Do I Really Need to Rake All These Leaves?

Do I Really Need to Rake All These LeavesBecause it is more densely covered in trees than any other city in the United States, Atlanta is often known as “The City in a Forest.”  However, even though the abundant foliage contributes a great deal to Atlanta’s unique aesthetic appeal, it also can create its own unique difficulties.  Among these is the problem of collecting fallen leaves in the autumn, a headache familiar to Atlanta-area homeowners.  Many of the clients who take advantage of the lawn care services that we provide at Turf Shield ask us whether raking and bagging leaves every year is something they really need to do.  The answer is actually more complicated than many people might think and there is some controversy over whether it is better to bag your fallen leaves or to mulch them back into your lawn.

The Case for Bagging Leaves

For generations, homeowners have been raking and bagging fallen leaves to give their lawns a neater and more manicured appearance.  This practice does have several advantages.  Winter can be tough on grass, and a layer of leaves will block the light that your grass needs need to grow and thrive.  In types of grass that don’t go dormant during the winter, this can produce weak blades with exposed crowns.  Leaf cover also creates a dark, moist environment that encourages bacteria and lawn fungi.  A thorough fall cleanup routine can provide better air circulation, which dries out and starves the moisture-loving pathogens while denying winter shelter to insects and rodents.

The Case for Mulching Leaves

Proponents of mulching hold that leaving leaves on the lawn can actually make it healthier and stronger.  Decaying leaves are rich in carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, making them an ideal source of fertilizer.  While it is true that a blanket of leaves provides food, shelter, and nesting or bedding materials to a variety of insects and wildlife, these organisms help aerate the soil and restore vital nutrients.  Fallen leaves essentially offer a double benefit, forming natural mulch that helps suppress weeds while simultaneously fertilizing the soil as it breaks down.  Many argue that it is foolish to spend money on mulch and fertilizer when your own literally falls from the trees.

The Answer: A Moderate and Customized Approach

The truth is that every lawn is different, and the decision of whether to mulch or bag will ultimately depend on the individual needs of your lawn as well as your own aesthetic tastes.  It is important to maintain some control over the situation.  Don’t just let the leaves pile up wherever the wind pushes them; they may effectively smother one section of the yard while leaving other sections exposed.  Instead, run over the leaves with a mulching lawn mower, or mulching attachment, to reduce them to smaller particles.  This compost mixture can then be raked into garden beds or around trees, where it can do the most good.  The lawn and garden experts at Turf Shield can advise you on how best to prepare your lawn for the cold winter months, and what steps you need to best protect it.

Maintaining a lawn in Atlanta can be difficult, but having expert help can make it easier.  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 us on social media to get all the latest updates and lawn care tips.

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.

Welcome to Turf Shield’s new blog

Welcome to Turf Shield’s new blog. Because we have more than 40 years of experience caring for lawns, shrubs, trees, and everything that makes a yard a special place we’ve started this blog to offer our expertise to the public as a way of helping you get the yard you’ve always dreamed of.

healthy lawnWe have a thorough understanding that every yard is different so we take into account the unique combination of your lawn’s personality. A healthy lawn gives your family a safe and beautiful place to play, while providing the perfect natural frame for your home and life. This isn’t always easy with the ever-changing Atlanta weather, so we offer a number of lawn treatment plans and packages to ensure the best possible environment for your particular landscape and budget.

At Turf Shield we are committed to customer satisfaction and to offering the absolute best in everything related to the health and beauty of your lawn. We provide an assortment of lawn care services such as lawn treatment, tree and shrub maintenance, aeration and over seeding, as well as fire ant control. We will be discussing all of these topics in upcoming blogs.

We are looking forward to educating you on everything you need to know about the health and beauty of your turf.