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 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 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 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 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 lawn 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 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 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 lawn for the growing season here in Atlanta.

  • 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. A 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 change 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!

What Should I do with Fall Leaves?

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Close-up of yellow fall leavesFall is finally here! But with the respite from hot Georgia weather comes piles of fall leaves. Depending on how many trees you have in your yard, this can be a real problem. How can you get rid of fall leaves? Read on to find out!

  • Compost – Composting is a wonderfully environmentally friendly way to get rid of leaves. A good compost requires both carbon (or “brown”) ingredients along with green ones. Dried leaves make a great carbon for composting. Shredding the leaves will make them compost quicker, but this step generally isn’t necessary.
  • Insulation – Leaves can make great insulation for plants. Encircle your fragile plant with wire fencing (chicken wire works great) and fill the space with dry leaves. This can also work with container plants.
  • Mulch – Dried leaves can also make a great mulch (just make sure you’re mulching the right way). The easiest way to mulch your yard with leaves is by running the lawn mower over the leaves and spreading out the leaf clippings. Please note that this only works with relatively small amounts of leaves. Too many leaf clippings can block sunlight from reaching your grass, resulting in damage to your lawn.
  • Family Fun – Okay, it may not be the #1 choice for your lawn, but while you’re raking up those leaves for compost or mulch, take a moment to play in the pile. After all, a pristine lawn is the perfect space to have fun with your family this fall!

When caring for your lawn, Simply Green strive to exceed your expectations every time. For professional Atlanta lawn care services, contact us at 770-923-0387 today!

Get the Most Out of Your Sprinkler System

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Sprinkler spraying water on plantsYour sprinkler system is a crucial part of your landscaping. A properly installed (and maintained) sprinkler system allows you to conveniently irrigate your grass, shrubbery, and trees. Keep your sprinkler system in good shape with these sprinkler system tips from Simply Green Lawn Care.

  • Regular Sprinkler Maintenance – Regularly check to make sure all sprinkler heads are unblocked and are pointed in the proper directions. Also, always be on the lookout for soggy areas of your yard, as this could be a sign of a broken line or leak. You certainly don’t want to pay for extra water that’s only going to damage your plants and lawn.
  • Prep for the Cold Season – It’s important to prepare your system for cold weather. Freezing lines can easily burst in the winter months, resulting in costly repairs. Avoid this by emptying your system and turning it off during winter months when not in use.
  • Don’t Overwater – Overwatering is a waste of money, and it can damage your plants and errode your yard. In addition to being mindful of how much you’re using your sprinkler system, you also need to keep your gutters and downspouts clean. If your gutters are obstructed, overflow from your roof (combined with regular watering) can result in an overwatered lawn. Hydretain is also a huge help with preventing overwatering.
  • Use Hydretain! Hydretain is a new kind of soil treatment. With Hydretain, landscape watering requirements can be reduced by up to 50%, all while decreasing fungus and disease. Hydretain absorbs and stores water, making your watering more efficient.

Call us at 770-923-0387 for more information about Hydretain, to schedule a water management treatment, or for any other Atlanta lawn care services!

Mulching the Right Way

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Close-up of wood chip mulchMulching is important. Proper mulching can help fight weeds and reduce soil erosion. Mulching is also important for the health of many plants. Mulch helps preserve soil moisture, keeps plant cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and can even lead to better aerated soil.

However, if laid incorrectly mulch can damage your plants. Here’s are three tips to correctly use mulch:

  1. Use the right amount. Different plants need different conditions to thrive. Often three inches is required for best results, but this entirely depends on your plants. New beds should have between two and four inches of mulch. However, perennials often only need one or two inches, while most annuals do best with around one inch.
  2. Avoid mulch build-ups. Too much mulch at the base of plants may cause bark decay. It’s important to not use so much mulch that your plants rot. Build-ups can also accidentally create homes for rodents, snakes, and other pests. It’s very important to make sure you don’t over mulch your area.
  3. Consider mulch additives. During the spring and fall months, it might be a good idea to add a pre-emergence herbicide to your mulch. This step can help reduce summer and winter weeds from overtaking your beds.

As you can see, there are a lot of important things to consider when mulching. Knowing how to use mulch (and getting it right the first time) is imperative for the health of your plants. If you want help keeping your Atlanta residential or commercial lawn healthy and looking great all year, then contact us today at 770-923-0387.

Ways to Prevent Invasive Winter Weeds

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Droplets of water on healthy green grassHere in Atlanta, we have the perfect conditions for so many weeds to thrive. Many winter weeds, such as annual bluegrass, can become a real problem. Thankfully, fall is the perfect time to begin treating for winter weeds.

Preventative Winter Weeds Treatment

During the fall months, we find that putting down pre-emergent goes a long way to help prevent invasive winter weeds. Pre-emergent fights weeds before they have a chance to germinate. By inhibiting a key enzyme, pre-emergent can stop weeds while they’re still seeds.

Right now is the perfect time to start fighting these winter weeds because they likely haven’t had time to establish themselves in your yard. If you wait just a couple more months, you’re likely to be fighting an uphill battle, so act now!

Spot Treatments

Aside from pre-emergent, this is one of the most important things you can do for your yard to fight weeds. By directly targeting the weeds that are already present, we can stop weeds before they have a foothold on your yard. Make sure to kill these weeds now before they take over.

Lawn Care

One the best ways to fight weeds is to make sure you have a healthy lawn. The stronger and healthier your grass is, the harder it is for weeds to take over. Regular fertilization can help your grass become more resistant to invaders. Likewise, mowing your yard at the proper height is very important. Many people cut their grass too low, creating thinner spots in their lawns. Not only does this look worse, but it also makes room for weeds to grow. When at the proper height, your grass itself can help shade the soil, preventing weeds from getting the light they need to thrive.

Right now new customers can get their first application for only $25.00 when you join our lawn care program! So take steps now to fight winter weeds in Atlanta and enjoy the beautiful, healthy lawn you’ve always wanted.