Eco-Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Your Christmas Tree

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Close up photo of wooden tree ornaments on evergreen tree with white lightsThe holidays are over, the decorations are packed up for another year, and you’re left with a Christmas tree that has seen better days. Once the novelty of “Christmas tree scent” has worn off and the annoyance of vacuuming up the tree’s needles has set in, you’re probably ready to get that tree out of your house ASAP. What should you do with your Christmas tree once the holidays are over? 

Well, as it turns out, there are actually a lot of things to do with a Christmas tree! Whether you decide to return it to nature or get crafty with it, check out these 3 eco-friendly ways to get rid of your Christmas tree

Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Disposal Ideas

Mulch your Christmas Tree.

Pine needles (also known as pine straw) make great mulch for certain areas of your yard. If you have a wood chipper (or can borrow a neighbor’s) you can even turn your tree into wood chip mulch as well! If you don’t want to deal with processing the tree, not to worry—you can recycle it. Just check out these tree recycling opportunities in Fulton and Gwinnett counties to find your nearest dropoff location. Your tree will be turned into mulch and might end up adorning a public flower bed near you. 

Create a wildlife sanctuary. 

Winter can be a hard time for wildlife. If you have enough room, you can sit your undecorated tree outside in the stand to provide shelter for birds. The birds will appreciate a cozy place to get out of the elements, and you can enjoy birdwatching right in your backyard. For bonus bird-points, hang a couple of feeders from the tree, or create “garlands” of pinecones covered in peanut butter and birdseed to decorate the tree. This is a great project to do with kids, especially if they’re a bit sad that the holidays are over. 

Christmas trees also make great fish habitats! Many communities gather Christmas trees to sink in lakes and ponds, especially ones that are man-made and therefore have fairly flat bottoms. The trees give young fish a place to hide from predators, which helps keep the ecosystem of the pond healthy. Check with your county for information on donating your tree.

Use Christmas tree branches as plant stakes. 

If you grow peas, beans, or other legumes in your garden, make sure to keep the branches of your Christmas tree. You can strip the branches of twigs and use them as plant stakes. Legumes thrive when they can climb towards the light, and the knobby, rough shapes of evergreen branches give the shoots plenty of opportunities to grip the stake as they climb. 

However you decide to get rid of your Christmas tree, we hope your year is off to a great start. Give us a call at 770-923-0387 or check out our residential lawn care services to give your yard a head start, so you can enjoy your outdoor spaces more this year.

Winter in Georgia: What to Expect from Your Lawn

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What to expect from your lawn during the winter in AtlantaWondering why you still need lawn care, even in the winter? Learn what to expect from your lawn with these tips for winter lawn care in Atlanta from the landscaping experts at Simply Green.

Winter in Atlanta: Does It Even Count? 

For the most part, we’re lucky with our winters here in Atlanta. Sure, we’ve had some infamous storms like Snow Jam ‘82, Snowpocalypse 2011, Snowmageddon, and a handful of other freakish weather events, but overall, our winters are generally mild and manageable. However, just because we’re not dealing with major snowfall or extremely low temperatures doesn’t mean winter is all sunshine and roses. We’re not in Florida, after all.

Winter can be a rough time for lawns, as many of the common types of turfgrass used in Atlanta go dormant during the winter. These turfgrasses include Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bahia, and Centipede, so if you have one or more of these in your yard, know that it will require more careful management during the winter months. 

What You Need to Know About Winter Lawn Care

Why does grass go dormant? And what is dormancy, anyway? 

Think of dormancy as hibernation or sleep. Just like humans need to rest every day, and bears need to hibernate through the cold winter months, your grass needs a period of dormancy to survive freezing weather. 

Dormancy is your grass temporarily “shutting down” to conserve energy, water, and nutrients. During this time, it turns brown, and it’s much more vulnerable. While summer lawns can generally handle a good amount of foot traffic without sustaining much damage, winter lawns are not able to spring back as easily. This is especially true when there’s frost on the grass. 

How to protect your lawn during the the winter

  • Avoid walking on it as much as possible, especially in the morning when there’s a layer of frost making it extra fragile. If you must let kids and animals run around on the lawn, wait until the frost has melted for the day. 
  • Don’t overwater it. Your lawn still needs water to survive during the winter, but it can’t absorb (or evaporate) nearly as much as it does during the hot summer months. Adjust your sprinkler system accordingly to save water and only give your yard a light watering once a week. 
  • Keep grass clear of leaves, sticks, and other dead plant matter. Removing plant debris from your yard doesn’t just look better, it also protects your grass from suffocation, shade damage, and diseases. 

Looking for an Atlanta lawn care company focused on giving you the healthy, beautiful, lush lawn you’ve always wanted? Give us a call at 770-923-0387 to get an estimate or schedule your lawn treatment.

How to Get Rid of Fire Ants: What Works & What Doesn’t?

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Close up photo of fire antIf you own a home with a yard in Atlanta, chances are you’ve encountered one of the area’s most frustrating pests: fire ants. These ants (and the unsightly anthills they seem to build overnight) are not just annoying, they’re also dangerous. Wondering how to get rid of fire ants? Learn what works (and what doesn’t) from the professionals at Simply Green Lawn Care

Why Destroy Fire Ants? 

Fire ants are a particularly aggressive species of ant that will swarm once disturbed. That means that if you accidentally disturb a nest, you may end up with dozens or even hundreds of bites in a short amount of time. While their painful stings aren’t life-threatening for most adults, about 5% of the population is severely allergic to fire ants, and people have died from anaphylactic shock after being stung. The risk is especially high for young children due to their smaller size, as well as small animals like cats and dogs. 

In addition to threatening our human and non-human family members, fire ants are extremely damaging to livestock and native wildlife, especially ground-nesting birds. As an invasive species, fire ants even harm our native (far less dangerous and destructive) ant species by competing with them for resources. 

How to Get Rid of Fire Ants

So, now that you know why fire ants have got to go, how do you actually get rid of them? That’s where we come in. Our Atlanta lawn care company offers fire ant control that can give you your yard back! Read on to learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to killing fire ants

The Dont’s 

First, let’s get what not to do out of the way. While there’s a time and place for folk remedies, we suggest that you don’t waste your time with these: 

  • Grits 
  • Boiling water
  • Orange peels
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Club soda
  • Gasoline

The problem with most of these is that while they may kill some ants on the surface of the nest, they are not going to harm the queen. As long as the queen and some of her workers survive, they will just move away from the annoyances you’ve presented and rebuild. 

The Do’s

Unfortunately there really aren’t any natural or non-toxic remedies for fire ants. They’re tough and aggressive, so eradicating them requires an aggressive approach. That’s why we recommend the following: 

  • Use a granular insecticide. Our fire ant control service (which you can book as-needed or include in one of our annual lawn care plans) uses TopChoice, a granular insecticide only available to lawn and pest control professionals.
  • Keep the pressure on. Fire ants are resilient, and eradicating them from your yard requires ongoing treatment. If you treat your yard for fire ants and don’t keep up a regular schedule, they can actually come back worse than before. Our fire ant treatment kills existing colonies and prevents the establishment of new colonies for up to a year.
  • Be safe. Many of the insecticides used to treat fire ant infestations are dangerous, and proper application is required. We use TopChoice because it has a high safety profile and is selectively toxic to insects. When applied properly by a trained technician, you can rest easy that your family and pets can safely enjoy your yard again. 

Eyesore No More: How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Your Lawn

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Small white mushrooms growing in grassAs Atlanta’s lawn care experts, we get plenty of questions about all kinds of lawn maladies, from shade damage to turf diseases and more. Our Atlanta lawn care services help to prevent (and if necessary, treat) most lawn problems. However, there’s one condition that isn’t actually a hazard to your lawn’s health – mushrooms! 

Why are mushrooms growing in my lawn?

While some types of fungus can wreak havoc on a lawn, mushrooms are quite harmless to grass. (However, some species may be poisonous to children or animals.) You’ll often see mushrooms pop up after a rainy period because moisture is one of the conditions necessary for their growth. They also require decaying organic material and shade. If those conditions are met – presto! You’ve got mushrooms. Fortunately, getting rid of them is pretty easy. 

How do I get rid of lawn mushrooms?

There are a few different approaches you can take if the mushrooms bother you. First, you can just wait for a few sunny days to dry out your yard, and in turn, wither those mushrooms away. If they’re really an eyesore, you can also get rid of them by mowing your lawn. But of course, the best way to enjoy a mushroom-free yard is simply prevention. 

How do I prevent mushrooms from growing in my yard? 

To prevent mushrooms from popping up in your yard, you need to take away the things that help them thrive. 

  • Help your lawn dry out more quickly by pruning any dense trees or shrubs that are blocking sunlight from reaching the grass. You may also need to address an underlying drainage problem in your yard with grading, drainage systems, or dry creek beds to divert water from those swampy areas that never dry out all the way. 

If you’re ready to take lawn care off your plate and leave it to the experts, check out our Atlanta lawn care specials and contact us for an estimate today! 

How Integrated Pest Management Protects Your Shrubs and Trees

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Backyard patio with landscaping plantsWe deal with a lot of pests here in Atlanta, and most of us are primarily concerned with keeping them out of our homes. However, pest control is important not only for you and your family, but also your landscaping plants! Learn how integrated pest management is an important part of plant healthcare from your friends at Simply Green.

What is integrated pest management?

Integrated pest management is an approach to pest control that focuses on managing pests while posing the least risk to people and the environment. The scope of integrated pest management goes beyond simply removing a pest. Instead, the goal is to preserve the health of the plant or tree, and your landscaping ecosystem as a whole, while mitigating the negative impact of the pest. For instance, some insects and animals (like spiders and bats) actually help control the population of pests like roaches and mosquitoes. Some of the key tenets of integrated pest management include: 

  • Understanding pests’ life cycle, preferences, and behavior
  • Deploying the least toxic methods first, including the responsible use of pesticides
  • Monitoring pest activity and responding accordingly with new methods if needed
  • Viewing your lawn and garden (and the creatures within them) as part of an ecosystem

How can IPM benefit trees and shrubs? 

Foundational landscaping plants like trees and shrubs take a long time to mature, so the disruption of a pest or disease can have long-reaching effects on the ultimate outcome of that plant, sometimes taking years to correct if a problem arises. It’s important to be proactive with healthcare for your plants, so any issues can be addressed as soon as possible and your landscaping plants will be able to reach their full potential. 

Our Atlanta lawn care and plant healthcare services for every season ensure that your landscaping stays healthy and strong for many years to come. Contact us today to request a free estimate

Shrub Pruning Basics for a Beautiful Yard

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Suburban brick house with shrubs and trees along walkwayIt’s summer in Georgia, the season of iced tea on the front porch, kids playing in sprinklers, and backyard cookouts with friends and neighbors. However, early summer is also the time of year to trim many of your shrubs! At Simply Green Lawn Care, we’re the experts in Atlanta lawn care and landscaping, helping Atlanta homeowners cultivate a beautiful environment. Check out our tips on how to prune shrubs for a fresh, clean summer landscape.

Professional Landscaper Tips for Shrub Pruning

  • Get the right equipment – Lopping shears or hedge shears are good for most cuts, although you will want a pruning saw for branches more than 1.5” in diameter. Don’t forget to have your pruning tools sharpened at the end of the season by a professional before oiling and storing for the winter.
  • Understand how shrubs grow – In order to properly shape the plants in your yard, you should know why they grow the way they do and how your cuts affect them. Each branch or twig has a terminal bud which produces a hormone that controls the growth of the lateral buds along the side of the branch. If you cut off the terminal bud, shoots will start to grow from the lateral buds. The most abundant new growth will occur within 8 inches of the pruning cut you’ve made.
  • Say no to stubs – Pruning to the trunk of the tree or shrub, a lateral branch, or a lateral bud releases hormones that allow the tree to quickly heal the “wound” created by pruning. If you just hack off a branch anywhere, you will leave a stub that is not only unsightly, but also makes the plant vulnerable to pests or disease.

For more information about how to prune shrubs and trees, visit the UGA Extension page Pruning Ornamental Plants in the Landscape. Want help keeping the rest of your Atlanta lawn in peak condition? Reach out to us for a consultation and estimate by filling out our contact form!

How to Achieve a Picture-Perfect Lawn

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Lawn Irrigation SystemSummer is nearly here, and the Georgia heat can be rough on your lawn. Thankfully, it’s still possible to get that picture-perfect yard. Here are some Atlanta lawn care tips to get the perfect yard:

  • Mow Correctly – Mowing correctly is of the utmost importance. Make sure you use a nice, sharp blade and cut no more than 1/3 of the height of your grass. You also want to change directions while cutting to create a more even lawn surface.
  • Properly Time Your Fertilizer and Weed Control – It’s not enough to simply fertilize and apply weed killer. You need to apply the right products at the appropriate times. For example, May through August is the perfect time to use a Bio-Stimulant with a micro-package, as this will help your lawn survive the hot summer. This is also the time you’ll want to apply weed control for summer weeds.
  • Core Aeration – Core Aeration is especially important due to our Georgia clay. Core aeration breaks up thatch buildup and allows air, water, and nutrients to get down to your lawn’s roots.
  • Fire Ant Control – We have a fire ant problem in Georgia. Not only are ant mounds unsightly, but they can literally be a real pain. Fire ant bites can even be dangerous to pets and small children. Our fire ant protection also protects against mole crickets, fleas, and ticks!
  • Use Hydretain – This one will also help you save money on your water bill. Hydretain helps your lawn store water and can reduce the need to water by up to 50%.

Achieving the perfect Georgia lawn can be tough, but we’re here to help! Our Atlanta lawn care services include all of the above care and more. Contact us at 770-923-0387 today to get on track to make your lawn as healthy and beautiful as it can be!

Give Your Lawn Some Love During National Garden Month!

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 Closeup of green grassApril is National Garden Month, and while you may think of planting flowers, your Atlanta lawn care is an integral part of your garden. If you have a warm-season lawn and want to breath new life into it this month, consider core aeration to spring into the growing season!

Core Aeration

The best time to aerate your lawn is spring and early summer. So now is the perfect time to schedule your lawn core aeration. But what is core aeration? A core aerator is a machine that creates ½ to ¾ inch holes in your yard. These holes help break up and control thatch buildup and allows air to reach your lawn’s roots.

After aeration, your lawn’s soil will be looser, allowing for more water and nutrients to get to the roots. This will enhance root growth and help decompose thatch, improving your lawn’s health and tolerance to drought. The aeration hole will eventually be covered up by new grass growth as new shoots are produced.

Here in Atlanta, core aeration is especially important due to the high concentration of Georgia clay in the soil and because of our long hot summers. Core aeration also helps fight moss growth, which is very common in our area. Soil compaction leads to poor drainage, resulting in many Altanta lawns becoming havens for moss.

To get the most of your lawn, contact our Atlanta lawn care and landscaping experts. We can help will all your Atlanta residential lawn care and commercial needs (including Atlanta core aeration)! And don’t forget to check out our specials.

How to Prepare Your Lawn for Spring

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Pink peony bloomingPunxsutawney Phil has decreed an early spring, so it’s time to get your Atlanta lawn ready! The flowering trees are already putting on their spring show and we’re noticing the first dusting of pollen, so check out these spring lawn tips to prepare your Atlanta lawn care plan for the growing season here in Georgia.

  • Remove Debris – Start your spring yard prep by getting rid of winter debris. An accumulation of fallen limbs, dead leaves, and yard waste can attract pests, foster fungi growth, and keep your grass from getting enough sun.
  • Core Aeration – Aeration is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it allow airflow to your lawn’s roots, but it also reduces soil compaction.
  • Reseed – This one is simple. If there are any thin or damaged areas of your lawn, you’ll probably need to reseed. When seeding, make sure to select the right grass for your lawn.
  • Fertilize – Depending on your lawn’s soil composition and overall health, fertilization might be needed.
  • Prune – Prune trees and shrubs that are choking out your lawn. If areas of your lawn are in constant shadow, the offending plants may need to be pruned back.
  • Get Help from the Professionals – If you want to make sure your lawn gets the very best care, then contact the professionals!

Looking for an Atlanta lawn care company to take these chores off your to-do list? Simply Green is here to help with Atlanta landscaping and lawn care services to help you cultivate a beautiful, healthy yard – and give you back the time and energy to enjoy it!

What to Expect When Your Warm-Season Lawn Goes Dormant

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Tiger StripesWith the cold weather here to stay, you might start to notice the frigid temperatures affecting your grass. So, what exactly does it mean for your lawn when it goes dormant? First things first, there’s no need to worry. If you’re in the Atlanta area, let Simply Green Lawn Care give you the inside scoop into how to care for your dormant lawn.

Tiger Striping and Browning

When the weather turns cold, your grass will go dormant. This essentially means it’ll stop growing but it is still living. Eventually, the entire lawn will turn brown. But first, you might see what we call tiger striping. This is when sections of grass turn brown while others are still green. This is a very normal part of the process and is nothing to get concerned about.

Avoid Heavy Traffic

Dormant lawns can handle some traffic and will even tolerate being walked on in a moderate amount. But just remember that the heavier the traffic is on your lawn during dormancy, the longer it will take for the bright, vibrant green to come back when the weather warms back up.

Don’t Stop Caring for Your Lawn

If your grass needs to be cut, keep cutting it. You want to make sure you don’t cut it too short so it can properly insulate itself during cold spells, though. An Atlanta lawn care professional like Simply Green can keep an eye on things and let you know when the time is right for a cut, especially after the use of pre-emergent or fertilizer, which changes the needs of your grass.

To find out more, give us a call today. We’d be happy to come out and see what’s going on in your yard!