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.

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.

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!