Precision Lawn Care, Inc. October 2013

Landscape tips

Summer has ended and autumn has "fallen" and while we will still see some warm and sunny days it's easy to tell that the seasons have changed! Many believe that your maintenance needs diminish this time of year but that is not the case at all. Fall is the best time to prepare your lawn for next spring. There is still much to be done.

In cooler temperatures warm season turf is going to be going dormant but focusing on root growth. Therefore, we want to build up the density of the grass and encourage the most vigorous, healthy turf we can now to enjoy later. We can do this by using fertilizers with higher percentages of phosphorus and potassium and lower levels of nitrogen. This will encourage root growth. Keep mowing the lawn on a regular basis (change directions each time you mow) until the lawn has stopped growing.

For cool season grasses consider applying a "winterizing" fertilizer at the end of the month. Fall fertilization gives turf grass the strength it needs to withstand cold winters. In spring, it results in a greener, thicker lawn with greater ability to choke out weeds and deny bare spots for crabgrass to germinate. Click this link on our blog for 10 Lawn Care Tips for Fall

Now is the time to make sure your core aerating and de-thaching has been done. It is also the best time to go after those broadleaf weeds in the landscape and lawns. Using a weed killer in the fall works better as the weeds are taking in nutrients and storing them in their roots for winter, so they take in the weed killer as well.

Make sure you rake up those pesky leaves. They get wet and pack down allowing insect and disease problems to occur in your turf.

Begin planting these pansies in your beds to help roots become established before colder weather sets in. Set out trasplants in a sunny location in rich, well-drained soil. Use ornamental cabbages or kales as a backdrop for the blooms.

At this time of the year, prune out only deadwood on plants. This is one of the best times to fertilize woody plants. If done now, it will not stimulate new growth until next spring. One less thing to do! For More on How to prune check out TO PRUNE OR NOT TO PRUNE . . . on the Blog.

Don't forget the water! The weather may be cooler, but your landscape can still be exposed to long spans of dry, sunny weather. The strategy is to water deeply (not a light surface application) to establish self-sufficient plants. But, watch the nightly forecasts and make sure you take precautions with respect to colder temperatures, below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off the water and drain your system to prevent the cold from doing damage to your pipes.

Finish planting spring bulbs now. The general rule is to plant twice the depth of the bulb in the soil, slightly deeper on sandy soils and make sure to plant the root end down. In most of Atlanta we have high rabbit or squirrel populations. Consider using more daffodils than tulips or crocus as daffodils are poisonous and will not be eaten or dug up.

More miscellaneous fall tips go to This newsletter October 2012.

Of course, if you are one of our valued Precision Lawn Care customers, we'll have this covered for you. When you see your neighbor toiling over his landscape this month, tell him to call us. If he signs up, we will buy your lunch! (we will give you a $25 restaurant certificate)

If you like our Newsletter you can sign up to get your copy every month. Go to our site at and enter your name and email in the subscription box.

Christmas in July?

A quick look at local retail displays are leading more and more people to believe that a celebration of Christmas in July is not as farfetched and fantastic as we've believed in the past. Over the years, the Christmas/Chanukah/Year-End Appreciation shopping season has begun earlier and earlier. Have you noticed it too? This is what's happened so far this year:

The public school year began in August, so we found ourselves shopping for school supplies, kids clothing, etc. in July. At that time, stores were displaying Halloween decorations already. They must have reasoned that some parents would like to get the shopping done for the school year's first festive occasion at the same time (Labor Day doesn't quite count: a few red-white-and-blue accessories plus a truckload of barbeque food the weekend of the holiday is usually all that's needed).

Retailers obviously want to get Halloween shopping over with as soon as possible so that they can move on to the next big holiday: Christmas. "What about Thanksgiving?" one may ask. Again, the shopping required for that holiday might include big ticket items like new furniture, decor, and kitchenware if you're hosting the traditional family dinner and want to impress everyone, but we're not inundated with thousands of Thanksgiving gadgets, trinkets and songs to get us to Buy, Buy, Buy the way that we are for the December holidays.

So how early did the Christmas shopping season start this year? We can get a clue from the September 13th layaway starting date for the blue big box store known as "Wally World" in some circles. Shoppers have until December 13 to pay off their merchandise. September 13th is only six weeks away from the end of July, isn't it?

There is a strong historic element to the holiday shopping season being moved up on the calendar. It dates back to 1939. The unwritten rule was that holiday shopping didn't begin until after Thanksgiving was celebrated. This was demonstrated through the annual Thanksgiving Day parades nationwide which culminated in the much-anticipated appearance of Santa Claus. A month-long Christmas shopping season would then begin.

Before 1939, Thanksgiving was celebrated on the final Thursday in November. The Retail Dry Goods Association warned President Franklin Roosevelt that they'd experience a drop in sales that year because the holiday fell on the last day of the month, November 30th. The president had an easy solution: he declared that the new day for our national Thanksgiving celebration would be the next-to-last Thursday of the month, which instantly added an extra week to the shopping season. Who knew that our Commander-in-Chief was also a retail genius!

The Friday after Thanksgiving became a prime shopping day for many Americans, especially people who prefer shopping over football. Deadlocked traffic and crazy crowds in Philadelphia led to law enforcement referring to that day as Black Friday in the mid 1960's. A more positive accounting spin become popular in the '80s, in which the "black" refers to profits as opposed to the red ink used to show debt on old fashioned adding machines.

Black Friday has almost become a holiday in itself, with incredible deals and sometimes shameless gimmicks to get people into stores. The sale times have gone back from 5 a.m. Friday morning, to midnight Thursday night, and Wally World starts the shopping craze at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night. At first, workers threatened to strike. Someone had to draw the line!

Others will draw the line by shopping online rather than standing in line during the holiday madness.