Archive for March, 2011

New Hampshire lawn care companies

Published by JKeefe on March 28th, 2011 - in Lawn Care Companies

Support Your local economy

A turf program can be defined as creative, client responsive, results oriented, or even thoughtful.  This kind of lawn program would be highly desired and sought after for lots of reasons including the ones already mentioned.  A turf program could be dated, budget driven, restrictive, or even canned.  Your lawn care program could include some of these attributes good and bad.  What do you get out of your lawn service?  Are you generally pleased and feel your lawn requires no further attention?  Perhaps the prospect of seeking additional advice seems just too much of a bother?  After all, if it is not broken- why fix it?  There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, just the realization, and the possibility that doing things the same, year after year- produces equal or less results over time.  This may not necessarily be a bad thing.  Maybe greater results could be visualized in your own lawn with a fresh look this season? Would an expert analysis be worth the time?  What do you think?

Alternative lawn treatments exist and should be explained as to why they work and how they work for both you and the environment.  If you are served the same TV dinner lawn program each season (fert/grub/lime) without any additional input, perhaps there is more to be said- or maybe less?  Does your lawn care company work in your town nearly every day or does it launch special visitations because the drive is so long?  Which company can provide better customer service, the one that has a 1.5hr drive one way, or the other which can be at your front door in 10 minutes?  These are good questions.

Chipper’s belongs to the Local First Alliance of the Upper Valley and is a proud charter member serving our surrounding communities and giving to those in need generously.  In the same respect, we encourage our neighbors and communities to support each other, to support businesses whose employees live and work in our towns.  We are proud to service wonderful towns like Hanover, Etna, Lyme, New London, Grantham, Woodstock, Sunapee, Lebanon, and so many more.  If you choose to use an outside vendor from faraway places such as Rutland or Manchester to service your lawn for instance, this does not support our immediate local economy.  If supporting your local community is as important to you as it is to chippers, consider a second opinion on your lawn this year and discover how both realms are possible- a great looking lawn and knowing you make a difference by supporting those who live in and around your town!

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Spring Lawn Checklist 2014

Goodbye winter, hello green!

The snow is mostly gone, you may even have a few lingering snow banks that refuse to leave, but for the most part, your lawn is begging for some attention.  Here is a handy spring checklist for your home lawn as you prepare for spring.

1. Plow damage.  It’s been a snowy, rough winter and if you had your driveway plowed, you are likely going to have plow damage.  Chunks of sod and lawn likely got plowed up along the edges and pushed further back onto your lawn.  These pieces of turf chunks may be close to their original location which is now just a scar in the dirt.  If possible, try to put the lawn puzzle back together and place the grass pieces back onto bare soil.  It may well be weeks before anything else can be done and during that time frame, those pieces of grass will start to break dormancy and grow.  Having them at least touching soil is better than mulching your unharmed lawn where they currently reside.  You can always move these grassy sections later and seed as needed into surrounding bare areas.

2. Debris. You may well find gravel, junks of asphalt, branches, leaves, and other debris that simply don’t belong on a grassy surface.  The sooner you can rake and remove this debris, the better.  If the debris is left in its current location, you may not see it during your first mow.  Nothing is more painful than hitting sticks, rocks, and gravel with your mower having been placed onto your lawn by a plow truck.  Leaves left in piles or allowed to matt, especially in shade, will simply mulch any existing grass depending upon its health and density.  The less debris the better.

3. Raking. There are two ways to rake a lawn, one is intentionally damaging- power raking/dethatching, the other is just plain hand raking or using a pull behind tractor implement.  I do not recommend power raking/dethatching unless the lawn has a severe, and by severe I mean a thatch problem- over 1” thick.  Most lawns do not have this kind of depth when it comes to thatch.  As a result, if the average lawn is power raked, it is actually damaged by the process of tearing and cutting.  Since the grass is dormant, and likely stressed by winter ice/snow/cold damage, power raking tears up roots and actually thins a lawn which in most cases is not a desired outcome.  If seeing piles of dead grass blades makes you feel warm inside, you might want to look at a coffee or hot cocoa instead, it certainly will do less damage to your lawn.  I have seen perfectly healthy lawns nearly destroyed by well intended landscapers, only to be called in to repair the damage by overseeding and other processes.  Stick with a hand rake and fluff the lawn up to help it warm and start to grow, or hire someone to do a spring cleanup which includes light raking.  If your lawn has a thatch issue, consider core aeration later in the spring or fall after it has recovered from winter damage.

4. Fertilizer/Crabgrass control. If you are going to use either fertilizer and crabgrass control blended together- don’t put it down too early.  A crabgrass barrier/inhibitor has a limited life span and can easily thin out turf already in a weakened state from winter.  Your best bet is to apply a plain balanced fertilizer to enhance recovery in April, than follow it up with a crabgrass inhibitor in May for maximum results.  This order will accomplish the best of both treatments while not subjecting your lawn to further stress, thinning, or damage.

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Crabgrass and your lawn in NH

 

When variety and price work against you

There is excitement in the air as day time temperatures rise past the 40’s and into the 50’s with the promise of spring.  Crusty old snow banks shrink each day, exposing the edge of sidewalks, roads, mulch beds, and yes lawns!  The first glimpse of once proud green grass can choke up even the hardiest of New Englanders.  Let’s face it, winter takes a toll on our mental state and even a few hours of sun and green can turn the worst mood around fast.

Spring can be confusing though, especially with all of the advertisements from the big chain stores like Home Depot or Lowes.  These big boys double or triple there employment and bring in all kinds of supplies to fill up the garden department.  Pallets arrive by the truck load and are stacked up in tidy rows yielding multiple selections of colored mulch, fertilizers, decorative stone, lime, topsoil and much more.  Did someone mention new tools?  Who doesn’t love a new shovel or rake?  I mean come on!  Then there are the accessories like bird feeders, edging, lamps, tiki torches, and fencing.  The flowers in baskets and pots draw in even the most hardened shopper like a moth to an outdoor light at night.

While the selection is delightful at these kinds of stores, what commonly is absent is turf knowledge, practical knowledge which applies to your piece of American pie.  Picture yourself standing in front of 6 pallets containing different fertilizers, never mind lime or other materials.  Most of these bags will contain fertilizer mixed with a variety of herbicides or insecticides, some not appropriate for the time of year or the needs of your lawn.  These lawn products generally specify how much they treat in square footage, which can be handy.  However, most materials have a range from “low to heavy” depending upon the rate required.  A lot of the square footage can be based on the low range, which may or may not be what is required at your home.  In other words, you may put down too much or too little for the job which can lead to damaging your existing lawn, turf thinning, poor weed control or a host of other issues.

Surrounding water such as lakes, ponds, and rivers are sensitive areas which must be taken into consideration when applying lawn care materials.  While the laws in NH allow a home owner to apply a variety of products in a turf setting, the same rules apply.  Be sure not to apply ANY fertilizer within 25ft of a pond or lake.  Compost tea and lime may be applied within the 25ft range.  From 25ft to 50ft you must use a low phosphate, slow release fertilizer containing NO WEED or INSECT control.  This is very important in order to preserve the quality of the surrounding water and wildlife.  While turf is important and does act as a filter, circumventing or not obeying the law will only cause issues down the road.  Remember, more homeowners treat their own lawn then professionals such as our company.  The impact and risk to a body of water is much higher with homeowners considering the hundreds of houses along lakes and rivers within NH, never mind VT.

Before you buy 200lbs of something and apply it some weekend morning; be sure you are comfortable with the prospect of decent results, the cost of the material, your time, and the potential outcome of wasting all of the above.

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