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ARMYWORM ALERT

Posted by Lora Zibman in Lawn | 0 comments

We have been alerted that the “marching soldiers” are back “In Force” this season!!  So, check for armyworms now, especially in newly laid Bermuda sod! Armyworm They love Bermuda lawns, but can attack other varieties as well. The worrisome creatures hatch larvae deep within the soil. They are most active early and late in the day, spending the hotter hours down near the soil in the shade. Every 2 to 4 days, the larvae hatch beginning a new batch of soldiers trying to destroy your lawn. Be aware, although not present at first glance, the sod could have thousands of the little larvae in the sod just days away from becoming a turf eating machine.....SO DO NOT ASSUME THEY ARE NOT THERE.  Keep a constant eye for the first sign of these worms! If there is any doubt about whether worms are present, pouring soapy water on the grass (1/2 oz. dish washing soap/gallon water) will bring them up quickly. Heavily infested turf will also have visible greenish-black fecal pellets on the soil surface. If not treated, the larvae will continue to reproduce and can move onward in an unbelievable pace of utmost destruction. Army worms get there name because there could be 20 today and 10,000 tomorrow!!! Treatment:  Treat sod immediately on first sign of armyworms!!  Spray with chemicals such as liquid “Sevin”.  Irrigate before treating to move the armyworms out of the thatch.  Treat in late afternoon, when the worms are likely to begin feeding.  If possible, mow before you treat and then do not mow for 3 days after treatment. Please note: "They rarely kill grass." They are leaf eaters and they will go to wherever there are leaves. New sod is a magnet to army worms because of the clean, nutritious value. They will travel from yard to yard until all grass is consumed. Also, please be aware that these worms can be brought in from shrubs, trees, and pine straw, and can migrate from wooded areas in the vicinity. The lawn will survive and rejuvenate, because the worms only eat the leaf.

Do Something Special This Mother’s Day

Posted by Lora Zibman in Garden, Lawn | 0 comments

Mother's Day Gift Spring is here, and there’s less than a month to find the perfect gift for that special lady to let her know how much you care.  We know there is no possible way to pay her back for everything she’s done for you, but here are a few landscape gift ideas that would make a good start for Mother's Day. Flowering Plants:  This year, instead of the traditional flower bouquet that doesn't last, why not give her flowers that will be enjoyed year after year.  Let us help with the landscape design and installation to ensure that the special woman in your life will remember your thoughtfulness for years to come.   Here are just a few shrub and tree suggestions that will be sure to make her smile:  Hydrangea; Gardenia; Jasmine; Fragrant Tea Olive; Sweetshrub; Knockout Rose; Camellia; Butterfly Bush; Snowball Viburnum; Azalea; Flowering Dogwood; Flowering Crabapple;  and Elberta Peach (a must for Georgians). Mother's Day Flowers Yard Maintenance: Yard maintenance can be a chore.  Whether it’s mulching the beds, planting annuals, doing a general clean up after winter, or mowing and edging, SEL can alleviate that stress from her life and free her time for more enjoyable activities.   SEL also offers On-Demand service, so you can purchase a single mow/edge/blow service for as low as $30 a visit, or call us any time you want service – No Contract! Single Issue Landscape Tasks:  We can assist with any landscaping task.  Maybe she has a tree that needs a little TLC, some shrubs that need a good pruning, has always wanted a pathway in her garden, or would really love to have an irrigation system installed.   Whatever the reason, SEL’s team will get the job done right — leaving her pleased with her yard, and one more thing checked off of her to-do list. Mother’s Day is right around the corner so don’t waste any more time.  SEL offers a variety of services that will make any mother feel celebrated on her special day.  This year, give her something this year more special than a bouquet of flowers.  And don’t forget that any of these services might also be a fitting gift for Father’s Day too, which is coming up soon (June 19th).   logo1Now providing residential maintenance/yardwork in: Alpharetta, Berkeley Lake, Cumming, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Suwanee

New Home Construction Landscaping Tips

Posted by Lora Zibman in Lawn | 0 comments

new home constructionAs the Atlanta real estate market heats up, we're beginning to see a lot more new home construction.   If you're one of the lucky ones who recently purchased a newly constructed home, congratulations!  Most new construction homes offer a professionally landscaped yard that looks great at closing.   After you’ve unpacked and settled in, you need to take a long look at your landscaping.  You may find that the shrubs and trees that have been planted are too close to the house.  Sure they look good now, but in just a couple of years, you may be battling them to keep your landscape looking good.

When contemplating the placement of your trees and shrubs, keep in mind the natural form of the mature plant.   If it is planted too close to the house, once it reaches maturity it might not be an enhancement, but a detriment and a lot of maintenance work as well.
One example would be large-leaf hollies, such as Nellie Stevens, that can grow up to 2-3 feet a year, and may mature to a width of 12 feet.   Crape myrtles are also frequently planted too close to a home or driveway.  The dwarf varieties should be at least 4 feet from any structure; other varieties should be 7-8 feet.  Even smaller plants like monkey grass, should not be planted right at the edge of your sidewalk or drive way.  Allow 16 to 18 inches from the edge for the plant to grow into the space. New ConstructionWe also see builders of new home construction planting trees pretty much in the middle of the front yard, or too close to the sidewalk or driveway.   We talked about weak turf in our last blog post.  You may want to move that small tree now, before it is established, to another location if you prefer lawn over a large mulch area. It’s worth the effort to know what is planted in your landscape and how the plants should look when they are mature.  It’s much easier to move them during their first season of planting rather than waiting until the roots are firmly established. If you would like a quote on a maintaining your landscape, or just assistance with a single issue, SEL can help.   We can make the recommendations and do the work to ensure that your lawn and property look their best – winter, spring, summer and fall. SEL SMALL LOGONow providing residential maintenance/yardwork in: Alpharetta, Berkeley Lake, Cumming, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Suwanee

When and Why You Should Aerate Bermuda, Zoysia and Fescue Grass

Posted by Lora Zibman in Lawn | 0 comments

Aerating allows water and nutrition to more easily reach the roots of the turf. Just as important, it loosens soil tension allowing the grass to more easily spread and grow. Think of it as loosening your belt after a large Thanksgiving meal; although you may not look better, you sure feel better. Your lawn, however, will look a lot better and be healthier as a result of regular aeration. Lawns, especially here in the Atlanta area, should be aerated at least once a year because our clay soil is so easily compacted, denying the roots from spreading and receiving nutrients. The only exception would be if you have just planted/sodded your lawn. In that case, you should wait until the lawn is firmly established. Aerate6   Timing is important.   The most common grasses for us in North Atlanta are Bermuda, Zoysia and Fescue. Bermuda and Zoysia are warm season grasses, and actively grow in the summer. While early summer is usually the best time to aerate warm season grass, you can do it right before green-up; early April for Atlanta area residents. Fescue is a cool season grass and actively grows in the fall; it is basically dormant during the hot temperatures of summer. You should wait until the fall to aerate your fescue, and over-seed at the same time.  Unlike bermuda, fescue will not spread on its own, so over-seeding is important. You also want to make sure that weeds are controlled before you aerate, as you don’t want to spread weed seeds.   Aerating before you reseed or fertilize your lawn will help to ensure that the seed/fertilizer will penetrate the soil. aerate5If your soil is hard, you may want to water the lawn to make it easier and more effective prior to aerating, just make sure that the soil is not too wet to make aerating ineffective. The best type of aerator to use is one that pulls “plugs” of dirt out instead of just poking slices or holes in the dirt. For aesthetics, the secret is to aerate right before mowing so the yard doesn’t look as ragged and torn.   You can leave the plugs on the lawn and let them “melt”, or you can be really on the ball and drag around a piece carpet or fencing afterwards to break them apart. If you would like a quote on a maintaining your landscape, or just assistance with a single issue, SEL can help   We can make the recommendations and do the work to ensure that your lawn and property look their best – winter, spring, summer and fall.   SEL SMALL LOGONow providing residential landscape/yardwork in: Alpharetta, Berkeley Lake, Cumming, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Suwanee

Weak Grass Solutions for Those Living in Mature Subdivisions

Posted by Lora Zibman in Garden, Lawn | 0 comments

Trees that were planted years ago and fit in the yard so beautifully back then, have grown bigger and now have killed the turf areas beneath them. We see this problem in as much as 75% of all yards in mature subdivisions! It’s just a brutal fact of nature - trees and turf cannot coexist. Look around the forest and think about what you see; usually it’s just mulch and not much else, other than a few shade-loving, very tenacious little plants. The roots that sustain the tree, and the shade the tree provides, simply win the battle so the turf dies off little by little making your yard look awful. There are solutions. First and foremost, remove the low branches in order to raise the canopy and let more light make it to the turf. Many times you can simply do this and enlarge the mulch ring around the tree as the tree grows to solve the problem.

Tree Ring

Weak Grass

  Sometimes the position of the tree and the turf that is killed affect entire sections of landscape. When this is the case, you have to be realistic and creative, and change the bed lines to abandon the weak or dead turf, and replace it with mulch or pine straw. Use marking paint or an unrolled garden hose to help you play with different configurations for the new bed lines. Try and be proactive and plan for further tree growth when creating/re-establishing new bed lines.
Reconfig Bed

Weak Grass

Next you’ll have to wait until the grass greens up in the spring so you can spray whatever grass or weeds survived under the mulch with Roundup. If you miss some grass, you can always spray it again later. You will be amazed at how crisp and clean the yard looks again when there is clear demarcation between the grass and beds. The most extreme solution would be to have the tree removed. In some cases, this may be the best solution if you favor lawn space, but it’s worth to try other solutions first. If you would like a quote on a maintaining your landscape, or just assistance with a single issue, SEL can help   We can make the recommendations and do the work to ensure that your lawn and property look their best – winter, spring, summer and fall.   SEL SMALL LOGONow providing residential landscaping/yard work in: Alpharetta, Berkeley Lake, Cumming, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Suwanee

Getting Ready for Spring: Liriope

Posted by Lora Zibman in Garden, Lawn | 0 comments

Liriope BOrder Liriope (also known as Monkey Grass) can enhance your landscape as either a border or weed-resistant ground cover. SEL uses a lot of liriope in our commercial and residential landscaping installations throughout the Southeast. There are many varieties of liriope; Liriope Spicata is an aggressive spreading ground cover, while Liriope Muscari basically stays where you plant it. One of our favorites is Big Blue. Liriope is hearty, survives in wet and dry conditions, thrives in varying light conditions, serves as greatLiriope Ground Cover erosion control, and is evergreen. If you have liriope in your landscape, now is the time to trim them up for new Spring Growth.   The easiest way is to set you your mower to its highest setting to cut off the tattered leaves. Fresh, beautiful foliage will quickly regrow in March.   SEL SMALL LOGO Now providing residential landscaping/yardwork in: Alpharetta, Berkeley Lake, Cumming, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Suwanee

I Like Big Blooms – I Cannot Lie

Posted by Lora Zibman in Garden, Lawn | 0 comments

Sitting on the porch and watching the birds and butterflies with a big glass of sweet tea (or beverage of your choice) is a favored way to pass the time. Butterfly bushes will not only attract butterflies and moths, but they also attract humming birds and other beneficial insects.

butterfly bush

Butterfly Bush Blooms

If you love your butterfly bush, you’ll like them even more with bigger blooms. How do you get bigger blooms? Pruning is the answer. Butterfly bushes are very hearty plants and grow rapidly, so unpruned bushes can quickly become unruly. You can do general pruning (removing dead/broken limbs back to the point of origin), lateral trimming, and trimming to shape any time. A more severe pruning should be done in the winter months, just before spring growth begins. If you reduce the size of the plant now to one-half or even two-thirds, it will encourage new growth in the spring. If you would like a quote on maintaining your landscape, contact SEL.   We can make the recommendations and do the work to ensure that your lawn and property look their best – winter, spring, summer and fall.   Now providing SEL SMALL LOGOresidential landscaping/yardwork in: Alpharetta, Berkeley Lake, Cumming, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Suwanee

Pampas Grass / Maiden Grass Pre-Spring Care

Posted by Lora Zibman in Garden, Lawn | 0 comments

If you’ve left your ornamental grass tall during the winter, now is the time to cut them back before new blades begin to grow into the old ones.   Pampas grass should be cut down to 12-24 inches. Fountain or Maiden grass should be cut down to about 10 inches. If you wait too long and see new growth, be sure to trim above the new growth.

Picture1

Maiden and Pampas Grass

If the plant has gotten too large for the space or if you see a dead spot in the middle of the plant mid-Spring, it may be time to divide.
Some tips when cutting back ornamental grass:
  • Be sure to use gloves and wear a long-sleeved shirt as the blades are sharp
  • You can use a bungee cord or a tightly knotted rope to gather all the blades to make it easier to cut
  • Depending upon the girth of the plant, you can use anything from shears to a power cutting tool for the trimming (remember to wear protective eye wear)
  • Pull any dead blades from the center of the plant.
  SEL SMALL LOGONow providing residential landscaping/yardwork in: Alpharetta, Berkeley Lake, Cumming, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Suwanee

Getting Ready for Spring: Renewal Pruning for Overgrown Shrubs

Posted by Lora Zibman in Garden, Lawn | 0 comments

Do have you some shrubs that have become overgrown and no longer fit into your landscape?   Instead of digging them out and replacing them, consider severely pruning them. Most broad-leaf shrubs can be cut back severely (10-12 inches from the ground) now and will reward you with plenty of new foliage this summer. Not all shrubs can be severely pruned, such as boxwood, so be sure to do your research before pruning.   Some plants that can be severely pruned are:

  • Buford Hollysevere pruning
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Cleyera
  • Abelia
  • Nandina
  • Ligustrum
  • Azalea
If you would like a quote on maintaining your landscape, contact SEL.   We can make the recommendations and do the work to ensure that your lawn and property look their best – winter, spring, summer and fall.       SEL SMALL LOGONow providing residential landscaping/yardwork in: Alpharetta, Berkeley Lake, Cumming, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Suwanee

WIN Free Lawn Service in Cumming, Suwanee & Alpharetta, GA

Posted by Lora Zibman in Contests, Garden, Lawn | 0 comments

We're excited to announce our 2016 Drawings for FREE lawn service to three lucky Cumming/Alpharetta/Suwanee, GA residents.   Click here to enter the drawing. LandscapeWe will have three separate drawings running through March, so be sure to enter each time.  Our first drawing will conclude at midnight on Thursday, March 10, 2016. Winners will be announced on our Facebook Page, so be sure to "like" us. GOOD LUCK!