The Benefits of Mulching Leaves in the Fall

The Benefits of Mulching Leaves in the Fall

We love autumn for the colorful leaves. But those same leaves lead to one of the season’s most unpopular chores: raking. Keeping this colorful carpet on the ground through the winter is not an option if you want a healthy lawn in spring. But if you are one of the many who detest raking, you have a choice. There are benefits to mulching leaves besides just being able to cross raking off of your to-do list.

What Is Mulching Leaves?

Mulching leaves is the process of mowing over them and shredding them to tiny bits. These bits are then left on the lawn to provide it with nourishment, while providing you with a reason not to rake. It’s one method to rid your lawn of fallen leaves and prevent them from forming a thick layer that could smother your turf.

Many professionals and homeowners debate over whether mulching leaves into the turf or raking them to remove them are better for your lawn. But there are pros and cons to each side of the argument. Some studies say that mulched leaves have no effect on grass. Others claim that it can possibly reduce certain weeds.

The Benefits of Mulching Leaves

While the constant twisting and turning of raking puts stress on the body, mulching leaves is simply the same as pushing a mower. It’s often thought of as a quicker and more efficient way to clear away the leaves. In addition, it eliminates the chore of collecting leaves, bagging them, and disposing of them, which may require taking them to a designated area in your municipality. And let’s face it, all of those bags lined up at the edge of the lawn detract from your home’s curb appeal.

The proper amount of mulch left on your lawn feeds the grass, as well as beneficial bugs and earthworms. Over time, the leaves decompose, providing nutrients to strengthen the grass and improve soil. This helps the turf survive the harsh winter and thrive in the spring.

To Mulch or Not to Mulch

Indeed, mulching leaves may be good for your lawn, but it’s a fine line between healthy and harmful. A light coating of finely shredded leaves is good. If after you mulch, there’s a mat that’s more than a quarter inch thick, it’s in danger of smothering the lawn. You should still be able to see the grass. Blades should be upright, not bent with the weight of the mulch. It’s also important to mulch only dry leaves. A layer of wet leaves won’t let your lawn breath and makes it more susceptible to fungus.

Are You Equipped to Mulch Leaves?

Mulching mowers do exist, but you can mulch leaves with almost any lawn mower. However, it probably takes more than one pass to shred the leaves small enough to be helpful. Newer mower models even feature a special setting for mulching. There’s also the option of equipping a regular machine with a special serrated blade designed for the task. This blade ensures that the leaves are shredded into small enough pieces to sink into the grass and decompose easily.

Whether you choose to rake, mulch, or even use a power blower, inevitably the leaves must be removed. Snow and ice on top of a layer of leaves is a recipe for lawn damage. It prevents light, air, and nutrients from getting to the grass. Also, it creates a welcoming environment for fungus and other diseases. Call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and let us help you with your seasonal landscaping needs.

Prevent Pests from Picking Your Home for Overwintering

Prevent Pests from Picking Your Home for Overwintering

People seek heat once the temperatures drop, preferring to stay huddled up indoors. Unfortunately, pests do, too. Here’s how to prevent pests from overwintering in your house this winter.

What Is Overwintering?

Overwintering refers to the insects and pests that find their way into your home during the cold winter months. While they hide, insects go into hibernation mode as their growth process stalls to conserve energy. While these pests prefer the shelter from within your walls, they become active again when the weather warms up. This means that they often make their way into your home’s living area in spring, which is not ideal for you or for them.

Signs of Overwintering Pests

Rodents, stink bugs, lady bugs, spiders, and other creatures arrive at your door and easily gain access if you’re not prepared. Some of these pests are harmless, just merely annoying, while others can carry disease or destroy property. Watch for chewed wires and furniture, rodent droppings, holes in screens, and spiderwebs.

How to Prevent Overwintering Pests

Find points of entry. Your first order of business to prevent pests from gaining entry into your home is to locate the following:

  • Tears in screens
  • Cracks in foundation
  • Holes around pipes
  • Gaps in siding

Seal and repair points of entry. Fix every tear, crack, hole, gap, and crevice you find to prevent pest infestations. Here are some materials you might need:

  • Silicone-latex caulk for door and window frames
  • Steel wool for cracks and holes in foundation
  • Door sweeps for gaps under doors
  • Fine wire mesh for vents
  • Caps for chimneys

Keep a neat exterior. The outside of your home should be well-maintained and clutter-free.

  • Stack firewood at least six feet away from your home, and only bring in what you need when you need it.
  • Limit piles of lawn debris, like leaf piles and overgrown vegetation.
  • Cut back shrubs and trees that touch the home’s exterior.

Keep it neat inside. Eliminate access to food and places for pests to hide.

  • Store food in tightly secured containers.
  • Never leave food out for extended periods of time.
  • Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
  • Remedy leaking pipes, dripping faucets, and moisture problems.
  • Declutter your home by getting rid of piles of papers, old boxes, etc.
  • Remove trash often and keep trash cans tightly secured with lids.
  • Vacuum areas with crumbs more often, like under the kitchen table or near the sofa if you nibble while watching TV.

If prevention isn’t as effective as you had hoped, seek the help of professionals. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll help you stay pest-free all year long.

What Are the Benefits of Overseeding a Lawn?

What Are the Benefits of Overseeding a Lawn?

Overseeding is one of the best-kept secrets for maintaining a lush, healthy lawn. Thinning grass, bare spots, and faded color are signs that your lawn may be a good candidate. But this process is time consuming and requires certain knowledge. Before you take on the task, find out more about the benefits of overseeding a lawn.

What Exactly Is Overseeding?

Overseeding a lawn is the process of planting new grass seed over previously established turf. If done proactively, it helps keep grass dense and green. If a lawn shows signs of age or suffers from bare spots or thinning, overseeding may correct it. Not to be confused with spot seeding, which targets only the areas in need, overseeding entails the entire lawn so that the healthier areas get denser and greener, while the bare or thinning spots fill out.

The Best Time to Overseed a Lawn

Your turf takes a beating in the summer months from excessive heat, drought, insects, disease, weed invasions, and increased foot traffic. The result is often a lackluster lawn. Fall is a good time to overseed a lawn because it provides the right conditions for cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue. The air is cooler, which is good for stimulating growth, while the soil is still warm enough to enhance germination. The sunshine is less intense, making it less likely to dry out the seeds, and the rainfall provided is usually just enough.

Benefits of Overseeding a Lawn

Established lawns show signs of wear and tear after time. Chances are there are hardier grass seed varieties and blends on the market today. Integrating these new species into your lawn builds tougher turf that may be more resistant to drought, disease, and pest damage. Newer lawns benefit as well. Here are some advantages of overseeding a lawn.

  • Fills in bare spots.
  • Adds density to thinning lawns.
  • Strengthens your turf for the harsh winter weather ahead.
  • Improves the lawn’s overall health, making it stronger to withstand insects, fluctuating temperatures, pests, and weeds.
  • Enhances color.
  • Provides curb appeal and maintains your property value.
  • Helps the lawn respond better to fertilization, irrigation, and mowing.

Knowing What Your Lawn Needs

It’s important to know why your lawn has bare spots or shows signs of thinning. For example, if you have irrigation problems or there is disease present, an overseeded lawn will succumb to these problems as well if not corrected. To find out if your lawn will benefit from overseeding, call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone].

Eliminate and Prevent Silverfish in Your Home

Eliminate and Prevent Silverfish in Your Home

Considered a household nuisance, silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) are easily recognized by their slim gray bodies. If you spot one once in awhile under the sink or in the basement, don’t worry. These nocturnal creatures are not dangerous. They don’t bite and aren’t known to spread diseases. However, in large numbers they damage paper products like wallpaper and boxes, and feast on foods heavy in starch. No one wants an infestation of these pests, so here’s what you can do to eliminate and prevent silverfish from making your home their hangout.

Identification

Slender slinky bodies that are shiny and silvery gray in color give these bugs their name. Ranging from a quarter inch to half an inch long, the flat bodies are larger at the head and taper off at the rear. They have three pairs of legs, two antennae, and three long bristly hairs at the rear. Silverfish are hard to catch because they wriggle rapidly across surfaces.

Silverfish have a strange starchy diet and like to dine on papery substances like books, boxes, photos, magazines, and wallpaper glue. They also eat certain fabrics and love foods high in carbs like flour, bread, sugar, and cereal. No accounting for taste, these gross creatures also enjoy mold and dead skin cells and can survive a long time without food.

Signs and Symptoms

Usually, silverfish enter homes through cracks or crevices, but sometimes grab a ride inside boxes or bags. They like dark, damp, or humid areas and can often be found in bathrooms, basements, and underneath kitchen sinks, especially if there are leaky pipes. During the day they hide, but nighttime is feeding time. They sometimes leave behind yellowish stains or loose scales as they roam.

Elimination

There are some natural methods to capture these quick moving creatures. You can make your own traps using a glass jar, masking tape, and a piece of bread. Silverfish use the tape to climb up the jar, but once they fall in, they can’t climb back out on the smooth surface of the jar’s interior. They are trapped inside!

Cedar oil is a substance these pests avoid. Try spraying it in cracks and crevices or under sinks. Diatomaceous dirt and boric acid are natural ways to poison these pests, but should be used sparingly around children and pets. If you have a serious infestation, a pesticide may be necessary. It’s best to call in an expert for chemical applications.

Prevent Silverfish

After you’ve eliminated these creatures in your home, there are steps to take to prevent a recurring infestation.

  • Fix leaky pipes and faucets.
  • Use dehumidifiers in damp basements.
  • Fill in cracks and crevices along floorboards, walls, windows, and doors.
  • Clean or vacuum under sinks and along floorboards, concentrating on nooks and crannies.
  • Get rid of old boxes and piles of newspapers.
  • Store unused books, papers, magazines, clothes, and photo albums in sealed plastic containers.
  • Make sure containers or packages of food are tightly closed and crumbs are cleaned up regularly.

Call the Experts

It’s best to use natural methods to prevent silverfish first, but chemicals may be necessary for infestations. Since the chemicals are dangerous, they should be safely applied by a professional. If you suspect a pest infestation in your home or wish to take preventative measures, contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].