Should I bag or mulch my lawn clippings?

Should I bag or mulch my lawn clippings? Does it matter? In order to have a weed free, beautiful dark green lawn you need to consider these three things:

1. Mowing

During this time of year (from May through August) you need to mow at least once a week. Sometimes you need to mow every five days. Grass is growing at a super fast rate right now! Mow your lawn with your blade set at the correct height for maximum effectiveness (Check previous blog for info on blade height). Proper mowing can make all the difference in the look of your lawn and set it apart from the rest. 

2. Bagging or mulching, which is better?

Bagging your lawn clippings is one option to consider. If you can’t commit to once a week (or more) mowing, bag it! If you leave clippings piled up on your lawn all summer during this rapid growing season, you will have weed problem in the form of thatch.

Bagging your clippings doesn’t mean putting them in big piles of garbage at the curb. We now know that the responsible way of disposing of clippings is to return them to compost. 

Mulching grass clippings means returning your clippings to the lawn. These mulched clippings provide great benefits to your lawn. The mulched clippings help retain moisture and nutrients. Deciding to mulch your clippings means that you have committed to the frequent mowing program!

3. Weed control

We can’t let this go without saying, weed control is important and the third element of this bagging or mulching issue. To have that beautiful, dark green lawn you must have a healthy lawn. Weed free lawns will continue to prosper. 

Let’s wrap this up.

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 for your lawn, especially if you can’t commit to mowing frequently. Weed control is essential, you can’t allow thatch or any other weeds to overgrow your healthy lawn.

Bagging or mulching, whatever you decide, you can always contact our licensed lawn techs at Lawn and Pest Solutions for help. We help people from the Memphis, Tennessee area and all over North Mississippi with weed control. Our licensed professionals can help you nurture your lawn into the one you have been dreaming of. Contact our office here for more info today!

Fire Ants

Living with fire ants is a given in the South. Every kid in our part of the country has at one time or another stepped at least one bare foot into a mound of fire ants. When your foot is submerged in a mound of fire ants, you are going to run screaming with many stings. When the mound is disturbed, the fire ants are angry.

Fire ants as art?

Fire ants are hard working and organized. They create amazing and expansive tunnels underground for escaping those who dare to disturb the mound. The mounds are really impressive to see when artists pour molten aluminum down into the fire ant colonies. It’s truly amazing (and a little scary) to see what is happening right under our lawns!

Stings, not bites.

Fire ant stings hurt a little when you just have one. However, it is more common to be stung multiple times by multiple fire ants. The blisters that develop afterwards are allergic reactions, though some people develop more severe reactions. The areas immediately surrounding the sting may swell, burn, or itch. These stings and/or allergic reactions to the stings can be very dangerous to our children and our pets, especially if they are allergic. 

You are just making them angry!

Many of us watched our dads (or attempted to ourselves) pour concoctions of powders, liquids and even gasoline down into the mounds. Anything to rid our yards of the ugly piles of hardened dirt. As one Lawn and Pest employee said, “You are just chasing them around your yard with those products”. You may get rid of a few fire ant mounds for a while, but you really just made them move a little. 

We can help.

Lawn & Pest Solutions has the technology and expertise to provide season-long control for fire ants. Our fire ant control treatments target the queen, not just the mound. 

Our program is very efficient. With just two strategically timed bait applications we 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! We serve the North Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee areas with lawn and pest services. 

Why should I aerate my lawn?

Why should I aerate my lawn? I am already watering, mowing and “feeding” it! Aeration is a process where, to put it simply, holes are poked in your lawn. The holes in the top surface allow for “the good stuff” to get down into the roots. “Good stuff” includes water, nutrients, and fertilizer. Aeration makes everything healthy. When trying to visualize the concept, think about those delicious “poke cakes” where they poke holes in a freshly baked cake and then fill the holes with chocolate, pudding, condensed milk or fruit. Hungry yet? Here’s a link to a few ideas for poke cake. You might need a good snack after the lawn work!

Is aeration really necessary?

Thatch is the layer of dead grass that compacts on your lawn over time. Thatch can rob your grass of necessary rain and nutrients. It’s like a thick covering that prevents the good stuff from getting through to the roots. Aeration can break it up and improve the health and beauty of your lawn significantly.

Does it take a professional to aerate my lawn? 

If you are thinking about aerating your lawn and fancy yourself a DIY kind of person, go for it! People have used anything from pitchforks to baseball cleats. However, aerating your own lawn means you must have a LOT of time on your hands, a lot of energy and hopefully, a really tiny yard. 

Are you fresh out of pitchforks?

We fully support your DIY dreams and energy. But aerating your lawn is much easier for us with our equipment. While we are aerating your lawn, you could be inside making chocolate poke cake! You will see a noticeable improvement in your lawn over time if you add an annual aeration service to our Lawn 360 program. Fertilization, weed control and aeration will make your lawn the best on the block! Our licensed and trained lawn technicians at Lawn and Pest Solutions in New Albany, MS will take care of your lawn, no pitchforks needed. You can contact us here to have one of our nice folks give you a quote on a lawn aeration service. We can make the Lawn and Pest Difference in your lawn today! We serve the North Mississippi and the Memphis, Tennessee areas.

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.