Winter pruning

Winter pruning is something that can keep your landscape healthy. Is winter pruning a good idea for shrubs and trees? Before you start clipping, remember that it is important to make sure you are pruning the right plants at the right time! 

According to Mississippi State University Extension Agent, Gina Wills, you should prune a plant after its’ “feature has passed”. This just means that after the plant has flowered or the berries have faded. This calendar of pruning chores is very helpful for Southern homeowners.

Seven days, four seasons.

It’s an old joke, but it’s true. In the South you can go to breakfast in your flip-flops today and make snow cream for breakfast tomorrow. We have a “temperate” climate, which just means that our temperatures span greatly throughout the year. In temperate climates, plants go into dormancy.

Naptime for you, dormancy for your plants.

In the winter, our plants go into a state of dormancy. To many, it appears that everything is “dead”, but they are really all just resting for the winter. Like hibernation in animals, plants in dormancy are preparing their insides for freezing weather and lack of water and nutrients.

Pruning tips:

Prune evergreen shrubs in the winter while they are in dormancy.

Wait until your flowering shrubs or trees bloom, then you can prune them after their blooms fade.

If it’s time to prune your trees (once every three years), hire a professional tree trimmer.

Be sure to remove your clippings in the event that they have disease or insect issues (don’t spread those around!)

There aren’t very many rules or tips for winter pruning, just follow the guides above and when in doubt, look it up! If you are ever unsure, feel free to give us a call at Lawn and Pest Solutions. Our plant health expert can work with you on specific plants and treatments. 

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 and let us schedule a visit! We serve the North Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee areas with outstanding lawn and pest control.

Mulch in January

Adding mulch in January may sound a little out of season, but this is the best time to mulch! If this seems to be “too much” for winter, when you really just want to hibernate, keep reading.

Benefits of mulch (at any time of the year)

Maybe it’s not the thought of mulching in “winter”, maybe it’s the thought of “why mulch at all” that has stalled you. These are our top three reasons you should consider mulch (at any time of year):

Mulch reduces evaporation of moisture

Mulch moderates the temperature of your soil

Mulch helps control weeds

Why mulch in January?

Mulch keeps your ground/soil temperature at a steady temperature. This keeps your plants in a state of dormancy (resting, not dead). Why do you want to keep your plants in a state of dormancy? 

Our crazy Southern winters…

One day you are wearing flip flops, the next day it snows. Not uncommon for this area, right? Those brief warm spells can trigger your plants to sprout up way earlier than they should. This causes trouble when a week later, it freezes. This is why you want to keep the temperature of the soil cold throughout the dormancy season. 

Do you want to go to a new level of mulch learning?

For those who really want to explore more about the benefits of mulching in January, click this link to learn about “frost heaving”.

Tips for mulching in January

Remove weeds before mulching 

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

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 in January 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 the North Mississippi area. We would love to help you with the beautification of your lawn. 

Prep your lawn for spring now

Less than two weeks from Christmas, the last thing you want to think about is how to prep your lawn for spring, right? Well, the year round process of lawn care is truly that, year round. Just remember all of the time you spent this spring and summer to have a beautiful lawn. Don’t let that hard work go to waste!

Now that winter is here, there are things you can do to prep your lawn for spring. Your winter work will ensure a healthy lawn once spring arrives. Here are some things you can do to prep your lawn for spring:

Remove heavy limbs from your lawn.

Heavy piles of anything cause compacted lawns, patchiness and dead grass. Those piles also make great hiding places for rodents and pests waiting to get into your home.

Rake the last of the leaves.

Don’t just rake the leaves, remove the leaves. Piles of anything are not healthy for any lawn.

Aerate!

Aerate before the ground becomes frozen. Breaking through “thatch” is what allows air, water and nutrients to get down into the roots of your lawn. Whether using plugs or spikes to poke down through thatch, this process increases airflow and helps with drainage.

Water the lawn.

Cold air and wind can dehydrate your grass. Give your lawn a deep watering if it needs it, but don’t water when the temperature is below 40 degrees.

Get rid of the weeds.

Brown lawns aren’t dead, they are dormant. Dormant lawns are asleep. Don’t let weeds take over just because your lawn doesn’t look pretty. Now is the time to apply pre-emergent weed killer.

Mow the grass, one more time.

As long as the grass is dry, mow it one last time. Make this last cut to be a little shorter than summer cuts. This helps to keep rodents away, especially voles.

If you have any energy left…

Winter is a great time for mower repair. Clean, repair, replace parts, and sharpen blades.

This spring, you will be glad you prepped your lawn.

Lawn care is a year-round job. Even in the winter, you are prepping for spring. A little bit of work and prep year-round will result in a healthier lawn come spring. 

Call us if you have any questions or concerns. Our year-round Lawn360 program provides aerating and pre-emergent treatments for your lawn.  Lawn and Pest Solutions provides licensed lawn technicians who know exactly how to help your lawn. 

Pests in Christmas decorations

Pests in Christmas decorations have hilariously become a part of our holiday traditions. Watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is something many of us include in our December playlist. The infamous scene of Chevy Chase being attacked by the squirrel living in his tree will live forever!

So how DID that squirrel get into the Griswold’s tree? 

He hitchhiked in with it, of course! We say this again and again, the biggest key to keeping your home pest-free is never letting pests into your home. One of the easiest ways for pests to get into your home at this time of year is via your Christmas decorations. 

Why do pests like Christmas decor so much?

As you unpack the precious ornaments your children made long ago, have you noticed any changes? The ice cream cone reindeer may be missing his cinnamon candy nose.  Pests enjoy edible ornaments children make like candy cane reindeer and cookie dough snowmen. Some ornaments that we might not consider to be edible, pests do! 

It’s not too late!

If you have already decorated for the season, pack them up appropriately when you take them down. Here are a few tips to keep pests out of your Christmas decorations over the next year:

Store everything in air tight plastic containers. Cardboard boxes are not an option.

If you have an artificial tree, wrap it up tightly in plastic.

If you have hung artificial wreaths or garlands outside, shake them out and wrap them just as tightly. At the very least, store them in an air tight plastic tub.

As you lug boxes to and from your attic, basement or storage room, consider how pests can get in the box. It’s not hard to get into a cardboard box if you are a pest. Next Christmas, when you bring decor back into your house, just remember you are bringing ALL of the contents into your house.

Whether you take your Christmas decorations down December 26th or Valentine’s Day, putting them away is as important as decorating day. Keeping pests away is important when they are going up or coming down! 

Starting with a basement, attic, storage room and home that are already pest free helps keep pests away year round. What you bring into your home at the holidays is something you can control. 

Lawn and Pest Solutions in New Albany, MS can help you prevent pests year round. We have licensed technicians who are trained to thoroughly inspect your home and treat them for your specific needs. We service Memphis, TN and all over North Mississippi and would be glad to provide pest services for inside and outside of your home or business. Contact us here to begin your pest free holidays. 

What are the dangers of DIY pest control?

While there are plenty of dangers associated with DIY pest control, have you even considered what a time-consuming project this could be? The online research, the time spent in the home supply store, the READING OF DIRECTIONS…must we go on?

Of course, there are plenty of people who like to think they can “do” everything. Repair the toilet, replace the dishwasher, fix the roof, patch up the drywall, any names coming to mind yet?

For DYI pest control, there are real dangers that should be of concern before you (or your spouse) decide today is the day to get rid of that bedbug infestation on your own. Read about this over zealous DIY pest control “expert” here.

Easy DIY you can safely do to help with pest control at home

We give this same advice at least once a month to our Lawn and Pest Solutions readers:

  • Remove sources of food, especially dirty dishes in sinks and pet food from the floor.
  • Put away food on counters
  • Store garbage in tightly closed containers, remove from home often if not daily.
  • Check for ways pests can enter your home. Cracks under doors, around windows, torn screens, etc.
  • Remove clutter.
  • Check for leaks around all water sources.
  • Check bags and boxes that have been in storage before bringing them inside. (See Christmas decor)

Why you should NOT try DIY pest control 

There are so many ways to mess up DIY pest control, it’s just not worth it. You can harm your pets, your children, the interior of your home, even the wildlife outside of your home. 

Chemicals must be properly mixed and safely stored. (True story: my mother-in-law is famously known for storing rat poison in a soda bottle in the place where the family kept their soda.) 

Chemicals must be disposed of properly, you don’t want to contaminate the water source of your family or others! “Others” includes the birds and bees and cats and dogs who might be drinking your poisoned water. 

Choose another project for today, we will handle the pests for you.

This guide from the EPA is very easy to read and understand. At Lawn and Pest Solutions in New Albany, MS we do provide safe and effective pest treatment for your home or business. We aren’t just saying “DIY pest control is dangerous” to get more customers. It truly is a dangerous gamble for an untrained “at home expert”. 

Leave it up to us to get your home pest-free and keep it that way. Our licensed pest technicians are ready to serve the Memphis, TN, and North Mississippi areas. They are friendly, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. Let us show you #thelpsdifference. Call us today!

Fall Leaves

The streets and lawns are covered in fall leaves and most people are dreading the answer to, “what do I do with the fall leaves in my lawn?” Probably because most of us already know the answer. You need to deal with the fall leaves in your lawn. You have options…

Mulch your leaves

Fall leaves are a great source of organic matter for your lawn. Ideally, you should mulch your leaves on a regular basis throughout the fall. Mowing your lawn with a mulching mower is a great way to get the most benefit from the leaves. A mulching mower chops up leaves that give your lawn air, water and nutrients over the winter and spring months. If you have been mulching your fall leaves, your lawn will thank you properly this spring.

What if my leaves are wet?

This isn’t going to be easy. If your leaves are wet, you need to rake them up. If you don’t, the wet leaves will smother the grass blades underneath. A covering of wet leaves will keep the sun from warming up your lawn this spring. The longer your lawn stays cold, the longer it takes to wake up (and to turn green).

My lawn sleeps?

Dormancy just means your lawn has gone to sleep. It does this in the cold winter months. You can tell a lawn is dormant when it turns brown, that because it is conserving water and nutrients. It isn’t dead, it’s dormant.

One more option…

You can use some of your fall leaves for flower bed coverage. A thin layer of leaf coverage is good for your flower bed. Leaves can act as a natural mulch and can protect your flower beds from weeds. Just be careful to not let those leaves get too thick.

Whatever you decide to do with your fall leaves, do it soon! 

When you are still searching for answers about lawn care and services, know that we at Lawn and Pest Solutions are always here for you. We service the Memphis, TN and North Mississippi areas with lawn treatment and pest services for lawns, homes and businesses. Our licensed technicians are available to consult with you about how we can best serve you. 

Fall plant health care

Why bother with fall plant care? Pool owners “close the pool” for winter. Boat owners don’t leave their precious investments floating in cold waters all winter. If an ice storm is coming, we move our new cars in garages. Just like boats and cars, our landscapes are an investment.

What’s the use?

If you don’t believe in fall plant health care, think about this. All of the time and money you have spent on planting, nurturing, watering and fertilizing shouldn’t be wasted. The money and time you have spent shouldn’t go to waste over the fall and winter. 

You won’t regret it

By protecting your landscape with fall plant health care, when spring arrives, you will be proud of your healthy and well protected lawn. At Lawn and Pest Solutions, we offer a plant health care program that focuses on keeping your landscape and shrubs insect and disease free.

How does the LPS Plant Health Care program work?

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 leave a written report at each visit. You will receive a copy of the notes and they will also go on file. 

The pro will then treat your plants specifically based on what is happening with your plants and what they need. Most programs include a pre-mixed spray that is applied to all of the plants, no matter what they need at that time. 

A program tailored to the specific needs of your lawn.

You can spend a lot of time and money guessing what is wrong with our landscape and even trying to fix it yourself. With our plant health care plan, you can spend less money and save lots of time by leaving it up to a professional. Contact our office today to protect your investment. Our licensed and trained technicians serve the North Mississippi and Memphis areas.

Occasional invaders

In the grand scope of things, occasional invaders are not a big issue in the world of pest control. A few ladybugs, a couple of stink bugs, and even a silverfish or two don’t run most of us out of the house. Now a spider might cause you to stand on a chair, and just one cricket can deprive you of several night’s sleep. 

Occasional invaders typically don’t become a problem until they become an infestation. Even a harmless ladybug becomes not so cute anymore when they have covered your walls with their “mark”. Is there anything positive to associate with the word “infestation”?

What are they looking for?

Occasional invaders, like most pests,  are typically looking for food, water, or warmth. The best places to find them are under sinks, cupboards, crawl spaces, basements, showers, and tubs.

What are some common occasional invaders?

Centipedes (usually found in shower drains)

Earwigs (usually found in moist areas)

Pill Bugs (aka Roly Polies or Doodle Bugs)

Crickets

Beetles

Silverfish (attracted to paper like wallpaper, books, and envelopes)

Ladybugs 

Spiders 

Cluster flies

Stinkbugs

If they aren’t really harmful, then what’s the problem?

You won’t get carried off into the night by a swarm of ladybugs, however…there are some occasional invaders with some pretty yucky characteristics. Again, a few aren’t a problem. It’s all about an infestation. Here is a list of reasons to avoid an infestation of occasional invaders.

Some secrete foul odors 

Some may cause damage and/or staining to your indoor fabrics

They can damage your indoor plants

They may bite or pinch you or your pets

When they die, their bodies can attract other pests

The dead bodies, shed skins and droppings can cause some people to have allergic and/or asthma issues

Occasional invaders

Occasional invaders typically don’t become a problem until they become an infestation.

Where are they the rest of the year?

Occasional invaders aren’t mysterious pests that suddenly appear in the winter, they are active year round. Most of the time they are outdoors and we don’t notice them until they start getting inside our homes for the winter. 

Pest control is a partnership.

We will say it again. Keeping all pests OUT of your home is most of the war. Pay attention to cracks around windows and doors, tears in screens, piles of leaves or branches around your home. Repair any possible entryway for pests so they can’t get in your home. Eliminate areas where water can collect. Check under your sinks for leaking pipes and repair. 

When you partner with Lawn and Pest Solutions, we will help you wage war against the “occasional invaders”. Our services will also protect your home from termites, roaches, ants, and more. Our licensed pest technicians will thoroughly spray inside and outside of your home on a regular schedule to keep your home pest-free year round. Contact us here to learn more about our #pest360 program.