PRFCT Tips

Tagged with "Pesticides"

Bat house

Bats Are Good Guys

October 27, 2016

Bats get a bad rap, especially this time of year. Instead of screaming the next time you see one, consider the following:

  • Every night, an insect-eating bat will eat its own weight in bugs. A whole colony? Hundreds of pounds of bugs a night. More bats = fewer mosquitos in your yard, fewer pests in your garden, fewer pesticides sprayed.
  • Bats eat more than bugs. Around the world, fruit- and pollen-munching bats are important pollinators and seed dispersers.
  • Installing a bat house (see photo above) is a great way to encourage these furry flying friends to take up residence on your property.
  • Using pesticides is not. Pesticides, especially insect sprays, limit the amount of bugs and other healthy food for bats to eat. Pesticides also build up in bats' little bodies over time, which has been linked to immunosuppression and endocrine disruption.
Lawn soil

Is Your Lawn Pickled?

May 25, 2016

Worried about thatch? If you're fertilizing PRFCTly, you don't have to be.

Thatch is a naturally occurring layer of decaying material that accumulates in soil. A ½" layer of thatch is healthy. It acts as insulation for soil and roots and a cushion for your kids' knees when they fall on the grass.

Thatch build-up is not caused by the presence of grass clippings. In fact, having organic material like grass clippings on your lawn feeds the same microbes that remove excess thatch from your soil.

Problems occur when soil is pickled by the salts and acids in chemical fertilizers and pesticides, preventing the natural composting process from taking place. Material builds up, resulting in a thick layer of thatch that attracts pests and creates conditions for fungus to spread.

Instead, prevent thatch build-up by fertilizing your lawn with natural fertilizers like compost tea and, of course, grass clippings.

mosquito

They buzz. They bite. They suck, literally.

Mosquitos are they last pests you want swooping in while you’re trying to relax in your backyard on a summer evening. So, make sure they don't see your lawn as an open invitation.

The most effective way to control mosquitos is to get them before they grow into bloodsucking adults. Overwatering your lawn and landscape encourages water to gather, and subsequently encourages mosquitos to breed. Target their breeding grounds by eliminating that source of standing water.


Refrain from broadcast pesticide sprays for mosquitos. These sprays are short lasting, kill pollinators, and are harmful to children and pets.

Our advice: Water seldom, water deep. That method will provide your landscape with the moisture it needs during the summer months, while discouraging mosquitos from calling your backyard home

crabgrass

You have to hand it to crabgrass. The pesky weed certainly knows how to take advantage of an opportunity. Healthy grass guards itself against weeds. But, when grass becomes distressed, take for instance by the summer heat, crabgrass wastes no time moving right in to bare spots.

Crabgrass thrives in conditions that turf grass cannot tolerate—hot, compacted, or poor soil. It especially loves the warm edges of sidewalks and pavement, and will quickly take advantage of any bare patches in your lawn.

What to do? Feeding, over seeding, and aerating your lawn this fall is key to preventing crabgrass next summer. Crabgrass seeds require plenty of light to germinate and will not be able to compete with your well-established, healthy turf.

For those hot spots near pavement, try using a heat-tolerant ground cover or crushed stone.

The PRFCT way to curb its spread is to take away its opportunity.

Start in the summer by getting rid of crabgrass before it goes to seed. Remove small patches with boiling water or by pulling it out at the root. Alternatively, there are toxin-free, vinegar-based products available in stores. 

Corn gluten is often recommended as an organic crabgrass pre-emergent, but studies on its effectiveness have been mixed. Precise timing is key to its success. Since corn gluten is an expensive treatment that can be hard to get right, we generally do not recommend it.

These strategies will hold you over until the fall when it is time to take steps to prevent crabgrass from returning. 

slug

Something slimy slithering through your garden? Slug and snail season is back. These pests can often wreak havoc on lawns and landscapes. While a nuisance, the good news is they can easily be controlled with safe, non-toxic methods: 

  • Watering: Snails and slugs thrive in high humidity, damp conditions. Frequent watering, and areas of standing water, creates an ideal environment for slugs and snails. Deeper, infrequent watering make your lawn less hospitable for these pests. 
  • Shade: Slugs and snails love shaded areas to hide during the heat of the day. Eliminating shady spots makes your landscape less welcoming. 
  • Traps: Trapping with natural methods such as melon rind, sugar water, or beer can be effective in small areas. However, please note these methods require constant upkeep and removal of dead pests.
  • Baiting: Slug baits containing carbaryl or metaldehyde are highly toxic to children and pets! CHECK THE LABEL! Baits containing iron phosphate are safe to use around pets and children, pick them instead. Try baiting right after watering your garden, when snails and slugs are most active.

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