Posts Tagged ‘acid soil’

Use high calcium lime on your lawn to reduce rock salt damage!

Published by JKeefe on February 28th, 2011 - in Ice Melt, Lawn Care Companies, Lime

Salt damage along a sidewalk

If you have been wondering what sort of impact so much snow will have on the average lawn come spring, switch gears and think of salt and plowing.  Unfortunately, where there is smoke there is often fire- where we have lots of snow- there has been plowing and salt use.  A winter like the one we are currently experiencing means rock salt is going down everywhere- especially on roads, parking lots, and sideways.  With so much rock salt use, the pure tonnage used during the winter means your soil will have problems this spring.  In large quantities, salt causes soil to harden and upsets the normal flow of liquid into surrounding plant roots like your lawn, tree, and shrubs.  Generally, a decent snow cover protects your lawn from the drying winds and low temperatures common to winter weather.  However, if large amounts of rock salt are used, foliage and plants are likely to suffer damage.  Visible damage will become apparent in April as the snow recedes to expose a seemingly lifeless landscape of brown.

The likelihood of a salt spray coming into contact with tree or shrub foliage increases dramatically with each passing snow or ice storm.  This fact is especially true if you live on a main road or one which has town services such as salting.   The resulting contact with a salt solution lifted up by passing cars can cause a reduction in cold hardiness of tree buds, especially evergreen needles like those on an Arborvitae.  In the world of grass, salt upsets the balance of water and the ability of it to pass into the root system.  The resulting affect of too much rock salt on a lawn is a drought like condition where ample water simply cannot be used- despite wet soil conditions or standing water.

The later in the season salt is used, the greater the damage.  Using ice melts low in chlorides, especially calcium or sodium chloride should be avoided due to their enhanced plant killing abilities.  CMA’s or blends of plant friendly ice melts are much less harmful and while they may not avoid all damage, greatly reduce the amount likely to occur.

To help offset sodium chloride (rock salt) in a lawn or soil area, use high calcium lime to displace the sodium by leaching with adequate amounts of spring rain/snow melt.  Although not a miracle cure, the chemistry works out pretty good versus using gypsum which only further acidifies the soil environment.  If you plan on liming this year or have used too much rock salt, have your lawn limed with a high calcium lime- not a standard pelletized lime.  Turf loves calcium, a slightly acidic pH, and a softer soil improved by using only calcium based lime.  I only offer a high calcium lime for not only the aforementioned reasons but for other benefits to a lawn system.

With March on our doorstep, spring is more than just a thought, its reality.  Prepare for the plow and salt damage now before the opportunity passes as early spring fades into Memorial Day weekend!

Plow damage can be most upsetting


Ten Reasons to improve your lawn in NH or VT

Published by JKeefe on January 25th, 2011 - in Lawn Care Companies, Misc.


The Environment #10 and #9

#10  A healthy lawn reduces water runoff and soil erosion which in turns protects our lakes and streams from sediment moving from the land into the water.  Turf is a living filter which protects ground water quality through a vast network of roots, thatch, and leaves.  There are many lawn products that can be used close to or up to the water without harming that ecosystem such as lime, kelp, and further back slow release products.

#9  A healthy lawn will absorb 6 times as much rainfall as a common hay-field.  A healthy lawn entraps pollutants and with the help of soil microbes, biodegrades them safely.  Coating grass seed with mycorrhizae improves turf defensive capabilities against insects and disease issues often reducing the need for fertilizer in a calendar year.  Compost tea is a perfect example of how to improve the soil and help your lawn simultaneously.


Functional Benefits #8 thru #4

#8  A healthy lawn dissipates heat and reduces the energy required to cool homes and buildings- thus saving energy.

#7  Turf grass abates noise and reduces glare.

#6  A mown lawn decreases disease carrying ticks and reduces fire hazards near wooded areas.

#5  Well maintained turf grass reduces injury from sports played at home, school, or elsewhere.

#4  A well cared for lawn is actually a low-cost asset that can be physically used or enjoyed for pure viewing pleasure.

Health  #3 thru #1

#3  Studies show the cycle of growing grass and the color green lift human spirits and provide both thoughts and feelings of happiness, privacy, and serenity.

#2  Well maintained turf is known to have therapeutic effects on humans as measured by heart rate and blood pressure- increasing recovery rate of hospital patients.

#1  Hiring a licensed, experienced turf professional will help you accomplish some if not all of the benefits above while insuring the job is done correctly.  Free up valuable time and spend it with your family or friends!

As you can gather, grass is simply more than just a lawn!  Winter is the perfect time to explore the advantages of utilizing the skills of your local turf care provider.  Perhaps this is the year to explore natural or organic products?  Stop guessing and wondering if you are putting down too much or too little material while wasting your valuable Saturday or Sunday.  Send that e-mail or make that phone call today and get your lawn on the right path in 2011.


How to shop for a new lawn service in 2011

Published by JKeefe on November 10th, 2010 - in Lawn Care Companies, Misc.

The holidays are right around the corner and the last thought on your mind might be preparing or even considering your lawn service in 2011.  Let’s face it, the growing season is practically finished and your mower may well be stored away with visions of cutting next spring.  Until then, your once green carpet takes a back seat to turkey, skiing, and ice skates versus what kind lawn company to use in 2011.

If you already use a national lawn care chain like Trugreen, you will likely receive several pre-pay letters or contacts beginning in November with possibly a second in December or January.  This proposal will outline your 2010 lawn treatments and duplicate it for 2011 with an incentive for pre-paying.  Statistically, most customers will not respond to this letter never mind prepaying for the entire year.  In fact, many will seize this opportunity to return the letter with a note containing the word “cancel”.

For smaller lawn care firms, their accounts are scrupulously reviewed in the late fall where additions, modifications, and recommendations are made before sending out a fresh lawn proposal for 2011.  Many companies will also reward their customer’s for prepaying and for choosing multiple services like a Plant Health Care program for the tree and shrubs in the landscape in conjunction with the turf program.  Chipper’s has offered these valuable incentives in the past to its client base.  Reviewing the account history for each individual client for 2011 is of paramount importance as it increases future results through necessary turf program adjustments before sending out any new proposal.  Such actions help insure the highest quality turf program through comprehensive annual review versus a simplistic recycling of treatments year after year.

There is plenty of time to review your turf program over the winter with no need to rush your decision.  Perhaps 2011 may be the year to receive a fresh, second opinion from a smaller company where the total dollars spent is relative to actual needs and desired results.  Late fall or early winter is a great time to collect this type of information before the lawn is snow-covered.  While there are plenty of cheeseburger, one size fits all lawn care companies out there, see if you can find one that really tailors the whole package; results, experience, and your budget.

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