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.

How To Care For Your Holiday Poinsettias

holiday poinsettias

Over 34 million Poinsettias are sold each year making it the highest-selling flowering plant in the United States accounting for upwards of $144 million in revenue. For the curious out there, Easter Lilies are in a distant second place with $22 million dollars in sales. And, let’s face it the holidays just aren’t the same without these beauties strategically placed in our homes and communities.

Many holiday-makers are confused, however, about the best way to care for their Holiday Poinsettias. Spring-Green, experts in lawn care since 1977, can demystify the best way to keep your poinsettias looking great through the holiday season.

Poinsettia Tips and Tricks To Make The Season Bright

Types of Poinsettias – Poinsettias are not popular because of flowers as much as their leaves. The Poinsettias leaves are most commonly red, which is the most popular color. It can also be found in 100’s of shades white and pink including salmon, apricot, yellow, cream and pure white. New Poinsettia color varieties are introduced yearly, and some are even enhanced by dyes.

Choosing the Right Poinsettia – Pay attention to where the Poinsettias are located in the store or nursery you are shopping at. If they are near the door and your area has been cold lately, they might have already been damaged by the cold temps.

Next, check out the soil – it should be neither soaked nor dry. Also, check out the state of the leaves, choosing one whose leaves are not showing signs of wilting. Finally, be sure to keep your Poinsettia protected from the elements during its transport home.

Indoors Vs. Outdoor Poinsettias – Whether your holiday plants can be kept outside depends on where you live and how your winter is going. Poinsettias can handle temps in the range of 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If they are exposed to extreme drops in temperature, they will first wilt and in most cases die. For best results, keep your poinsettia in a warm room and mist it daily.

Watering Your Poinsettias – It’s hands-down, the most commonly asked Poinsettia question: how often do you water a poinsettia? And the answer is not complicated – if the soil is dry to touch or some of the leaves are beginning to droop, your holiday plant needs water. An important, and often-overlooked Poinsettia care tip is – you should never let your Poinsettia sit in standing water. Be sure to drain the bottom after watering.

Longevity of Poinsettias – A common question Poinsettia fans ask is: will my Poinsettia re-bloom next year? The answer yes. The chances are good that your holiday plants will re-bloom next year, but with a caveat, you have to do the work to keep them healthy. Keep these tips in mind and you may have Poinsettias for many years to come! Your Poinsettia will need limited daylight – no more than ten hours daily.

Keep them in a dark space after 5 p.m. until early hours of the morning for 8-10 weeks starting in early October. Be sure to protect your holiday plants from exposure to wind or cold especially protect them from temps lower than 50-degrees Fahrenheit. When cared for properly, poinsettias usually will outlast your desire to keep them!

The History Behind Poinsettias

The poinsettia plant is native to Central America where it was used by the Aztecs for decorative and medicinal purposes. (Contrary to popular belief it is not poisonous.) The Aztecs also considered the red color a symbol of purity and incorporated Poinsettias into religious ceremonies. In Mexico and Guatemala, the poinsettia is referred to as the “Flower of the Holy Night.” Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an American botanist, introduced the plant in 1828.

As the holidays near, the finishing touches on your home décor might require a few poinsettias. (And, they make a wonderful host or hostess gift if you are visiting friends and family this holiday.) The myth that Poinsettia care is complicated is really a false one. You can add these festive beauties to your holiday décor and, if you keep them protected and well-watered, you’re likely to tap into their beauty for years to follow.

Spring-Green, your neighborhood lawn care professional, is here to help you throughout the holidays and all year-round, whatever your lawn care needs may be. Ask us about our satisfaction guarantee and become a Spring-Green customer today.

What Makes A Plant A Weed? Characteristics of Weeds and What They Are

plant weeds

There are approximately 250,000 species of plants throughout the world and it is estimated that about 8,000 or so of these species can be considered a weed. Per the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), there are about 312 common weeds that can be found in the U.S. Take a look at the common weeds and their weed identification information.

It is interesting to look through the list to see what plants are considered weeds, but can also be considered desired plants, such as birch, spruce and yews.

What Makes A Plant A Weed?

The definition of a weed is a plant growing where it is not wanted. It can also include plants that were not intentionally sown in a specific location or plants that are more competitive or interfere with the activity of people. Another way to think of it is that the undesirable qualities of the plant are more problematic than the good qualities – based on the opinion of those who are viewing the plant.

It is our decision to make plants weeds based on several criteria or characteristics that we feel may be detrimental to us personally, to others around us, to our pets or livestock or to the economic impact weeds may have to crops or other agricultural endeavors.

Characteristics of Weeds

Weeds have several characteristics that are considered negative and as mentioned previously interfere. Below are some characteristics of weeds:

• Plants that produce an abundant of seed
• Plants that have an extensive root system or other vegetative structures that spread above or below the ground
• Plants that grow quickly
• Plants that can cause bodily harm to humans or animals
• Plants that can harbor diseases or insects that affect desired plants
• Plants that can produce chemicals that are toxic to surrounding plants
• Plants that can reduce crop growth or inhibit harvest

Weeds are plants first before they are determined to be weeds. As plants, they do have attributes that can be considered beneficial to the environment. They can help keep soil in place, provide a place for wildlife to live and to feed, and can be aesthetically pleasing. As they die, they can turn into beneficial organic matter. In some cases, they can also have nutritional benefits. In the case of companies like Spring-Green, weeds can provide business and employment opportunities.

As it is written, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Not all plants are weeds, but all weeds can have negative impacts on ways that food is produced for humans and livestock, to human health and to the overall environment. These negative impacts leads to the need to control many weeds. Remember, you can always count on Spring-Green to take care of your lawn this season and eliminate weeds. Contact your local Spring-Green today!

Abnormal Weather and Its Effect on Your Plants.

winter weather

The shifts in weather patterns the last couple of months around the country have made life as a plant somewhat difficult. What a way to end 2015, huh? Take northern Illinois for example, we got snow before Thanksgiving and until this week, have had temperatures way above average. Some days this December even reaching 60 degrees! Not too common for us.

Such a shift in typical weather patterns can cause some serious confusion to plants and their “resting period”. A plants resting period is dictated by temperatures, so any shift out of the ordinary can really throw plants off. As a direct result of this, some plants can be tricked into sending out new leaves and flowers, thinking it was spring once again, due to the warmer temperatures.

Cherry trees blossoming in D.C. this month is a great example of how this warmer weather can effect a plants resting period. I myself have even noticed a few tulips and daffodils poking through the soil at my house recently, and I still have some tulips that I have yet to plant! As far as the cherry trees are concerned, they should be just fine. The only negative effect it could have is that they may not bloom as much next spring.

flower in snow

As far as the spring bulbs are concerned, they have especially adapted to cold weather early in their life cycle, so they should bloom just as beautiful as ever once the warm weather is here to stay. Depending on the extent of the cold temperatures, the worst thing that could happen is the leaf tips may turn a little brown.

Being in the Green Industry for over 40 years has taught me time and time again that sometimes the weather will do strange things. And even though the weather is an unpredictable beast, turf and trees are remarkable plants that can endure a good deal of abuse and keep on growing. That’s what makes nature so incredible.

Does this weather have you concerned about something in your landscape? Contact your local Spring-Green professional and they can answer all of your questions.