Dig Deeper with Soil Testing from Simply Green

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Clump of grass and dirt on white surfaceIf you’ve ever seen a spy film, you know that having the proper intel before starting a mission is the key to success. (Wearing a truly excellent tuxedo and having a martini in hand doesn’t hurt, either.) But tuxedos aside, people say “Knowledge is power” for a reason! Having the facts lets you know how to respond to a problem efficiently and effectively. That’s why we offer soil testing as one of our Atlanta lawn care services

Soil Testing Benefits 

What is soil testing?

Soil testing is a service in which we take samples of the soil in your yard and test for nutrient and pH levels. If soil pH is outside of the normal range, it can cause a dearth of vital nutrients like iron and phosphorus that your plants need to stay healthy. Different plants have different optimal pH and nutrient levels, so knowing a baseline for your soil can help you determine the best way to amend the soil for bigger, brighter blooms and happier plants. For instance, veggies, flowers, and grasses typically do best in soil that measures slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0-6.5. Some plants, like azaleas, need more acidic soil to reach their potential. Others, like hydrangeas, can change color based on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. The more acidic the soil, the bluer the blooms. If the soil is more alkaline, the flowers will turn purple or even pink!

We provide a detailed analysis of your soil, which allows us to further customize your program with the optimal services for your specific yard. Fall is a great time to conduct a soil test for your lawn. Nutrients or treatments administered this fall and winter, based on recommendations from your soil test, will allow the soil’s pH and nutrient levels to have time to adjust before your lawn and plants come out of dormancy in the spring. 

How can I get my soil tested in Atlanta? 

If you’re interested in getting a soil test, give us a call at 770-923-0387 or fill out our contact form and we’ll get in touch with you! Our soil testing service is $25. Don’t wait too long—take advantage of this perfect time of year for soil testing and learn what your lawn needs now to thrive come springtime. 

We can take and test as many samples as you want, so you can get a picture of what your lawn, trees, shrubs, and landscape plants need. 

If you have ever wondered why a particular planting is not thriving in your yard, soil testing can help identify the issue and point to the proper treatments to fix it. (Soil testing should not be done if the soil is wet or if it has been fertilized recently, as these factors can throw off the accuracy of the test.)

April Showers: Lawn Care Tips for Georgia’s Rainy Season

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Rain droplets on grassMarch, April, and June are rainy months, and if you don’t know how to deal with all that water it can wreak havoc on your lawn. While plenty of rain is certainly better than the alternative, you need to know how to keep your landscaping looking great no matter how much precipitation comes your way. Enter Simply Green. Our Atlanta lawn care company is passionate about keeping our customers’ lawns lush, green, and thriving, and we’re happy to share some of our best lawn care tips with you. 

Keep reading to learn how to keep your lawn healthy during heavy rain, and be sure to contact us for any of your residential lawn care needs. 

Rainy Season Lawn Care Tips

Rain, rain, go away! How to solve drainage problems.

No, yelling demands at the clouds isn’t going to help, but you do need some way for the water to leave your yard, rather than settling into low-lying areas and standing stagnant for hours or days on end. Allowing this standing water to persist can be very damaging, not only to your grass and other plants, but also because it invites mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love shallow, standing water as it makes a great place to lay their eggs. 

So, what can you do about a poorly draining yard? There are several options, but which one you choose depends on your unique situation. 

  • Install a drain. You might be surprised at how simple it is to install a french drain in your yard. While labor-intensive, it will make a world of difference in your enjoyment of your yard and the health of your grass, and if done properly, it should last from 30 to 40 years. 
  • Re-grade the yard. Grading involves creating a slope to direct water away from the foundation of your house and other areas, instead diverting it to a drain, gutter, or other area that can handle the excess water.
  • Create a dry creek bed. Dry creek beds are a practical and beautiful way to deal with excess water. There are tons of great ideas for DIY dry creek beds out there, and some are so attractive you’ll appreciate the visual appeal they add almost as much as the drainage!

Breathe easy with lawn aeration. 

Another cause of standing water in yards is soil compaction. Over time, rain, foot traffic, and gravity itself can cause the soil to get tamped down so tightly that it’s hard for water to enter the soil. Instead of penetrating the ground and filtering through soil and rock, it just flows (or sits) on the surface. The problem of soil compaction is even more prevalent around Atlanta, where it’s common to have very dense red clay soil.  The best course of action if you have either of these problems is to have your lawn aerated.
Lawn aeration is one of the services we provide here at Simply Green. The process removes plugs of soil, clearing the way for water to absorb into the soil, as well as allowing for more air flow. Core aeration literally helps your lawn breathe easier! 

Winter Lawn Care in Georgia: What to Expect

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winter lawn care in GeorgiaWondering 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 Georgia 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 in Georgia

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 winter in Georgia

  • 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? Concerned about winter lawn care in Georgia? 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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how to get rid of fire antsIf 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 they have got to go, how do you actually get rid of fire ants? 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 getting rid of 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. 

Helping Your Lawn Fall into Winter

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After a dry and hot summer full of wishing for cooler temperatures, we are starting to feel a change in the air. The trees in the skyline are beginning to change color (at least some of them). The nights have begun getting longer and layering has become a part of getting dressed every day. These are signs that winter is coming. How do we prepare? We throw on a pot of chili, warm some apple cider, and get in front of our fireplace. Outside of our house, we bring in our hanging plants, empty and unscrew our outdoor hose, pull down any hanging branches, and clear gutters of fallen leaves. How is the best way to prep your lawn for winter? Well, we are here to tell you.

How to Prep Your Lawn for an Atlanta Winter

These next couple of weeks when you should be prepping your turfgrass management program to promote a smooth transition into dormancy and a richer green-up next spring. What does that mean? Follow these tips and your lawn will easily transition between seasons and will be ready to pop back up healthy and strong next spring.

Just like different flowers, different types of grass must be cared for differently. For this reason, we have separated the tips by grass type.

Below, we have helpful tools for prepping Warm Season Turf-Bermuda and Zoysia grass versus Cool Season Turf-Fescue grass but you can always contact us for any other questions you may have.

Warm Season Turf-Bermuda

    • Raise cutting height by ½ inch
      • This grass does not need to watered frequently, but when you do water it, make sure to water deeply. You want to give it enough water to completely saturate the root.
      • To reduce evaporation, try to irrigate in the early mornings or evenings.
      • At Simply Green Lawn Care, we are applying pre-emergence to prevent weed growth. In order to be activated and to ensure it prevents winter weeds, pre-emergence needs to be watered in at least ½ inch.
    • Mulch grass clippings instead of bagging.

Cool Season Turf-Fescue grass

      • When the temperatures are dropping and the seasons are changing, this grass begins to grow. It is important to keep it watered.
      • September and October are the best months to aerate and seed fescue lawns. In order for the seed to germinate and grow, the soil must be kept moist 7 days a week.
      • At Simply Green, we’re applying starter fertilizers to fescue lawns. In order for it to be activated, it must be watered.

Although we have given you some pointers on how to prep your lawn for the winter months, we are more than happy to help with any of your Atlanta lawn care needs. We can handle anything from lawn care to core aeration and fire ant control. Check out our website or contact us with any questions. We hope you and your lawn stay warm and cozy in these upcoming winter months.

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! 

Georgia’s Most (Un)Wanted: Common Lawn Weeds

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Common lawn weeds in GeorgiaIf you’ve worked hard to create a beautifully lush lawn, you know how frustrating it can be when weeds crop up. Read on to learn the most common lawn weeds in Georgia (and how to get rid of them) from our team at Simply Green Lawn Care

The Most Common Lawn Weeds in Georgia

  • Clover – Clover is pretty cute for a weed, but unfortunately it can wreak havoc on your lawn! This weed grows in patches that can take over your yard before you know it. Be careful not to contaminate your grass clippings with it, as this can allow the clover to spread.
  • Dandelions – Another contender for cutest weed, dandelions can nevertheless be an annoying lawn pest. Blowing the wispy seeds off a dandelion is a hallmark of childhood in Georgia, but unfortunately the same thing that makes them irresistible to kids also makes them adept at spreading throughout your lawn. 
  • Bluegrass – Bluegrass infestations are particularly insidious because the weed is perennial (meaning it grows at all times of the year) and the prominent seed structure of the weed means that it re-seeds itself. 
  • Yellow Nutsedge – At first, yellow nutsedge isn’t that noticeable in your lawn, appearing much like a grass. However, once it’s established, you’ll see that this weed grows unsightly yellow or brown seed heads. Yellow nutsedge is able to reproduce by seeds, creeping rhizomes, and tubers, making it a very effective invasive plant. 
  • Crab Grass –  No list of Georgia weeds is complete without crab grass. This lawn weed is ugly and tenacious, even managing to grow in cracks in your driveway or walkway, between bricks, and wherever else it can find footing. 

The best way to fight weeds is through expert weed control and fertilization. At Simply Green Lawn Care, we offer Atlanta lawn care services designed to prevent weeds through application of pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. We also make sure your grass stays healthy (which is an important weed control element in its own right) by applying fertilizer, lime, etc. as needed throughout the year. Ready to weed out the invaders in your lawn? Schedule your Atlanta lawncare estimate with us today! 

How Integrated Pest Management Protects Your Shrubs and Trees

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integrated pest management We 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 (IPM)?

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 integrated pest management 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

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.