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Smart Landscaping Ideas to Get Rid of Common Pests



By Guest Blogger Raymond Web
Just like your home, your yard can get infested with pests. The lawn is one area that is ideal for pests to build their nests. Once they invade the lawn, it becomes fairly easy for them to come inside and infest your home.
Pests come in all types; no matter how big or small your lawn is, they will infest it. If you don’t do anything about it, they will enter your house to damage your property and pose a threat to you and your family.
Common Lawn Pests
Wondering what pests are problematic? Check out our list of common pests.
Ants: Ants are not a direct threat to lawns, but they are a nuisance. Some ants like fire ants build anthills while some ants like carpenter ants infest wood and other items built with wood.
Hornets & Wasps: It is best to keep wasp away from your lawn and your homes. However, before taking any action to address wasp infestation, make sure you know the species. Some species are aggressive, and their stings may cause an allergic reaction in many people. It is recommended to take help from a pest control expert to tackle wasp infestation.
Armyworms: Armyworms are smooth-skinned, about 1 1/2 inches long, striped, and generally are yellow, dark brown, green, or black in color. They feed on grass and create brown patches on them.
Billbugs: These grubs are C-shaped, about 3/8 of an inch long with red-colored heads. They damage the turf in irregular patches.
Burrowing & digging mammals, mice: Moles, gophers, chipmunks, or groundhogs dig the ground and form tunnels. They are also responsible for creating mounds.
Grubs (Chafer grubs, White grubs): Masked chafer grubs eat the roots of lawn grasses, and create irregular patches of brown.
Green June Beetle Grubs: These cream-colored beetles with orange-brown headscreate tunnels in the lawn, which dries the soil and makes it spongy.
Cutworms: Cutworms can have a devastating effect on the plants, including holes in the leaves and fallen plants.
Fleas: Fleas don’t harm the lawns, but they can be a nuisance for people or pets using the lawns.
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes do not damage the lawn, but they can transmit a number of diseases to humans through their bites.
Ticks: These small parasitic arachnids feed in the blood of their host and swell up. They are not a threat to the lawns, but they can cause harm to humans and pets.
Sod webworm: These pests eat the foliage and not roots. Hence they leave the area of the lawn brown or completely bare.
Landscaping Ideas to Keep Your Lawn Pest-Free
  1. Mow Your Lawn: Ants, cockroaches, termites, fleas, mosquitoes, and other insects look for a safe place to live and reproduce. The tall grass in your yard is perfect for doing both. So, mow your lawn frequently and keep it short.
  2. Turn Your Mulch: Insects, such as fire ants, build their nests with small organic material. If you don’t want them to build nests in your lawn, use a rake to shift the mulch around.
  3. Reduce Shade: Dense shade prevents the sun from drying the lawn areas, making the environment conducive for pests to thrive. Trim the things to provide the necessary sunlight so that the soil in your yard is less inviting to pests
  4. Trim Bushes and Trees: A yard that is not maintained is a magnet for pests as some of them use the branches as a bridge to get into your house. Make your home less accessible to them by trimming the bushes and trees.
  5. DrainStagnant Water: The stagnant water in your lawn attracts mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Check around the exterior of your house to see if there areany drainage issues resulting in puddles. If you have a pondor a swimming pool, cover it when not in use. Make sure you regularly drain and refill it.
  6. Remove Rotting Wood: Rotting wood makes for a perfect home for termites. If you want your home safe from termites, remove any dead tree stumps or fallen trees on your property as quickly as possible. If you need to store wood, place it above the ground. This practice will prevent the termites from coming inside your house.
  7. Place Pest Repelling Plants: The best way to keep the pest away naturally is to grow plants that are known to repel them. Do your research to find more about these pest-repelling plants. Some of the known pest-repelling plants are:
    • Chrysanthemums
    • Marigolds
    • Lavender
    • Petunias
    • Citronella
    • Peppermint
    • Basil
    • Catnip
    • Mint
    • Rosemary
  8. Consider the Lights: Many insects are drawn to the exterior lights on your lawn. It is best to put off the lights at night. Consider replacing white bulbs with insect-resistant light bulbs.
  9. Pluck the Weed: Weeds grow in patches around the house. If the weeds are not plucked, pests will come into your yard and then eventually into your home. So, pluck them regularly to keep pests from away from you and your family.
    Insects and animals are essential to keep the balance in the ecosystem. But if these pests are problematic, you need to get rid of them as soon as possible. Along with taking care of your lawn and garden make sure to take necessary steps to prevent indoor pest infestation. These top nine best practices can help you make your lawn pest-free.
Author Bio:
When people find their homes and offices infested with pests, it is not uncommon for them to panic. Raymond Web has taken the task to educate people on pest prevention and control strategies helping them keep their surroundings healthy, safe and pest-free. Being the digital marketing manager for Take Care Termite and Pest Control, in Tracy, CA, he has an in-depth understanding of people and their pain points due to pests, which he uses in his content to educate.

Preparing Your Lawn and Landscaping for Winter



The things you must do to care for your lawn and landscaping change when fall and winter arrive. Fall brings mild temperatures and often moderate precipitation. It's a good season to perform restorative maintenance like fertilization and aeration. In winter, many plants either die or go into a time of no growth. Hard frosts and freeze/thaw cycles can wreak havoc on sensitive plants. Knowing what to do to prepare your lawn and landscaping for winter can help you protect your property, and ensure that your garden and lawn will be in good condition when spring and summer come around once again.

Aerate

Soil can become compact after a summer of intense temperatures, especially if your lawn didn't get enough water over the course of the season. Aerating your lawn prevents and reverses compaction, encourages good root development and prevents thatch from building up.

You can aerate your own lawn by renting a lawn aerator, or by hiring a landscaping company to do this for you. After aeration, your lawn will be covered in small, muddy chunks of soil, but soon enough those pieces will dissolve back into the earth.

After aerating your soil, spread a thin layer of compost over the aerated area. Compost adds nutrients to the soil, restores the soil's natural texture, and prevents the soil from becoming hard again.

Mulch

As the temperature outside drops, shallow roots become vulnerable to damage. Mulching around perennials and trees can protect these roots from the lowest temperatures. Mulch also keeps moisture in the ground, which can prevent some plants from drying out.

When mulching a vegetable garden, use undyed organic wood mulch. In a flower garden, feel free to use dyed mulches and mulches made from alternative materials. Spread the mulch on thick, but avoid piling mulch against the trunks of trees. Mulch piled against trees can lead to disease.

Re-Seed Your Lawn

Fall is a good time to re-seed your lawn. The cool temperatures are perfect for germinating seeds. Do this in mid-fall, when the last of summer weather has dissipated, but before the winter chill is in the air. Keep seeds well-watered for the first several weeks. Cut back your watering routine gradually until the new grass is hardy and healthy.

Fertilize Trees

Fall is a good time to fertilize your trees. Cool (but not freezing) temperatures are good for root development. Fertilizing at the right time will encourage the roots of your trees to grow stronger before the coming winter. When temperatures drop, a well-fertilized tree will be better able to withstand the frost and ice.

Before fertilizing, follow all manufacturer instructions. Trees have varying fertilizer requirements depending on the species, age of the tree, whether it produces fruit, and so on. Purchase the fertilizer to match the needs of your tree. Most fertilizers are made for specific types of plants, so you can find the right kind of tree fertilizer for your lawn.

Plant Bulbs

Planning in advance is a key part of growing a garden. Bulbs start growing in late winter and early spring as the ground thaws. Most bulbs need a period of cold weather before they will blossom. Plant bulbs in the fall to ensure that your bulbs will be ready to grow in spring. Tulips, daffodils and crocuses are common examples of bulb plants that need to spend time in the ground before they will sprout in early spring.

Rake Leaves

Rake your leaves regularly throughout the fall. Leaves left on the ground can lead to the growth of fungus in trees and plants. If left on the grass, leaves will starve the grass of sunlight and weaken the plant, causing disease. Leaves are a good ingredient for compost, so if you don't have a compost pile already, consider starting one now.

Continue to Mow Your Lawn

Grass continues to grow, even in fall. Allowing the grass to grow too long can lead to problems down the road. Continue to mow your lawn as needed, keeping in mind that grass may not grow as quickly in fall when temperatures are cooler. Strive to keep your grass the same length as it was when you were mowing it in summer.

Winterize Your Irrigation System

Water left in the pipes of your irrigation system can freeze in the middle of winter, causing the pipes to burst. Winterizing your irrigation system eliminates the water from the pipes to prevent this from happening.

If you're not able to keep up with lawn maintenance or are uncomfortable with certain DIY tasks, consider hiring a landscaping company to take care of your lawn throughout the winter and into the spring. Your lawn care company can help you keep your property in good condition, by tending the flowers, grass, trees and soil itself.

Four Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Lawn

Girl on lawn
A healthy-looking lawn does wonders for your property. Not only does it make your house stand out on your block, but it can also provide flood control, dissipate suburban heat, reduce fire hazards and if you’re trying to sell, definitely gives your home some curb appeal. Lawn care is big business, too. In 2015 alone, U.S. households spent almost $16 billion on lawn care and gardening services, which includes supplies, equipment, and lawn and landscaping services. Clearly, we spend lots of money to have great-looking lawns and landscaping, but could all the pesticides, fertilizer, and growth and greening additives we use be harming the environment, too?

It’s easy to go overboard with all the products when trying to keep a nice-looking lawn. However, you can still have green, thick grass, along with healthy trees, shrubs, and a garden, and fewer or no weeds if you follow these steps to creating an eco-friendly lawn.
1. Keep Your Lawn Green Without Chemicals
Paul Tukey writing for Popular Mechanics suggests some ways to mow your lawn that will keep it green, including keeping the mower’s blades sharp, using a push or electric mower to cut back on pollution, and leaving clippings on the lawn to create a natural fertilizer. He also suggests using compost as a natural, root-level fertilizer for lawns, gardens, shrubbery, and trees.
2. Water Wisely
While an oscillating or spinning sprinkler is a symbol of summer lawn care, both of those can waste a lot of water if you don’t monitor their use. Another option for watering is using low-pressure drip irrigation, where nozzles are placed at the base of plants, trees, or shrubs and water is applied slowly. This method can lower your water use. While a drip irrigation system might initially be expensive, it does reduce water usage and energy costs and improves seed germination. Regardless of whether you use drip irrigation, a sprinkler, or hand-watering, the key to using any type of system to water your lawn or your garden is to soak the ground to the depth of the roots.
3. Use Our Friends, The Bugs
Why spray your garden and foliage with aphid and other control products when nature provides its very own: bugs! Goodhousekeeping.com lists several species that can keep your greenery free of damaging pests, such as aphids, caterpillars, and Japanese beetles. These natural pest killers include ladybugs, ground beetles, soldier beetles, and tachinid flies. Many of these same bugs also help keep lawns free of pests, too.
4. Consider Using Plants As Ground Cover Instead of Grass
Unless your home is on several acres of land and there’s nothing but a wide stretch of lawn between the street and your front porch, consider using plant life as ground cover instead of grass. You can use flower and shrub beds, clover (just don’t step on the bees), or even several varieties of moss. Many of these and others, especially the mosses, grow easily in the shade, are easier to water (which is where the drip irrigation system can work better), and you won’t have to drag out the lawnmower every weekend. However, the ground cover does invite a number of unwanted pests and will have to be weeded frequently before fully grown. But once your insect friends make their home in it and you keep weeds from becoming a problem naturally with compost and organic mulch, ground cover will make your whole front yard look like a garden.

It doesn’t take a lot of chemicals to have a nice-looking lawn, just sensible use of mowing and organic fertilizer, the wise use of water, putting nature’s pest controllers to work, and using alternatives to grass. So, get out your gardening tools, pull on your gloves, and go play in the dirt to create an eco-friendly lawn you’ll be proud to call yours.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Picking Garden Flowers

Sunflower for picking flowers
Planting flowers in your garden lets you spend time in your yard, while also making it the perfect place to relax. Flowers bring color and beauty while adding texture and height variation throughout the garden. One key to arranging your flower garden is to pick the flower varieties that best suit your gardening needs.
1) What Areas in Your Yard Get the Best Sunshine?
Understanding the sunshine levels or your various garden plots will help you pick the right plants to thrive in your yard. Evaluate your light spots based on whether it receives full light, partial light, or shade. Full light is commonly described as the light that directly hits a spot. Partial light refers to a spot that is bright but doesn't receive direct light, and a shady spot will receive almost no direct or bright light.
2) Is Your Climate Particularly Dry or Humid?
While there are many flower varieties that can be gardened in almost any climate, it can sometimes be difficult to cultivate tropical or temperate flowers in dry climates without a lot of watering and irrigation. Aim for flowers that are drought tolerant, and you may want to expand your idea of flowering plants to include succulents and cacti. Those in more humid climates can use more tropical flowers in their gardens.
3) How Much Time Do You Have to Care for Your Flowers?
Some flowers are considered more high maintenance than others. Many of the most iconic flowers require the highest maintenance, including lilies, roses, dahlias, and tulips. If you don't have the time to nurture these beauties, you might opt for lower maintenance flower varieties such as cone flowers, daylilies, and cosmos.
4) Do You Have Children or Pets Around the Yard?
As a matter of safety, if you often have children or pets around the yard, it's recommended to look into your favorite plant varieties in case they're potentially toxic to eat. If you're worried about toxic flowers in your yard, you'll want to avoid planting hydrangea, azalea, wisteria, as well as a whole list of others. To keep your yard safe, opt for edible garden flowers such as marigolds, alliums, nasturtiums, pansies, honeysuckles, and daylilies.
5) What Plants Are Native to Your Area?
There are many benefits to planting local varieties, as they can create environments for local ecosystems and wildlife. These are also plants that are already adapted to the environmental conditions of your yard and climate, making them quick growing and hardy. This means that they are lower maintenance than other varieties.
6) Do You Have Size Requirements for Your Flowers’ Growth?
Different flowers grow in different shapes and sizes. Some make ground cover, staying low to the earth, while others grow in vines, bushes, or stalks. The size of the flowers that you need will depend on the space where you want to plant the flowers. Be sure to choose a variety that will grow healthily in your chosen garden plots.
7) Should You Plant Annuals or Perennials?
Most gardeners will recommend that perennial flowers form the basis of your gardening. These are flowers that will grow back in the same place year after year. Perennials are preferred because they do not require you to plant your full flower garden every year. Then you can fill in the blank spaces with the annual flowers that you want and even switch it up each year.
8) Do You Have a Color or Theme Preference?
Colors and flower themes can give you garden a different feel for when it comes time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Cool colors, such as blues, purples, and greens, will give your garden a calming atmosphere. Warmer colors, such as reds and yellows, will add energy to your yard. Similarly, it can add a lot of fun to your garden to use thematic flower choices.
9) Should You Buy Blooms or Buds?
When you go to purchase your transplant flowers, you will see some flowers have more buds on them than flowers. It's often better to purchase the plants with more buds. This is because plants with buds will continue to bloom longer in the season.
10) Should You Plan a Blooming Plant for Every Season?
Many gardeners want their yard to bloom all year round. It's very rare to have a flower variety that doesn't go dormant at some point. However, in your planning stage, you can pick a variety of perennials that will bloom throughout the year, from early spring to late fall, to give your yard flowering plants all year round.

Ultimately, picking flowers is a combination of knowing your personal preference, local climate, sun conditions, and the amount of time available to you for gardening.

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