Thursday, August 17, 2017

Using a Lawn Seeding Service vs. DIY in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA

It’s a misconception that seeding is a service only needed by lawns in total disrepair. The truth is that even healthy lawns will benefit from a lawn seeding service. Seeding can help improve your lawn’s overall health as well as boost its aesthetic appeal.

While seeding seems like a simple enough task, there are definitely benefits to having it done by a professional rather than doing it on your own. Let’s explore some seeding facts that you might not know as well as why you should consider a professional lawn seeding service for your Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA home.



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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lawn Aeration: Why, How Often, and Hiring a Lawn Aerating Service

We know that you desire a lush, green lawn and you’re the kind of person who is invested in doing what it takes to achieve good lawn health. While lawn care services and techniques such as proper mowing, fertilization, and weed control are obviously important parts of that effort, one of the best things you can do for your lawn is having it aerated.

While it is a very important service, we find that many of our clients don’t know much about lawn aeration or why it’s needed. This article will help clarify what lawn aeration is, why it should be performed, how often it should be done, and why it’s likely best left to the professionals.



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Friday, July 28, 2017

Watering a Lawn in Spring, in Evening, or Every Day? 5 Quick Tips

When it comes to watering lawns, we get a lot of questions about what’s needed. From whether you should be watering your lawn in the evening to whether you should be watering your lawn in the winter, we know that there are some uncertainties about the best practices. We also recognize there is a lot of misunderstanding.



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Friday, July 21, 2017

A Guide to Lawn Disease Diagnosis, Control, and When To Use Lawn Care Companies in Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton, PA

Because of the fact that they tend to be confused with other lawn problems such as drought or insect damage, lawn diseases can go undiagnosed until it’s too late to repair the damage caused by them.

Many lawn diseases are fast-moving and highly destructive. One day you notice some slight discoloration and by the end of the week, large areas of your lawn have been lost to the disease.



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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Emerald Ash Borer: Treatment, Damage, and Important Facts for Lehigh, Northampton and Bucks County, PA Residents

Since it was first detected in Detroit in 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer pest has been systematically destroying ash trees everywhere it travels. And now, Emerald Ash Borer is in PA—specifically in Lehigh and Northampton counties. While it’s been five years since the pest was first discovered in Bucks County, it was only just officially discovered in the Lehigh Valley in 2016.



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Thursday, July 6, 2017

7 Notorious Summer Lawn Weeds in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA

Few things are more frustrating in lawn care than the resilience of weeds. All weeds are a nuisance, but summer lawn weeds seem particularly difficult to control. The hot and dry weather typically means your grass has extra stress and may not be at its healthiest. That can make it easier for summer weeds to begin popping up and taking over. 

Unfortunately, summer weeds tend to be hardy and can thrive even when growing conditions are not optimal. They can also spread rapidly. If you don’t get them under control, they can really take over a property in only a short amount of time. 



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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 Lawn Maintenance Tips for a Thick, Green Lawn in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA

The pursuit of a lush green lawn can quickly become frustrating when the desired results are not being achieved. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or you’re using a lawn maintenance service in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA, if you feel like there is effort going into your lawn but you’re not getting the pay off you desire, chances are you’re getting fed up.

The truth is that achieving a thick, green lawn requires a combination of basic lawn maintenance practices with some lesser-known tips and tricks. It’s a bit more complex than most people realize. Even a lot of lawn care professionals get in the habit of doing things a certain way and never change it up.



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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Why Do Lawn Care Companies Insist on Grub Control?

Grubs, which is the collective name for several species of beetles in the larval stage, are tiny creatures that have the power to do a lot of damage to your lawn. While Japanese Beetles are probably the most well-known species, Northern Masked Chafer (which are nocturnal and not seen commonly because of that characteristic) and European Chafer beetles are also a problem in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA.

When you’re investing in lawn care, the last thing you want is to have grubs come in and destroy your turf. Although some people assume they don’t need grub control as part of their lawn care services because they haven’t seen any, the problem with grubs is that you often don’t begin to see the damage until it’s severe. 



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Thursday, June 8, 2017

11 Weed Control Tricks All Lawn Care Services Should Use in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, PA

The saying goes that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence—but what if it is? Not metaphorically but in real life. Is your neighbor’s lawn greener than yours?

You might feel like you’re doing absolutely everything you need to have the perfect lawn and yet just next door your neighbor has a weed-free lawn while yours is scattered with troublesome weeds. Whether you do your own lawn care or you utilize a service, there’s probably nothing that annoys you more than weeds popping through.

What is your neighbor’s weed control trick?



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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How Much Does Lawn Care Cost in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, PA?

If you’ve never worked with a lawn care company before you may have no clue what to expect to pay for services. Unfortunately there is no simple answer to the question, “How much does lawn care usually cost?” Even right here in the Lehigh Valley, lawn care prices can vary dramatically.

The cost of lawn care is dependent upon a variety of factors including products used, methodologies, and even what treatment options are included in a package. Comparing two companies side-by-side could be like comparing apples and oranges. There are certainly valid reasons why one company might cost more. The differences between companies and services are worth exploring.



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Monday, May 22, 2017

The Best Lawn Care Services in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, PA (An Honest Review)

The process of finding a lawn care service can be overwhelming. That’s because there are a lot of choices and they’re often all very different. Even right here in the Lehigh Valley, the best lawn care services in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA are quite varied.

On the outside, it may seem as though lawn care services are all the same but the truth is that everything from what they offer, to the level of training of their technicians, to even professionalism can differ drastically. It’s absolutely worth putting in the time to research the options and know what you’re getting for your investment.



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Friday, May 12, 2017

The Three Main Pillars of Tree Removal and Management: Review, Repair, Replace


The following blog post on tree cutting management brought forth many new thoughts and ideas into my head with regard to tree removal and cutting, so I thought I would share this very well written article  with my followers here on Blogger. The original author, goes into great detail on the three main pillars of tree care, namely, review, repair and replace.

I found the information below focused mainly on advising tree care and pruning service professionals the best ways and procedures to utilize for keeping happy customers and clients. No one likes cutting down a tree for no good reason due to the fact it takes so long for a mature tree to develop. This is why tree repair is so valuable to learn and important to implement when the situation calls for repairing a tree or group of trees.

 

This is common-sense protocol that will serve your customers well.

All photos in this article by: John C. Fech









 Much of the arboricultural profession involves providing up-to-date practices that encourage tree health in the landscape. Sure, marketing, customer service, staff management and training are equally important, but at the basic core, the principles of implementing the tree care practices capable of facilitating tree health are what separates the professional arborists from the hackers — also known as “2 Guys and a Chain Saw.”

In terms of existing trees of mature size on a property, the three-step procedure of “Review, Repair and Replace” is common-sense protocol that can go a long way toward your company’s success and building long-term, lasting relationships with customers.



Review

To stay on the cutting edge and move forward in a positive manner, taking a step back and implementing an honest site evaluation will pay big dividends.

This is a four-part procedure. First, a revisiting of planting plans is called for, both on large (campus grounds, estates, shopping malls, etc.) and residential properties. Defects, such as cracks in major limbs and trunks, should be noted in the review.

This should be completed in consultation with the property owner, noting the planting dates, species installed and projected future plantings.

Keeping diversity in mind as a guiding principle will help provide desirable features of fall/winter color, spring/summer blooming, disease resistance and reliability of adapted trees.

Next, a thorough inspection of the current plantings should be conducted. Insect infestations and disease infections are obvious items to note, but carrying the endeavor to the next level of hazard awareness will help to create support from the property owner — for example, pointing out defects and “almost” or “soon-to-be” defects that are present and should be dealt with soon.



Cracks, rubbing branches, decay, codominant leaders, basal root plate issues, leaning and stem girdling roots are flaws to identify and discuss with the tree owner.

After documenting flaws, hazards and defects in the trees themselves, it’s logical to point out the potential nearby targets of valuable objects and human occupation or activity.

The consequences of trees or tree parts falling on the targets can be substantial. It’s the duty of a professional arborist to do both. Fortunately, making these specific conditions known is not only an observational activity, it’s also an opportunity to provide profitable tree care for the client.

Review also extends to an evaluation of the current plant health care treatment program being provided for the customer. Is it a call and respond approach, where you just sit back and let the work come to you? Or is it a proactive, pest scouting, soil modification and moisture monitoring approach? The latter is much more proactive and conducive to overall tree success.


Repair

Some trees can be repaired, others fall into the “watch and monitor” category and some fall into the “remove” group. In general, the sooner a tree defect can be identified, the better.

Pruning to correct codominant leaders early in a tree’s life is an important part of repair.

The ones that are most appropriate in this classification are co-dominant leaders in the first three years of a tree’s life, crossing and rubbing branches and control of certain pests, such as borers and apple scab. A program of monitoring with frequent scouting activities is an integral part of tree repair, with the goal being spotting these defects in a timely manner.



In addition to the pruning of defective tree parts, temporary stabilization of weak branch structure should be considered on a short-term basis, generally one year or less. Cabling and bracing procedures and installing rods can aid in certain situations. The most common scenarios are ones where funds to remove or repair a tree are not immediately available, or where a party or wedding is going to take place in the weeks following an inspection – the mess that a tree removal can make is not acceptable in these cases. 

Trees that have been leaning for quite sometime should be completely replaced and is unfortunately usually the only real solution to the problem.

Leaning trees usually need replacement for a proper fix.


Here, it’s the duty of the arborist to inform the property owner that temporary actions are short-term solutions and the very act of this type of tree work puts the owner and the neighbors or visitors on notice that a hazardous tree exists in the landscape.

Repair also includes vital underground structures as well. The rhizosphere is crucial to the overall health of a tree and appropriate measures taken to bring it as close to a forested condition are very helpful. One such action is to aerate the soil and turfgrass surrounding a tree and apply compost and/or mulch. Several passes of the core cultivator are the best procedure, especially if the tines are 4 inches apart or greater. 

Applications should be made in a frequent, light manner, such as every season with 0.25 inches of compost or 1 inch of wood chips. Expanding the area of mulched surface to separate trees from turf and improving soil organic matter and other soil conditions as mulch decomposes over time are additional, positive steps.

Mulch expansion at base of tree.







Replace

Unfortunately, tree repair can’t solve all problems in the landscape.
Defects such as basal root plate injuries, leaning trees, tree bark damage, heartwood decay and cracks simply can’t be repaired. Once these have crossed the line of safety for leaving them on the property, they must be removed. 

The most effective approach in the long term is to inform the client as to why the removal is necessary using unbiased and third-party resources, such as ones from the International Society of Arboriculture or Nebguide G2111 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “Tree Hazard Awareness.” These can be printed and left with the customer and discussed with them at the appropriate time.

Another step to soften the blow of tree removal is the arborists’ willingness to work with a certified landscape designer to select the right tree and location on the property for replacement. In these situations, taking the purpose of the tree into account, positive and negative attributes of a species, pest resistance, choice of species that promote diversity in the landscape, adequate space for the eventual size and willingness to partner with them on a long-term basis for the health and benefits of the replacement tree will go a long way toward amelioration of the loss.



Once the appropriate species has been chosen, proper planting procedures are critical to success. 

These include extensive loosening of soils, modification (if feasible) to the entire eventual root system and depth of planting at, or slightly above, grade.

Good follow-up care in first year is not only a profit center for the business of tree care, it’s an important set of actions for long-term successful tree establishment. These steps include irrigation for moist soils, proper depth of mulch to reduce weed/grass competition, keeping mowers and other equipment away from trunk and pruning to remove crossing limbs only.

I’m often asked about fertilization when it comes to early-life tree care. My response is almost always probably not, as growth doesn’t equal tree health. The goal is not growth – it’s establishment of a laterally spreading, extensive root system that will support the tree structurally and have the capacity to extract nutrients and moisture as the tree grows.

When trees are fertilized in the first few years of establishment, they tend to use up precious stored carbohydrates and sugars at the expense of retaining them for long-term pest resistance and drought tolerance.
  
About the Author John C. Fech
John C. Fech is an ISA-certified arborist, a PNW-ISA certified tree risk assessor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a frequent contributor. You can reach him at planttalker@gmail.com.