Feels like we’ve been waiting for spring to arrive forever and dreaming about that lush green lawn from last season. One of the first things on the list for a healthy lawn is an application of a pre-emergent weed control just after completing a spring clean up. If your lawn tends to be spotted with yellow dandelions and crabgrass pre-emergent weed prevention is for you. Timing is everything however; so don’t get ahead of yourself before your lawn is ready. Pre-emergent crabgrass preventer can wear off before crabgrass actually germinates if you put it down too early. Crabgrass actually germinates based on soil temperatures, generally around 56 to 64 degrees at the earliest. With the late start of spring here in the Lakes Region air temperatures in that range are just starting to take hold.
Many professionals watch for a colorful sign in the landscape as an indicator that soil temperatures are within an adequate range for crabgrass to germinate. The sunny golden yellow of forsythia in bloom is a sure sign to move forward with your pre-emergent crabgrass control application, as they will be in full bloom just prior to crabgrass germination.
Applied in spring along with your much needed spring fertilizer, pre-emergents work by stopping weeds and crabgrass before the plants have an opportunity to germinate and grow. They work by forming a barrier over the surface where they are applied leaving the roots of established plants (such as perennials, shrubs and trees) unaffected. Be sure to keep pre-emergents away from garden beds where you may be planting seeds. You need to activate the herbicide by watering the lawn after the application. Most products call for a half-inch of irrigation (or rain) within 21 days of application.
Your lawn will grown green and healthy if it doesn’t have to compete with weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients. Apply a pre-emergent yourself or leave your weeds in the experienced hands of the “Lawn Enforcement Officers” at Miracle Farms. Contact us to schedule a free estimate for this service and any other lawn and landscape needs we can help with.
For the Lakes Region in NH, call us at 603-253-9292
If you want to know when to sow, take off your trousers and sit on the ground!
If you are anything like me you are probably anxiously watching the ever-incorrect weather reports to determine if it is safe to start planting yet. There are lots of guidelines people seem to go by to declare open season in the garden. Some are a bit more reliable than others, but my favorite is based on the wives tale above. Back in the day, before there were reliable means to measure the temperature of the soil, feeling the bare soil with tender flesh was a great way to find out if it was warm enough. I suppose seeing the gardener in this precarious position in your parsley patch didn’t go over very well so a more politically correct version of the soil test was developed – stick your elbow in the soil instead.
The best thing to do, as hard as it is, is wait until the last chance of frost has passed, unless you have the ability to cover tender plants overnight.
Spring at last… I hesitate to let the words pass my lips for fear that Mother Nature will roar with laughter and let a nice May snowstorm rip! Even if she does I’m prepared. I know it won’t last and I won’t let the thought of it squash the enjoyment of my garden as it starts to wake up. I love the anticipation I feel walking around the garden to see what might be in store for me later in the season. It’s always a bit of a relief to see that bit of green pushing up through the newly uncovered soil. What little color there is right now is a real treat. Thanks to the previous owners a few lone crocuses brighten a corner of one bed and 100 daffodils that I planted 2 years ago are about screaming happy yellow right now. Seriously, I can’t wait!
If you’re as anxious as I am, here are a few things that you can do to prepare while you wait for your garden to bloom in all it’s glory.
- Bring color outdoors to patios, porches, and even the garden with pansy plants, which don’t mind cold nights. To encourage constant flowering, routinely remove spent blossoms and keep them from getting bone-dry.
- Divide summer- and fall-blooming perennials, including delphiniums, irises, chrysanthemums, daisies, and phlox.
- Feed your trees. As soon as the frost goes out of the ground, give them a well-balanced slow-release fertilizer. Scatter about six good handfuls per each 10×10-foot area.
- Have you considered raised beds? They’re a great way to get your garden started faster in the spring.
- Once the garden soil is workable, give it a good stirring and let it sit for several days. Then top-dress it with compost or well-rotted manure.
- Rake your lawn to remove all leaves, dead grass, and small twigs. If you have dead spots in the lawn, plan to patch them before the summer heat. Loosen the soil and work in some good-quality compost, sprinkle grass seed, rake lightly, and tamp to assure good seed-to-soil contact. Mulch with a thin layer of straw. Water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist until the grass sprouts.
Spring Clean Up
Spring is the season of growth, renewal, and repair. Winter’s cold, snow, and ice disappear, leaving chaos behind. A spring clean up will help your turf and landscape recover from winter and look beautiful again.
This service includes:
- Removing fallen branches, twigs, and winter debris from all established lawn and landscaped areas
- Power raking lawn areas to eliminate residual winter problems and over seed as required
- Edge all established beds
- Inspect shrubs for damage from snow and/or plowing and prune as needed
- Sweep and remove gravel and sand from edge of lawn, driveways, and walkways
Neatly mulched beds improve the appearance of any landscape. But beyond its appearance, a layer of mulch provides many other benefits. Mulch protects the plants’ root systems, slows the erosion of topsoil, and helps to prevent weeds and retain moisture. At the same time a granular pre-emergent weed control in all the beds to aid in reduction of cool season weeds growth.
MFL uses a bark blowing machine. Very few of our competitors offer this service. The advantages of having mulch blown is that there is a lot less clean-up and we are on your property for at least half the amount of time as hand spreading. It is more efficient, allows mulch to be spread more evenly, and has a more consistent finished look. The machine gives us the capability to spread up to 100 yards of mulch per day.
Tree and Shrub Fertilization
Deep-root feed all the ornamental trees shrubs and perennials with a slow release organic fertilizer, which is spread around the root drip zone and allowed to release slowly into the soil to encourage root and shoot growth. The fertilizer also consists of super phosphate which is the element needed to create strong flower buds and aid in the prolific flowering of trees, shrubs and perennials. This is also done at the time of spring cleanup to allow longer lasting results and time for absorption into the soil and therefore the plants.
Dethatching is essential to maintain a lush, healthy lawn. Thatch is the layer of built-up plant material between the green top growth and the roots of grass plants. A thin layer of thatch, ½”,is normal, even healthy. A layer of ½” or more, prevents air, light, and water from reaching the turf’s root zone. We use professional power rakes to comb out the right amount of dead materials which is then raked up and removed. This is not a ‘pretty’ process but is necessary for improved fertilizer absorption, a better root system, and a green, healthy lawn.
Lawn Mowing Service
Mowing on an as needed basis to maintain a 2 ½” – 3” height, not to exceed 7 days between mowing to maintain a neat, clean appearance, weather permitting. Weed whacking around all buildings, planting beds, utilities, trees, etc. Blowing off all walkways, drives and patios to remove clippings, leaves, and debris.
Lawns need regular fertilization to keep the grass growing and weeds out. When done properly, it has a major positive impact on lawn appearance. We use a five step semi-organic fertilizer application and a one time lime application. This promotes root growth, aids in the recovery from foot and equipment traffic and pest damage, reduces and controls weeds, and replaces nutrients lost to leaching.
This is a customized garden program to care for the lawn and landscaped areas of your property.
- Keeping beds edged and weeded
- Perennial and annual care
- Prune dead branches or unruly growth on shrubs in landscaped areas
- Inspection of landscaped areas for insects and disease and advise clients
- Monitor the irrigation system to make sure coverage and quantities are adequate
- Raking and maintaining beaches
- Meets your ongoing landscaping needs and offers services that other landscapers just can’t match
This service generally runs from May – October.
Ornamental Tree and Shrub Pruning
A more intensive pruning than the one that falls under the garden services described above.
Correct pruning is an essential maintenance practice for trees and shrubs in the home landscape. Light, periodic pruning is a better long-term approach to maintain plant size and form. Proper pruning can restore a youthful, natural
growth habit in certain overgrown shrubs.
Pruning is practiced to:
1. Maintain or reduce plant size.
2. Remove undesirable growth.
3. Remove dead, diseased, or broken branches.
4. Stimulate flowering and fruiting.
5. Rejuvenate and restore old plants to vigorous growth.
6. Prevent damage to life and property.
7. Shape plants in an artificial form.
To maintain a healthy lawn through periods of stress, the soil needs water, air and nutrients. Lawn aeration is the process of mechanically removing soil plugs and small portions of thatch from the lawn. Lawn aeration relieves soil compaction and improves the ability of roots to grow deeper into the soil and expand. The mechanical removal of soil plugs is generally recognized as the best way to improve air and gas exchange, along with water and fertilizer intake. Lawns that receive this care will be healthier, more vigorous, easier to maintain and have fewer pest problems than lawns that are neglected. Fall aeration is preferable as new root development is more prevalent at this time of year and continues through most of the winter.
Our deer spray is a custom blend of a deer repellent and an anti-desiccant which helps trees and shrubs maintain their moisture during winter’s drying winds. Our deer spray is semi-organic and therefore, non-toxic. In some areas this service is necessary in the summer as new plant growth constantly appears, and just as crucial in the winter when a deer’s natural foods are scarce. The spray changes their feeding pattern and when they realize there is no food to be had they will steer clear.