Should I mulch or bag?

For a person who has never mowed a lawn in her life, I have watched more YouTube videos about lawn care than I could have ever dreamed. The things you do when writing a blog on the topic of “mulching versus bagging” are surprising. 

Should I mulch my lawn?

What are the benefits of mulching your lawn clippings? I asked my 17 year old daughter (another person who has never touched a lawnmower) what she thought the benefits would be . Her reply, “well, there must be some sort of nutrients or vitamins or something that your yard gets from the clippings”. OK, this is starting to make good common sense! Yes, there are nutrients galore in your clippings. According to one expert, one of the most beneficial is water.

So you want to mow it and leave it…

You knew there would be a catch. Mulching your lawn clippings and leaving them to nourish the lawn is a “win-win” situation. However, if you are committed, mowing once a week during this time of year (May through August) is required. Yes, once a week, sometimes every 5 days. Clippings that are allowed to pile up on top of growing lawns encourage the problem of thatch. Final answer, if you can’t commit to once a week, bag it up. 

Committed to the mulch?

Mulching is wonderful for your lawn. Mulch once a week and your yard is going to thrive. However, not all lawnmowers are made for mulching. There are two keys to success. The first part of your commitment is to make sure you have the  proper equipment. First, a lawnmower that is made for mulching. Second, setting your lawnmower blade to the proper height. Refer to the owners manual for specifics. The end result of a commitment to mulching is a beautiful and healthy lawn. 

Whatever happened to “summers off?” 

If mowing your lawn once a week give you second thoughts, there is another option. Bagging your lawn clippings isn’t anything to be ashamed of, own this option! If once a week lawn mowing is out of the question, get those clippings off of your lawn. Now that we know better, the “bagging” option is really referring more to the lawnmower’s collection system. Disposing of your clippings responsibly today looks more like using them for compost, not throwing bags of “lawn garbage” in a land fill. There are consequences to leaving your clippings too long.

Looks good, looks good…

If you leave clippings piled up on your lawn all summer while it’s growing like crazy, you are going to have a bigger weed problem in the form of thatch. One positive benefit to bagging your clippings is the satisfying thought of having a totally “clean” lawn. We can all picture a parent or grandparent standing proudly with hands on hips, admiring the freshly mowed and raked lawn! I can’t imagine my extremely detail oriented and lawn obsessed grandmother EVER leaving her lawn clippings out. I can hear her now…

So what did we decide?

Mulching is good for your lawn, but you need a good machine, set to the right blade height and you need to be mowing every 5-7 days. Bagging is not bad, especially if you don’t have the time to mow so frequently or if you don’t have the right equipment. Whatever you decide, you can always contact our licensed lawn techs at Lawn and Pest Solutions for help. If thatch has already gotten the best of you, let us help you get that under control. Call our North Mississippi office, we serve the Memphis area and all over North Mississippi.

Sports Field Management

As a newbie to lawn care terminology, “sports field management” makes me think of not the angry coach who storms the field. I think of the older, more calm “sports manager” who comes out of the dugout to pull the angry guy off the umpire. This older guy is obviously, the “sports field manager”. However, a little knowledge goes a long way, and I have recently learned what sports field management means around here.

All you need is a coach and a tractor

Not that long ago, the management of many smaller school sports fields were the responsibility of the coaches. A lucky coach was one who had a few maintenance guys on a crew to help them out in the summer. It’s not that far fetched to assume that there have been parents, booster clubs, even players who put in hours attempting to keep the field cut and green. However, the level of competition continues to rise.

Best BBQ in town

Today, sports are about more than who won the game. It’s about the nicest stadiums, coolest uniforms, loudest sound system and best looking media guides. Hey, we even judge you on your BBQ nachos around here. What team doesn’t want all of that? In addition to looking good in, around, and on the field, the field itself needs to look good! 

OK, it’s more than just good looks.

The sports field is more than just a green patch of grass or “turf”. The field of play should be healthy, thriving and safe! A safe field is not too wet, not too dry, it has the correct density so as not to cause injuries to players. A lush and thriving field can be used quickly after rain. No one has time to forfeit or reschedule games because of a waterlogged field! So what does it take to have a healthy sports field?

Three steps to a thriving and beautiful field of play

There are three key “ingredients” to reviving, building or even dreaming of a healthy field of play. Verticutting, aeration and topdressing are key to good sports field health. Verticutting allows your turf to breathe easy, absorb nutrients and soak in moisture. Aeration perforates the soil to allow water, air and nutrients in. Top dressing applies sand or a soil mixture after aeration. These three steps conducted by our licensed technicians at Lawn and Pest Solutions can give you a winning field . Contact us here at Lawn and Pest Solutions. We are located in North Mississippi and service areas from the Memphis area and south. Our expanding sports field management services could be just what your team needs for a winning season. 

One thing leads to another

Cleaning gutters prevents many other issues

In 1983 an English new wave band hit the charts with “One Thing Leads to Another”. While The Fixx probably didn’t write this song about cleaning out your gutters, the theory certainly applies. 

Don’t be that guy on YouTube

Cleaning out gutters is a chore no one looks forward to. It seems like one of those chores where many bad decisions are made. There is always a ladder that seems a little less than reliable and no one wants to help. YouTube has many results of “guys falling off of ladders and roofs”, at least half of them had to have been on gutter duty that day. This video link isn’t necessarily a guy cleaning his gutters out, but you get the picture. Try to keep safety first in mind if this blog convinces you to climb up and clean out!

So what if I don’t clean out the gutters?

When gutters don’t drain, collected water can cause a multitude of issues. Collected water causes wood to decay and rot. Guess who loves rotting and decaying wood? That’s right, termites! But that’s not all…

Washed areas can also hold water close to your foundation. When water is being held close to your home, the soil becomes saturated and water can seep under your foundation. Guess what pests also love moisture? Termites AND mosquitoes!   

One more thing…

Overflowing gutters can wash out mulch and flower beds near your home. These washed areas can thin out your lawn. This can then give weed seeds an open area to grow and germinate. No one needs more weeds or a thinned out lawn.

“One thing” you can do is clean out your gutters this spring. That can keep all of the “other things” from leading to bigger issues. While we don’t offer gutter cleaning services, Lawn and Pest Services can assist you with termites, mosquitoes and weed control. Contact us here and we will send a licensed pest technician to give you a quote. As we like to say, you don’t have to live with pests!

Somebody’s watching me

It was probably a spider watching Rockwell, don’t you think?

Do you think you have a spider problem? What makes a spider a spider? Here are some numbers to help you know what it is that may be watching you.

A spider has: 8 legs, 2 body regions, 0 wings, 0 antennae, 3 OR 4 pair of eyes. Yes, that’s 6-8 eyes staring at you from that dark little corner in your closet.

How do spiders get in your house?

Oh, just about any old way you can imagine. He boldly marches in your home looking for food, warmth, a drink. He loves living in that fancy pair of shoes you only wear once a year. He sleeps in your winter coat pockets, relaxes in the box of old baby clothes in the basement, and terrorizes the other bugs in your pantry. He may have entered while traveling on a plant you brought in for the winter. Perhaps he was lounging on that firewood you hauled in. He’s living with you, he’s not paying rent and this is a problem.

How do you get spiders out of your house?

One way to get rid of this new resident is by allowing his mate to handle this matter and let “nature run her course.”  Since spiders feed on insects including other spiders, many times the female spider will make a snack of her mate. That may be an option, but logistically it will only help with 50% of your problem. Thankfully, there are more effective solutions. 

Here are few things YOU can do to make your home less inviting to spiders:

-Spiders don’t like to be disturbed. Before bringing seasonal decor inside, shake out items like Easter baskets, spring decor, swimsuits, beach toys. These dark and quiet spaces have made a lovely home for your spider friends.

-Inspect anything that has been sitting on the ground outside before you bring it in. Mail, deliveries and bags of groceries sitting in the driveway for a moment are all easy modes of transportation to a spider looking to enter your home.

-Seal up cracks and crevices, damaged window screens, cracks in your siding, look around seasonally for points of entry. 

If you feel like maybe the spiders have already claimed their turf in your own home, it is probably time to call one of our trained, certified technicians. While spiders are definitely not the worst “pests” to invade your home, you don’t have to live with them. 

We can help.

Walking through cobwebs, wondering “is this a spider bite?” or arguing over who gets to step on the next one could be a thing of the past in your home. To get a situation like an infestation of spiders under control, Lawn and Pest Solutions of New Albany, MS can come in and use applications tailored specifically to spiders, just contact us!

Fire ants, football and the art of pest control

In our part of the country, fire ants are so prevelant and have such a reputation that in North Mississippi, we named a football team after them. If that doesn’t impress you, check out this video on YouTube, where artists pour molten aluminum down a fire ant colony? We can all appreciate the beauty of nature and the artistry of the folks who came up with this idea. It’s truly amazing to see the intricacies and expansiveness of what is happening right under our lawns with fire ants!

Maybe it’s a Southern thing….

The impressive fire ants are very organized and hard working pests, but they also sting us, our children and our pets. Maybe that’s why the naming of the Tupelo Fire Ants Indoor Football team was so genius!  Most Southerners have a horror story involving a bare foot stuck in a fire ant mound. Many of us watched our dads attempt to pour concoctions of powders, liquids and even gasoline down into the mounds. Anything to rid our yards of the ugly piles of hardened dirt. 

They don’t bite, they sting!

Of course, there’s a better way to deal with these pests. Their safe and effective Fire Ant 360 program won’t poison your dog or burn up your grass and you won’t have to worry about your children running into the house screaming in pain because of fire ant stings!

We can get rid of these pests

Lawn & Pest Solutions has the technology and expertise to provide season-long control. Our fire ant control treatments target the queen, not just the mound. Our program is very efficient, just two strategically timed bait applications will typically wipe out 95% of your fire ants. We will visit two more times per year just to assess the effectiveness or apply more bait if needed at no extra charge. Give us a call or click here and we will send out a licensed technician to address your issues!

Family activities while sheltering in place

Indoor and outdoor projects to ready your home for spring

While sheltering in place, here are some family activities that can help prep your yard and home for spring! Many of us are on a bit of a “lockdown” right now and have some free time around the house. Some of us even have some “extra hands” with lots of energy! Let’s put these housemates to work! Now is the time to get some indoor and outdoor projects completed so we are ready to enjoy a beautiful spring!

Clean spaces help keep pests away

  • Clean out your kitchen pantry, throw away old flour, rice and grains. These can be a breeding ground for pantry pests such as Indian meal moth (also known as weevil, pantry or grain moth). Clean up any spills and broken containers as the residue from these can attract mice, ants and roaches.
  • Deep clean kitchen baseboards, cabinets, drawers for the same reasons as above, this can reduce pest attraction.
  • Move pet food to sealed containers
  • Clean out your recycling bin as it is filled. Cardboard and paper will harbor roaches while plastic bottles and aluminum cans will attract ants. Make sure you rinse out food containers before recycling! 
  • While your recycling bins are empty, clean them out with ammonia or bleach
  • It is time to clean out your storage room that you’ve been throwing everything in!  Mice, roaches, rats, squirrels all love a junk room.
  • If you want to read more about cleaning up and cleaning out, here’s a link to one of our previous blogs on cleaning out gutters.
    Now that you’ve cleaned up, it’s a great time to get a pest analysis and preventive treatment from one of our certified technicians.  P360 is more affordable than you might think, just click here to get a quote. While we at Lawn and Pest Solutions are certainly in the business of taking care of your pest problems, the best results are when we work together as a team. So keep those family activities going while sheltering in place and call us when you need us!