Month: March 2016

Fertilizer is the BEST Weed Control!

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Welcome back the the Wonderful World of Weed Man!  This is part two of our “The Grass IS Greener Over There!” Series.  If you missed last week’s post you can check it out here.  This week is going to be a primer on lawn fertilizer.  I know, I know, you can hardly contain your excitement!  The masses have clamored, and we are answering.

(For those of you who just like the answer, and less of the journey – just hire Weed Man and we will make your lawn look amazing!  If you want to know the why and how, then read on!)

Large amounts of misinformation and myth exist out on the ‘interwebs’ regarding lawn fertilizer.  So much information that we could never cover it in one blog post.  My goal for this post is to give you a general overview and deal with the most important factors when it comes to fertilizer.

Why should I fertilize, you ask?  We will discuss many of the benefits a little later, but, in a nutshell lawns need food/nutrients.   If you were to visit our website, you would find a very basic overview of our fertilizer service –

“A well-fertilized lawn is better at preventing weed infestation as well as drought and disease. In turn, healthy lawns help the environment by producing oxygen, cooling the air during hot weather and trapping and absorbing urban dust and pollution. Blended exclusively for Weed Man, our fertilizer is a 65 percent slow-release granular fertilizer and is made from naturally occurring ingredients including nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Weed Man’s most popular premium quality, slow-release granular fertilizer feeds your lawn for 4-6 weeks, or 6-8 weeks depending on the blend or time of year.”

There are many types of fertilizer:  Liquid, granular, slow release, quick release, etc..  Granular will feed the lawn at the root system/soil level. A liquid spray only feeds the blade generally and may not last in the grass very long.  Slow release will meter out the nutrients over a period of time breaking down via water or soil temperature.  Quick release fertilizer does the opposite.  It gets into the system quickly and it is metabolized quickly.  Quick release reminds me of a person who wants more energy and instead of eating healthy and exercising they drink coffee.  Do you really want your lawn to look healthy or be healthy.  When we visit your lawn we will use a granular slow release – the best product we can find for the overall health of your lawn.

There are a tremendous amount of benefits to having a healthy lawn, and fertilizer helps your lawn become/stay healthy.  

There are a few components that lawns need to maintain their health and vitality. Essentially up to 17 elements are required for your lawn to thrive:  Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Zinc, Iron, Boron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Copper, Calcium, Chlorine, and Nickle.  These elements can be found in Air, Water, Soil, and Fertilizer.  Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium are the 3 macro nutrients that your lawn needs the greatest help with, and the remainder of essential nutrients are referred to as micro nutrients.

When you visit your local hardware store looking for fertilizer, every bag will have an NPK number listed on it.  24-0-6 for example (the mixture we use) tells you that 24% of the mix is Nitrogen, 0% Phosphorous, and 6% Potassium.  Although we do utilize phosphorous in our mix, it is not a large enough amount to register for the NPK – we find for the lawns we treat, it is an element that already exists in the soil in our area.  No sense in placing more elements than needed in the soil.  There has been a lot of legislation and concern over the years about phosphorus.  Purdue has a great fact sheet about phosphorus in fertilizer.

24+6 = 30, at least the answer chart at the end of the math book shows it to be 30.  What about the other 70%, is it just rocks and filler?  Absolutely NOT!  The remainder 70% is comprised of compounds and micro nutrients to help the lawn absorb the macro nutrients.  For example elemental phosphorous catches fire spontaneously when exposed to the air, and is poisonous to plants in concentrated forms.  (Think Fireworks!)  We couldn’t put that down on the lawn in its raw form, so it must be manipulated to an amount and form feasible for the plant to absorb.

So once down on the lawn, what exactly does the fertilizer do for the grass?  Well, let me take a deep breath and expound on some of the laundry list of benefits just associated with the plant biology:

  • Promotes rapid growth hastening recovery after mowing
  • Helps the formation and function of chlorophyll
  • Synthesizes amino acids that turn into proteins
  • Regulates the uptake of other nutrients
  • Stimulates early root formation and growth
  • Hastens maturity of plant
  • Stimulates blooming and seed development
  • Causes energy transformation and conversion of sugars
  • Vital for photosynthesis
  • Essential for cell division
  • Increases disease resistance and hardiness
  • Strengthens cell walls
  • Affects water intake

Other benefits of fertilizer include:

  • A good looking lawn – who doesn’t want this?
  • More oxygen in the environment
  • Better disease, drought, and insect resistance
  • Run off and erosion is lowered.

I wanted to transition from that last benefit to one of the common myths we hear regarding fertilizer:  It’s better for the environment if you don’t fertilize and let “nature” take care of your lawn.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  The statement does not even make any sense.  Think about it.  Where in nature do you see grass similar to what you would see in a residential lawn?

A residential lawn is NOT a natural environment for grass.

Lawns need help.  Left to nature lawns will not improve on their own.  Most lawns are setup over compacted soils when a home was developed.  Very little or no top soil was left when the home was built, and sod or seed was put down over the rocky construction debris.

Not only will nature fail to take care of your lawn, leaving your grass unfertilized will impact the environment in a much larger way, then if you do fertilize.  Erosion and runoff levels could be 100 to 1000 times greater for unfertilized lawns than those that utilize a fertilizer.  University of Minnesota did a study on residential lawn runoff and found that unfertilized lawns were worse for the environment than fertilized lawns.  Here is quick video from the leading professor conducting the study.  My favorite quote from Brian Horgan, Ph.D –

“If you don’t fertilize your lawn thinking you’re doing better, you’re actually doing a lot more harm than if you properly fertilize your turf”

I think he sums it up nicely.  Fertilize your lawn.  It really is the best weed control.  Make your lawn healthy by supplying it naturally occurring elements.  A healthy lawn is a thicker lawn.  It fills in bare spots.  Will it eradicate weeds?  NO. When you limit your bare spots and have a thick lawn, its is so much more difficult for weed to germinate.  This means less weeds in general.  Which means less man made chemicals needed to spray for weeds.  It really is the BEST weed control.

My final point will be to show you pictures.  Here are a couple pictures of lawns with a partial fertilizer program (first picture) or no program at all? maybe a competitor?(second picture) in comparison to our program.  These we taken from previous year customers who had a full program, but who had NOT YET had our spring fertilizer for this year.

 

To sum up:  Go out and fertilize your lawn.  Better yet, Hire Weed Man! 

Spring Mower Maintenance!

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Once again, WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEED MAN!  Again, I’m Brian, and I will be your guide.  This is the first of a series of posts we will be updating throughout next weeks/months to better educate you on lawn care.  If you are curious as to what I am writing about – get up to date with last week’s blog adventure:

We really want to help you have an amazing lawn!  You can always take a look at our website for tips and advise, however we would like to get a little more in depth through this blog on lawn subjects.  This week we will begin our education on those magical machines known as lawn mowers!

I looked at my lawn this week and as my lawn is waking up from the rain, sunshine, and warmer temps – I realize it is time to mow my lawn.  It looks much like my first attempt at growing a beard!  Patchy and full in some areas – but never uniform.  It’s time for my lawn’s shave, or haircut if you will.

Scheduling some time for myself this week to look at my mower and make sure it is ready this weekend is the first step to getting ready for the mowing season.   (For parents of young children, it is also time to do maintenance on Bubble Mowers)

Mowers, like all machines, need a scheduled maintenance to get the best performance.   Every mower is a little different and I recommend consulting your mower’s operational manual to determine what maintenance schedule is needed for you.  Regardless – remember to be safe when dealing with engines!

Despite the specifics that vary from brand to brand, model to model – there are 5 universal tasks you should be aware of when doing mower maintenance every year:

  1.  Change the oil – Engines that utilize oil need a regular changing of the oil, filters.  The longevity of your mower is dependent upon this maintenance.  I learned the hard and costly way that you cannot ignore this.
  2. Sharpen your mower blade – This actually may need to be down several times a year.  If your mower blade is dull, the engine has to work harder to cut the grass.  In fact, it really isn’t cutting the grass at all when it is dull.  It’s ripping the grass.  Imagine if someone cut your beard that way- by ripping it.  That sounds too biblical for a lawn analogy. Just sharpen your blade! Here is a great YouTube video on how to sharpen your mower blade.  (This is not an endorsement of the video producer.  We cannot verify the safety of prescribed actions.  Please use common sense, do your research, and when in doubt hire a professional to help you with sharpening your mower blade.  SAFETY FIRST!)
  3. Tighten everything up.  Check all the bolts, shield, and belts to make certain they are tight and where they should be in relation to factory specifications.
  4. Clean your mower.  You definitely want to clean your mower for a few reasons.  The filters and screens will help your mower perform at peak performance.  Cleaning out the stuck grass in the blade area is a great practice to do as well.  AGAIN PLEASE use common sense with safety in mind when dealing with your mower.  Lastly a clean mower means gas leaks have been washed up.  Gas in your grass is never a good thing if you want a green uniform lawn.  Don’t forget to fill up your mower with new gas as well.  If your mower has sat longer than a month, old gas will clog up the carburetor.
  5. Spark plugs – Clean and check your spark plugs so your mower starts and runs well.  Replace if needed.

I hope this helps you get ready for this year and again, when in doubt use a professional.  Check out your local small engine repair shops for further assistance.

For further information or lawn tips regarding mowing take a look at our earlier blog post.

Happy Mowing!

 

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Weed Man Boise Giveaway!

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WEED MAN BOISE IS GIVING AWAY ONE $200 GIFT CARD to your choice of CABELLAS or BED BATH and BEYOND!!!! We will be DRAWING A WINNER on April 4th!

We recently updated our social media/website. It is exciting to have so many ways we can communicate with our customers. Education about lawn care is important to us, and through social media we can offer free lawn care tips to help you have the best lawn possible. We wanted to bring these options to your attention and we figured the best way would be to give away free stuff!

You can enter the drawing in several ways and may have up to 5 entries if you follow the directions on each entry method. You can get 1 entry if you want, or all 5 if you want.

1. Web – visit www.weedmanboise.com and click on our contact link. Go to the GIVE FEEDBACK tab and leave the comment “giveaway” in the comment section. You do need to leave some basic information– that way we can contact you if you win. We DO NOT sell your information, nor will you be signed up for marketing promotions unless you choose to be.

2. Facebook – www.facebook.com/weedmanboise – LIKE our PAGE, SHARE THIS post and TAG two friends when you do.

3. Twitter – www.twitter.com/weedmanboise – FOLLOW us on Twitter, RETWEET our promotional Tweet pinned to our profile page.

4. Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/weed_man – FOLLOW us on Pinterest, and REPIN one of our pins.

5. Instagram – www.instagram.com/weedmanboise – FOLLOW us on Instagram.

We will draw ONE winner from a pool from all the entry methods, and announce them on April 4th! Please follow all instructions to qualify. To claim the prize, the winner must be able to visit our office in Meridian and have their picture taken with the Weed Man staff.

We look forward to seeing you!

The Grass IS Greener Over There!

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Welcome to the wonderful world of Weed Man!  I’m Brian and I will be your guide!  We started this blog to help inform and educate our customers so they will get the most out of their lawns.  Whether you are a Weed Man customer or not, you are welcome here, and we hope you gain something by your visits.  This week I would like to overview where we are headed in the near future – lawn care tips!

It happens…you work hard on your lawn.  You spend countless hours and untold amounts of money to get the results you want to no avail.  Your neighbors lawn looks amazing and you just can’t seem to match the deep green lawn that he has.  On the other hand your other neighbor has a black thumb with a degree in growing weeds…that like to invade your lawn.

Just before you give in and give up let us offer some advice!  Sure you could hire a professional – Weed Man Boise, in particular.  We would love that!  Nevertheless, even Weed Man customers are given the expectation that achieving and maintaining a great lawn is really a partnership.  So whether you take the professional lawn guide approach or DIY approach we would like to help you have an amazing lawn.

Over the next weeks, we will be detailing how you can have an AMAZING lawn your neighbors will be joyously talking about.  (They may talk anyways, but lets be honest, nobody wants to be the black thumb homeowner who specializes in weeds.)

We have 11 tips for lawn care that every homeowner should be aware of:

  1. Mower Startup
  2. Fertilization
  3. Sprinkler Startup/Maintenance
  4. Over seeding/Lawn Repair
  5. Weed Control
  6. Watering Practices
  7. Mowing to the Season
  8. Bug Care
  9. Aerating
  10. Mulching
  11. Hire Weed Man!
  12. Addendum: I did everything you said, MY Grass ISN’T Greener Over HERE!

Each tip will have a separate posting unpacking the details of how to take advantage of each practice.  Please check back often to get updated!  We would also love to hear from you about any lawn care questions or subjects you would like discussed.  Feel free to leave a comment below and we will incorporate it in our 11 tips!

 

 

Your Lawn is Tired,Give it Some New Blood!

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Every spring we get quite a few inquiries about over seeding lawns.  I’ll tell you the same piece of advice we tell everyone –  it may not be necessary!  Certainly we can charge you to come out to your lawn and provide a service.  We sure don’t want to talk you out of a service we can provide, but we also are committed to treating your lawn just as our own.

Before jumping head first into the work involved for over seeding, it should be determined if it needs to be done or not.  Here are a few reasons you should over seed:

  • Bare areas exist in the lawn
  • The lawn has damage that have thinned out areas
  • Overall the lawn is very thin and unhealthy – new grass can help improve the disease/drought/insect resistance of your lawn.

If your lawn is full and even moderately healthy, generally you will not need to do an over seeding.  Many times a good fertilizer will help thicken up the grass blade.  When the lawns overall health is improved, it will start to fill in by itself and the extra time and effort of over seeding is not always warranted.  Saving money is also a nice benefit.

You may not be sure if it necessary to over seed, so allow your lawn care technician to evaluate what is best and most cost effective for your situation.

If you decide to take on over seeding your lawn, it is very much like visiting a pet store in the mall and taking home a puppy.  There is work involved in it, but well worth the investment.

For those lawns that need an over seeding – here are 6 steps to getting this done effectively.  Either with the help of a lawn care professional, or on your own, these are some recommended steps to make the most of your efforts.  Please over seed in the spring or fall, when soil temperatures are cooler.  It is very very very difficult to over seed a lawn in the heat of summer.  It can be done, but requires constant babysitting.

  1. Mow your existing lawn.  Before you can put seed down on the lawn, the current grass must be cut down to about 2″.  Bag your clippings as well.  This will help enable the grass seed to make easier contact with the soil.  This will also reveal areas that are thinner than others and may need more seed.
  2. Aerate your lawn.  This will help open up the soil to allow water/air/nutrients to penetrate deeper and circulate better.  Aeration is like magic fairy dust for your lawn.  If you weren’t seeding the lawn, you should aerate on a regular basis anyways.
  3. Seed the lawn.  Walk the lawn and broadcast the specific areas.
  4. Lightly fertilize around the time that you over seed – Extra nutrients in the soil will always help a germinating grass seed.
  5. Water daily for the first couple of weeks – depending on the time of year you may need to water 2 or 3 times a day just to get the soil to stay moist enough for the germination process.  This is the part that requires work and dedication.
  6. Mow the lawn once the new grass is 3 1/2″ to 4″. (usually 3-4 weeks from original planting)  Cut the lawn down to 3″ and continue on your regular lawn maintenance program.

Following these steps will help move you towards a beautiful and healthy lawn.  Be sure to protect your investment long term as well.  Whether with Weed Man Lawn Care or on your own, utilize a standard/consistent lawn care program!

 

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It’s Spring, Time for your Lawn’s Haircut.

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After a long period of hibernation the process of waking up commences.  The sun creeps up over the morning horizon.  Shining brightly, it’s rays warm up the world around. The winter has begun to thaw and the long nights are getting shorter.

I wake from my slumber and realize that the landscaping season has begun!  I’m late!  I hurriedly get ready for the work, the first day of a great season ahead.  My time off has resulted in a commonplace lethargy that makes it difficult to focus.  I scramble around trying to get ready to head out the door, but the fog in my mind is just an obstacle to a smooth start to the day.

Life.  Cereal.  My usual go to for breakfast doesn’t make for a quick task of eating while heading out the door.  I fail to notice a piece of cereal clinging desperately to the collar of my work shirt.  The silver lining, the cereal-on-my-shirt it isn’t out of place with the rest of my appearance.   During the off season ‘No Shave November’ goes into December, January, and well you know.  Apparently that soup catcher doesn’t care to stop cereal.

Zipping through traffic still fails to get me to the office on time.  I jump out of the car running to the front door and crash into when it angrily refuses to open.  Locked!  What?  Apparently it wasn’t the first day of work.  It was all a bad dream.  You see some people have that falling dream and wake up when they hit the ground…  Others have dreams where they are late and the whole day is ruined and they wake up when they hit the door.

It was a terribly silly dream to be terrified of.  Nevertheless, it does often show us how procrastination, and poor preparation lead to pathetic results.  I was reminded today of good planning by my wife.  She texted me stating that the neighbors were mowing their lawn.  It is slightly early, but it goes to show that they care about their lawn.  They are ready for the year.  They pay attention.  They prepare.

It cannot be stressed enough to make sure you have a plan for your lawn care this year.  Failing to plan and prepare for your lawn care will not result in the immediate destruction of your lawn.  However, over time, improper lawn care habits will result in spending more money on your lawn that you normally wouldn’t.  Your lawn/curb appeal of your home makes up 15% of your home’s value!  Return on investment for lawn care can be as high as 200%.  Much better return than investing in a new kitchen (I just need some place to store my Life Cereal, bowls, and spoons.  I am a little biased.)

Though it might be a week or two early for mowing, Weed Man Lawn Care has already started the fertilizer process on lawns this week.  We do not do mowing as part of our business, but knowing about mowing IS part of our business.  It is the time of year where you should be getting ready to start mowing your lawn.  It’s time for its haircut.  (Beard trimming in my case).

I wanted to leave you with some great information about mowing that will help you out this year!  It definitely seems simple, but sometimes we make it complex and the results aren’t what they should be.

  1.  Mow regularly – and at a proper height.  Depending on the type of grass you have a different mowing height may be necessary.  Kentucky Bluegrass is the most common grass type in the Boise area.  We recommend 2-3 inches in the cooler weather, and 3-4 inches in the warmer weather.  This means that if your grass is 4 or 5 inches tall cut it down to 3 inches.   This is important as your lawn roots mimic/mirror what is going on above ground.  If you cut your lawn too short, you will have stunted roots over a period of time.  They will not be able to reach deep in the ground and reach those reserves of water in the soil.  Essentially over a period of time of cutting your lawn too short you will eventually see a very unhealthy lawn.
  2. Rule of 1/3  – Never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade at one time.  This will stress your grass out.  Much like a stressed human, it can lead to a more vulnerable immune system.  Disease, drought, insects can attack your lawn more effectively when your grass is stressed.
  3. Sharpen your blade – This is important!  Do you let your barber cut your hair with dull scissors?  How about your surgeon?  Do they cut you with a dull scalpel?  When you mow your lawn with a dull blade, it actual tears the grass instead of cutting it.  It makes it much more difficult to heal – again stressing the lawn out.
  4. Differ your pattern.  Grass can develop a ‘grain’ over time.  If you mow in the same pattern every time, it will create tracks in your lawn and just won’t look as nice.
  5. Mow when it is cool/dry.  Sometimes this is difficult in the heat of the summer.  The warmer the weather the more stressed you lawn will be when you mow it.  Definitely avoid mowing when the lawn is wet.  This is similar to mowing with a dull blade, and in fact can dull your blade over time as well.  Wet grass does not slice well, it does rip well 😦

 

When you focus and prepare for proper lawn care you will have a much healthier happier lawn!  A healthier lawn is stronger and more resistant to disease, drought, and insects. Happy mowing!

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