Our 2018 Year End Review

The 2018 growing season has come to an end but we are still very busy preparing for 2019. We want to share some of the highlights from our year and reflect on some important things that we have learned that can make your lawn healthier for the coming season.

Thank you!

We are thankful for the Wabash Valley that has allowed us to serve you since 1987! Your faith in our family business means the world to us and we are always working hard to be the best we can be.

We are thankful for our great team of employees. Each one of them adds something to our organization that cannot be taken for granted. Two of our team members have made this their second career after their honorable service in the Indiana Air National Guard.

We are thankful for Dennis and Christine Bowman who had the vision in 1987 to build this business from the ground up to where it is today. As a second generation family owned and operated business, we are proud of our roots and what got us to where we are today.

Training

We had a great year of continuing our education in the lawn care industry. We were very fortunate to attend multiple seminars throughout the year. These training included:

Real Green Users Conference (Real Green is the computer program we use that manages our invoices and customer database)
Advanced Turf Solutions Winter Education Seminar
MRTF Summer Workshop
IPLLA Summer Field Day
Green Industry Expo and Trade Show
IPLLA Winter Workshop

These educational opportunities provide us with resources and materials that we use to continue to improve our lawn care practices.

Lawn Tips

We rely on our customers communicate with us regarding any changes you notice in your lawn. Lawns also require proper cultural practices to ensure the work that we are doing gives your lawn the most benefit. Please review the following expectations and contact us if you have any questions.

Our expectations from you, the customer:

  • Mow the lawn no shorter than 3.5 inches. Keeping the grass tall provides a stronger root system for the turf and allows for greater disease, drought, and heat tolerance. We never recommend mowing shorter than 3.5 inches for any reason.
  • Do not bag mowing clippings when mowing. Always return clippings to the lawn as it will continue to provide up to 30% of the nutrition back into the ecosystem.
  • Wait at least 24 hours after an application to mow the lawn. This is vital for the herbicide applications! The herbicide needs to work through the vascular system of the plant and into the root before mowing occurs.
  • Irrigate when possible. Lawns require 1.5 inches of water per week to actively grow. Long durations of drought stress will cause the lawn to go dormant and make it harder to identify if there are other issues such as disease or insect damage.
  • Communicate with us. As mentioned above, we need your help when situations arise in your lawn. As soon as you notice something that looks strange or out of place, let us know. Sometimes, waiting a few months for things to “improve on their own” only makes the situation worse. Never hold in your frustration with nature when most things are a simple fix if addressed early.

What you should expect from us, the lawn care professionals:

  • All jobs will be completed as agreed upon based on the estimate form and property lines confirmed by the customer.
  • All laws and regulations regarding the use and application of our products are followed exactly as specified by the Office of Indiana State Chemist and product labels.
  • Only licensed technicians will perform any kind of work on your property.
  • We stay up to date on all liability insurance. Copy of coverage is available upon request.
  • All issues brought to our attention will be handled in a timely and professional manner.
  • If there is ever any question, we will submit soil, turf, and plant samples for further testing to the Purdue University Pest and Plant Diagnostic Laboratory.
  • Everything we do on your property is backed by science and carefully considered before any application is made.

2019 Services

We are very excited to get our 2019 season underway. As new technology becomes available, we are always adding to our program to provide improved services.

Please remember that our services continue from season to season. Should you wish to cancel, change, or add to your program, please contact our office. Opting out of prepaying for the season does not indicate your intention to cancel services for the 2019 season.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Thank you for the many great years of business and we look forward to the many years to come.

Preparing Your Lawn For Winter

Halfway through November and we have had our first dusting of snow for the season in the Wabash Valley. While this is not normal for this time of year for Central Indiana, we need to start thinking about preparing our lawns for winter. There are several tips that we like to share with everyone as our growing season comes to a close.

Mowing

As colder temperatures begin to take hold, turf will begin to move from upward growth to nutrient storage in the roots. This change is very important as the turf is focusing its energy on survival for the winter months. Because of this, you will not have to mow your lawn as often as just a few weeks ago. Fight the temptation to mow your lawn if it truly does not need it. The turf is continuing to use every part of the leaf blade to produce energy and convert it for storage over the next few months. Take extra caution to follow our mowing recommendation of never mowing shorter than 3.5 inches.  Mowing at this height ensures the plant can focus on nutrition storage.

Mowing short can help the lawn from winter turf diseases such as Snow Mold, however, the conditions for snow mold to become a problem in the Wabash Valley are very rare. Snow needs to cover the ground for at least 45 consecutive days before the disease can take hold.

Leaf Debris

Many cities and towns do a leaf collection. This may be of a benefit, however, be cautious when raking and piling leaves up by the road. These mounds of leaves, if left for a long period, can choke out the healthy grass beneath.

If you do decide to rake your leaves, be sure to limit your physical activity, take multiple breaks, and do not overwork yourself. Many of these outside chores use different muscle groups than what we use every day and it is very easy to hurt yourself.

We recommend taking the easy way out and simply mulching your leaf debris with your lawnmower. Leaf debris provides your lawn and soil with many microscopic benefits. This organic matter that goes back into your lawn will bring an added boost in nutrition that your turf will use as it continues its storage for the winter.

Mulching the leaf debris saves time and energy! Be sure that you do not lower your mowing height when mulching the leaf debris. This will only work against everything that you have done all year to maintain a healthy lawn. We also recommend that leaf debris is cleaned up as soon as possible. Do not let this debris collect on the lawn and build up as it will soon weigh down the turf and begin to cause the turf to deteriorate.

Weed Control

As plants begin to change their vascular movement, weed control becomes more effective in the fall. Plants will begin to move nutrients to the roots for storage for the winter. Using this information, we know that weeds also will translocate herbicide to the root system. For this reason, weeds can be easier to manage during this time of the year.

With the seasons changing, utilize a herbicide that is labeled for the turf you are treating, the target weeds you are trying to kill, and proper air and ground temperatures. Always read and follow all label instructions on any herbicide used. Wear proper personal protection equipment when mixing and making any application.

Fertilization

Proper fertilization during this time of year provides the turf with the necessary nutrients to boost the lawn to make it through the winter. Lawns that receive a winterizer application of fertilizer are quicker to come out of dormancy in the Spring and will show a deeper green color than lawns that are left alone. This fertilization is crucial for nutrient storage in the plant and will extend the health of the lawn from season to season.

Equipment Maintenance

For this section, please review to the manual for your lawn mower as it will give specific information regarding the care of your equipment. With that being said, as the season winds down, it is always good to make sure you store and maintain your lawn care tools properly as there is nothing more frustrating than having to start the next season with mechanical issues.

Gasoline can deteriorate over just a few months so be sure to utilize a fuel stabilizer. Gummed up fuel lines can damage an engine of any machine. Change the oil as recommended by the manufacturer. Sharpening the mower blades at the end of the season will ensure the first cut of next year is clean and precise. Wash all equipment and dry before storage. Clean any debris from under the deck of your lawn mower to prevent rusting. Grease all fittings and check any bearings.

Conclusion

Preparing your lawn for the winter does not have to be a difficult task. Continue to mow the lawn at 3.5 inches or higher. Apply fertilizer and herbicide as the timing allows to maintain health and color. Keep the lawn clean from leaf and stick debris as often as possible.

As we always say, be sure to read and follow all labels and manufacturer guidelines when applying products or working on equipment. If you are unsure, ask someone in the industry for help. Find a trusted professional and utilize services that are provided. Any company or individual that applies herbicides has to be licensed by the Office of Indiana State Chemist.

 

 

DIY Lawn Care Tips

You might have considered doing lawn treatments on your own. After all, how hard can it be, right? Before you get started, you need to first consider a few things. Here are our tips for you to be successful for your own DIY lawn care.

Timing of Applications

One of the biggest mistakes that anyone can make when planning a lawn treatment schedule is not understanding proper application timing. This is an easy mistake to make if just going off of what the big box stores sell through their standard packages. Some stores offer a 4 step program while others market a season control package.

Crabgrass pre-emergent needs to be applied before the seed can germinate. For the Wabash Valley that is typically around April 15th. The closer to this date the better control you will see. Post-emergence herbicide applications should only be applied when soil temperatures reach the stated level on the product label.

Some granular fertilizer products have herbicides included. Be sure to read and follow all instructions as some of these products require to be watered in to activate the ingredients for best control.

Mowing Practices

Some of the simplest things that a homeowner can and should do is to have proper mowing habits. These mowing guidelines are directly from Purdue Universtiy Turf Science Department and should be strictly followed.

  • Mow the lawn now shorter than 3.5 inches.
  • Mow in different directions every week.
  • Cut no more than 1/3rd of the grass blade off at a time.
  • Avoid mowing during the hottest part of the day.
  • Only mow if the lawn truly needs it.
  • Do not bag clippings from mowing.

Selecting Products

Looking at the lawn care aisle can be very confusing. So many different products with active ingredients that have every letter of the alphabet. What does all of this mean? Different active ingredients will target specific weeds. If you apply a product that contains 2-4D in hopes that it will kill crabgrass, you will be wasting your time and money. Be sure you properly identify the target plant and select a product that is labeled to kill that plant. All the information that you need to know about each product is listed in detail on the label. It is very easy to apply the wrong product and end up doing more harm than good.

Understanding Nature

When doing lawn care, you have to remember that you are trying to change what nature has been designed to do for years. Weeds will germinate over the course of months so do not be surprised if you make an application and a few weeks later more of the same weeds begin to appear. Rain, lack of rain, heat and cold all are out of our control. Some products can only be applied if they are watered in while others require the lawn to stay dry. It is also important to check temperature restrictions on products because applying them outside of what the label states is not only dangerous but against the law.

Fertilizer Selection and Application 

When selecting what kind of fertilizer you want to apply to your lawn you first need to understand what is in the bag. Every bag of fertilizer has a guaranteed analysis of 3 numbers in a 0-0-0 format. The first number is the percent of Nitrogen, the second number is the percent of Phosphorous, and the final number is the percent of Potassium. Each nutrient has different qualities that prove the turf with different benefits. We suggest following the guide published by Purdue University to determine what fertilizer you should apply.

After you select the fertilizer you want to use, you need to determine how much you need to buy. Most bags of fertilizer purchased from a major store will state how many pounds per thousand square feet should be applied. To determine how much fertilizer you will need to buy, you need to know how many actual square feet of turf you have. Once you determine that, you can almost begin your fertilizer application.

There are several pieces of equipment that can be used to apply fertilizer. Be sure that whatever equipment you use is properly calibrated and you fully understand how the equipment works. A hand spreader, broadcast spreader, or drop spreader can be used to apply products but are each unique and present different challenges when making applications.

Making the Application

Now that you understand proper mowing techniques, you have purchased the equipment you are most comfortable using, you have measured your lawn, you have all the right products, it is time to make your application. We recommend checking out the homeowner section of Purdue University Turf website for very detailed and specific instructions on how to best make your first application.

After you complete your application it is always a good practice to record time, date, products applied, and how much product was actually used. These records can come in hand should you see issues later on before your next application.

Final Thoughts

Doing a proper lawn care application to your lawn requires more than just any bag of 10-10-10 fertilizer and bottle of 2-4D. A real understanding and knowledge of plant biology is crucial to making successful applications to your lawn. This knowledge and understanding should come from accredited institutions with scientific research backing up everything and not just “some neighbor down the street.” When it comes to actually making an application of products to your lawn, be sure that everything is calibrated correctly and all pieces of equipment are in working order. The slightest miscalculation can result in disaster!

If you ever have any questions, we always recommend contacting a licensed professional. Purdue University is one great resource that anyone can access. They have very informative and easy to understand publications for homeowners regarding this and other topics relating to lawn care and maintenance.