Lawn Mower Safety Tips to Prevent Accidents

In Spring on July 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Written by green-admin

Every spring and summer, homeowners in the St. Louis area and across the country mow their lawns on a regular basis as it is the most basic type of lawn maintenance performed.  However, because this is such a common practice, many people forget how dangerous the lawn mower is and do not take lawn mower safety as seriously as they should.  For the most part, mowing the lawn is a routine task but the blade can cause serious injury or even death if the mower is operated carelessly.  The following information provides important facts concerning lawn mower accidents as well as tips for preventing such accidents.

The amount of lawn mower related injuries that occur a year is surprising and according to amputee-coalition.org, they are the most common cause of amputations in children under 10.  Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show that in 2007 over 200,000 people were treated for lawn mower related injuries and 16,000 of these patients were under 19.  Lawn mower related injuries also increased by 3% from 2009 to 2010.

It is easy to dismiss these statistics as just numbers but they represent many real people who were seriously injured by a lawn mower.  Lawn mower injuries tend to be severe but they are totally preventable.  Homeowners must assume responsibility and take the right precautions when they mow the lawn to protect themselves and others from possible injury.

Protect Children

Statistically, children suffer worse from lawn mower accidents than adults and by taking these following actions, you can help keep your kids protected as you mow the lawn.

  • Keep children away from the lawn mower at all times even when idle.
  • Do not let a child ride on a riding mower with you.
  • Keep your children inside while mowing.
  • Generally, children under 12 should not operate a lawn mower and children under 16 should not operate a riding mower.

Protect Yourself

Protecting your children is obviously the top priority of lawn mower safety but you should also take precautions to keep yourself protected.  Lawn mower blades spin at an average of about 160 miles per hour so it is important to make sure you are safe.

  • Remove all debris such as leaves and branches before mowing.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes shoes, long pants, and hearing and eye protection.
  • Put the mower on a level surface outdoors to refuel and start it.
  • The blade should only be adjusted by an adult.
  • Make sure the automatic shut-off device and safety guards on your mower are functional.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings as you mow.
  • Push the mower forward and take extra care when mowing around slopes.
  • Do not mow when the grass is wet.
  • Make sure the blade has stopped moving completely before emptying the grass bag or going across non-grass surfaces.

Mowing the lawn is part of the normal lawn care routine of every homeowner during the summer but because it is a common task, it is easy for people to forget how dangerous lawn mowers are.  When you mow your lawn, make sure to take these precautions to keep yourself and your children protected from injury.  If you would like to know more about lawn mower safety, contact Green T Lawn Care to talk to a professional.

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Caring for Shaded Spots in Your Lawn

In Spring on July 10, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Written by green-admin

The temperature is heating up around the St. Louis area which makes shaded areas on your lawn a great place to escape the heat.  However, these shaded areas are not so friendly to your lawn and often contribute to unsightly bare spots.  Grass requires at least four to six hours of sunlight a day along with adequate water and nutrients to stay healthy.  If an area of the turf is not receiving adequate sunlight, it will respond by thinning out and leaving a bare spot.

It is important for homeowners to be aware of the shaded spots in their lawn and take the appropriate actions to make sure these spots stay healthy.  While each lawn may require a slightly varied approach to resolving the problem, these following tips are generally helpful for restoring bare spots:

  • Prune: You can help increase the amount of sunlight reaching your yard by carefully pruning branches from dense trees and shrubs.
  • Mowing Height: Most grasses should be mowed at a height of three inches or taller.
  • Seeding: Make sure to overseed the bare spots of your lawn using seed mixes that can grow in the shade.
  • Maintenance: Keeping your lawn clear of debris such as brush, leaves, and other objects will help increase the amount of sunlight it receives.
  • Watering: Water the lawn deeply but at infrequent intervals to help avoid over watering and diseases.

If there are areas of your lawn that are heavily shaded, following these tips will help increase the amount of sunlight reaching the turf and eliminate bare spots.  It is important that every area of your lawn receives the right amount of sunlight in order to keep it healthy and maintain uniform density.  If you continue to have problems with bare spots in your lawn despite following these tips, contact Green T Lawn Care for our lawn care and overseeding services.

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How to Begin Lawn Care after Moving In

In Spring on June 26, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Written by green-admin

Generally when people move into a new home, their first priority is to unpack their things and get settled inside the house.  Eventually they have to turn their attention to the exterior of the home, specifically the lawn.  The lawn may need immediate attention after moving in because it has more than likely gone without maintenance while on the market, depending on when the previous homeowners moved out.  By taking the following actions, you can improve the condition of your lawn and get an excellent start on lawn care in your new home.

  • Walk-Through: The first thing you should do is a complete walk through of the yard to evaluate its condition.  Inspect all the plants such as the trees and shrubs and make sure that the trees are not too close to the house.  You should also evaluate the health of your trees and contact a licensed arborist if you believe your trees could be diseased.
  • Hardscape: If your new yard contains hardscape features such as retaining walls, patios, or a deck, inspect them to make sure they are sound and not a potential hazard.
  • Drainage: It is important to inspect the drainage to make sure that no standing water gathers near the foundation.  Proper drainage will also help prevent soil saturation.
  • Create Maintenance Plan: Initially, you must clean up the yard by weeding, mulching, and removing any debris.  As you are cleaning up the yard, you can add plants such as flowers or shrubs as you desire.  Then create a maintenance plan so that you continue to care for your plants and lawn.
  • Soil: The soil is the most important aspect of the yard because every plant is dependent on it to survive.  It must be balanced with the proper nutrient content to best support your trees, shrubs, and turf.  You can contact a lawn care professional to test the condition of your soil and recommend the best ways to improve its condition. 

As you get settled into your new home, do not forget to clean up your lawn and create a maintenance plan to provide consistent care for your lawn and shrubs.  You can also change the look of the lawn by adding new plants or gardens as you clean up the yard.  If you would like to have a professional provide lawn care or test the condition of your soil, contact Green T Lawn Care.  We offer complete lawn care services and additional services such as soil testing, grub treatment, and aerations.

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Spot Spraying Weeds in the Late Spring

In Spring on June 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Written by green-admin

The weather is really starting to warm up this year as the early spring fertilizer applications are beginning to accelerate the growth of the lawns and root systems.  However, as the lawn is experiencing this growth spurt, the weeds in your lawn may also be thriving.  Using weed control products on your lawn is not generally recommended but spot spraying your weeds in the late spring can help eliminate them before the summer sets in.  By following these simple tips, you can effectively spot spray your lawn for weeds.

Use Moderation

Remember when you spray your lawn that the idea is to spot spray so that you are not covering your entire lawn with herbicide.  Make sure to only spray the areas that have weeds to conserve the herbicide and limit the potential harm it could cause to healthy grass.  It only takes a small amount of herbicide applied correctly to help keep weeds out of your lawn.

Timing

In addition to using moderation, it is also important to spot spray for weeds at the right time.  The growth of a lawn always increases when the late spring weather causes the ground temperatures to rise and the early spring fertilizer applications start to take effect.  This is the best time to spot spray for weeds because it can stop weed growth as the lawn continues to thrive.  Your lawn will also be able to out compete the weeds for water and nutrients through the rest of the growing season and prevent future weed growth as long as the lawn is maintained and fertilized.

Re-Apply if Necessary

Sometimes one spot spray application may not be enough to eliminate weeds from your lawn and it may be necessary to re-apply.  If you are using moderation with the herbicide, then spot spraying your lawn again will not harm it unless it has a large amount of weeds.  You can spot spray your weeds for two or three consecutive weeks but if they still do not die after three weeks, you may have a bigger problem that requires professional treatment.

If the Problem Persists . . .

If your lawn still has weeds after a few weeks of spot spraying, then you may need to hire a professional to address what could be a larger, underlying problem.  There are many factors that can contribute to weed growth in a lawn such as pH balance, drainage problems, and soil compaction and a lawn care service provider can help alleviate these issues and eliminate weeds from your lawn.

As the late spring weather starts to heat up, you can spot spray your lawn for weeds to help eliminate their growth and keep your lawn weed free through the summer.  If your lawn is experiencing heavy weed growth or continues to have weeds after a few spot spray applications, then contact Green T Lawn Care and our trained technicians will help rid your lawn of weeds.

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Identifying and Preventing Leaf Spot Disease

In Spring on May 29, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Written by green-admin

The St. Louis area is finally experiencing consistent warm temperatures and with the summer right around the corner, the growth of the lawns is intensifying.  This is also the time of year when common lawn problems start to surface such as weed growth and disease.  One such disease that often appears in late spring is leaf spot which is a fungal disease that affects grass blades.  It is important for homeowners to be able to correctly identify leaf spot and take the proper actions to eliminate it.

Leaf Spot Identification

The main symptom of leaf spot is the yellow, dark-centered circles that appear in blades of grass and give the lawn an overall yellowish color.  Leaf spot typically forms in cool moist weather or on grass blades that are mowed too short.  The disease progresses into a more serious melting out stage when the weather warms up.  The melting out stage can be identified by the large, discolored turf patches that form on the lawn.  Fortunately, lawns can overcome leaf spot with the proper care and attention.

Treating Leaf Spot

If your lawn is over taken by leaf spot by the time the weather warms up, you may want to make the following changes to your lawn care regimen.  The first thing you should do is water your lawn in the morning hours.  If you water later during the day or at night, standing water may accumulate and contribute to the development of leaf spot in the lawn.  It may also help to water less frequently in lawns with leaf spot.

Another way to help eliminate leaf spot disease is by adjusting your mower blade to raise the height of the grass.  Cutting the lawn too short can contribute to the spread of leaf spot while cutting the grass blades longer will allow the lawn to better combat the disease.  Keeping the lawn free of debris and trimming overhanging tree branches will also help the lawn fight disease by improving air movement.  The most effective way to eliminate or prevent any disease including leaf spot is to regularly fertilize your lawn to help promote a strong healthy root system.

If you notice leaf spot forming in your lawn, make sure to take immediate action to eliminate the disease for a healthier, greener lawn.  Many lawn diseases can be tricky to deal with but leaf spot is a lawn disease that can be overcome with the right care and maintenance.  Make sure to contact a professional lawn care provider such as Green T Lawn Care if the leaf spot in your lawn is too much for you to handle with these tips.  The technicians of Green T can safely and effectively treat your lawn for leaf spot and many other common lawn diseases.

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How to Treat Problems Hiding in Your Lawn

In Spring on May 1, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Written by green-admin

The spring season is fully upon us which means that it is time to kick lawn care into full gear.  Homeowners should be looking out for any potential problems in their lawns as the spring season is the time to address them.  The most common problems a lawn faces are weed growth, grubs and other pests, and diseases which are often treated with herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides respectively.  However, these problems are generally symptoms of an underlying cause that must be corrected in order to effectively eliminate the problem.  If the underlying causes are not corrected, then the symptoms will appear year after year and require another round of herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides.

Weeds

Lawns are typically treated each and every year with herbicides to stop the growth of weeds but weed growth is usually a symptom of a larger problem.  By discovering the underlying cause and correcting it, you can eliminate weeds more effectively without having to apply repeated herbicide treatments to your lawn.  Crabgrass, for example, thrives in bare or weak turf patches where it can easily overtake the lawn.  Fixing the weak and bare patches with aeration and over seeding will help prevent crabgrass from thriving.  Other conditions that may encourage weed growth include nutrient content and soil pH so make sure to have the soil tested to keep the pH and nutrient level balanced.

Grubs

Another common problem that lawns receive treatment for every year is grubs.  A grub infestation could result in significant damage to the lawn but insecticide treatments are administered with little attention being paid to what conditions are favorable to the survival of grubs.  Grubs tend to thrive in lawns that are well watered and well fertilized, especially late in the summer, because there is a healthy root system providing food for them.  Reducing the watering and fertilizer applications late in the summer helps prevent large grub populations from developing in the lawn.  By this point in the season, the lawn should be healthy enough from the watering and fertilization it has received to handle a moderate population of grubs without the need for grub control treatments.

Diseases

Lawn diseases are another common issue that affects many lawns and certain conditions such as shade, airflow issues, and competition for water can contribute to their development.  The most effective way to reduce the development of lawn diseases is to eliminate these conditions as opposed to applying fungicides to your lawn every year.  You can reduce shaded areas by keeping trees and shrubs trimmed to allow more sunlight to reach the lawn and if an area is shaded by the house, it may be wise to plant a species of grass that grows well in shade.  Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed may also improve airflow in the lawn which can help prevent certain diseases from forming such as dollar spot and brown patch.  The competition for moisture between trees and the lawn may contribute to the formation of lawn diseases as well so it is important to balance the watering so the trees do not take water from the lawn.

Each year, lawns across the country are treated with herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides to alleviate common problems such as weeds, grubs, and diseases, but you can provide more effective lawn care by eliminating the underlying causes of these issues to avoid the repeated use of chemical treatments.  Green T Lawn Care provides services to our St. Louis customers that help correct the underlying conditions of these problems such as aeration, over seeding, and soil pH testing.  Contact Green T Lawn Care to learn more about our services and effective methods for preventing weeds, grubs, and lawn diseases.

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Spring Cleaning Tips for St. Louis

In Spring on March 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Written by green-admin

This cold, snowy winter is almost entirely behind us which means that it is time for St. Louis homeowners to start fresh with their lawns.  Each spring, homeowners should inspect their lawns to determine what they need to do to prepare them for a healthy growing season.  This list of spring cleaning tips will help you get started and give you some ideas for making sure that your lawn is adequately prepared by the time the summer arrives.

  • Clear your Lawn: The first thing you should do in your lawn this spring is inspect it for debris such as thatch and leftover leaves.  Use a rake to remove thatch and leaves, pick up branches and sticks, and make sure to remove any unnatural physical debris such as toys or equipment.
  • Edging: Inspect the edging around your planting beds and make sure the edges are sharp.  A clean edge adds distinction to the features of the landscape and prevents grass clippings from getting into the planting beds.
  • Mowing: Early in the spring, it is best to set the blade on the mower high so that the grass will grow longer and help establish and strengthen the root system.  However, it is recommended to check the blades, spark plugs, oil, and air filters of the mower before starting it for the first time.
  • Hoses and Sprinklers: If you regularly water your lawn using the hose or sprinklers inspect the hose and the sprinklers themselves to make sure there are no leaks and that they are watering the right areas.
  • Mulching: Laying down new mulch in the spring will help retain moisture and warmth for your plants.  Mulch should be laid around trees, shrubs, and planting beds in a layer that is between 2 and 4 inches thick.
  • Pruning: The spring is also the opportune time to prune shrubs, bushes, and if they are part of your landscape, roses.  Make sure to remove the deadwood without disturbing the plant’s foliage and do not prune plants that bloom in the spring.
  • Plant Seeds in your Gardens: As you prepare the rest of the lawn for the growing season, you should prepare your gardens as well by turning over the soil with fertilizer and planting seeds.  The soil of the garden can be turned simply by using a shovel and hoe as you add seeds and fertilizer.
  • Clean Gutters and Patio Furniture: It is beneficial to clean out your gutters before the spring rains move in so that rain water is properly drained without damaging the foundation of your home or over watering the plants situated below the gutters.  If you have patio furniture, now is the time to clean them off before setting them back up in the yard.

By following this spring checklist for cleaning up your lawn, you will have a lawn fully prepared to thrive in the St. Louis growing season.  If you would like to ensure the health of your lawn all season, contact Green T Lawn Care in St. Louis to sign up for our lawn care services.  Our season long lawn care applications include a combination of fertilizer and weed control as well as additional treatments such as grub control and tree and shrub treatments.

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Tips for Effective Snow Removal

In Spring on February 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Written by green-admin

This winter has been one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record for the St. Louis area and many homeowners are getting weary of salting and shoveling.  However, the spring is still weeks away and snow removal must be done by St. Louis residents to be able to safely use their driveways and sidewalks.  While removing snow yourself can be a difficult endeavor especially with the amount of snow that has fallen this year, following these tips can help ease the process as we enter the final weeks of winter.

Snow Blowers

Snow blowers may be an expensive snow removal option but in areas that experience regular snowfall each winter, they can actually be worth the investment.  Shoveling snow manually is very time consuming and can be very physically demanding especially with the amount of snow that has fallen this winter.  The use of a snow blower will not only speed up the process, but also make snow removal much less strenuous physically which is highly beneficial for those with long driveways or physical limitations.  The best time to buy a snow blower is in the off season when they are less expensive.

Get a Better Shovel

Shoveling snow is a physically demanding task and if your shovel is poorly built, it will just make the job even more difficult.  Characteristics of a bad shovel include weak scoops, uncomfortable handles, poor grip, and too much weight.  When looking for a shovel, try to find one that is lightweight with a sturdy hard plastic or metal scoop.

Shovel in Groups

After a heavy snowfall, shoveling the driveway alone can be very taxing but shoveling with friends or family members as a group will help the process.  This strategy not only greatly reduces the amount of time needed to shovel, but it also reduces the physical demand of the job on all involved.  Tackling snow removal as a team may also make the job more enjoyable.

Professional Snow Removal

With the amount of snow that has fallen on the St. Louis area this winter, some homeowners may have reached a point where they can no longer handle shoveling their own property.  Hiring a professional snow removal service is very beneficial for homeowners who cannot remove snow themselves from their property and they offer a great change of pace from shoveling manually in temperatures below freezing.

While the forecast continues to call for snow this winter, make sure to stay on top of your snow removal because the snow can compact and freeze over the driveway and sidewalks if it is not immediately removed.  If you adhere to these tips when removing snow, the process will be much easier and quicker.  Green T offers snow removal services to homes and businesses that are interested in having their snow removed by a professional.  Contact us to learn more about or snow removal services and keep in mind that we are past the halfway point of the winter.

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Winter Lawn Care Tips for St. Louis

In Spring on January 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Written by green-admin

The St. Louis area is deep in the winter season and many of our lawns are dormant or even covered in snow.  Lawn care is usually far from most homeowner’s minds in the midst of winter but there are still some ways to help keep your lawn maintained to give it a better chance of growing back strong in the spring.  As the winter season creeps closer to the spring, make sure to follow these tips and contact Green T Lawn Care to set up lawn care services for your home in the St. Louis area.

One way to help keep your lawn maintained during the winter season is to keep it free of any debris that may accumulate.  This includes natural debris such as leaves, logs, and twigs as well as unnatural items including toys or equipment.  It is important to clear any debris right away because if it snows, the debris sitting on the lawn could cause turf damage.  Heavy items like toys and equipment leave depressions in a frozen lawn and natural debris absorbs the moisture of the snow which makes the lawn more vulnerable to disease.

In addition to keeping your lawn free of debris, you should also limit or avoid foot traffic during the winter.  When the lawn is frosted or iced over, the grass blades become stiffened and lose the flexibility they normally have in the growing season.  Walking on these stiffened grass blades will cause them to bend or break which could permanently damage certain grass types.

If the winter happens to be a mild one with little snow, your grass may actually show some growth because the root system goes through plenty of development during this season.  If the grass is actively growing and there is no snowfall, you can mow the lawn.  Just make sure to use a high blade setting because the height of the grass will determine how deep the root system grows in the soil.  The deeper the roots develop during the winter, the stronger and healthier your lawn will be in the spring.

As you endure the rest of the St. Louis winter, take these tips into consideration to help keep your lawn maintained until the spring.  Taking these few extra steps to ensure that the surface stays protected and the root system fully develops will go a long way towards keeping your lawn healthy through the growing season.  Contact Green T Lawn Care in St. Louis to learn more about winter lawn care or to sign up for our lawn care services this spring.

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Warm Up with a Backyard Fire Pit

In Spring on December 26, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Written by green-admin

By now your lawn has been covered with at least one layer of snow if it is not currently covered, and you have probably decided that you cannot enjoy your lawn until the spring arrives.  However, there is a way to get enjoyment out of your lawn during the St. Louis winter by installing a fire pit.  Fire pits are a great addition to your lawn that can be enjoyed year round, especially in the winter to provide warmth.  Before installing a fire pit, it is wise to research any local codes or guidelines concerning fire pits on your property and to place them away from flammable materials such as trees, shrubs, and sheds.  The following are some guidelines for installing a fire pit in your yard.

  • The first step is to decide what materials you want to use to make the fire pit and get them from a hardware or home improvement store.  Stone or cast concrete blocks or bricks are the best materials to use for the walls of the pit and they come in a variety of colors and styles to create many unique looks.  Blocks with angled sides can be used to make round fire pits and blocks with flat tops are better for stacking.  Other necessary materials include masonry glue, mortar, a steel ring, and capstones.
  • Start the installation process by outlining the boundary of the fire pit and digging a 12 inch deep trench along the outline.  Fill the bottom 6 inches of the trench with gravel and start building the wall of the fire pit in the remaining six inches so that its base is underground.  Building the wall this way will contribute to better drainage and offer protection from the ice and snow.
  • Once the first layer of bricks or blocks is laid in the trench, start building the wall by stacking the bricks and gluing them together with the masonry glue.  The walls of the fire pit should be no taller than one foot above the ground.
  • Once the wall is built, you may want to install a steel ring to line the interior of the wall.  This step is optional but a steel ring is the best way to protect the brick or stone from drying out or cracking from the flames.
  • Once the walls of the fire pit are built and a steel ring is installed, you can install capstones along the top of the pit using mortar for a nice finishing touch.

By following these guidelines, you can build a fire pit in your lawn that can be enjoyed during every season in St. Louis.  A fire pit not only brings warmth in the winter, but also adds a nice touch to outdoor gatherings during the spring and summer.  Visit your local hardware store to begin gathering materials to build your own fire pit and for more winter lawn care advice, check this blog or contact Green T Lawn Care in St. Louis.

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