don’t take lightly. For many gardeners, spring and summer are great times to be outdoors and spruce up the yard, whether tending to returning plants or adding new ones to the family. Before you pick just any plant to add, we want to share some of the top yard killing plants you should know about to help protect your yard and your investment.

There’s a term we like to use for plants that can be harmful when introduced to certain environments which are called invasive plants. Invasive plants are types of weed plants that are considered aggressive because they grow and spread, ultimately destroying or displacing other plants nearby. They aren’t ideal for your yard because they can get out of control and cause a lot of damage to your yard. Trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and flowers can all have invasive species and use their roots, seeds, shoots (and sometimes all three) to help them reproduce faster. Here are four common types of invasive plants that could require more than your average weed control:

  • English Ivy – Formally known as hedera helix, English Ivy may look pretty as it sprawls across lawns, traverses up the side of buildings and blooms with delicate flowers, but beware – these climbers can reach heights of 50’ or more and can be poisonous to you and your yard. Some homeowners may fancy English Ivy because of its great ability to cover walls, but the holdfasts (aerial root-like structures that help the ivy latch onto surfaces) can be extremely damaging to trees by blocking much needed sunlight, adding weight to the tree to cause instability, and even destroy the tree’s bark.
  • Forget-Me-Nots – This simple, yet elegant, little plant may look innocent, but it’s far from it. Fans of shady, moist areas, forget-me-nots grow extremely quickly and lack the sort of natural checks and balances that keep it from overtaking other plants in the yard and threaten their livelihood. Forget-me-nots can be an easily treatable plant but requires total removal of the root system or else new forget-me-nots will start to sprout just as quickly as they were removed; therefore, it would seem to be a fitting name because unless you stop them before they get out of control, they’re simply unforgettable.
  • Pachysandra –Also called Japanese spurge, Pachysandra provides year-round evergreen ground cover and even blooms sweet white flowers in early spring. Pachysandra can thrive in partial/full shade and is deer, rabbit, and drought-resistant, with the ability to cover the ground with its lush blanket within a few years. This seemingly low maintenance plant may seem ideal, but Pachysandra is one that can take over quickly, damage woodlands and streambeds, and be very stubborn to get rid of without the help of professional lawn care services.
  • Bindweed – Trying to eradicate this type of climbing vine is not something that you can do on your own in one go. This thread-like vine has a large, hardy root system and a tendency to wrap tightly around competing plants or latch onto other nearby upward items. Bindweed can silently creep into your yard unnoticed until it starts to bloom trumpet shaped white or pink flowers that resemble morning glory. Since its root system can get really deep, bindweed has the possibility of encroaching into a neighbor’s lawn and spreading to the farthest corners of your own yard. Hand-pulling this weed would take years, or even your entire life, to destroy them, and trying to uproot it with a hoe only helps spread the bindweed more.

If left to their own devices, it can take years to successfully get rid of invasive plants, not to mention lawn treatment for invasive plants can ultimately become quite costly. It is always a great thing when you’re able to save time and money on lawn care, but knowing what potential dangers could be lurking in your yard will ultimately help you stop a problem before it spreads. For more information on the services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact Turf Shield at 678-502-7589 today. We share the latest lawn maintenance and landscape tips on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, so stay connected with Turf Shield so you don’t miss out!

Keeping Kids and Pets Safe During a Lawn Care Treatment

Keeping Kids and Pets Safe During a Lawn Care TreatmentA lush, beautiful lawn can be a great space for a family to enjoy, connect with each other, and take a break from the day-to-day. But certain lawn care treatments like pesticide or fertilizer application need to be handled with care, so be sure to follow the directions on the label precisely to ensure they are used properly and safely. This doesn’t mean you can’t reap their benefits – it simply means you need to exercise caution, and the tips below can help.

Follow instructions. Every chemical is different and has its own guidelines in terms of how long you should keep your family off the lawn after it has been applied. The most common recommendation is 24 hours, but our team at Turf Shield can provide you with more detailed instructions based on your specific needs.

Start by talking to us about your options. Various lawn treatments may seem like they have the same goal, but they may be better suited to particular types of grass, environments, uses, etc. This is one reason homeowners are typically happier if they hire a professional to do the job right the first time, rather than treating the lawn themselves and not knowing what type of products to use or when to administer them.

Before the treatment, clear away any outside objects. Toys, lawn furniture, and other items can be accidentally sprayed or can have the chemicals transferred by contact or even by the wind, so bring these items inside before the treatment begins.

Steer clear of pavements. Just as with outdoor objects, pavements can come into contact with the pesticides as well, particularly when a homeowner is doing their own yard work. This can lead to dangerous contact with pets or children, and the chemicals can also be swept into the water supply by rain, so it’s best to work with a professional who understands their equipment and can be more precise.

Wipe everyone’s paws and shoes when they come inside. This is only necessary during the first few days after your lawn treatment, but it can be an important way to keep the products from being tracked inside (even if the pets and kids haven’t been on the grass) in case they did land on the pavement.

Put up signs about the recent treatment. This serves two purposes: first, it alerts neighbors and passersby to keep their pets and children from stepping onto your lawn, and second, if you have kids, it can serve as a reminder to them in case they’ve forgotten to stay off the grass.

Having a healthy lawn typically requires more than simply a regular mowing, and while the idea of chemicals or pesticides is nerve-wracking to some homeowners, rest assured that we only use EPA-approved products which are safe when used correctly and when the proper precautions are taken. This means you can enjoy a happy lawn while still providing a safe environment for your family. To start discussing a plan for your lawn, schedule a consultation with Turf Shield.

What is Pre-Emergent Weed Control?

Temperatures are rising, and as long as this trend continues, warm season grasses like Zoysia and Bermuda will be coming out of dormancy within the next few weeks. Unfortunately, we’re also coming upon the time when weeds are beginning to germinate (or start sprouting and developing roots). The good news is that at Turf Shield, we can help you get ahead of the game with pre-emergent weed control.

What is Pre-Emergent Weed ControlWhat is pre-emergent weed control?

There are plenty of products and methods we can use to make your yard as weed-free as possible, and one strategy we often recommend is to stop weeds before they’re actually visible with pre-emergent weed control. As the name suggests, these products target weeds before they ever “emerge” and appear from the ground by creating a barrier in the soil which kills the weed as it begins to germinate and grow. The specific option we will use on your lawn will depend on factors like the specific types of weeds which typically grow in your yard.

What are the advantages to using pre-emergent weed control?

One of the most attractive features of pre-emergent weed control, of course, is that you never have to see the weeds develop. Though the treatment may not reach every weed seed, you’ll drastically cut down on the number of weeds you’ll see throughout the season. Another positive point to this strategy is that pre-emergent weed control is a rather low-maintenance plan. Using a pre-emergent in your lawn care plan can limit the number of weed-pulling sessions and additional treatments you’ll need for months.

Can I do my own pre-emergent weed control?

There are products available which you can use to pre-emptively treat your lawn, but for the safest and most successful results, it’s best to work with a professional. Remember, to always follow the directions on the product label very carefully. Some products can do more harm than good if used incorrectly, and some can also stain your concrete or other stone landscaping. The timing and precision of administering the treatment are also crucial to getting the results you’re looking for, so going the DIY route could cost you more time and money later if the treatment is ineffective, if you use a chemical which targets the wrong kinds of weeds, or if it stunts your new grass’ growth.

Your lawn’s health is much like your own health – prevention is key and can save you a significant amount of work, stress, time, and money in the long run. To discuss how we can give you a more enjoyable law year-round, schedule an appointment with Turf Shield. Or, for more helpful lawn care tips, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.