How to prepare your lawn mower for spring

It is time to get the mower ready! We have had plenty of rain and now plenty of sun is on the way. The mower may be looking a little rusty and dusty, who knows what has been thrown on top? Looks like a good weekend project has suddenly developed….

First things first.

This is an easy list to follow for preparing your mower.

Are the blades sharp? This is important. Dull blades make your grass weak. Weak grass is not good at fighting disease or pests.

Is the oil fresh? If you oil is from last season, drain it and replace with new.

Did you check the air filter? Experts say we should do this every season. If you have a washable filter, soak it in warm, soapy water. If it’s made of cardboard or paper, just pop in a new one. 

Lubricate all moving parts!

Do you need a new fuel filter? Fuel filters can’t be cleaned because they can easily be damaged, so just buy a new one.

Get a new spark plug! These are inexpensive, no need to clean or reuse old ones.

Replace the belt or battery if needed.

Check your fuel! If you have left fuel in your mower for more than 30 days, go ahead and drain it and fill with fresh fuel. 

Here is a link to a YouTube video to help you get that mower started if you are having trouble. 

And for those of us need a little more help….

While Lawn and Pest Solutions is not in the business of mowing lawns, we want to help you have the healthiest lawn you can and having the proper equipment is very important to achieving a beautiful lawn. Getting your lawn mower ready for spring is one step you can take at home. If you need more help on getting a beautiful lawn, we have a staff of professional lawn technicians. Lawn and Pest Solutions can help you, just contact us today.

Lawn and Pest Solutions serves Memphis and North Mississippi region with knowledgeable and licensed lawn and pest technicians. Our techs are friendly, dependable and trustworthy employees who will go to great lengths to provide you with the best service.

Plant Health Care, what does that mean?

Have you ever just wanted someone to tell you “what to do” ? Like country music star Pam Tillis, I am a person who doesn’t like for people to “tell her what to do”…there are some instances when that IS what I want. Lawn care is a prime example. I want a beautiful lawn, I worked hard to pay for landscaping to have a beautiful lawn. Now, I don’t know “what to do” with my beautiful landscaping. 

Do you want to take pictures of the spots on your plants and then search Google to find out what they are? Do you then want to research what to do about this new disease that is living on the leaves of your favorite shrub? What are those bugs crawling all over your azaleas? Are they killing it? What do you spray on that? When do you spray it?

This is what plant health care is all about.

You have spent a lot of money on your landscaping. Why not maintain the health of your beautiful shrubs and trees and flowers? Why not get advice from an educated professional who can tell you what to do? Our plant health care pro CAN do this for you.

Lawn and Pest Solutions Plant Pro 

If you join our Plant Health Care program, an expert will visit your lawn six times per year. The pro will examine all of your plants, make notes and a written report at each visit. The pro will put the notes in your file and will also leave a copy of the notes for you. The pro will then treat your plants specifically based on what is happening with your plants and what they need. 

How is this different from other lawn services?

Based on your report, your plants will get a fertilizer with micro nutrients and soil beneficials, insect and disease control targeted specifically to your plants and their health at that specific time. Most programs include a pre-mixed spray that is applied to all of the plants, no matter what they need at that time. 

Why do I need a Pro for my plants?

Why do you need a pro for anything? Why not just let anyone do anything to your car, your toilet, your hair or your dog? A pro means you are letting someone who knows what they are doing use all of their knowledge AND experience handle the investment you have made in your landscaping. 

Our pros don’t prune trees or pull weeds. Our pros are carefully examining what is happening to the plants in your yard. They are taking notes and reviewing the progress of the treatment plan. They are leaving you with careful instructions on what to do next and how to do it. 

Don’t wait until some disease or critter has taken over your plants. Be preventative and keep those bugs from taking over the plants you so lovingly selected, planted and nurtured. Let our pro be on the lookout for invasive pests like crape myrtle bark scale and advise you on treatments. Contact our office today to learn more about our plant health care program. Get a Lawn and Pest Solutions plant health pro in your lawn ASAP!

Organic Lawn Care

Organic lawn care is a topic that we love to discuss with our customers. The term organic is large and broad. Some might even call it a “hot topic” and for sure, it’s important. 

Is organic lawn care a viable option for me?

In our part of the country, organic lawn care is not the best option for ridding and preventing weeds in our lawns. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t using what is safe for our environment. At Lawn and Pest Solutions, we use a safe application for weeds that has been approved by the EPA. We don’t just make the strongest mixture and dump it in a tank. We use the correct rate at the correct time with the correct application. 

The applications for lawns in our region have been through rigorous testing and are based on our long growing weed season and warm climate. There are organic applications in cooler climates that are effective, however, these applications are very, very limited for weed control. Now let’s talk about weed control…

A major component of weed control is applying pre-emergent in the fall and spring. There are currently no “organic” pre-emergents available. The pre-emergent we use at Lawn and Pest Solutions is derived from plants and in a less stringent world, it would be considered “organic”. 

Why is pre-emergent important?

A good pre-emergent in fall and spring means less herbicide later. The other major component of lawn care is fertilization. A strong, fertilized lawn is going to fight off weeds as much as an herbicide. Currently, there are organic fertilizers available, they are effective yet require more frequent applications.

So, here’s the news. 

We live where you live, we care as much about the environment as you and we want to use the least amount of harmful ingredients in our lawn as you. Everything we do involves a risk, whether it’s driving a car or spraying our countertops with cleaner before we prepare food on them. At Lawn and Pest Solutions, we strive to provide you with a weed free lawn with the least amount of risk to our environment. 

Our licensed lawn technicians are always ready to discuss with you the options for the most current, environmentally friendly and effective way to treat your lawn. There is a balance and we feel we strike a very good one between effective weed control and caring for our environment. Contact our office here and get the ball rolling on your beautiful lawn!

Should you remulch your flower beds?

We have had some nice weather for a bit, and before winter strikes again, our Southern selves are already asking, “should I go ahead and mulch my flower beds? It only takes a couple of days of sunshine for some of us to break out the shorts and the shovels. 

Why should you remulch your flower beds? 

Mulching for the first time or the remulching for the fifth time allows air, water and nutrients to get to roots while also protecting the plants. We have featured mulching in several blogs before, like this one about mulching or bagging.

When should you remulch your flower beds?

According to Gary Bachman at Mississippi State Extension Service, anytime. Fresh mulch always makes your landscaping look nice and it can really be done anytime of year. However, most of us start thinking about adding mulch or remulching in the middle of spring or towards the end of spring. One thing to remember is that if you mulch too early, your mulch might keep the soil colder or frozen longer. Try waiting until the last freeze is over to allow the soil to warm up. It won’t be long!

Here’s some good news…

You don’t have to remove the old mulch! Experts say we should leave last years’ mulch and allow it to break down into the soil. Now that’s the kind of advice I like to hear! Here are some easy tips about mulching from HGTV that are mostly aesthetic in nature.

Mulch. Mulch. Mulch.

If you say mulch enough, it starts to sound really weird. Here is where the word “mulch” comes from. Mulch is an added bonus to most landscapes. Mulch protects your plants and gardens while making everything look a little nicer in the process. Lawn and Pest is part of the protection you can add to your lawn and landscape. Your landscape is an investment and we are here to help you protect your investment. Contact our office here and we can send a licensed lawn technician to you ASAP. We serve Mississippi and Tennessee homes and businesses and would be glad to help you. 

The Art of Scalping

“The art of scalping” seems a little dramatic for what is really just a good “haircut” for your lawn at the end of winter. Some may remember learning about scalping in history class. Others may have learned that scalping involves an expensive ticket to a big event bought from a less than scrupulous character outside the venue.

Ticket scalping is a prevalent undercover activity that has strong ties to the upcoming Super Bowl this Sunday. NFL coaches and players are even known to get involved. Yard scalping on the other hand, is a good thing. 

What IS scalping my lawn?

Scalping your lawn just means that at the end of winter, you lower the blade on your mower and give your grass a really good cut. It won’t look pretty, but it serves a great purpose. Just think of it like good skin care. You are removing all of the tough, dead “skin” that has built up over the cold winter. Scalping is preparing your lawn for the spring sun and new growth that is lurking just under the soil. 

Scalping is a reboot for your lawn

When you mow down low, just one inch from the ground, you are removing the accumulation of winter that can cause thatch. Once you have mowed down to the stalk more light can get to your grass. More light on your grass means warmer soil. All of this adds up to stronger grass that turns green earlier. Your healthy lawn is just waiting underneath!

Should I scalp my lawn now?

Timing is everything with lawn scalping. Wait until the last of the sub-freezing temperatures to pass. If you scalp too early, your tender grass stems will be exposed to extreme cold. The best time for scalping in our region is middle to late February. 

Again, timing is critical. Don’t wait too late to scalp. If you wait too late and your grass has already started growing, scalping will only cause your grass stress. Stressed out grass means slower growing grass.

What types of grasses need scalping?

Scalping works best on warm-season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia. Never scalp Centipede, St. Augustine, or cool-season grasses like fescue.

Quick tips for scalping your lawn:

Sharpen the blades on your lawnmower, dull blades damages grass and exposes it to diseases

Scalp when your lawn is pretty dry, mud covered grass stems don’t get enough sunlight

Bag up your clippings from scalping, debris left on your lawn is basically an undoing of the scalping

Don’t forget to use the clippings in your compost pile

As we say here almost every week, having a beautiful lawn is a year round job and we are here to help. Your lawn is part of the investment of your home and we can help you keep that part of your investment looking its’ best. Our certified lawn technicians serve Mississippi and Tennessee. You can easily spot our uniformed employees in their white Lawn and Pest Solutions trucks. Contact us here to get a quote on your lawn, you can text, email or call us just by clicking this link

Winter pruning

Is winter pruning a good idea for shrubs and trees? Before you go hacking away at everything in your landscape, do a little research. For some plants, winter is the very best time to prune. 

Winter is when plants go into dormancy, which appears to be death to the unknowing observer. Dormancy is really when plants go to sleep. Plants in dormancy are preparing their insides for freezing weather and lack of water and nutrients. Dormancy is like hibernation for plants. Before deciding on an across the board winter pruning for your plants, keep reading.

What does temperate mean?

In temperate climates like ours, most of our plants go into dormancy. Temperate is a word that is used a lot, but I decided to look it up.  The regions between the middle latitudes of the Earth are considered temperate. That means our temperatures can span greatly throughout the year. We have distinct seasonal changes unlike more tropical areas. In the South, we joke that our four seasons can all appear in one week!

What happens in dormancy?

Plants that are in dormancy may appear to be dead, but they are really just saving energy until the weather is right for them to grow. For some plants, this is the best time to prune. While they are in dormancy they may not have any leaves and it is easy to see their true shape. It is also a good time to prune because when they come out of dormancy, they can focus all of their energy into new growth. 

Are you feeling artsy?

As usual, researching a topic about anything can lead you down a “rabbit hole” of information. When reading about pruning the art form “espalier” caught my eye. For the daring gardener, espalier is an extreme form of pruning which leaves the tree (typically fruit trees) as a two dimensional form. Read more about espalier here, and let us know how it works out for you!

How do I know which plants to prune?

Here are a few suggestions, but it is really worth a few minutes of your time to google specifically the plant or tree. This link to the Farmer’s Almanac has a through listing of many plants and trees and when it is best for you to prune. 

  • If your shrub or tree blooms in the spring, it is best to prune it in the spring right after the blooms fade.
  • If your shrubs are evergreen, prune them in the winter while they are in dormancy.
  • If you are thinking of pruning your trees, it is worth hiring a professional tree trimmer once every three years. Chain saws and ladders are not a good idea for amateurs. 

Plant health care is important to us a Lawn and Pest Solutions. Our trained and licensed lawn technicians are always willing to listen to your concerns and advise you on ways to improve your landscape. Contact our office here and let us schedule a visit! We serve the Mississippi and Tennessee areas with lawn and pest control.

Is now the time to mulch my flower beds?

If you have too much time on your hands and your yard is looking a little too wintery, you may be wondering if now is the time to mulch your flower beds? The answer is yes! To be honest, you can mulch your flower beds all year round, according to many, now is a really good time to mulch.

What is mulch?

Though mulch is a rather odd sounding word, it is simply material used to cover the surface of soil. Mulch can be organic or inorganic, and as discussed in this article from Mississippi State Extension, “Nature’s Mulch”. Whatever you decide to use, it should be porous enough to let air and water through, but dense enough to keep weeds out.

Organic mulch such as shredded wood products, compost from leaves, pine needles and grass clippings will eventually deteriorate but they also add nutrients to your soil. Organic mulches need to be reapplied yearly to maintain the health of your plants. Inorganic mulch includes rocks and recycled rubber products. These types of mulch don’t have to be replaced every year but they also don’t add any nutrients to your flower beds.

Why mulch now?

 Many people prefer the cold climate for mulching, ideally before a deep freeze. Mulching at this time of year helps prevent from winter burns and from frost heaving ( Definition: the uplift of soil or other surface deposits due to expansion of groundwater on freezing.)

Why mulch at all?

Mulching is inexpensive, it is easy and it doesn’t take long to do. This video shows great tips on the mulching experience. 

Other benefits of mulch include:

Reduces evaporation of moisture

Moderates the temperature of soil

Helps control weeds

Adds beauty to landscape

Protects shrubs and trees

Tips for mulching:

Apply mulch 2-4 inches thick, this may seem like a lot, but remember it will settle into the ground over time

Remove weeds before mulching 

Don’t make “mulch volcanoes” around trees

At this time of year, there aren’t many things a homeowner can do around the yard. As always, we like to remind our customers that having a beautiful and healthy lawn is a year round job. Your landscape is an investment and it adds to the value of your property. A simple task like mulching is something that will pay off for the rest of the year. If you have questions about mulching or any other concerns with lawn care, give us at call at Lawn and Pest Solutions. Our licensed lawn technicians serve Tennessee and Mississippi and would love to help you with the beautification of your lawn.