Fall Leaf Mulching: Make Your Life Easier and Your Lawn Healthier

Fall Leaf Mulching: Make Your Life Easier and Your Lawn Healthier

No one lists raking leaves as their favorite fall activity. But there’s more than one way to get rid of that layer of leafy litter on your lawn. Fall leaf mulching (shredding leaves into tiny bits with the mower) makes your life easier and your lawn healthier. Here’s why.

Leaves, Leaves Everywhere!

Fall’s fallen foliage makes a colorful carpet in our yards this time of year. As beautiful as it appears, it harms the lawn if left on too long. The leaf layer traps in moisture, creating an enticing environment for fungal diseases. It also blocks out sun, oxygen, and nutrients.

Most people dislike raking. But there’s another way to get the job done that involves less labor and helps the health of the grass. Fall leaf mulching uses a lawn mower to pass over the leaf layer, dicing each leaf into little pieces that decompose more easily. Eventually, the small bits of leaf break down in the soil and supply it with nutrients.

Fall Leaf Mulching: Pros

Raking, piling, and bagging leaves takes time and is more laborious than mulching. Using the mower requires less twisting and bending (just a lot of pushing!) and it’s one step instead of several. Mulching also takes away the challenge of finding somewhere to dump the leaves if your town doesn’t pick them up. So save yourself time, extra bags, and the clutter by the curb with fall leaf mulching. You’ll also save time and money with less fertilizing: mulch material feeds the lawn as it decomposes. And you keep those plastic bags of leaves out of the land fills!

Fall Leaf Mulching: Cons

Clearly, the benefits of fall leaf mulching outweigh the disadvantages. Mulching with a mower usually takes one pass over the leaf layer, but if the leaves aren’t shredded into small enough pieces (dime size or smaller) then another pass over the lawn is required. The only other disadvantage is that if the shredded leaf layer is too thick it still smothers the grass underneath. Make sure the layer is no more than a quarter of an inch thick.

Give Us a Call this Fall

Cross your least favorite chore off the list this season. Fall leaf mulching might just make your life a little easier (and your grass a little greener in the spring). Better yet, give Free Spray Lawn Care a call at [phone] and let us put the fun back in your fall. You can count on us for all of your lawn-care needs.

Repairing Bare Spots in Your Lawn Now Leads to Greener Grass in Spring

Repairing Bare Spots in Your Lawn Now Leads to Greener Grass in Spring

No one wants to see a nicely manicured lawn littered with patchy dead spots. If you fit one more thing on your fall to-do list, make it reseeding rough areas of the yard. Here’s how repairing bare spots in the lawn now helps you reap the rewards in spring.

What Causes Bare Spots?

There are many reasons for dead or thinning patches of turf, and sometimes it’s difficult to know which one is the actual cause. Of course, the obvious reasons are lack of water, too much shade, dog urine, and heavy foot traffic. Not so obvious reasons include disease, pest problems, and unhealthy or compacted soil. Even cutting the grass too low causes scorching. You may have to dig deep to get to the root of the problem. Pests, like grub worms, are easy to spot if you peel back a piece of the damaged turf.

Steps for Repairing Bare Spots in Your Lawn

Early fall is the ideal time for reviving grass. Reseeding is one way to fix patchy problems, but you can also use sod. Follow these simple steps for repairing bare spots in your lawn with reseeding.

First, prepare the area for planting new seed. Rake to remove weeds and dead grass, then loosen the soil so the seeds get embedded easier. If the soil is compacted, aeration is necessary. Manual aerating tools get the job done since these are usually smaller areas.

Select the proper seed type at the garden center based on the type of grass already existing and local climate, then sprinkle a thin layer of seeds over the area. If you are unsure of what seed mix to select, ask for help or call in a lawn-care pro.

Birds are big fans of freshly spread grass seed, so add a thin layer of straw to protect the new additions. The layer needs to be thin enough to let in some sun, yet thick enough to help keep seeds warm, moist, and hidden from hungry creatures. If you don’t have straw, use a little extra topsoil.

Keep the area moist by watering with a light spray so as not to wash the seeds away. Wait to mow until the new grass is about three inches tall.

Let Us Revive Your Lawn

It’s important to know the actual cause of dead grass in the lawn. If you don’t get to the root of the problem, the bare spots will recur. We can help identify the problem and return your turf to a thick healthy state. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] for help repairing bare spots or any other lawn-care needs.

Fall Fertilizing Tips

Fall Fertilizing Tips

Certain times of the year are better for certain lawn maintenance practices. Now that it’s finally fall, fertilizing your lawn should be on your to-do list. Learn more about how and why.

Why Fertilize in the Fall

The weather is getting colder, so lawns are starting to go dormant, but it’s not sleeping yet. In fact, fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn. Why?

  • The weather is not as stressful as the harsh summer heat and frozen winter ground.
  • Chilly morning dew adds moisture to the turf to help absorb fertilizer better.
  • There’s still time to build-up defenses before winter sets in.
  • Roots are strengthened underneath the surface, resulting in a lusher lawn come spring.

Fall fertilizing is more involved than simply dusting your grass with organic matter. Learn the proper fertilizing techniques to get the most out of this ideal time of year.

Fall Fertilizing Techniques

Before you apply any fertilizer, you have a little research to do. Find out when the first frost is forecasted for your area. You’ll want some time in between for the fertilizer to absorb into the soil. Once you find the date—which should be around mid-October—schedule fertilizing about two to three weeks before it.

Once you’re ready to fertilize, here’s how;

  1. Check the forecast. Pick a dry day for fertilizing. If it just rained or will rain soon, pick another day to limit the amount of runoff.
  2. Mow your lawn right before you fertilize and leave some grass clippings to act as another natural component.
  3. Fertilize in the morning or early evening when it’s not as warm.

For more fall lawn maintenance tips and the best products to use for your particular lawn, contact [company] today—or at least three weeks before the first frost.

Fall Lawn Maintenance Musts to Get Your Grass Ready for Winter

Fall Lawn Maintenance Musts to Get Your Grass Ready for Winter

Summer’s end is not a signal to stop taking care of your turf. In fact, fall lawn maintenance has a direct effect on how your lawn looks come spring. With winter around the corner, what matters most is getting the grass healthy enough to handle the harsh weather. Follow these fall lawn maintenance tips before you hang up your tools and hideaway the mower for the next season.

Raking Is Rule One

It’s necessary to remove that carpet of colorful leaves that covers the lawn each fall. Although it looks lovely, that leafy blanket blocks out sunlight and prevents air and nutrients from getting to the turf. Don’t wait until all the leaves are down to save yourself from repeating the task. Damp leaves smother the grass and create a breeding ground for fungal disease. The sooner you remove leaves, the better.

Mow What Grows

Don’t put the mower away yet! Keep cutting the grass while it’s growing, which is usually until the first frost. On the last mow, make sure to cut grass about 2-1/2 inches high, which is a healthy height for cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass. Be sure not to cut more than a third of the blade’s height at each mowing. Watering is another task that should be continued into fall. Make sure the grass gets about an inch of water per week, including rain, up until the end of October.

Feed Your Lawn in Fall

Fertilizing is a fall lawn maintenance must. It helps the grass heal from summer’s hot, dry weather and extra traffic, while getting it hardy enough for winter. If you fertilize in early fall, grass gets the nutrients it needs to survive the winter and thrive in spring. Fall is also the right time to kill certain weeds. Combine your efforts and put down a weed-and-feed product to handle the two tasks simultaneously.

Clean Up

Besides raking leaves, other cleanup tasks remain. Aerate your lawn to remove excess thatch and loosen up compacted soil. The process places holes in the turf making it easy for water, oxygen, and fertilizer to reach the grass roots. Now is also the time to put away lawn furniture, toys, and yard tools. Reseed the bare spots left behind where these items sat for long periods of time.

Fall Lawn Maintenance Matters

Is your lawn ready to weather the winter ahead? If you need help with fall lawn maintenance, call the experts. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone]. We’ll get your grass in good health so you can enjoy a beautiful yard in spring.

How to Prevent Tick Bites and Tick-Borne Diseases

How to Prevent Tick Bites and Tick-Borne Diseases

Time spent outdoors puts you in possible contact with ticks, parasitic pests that plague humans and pets. Although bites from these blood-sucking bugs are often harmless, some cause allergic reactions, while others may transmit dangerous diseases, like Lyme. Here’s what you need to know to prevent tick bites.

What You Need to Know to Prevent Tick Bites

To prevent tick bites and avoid diseases they may carry, it’s important to recognize these parasites. The black legged tick (often responsible for carrying Lyme disease) is an eight-legged creature with a dark brown-to-black body that’s oval and flat. These little pests usually measure up to 1/8 of an inch as adults. They take their nourishment from humans and animals by lingering in tall grasses and shrubs, waiting for a victim to pass closely by, and then latch on. Once aboard the host, a tick punctures the skin and feeds on blood.

Signs and Symptoms

Most tick bites are harmless, however, it’s possible to get an allergic reaction to them. Often, symptoms include swelling, a rash, or blistering. Shortness of breath can occur if the allergy is very serious. Some ticks carry diseases that they transmit to the host when feeding. It’s sometimes easy to identify a tick bite, because the culprit remains at the bite site to feed a while.

Get medical attention immediately if you have a reaction. Also, see a doctor if the following symptoms of a transmitted disease occur: rash, aches (especially in the neck or joints), headache, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, or a fever. These possible symptoms occur anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks after the bite.

Tips to Prevent Tick Bites

Always apply tick repellent when your are working in the yard or heading into the woods. Products that include the ingredient DEET work best. When hiking, stay on the path and out of tall grasses and weeds. Treat the clothes you wear with a product that contains permethrin, and wear long sleeves and pants (tucked into boots preferably). At the end of your hike or outing, completely check your hair, clothes, and body for ticks. Be sure to check in warm areas where these pests hide like under the arms, in the hair, and around the groin area.

Ticks access your home via your pet. They easily tag onto fur for a free ride inside. Protect your pets with an anti-tick product, but consult your vet first to find out what’s best for your furry friend. After a walk or after your dog roams anywhere freely, check him over before taking him indoors.

We Can Help Prevent Pests

Tick-borne diseases may be as close as your backyard. Contact a specialist today. Call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] to help prevent tick bites from affecting your family and furry friends. We’ll take care of tall grasses, piles of leaves, and overgrown shrubs to eliminate environments where pests thrive.

How to Properly Identify Poison Ivy and Other Irritating Plants

How to Properly Identify Poison Ivy and Other Irritating Plants

Whether you are working in the yard or walking in the woods, encountering poisonous plants puts a huge damper on the day, and the itchy days that follow. Here’s how to properly identify poison ivy and other poisonous plants before they suck the fun out of your summer.

Common Traits of a Tricky Trio

Beware hikers and homeowners! Poison ivy, oak, and sumac all possess the power to irritate. This is due to an oily coating called urushiol. It covers the leaves, stems, and even the roots of this tricky trio of plants. Coming in contact with any part of the plant transfers the oil to your skin, causing an itchy rash to arise not long after. All three types of these plants cause the same symptoms on skin: itchy, red, swollen patches often accompanied by blisters.

How to Identify Poison Ivy

What makes it difficult to identify poison ivy is that its appearance changes depending on the season, location, and type of environment. The leaves, however, always have pointed tips and cluster around a stem in threes, the middle leaf being larger than the outer ones. Growing as a low shrub or vine, the poison ivy’s leaves are green in summer, yellow or orange in fall, and have a reddish hue in spring. Yellow-green flowers and whitish berries often appear in the summer.

Poison Oak

Poison oak also possesses a cluster of three leaves, however, some varieties of this shrub-like plant have more. Found on both coasts in the United States but not often in the central states, this poisonous plant boasts leaves that resemble oak tree leaves. Green in spring, yellowish green in summer, and brown in fall, the leaves are slightly scalloped with rounded tips that differentiate them from poison ivy.

Poison Sumac

Often found in swampy conditions and humid environments, poison sumac grows as a small tree or tall shrub. The long oval-shaped leaves of poison sumac are smooth edged and turn orange in spring, dark green in summer, and reddish orange in fall. Unlike poison ivy and oak, though, sumac features anywhere from seven to 13 leaves on each of its reddish stems.

Call Us for Help Identifying Poison Ivy

It’s bad enough when weeds spoil the appearance of your lawn, but poisonous ones are even more of a problem. Hopefully, this article helps you identify poison ivy easily, allowing you to enjoy summer rash free and ready for wherever the trails take you. Call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] to discuss unwanted weeds in your yard.