4 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Lawn

With 2017 nearing its end, it is time to begin looking ahead to the New Year. More specifically, it is time to begin looking ahead to next spring and the upcoming growing season. We know keeping New Year’s resolutions can be tough, but when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy, green lawn, putting in the time and energy can prove very beneficial when next year rolls around. When the weather permits, the start of a new year can be an excellent time to get to work crafting and cultivating the lawn your home deserves. So with this in mind, the lawn care experts at Turf Shield have a few tips to help bring out the best in your yard next year and beyond.

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Lawn

Resolution #1: I Will Prioritize Aeration
Healthy soil is the foundation of a healthy lawn. But over time the soil can become hard and compacted (especially for yards that experience heavy foot traffic). This can lead to grass being unable to absorb the nutrients it needs and your lawn becoming thin and infested with weeds. That’s why it’s so important to aerate your lawn. Aeration also helps avoid soil compaction and improves the ability of your grass to take in much-needed air, water, and nutrients. Additionally, aerating your lawn can help your grass develop strong, healthy roots to promote optimal lawn health over time.

Resolution #2: I Will Water Properly
How (and how often) you water your grass is among the most essential factors that affects the health of your lawn. Watering contributes to the development of deep, strong roots and healthy green grass. But only when it’s done right. Your yard will require about one inch of water per week to remain at peak health. This water should be delivered in one deep, heavy watering session; not a number of light sprinklings. Try to find a high-quality sprinkler that can evenly distribute water to your entire yard.

Resolution #3: I Will Mow Regularly
There is a common misconception that mowing the lawn is merely a cosmetic lawn treatment. However, this is far from the truth. We recommend not taking more than 1/3 of the leaf blade off while mowing. The longer the leaf is, the deeper the rooting system will be. This means your grass will have an easier time absorbing nutrients and water from the soil. Try to keep your blades sharp for a more precise cut. If need be, we also suggest having your mower blades sharpened by a professional in order to make sure they are up to snuff.

Resolution #4: I Will Make Time for Overseeding
Lastly, many lawns can benefit from overseeding treatment. Overseeding is a process in which grass seed is planted on pre-existing turf. This is commonly recommended for lawns with large, bare patches that result from insect infestations or drought conditions. Instead of waiting for these trouble spots to fix themselves, overseeding can be a great way to take charge and give your lawn the extra help it needs.

If you find yourself having problems sticking to your resolutions, you can always call on the lawn care professionals at Turf Shield. Our experts can custom tailor a lawn care plan to your specific yard to make sure your yard is receiving the best-possible treatment as we enter the New Year. For more information or to schedule a consultation please contact Turf Shield today and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more lawn care tips, updates and more.

Tips for Saving Water During Your Lawn Care

Tips for Saving Water During Your Lawn CareWater conservation is one of the many factors to consider for people trying to maintain a healthy, green lawn. This is especially true for those in hotter, dryer parts of the country whose yards may be subject to drought conditions. While saving water and tending to your grass may seem like a difficult juggling act, there are a number of simple actions homeowners can take in the yard to help save water and money. Check out the following tips from our lawn care experts on how you can keep your lawn healthy and hydrated while using less water.

Water Earlier in the Day

The first step in water conservation is making sure to water your grass early, deeply, and less frequently. By watering your lawn deeply, you will have a better chance to wet the entire root zone and encourage deeper root growth, which will help your grass tolerate mild to moderate drought conditions. In order to get this result, we recommend watering your lawn early in the morning (as early as 5 am) to help give the lawn enough time to absorb the moisture and avoid evaporation due to daytime heat.

Keep Your Mower Blades High & Sharp

Next, try raising the blades on your lawn mower anywhere between 25%-50%. If your lawn is cut too short, this can prevent the grass from effectively storing water that it needs to survive. Meaning, your lawn will inevitably need to be watered more frequently. It’s also important to keep the mower blades sharp by sharpening them about once a month. Duller blades will tear at the grass instead of cutting it cleanly, leading to the grass needing more water to effectively recover.

Make Sure to Aerate

Lastly, we highly recommend aerating your lawn. Aerating, or creating small holes in the soil, can help improve the flow of water reach the roots of your lawn. It works by loosening compacted soil. Once the soil is more loose, water and nutrients will have an easier time reaching the soil beneath the grass, where they can do the most good.

Don’t forget to follow Turf Shield on Twitter or Facebook for additional lawn care lawn care tips, news, and more. As you can see, these suggestions are minor alterations to your lawn care routine, not complete overhauls. However, these simple changes can go a very long way towards helping you cut back on your water usage and promoting the lush, green yard that you are striving for. If you have any questions or if you would like to speak with one of our lawn care professionals, please contact Turf Shield today.

How to Prevent and Control Crabgrass

How to Prevent and Control CrabgrassCrabgrass has long been one of the most common and pesky lawn weeds around. Although crabgrass is considered a summertime problem, it is an annual weed that completes its lifecycle over the course of a full year. It starts as a seed before sprouting in late spring when the soil temperatures begin to rise. As it grows taller and stronger, crabgrass will produce and distributes seeds. When summer ends and cooler weather returns, the plant itself may die, but the seeds remain, waiting for next spring so they can take over your lawn again. This is why the fall season is the perfect time to treat your lawn for crabgrass. Follow these helpful tips to help control your weed situation and prevent crabgrass before it becomes a problem.

Try to Keep Your Grass Healthy and Thick

Crabgrass can be an opportunistic weed. It preys on thin, dry patches of lawn that pop up during the long, hot summer months. If your lawn is especially dry, the crabgrass can completely take it over in just a few months. That’s why we recommend keeping your lawn healthy and thick throughout the summer. This means regular watering to make sure the soil stays moist.

Try Pre-Emergent Weed Control

Pre-emergent weed control is also highly recommended. It’s best to start applying your pre-emergent treatment before the weather begins to heat up again. Take note of your yard and remember which areas are more susceptible to crabgrass and other weeds. Then focus on those specific areas to keep the crabgrass from gaining a foothold as the growing season nears.

Use Mulch on Your Lawn

Healthy soil is just as important as healthy grass in the fight against crabgrass. Once you remove a patch of crabgrass from your lawn, try laying down some mulch in that area. This can help prevent the remaining crabgrass seeds from germinating and spawning new weeds. Even if your lawn does not have a history with crabgrass, applying a light layer of mulch can still be beneficial. However, it’s important not to use too much, as this can cause your grass to become compacted and affect its ability to grow properly.

Whether you are currently battling crabgrass or not, a bit of cautionary preparation can go a long way towards avoiding this annoying weed before it becomes a headache. If you’re still unsure of how to go about protecting and treating your lawn, you can always call the experienced lawn care professionals at Turf Shield. For more information on weed control or to schedule a consultation, please contact Turf Shield today and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more lawn care tips, updates and more.

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.

Gift Ideas for the Lawn Care Enthusiast

gift-ideas-for-the-lawn-care-enthusiastThis time of the year, the lawn isn’t many Atlantans’ primary focus. Not only are most lawns dormant right now because they’re composed of warm season grasses, but the recent holidays have left us with a long to-do list so we have plenty of other tasks to focus on. But for people who are passionate about beautiful yards (like our professionals at Turf Shield Lawn Care), it’s always in the back of our minds. If you’re still looking for a belated gift for a lawn care enthusiast on your shopping list this year, here are a few ideas they’ll love.

A good pair of working gloves

Yardwork can be hard on your body, but particularly on your hands, which can blister easily from the friction of a shovel or other equipment you use to care for your lawn and/or garden. Investing in a pair of nice, high-quality gloves can save a gardener or lawn care enthusiast days of painful blisters and scratches.

Digital rain gauge

We’ve mentioned in some of our past lawn care blogs that before watering your lawn, you should consider how much rain you’ve recently received so you don’t saturate or dry out your grass. While some people rely on their local weather stations, the amount of rain can vary greatly from one part of town to the next, so it’s best to have your own gauge so you can see what has actually fallen on your yard. Fortunately for us, it’s the 21st century, so rather than trekking outside to check your rain gauge every day, you can use a digital one instead which casts the measurements to a monitor inside your home or an app on your phone.

A consultation and lawn care treatment with Turf Shield

Turf Shield Lawn isn’t a company who will mow your lawn every week. We’re truly seasoned experts who can diagnose any problems your yard may have, from pests to irrigation issues. We also offer a wide variety of lawn treatments, like weed control, aeration, tree and shrub care, and pest control—jobs that are often beyond the reach of a do-it-yourselfer. Our consultations are complimentary, so a consultation and initial lawn treatment (depending on what the particular yard may need) can be a great gift to help out anyone who wants a fuller, more lush lawn by the spring.

Indoor-outdoor thermometer

Keeping a close eye on the temperature, humidity, and other weather measurements can also help a lawn care enthusiast know what they need to do to keep their lawn as healthy as possible and to adapt to the seasonal climate. Many digital thermometers use two different pieces—a sensor which goes out in your yard and a small indoor monitor which shows you a number of different readings throughout the day.

Wireless speakers

Once your loved one has worked so hard to achieve a beautiful, healthy lawn, they naturally want to be able to enjoy it. When the weather gets warmer, wireless speakers will let them listen to all their favorites in the great outdoors. Just be sure to get one that’s designed to be taken outside so it can withstand the humidity and the elements.

The holidays present us with the unique opportunity to show our family and friends how much they mean to us by thoughtfully choosing gifts for them which reflect their interests, goals, and hobbies. If there’s someone on your list who enjoys caring for their lawn, there are plenty of gifts you can find to help them enjoy their outdoor haven even more. If you’re interested in a consultation and lawn treatment for you or a loved one, schedule your free lawn care consultation with Turf Shield.

Should I Rake My Leaves or Leave Them on My Lawn?

Should I Rake My Leaves or Leave Them on My LawnChanging leaves truly makes autumn a beautiful season, especially in such a tree-rich area as Georgia. That is, until you realize that the leaves will soon fall all over your beautiful lawn. But what’s the best way to deal with leaves? Is raking leaves only an aesthetic choice, or does it actually impact the health and longevity of your lawn? Our lawn care professionals at Turf Shield are happy to tackle some of these most common questions homeowners ask dealing with leaves on their lawn.

Is it unhealthy to leave leaves on my lawn?

It really depends on how thick your leaf coverage is. A small number of leaves scattered around your yard won’t generally cause problems, but if you have more than perhaps 10-20% of your lawn covered by leaves, it is important that you address the leaves. If too many leaves are left on your lawn for too long (and especially if they’re still there when winter begins), they can smother the grass, provide a breeding ground for mold and certain lawn pests, and limit the grass’ growth in the spring.

What are the best ways to leaves off my lawn?

Raking your lawn is, of course, the first thought that comes to mind, but many homeowners prefer to look for other methods to avoid the strenuous physical labor, and In fact, other options may be more beneficial for your lawn. One of the best choices is mulching your leaves: using a mower (ideally a mulching mower) or another method to chop up the leaves into tiny pieces and then leaving them on your grass. This allows the leaf matter to sink into the grass and soil as it decomposes, so that you get a built-in lawn treatment from the many nutrients the leaves can offer. There is even some evidence that certain types of leaves can hinder weed growth, as an added bonus. Keep in mind, however, that mulching is only successful when you have a light layer of leaves, so you’ll likely need to do this frequently to avoid letting the leaf coverage become too thick. If you prefer not to mulch but want to avoid raking as well, other options include using a leaf blower or a bagging attachment for your mower.

How do I dispose of leaves from my lawn?

In many neighborhoods, your garbage pickup service may offer leaf removal. However, this often means they will end up in a landfill, which you’ll want to avoid if possible. Using the leaves as mulch or compost, or chopping them up and adding them to soil for the bases of your trees and shrubs will allow you to keep the leaves out of a landfill and will also benefit your lawn with their nutrients. If you do use a garbage pickup service which does not recycle leaves, try to place them in biodegradable bags rather than plastic ones.

Are there any downsides to raking my lawn?

Most homeowners want to avoid raking leaves because it can be difficult and time-consuming manual labor. However, raking may actually cause damage to your lawn as well, especially if you’re working aggressively or if your grass’ root system is weak. Damage is particularly common when raking wet leaves, so if you do rake your lawn, be sure to do so when the leaves are dry and light.

Leaf disposal may seem like just another tedious task for maintaining your home and lawn, but depending on how it’s done, it can offer tremendous benefits: a clear, clean-looking lawn throughout the fall and winter, and a healthier, stronger lawn by spring. If you’re ready to discuss how we can help you prepare and improve your lawn this fall, schedule a consultation with Turf Shield lawn care.

5 Common Lawn Pests and What to Do About Them

5-common-lawn-pests-and-what-to-do-about-themA lush, green lawn is a beautiful thing to behold. Achieving your dream lawn can be a challenge for many, but maintaining it is something else entirely. This is why many households reap the benefits of hiring lawn care professionals to take care of this. There are many obstacles to avoid for those trying to ensure a lawn sustaining its peak condition. While it may be simple to pick out which portions of your lawn may be suffering, diagnosing the cause of your lawn woes can be difficult.

In order to properly treat your lawn, you must know whether your issues are being caused by a natural issue related to watering or if you are dealing with a lawn pest. Insects, like ants or grasshoppers, may attack grass blades, and burrowing critters like moles, may munch through grass roots and cause green tops to die. We have listed five of the most common lawn pests, warning signs of their presence and some tips for how to deal with these pests:

Chinch Bugs
Chinch bugs are small insects known to attack sunny areas of the lawn. Once there, chinch bugs suck the juices from individual grass plants and inject toxins that can loosen grass from the soil. They can be seen with the naked eye on a lawn if you get down to grass level, but using a drench or floatation test is a more effective way to see if you’re dealing with these pesky parasites. Common insecticides and insecticide soaps can be used to effectively control chinch bugs.

Beetles
Japanese beetles may appear on the lawn, though it’s more common for them to stay below the surface and lay eggs in your soil. Other beetles and their offspring feed on the roots of lawns and can cause damage to the lawn if they are found in large quantities. A powder insecticide can effectively and safely treat your lawn for beetles.

Grubs
Grubs are the larval form of beetles. Grubs make their presence known by devouring grass roots, creating large patches of brown, dying lawn. Additionally, grubs are a prime food source for woodland animals, so a grub infestation can lead to birds, raccoons, or worse, skunks. Predatory nematodes or certain chemicals can be used to eliminate a grub problem.

Moles
Moles are small critters that dig and tunnel through a lawn, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Moles tunnel underground to search for worms and grubs. This can lead to the creation of small mounds of soil on the surface of the lawn called mole hills. Mole hills make mowing difficult by creating bare soil for weeds to germinate in and destabilizing the lawn. Mole traps can be effective for ridding your lawn of these pests, or you can try to keep them away with castor oil.

Armyworms
Armyworms are moth larvae that subsist mostly on grass blades. These pests are not to be slept on. A large infestation of armyworms can completely defoliate a lawn in just a few days. Thankfully armyworms are surface feeders, meaning they can be easily controlled by insecticides if their presence is recognized quickly enough.

While pesticides and chemicals can be effective measures for controlling a pest problem, prevention is still the best course of action. Proper lawn maintenance is still the most ideal to keep pesky lawn pests at bay. Watch your watering habits, because certain pests can be drawn to an overwatered lawn. For questions about lawn pests and how we can help, contact Turf Shield today.