PRFCT Tips

Sprinkler on lawn

When temps (finally!) start warming up in April, you may be tempted to start your summer irrigation regimen. But spring is the season to give your lawn a little tough love.

Why wait? Letting your lawn dry out in spring encourages it to grow deeper, stronger roots that will be better able to withstand periods of drought once summer rolls around. Too much water at any time of year creates conditions that promote disease, mosquitos, and ticks.

Until the ground dries to about 4" deep in late June, most lawns will be PRFCTly happy with spring rainfall. April showers bring May flowers...April irrigation brings fungus and bad bugs.

Need help knowing when to turn on your irrigation? A soil moisture meter is a must-have tool for watering success.

Tags: watering
Clover lawn

St. Patrick's Day is one of our favorite days of the year. Clover is everywhere on March 17! So why are those cute little trifolium so hard to find once spring rolls around?

One hundred years ago, clover was considered a sign of a "healthy" lawn. Diversity was prized and the ideal lawn was sprinkled with flowers. Lawns fertilized themselves naturally with regular boosts of nitrogen from clover and mulched grass clippings.

What changed? Chemical companies found themselves with lots of extra product on their hands after the end of World War II. Some of those products could be turned into fertilizer, and some could be used as herbicides. Marketing teams turned clover into the new enemy, selling consumers herbicides to rid their yards of "weeds" and synthetic fertilizers to replace what those "weeds" supplied naturally. Before long, the uniform, military-style lawn became all the rage.

A lot has changed since the end of World War II, but our lawns are still stuck in their Baby Boomer phase. It's getting harder and harder to find those lucky four-leaved shamrocks. Who's ready for a 21st-century clover revolution?

Clover heart

Dear clover,

Why is "love" at the heart of your name? Because there's so much to love about your lovely green leaves!

1. You fertilize our lawns—for free. No need for synthetic fertilizer when you pull nitrogen from the air and release it back into the soil every time we mow.

2. You stay green under the toughest conditions. Those nitrogen-fixing roots run deep, keeping our lawns lively and lush even in the hottest, driest months.

3. Pollinators love your flowers—and we love pollinators. (We've got tips on avoiding bee stings in clover lawns.)

4. You're the stuff of childhood memories. Doesn't every kid love hunting for your lucky four leaves?

See you in spring!

XOXO,
The PRFCT Team

Icy path in winter

De-icers—even those labeled “natural”—can have nasty side effects. Many products burn pets’ paws, mouths, and throats when ingested. (Just think about the damage they do to concrete and cars…) Most contain salts that damage soil, dehydrate (and kill!) plants and trees, and pollute drinking and surface water.

Is it safe to salt your sidewalk? Not really—most products will have some downside. But slippery sidewalks aren’t safe, either. Instead of risking falls, take the following steps to minimize the impact of de-icer on your landscape, your pets, and the environment:

  • Use the bare minimum. Whenever possible, turn to elbow grease instead of chemicals. Remember: The point of de-icer is to make ice easier to shovel, not remove it completely. Read the product label for recommended application rates, and if possible, use less.
  • Apply de-icer BEFORE the storm hits. Preventing ice from forming requires less product (and elbow grease) than removing it once hardened.
  • Keep de-icing products away from your garden beds. Anything you apply will affect your soil’s composition, potentially damaging your plants.
  • Avoid products containing nitrogen-based urea. While it may be less-toxic for pets than salt, the nitrogen in these synthetic products eventually ends up in nearby bodies of water, contributing to algal blooms and other pollution.
  • Sprinkle bird seed, instead of sand or kitty litter, on ice to improve traction. Seed will not melt snow or ice, but will make pathways less slippery and provide a welcome winter meal for your feathered friends. Sprinkling sand or kitty litter creates a mess and can clog sewers and drains.
  • Put your pups in booties when taking winter walks. In addition to insulating their paws from cold pavement, you’ll protect them from irritation caused by salt and other de-icers. Plus…cute!
Tags: soil health
Common landscape chemicals

What's Going on Your Lawn?

December 21, 2016

Many people never ask whether their landscapers are using chemicals. Are you walking across a toxic lawn to get to your organic vegetable garden?

In many places, landscapers are required by law to inform the person hiring them of any pesticides—natural or synthetic—used on a property. These chemicals are often listed in your contract by brand name and EPA registration number. (All pesticides must be registered with the EPA, but that does not mean they are safe for humans or the environment!)

When your landscaper sends your contract for renewal, take a close look (many people don’t!). See words ending in "–cide"? Long chemical-sounding names that you can’t pronounce? References to "weed and feed" or "broad spectrum" applications? Time to ask your landscapers which chemicals they are using and why, and let them know you want to have a PRFCT landscape.

If they have questions about getting started, send them our way. Please don’t fire them—we want to convert them! With your help, we can transform every landscape professional into a land steward.

Tags: pesticides

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