As leaves start to fall, consider composting them

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In small urban lots, it can be difficult, but try to compost as many leaves as possible. Two primary ways to compost is either pile composting at a composter or for leaves on the lawn area, mow the leaves every few days to keep up with them and mulch the leaves into the lawn. This mowing, combined with fall fertilization will have the benefits of adding organic matter to your lawn. Michigan State has great information on mulching leaves, available online here.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Soil Test for Lawn Success

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Use a soil test to determine what deficiencies may exist in the soil. Soil is made up of a combination of sand, silt, clay, air, water and organic matter. Organic matter is the universal soil improver, helping the soil hold moisture and nutrients. Key results we look at are the soil pH, the ratio of calcium to magnesium and level of calcium and the the important Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). The CEC is a measure of the soil’s ability to hold and exchange cations such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Also important, the Percent Base Saturation (next to the CEC on the UMASS Soil Test Report) shows values for potassium (target 2 to 5%), magnesium (target 10 to 15%) and calcium (target 65 to 75%).
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Aerate for Healthy Soil

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We are approaching the time of year for core aeration and overseeding. Core aeration is a process using a machine to remove core plugs from a lawn area. Removing the plugs of soil relieves compaction and allows air to circulate into the root system. Usually the lawn is overseeded at the same time. Seeds will achieve soil contact in the holes opened up by the aerator. The plugs are left on the lawn and break down quickly. In very compact areas a double pass with the aerator at perpendicular angles will provide additional compaction relief. Core aeration on a residential lawn is critical to a healthy lawn care program (especially organic lawn care) and should be done each year or every other year, usually in the fall.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Leave the clippings.

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For quality lawn care, as summer begins, finally, it is time to raise mowing heights to 3″ or higher, and try to leave the clippings on the lawn or turf. It is important to leave the clippings to reduce fertilizer use by returning nitrogen back to the soil. Leaving clippings can add as much as one lb of nitrogen per year. Contrary to popular belief, it does not increase thatch.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Fungus

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Many Boston Area lawns have brown or yellow splotches and circles on them, after a week of mostly wet weather including rain days and cool nights in the upper 40’s and low 50’s. The suspects? Many customers rightly say the grass looks stressed or burned but they know water is not the issue. Other customers have said they suspects insects, but grubs probably haven’t caused that kind of damage yet, more toward July and August. In most cases we have inspected, the cause is fungus. There are many lawns with brown patch or yellow patch and red thread. Against intuition, these areas affected tend to be the sunnier parts of the lawn. The reason, according to Craig Heffron from John Deere Landscapes, the temperature in these areas is high enough to incubate the fungus. Cultural controls are critical for fungi, illustrating the importance of balanced lawn fertility, and proper maintenance practices.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

What does “green” mean?

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What does “green” mean?
The answer is (obviously) stated what “green” means to us, GreenHow, Inc, in terms of pest control, lawn care and termite control. “Green” is a vague or ambiguous term. The term “greenwashing” is a response by consumers to a perceived or real misuse of the term “green.” Generally speaking “green” means environmentally-friendly products and services. Usually it is self imposed by a business, but it can be part of a certification or accreditation process. In our business lines, which are lawn care, pest control and termite control, the term “green” refers to different aspects. A brief description, in alphabetical order by our service types, will appear here over the next few days.
First, Lawn Care: The main terms we use to describe our lawn care services are organic, organic based and low impact. The organic service we describe uses materials listed on the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) list. This service includes no chemical herbicides or insecticides. This service is also accredited organic by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Organic LandCare Program. The organic based service uses blended or bridge materials. These materials are mostly (as a percent of weight) organic, but contain synthetic forms of nitrogen. The purpose of the synthetic nitrogen is to 1) provide a more rapid nitrogen or fertility and 2) to allow greater coverage per 1,000 square feet which decreases material and labor costs (and consumer price). This service may be a better option for some customers who are transitioning to organic, and may opt for organic based for one intermediate year from traditional lawn care programs. The low impact lawn care service utilizes more traditional types of materials including synthetic nitrogen with options for herbicide and insecticides as needed depending on the site.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.