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Lawn, Tree & Shrub Care
12 Feb 2019

Flea and Tick Care

As the warmer weather is approaching here in Northeastern Pa, Green Machine Lawn Care is gearing up toward treating lawns and yards for those dreaded and disease-ridden pests that are prevalent in our area. Fleas and ticks present a threat to pets not only in the warmer spring and summer months but year round. They are especially more active beginning as soon as March in Northeastern and Eastern PA.

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Pet owners know the absolute havoc that an infestation on your pets and in your home can cause. The sheer discomfort is enough to drive your beloved pets insane. Most pet owners will take action to prevent infestation by treating their animals with a monthly tick and flea medicine. Unfortuantely if the problem continues you will have to consider that there are other factors that exist in your home as well as your lawn. Green Machine Lawn Care’s program consists of three applications to control fleas and ticks during there most active times of the year.   These three applications help to get the infestation under control to prevent the spread of illness, such as Lyme disease.

As a home owner, Green Machine Lawn Care of Kingston, Pa, recommends following the easy tips to control fleas and ticks in your yard:

Your Lawn

Do Not Overwater. Fleas and ticks thrive in moist environments. An improperly draining lawn can lead to overwatering and create the perfect hosting space for insects. Make sure that you are watering your lawn properly. If your lawn does have drainage issues, aeration can help. Moist and shady areas will attract the most fleas and ticks, so be sure to follow the tips below.

Keep It Short  A shorter lawn cut will greatly reduce the number of fleas and ticks by removing areas they are prone to hide.  The lawn height needs to be not too long, nor too short as to avoid attracting spiders, and ants, as well as avoiding the disease-ridden fleas and ticks. If you’re not sure of the exact right length, contact your local lawn care professional to get a quote for your lawn.

Beyond The Grass

Focus on where your pets spend the majority of their time outdoors. The larvae from ticks and fleas will stay within 50 feet of your pet’s usual resting place. Treating around cool, and shady spots as well as cleaning those areas, such as low-hanging shrubs or along fence lines will help eliminate larvae, fleas, and ticks from that area. Do not neglect dog runs or kennels.

Clean is key. Cleanliness is important when removing habitats for fleas and ticks to hide and lay eggs. Take away yard debris, like excess wood, bricks, and stones. Remove discarded pots and varies gardening tools; stack them neatly to lessen hiding spaces. Toward the end of the growing season, make time to clean up your lawn and garden as well as storage places in crawl spaces and under the patio.

Try and keep out errant animals and rodents. There are many urban animals that carry fleas and ticks. This includes squirrels, deer, rabbits, raccoons, mice and feral cats. In fact, any warm-blooded wild animal is most likely carrying some sort of blood-sucking insects. If you have an excess of wild animals visiting your lawn take steps to limit your lawns appeal. For those animals that love your trash, keep your trash in a contained space that is not easy to “break in”, for those animals that are looking for grubs in your lawn to snack on, treating our lawn for grubs will eliminate your problems. Keep birdseed far away from the home to avoid squirrels, and limit shrub berries to avoid mice. Do the best you can to avoid attracting wild animals to your yard.

Create a no-migrate zone. If your area is known for ticks, establish a barrier between your lawn and surrounding woods or properties. Remove weeds, brush and leaf litter.

Create a barrier to your home. Protect your home by creating a barrier around your home with a pesticide perimeter treatment. The treatment can prevent fleas and ticks from moving into your home, although they can still hitch a ride on you or your pet. Take away all brush, plants and leaf litter around your home, shoot for at least a 6-inch-wide clean area. It will remove the hiding places for fleas and ticks.

Allow the “bad guys” to come in. By making your landscape appealing to flea and tick predators, keeping your grass mowed to the right height, and incorporating native plants and ground covers you will attract birds that eat these insects. Avoid those bird feeders and allow those birds to “hunt” their natural resources. Win, win for all.

Use cedar mulch. Cedar mulch repels fleas and ticks. Use it to border areas where your pet likes to play or rest to keep insects from migrating into those areas. Place cedar mulch along the edges of your yard to form a barrier.

Encourage wide areas of sunshine in your yard. Fleas and ticks are most attracted to shady, moist areas. Prune trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight to enter your landscape.

If you have more questions about fleas and ticks in your yard. Or you are interested in receiving treatment for ticks and fleas contact Green Machine Lawn Care today to set up a free quote. We currently serve the Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Bucks,  and Montgomery Counties.

12 Feb 2019

White Pine Weevil Control

The White Pine Weevil is considered the most destructive pest of eastern white pine in Northern Pennsylvania. This insect kills the terminal leader of Eastern White Pines. Colorado Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Serbian Spruce, Scotch and Austrian Pines may also be attacked. The White Pine Weevil prefers to attack trees exposed to direct sunlight. The leader in the tree eventually dies and leaves what looks like a brown “shepherd’s crook” in the top of the tree.

White Pine Weevil Damage

LIFE CYCLE

Adults spend the winter in the leaf debris under or near the host trees. Once the weather warms, the insect flies or crawls to the leader of the host. Most feeding is done within 10 inches of the terminal buds. From mid-April through early May, females mate and each deposits 1-5 eggs in the feeding wounds.

After hatching in about 7 days, the heavily infested terminal is attacked by the larvae who feed side by side in a ring around the stem. The larvae reach maturity in mid to late July and pupate in the terminal. Adults emerge through the small holes in the base of the dead terminal lead usually during late July and August. By the time the adults emerge, the damage to the tree has already been completed. The White Pine Weevil has one generation per year.

DAMAGE

The first symptom of a White Pine Weevil infestation is resin droplets on the terminal leader of the host plant as a result of the adult feeding and cutting egg-laying slits. Most damage is done by the larvae of this insect. They may be found under the bark of the infested terminals between May and July.

They completely girdle the stem and cause the current year’s growth to wilt, droop and eventually die. One or more side branches may eventually bend upward to take over as the terminal leader. Infested trees are seldom killed but they may be permanently disfigured.

CONTROL

White Pine Weevil likes to attack eastern white pine when the trees are less than 20 feet in height. The infested leaders should be pruned out and burned before mid-July to help contain the population of this pest. Cut back all but one live, lateral shoot just below the damaged terminal.

This should promote single-stem dominance on the affected tree. Application of a registered insecticide may be applied from late March through April when droplets of resin are first noticed on the terminal leader. Control by spraying is difficult.

Having difficulty with pine damage? Contact Green Machine Lawn Care today for a free evaluation.

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12 Feb 2019

Create A Beautiful Landscape With These Tree Trimming Tips

Spring is nearing the end, and there are only a few things left remaining on your to-do list. Get out your summer clothes, spring clean your home and tidy up your lawn. So if your weekend plans involve running to the nursery to pick up a few new plants, or tree trimming, this post is for you.

If you’ve never had a backyard or even a patch of grass for that matter, the idea of maintaining your lawn can be daunting. Which plants will flourish; how often should you trim your trees; where do you even begin? If you find yourself overwhelmed, fear not: our team at Green Machine Lawn, Tree, and Shrub Care is here to help.

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to successfully trim and prune your new lawn.

Know the Pruning Basics

As a homeowner, it’s important to know why we prune trees in the first place. It may seem obvious, but many individuals are unaware of its effects and benefits.

Pruning involves removing dead, unhealthy, or broken limbs on your trees to preserve the tree’s overall well-being. It’s also done routinely in cities as a safety precaution, as some trees can break or fall over when they become too heavy or overgrown.

Pruning increases flower production, improves plant health, and ultimately, makes the tree—and your yard—more aesthetically pleasing when done correctly. Incorrect pruning, though, can lead to permanent damage to the tree.

Plan Ahead

Your best bet for success is to plan out which trees—and which branches—need tree trimming.

Start by removing all dead, broken, or problem limbs by cutting them at the point of origin. You’ll then move on to the larger, thicker branches.

Make a small wedge on the underside of the branch to prevent any tears from running along the bark and stem tissue. You’ll then want to move to the top of the branch and cut all the way through. This will leave you with a stub end, and a final section to trim.

To remove the final stump, cut close to the trunk and be sure to angle your cut away from the tree to allow for proper healing.

The Tools For Tree Trimming

Now that you have a plan, you’ll need to select the appropriate tools for the task at hand. To remove the dead, broken limbs, use hand shears or hand pruners; you can choose a bypass or an anvil hand shear. And though both can cut through wood with a diameter of about ½ to ¾ inches, bypass pruners often leave a smoother, cleaner cut.

For larger branches, loppers or pruning saws work best, as they’re able to cut branches with a larger diameter.

To keep your tools in top-tree trimming shape, be sure to store them in a dry room and disinfect all shears and blades after each use to prevent spreading a disease to healthy plants in the future.

Safety First

As a new homeowner, it’s possible you’ve never had to prune a tree; on the other hand, you could be an expert. Regardless of your pruning experience, take a moment to familiarize yourself with a few safety precautions before you begin.

Here are ways to ensure your safety while pruning:

  • Be mindful of electric lines
  • Use well-maintained tools
  • Wear gloves, safety goggles, and ear protectors
  • Don’t cut above head height

Knowing your limits is another way to stay safe. Understand your abilities and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Call for Backup

When it comes to completing your to-do list, there are certain tasks you can tackle over a weekend. And while we understand the satisfaction of completing that list on your own, some tasks—like pruning large trees—are sometimes best left to the pros.

Our team at Green Machine Lawn, Tree & Shrub Care is made up of professionally trained individuals that can handle all of your lawn needs. From aeration to weed and pest control, rest assured that The Green Machine Lawn, Tree & Shrub Care can get the job done right.