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!

What Should I Do with Fall Leaves?

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Close-up of yellow fall leaves

Atlanta Lawn Care in the Fall

Fall 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, an Atlanta lawn care company.

  • 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 erode 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!