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6 Spring Clean Up Tips For Your Lawn

spring lawnLuzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Bucks, Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania have been hit pretty hard this past week with winter storms. The end of winter Nor’Easters can cause quite a bit of damage to your lawn, shrubs, and trees. Luckily spring is right around the corner, which will allow you plenty of opportunities to get your lawn in tip-top shape with a well thought out spring clean up. Preparing your yard for growing season is vital to ensure an eye-catching lawn and garden this summer.

Green Machine Lawn Care, of Kingston, PA, put together their top 6 tips for spring clean up this year.

1) Prepare Flower Beds


  • Before planting any new flowers, first, rake out leaves that have fallen in the bed as well as dead foliage to stop the smothering of plants and avoid spreading disease.
  • If there is any remaining mulch from last year, it must be removed to create a precise palate for a new layer of mulch after completing spring planting.
  • Fasten loose drip irrigation lines with pins.
  • Tamp down lifted plants by foot or replant them using a shovel.
  • Layout pelletized fertilizer on top of the soil to let rain and water absorb the nutrients into the ground.Lastly, fertilize bulbs immediately after flowering to lengthen their bloom time and feed next season’s growth.

2) Fix Up Trellises and Fences


  • Do a thorough check for shaky fence posts and replace the ones you need to.
  • Reinforce rotted sections of trellises with wood epoxy.
  • If any pickets or lattices have entirely deteriorated, replace them.
  • Clean wooden structures by scrubbing them with a solution made of part liquid soap, eight parts bleach and 32 parts water.
  • Pealing and old paint need to be scraped off, the surface then sanded and repainted/stained to reinvigorate your yard.

3) Prune Perennials, Shrubs, and Trees


  • With recent snow storms and Nor’Easters, hitting the Eastern and Northeastern, Pa areas, it has caused much damage to branches.
  • Damaged branches must be pruned back to the live stems to help heal and improve their appearance.
  • Cut overgrown evergreens back to a controllable size.
  • Prune flowering shrubs in the summer before their buds swell, however, hold off on pruning spring bloomers until their flowers have spent.
  • Trim back blooming perennials to 4 or 5 inches and ornamental grasses to 2 or 3 inches to allow new growth to grow quicker.

4) Begin a Compost Pile


  • Merely use last year’s mulch, pruned branches, and flower bed debris to build the foundation of a compost pile. 3-foot by 3-foot corral made from wire fencing is an ideal place to store a compost pile.
  • Before adding them to the compost, shred branches and leaves to speed up decomposition. Also adding bagged compost to the starter pile to will accelerate the process.
  • Ensure the compost pile is kept moist and aerate it by tilling with a pitchfork every two weeks.
  • Do NOT put weeds in your compost pile as they are likely to sprout.

5) Perform Lawn Care


  • Begin by raking the lawn.
  • Next step is to aerate the soil. After aeration is complete, layout peat moss over the lawn with a rake.
  • Inspect the lawn for dead spots caused by grubs, salt, plows or disease and seed those specific areas once forsythia starts blooming.
  • Add the first dose of crabgrass treatment, fertilizer, and pre-emergent weed killer. Do not apply weed killer to newly seeded areas.
  • Perform maintenance on lawn mower blades by sharpening or replacing as necessary as well as other lawn care tools.

6) Clean Up The Surfaces of Hardscapes


  • If there any gravel has migrated to unplanned locations make sure to shovel or rake it back in to place.
  • Fill in any empty or depressed areas with more gravel.
  • Take out pavers that have lifted because of the freeze-thaw cycle.
  • Restore the base material and put the pavers back in place.
  • Pressure wash, on a low setting, to remove dust, leaf stains or debris from your walkways and patios.

Not every home or business owner has the equipment nor the time to perform spring clean up. Green Machine provides professional lawn, tree, and shrub care to customers throughout the Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Bucks, Montgomery Counties. We are happy to offer a free estimate or quote for your spring clean up needs. Contact us Today!

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As most people in the Eastern and North Eastern Counties of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Bucks, and Montgomery know, grubs are a frequent and often severe problem in Pennsylvania lawns. In Pennsylvania, these grubs are most often the larva of Japanese beetles or Northern masked chafer grubs. Affected gardens become spongy in patches as their roots are gnawed away, and layers of sod can be easily peeled away. The most visible signs of grub damage are patches of dead or dying grass that crop up in early summer or fall. The most extensive grub damage in Pennsylvania lawns takes place between May and June, which is also the best time to treat a lawn for grubs.

Lawn Grub Cycle


Residents and business owners have seen a lot of grub damage this past fall in the Eastern and Northeastern Pennsylvania areas. Green Machine, who have over 37 years of experience treating lawns in Lackawanna, Monroe, Bucks, Montgomery Counties suggest addressing this damage early. If it is not resolved soon, the pre-emergent crabgrass control that’s typically applied in the spring will inhibit the growth of new seed in the damaged areas. Also, without crabgrass control, lawns will have the crabgrass take over choking out all of the newly planted turfs.

If you are seeing patches of grass turning brown and the area is ever-widening, Japanese beetle grubs may be at work.


When the injury is severe, the grass can be lifted readily and almost rolled back like a carpet – and the grub worms may be seen underneath at the outer rim of the brown patches, where the grass is still green.

These grubs feed on grass roots cutting them 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface. This type of injury is most likely to occur during late summer, particularly in August and September and in mid to late spring. Newly damaged grass wilts quickly on hot days. In some cases, a quick, thorough watering will enable the soil or turf to reroot and to survive.

Lawn Grub Control & Treatment

Once you detect  Japanese beetle grubs, your method of attack is to use an insecticide. 


Today, you have a choice of several excellent products to use to prevent grub infestations and damage. They include chlorantraniliproe (Acelepryn), clothianidin (Arena), imidacloprid (Merit), halofenozide (MACH2) and thiamethoxam (Meridian).

But not all lawns suffer from grubs, at least not in sufficient numbers to cause noticeable lawn damage. While some lawns are historically more prone to grub damage than others (and clients’ are glad to pay for a preventative chemical application), infestations that result in lawn damage in many cases can be unpredictable and sporadic. They can also be severe, killing large sections of Eastern and Northeastern, PA lawns.

When to Treat for Grubs?

This first-instar stage is the best time for curative control of grubs. The longer that grubs are allowed to feed, the larger they become, the more lawn damage they do and the more difficult they become to kill.

**From first-instar grubs, they molt (shed their skins) and emerge as larger second-instar larvae within several weeks. As they grow, their appetites increase. They molt again in late summer or early fall to become larger, more robust third-instar grubs. At this stage of their development regardless of the product you select and use, grubs are very difficult to control. Green Machine Lawn Care suggests contacting a local lawn care professional to appropriately correct grub damage and rid your lawn of future infestations.

How To Prevent Grubs For A Healthy Lawn?*

  1. Do Not Mow Your Lawn
    In order for the grubs to get into the ground in the first place, the beetles need to lay its eggs. As it turns out, they don’t like to do that in long grass.

Lawn grubs don’t like to lay eggs in the long grass!

You can cut your grass of course, but keeping it relatively long can help you prevent the insects to look at your property as an incubator. There are other ways of keeping the little lawn pests away, like:

  1. Over-Seeding Your Lawn
    Over-seeding by spring and early fall are much healthier than overeating, and in this case, it can be extremely beneficial for the general health of your lawn. Again, grubs aren’t just a problem; they attract problem.

When these pests eat your plants’ roots only to end up as the food of an animal that will do equally big damage to your garden, well, that’s pretty much the worst case scenario as far as grub infestations go.

By over-seeding your lawn during the spring and early fall, the grass will merely be too dense and thick for the beetles to find it accommodating.

  1. Fertilizing Your Lawn A Valuable Ally
    When it comes to insect-related plant problems, fertilization can be a precious ally. People tend to fear this process these days, but in reality, it is still the most potent weapon against specific pests.
    The fertilization process itself should be done in two phases for maximal efficiency, the first phase during the fall months, and the second phase of the early spring lawn care season.

If possible, putting down a layer of dead leaves [leaf mulching] after the first phase is ideal, that way you will maximize the fertilizer’s effect during the winter months.

  1. Water The Lawn Is Not Always Good
    Lawn grub eggs have a dirty little secret, without enough water, they cannot hatch.

While it’s true that your lawn needs to be frequently watered during the hottest months, and coincidentally the grub eggs hatch around the same time (early August), you can circumvent this problem by changing your watering schedule.

See, your lawn is utterly beautiful with getting a lot of water once, instead of you spanning your watering activities over several days.

If the eggs do not get constant moisture, their chances of ever hatching will reduce significantly.

  1. Applying A Beetle Grub Poison
    Fertilization can help you prevent the problem while poisoning is a measure of the times when you realize that the grub eggs have already been laid down.

Certain garden chemicals contain potent – but to humans not dangerous – chemicals, like imidacloprid or halofenozide.

Merit insecticide [amazon] is a product like that, and it will poison the grubs when they hatch. Make sure to educate yourself about the product though, as some can affect (or even kill) the birds that would eat the grubs.

Penn State University also suggest using neem oil – “Another alternative is neem oil, a botanical pesticide. Neem tree oil contains insecticidal properties and can act as a repellent, deterring feeding, insect growth and egg laying. Mix the neem oil with water as directed on the label and spray the diluted solution generously on affected areas.”

  1. Wasp attack
    Despite their reputation, parasitic wasps can be beneficial insects for more than one reasons. Certain types (ground hornets, which are wasps) hunt grubs and will, in fact, seek them out to take care of the problem for you.

Okay, they’ll be more driven by their predatory instincts than your wishes and hopes, but it’s the result what counts, right?

  1. Attract Birds To Eat Lawn Grubs
    Another counterattack comes from Mother Nature herself, birds. Yes, birds can cause quite a ruckus themselves, but overall they are still beneficial to your garden.

You should take measures to protect your seeds from them, but they will also snack on the grubs which are ultimately something we want.

How can you attract birds to your garden? It is easy. Just put up a bird feeder close to the problematic areas, and let them go to town on it.

Putting up a bird feeder may be a more of a “solution” that is not very dependable and would be low on my list of remedies!

  1. Kill Grubs In Your Lawn With Beer
    Yes, it’s not just you who’s likely quite fond of beer (sorry if I’m way off), but these slimy little lawn enemies as well. This idea may sound like a waste of a delicious beverage, but you don’t have to use the best stuff, they aren’t picky about it.
    Just dig a hole big enough to accommodate a plastic container of your selection (it shouldn’t be too big or too high), and pour the stuff in it. After that, all you have to do is wait until the morning.

You may also collect a bunch of slugs and snails. Using beer may be possible in a small area but a large lawn just not very practical.

  1. Apply Parasitic Nematodes To Your Yard
    Sounds frightening, but parasitic nematodes [amazon] will mostly affect the grubs, though not all types.

Beneficial Nematodes are an organic and most efficient way to battle soil pest.

-Kills Over 200 different species of soil dwelling and wood boring insects.
-Easy to apply and Harmless to humans and pets.

10 million Nematodes are enough for the preventative control of soil-dwelling insects in approx. 2,000 – 3,000 sq.ft of the soil surface area.
For best results or high infestations. Multiple releases are recommended.

Some species of white grubs will be more susceptible to the method than others, but they work excellently against the most widespread type (Japanese beetles).

If you are having issues with grub damage on your lawn, contact Green Machine Lawn Care today to request your free lawn analysis and estimate.



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hands off gardeningThe weather is finally warm and welcoming, beckoning you to step outside and enjoy your natural surroundings. Many people take that first look at their outdoor space and are suddenly overwhelmed by how distressed their empty garden beds appear. And, of course, there’s always that one perfect neighbor who’s new blossoms are already sprouting among a perfectly green and lush lawn.
Depressing, for sure. You barely have the time to keep up with work, family, and household chores. How can you possibly find the time to spend hours keeping up with a high maintenance garden?

Do not despair! We have a few very useful tips that will help you sow the beautiful garden you want, but minimize the amount of time you spend working on it’s upkeep.


Tip 1 – No More Tilling
The amount of time wasted tilling your garden can be mind boggling. The “no-tilling” method is achieved by taking measures that will stop you from continuously disturbing the soil. Which means very little weeding or shovel work.

Sounds good, right?

Elements such as manure, lime, peat, and organic fertilizer are just added to the top layer, and over time saturate the soil below with regular watering.
One way to reduce cost while maintaining an organic methodology to gardening is to use mulch that is readily available. Lawn clippings are an excellent source for free garden mulch, particularly if they are fresh. Fresh lawn clippings contain an good amount of nitrogen, which is incredibly useful for any of your plants that do not produce fruit.

Tip 2 – Mulch is Your Friend

Tired of spending valuable time watering your beds? The answer is to use mulch, and use it vigorously. Spreading a healthy amount of mulch around and over your garden plants will greatly reduce the amount of time you spend watering and weeding your beds.

As for getting that lush green lawn, that’s where Green Machine Lawn Care comes in. Give us a call today to set up a free consultation, and you’re sure to have the lawn that makes your neighbors green with envy.

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spring lawn careThere’s a lot of information available on how to care for your lawn during the Spring season, but there are also things you should avoid doing as well.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have a preconceived notion that certain activities should only be done during specific times of the year. Also, many people may have a tendency to over due particular tasks, and understanding that “less is more” can make a huge difference in your lawn’s overall health.

Only Rake in Fall

As the weather grows colder and the beautiful NEPA foliage begins to turn to wintry shades of brown, having your rake handy is second nature for many homeowners. But don’t just take to raking during the Fall. One of the best ways to care for your lawn in the Spring is to search out any dead and decaying foliage that may be remaining on your lawn and in your flower beds. Many trees continue to shed their dead leaves well after you’ve raked for the last time in the Fall season, and these leftovers could very well be harboring unwanted fungus that could potentially harm your lawn.

Raking during the Spring also gives you the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with your lawn. Familiarizing yourself with your lawn will help you to recognize any issues that may have been revealed after the last frost has melted away. In particular, you should be looking carefully for any matted patches of grass. This occurrence is often referred to as “snow mold” and the matted area is likely to prevent new grass from sprouting. A light raking during the Spring is an easy way to remedy this problem and give your new grass room to grow.



Ignore Soil Compaction

Depending on the amount of traffic that you have through your yard, there is the possibility that soil may become compacted. There are several ways to recognize this, from discovering obvious compaction to finding patches of moss growing on your lawn. Many people treat the moss they find like any other weed that might be contaminating your lawn, however, moss is actually a good indicator that there is an underlying condition of soil compaction.

Aerating your soil is the best way to solve your compaction problem, but it is recommended that the aeration process be conducted during the fall months. Discovering the problem in Spring, however, will help you make a plan to aerate months in advance and give you the preparation time you need.

Over Fertilizing

If you’ve been caring for your lawn regularly, you likely understand the importance of fertilizing. There are many options available on the market today, or you can join the many others who are choosing to fertilize their lawns organically. Making your own organic fertilize is quite easy, and you can follow the helpful tips in our post “Easy Compost in 30 Days.”
It is extremely important to remember that a light application of fertilize is preferred during the Spring months, as heavier fertilizing is suggested for Fall in preparation of Winter. By applying too much fertilizer during Spring, you could very likely making your lawn more susceptible to disease, and causing in more harm than good.

Do you have any other suggestions for our “What Not To Do” in Spring list? If so, please leave your ideas below!

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