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.

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.

When Should I Water My Grass?

Summer Watering (small)Especially in warm climates like Georgia, watering is vital for keeping your grass in tip-top shape, but it’s not as simple as buying a sprinkler system with a daily timer. There are many factors which go into providing your lawn with the right amount of water at the right time—it even varies among people who live in the same geographic area. For homeowners in the Atlanta area, our lawn care professionals have offered some general guidelines for getting a handle on when it’s time to irrigate your lawn.

Time of Day

In general, the ideal time to water your lawn is in the very early morning. If you water during the day, the sun will evaporate the water before it’s able to reach the roots, but if you water during the night, the moisture sits on the grass and makes the lawn more susceptible to diseases and fungi, so early morning is the perfect balance between these two issues.

Type of Grass and Soil

Various types of grass have very different characteristics. For instance, warm season grasses like Zoysia and Bermuda need less water than cool season grasses like Tall Fescue. As far as your soil type goes, sandier soil will absorb water quickly, so it needs frequent applications of small amounts of water. Clay, on the other hand, absorbs water slowly but holds the water for longer, so it typically doesn’t need to be watered as frequently. Keep in mind, however, that grass typically needs more water during the first year after it’s been planted or sodded in order to allow the roots to establish themselves.

Measurement-Based

Evaluating your grass and soil can give you a better idea of how much water your lawn needs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should simply set up a sprinkler system for 5am once a week and be done with it. If you water your grass during or shortly after rainfall, you could be doing more harm than good. Try keeping a rain gauge so you can see exactly how much water your lawn has received in the past few days, and also be sure to check the weather forecast before you water to see when the next rain is predicted.

Around your Mowing Schedule

Grass can lose a significant amount of moisture when it’s cut, so if your grass is already a bit on the thirsty side when you cut it, you may find yourself with not just a perfectly cut lawn, but a brown one. Make sure your grass is thoroughly hydrated before you bring out the mower.

Lawn care is a task many homeowners underestimate. They expect to simply mow every week or two and perhaps add some landscaping. But for those who want to enjoy both the appearance and the feel of a lush lawn, doing your research and working with an experienced professional can mean the difference between a lawn that’s simply grass and one that’s truly an extension of your home. To find out more about your own lawn and how we can help you maximize its potential, schedule a consultation with Turf Shield’s lawn care professionals.

The Benefits of Hiring a Lawn Care Professional

All homeowners crave the perfect lawn. Having an immaculate lawn can have big impact on the appearance and value of your home, as well as improving its curb appeal. Unfortunately, enjoying a healthy, green lawn means maintaining a healthy, green lawn. While this might be simple for those with landscaping experience, proper lawn care often takes time, effort and know-how that are simply not available to everyone. If you want a lawn that you can be proud to show off to friends and family without the hassle of becoming an expert, going the professional route could be the solution. Here are 4 reasons why hiring a professional lawn care service may be right for you:

lawn-care-services-gwinnett-countyThe Time

Doing your own yard work can often be a tedious, time-consuming job. The average American spends roughly 70 hours a year on lawn and garden maintenance. Even minor lawn care tasks, like simply mowing the grass, can interrupt important family time and personal commitments. After working hard at your job all week, you may not want to spend your weekends planning, researching, and maintaining your yard. Hiring a professional lawn care service will give you more free time to the things you actually enjoy.

The Cost

While it may seem counterintuitive, in many cases homeowners actually save money by hiring a professional lawn care service. Lawn care companies subsidize their costs by maintaining a high volume of jobs. To put it simply, unless you intend to care for hundreds of lawns, purchasing the professional grade equipment and supplies needed to properly maintain your lawn will likely be absurdly expensive. In order to match the quality of a lawn care company, you’d have to purchase a power aerator, a rake, a leaf blower, a leaf vacuum, leaf tarps, and of course, a lawn mower. Not to mention fertilizer, ant control and similar chemical products. So in most cases, you will likely save money by spending it on professional help.

The Expertise

The most obvious of all the benefits. Of course, hiring a professional lawn care service is the most surefire way to ensure the lawn you desire. Lawn maintenance requires knowledge and expertise to choose the correct soil types, understand plant growth patterns, regulate pruning schedules and choose the correct lawn care products for your property.

The Safety

Outsourcing your yard work means you won’t have to worry about proper storage of fertilizers and other pesticides. When applied incorrectly, these chemicals can be potentially damaging to the environment, as well as dangerous to pets and children.

So there you have it. Hiring a professional lawn care service can save you time, money and stress so you can take your precious weekends back.

Protecting Your Yard from a Cold Snap

Protecting Your Yard from a Cold SnapLet’s start with some lawn care basics: a cold snap is defined as “a sudden, brief spell of cold weather.” As many of us know, even though spring has officially arrived, the weather in Georgia can still be unpredictable. One day it’s sunny and 80, the next, you can see your breath in the morning as you head to work in 40 degree weather. While it’s easy for us to grab a jacket to adjust for the back and forth weather commonly seen this time of year, it’s not as simple for our yards. When the first signs of spring start to show, many people use the warmer weather to get ahead on planting, seeding, fertilizing, and other yard work but fluctuating temperatures can end up doing more harm than good if a cold spell occurs, so we’ve rounded up some of our most helpful tips for protecting your yard from a cold snap.

Regardless of your turf (like Zoysia, Bermuda, plants, etc.), cold snaps are arguably more damaging to your grass and other landscaping than in the winter because spring is around the time when plants start to blossom. Waiting until late April through mid-May before starting your spring gardening can serve as a buffer for reducing potential weather-related damage to your new seedlings, but if you’re one of the eager ones who like to start here, a few do’s and don’ts can make a world of difference.

Do’s

  • Pay attention to the weather forecast – just as you’d check for days of rain that will require an umbrella or much needed raincoat, check the forecast to see if any spells of cold could threaten to harm the hard work you’ve put into your lawn. Knowing how long a cold spell is expected and when it will start can help you put a plan of action in effect to prepare your yard BEFORE the freeze starts.
  • Water your landscape – believe it or not, damp soil traps in heat longer and provides more insulation than dry soil. We’re not saying you should over water your lawn in preparedness for the colder temperatures (too much water can be just as damaging as not enough water in some instances) but be conscious of your watering habits to avoid root and crown rot diseases that occur from over watering and prolonged periods of wet soil.
  • Insulate your plants – For light freezes, creating a type of insulation for your plants is key because it helps to trap in warm air from the ground to provide a type of blanket. This can be a sheet or a blanket (never cover a plant with JUST plastic – plastic will damage the plant, but if you use plastic, it just needs a sheet put down first to serve as a type of buffer between your plants and the plastic.

Don’ts

  • Ignore potted plants – hanging plants and plants that are potted need protection from the cold too! Potted plants have even less protection that plants that are in the ground but are far easier to physically move. We suggest bringing potted plants inside the house, or store them in the garage, overnight to keep them warm and safe. If you have massive plants that can’t be easily moved, insulation is your best defense and can be achieved by wrapping the entire container in heavy layers of materials that would help trap in the heat (like blankets or even bubble wrap).
  • Forget to uncover your plants – plants still need sunlight so be sure to uncover your plants the morning after an overnight cold snap to reduce any condensation build up that could cause the plants to freeze if it temperatures continue to drop the next night. Even if you’re expecting a few nights of cold temperatures in a row, you should repeat the process of covering and uncovering for as long as necessary – it may be an extra step before you go to bed but it’ll be well worth it if it can save your beautiful yard and some money when you eliminate having to start all over again from scratch!
  • Give up – even if what you see on the ground level appears to be ruined, don’t give up. Sometimes cold sensitive plants can recover by starting new growth from the roots or base of the plant. It may take some time for that to happen, but just try to be patient and give it a chance to thrive again before you immediately write the plant off as permanently damaged.

Since different plants can be affected by different temperatures, there isn’t a general rule of thumb for protecting each and every type of plant simultaneously. When planning out the landscape for your yard and spring gardening, pay particular closeness to a plants’ hardiness rating which can help you navigate how each plant thrives under certain weather conditions (will it last through extreme cold or does a particular plant need dry, humid air to flourish?) and which ones will perhaps need some assistance to survive sudden temperature drops.

With a team of professionals with over 40 years combined experience, Turf Shield continues to deliver superior lawn care for over 40 years to those who value the health a well-maintained landscape needs and the beauty it can provide. Whether you’re a novice gardener just getting started or a seasoned veteran who’s ready to take their yard to the next level, our variety of lawn care services are uniquely tailored to provide the most ideal results. For more lawn maintenance and landscape tips, stay connected with Turf Shield on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more!