Archive for April, 2012

Dry spring brings out lawn pests in force

The chinch bug is in the middle

I was on my stomach trying to get this picture. Chinch bugs are small and very shy, they always try to run and hide.

A thatchy lawn in the sun is a prime location to experience chinch bug damage, especially in a warm, dry spring.

I visited many lawns this past week infested with grubs, chinch bugs, and even ticks.  The picture below illustrates classic chinch bug damage with active chinch bugs feeding as adults.  The  picture to the right is that of an adult chinch bug.  The lawn was thatchy and not a current client but certainly needs some help from my program.  Left untreated, these adults will have lots of kids and spread to other areas, causing further damage this spring.  Recommended treatment for chinch bug is a surface insect control, either organic or traditional in nature to stop the feeding.  Aeration and seeding may also be warranted to help restore the turf area for a more pleasant view versus brown thatch.  If you suspect insect damage, be sure to contact a local professional for a lawn inspection, not an over the phone lawn quote from a satellite.

Classic chinch bug damage in a NH lawn


A dry spring hinders lawn greening in NH & VT

Dry weather in April hinders green grass

Despite the early spring and absence of snow, current weather in April is so dry lawns are under drought stress just as they attempt to put up new leaves.  I have been on countless lawns and have discovered conditions more typical of late June or early July than mid April.  While the warmer temperatures have induced some greening of grass, those lawn areas susceptible to drought stress are staying brown and are unable to capture enough moisture to push out new blades.  I am seeing areas of lush green grass in typically moist or shaded areas while grass in the open sun with sand below is all but stalling, remaining brown.

The result of a dry, cool spring is crystal clear; lawns simply are not greening up as fast as they could or normally would with a massive lack of natural rainfall.  A spring drought will not help any lawn or ornamental landscape plant since the winter was mild and dry.  Turf grass exposed to drying winds and no rain means slow to minimal recovery from a snowless winter.  The real proof of this phenomenon will show as winter kill during the upcoming weeks.  As a result, lawns will have a hard time pulling out of winter stress or at least may not recover as quickly or completely.  For those fortunate enough to have an irrigation system, fire those babies up and get that carpet of brown green!  Our weather is more akin to those living in the dry Midwest like Arizona than NH or VT.  With some rain in sight, perhaps this dry trend will end and the hum of weekend lawn mowers will appear as quickly as the migration of robins returning from Florida.


Lawn care choices must be made with the onset of spring

Published by JKeefe on April 11th, 2012 - in Fertilizer, Lawn Care Companies
Don't be fooled into using fertilizer from companies on "dark side"!

While fertilizers are a part of a healthy lawn, they are only one piece in the puzzle.



There is no denying it, spring is upon us and soon your spring cleaning will end up outdoors with the yard.  Yes, the lawn will beckon for your attention and no matter how long you put off the inevitable, your shrubs and grass will demand attention.  Are you one of the many who do not relish the task of raking, mowing, and trying to maintain your own landscape?  If so, you are not alone and should not be ashamed to admit this dark secret.  In fact, many folks feel compelled to fertilizer their own lawn simply because everyone else is doing it.  In our business, we call this “keeping up with the Jones’”, a classic syndrome seen across NH and VT.  The pressure builds with each passing weekend to visit a local hardware store and buy flowers, gloves, shovels, rakes, fertilizer, and lime.  As each Saturday expires, you see time going through the hour glass; time you simply do not have.

Why would you continue to suffer when the cost of hiring a professional lawn care company can actually yield better results, save you countless hours, and even represent an economic savings in your bank account?  Quality is not cheap, but it may very well be less expensive than toiling for hours upon hours only to obtain the same results, be them poor to acceptable.  There is an appropriate saying, “doing the same thing over and over will not result in a different outcome”.  Sometimes a change is refreshing and the right thing to do, or at least worth considering that there are alternatives to maintaining a healthy lawn and landscape.

In the big world of lawn care, there are daunting choices to be made, promises and coupons are given without hesitation.  No wonder you are confused and skeptical about our profession and what it really costs!  No doubt your skepticism could be born from a bad past experience, perhaps with a large national chain or a “gentleman” in a pick-up truck with little or no experience?  Like revisiting a restaurant after having a bad meal, you simply cannot even consider the option of professional turf care.  Who can blame you?  I cannot.  But what I can say is there are lots of folks with lots of real experience in this business in NH and VT.  Professionals in every sense of the word that have the education and real field experience necessary to diagnose, prescribe, and care your lawn.

If the coupon or direct mail piece sounds too good to be true, it most likely is!  You are looking to save time, money, and receive the results most would expect from a professional lawn care company.  If the trucks look the same, they have similar marketing strategies and programs.  I hate to spoil your dinner, but there are no supersonic, ultra coated, magnetic, super powered fertilizers in existence.  There is a basic science of soil life and how it supports plant growth.  Yes, fertilizers have a roll, but are not the end-all to a healthy lawn.  I don’t care how many times or what you coat the fertilizer pellet with, the applicator’s skill level, treatment consistency, and amount of fertilizer applied are the key to quality results – period.  This fact applies to compost tea, lime, aeration, sea kelp, and yes- even fertilizer!

If the coupon does not fit, and if the gimmick seems slick and full of ideal promises, you might want a second opinion from a professional in the business, someone like me or a locally owned business in your own home town.  A great lawn can be yours without sacrificing your valuable weekends or draining your bank account.  You get what you pay for in the end so let it be effective and worth your hard-earned income.  Have a great spring!

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