Your Spring Planting Plan Is Here

Garden-flowers

Welcome to May! It’s time to start looking forward to all the amazing things spring and summer can bring to our outdoor world. If you’ve had gardening on your mind, the time to get started is now. It’s optimal time to get to work on your vegetable, fruit, herb, or flower planting initiatives. The pros at Spring-Green are passionate about all things that grow outside. Of course, we’re your neighborhood lawn care partners, but we’re all about gardening too. We know the weather is beautiful, and the time is right to get started. That’s why we’ve crafted this little beginner’s guide for you to check out as you plan out your spring garden this year.

5 Things That Should Be On Your Gardening Mind This May

  1. Get Familiar with Popular Vegetables, Fruit, & Flowers

May is prime time for gardening. Some vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs are best planted in later spring.Of course, many variables influence what choices you should make for your specific garden, but here is an overview of perfect options for planting in the month of May.

Fruits Honeydew Melon, Tomatoes, Raspberries

Vegetables Cucumber, Beets, Carrots, Beans, Peppers, Potatoes, Garlic

Herbs Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Cilantro, Thyme, Parsley, Basil

Flowers Crocus, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Primrose, Tulips, Camellia

2. Where to Begin?

Starting your spring garden can be the hardest part if you’re a newbie. Not to worry, though – follow these steps to get your garden growing in time for optimal enjoyment this summer.

Planting in Garden

Start by answering a few general questions:

  • Which vegetables does your family love to eat?
  • If you’re planting flowers, what are your preferences?
  • What is your budget for your garden?
  • Are you looking for flowers that return on their own each year, or do you prefer to plant anew every spring?

Follow some general rules of thumb:

  • Avoid getting fancy for your first garden – start basic and build your way up to more complicated gardening once you’re comfortable.
  • Choose the areas of your yard for the garden wisely. Consider the sun coverage and exposure to other elements like shade, rain, and wind. You’ll also want to choose a level spot of land, avoiding slopes. If you have a large property, you may also consider a place that’s easy to eyeball and see how it’s working.
  • Do a thorough job of clearing away any debris, weeds, and roots from the ground on the area you want to plant.
  • Check out the health of your soil. Soil is one of the most important elements to the success of your garden. You can test the pH balance of the soil, and if needed, add nutrients in advance to get it garden-ready.

3. Explore What’s Best for You & Your Garden

Once you have a good sense of the garden generalities, it’s time to customize your plan for your plantings. You’ll need to define…

  • Size: How big will your garden be? This choice is variable to your space and preference but can influence what you choose to plant.
  • Location: Where will your garden be in your yard? This is a pivotal decision as you want optimal sun exposure for the specific plants you select as well as consideration for rain, weather, and soil conditions.
  • Geography: Some plants thrive in the south and warmer climates or only in the northwest of the United States. It may simply depend on where you are located on the map so make sure you research your plants’ best geography.
  • Time: The amount of time and effort you can put into your garden is another factor that can influence your choice. If you know you don’t have too much time to dedicate to your gardening effort, you may want to choose heartier plants such as Hostas, Daisies, Hibiscus, Garlic, Chives, Basil, or Oregano that don’t require a lot of TLC. You could also opt to plant in a few pots and save space in your lawn.

4. How to Maintain Your Spring Garden

Now you need to get down to the business of planting your garden. Your next train of thought should be related to maintenance. Here are few tips to get you started – of course, many variables can influence your maintenance, such as your climate and your specific garden’s plants:

  • Find the perfect balance of water to keep your garden growing. Your young garden should never be allowed to dry out to make sure the roots can flourish. Generally in the warmer months watering once per day is recommended.
    • Mulch is a great option to protect your garden from weed overgrowth as well as locking in moisture. Best practices are to cover the soil with about two inches of mulch to prevent the sunlight from hitting the soil. Be sure to choose organic mulch, such as bark or cocoa bean shells, to support healthy soil.
    • Although the mulch will help keep weeds at bay, they can still pop up. Be sure to keep an eye out for weeds, dead vegetation and, of course, pesky bugs or rodents to keep your garden healthy.
garden box

5. Tips for a Raised Bed Garden

You may decide to go with a raised garden for aesthetics or because your soil quality is not great. Either way, a raised bed garden is not difficult to install. If you’re handy, you can do it yourself. If you like the easier option, you can most likely find one at your local nursery or home repair store.

As you plan your spring garden, be sure to take into consideration factors like sunlight, rainfall, soil conditions, as well as your level of commitment, so you can ensure your garden is a success. Spring-Green is standing by if you’re in need some expert advice or support for your garden and your lawn care needs. Since 1977, we’ve partnered with home and business owners in our communities to help them get full enjoyment out of their outdoors.

Get started with a call to Spring-Green.

What to Know About Asian Giant Hornets

murder hornets

The world’s largest hornets have been reported in the US, leaving many to question how dangerous these black and orange insects could be to our ecosystem.

The Asian giant hornet is also known as the Japanese giant hornet and the Murder Hornet. They’re native to Asia, ranging from Japan and Russia down to Thailand and Myanmar (formerly Burma). But they were first discovered in the US in the fall of 2019 in Washington State. At that time, only two Murder Hornets were discovered, but since then, two new, unconfirmed sightings were reported in April of 2020. These hornets most likely arrived to the US as unseen stowaways in packing crates.

Top Facts About Asian Giant Hornets

  • Asian giant hornets can reach 2 inches in length
  • Their wingspan reaches more than 3 inches long
  • Only females have stingers, which can reach .2 inches in length
  • Their stings deliver a potent neurotoxin, which is nearly seven times the amount of venom that a honey bee delivers
  • Asian giant hornets are able to sting repeatedly
  • Nearly 50 people a year die in Japan from Murder Hornet stings, mostly due to allergic reactions
  • However, multiple stings can kill humans, even if not allergic

Murder Hornets Attacking Honey Bees

Murder hornets are a significant predator to the European honey bee. The biggest fear from these hornets is the damage they do to honey bees, which are responsible for most of the pollination of crops across the US. Honey bees contribute an estimated $15 billion each year to the U.S. economy through their pollination services, far more than any other managed bee, according to the Scientific American.

honeybees

Hornets are most destructive in the late summer and early fall, when they’re on the hunt for sources of protein to raise next year’s queens. This is when the Asian giant hornets will attack honey bee hives. Attacks on beehives come in three phases…

  1. First, the hornets hunt individual bees from a hive that has been chemically marked by another hornet. Once captured, the hornets rip the bees to pieces and carry the dismembered bits back to their hive and feed it to their own larvae.
  2. Next is the slaughter stage, where dozens of hornets attack the hive and massacre tens of thousands of bees. “Within a few hours, a strong, healthy, and populous honeybee colony of 30,000-50,000 workers is slaughtered by a group of 15 to 30 hornets,” according to a Washington State University report.
  3. In the final phase, the hornets move into the defeated hive and feed on the abandoned larvae and pupae, making it into a “bee paste” and take it back to their hive and feed it to their own young.  The hornets are very aggressive during this stage and may attack animals or humans that wander too close to the occupied beehive.

The Murder Hornet was originally sighted near Blaine, WA and on Victoria Island in Vancouver, BC. No hornet hives have been discovered, but spring is the mating season, so there are numerous warnings posted in Washington.  

To read more about the Murder Hornet, check out the WSU Fact Sheet.

Is Your Lawn Equipment Ready for Spring?

Spring is here! The temperatures are starting to drop, and our outdoor world is alive with the splendors that spring brings. The time has never been more urgent to review the status of your lawn to ensure it’s ready for the spring season. If you’ve been distracted with all the events that are taking place in the world today, it’s perfectly understandable. It might be time, however, to shift gears and focus on your lawn for a few moments to make sure it’s prepped and ready for the upcoming season. You’ll need to take stock of your equipment, including lawnmowers, weed whackers, edgers, gardening tools, electric power equipment, and garden hoses. Use this checklist to ensure your lawn is healthy.

Your Spring-Ready Lawn Gear Checklist

mower

1. Prep Your Lawnmower

The lawnmower has been in hibernation all winter, but now it’s time to gear up for a working season ahead. Don’t wait until the grass is in need of an overdue trim to give some attention to the lawnmower. Step one of your spring-prep checklist is to bring the mower out of the shed and follow some easy steps to shake off the winter dust. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cleaning and De-winterization: Start by draining and replacing any old fuel in the mower before attempting to turn it on. Then do a quick inspection of basic maintenance points like the oil, spark plugs, and air filters to make sure they’re in good condition. Take a quick check of the pull cords, making sure they aren’t frayed and are in good working condition. This might be a good time to pull out the machine’s manual and check that you’ve followed all recommended maintenance protocols.
  • Warm Up Run Before the First Use: Once everything appears to be in good working order and you’ve filled up with fresh fuel, it’s the perfect time to start the engines and let your lawnmower warm up before the first cut of spring. This warm up will allow the engine to run before prolonged use and also allows you to listen for any strange sounds that might indicate a problem is brewing.
  • Common Repairs to Lookout For: Some common post-winter lawnmower repairs are generally related to chords, air filters, dirty fuel or oil, and debris buildup.These are areas to keep an eye out for as you prep your mower for spring. If you have a battery-operated mower or riding lawnmower, the battery may need to be charged or even replaced after a long winter break.
  • Lawnmower Blade Maintenance Tips: One of the most frequently asked questions lawn pros get is, “how can I tell if my lawnmower needs a new blade or just needs to be sharpened?” The rule of thumb is most mower blades will last 20-25 hours until they need to be sharpened. Overall lifetime of most blades is approximately 100-200 hours total. This number can be higher, ranging up to 400 hours, for higher quality blades. Once you’ve cleared the cuttings deck of any clippings, you can keep an eye on how well your lawnmower works on your grass.

2. Take Stock of Your Other Electric Equipment

Be sure to take a look at all your other lawn power equipment before its first spring use – not just the lawnmower. You might have a shed full of weed whackers, edgers, gardening tools, electric power equipment all ready for spring cleaning. As you dig into that packed shed, be sure to inspect your lawn equipment for signs of rust, broken parts, or frayed wires. If blades need to be replaced or sharpened, now is the perfect time.

trimmer

3. Decide to Repair or Buy New

To repair or replace, this is always the question that befuddles lawn equipment owners. The answer is usually clear when you weigh out the pros and cons, asking yourself questions such as:

  • Is my lawn equipment still under warranty?
  • Do I use this piece of equipment often?
  • Is there a newer model that offers more features?
  • Is the cost (or time required) to repair more than the worth of the equipment?

4. Get Ready for Watering

April showers bring May flowers, undoubtedly. And, as we approach the summer months, lawn watering becomes crucial to keeping everything lush, green, and healthy. Having said all this, no spring checklist could be complete without some attention to hoses and sprinklers. Here are a few best practices to follow to get yourself ready to water your lawn.

watering hose
  • De-winterize Your Gardening Hose: Follow a few easy steps to make sure your garden hoses are ready for use this spring. Unroll your hose and hook it up to the tap to ensure it’s in full working order and has not rotted or been otherwise damaged during the winter. Make sure you have enough hoses to keep your lawn hydrated and healthy this summer, keeping in mind that your lawn will need about an inch of water per week on average to remain perfectly hydrated, or about .63 gallons per square foot of grass.
  • Prep Your Sprinklers: Sprinkler systems can get damaged during winter for a myriad of reasons. Any homeowner knows how frustrating it can be to turn on the sprinkler system when the lawn is turning brown, only to find it not working properly. Your quick check to make sure all parts are working can save you frustration at a key moment later in the summer.

As the most beautiful and warmest season descends, be sure to take a few key steps to ensure you’re ready to care for your lawn. Spring-Green is, of course, here for you should need our professional services. Our team of expert technicians is standing by as your neighborhood lawn care partner with services for your lawn, landscape, pest control, and more.

Get started with Spring-Green today.

Top Tips for Spring Tree Care

flowering tree

As we enter into spring and embark on the warm summer months, many homeowners are left grappling with caring for their trees as the seasons change. Questions swirl around the tree-loving homeowner’s mind like: How do I care for my trees as they come out of dormancy? How do I help my trees stay healthy in the spring? These questions and so many others are about to be demystified, so you can feel confident that your trees are going to thrive as they move into spring as well as the rest of the year.

The 1,2,3’s of Caring for Trees This Spring & Year-Round

  • Understand Dormancy and How It Works – Trees have an extremely resilient nature and an inner intelligence that allows them to go dormant during bitter cold periods of winter and, like clockwork, wake up when spring finally brings warmer temps. Scientists determined that trees actually block communication between the cells inside the bud during winter, preventing growth cells from developing.
Sycamore Tree Winter
  • Inspect Your Trees and Shrubs – Once the snow begins to melt, and the temperatures slowly begin to climb, it’s a good time to take a venture outdoors and examine the state of your trees and shrubs. During a harsh winter, the conditions can have an impact on the well being of your trees and shrubbery. Look for injuries from freezing temperatures that may have caused bark to split or browning on evergreens from winter burn. As we enter spring, it’s the essential time to treat any of these issues and prevent them from causing further damage.
  • Prune Away Dead Branches – As we enter spring, it’s time to grab the pruning shears and clear away the dead branches. The general rule of thumb is to prune spring flowering trees and shrubs after they flower in the spring. The flower buds from those plants were set in fall, so shearing or shaping of these plants in the spring will result in fewer flowers. Individual limbs can be removed if they are crossing another limb, are damaged, or if you want to improve the shape of the plant. It’s also highly recommended to prune at this time to improve airflow and light penetration.
prune trees
  • Break Out the Mulch – Your mulching efforts at the start of spring will help retain moisture, even if the temperatures drop to extreme levels as they can do during the unpredictable spring. Mulching has many other benefits, including weed prevention and lessening the likelihood of attacks from borers, ants, and beetles. Three inches of mulch is all you need and be sure to avoid piling mulch up on the trunks of trees to form “mulch volcanoes.”
  • The Time to Water Is Now – Step up your tree watering game as you enter spring and gear up for summer with these best practices – water deeply but infrequently, don’t over water, and water during periods of drought. Also monitor moisture levels, making sure your trees don’t dry out your trees. This is an excellent time to check on the sprinkler system too, ensuring they are working properly, and that the coverage is accurate.
watering tree

Caring for trees and shrubs requires a year-round effort. As we exit the cold months and step into spring, we can set our trees up to thrive by following a few easy instructions. And, if you need some more help with any aspect of your arbor or lawn care, Spring-Green has a team of professionals ready to mobilize and assist you with all your needs.

Contact Your Spring-Green Specialist Today!

Animal Hibernation in My Lawn: Should I Care?

bunnies

From rabbits and raccoons to skunks and other critters, you likely have animals hibernating in your neighborhood at this very moment and they’re about to wake up. The question is: should you even care? Are these hibernating animals simply a part of our ecosystem that we should live and let live with, or are they posing a threat to the health and wellbeing of our lawns? This is a common concern of home and business owners worried about keeping their outdoor landscapes looking good (and healthy) all year long.

The good news is, Spring-Green, America’s neighborhood lawn care specialists, has all the information you need to understand hibernation patterns, how to prevent damage to your lawn during this time, and what to expect when the seasons change. So, let’s get started in learning about animal hibernation and protecting our lawns from animal-related damage from winter.

What You Need-to-Know About Animal Hibernation and Your Lawn

  • When, What, Why, and How Do Animals Hibernate? Rabbits, raccoons, skunks, and most insects are the more common animals that can be found hibernating near an average homeowner’s lawn each winter. It’s an interesting thing this hibernation and the way Mother Nature helps animals survive winter. Here’s how it works:
raccoon

During the winter months, many animals go into hibernation in order to conserve energy during the harshest season. During hibernation, their body temperature falls, their metabolism, heart rate, and breathing slows, and their fat stores are only used to perform essential functions, such as breathing. With an internal clock that “wakes them up” just in time for warmer seasons, hibernation naturally comes to an end in Spring and Summer. Hibernation lengths vary based on the species and location but range from three to six months on average.

  • How Do Animals Impact My Yard When They Go into/Wake Up From Hibernation? Now that we’ve gotten schooled on the details of hibernation, let’s get at the real question – how does all this impact my lawn, trees, and shrubs? While the phenomenon of hibernation makes for interesting reading, it can wreak havoc on winter and spring lawns. The types of animals that hibernate in your neighborhood will vary by region, and some are more destructive than others. Here are a few examples of the types of damage that can occur…
    • Digging Holes in The Lawn – This is the most common issue caused by animals that hibernate as they feed on grubs or other insects before resting for the winter.
    • Burrowing in the Lawn – Burrows can cause many problems, including damage to the lawn, and are typically caused by groundhogs and woodchucks as they prepare for winter hibernation.
baby skunk
  • How to Reduce Animal Damage? Coyote urine is a deterrent for keeping raccoons and skunks at bay. Gardeners also have luck by adding netting around the perimeter of their lawn to keep these rodents at bay. Deer can be kept away with a store-bought deer repellant, especially applied to blooming tulips or other tasty plants. Some people hang bars of very fragrant soap around the plants that deer like to feed on during the winter, such as arbor vitae, to keep away the deer.

If you’re unsure how to rid your lawn of unwanted pests or of what’s causing damage to your trees, shrubs, and plants, you always have a team of lawn care professionals standing by to assist, at Spring-Green. Contact our team to help you determine the cause of the problem and develop a plan of action to keep your lawn healthy all year long.

Contact a Spring-Green Lawn Care Pro Today!

The Luck of the Irish? All About Clover in Your Lawn

clover

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us! It’s the time where Irish heritage is the way to be, and symbols like four-leaf clovers and rainbows (with pots o’gold at the end) are in fashion, and, don’t get us started on green beer! But for many homeowners, finding clovers in the lawn can leave them confused at best and frustrated at worst. As we embark on the most-Irish of holidays, let’s unpack the truth about the clover and its effect on your lawn. Is it a lucky find in your yard, or an intruder that must go?

Clover Basics

Why are Clovers Symbolic of St. Patrick’s Day? – The Shamrock can be translated from Gaelic to “little clover.” It has three leaves that, as lore states, St. Patrick used to explain the Holy Trinity, as well as faith, hope, and love. The four-leafed clover became known as lucky simply because they are rare.

What’s the Most Common Type of Clover? – White Dutch is the most commonly found clover in lawns. Clover is of the genus Trifolium, which has about 300 species of flowering plants in the legume or pea family.

Why is Clover in My Lawn? – There are a variety of reasons that you might have the luck of finding clovers in your lawn, including:

  • Imbalance in the soil’s pH
  • Nutrient deficiencies, especially nitrogen
  • Grass that has been cut too short
  • Poorly watered grass
  • Compacted soil due to organic matter

How Do I Get Rid of Clover? – The way to control clover growth in the lawn is to mow and water regularly, as well as apply fertilizers that combat the growth of clovers.

The Cons of Clover

  • Messy Clover is more staining than grass. For those who have kids playing in the lawn, this could be a consideration. Plus, not everyone enjoys the look of clover in their regular turf grass.
  • Not good for High Traffic Areas Clovers are less durable than grass. Clover must be mixed with grass to be strong enough for playing fields or high traffic areas.
  • May Require Reseeding Reseeding every four to five years may be required to maintain an even clover cover in your lawn, unless it’s mixed with grass.

The Pros of Clover

There are, however, some reasons why you may consider keeping and controlling clover in your lawn, rather than eliminating it altogether.

  • Attracts & Supports Bees Clovers are an important nectar source for insects that pollinate, including bees. The global bee population is decreasing at an alarming rate, and any support of the ecosystem that helps them thrive, which can have an extremely important impact on our shared environment.
  • Good for Soil Clover can add significant improvements to the fertility and health of your lawn’s soil. Clovers act as a natural fertilizing agent by transferring nitrogen compounds from the atmosphere into the soil.

If you need help with your lawn care and controlling where clover may be popping up, Spring-Green is standing by to help. Our services include fertilization, irrigation, lawn care and maintenance, weed control, and more. Our services include fertilization and weed control programs, tree and shrub care programs, core aeration and more. Contact Spring-Green today.

Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

It’s that time of year – winter is in full effect. The time when winter storms are wreaking havoc across the country, bringing ice, snow, sleet, and frigid temps. Your home needs a little extra care during these extreme times of the cold season. You might find yourself at a loss asking common questions about what to keep an eye on in the attic, basement, your home’s exterior, and your heating system components. Spring-Green, your neighborhood lawn care specialist since 1977, has all the tips to keep your home safe during the winter months.

How to Keep Your Home Protected All Year Long

  • A Sweep of the Chimney is in Order – Wintertime is the best time to take advantage of a warming fire but be sure to have the chimney swept. Also check for any debris, cracks, or signs of damage to your chimney before using the fireplace. Leaves, branches, and even birds’ nests can collect in the areas, posing a fire hazard.
  • Sound the Alarms – Be sure to routinely check the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as you crank up the heat and light a fire in your fireplace. If you don’t already have a smoke alarm in every room and every hallway (including the attic and basement), now is the perfect time to install them.
  • Be Ready for the Storm – If a winter storm hasn’t hit your area yet, be ready if it does. Have your shovels and snow blowers readied for the potential of a snow storm. Change the oil and check the spark plugs on your snow blowers to make sure you’re ready when the white stuff begins to fall hard. While you’re at it, you might want to add some sand and salt to the shed supplies for when the snow turns icy.
  • Look at the Perimeters – From the roof and gutters to the foundation, a review of the state of the outside of the house is in order. If there’s snowfall, it will eventually melt, which could cause a problem if your roof is damaged or there are cracks and leaks that could lead to flooding in the basement or attic. Check your sump pump to ensure snow melt water doesn’t enter your basement either.
  • Don’t Ignore the Inside of Your Home – Be sure to check your heating system’s filters, which should be changed routinely. Monitor faucets for signs of freezing that could result in burst pipes and flooding. You can avoid this issue by shutting off faucets that are not in use during winter, and insulating pipes where you can.
  • Be Ready for Anything – Winter storms can leave you homebound for days. Be sure to have a supply kit to get you through a few days when icy and snowy roads prevent you from leaving. Canned goods, first aid supplies, wood for the fireplace, and board games can help you get through the cabin fever period.

Winter is upon us, and it will be here for quite a while longer. If you haven’t done a thorough check of your home to prep it to withstand the toughest, coldest days of winter ahead – it’s time! Follow a few simple best practices to ensure your home weathers winter without incident.

Your Spring-Green professional is here to help you assess your property and provide insights as to where improvements can be made. And, of course, when it’s time for lawn care again, we’re standing by with all the lawn care services you need to help you get as much enjoyment as possible from your outdoor living space.

Contact Spring-Green today for a free consultation.

Tips to Prevent Salt Damage to Your Lawn This Winter

It’s that time of year again. The dead of winter brings shorter days, the lowest temperatures of the year, along with snow, ice, and sleet. It can bring about driving conditions that are less than optimal, so salt is used to overcome the slippery hazards these wet and cold weather patterns bring. But this solution can wreak havoc on our lawns. Not to worry, your neighborhood lawn care pros at Spring-Green have all the tips you need to protect your lawns from the salt that helps keep the icy, snowy winter roads safer.

How to Save Your Lawn from Salt Damage

1. What Does Salt Damage Look Like: While the salt is saving the roads, sidewalks, and your driveway from slippery conditions, you may notice strips of brown grass along their edges when the snow begins to melt. The salt that breaks through the ice and snow is powerful enough to also dry out your lawn’s roots and result in dead patches. Although salt-damaged grass often rebounds when the snow melts and the spring rain starts to fall, this is not always the case. If not detected and treated, it can kill the grass forcing the home or business owner to repair the damaged area.

2. Protecting Your Lawn from Salt Damage: Prevention is the best medicine, as the saying goes. Taking a few simple steps this winter can help save your lawn from salt damage.

  • Burlap sacks – Grab some burlap sacks and cover the edges of your lawn before the time for salt application arrives. You can also find landscape fabric at your local nursery that can prevent the salt from ever coming in contact with your grass or soil.
  • Monitor your salt use – Often, we have a tendency to use more salt than we actually need. If at all possible, cutting back on the salt usage can help you avoid salt damage to your lawn.
  • Find a salt alternative – Salt is great for deicing but not so great for the health of our lawn. There are salt-alternatives available that might be worth considering. Creative homeowners have explored items such as sand, cat litter, vinegar, sugar beet juice, alfalfa meal, coffee grinds, and calcium chloride to accomplish their deicing needs.
  • Decorative borders – In addition to curb appeal, hardscaping efforts can protect your lawn from salt damage this winter. Who knew those eye-catching decorative borders could have a dual purpose?

3. Choosing the Right Salt: Deicers and salt aren’t all created equal. The bargain options for salt deicing can contain harsh chemicals that are prone to build up in the soil as well as cause damage to hard surfaces such as concrete and decks. The more expensive types of salt are often gentler and less corrosive. Here’s a quick breakdown of the common salt deicer options:

  • Sodium Chloride – Commonly referred to as rock salt, this is the cheapest option yet the harshest.
  • Magnesium Chloride – The price tag might be higher on this type of salt for winter deicing, but it is gentler. It might, however, not be gentle enough for your most delicate plants and flowers.
  • Calcium Chloride – While safer than rock salt for preventing damage to your lawn, this component is harsher to concrete.
  • Potassium Chloride – This is a recommended type of deicing solution but does come with two caveats – It’s much more expensive and damaging salt buildup can occur over time.

4. How to Fix Salt Damage: If you see the signs of salt damage in your landscaping, your first step should be to rinse your plants and soil with water as soon as the temps go above freezing, and the snow dissipates. Soak the affected grass for a two to three-day period to clear any residual salt. Be careful using water from a spigot so as not to cause any damage to your home’s plumbing. Monitor the temperatures and turn off the water from inside your home as temperatures fall below freezing.

If the damage has been done, you may be able to use a pelletized gypsum soil conditioner to reverse the damage caused by the effects of salt. This solution can promote new growth and moisture retention. As soon as you’re able, be sure to rake out as much of the dead grass as possible.

Anyone living in the northern areas of the country are familiar with the use of salt along any busy roadway when the snow, ice, and sleet of winter start to fall. The salt used by municipalities and homeowners to battle icy conditions can have a negative and damaging impact to lawns. The powerful salt solutions draw moisture from the grass and cause it to turn brown, and if left untreated, can cause it to die. The good news is you have a lawn care expert standing by to assist you no matter what salt-related damage your lawn may be facing! The Spring-Green experts can help you save your lawn when possible, improve your beautiful grass if needed, as well as provide expert consultation on how to prevent issues before they happen.

Contact Your Neighborhood Lawn Care Professional Today!

Winter Lawn Care Tips for Warm Climates

warm season grass

Winter living in a southern climate can be the most glorious time of year. Humidity levels drop, the sun continues to shine, all while temperatures are seemingly perfect. As an added layer, we watch as the rest of the country struggles with snow, ice, and freezing temps – making us appreciate our lot in life that much more. There are nuances, however, to caring for our lawn during these cooler winter months that can help us keep our outdoor living spaces thriving all year round. Let’s unpack the why’s, how’s, and do’s, versus the don’ts of caring for your winter lawn in a southern climate.

Attention Southern Climate Dwellers: Your Tips for a Thriving Lawn This Winter

1. The differences in summer lawn care and winter lawn care

Even though the winter is mild and the threat of a frost may be minimal in southern areas, winter lawn care does come with some special instructions. As the temps drop (ever so slightly) and the rainy season closes, it’s important to continue to mow your lawn to encourage growth and prevent disease. When it appears to stop growing, you can give your mower a break. In the late fall, it may be a good idea to aerate your lawn to help increase root growth and promote breathing as well as minimize thatch build up to avoid susceptibility to diseases and insects.

2. Understanding winter lawn fertilization

When it comes to fertilizing your winter lawn, commonly asked questions are sure to pop up. Is it okay to fertilize my lawn in winter? What type of fertilizer should I put on my lawn when it’s cold? When and how much should I fertilize my winter lawn? Here are some rules of thumb: If you have warm season grasses (such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, or Centipede), fertilizers that contain winterizers should not be used because they’re designed for lawns that go dormant in the winter, not lawns in warmer climates where winterizing is less of an issue. Warm season grasses respond best to fertilization when the temps are warm and the grass is growing.

3. No break from weeding during winter

While warm climate dwellers do get a break from snowy roads and frozen sidewalks, they don’t get a break from weeding the lawn. Keep up with your weeding during the winter months by applying a broadleaf weed control treatment. Raking and clearing away thatch and debris will also contribute to your lawn’s overall health during winter and all year round.

4. Give special attention to warm season grasses

Warm season grass can be defined as types of grasses that have maximum growth at higher temperatures (in the range of 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit). Warm season grass species usually include Bahia Grass, Bermuda Grass, Carpet Grass, St. Augustine, and Zoysia. These grasses will go dormant if temps fall below freezing and return when warm weather returns. If your climate rarely or never falls below freezing, your warm weather grass will need moderate mowing (not too much, not too little) and, depending on the rainfall in your area, watering. Be careful not to overwater and night watering may also be avoided during winter months.

5. School yourself on the do’s and don’ts for winter lawn care

It’s winter, and if you live in the south, you’re relishing in the break from the heat! But don’t forget about the most important do’s and don’ts for winter lawn care:

  • DO – Clean debris, leaves, and toys or trash to allow your winter lawn to breathe, as well as avoid conditions that promote disease and invite unwanted pests like insects and rodents.
  • DO – Pay attention to your lawn mowing practices. Be sure to lower the height of your mower and avoid over-mowing to avoid damage to your winter lawn.
  • DON’T – Walk all over-sensitive lawns. While dormant grass can certainly tolerate a moderate amount of traffic, heavy traffic will cause problems.
  • DON’T – Assume the weather will always be perfect. Extreme weather patterns occur more and more frequently, making it important to monitor weather conditions even in warm climates. Conditions like heavy rains or uncharacteristic cold temps can harm your winter lawn without preparation.

If you’re one of the lucky ones that resides in a warm climate during the winter, your trade-off for not having to shovel snow is that your winter lawn care may require a bit more from you all year round. The good news is it will actually be warm enough for you to get outside and enjoy the green garden. Follow these best practices to keep your winter lawn healthy and set your spring, summer and fall lawn up for beauty and health as well.

If you are in need of a professional to help you with your lawn care needs, don’t hesitate to contact Spring-Green, the neighborhood lawn care team that has been supporting communities likes yours since 1977. We can provide the professional and courtesy service you need to keep your residential or commercial property looking great 365 days out of the year and through any type of weather.

How to Steer Clear of Rodents This Winter

No, we’re not referring to out of town family that visits during the holiday season – we’re talking about mice and rats. Many people mistakenly think they don’t have to worry about rodents during the colder months or have the incorrect impression that mice and rats hibernate during winter. So, now that we’ve clarified that a mice or rat infestation CAN actually occur during winter, let’s unpack exactly how homeowners can avoid this undesirable situation. Our guide will lay out some easy preventative steps that can be taken to keep rodents out all year round as well as the correct steps to take if a rodent infestation has occurred.

Everything You Need to Know to Keep Rats Out This Winter

First, let’s talk about the how and the why You might be asking yourself, how do rodents enter homes in winter and/or why? Rodents are warm body mammals. So they seek warm places to survive the cold winter temps. Additionally, food becomes scarcer during winter months, so rodents get desperate for places to get food and shelter. These opportunistic rodents will also be drawn to homes that have more to offer them. It’s a good idea to take a quick survey to see if your home has some of those factors that can attract rats, such as:

  • Indoor messiness – If you leave food out or don’t clean up, you might be setting the stage for a rodent infestation.
  • Outdoor clutter – Rodents are looking for shelter from the cold. Take a quick scan around the outdoor of your home to see if you provide through woodpiles, leaf piles, shrubs or debris.
  • Pet cleanliness – If you are a pet owner, you’re more likely to have rodents visit your home. These pesky mice and rats are attracted to your pet’s food and excrement.
  • Easy access – If you leave access to food in your trash cans or compost heaps and standing water around your property ready for rats and mice to partake in, you’re leaving yourself open to an unwanted visitor.

An ounce of prevention will keep the rodents away Now that we’ve determined that the threat of rats and mice is real even in winter months, your next likely question is how to keep mice and rats from entering your home. Good question. Preventing rodents from coming into your home is the best strategy. Here’s how you can keep them at bay:

  • Secure the attic by closing holes and openings, especially along the roofline. It’s also good to clear away items that provide shelter for rodents like clothes and debris.
  • Check your basement for possible entry points. Look for cracks in your foundation or gaps in your plumbing and ductwork that leads outside and are easy entry points for rats and mice. You can look and listen for air drafts as well that indicate how rodents are getting inside.
  • The garage is another common place for rats and mice to sneak into your home during winter. Keep your garage tidy and seal off entry points to proactively keep the rodents from getting in through this part of your home.
  • Access to the inside of walls and heating/cooling ductwork is another common entry point into the home. It may require a professional’s help, but closing unnecessary openings can definitely help you avoid the potential for a rodent infestation.

Here’s your game plan if the worst-case scenario unfoldsIf you’re already dealing with mice or rats inside your home, here what to do to get rid of these unwanted house guests. Unfortunately, if you see one mouse or one rat, chances are high that there are more. The key is to act swiftly to prevent the problem from growing. Here are some signs that should tip you off that you have rodents in your home:

  • Bite marks on packages of food
  • Shorting in wiring such as lights or appliances that can occur due to chewing on cords and cables
  • Small black specks that could be droppings around the house – the harder the droppings the older they are

Mousetraps of different styles, electric traps and poison are options to consider depending on the severity of the issue and the area of your home that are affected by the mice and rat infestation. At this point, it might make the best sense to hire a professional to help you address the issue quickly, while at the same time assessing your home for places where it is left vulnerable to rodent entrance.

Spring-Green is more than just your neighborhood lawn care specialist. We also help our communities deal with pest control, starting with prevention but also including assistance should a rodent infestation happen in your home. You can count on our team of professionals to be there for you when you need them. To rid your home of rats and mice as well as provide the support to prevent them from coming back.

For a consultation of your home’s vulnerable spots or for assistance removing mice or rats from your home, contact Spring-Green today!