Tips of the Month

February - March Tip:  It's Never Too Early to Plan Your Next Landscape Project.
If you lived in your home for a while, you probably have a list of outdoor beautification projects floating around in your head. Perhaps, you're thinking about creating some colorful planting beds, leveling a sloping yard, building a retaining wall, patio or stone walkway. Or, all of the above! Here are some useful tips to consider for your upcoming landscape project: Budget: Establish a reasonable budget based on your comfort level. Consider your household income, expenses, savings and debt. If you plan to stay in your home for a while, you may want to develop a 2-3 year project plan and budget accordingly. Priorities: Set priorities based on your budget, what is most important to you (and your family) and what needs to happen first.  For example, leveling the yard may come before building the new stone wall. Research: The more time invested in your project, the better the results will be. Go online and get landscaping ideas that appeal to you and make sense for your property.  Save photos or drawings of finished projects that you like. Pinterest is a terrific site to get landscaping project pictures. Visit Beyond Pinterest and other idea websites, there are many great landscape design books that will help with your research. Contractors: It's important to hire a trusted contractor with a stellar reputation, one that can make your dream landscape project a reality. Northeast Landscape Contractors is consistently rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and has earned Angie's List 2017 Super Service Award. Call Northeast Landscape today at 978-794-1010 for a free, no obligation estimate. Landscape projects may seem like a daunting task but take your time, sleep on ideas, draw out your vision and explore your creative side. Most importantly...have fun!    
January Tip:  Ice Melt Precautions. There are many types of Ice Melt on the market. If you aren’t sure which one to use on your walkways and driveway then you'll want to read ahead, as some ice melts can be harmful to pets, plants, asphalt and concrete.

Ice Melt works by lowering the freezing temperature of ice and, in some cases, is engineered to create heat when applied to ice. Following are common types of Ice Melt and their Pros and Cons: Calcium Chloride: Pros: Fast acting in temperatures as low as -25 degrees F. Cons: Can damage grass and plants when overused. Magnesium Chloride: Pros: Fast acting in temperatures as low as -13 degrees F and is fast acting. Cons: Can damage plants and pose a significant health risk to pets if ingested. Potassium Chloride: Pros: Effective for warmer temps, 25 degrees F and up. Generally, environmentally friendlier and safer around pets. Cons: Can damage plants when too much is used and pose a significant health risk to pets with kidney issues if ingested. Urea/Carbonyl Diamide: Pros: Works for temps 25 degrees F and higher. Environmentally and pet friendly Ice Melt solution. Cons: Can damage plants if overapplied. Not as effective as other Ice Melts.

As a general rule, avoid excessive applications of Ice Melt. It’s always recommended (by us) to carefully clean pet paws to remove any residual ice melt upon re-entering the house. Lastly, carefully read the instructions and warnings on the Ice Melt product label prior to any purchase.
December Tip: Enjoy the Holidays and Stay Safe. December is one of the most festive months of the year and arguably one of the most stressful. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, please take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe. Make sure that your fire/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are in satisfactory working condition. Whether that means replacing the units’ batteries, testing each by simply pressing the Test button and vacuuming the intakes to remove dust, it’s imperative that these potentially life-saving tasks are completed periodically. Other important safety items (among many) to consider are to make sure that any household item that gives off heat is not anywhere near flammable materials, that heating furnaces are serviced by trained professionals and all vents like dryer exhausts are not clogged. If you have a fireplace, take every safety precaution necessary before, during and after its use. Snow accumulation can be dangerous - before starting your car always make sure that the exhaust is cleared of any snow. If you are sitting in traffic or parked for an extended period, leave the car window slightly opened to all but eliminate any seeping exhaust fumes from entering the cabin. We, at Northeast Landscape Contractors, wish you and your family a very happy and safe holiday season. Landscaping Tips will return in the Spring.
November Tip: Leaves – Should They Stay or Should They Go Now? Mid-Fall is typically when you see the acceleration of colorful leaves falling from the trees.  When there aren’t many, it’s okay to use a lawn mower to break them up - small amounts will decompose naturally into your lawn. Late-Fall is when most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and find their way onto lawns. If your yard typically gets covered in leaves you need to have them removed. Why?  When your lawn is covered with leaves for a prolonged period, it will cause harm to grass.  The longer the leaves remain, the more likely they become matted blocking sunlight and preventing water evaporation.  Sunlight and water evaporation are necessary to keep fungus and mold from taking root and damaging your lawn over the winter. Need help removing piles of leaves from your property? Call NLC at 978-794-1010 for pricing and details.
October Tip: Don’t FALL Behind…Create Your Checklist Today! As we get older, it seems that the days, weeks, months and seasons fly by.  For many, it feels like we are constantly shifting gears to keep up with the next season. Now that fall is upon us…how should we prepare? I find the best way to prepare for almost anything is creating a simple checklist made up of important activities. The following is a sample checklist. Since every home is different some of the items may not apply and others may not be listed.  The idea is to get you thinking about a checklist now so you are not scrambling later.

  • End of Season Lawn and Shrub Care – some people have the time, experience and equipment to properly ready their lawn and plants for the harsh New England winters.  Others hire experts like Northeast Landscape to perform these services such as core aeration, overseeding, composting, pruning and more.
  • Fall Cleanup – if you have a large property, you could spend hours over several days performing Fall Cleanup activities.  Instead, enjoy the beauty of the season by calling Northeast Landscape. We will thoroughly clean all maintained grass areas, beds, driveways, and walks!
  • Heating System Cleaning  – Make an appointment to have the heating system inspected and cleaned. Schedule your appointment now. If you use home heating oil or propane, check your levels and have the tank filled if needed.
  • HVAC System Maintenance – Change the air filter if needed.  Clean filters allow the HVAC system to be more efficient and use less energy.  Filters should be replaced every 3-6 months depending on the type.
  • A/C Unit Cover – Protect the outdoor A/C unit with a properly sized cover. This will prevent leaves, snow, ice and other debris from entering the unit. A simpler solution for a central air unit is to cover the top with a piece of sturdy plywood.
  • Patio Furniture Cover  – Preserve the outdoor furniture with a heavy duty cover or store in a shed or garage for those who have either.
  • Fire Alarms Testing – Perform test on each unit and vacuum intakes.  Replace batteries if required. Fire alarms don’t last forever and need to be replaced every 5-10 years.  Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for replacement information.
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarms Install – if you don’t have them, buy one for each bedroom. They are inexpensive and save lives.  When replacing fire alarms consider replacing them with one that also includes a Carbon Monoxide detector.
  • Gutter Cleaning - Have debris removed so that water moves freely off the roof, into your gutters and away from your house. Take great care when on a ladder or call an insured professional.
September Tip: Transplanting Plants and Shrubs. What you should know…. Who wants to make a big move during the intense heat?  Certainly not us…nor do plants or shrubs. That is why transplanting during Fall’s cooler temperatures is ideal. When it comes to moving a plant or shrub you need to take into account the amount of sunlight and space it will need and if its new location will meet those requirements.  If, for example, a shrub needs lots of sunlight and room, you don’t want to relocate it to tiny area where it will receive little sunshine. Prepare the new area first by digging a hole in the new location that is 2x as wide and deep enough to accommodate the plant or shrub root ball. This step is important so that you can quickly move the plant or shrub into its new home thereby minimizing the amount of time the roots are exposed to drying elements. Remove the plant or shrub to be transplanted with great care by digging an area wide and deep enough to be able to remove it with minimal damage to the root system. Water, water, water…even though the temperatures are cooler in the Fall, don’t forget to water the relocated the plants and shrubs so they can take root. Important Note: If you have never transplanted a plant or shrub, ask someone who has done this successfully to help you.  If this sounds like fun but too much work, then call Northeast Landscape Contractors.  Transplanting is just another one of our specialties!
August Tip: Fall Solutions for a Thicker, Greener Lawn. 1) Core Aeration with Overseeding – When soil is compacted or hard, it is difficult for oxygen, water, nutrients and grass seed to penetrate the soil. To reduce this compaction, we use a lawn aerator machine to remove plugs of soil and thatch from your lawn. We then overseed the area with premium grass seed. Core Aeration when combined with Overseeding provides two important benefits. First, the process allows premium grass seed, water, nutrients and oxygen to combine deep into the soil…the ideal environment for seed germination. Second, the plugs of soil left from the Core Aeration process breaks down and forms a gentle bedding for additional seed to take root. This service solution promotes a greener, healthier lawn. 2) Slice-Seeding - During the slice-seeding process a machine is used that will both break through the thatch level as well as cultivate enough soil to ensure the seed has the best chances at establishing a healthy turf. Due to the fact that the seed is actually placed beneath the soil there is less need for watering and no need for the straw cover. This is achieved by placing the seed roughly ½’’-1’’ beneath the soil thus giving the proper seed to soil contact, reducing the chances the lawn will dry out due to exposure to the elements and minimizing the chance the seed will wash out or be taken away by birds. All of our slice-seeding jobs are done with a complete satisfaction guarantee as long as properly watered and fertilized. 3) Core Aeration, Overseeding and Composting – The best overseeding lawn solution! Overseeding a lawn is simply broadcasting premium grass seed over a specific area. When combined with Core Aeration and Composting, your new seed will grow and thrive making your lawn look beautiful, healthy and green! Northeast Landscape highly recommends adding compost to achieve optimal results. 4) Sod Installation – Remove your existing turf, regrade the soil and start fresh with brand new sod! We source only the best soil and sod around to ensure that your lawn will look amazingly vibrant and healthy. With Fall just around the corner, now is the time to start planning the repair of your drought damaged lawn or the installation of a new lush lawn. Mother Nature only gives us six weeks to get this done, so it’s critical to take advantage of this mid-August thru September time frame  
July Tip: You spend a lot of money each year keeping your lawn looking perfect. It’s beautiful, lush and green. But then one day you get up and notice something amiss. You’re not quite sure so you put on your glasses and see several yellow, thinning grass patches. What's happening? Depending on time of the year, you could have a Grub issue. White grubs are considered to be the most harmful turf insect pests in the U.S. In short, white grubs are the larval stage of scarab beetles which live in the ground and feed off the root hairs of grass. Since late summer and early fall is when you’re most likely to notice the damaging effects of grubs, the best time to eliminate grubs is early Summer (now) just when they hatch. This is exactly the time when Northeast Landscape Contractors specialists will be proactively applying Grub treatment to customers’ lawns who have our lawn maintenance care program. Call us today to find out more about our Grub Treatment service.
June Tip: Just like the human body, a lawn needs nutrients and water to stay healthy. Fertilizers deliver critical nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium to our lawns, shrubs and trees. They also enhance the soil by helping with moisture retention and aeration. Fertilizers come in either a liquid or a slow-release (dry) granular form. High quality, slow-release granular fertilizer is the preferred choice by professional landscapers like Northeast Landscape Contractors. As we head into the Summer months, our yards need more water. But when is the best time to water your lawn and how much? Water your lawn early in the morning. Midday watering will be less effective because of evaporation. Evening and night watering can create an environment friendly to fungus which will damage your lawn. An inch of water per week is the rule of thumb when it comes to how much a lawn needs. One thing to be mindful of is to not overdo it. Over fertilizing and over watering can be harmful to grass, plants and shrubs. Moderation is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and this is also true when it comes to maintaining your yard. If you have questions, Northeast Landscape Contractors can answer them. We have been helping homeowners of the Merrimack Valley since 1988. Call or email us anytime.
May Tip:  The tick population is expected to be on the rise, earlier. To protect yourself and your loved ones from being bitten by a tick, known carriers of Lyme disease, there are a number of preventative measures you can take. Keep your lawn maintained on a regular basis including: clearing tall grass, removing leaf litter and pruning low lying brush. Also, consider tick reducing pesticides applied by a licensed applicator. At Northeast Landscape Contractors, we can help you create a safer outdoor environment. Not only are we landscape professionals, we are licensed to apply pesticides per strict safety standards.
April Tip: With spring around the corner, it's time to start planning. Now is a good time to apply a pre-emergent weed killer to get a jump start on weed growth so they don't pester you for the rest of the season!
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