Time to aerate your lawn

Time to aerate your lawn. Run your irrigation system first and mark any heads that could be damaged by aeration. Then aerate & overseed your lawn. This opens up the root zone for air, water and nutrients to penetrate and stimulate growth.  The best time to aerate is August 15th to September 20th to allow plenty of time for seed germination and establishment before the weather cools and the grass hardens off for winter.  Water several days prior to aerating to open up the soil.  After aerating and seeding continue to water enough to keep the seed wet.

Biopesticide for BedBugs

A unique new material is now available.  In development for the past 4 years, this biopesticide kills bedbugs that cross a small treated area and impacts the other bedbugs by transferring the fungus to them when it goes to a harborage.  Bedbugs are gregarious and harbor together which improves the effectiveness of this material because the bugs bring the treatment to the harborage.  This material can be used both to prevent bedbugs in a commercial setting and to remediate existing problems.  For efficacy review this link for the material Aprehend.

Fairy Ring Fungus in lawn

To the right is fairy ring fungus in a lawn.  This is the least severe or Type III Fairy Ring.  Making sure the lawn is fertilized regularly, aerate and overseed, and irrigate lawn to maintain soil moisture.  This fungus gets is name from the circle of mushrooms (children were told they appeared because fairies danced there).  A fungicide application may be appropriate and is best applied in subsequent years as a prevention for impacted lawns.

Termite monitor in use

Termites live in the soil everywhere in New England. We install and inspect termite monitoring stations to check for termite activity adjacent to your foundation. These stations do not attract termites they alert us to the presence of termites in that area. If termites are adjacent to the foundation we recommend a termite treatment to protect against termites entering the structure.  The photo on the right shows termites inside the station.  

What poison ivy looks like

This is a quick video to show what poison ivy looks like. The three leaves give it away, but note the color and edges of the leaves. Poison ivy turns red and orange in the fall. Call us to help manage poison ivy on your property.

Carpenter Ant Frass


Carpenter ant frass is like a pile of sawdust with shiny black ant parts in it. This pile is from the basement sill just behind where the deck is attached to the house, a common area that moisture effects wood due to snow sitting on the deck and issues with flashing around the deck or doors to the deck.

Thatch and dethatch

Thatch is living material that is part of the growth of bluegrass in lawns.  An amount of thatch is normal in a lawn.  In the photo above, my finger is pressed down on the thatch layer that is growing over the top of the soil.  If soil is compacted or if the natural process of the lawn to consume thatch is compromised excessive thatch may build up.  If excessive that builds up, up to 1/2 or 3/4 inch or more, the best solution is to core aerate the area that has excessive thatch.  Regularly dethatching a lawn each spring usually is not necessary and will lead to other issues like increased summer annual weeds and will force the lawn to repair itself in the spring instead of tillering and building density.  Follow this link to UMASS on thatch management.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees make holes around the size of the tip of your pinky finger. The female drills a round hole through the side, then drills a perpendicular hole along the grain of the wood. She will lay her eggs inside with an insect to serve as a food source, then she will close off the cell. She will lay multiple eggs per chamber and expand the chamber over the season. This site under a bay window is typical. It is protected and unfinished/unpainted wood. Paint (not stain) is good way to minimize the attractiveness of an area.

Leave the lawn clippings!

Why is the Boston area obsessed with removing lawn clippings?  No, granular fertilizer cannot be removed by mowing it.  You should always leave your clippings on your lawn.  Lawn clippings are mostly nitrogen and water and should be left to make your lawn healthier.  Don’t bag the clippings, don’t let your landscaper bag the clippings.  Clippings don’t lead to thatch and are not thatch.  If you have clumps of clippings in the lawn after mowing hit them with a rake or blower to disburse them.

Don’t take my word for it, follow this link to the UMASS fact sheet on good turf care.

Termite swarmers versus ants with wings.

Termite swarmers

Termite swarmers

If you find ants with wings in the spring, there is a possibility that you have termite swarmers.  Termites swarming inside are an indicator that a mature termite colony has access to the structure.  The termite has a thick waist versus an ant has a pinched waist.  The termite has a curved antennae which appears to be made of beads versus the ant has an elbowed antennae.  The termite will drop its wings and pair up pretty quickly, so you are likely to see wings all over the ground and insects walking in pairs.  Termite wings are all the same length and have a dark vein down the leading edge.  Ant wings pairs are not the same length.  Termites are interesting for many reasons, including they mate for life and the male and female will live up to 25 years.  The eastern subterranean termite we have here in eastern Massachusetts cannot set up in the wood above ground inside because it is too dry and needs to find a sunny spot of soil to dig into to start a nest.  Termite inspections are usually free unless you need paperwork for a FHA or HUD NPMA 33 form.  Call us for a free inspection if you spot swarmers.