The Most Common Lawn Diseases – And How To Stop Them

Posted on January 31, 2020January 31, 2020Categories BlogTags , , ,

Trying to identify the most common lawn diseases can be a challenge. This guide was created to give the knowledge on how to identify lawn diseases. After reading this article you will be able to identify: Does my lawn have a disease, which lawn disease, which course of action should be followed, and most importantly, how to prevent lawn diseases from coming back. Just like a three legged bar stool cannot stand if it is missing one of it’s legs, a disease cannot develop in a lawn if it is missing any of the three elements.

  • The Right Environment
  • A Pathogen
  • Susceptible Turf Grass
the lawn disease cycle triangle

The Right Environment

The right environment for disease to grow in turf grass can be stopped with proper cultural practices. These include lawn aeration, proper mowing heights, proper fertilization levels, and adequate watering.

The right environment for diseases can be caused by heavy rainfalls, which we have experienced the last few years in Pennsylvania. On the other end, inadequate rain or proper irrigation can also be a breeding ground for diseases. Excessive thatch and grass clumps can also lead to lawn diseases. Bagging lawn clippings is one option, but this also robs the lawn of healthy natural fertilizer that grass clippings offer. Instead, adhere to proper mowing techniques such as never removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade when mowing. Following a weekly lawn mowing schedule is also very important to maintaining healthy turf grass. In addition, aerating the lawn twice a year, once in the Spring, and again in the Fall, will remove excess thatch buildup.

Pathogens

All lawns are susceptible to pathogens. Planting disease resistant turf grass is one of the most cost effective ways to prevent pathogen buildup. We use high quality turf grass designed by Pennsylvania State University that is specific to South Eastern Pennsylvania lawns. Pathogens are almost always in turf grass, but remain dormant until environmental conditions arise that activate the pathogens.

Susceptible Turf Grass

Turf grass becomes susceptible to pathogen activation when the proper environment gives way to susceptible turf grass. Turf grass becomes susceptible when heavy traffic, heavy rains or drought, improper fertilization, heavy thatch buildup and improper mowing conditions arise. To prevent this, be sure to have mower blades sharp, and to cut turf grass higher in the Spring and Summer. Only during the Fall and Winter should turf grass be cut below 3″ in Pennsylvania.

Disease Identification

Identifying the disease is the first step before treating it. Make sure that insects and pests are not the culprit before applying a fungicide. Check out our ultimate guide to the most common lawn pests in Pennsylvania here in order to determine if pests or disease are causing the issues in your lawn. Lawn pests are much more common than disease on residential lawns.

lawn disease identification

Symptoms And Signs Of The Problem

Symptoms can appear as small, circular, tan lesions surrounded by purple or brown borders. This is known as leaf spotting. Tan, yellow, or red blotches covering most of the blade are known as blighting.

The species of turf grass that is being affected is also important to consider. Some species of turf grass are more resistant to pathogen outbreaks, while others are more susceptible.

The weather and site conditions play a major roll in an outbreak. High humidity, lots of sunlight, drainage conditions, soil conditions, and the amount of rain all play a factor. Poor mowing practices and improper fertilization can play a role in disease outbreak, as well as disease identification.

Common Lawn Diseases

Dollar Spot – 60-75 degrees F.

  • Most severe in high temperatures with inadequate rainfall. Inadequate fertilization will also contribute to dollar spot issues. White “cobwebs” which are the white mycelium of the fungi may be seen in the early morning when the lawn has dew still. Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine Fescue are the most susceptible. Proper cultural lawn practices will avoid dollar spot break outs.

Leaf Spot – Weather between 45-60 degrees F.

  • Occurs when the lawn is being scalped (cut too low) during vital Spring and early Summer months. Over-fertilized lawns will make this problem more severe. A dark purplish-red oval border around the disease will appear as it worsens. All cool season turf grasses are susceptible. Avoid lawn scalping, over fertilizing, and frequent light watering.

Snow Mold – 32-45 degrees F.

  • Occurs in the Fall and Winter. Grass that is left too high during these months will produce snow mold. Perennial Ryegrass and Tall Fescue are the most susceptible. Proper mowing in the Spring and adequate fertilizer will revive turf from snow mold. While the blades of the turf may look dead, the crown and root are not. This is one of the most common lawn diseases, and tends to resolve itself naturally with no fungicides.
yellow patch lawn care lawn disease

Yellow Patch – 32-45 degrees F.

  • Excessive thatch creates the perfect environment for patch. Patch diseases are almost always caused by excessive thatch. Occurs during the Fall, Winter and early Spring when temperatures are around 40 degrees. Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine Fescue are most affected. While this is not one of the most common lawn disease for residential lawns, it is commonly found on golf course greens. Light fertilizer in the spring should restore the turf.

Red Thread – Weather between 45-60 degrees F.

Red thread, as the name indicates, can be identified by pinkish-red threads sticking out of the leaf blade. The leaves will at first become red, and then fade out to a bleached straw color. Affects all cool season grasses, especially perennial ryegrass and fine fescue. To prevent red thread, cut turf at proper mowing heights and practice weekly lawn maintenance. Prolonged periods of dampness will help trigger red thread.

Pythium Blight – Hot Temperatures, above 75 degrees F.

  • Excess watering and poor drainage contribute pythium blight. High humidity where water tends to pool up, or not drain properly can affect All Cool Season Turfgrasses. Improve the air quality and drainage to rid lawns of blight. Sometimes called “grease spot” because of the greasy leaves and look that is characteristic of pythium blight.

Fairy Rings – Hot Temperatures, above 75 degrees F.

  • First appear as a cluster of mushrooms or toadstools. These will appear on the outer edge of what forms a ring. The rings can form as either dark green and fast-growing turf, or as slow growing killed turf. High soil moisture and hot temperatures contribute to fairy rings. All cool season grasses can be affected. These symptoms can be masked by core aeration, and moderate fertilization. Fungicides may need to be used as a preventative measure next season if this is a reoccurring problem.

Preventing The Most Common Lawn Diseases

Similar to the treatment of broadleaf weeds and lawn pests, lawn diseases work best with prevention methods. If you have a history of lawn diseases, a preventative fungicide will be your best option. However, in Chalfont, New Britain, and Doylestown, we find lawn diseases get triggered, and are not annual.

To prevent lawn diseases:

  • Core Aerate
    • Removes thatch, opens up air flow, creates stronger roots.
  • Follow Healthy Lawn Mowing Practices
    • Sharp blades, proper mowing heights for the season, not scalping the lawn.
  • Proper Lawn Fertilization Levels
    • Over fertilizing can actually burn the lawn, stressing it even further. This is why dog urine “burns” the lawn. Urine is high in nitrogen content and creates yellow spots on a healthy lawn. Follow the directions on the label for proper fertilizing, and make sure to have your spreader/sprayer calibrated correctly.

The Most Common Lawn Pests and How to Control Them

Posted on January 28, 2020January 28, 2020Categories Blog

In this guide, you’ll learn about the most common lawn pests and how to control them. Insects that damage turf grass can be categorized into two groups: Surface Pests and Subsurface Pests. Surface pests, as you can guess, feed on turf grass above the surface of the plant and can easily be seen. These include chinch bugs, sod webworms, armyworms and cutworms. Subsurface pests are trickier to identify, and feed below the surface on the roots of healthy turf grass. These include white grubs and billbug larvae.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to identify the most common surface pests and how to control them.

Surface Activity Clues

  • Turf is yellow, brown or orange.
  • Striped caterpillars are present
  • Grass blades are chewed off or have notching along the blades
  • Birds are frequently feeding in the turf
  • Moths are flying low and frequently along the turf

Subsurface Activity Clues

  • You have the ability to pull turf up like a carpet. The roots have been destroyed and come up easy.
  • Turf is spongy when you stand on it (in well drained soil)
  • Turf is not responding to irrigation
  • Moles, skunks and raccoons are digging up turf (to feed on larvae)

Insect Control Methods For The Most Common Lawn Pests

While chemicals are probably the go-to instinct for how to control the most common lawn pests, there are other options. In the pest control industry, we urge clients to first adhere to Cultural Controls. Cultural controls with turf grass is keeping the turf grass extremely healthy, so that insects or weeds can not gain a foothold. Cultural controls for insect management consist of fertilizing, proper irrigation (an inch of water per week), turf aeration, and thatch control. When lawns are compact, have lots of thatch, and are not being fertilized, insects will have no problem taking over a lawn.

Biological Controls are the introduction of biological organisms into the environment to control pests, such as a predator or Biorational Insecticides. Biorational insecticides are insecticides that are derived naturally, and are much less toxic to the environment. These insecticides will also have a lesser impact on other insects which may be causing no harm to your turf grass.

Chemical Controls are used for when a pest population is too great for Biological controls and Cultural controls. Chemical controls are used to either prevent or treat an insect problem. If you are curing an insect problem, turf grass damage has already been done. Preventative controls for white grubs are less toxic to humans than the products available to for curative treatment, so we tend to include a preventative grub control product in treatment plans.

Pest Identification And Management For How To Control Lawn Pests

The sad reality is that pests love healthy turf grass. The nicer your lawn is, the more likely pests are going to try to nest and feed on the precious turf grass you have worked hard on creating.

Here, we identify the most common pests in turf grass and how to manage them.

Sod Webworms

In the larvae stage, sod webworms range from a cream to dull gray color. They can grow about 3/4 of an inch long, and the bodies feature many pairs of dark spots.

Damage Signs

The larvae chew off leaves and stems just above the crown of turf grass. The crown is the area sticking out just above the surface. These areas, if left unchecked, will discolor into a brown patch that can grow to the size of a hockey puck. Another indicator sod webworms are large numbers of moths flying above the surface during the night.

How To Control Sod Webworms

The good news is that sod webworms rarely will kill turf unless the turf is being stressed by drought. Because the larvae are not attacking root systems, the chance of survival is increased. Sometimes heavy watering can even mask the sod webworms damage.

Most control measures for sod webworms are used on an as-needed basis. This means monitoring the turf grass for infestations, and making sure a chemical application is needed. If you are adhering to proper cultural controls, the use of biological and chemical controls is most likely not needed.

Armyworms and Cutworms

Similar to the sod webworm, these worms can cause damage in their larvae stage. When fully matured, they become moths. The caterpillars are dull colored and smooth, and can grow one to two inches long. At this size, these larvae are ferocious feeders and can cause issues. An easy way to know if you are dealing with armyworms or cutworms is by poking the caterpillar, and if it curls up into a “C”, that’s how you know it’s a cutworm.

Damage Signs Of Armyworms and Cutworms

The larvae chew off leaves close to the base of the turf grass. These areas, if left unchecked, will discolor into a brown patch that can be one to two inches in diameter. Another indicator of armyworms and cutrowms, similar to sod webworms, are large numbers of moths flying above the surface during the night. Large numbers of birds feeding also can indicate cutworm presence.

How To Control Armyworms and Cutworms

Wet weather favors the bacteria that is lethal to armyworms and cutworms. These pests tend to thrive in drought stricken lawns. The best way to control the most common lawn pests, armyworms and cutworms, once again is by using proper cultural controls. These pests are rarely a problem when turf grass is cut higher. They tend to infest golf courses and lawns that are cut too short. They can be easily controlled with insecticides, but that should be reserved until an outbreak is noticed. Apply the insecticide as late in the day as possible since these pests like to feed at night.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are one of the most common lawn pests. The most damaging stage of a chinch bug’s life is during the nymph and adult stage. These bugs do not undergo a metamorphosis like the armyworm or sod webworm, and can be damaging to turf grass in the nymph stage. The nymphs are bright red-orange with a white band around the abdomen. Older nymphs progress to an orange brown, then to a grey, and finally as adults, black. They are tiny insects, only about 1/6 of an inch long.

chinch bugs life cycle

Damage Signs Of Chinch Bugs

Grasses will turn yellow and then brown from chinch bugs because they suck the juices from the plant. Damage is most severe during drought stressed lawns. They prefer to feast on fescues, ryegrass and zoysia grass, all very common in Pennsylvania. Damage from chinch bugs will usually be seen in late June to mid-July, and a second generation of nymphs can also strike through August.

How To Control Chinch Bugs

Endophyte-enhanced grasses can help prevent chinch bug damage. As stated before, proper cultural controls will help mask the damage done by chinch bugs. Proper irrigation, fertilizing, and mowing at a healthy height will reduce stress on turf grass and make them more resilient to chinch bug feeding. Heavy rainfall in June and July will also reduce the amount of eggs that hatch.

Chemical controls can make quick work of chinch bugs, but make sure to properly identify the density of chinch bugs before treating. The earlier you treat chinch bugs in their life cycle the better. These bugs are surface and thatch dwellers so excess watering after an application can reduce the effectiveness.

How To Control The Most Common Lawn Pests

Utilizing all three pest control methods (cultural, biological and chemical) can be the best way to treat surface pests. We encourage healthy cultural control practices before moving on to biological or chemical controls. When dealing with surface pests, the greater your cultural control, the less likely you are to have an issue with surface pests. Visit these articles on the importance of lawn aeration or broadleaf weed control in order to better understand cultural control methods.

The Most Common Weeds In Pennsylvania

Posted on January 27, 2020January 28, 2020Categories Blog

Identifying The Most Common Weeds In Pennsylvania

In this article, we have created the ultimate guide to broadleaf weed identification and the most common weeds in Pennsylvania turf grass. Although this post is focused on Pennsylvania turf grass, this guide is also useful for the surrounding states.

Before coming up with a broadleaf weed management plan for your turf, we recommend you refer back to this article to make sure you have correctly identified the weeds in question. Spraying the wrong chemicals can be devastating to your lawn, and to more importantly to our environment.

Rosette/Upright Broadleaf Weeds

Dandelion – Perennial

If you’re a home owner, odds are you have dealt with dandelions. They form a rosette, a circular arrangement of leaves. In flowering plants, rosettes usually sit near the soil. The rosettes on dandelions are long, ugly, and thick taproots that can penetrate several inches into the soil, making them very hard to eliminate. Bright yellow flowers, the easiest way to identify dandelions, are produced on long stems in the spring. The dandelion’s seed head looks like a large white “puff-ball” and easily blow seeds off the stems which allow them to spread incredibly fast.

dandelion ultimate guide to identifying broadleaf weeds
Notice the rosette shape, and the yellow flowering heads

Plantain – Broadleaf and Buckhorn

Another very common weed are Plantains, which come in two different forms, broadleaf and buckhorn. The leaves on broadleaf plantains, as you may have guessed, are much broader and thicker in size than buckhorn plantains. Notice on both, the long seed heads that can grow from 5 to 10 inches tall. Plantains have very thick tap roots that grow deep into the soil, similar to dandelions.

Thistles – Biennial or Perennial

If you haven’t seen thistles in your lawn, you can almost guarantee you have seen these nasty weeds pop up in your garden bed. Thistles can be categorized as biennial or perennial.

Perennial thistles grow tall during their first year, but can be easily removed as they have a weaker root system. Biennial thistles take two full years to complete their life cycle. During the first year, these weeds grow their root systems, leaves, and store energy for the future. In the first year, thistle will have a rosette like growth, where the flowers are low to the ground and can easily hide under lawn mower blades. If you do not remove thistle in the first year, they will reproduce extremely fast and be a nuisance for your lawn, especially during the second year. If left untreated, biennial thistles will outgrow the rosette shape and grow extremely tall. Each time they are mowed they will spread seeds farther and farther.

Oxalis – Perennial or Annual

Sometimes known as woodsorrel, Oxalis is a light green upright weed that can be either a perennial, or summer annual weed. Oxalis are commonly confused with clovers, since they both have three leaflets. However, Oxalis can be distinguished from other weeds by their distinct heart shaped leaflets. The flowers on Oxalis are bright yellow, and have five petals. Annual Oxalis (and almost any annual weeds) are much easier to treat than perennial weeds.

oxalis ultimate guide to identifying broadleaf weeds
Heart shaped leaves, and yellow flowers.

Creeping Or Prostrate Broadleaf Weeds

Knotweed – Summer Annual

Prostrate knotweed is a low growing summer annual. These weeds love to grow in compacted and high traffic areas such as along side walks and in athletic fields. Prostrate in botany means the plant grows flat to the ground, and not upward like a dandelion. One of the distinct features of the knotweed is the papery sheath at the base of each leaf.

Common Chickweed – Winter Annual

Although technically classified as a winter annual, common chickweed can grow and flower at any time of the year. The leaves on chickweed are small and taper to a point. Common chickweed spreads in turf grass, through branches and above ground stolons. The flowers are small and white with five petals. These weeds prefer moist shaded areas, but can also grow in sunny areas. They prefer high mowing conditions, which makes them a pain to treat.

common chickweed ultimate guide to identifying broadleaf weeds

Purslane – Summer Annual

Purslanes are easily one of the ugliest weeds that can grow in your turf grass. They can be easily identified by the the thick, sprawling red stems. The leaves are thick and fleshy, and the flowers are yellow. These nasty weeds are prolific seed producers, and can even produce seeds that may lay dormant in turf grass for years before germinating.

purslane most common weeds in Pennsylvania
Thick red stems are a dead giveaway for Purslane.

Ground Ivy – Perennial

Ground ivy, or what we call “Creeping Charlie”, is a nasty low growing perennial broadleaf weed. The leaves on ground ivy are either round or almost kidney shaped. The stems are square, creeping and long on thee turf grass invaders, giving them an added edge when trying to take over turf grass. In the spring you will notice they have purple or blue flowers. Creeping Charlie loves to grow in poorly drained soils, with a lot of shade. They can survive in sunny areas, but have a more difficult time.

creeping charlie ground ivy most common weeds in Pennsylvania
Low growing stolons allow these weeds to avoid lawn mower blades.

White Clover – Perennial

Clover is very common in just about every area turf grass grows in. This is one of the most common weeds in Pennsylvania turf grass. Clover can actually blend in with turf fairly well, and some homeowners actually don’t mind a small amount of clover in the lawn. It grows in dark green patches, and can over take lawns because of it’s creeping growth habit. When clover flowers, you will see a small white flowers that are only 1/2 an inch in diameter. As we stated earlier, do not confuse Oxalis and White Clover for the same weed.

How To Control The Most Common Weeds In Pennsylvania

Timing for controlling the most common weeds in Pennsylvania is crucial. Early Spring or In the Fall are the most ideal times to treat weeds. Ensuring proper cultural practices such as lawn aeration, weekly lawn maintenance, proper fertilizing, and dethatching will all help give your turf grass the best shot at crowing out weeds. Be sure to follow the directions on the label and spray or apply granular fertilizers at the proper intervals. We recommend using the selective herbicide Trimec which can be bought over the counter or online. Trimec is extremely effective at killing weeds, while simultaneously not hurting healthy turf grass.

Landscapers And Groundskeepers Are Ranked #1 in Best Maintenance And Repair Jobs

Posted on January 9, 2020January 9, 2020Categories Blog

In a feature from US News which they do every year, their formula stated landscapers and grounds keepers ranked #1 in best maintenance and repair jobs. This probably comes as no surprise to anyone in the green industry, considering most of us got into the industry for the love of what we do!

In addition to being ranked #1 in the best maintenance and repair jobs category, landscaper and groundskeeper was also ranked #4 in the best jobs without a college degree category. This came as somewhat of a shock to me considering the fact that in the top 10 of this category, only two of the occupations were manual labor. A variety of factors go into determining the best jobs methodology which you can read here. I think the rational behind the formula is good, obviously imperfect, and definitely well thought out.

extended flower bed with three yards of mulch applied to a home in new britain pa

Highlights Of The Article

  • Very Low Stress Ranking
  • Above Average Opportunity For Advacement
  • Above Average Flexibility In Work Scheduling
  • Very High Future Growth

As the baby boomer generation continues to age, fewer homeowners are able to take care of the landscaping on their property. But this isn’t the only generation that is looking for lawn care and landscaping services. The new generation of working professionals are also less likely than previous generations to take care of their landscaping themselves.

For future growth, US News is projecting the landscaping field to grow 8.8%, and add 106,000 jobs by 2028.

Unfortunately for landscape business owners, the unemployment rate is 2%, which means most companies either have enough workers, or can’t hire enough. As unemployment levels increase, hiring for landscape business owners tends to become easier.

My Takeaway

I’m really not surprised that landscaping was ranked so high in the best maintenance and repair jobs. I love landscaping and the freedom and satisfaction it brings me. I’ve always said that landscaping is one of the few industries where every time you leave a job, you can see exactly the kind of work you did. Being able to be outside in the sun, working hard, and having low stress is one of the main reasons so many people do landscaping as a “side gig” too.

If a person is thinking about becoming a part of the landscaping and ground keeping industry and doesn’t enjoy being outside or working hard, I highly suggest finding a different career.

If you found this article interesting, consider reading some of our other blogs reviewing equipment, plants, and proper lawn maintenance techniques.

Ryan Lawnaire V Aerator Review

Posted on December 30, 2019December 30, 2019Categories Blog

We decided to write a Ryan Lawnaire V Aerator review after purchasing one this past year. The price point for this unit is around $3,400 before taxes. We purchased the 36″ Ryan Lawnaire V Aerator with Easy Steer Technology, which is the biggest walk behind unit they make. Let’s start with the pro’s and the con’s of this aerator.

Ryan Lawnaire V Pro’s

  • Very Fast – This unit has awesome speed and can aerate an acre of land in under an hour – resulting in great efficiency for a business.
  • Easy Steer Technology – The easy steer technology doesn’t allow you to make full speed turns with the tines in the ground, but does allow you to make turns at half throttle. If you’ve used a walk behind aerator, you know that turning is the hardest part of the job. With the Ryan Easy Steer Technology, you no longer have to worry about constantly disengaging the tines, turning the 400 lb machine in a circle, re-engaging the tines and aerating.
  • Less Operator Fatigue – Operator fatigue is the number one complaint when it comes to walk behind aerating. We were able to do tens of thousands of square feet of aerating in a single day with this unit without our bodies aching.
  • Fuel Efficiency – We have the Honda engine Ryan Lawnaire V aerator and were amazed by how little gas it burned. For a small one-gallon tank, we could use this machine for hours without having to refuel.
ryan lawnaire v aerator review in use
Ryan Lawnaire V with the Honda Engine (recommended)

The Con’s

  • No Parking Break – This machine doesn’t have a parking break, which is easily its biggest con. Unless this machine is ratchet strapped down incredibly tight, it will move all over the place. A parking break mechanism would have been a great addition.
  • Sensitive Drive Engage – This has been an issue for just about every walk behind aerator I have ever used. When engaging the drive bar, if you pull down too fast on the bar, the aerator will take off on you. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s annoying.
  • Price Point – The price of this machine is around $3,400. Some smaller companies are probably better off renting a machine for a day and paying $80 and hitting as many properties as possible. For a company that does lots of lawn aerations, this will be an excellent purchase.

Ryan Lawnaire V Review Conclusion

It was honestly tough for us to come up with a list of con’s for this machine. We really were satisfied with this purchase. Similar to the comments in our Gravely Proturn 60 review, this machine was incredibly reliable for us and never broke down. While the price of this model may deter some people from purchasing, having an aerator on hand, and ready for a crew to use is a huge benefit.

  • Who would we recommend the Ryan Lawnaire V to?
    • Any company that can justify the price point. Make sure the demand is there before purchasing. Try to at least ‘break even’ the first year of purchasing this model.
  • Is there a lot of training required for this machine?
    • Not at all. You could be a professional operator on this machine in an hour.

We like to buy equipment like the Ryan Lawnaire V aerator brand new because this machine gets used maybe two-three months out of the year. When you buy new, this machine will last over a decade. The first few years of operation you should encounter little to no issues with the machine as well. We hope this Ryan Lawnaire V aerator review was valuable, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out.

ryan lawnaire v aerator sitting on our trailer

Gravely Proturn 60 Review

Posted on December 27, 2019January 7, 2020Categories Blog

After having put 350 hours on the Gravely Proturn 60 this year with our company, I feel confident in giving a detailed review on the mower.

Let’s start with the pro’s:

gravely proturn 60 sitting on a trailer covered in grass
Long day of use during wet conditions!
  • Built like a Tank – This mower can take a beating and will hold up when it comes to daily wear and tear.
  • Smooth Ride – The air suspension seat is unnecessary (given the extra $1000 cost associated with it). The standard factory model seat was awesome and never left your back feeling sore.
  • Good Speed – Not Gravely’s fastest model (I believe 8mph is its top speed) but did not disappoint from an efficiency standpoint. Productivity across all of our properties greatly increased.
  • Easy Maintenance – Changing the oil, air filter, blades etc. are all very easy to do on this mower. We haven’t experienced any equipment malfunctions this year.
  • Excellent Height Adjustment – The pull pins and the kick up deck are incredibly easy to operate and to teach others. The pull pin feature is removed on the Gravely Proturn 460 models, and as a result, many landscapers I’ve spoken to are not happy with the change.

Now, for the cons of this mower:

  • Average Cut – Although the Gravely cut isn’t bad, I would categorize it as mediocre in comparison to the Toro we own.
  • Average Discharge – When the Spring growth is out of control, we had a lot of double cutting to do. The Gravely Proturn 60 wasn’t able to disperse the grass that far.
  • No Fuel Gauge – It is frustrating that you can’t see a fuel gauge to notify you when you’re low on fuel. Having to open the gas tank and peak in each time can be a hassle.
  • Smaller Gas Tank – It has a 7 Gallon Gas Tank which isn’t small, but a 10 Gallon would have been nice. The 24.5 HP Kawasaki Engine we have is pretty fuel efficient so it’s not that big of a “con”.
freshly cut lawn by bolton lawn care
Gravely stripes look great here!

In general, through this Gravely Proturn 60 review, I really can’t say too many bad things. I’ve demoed dozens of mowers, and it’s easy to be nit picky about certain aspects.

As a company, what you should ask of your equipment is this: “will this mower cut grass well, not spend downtime in the shop, and give a tremendous ROI?” The answer for us is absolutely yes. We purchased this mower a year old (only .8 hours on it) for under 7k. When a business is trying to operate debt free, a mower like this is an excellent starting point. We look forward to many more years of operation with this mower. We did not have to return it to the shop once this year for any kind of repairs.

Gravely Proturn 60 Review Conclusion

  • Who would we recommend this for?
    • Any business owner who is either starting out, or looking for a reliable, efficient zero turn that comes at an excellent price point. For a homeowner I would recommend going with a less expensive unit.
  • Would we purchase this mower again?
    • Absolutely.
  • Is this an easy mower to operate on for newbies?
    • Definitely! I might sound like a broken record by saying this, but actually reading the owner’s manual will allow you to troubleshoot almost any issue. These mowers are built like tanks. They’re not built to break down.

If you have any questions about the mower feel free to shoot us an email. We are always happy to help out the lawn care community.

For those interested in more of our equipment reviews, check out our Ryan Lawnaire V Aerator and Cub Cadet reviews.

If you are looking for a lawn maintenance service in new britain pa, contact us here. If you need lawn maintenance service chalfont pa, visit this link.

For our spring mulching and installation service click on the link.

Bolton Lawn Care’s Blog Featured In Feedspot’s Top 100 Lawn Care Blogs

Posted on December 12, 2019December 12, 2019Categories Blog

Hello Readers!

We just wanted to give a quick shout out to feedspot for ranking our blog in the top 100 category for Lawn Care Blogs. We have put a lot of effort into publishing 100% original content. We want to educate not only our customers, but all those who happen upon our website.

We take time to do all of our research, as well as combine it with our years of expertise working in the field. If you are interested in reading more of our blogs on lawn care and landscaping, we encourage you to share them with friends who may also enjoy them. As always, if you have any questions about something you have read in a post by us, do not hesitate to email us a question.

Leaf Cleanup Tips For A Healthy Lawn

Posted on December 10, 2019December 17, 2019Categories Blog

Cleaning the leaves off your property is one of the most crucial tasks for lawn maintenance in the fall. Leaves that get left on the lawn over winter are sure to cause an issue when Spring rolls around. We have written before here about why fall and spring leaf cleanups are important. This blog is simply a recommendation of a few ways to make leaf cleanup a breeze!

Mulching The Leaves

Leaves being mulched with a lawn mower

Some people might suggest mulching the leaves up on your property, which isn’t a bad idea, although it must be followed with lime. The lime will help break down the leaves even more, and will help balance the acidity of your lawn. If you’ve ever noticed moss formations on your lawn, or have a particular area that just never seems to grow, it’s most likely due to poor soil PH. It’s almost a guarantee that this area of the lawn is either shaded by trees or the house. In Pennsylvania, the soil is extremely compact and full of clay. This naturally sets up the soil for a PH imbalance. By mulching the leaves on your lawn, you are adding more acidity to the lawn. 

Also, when mulching, be sure to ACTUALLY mulch the leaves up well. One or two passes with a mower isn’t going to cut it. Really finely chop up the leaves. My father used to always say, “make sure they’re no bigger than a quarter”.

Leaf Collection

Riding lawn mower with a bagger for leaf collection.

If you have a mower with a bagging attachment on it, this is an excellent way to clean up leaves. Not only are you shredding the leaves up with the mower blades and removing them, you’ve also just created excellent compost material. If you have a vegetable garden, or any kind of flower beds, this composted material will provide a slow release fertilizer to the garden for the entire winter. Come Spring, you can remove the leaves, or work them into the garden bed using a tiller to create a nice organic soil.

Another advantage of collecting the leaves with a mower is easy access for disposal. Simply remove the bagger and throw the leaves away, or if your city has curbside pickup, dump the bag at your curb. If you have woods in your backyard, or an area to be designated for composting, we suggest starting a compost pile. All you need to do is clear an area large enough (it does not have to be large depending on the size of your lawn), and start dumping. You can add a host of natural substances to it such as old plants, flowers, coffee grinds, eggs shells, etc. Turning the compost pile every month will make the mulched leaves break down faster into rich soil.

Wooded Areas

Freshly cleaned lawn from a leaf removal service done by us.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say that if you live in a wooded area and can blow the leaves back into the woods, you should probably do that. Not only is it going to save you money, but it’s light years faster than collecting the leaves and disposing of them in the trash. Invest in a walk behind blower or a backpack blower to really make quick work of it. For extra exercise, the ol’ rake and tarp method should do just fine.

We have a number of clients we service that have us return the leaves back to the woods. For this, we charge an hourly rate with no extra fee for disposal of the material. This is a very cost effective way to remove leaves if you are looking to hire a leaf cleanup service.

Leaf cleanup service

If you are looking for a leaf removal company, than look no further. Bolton Lawn Care does fall and spring leaf cleanups as well as garden bed cleanups. Any tall grasses, or annuals that need to be removed, we Are happy to be of service. If you are interested in a leaf cleanup service, contact us today!

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Why Removing Fallen Leaves Is Important

Posted on December 6, 2019December 10, 2019Categories Blog

The Importance Of A Fall Leaf Cleanup

Fall leaf cleanups are a task most homeowners dread. Depending on the amount of trees on your property, and the different types of trees, leaf cleanups can feel like a never ending task. Certain trees like Maples tend to drop their leaves early and before thanksgiving, while Pin Oak trees can hold on all through December. Understanding the reasons why leaf removal is important to your property will help make your yard stand out next Spring.

Why Leaf Cleanup Is Important For Your Home

Leaves if left on the grass through the winter may decompose, but unless they are finely mulched up by a lawn mower, chances are they will cause a host of issues for your property. Leaves left on the lawn hold moisture, which invite diseases such as dollar spot, rust, gray leaf spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose and Helminthosporium leaf spot. The tricky part about these diseases is that they can go unnoticed in the spring and fall, but set the groundwork for more serious damage. Proper lawn maintenance strategies can help keep these funguses at bay, with the most important of them being a proper fertilization program, and a fall leaf cleanup.

If you are wondering why the fall is so important for leaf cleanups, it’s because this is the time when leaves drop the most, and simultaneously grass goes dormant. When lawns go dormant in Pennsylvania, they still need oxygen and sunlight to stay alive. 

  • Leaves left on a lawn prevent sunlight from getting to the grass. Without sunlight, grass cannot property go through photosynthesis and will struggle to stay alive.
  • If left on the lawn, leaves also prevent oxygen from getting to the grass, which is essential to the survival of a lawn in the winter.
  • Leaves are excellent moisture traps. As we discussed earlier, an excess of moisture is an open invite to fungus to ruin your lawn. 
leaf removal box setup

If you are looking for a reliable local leaf removal service nearby, Bolton Lawn Care has got you covered. We start our leaf cleanups in early-mid November and continue through December. Give us a call today to schedule a free estimate for our leaf removal service.

The Importance Of Lawn Aeration

Posted on August 28, 2019December 30, 2019Categories Blog

Lawn Aeration: One Of The Biggest Keys To A High Performing Lawn

Aeration is an easy and cost effective way to really boost the health of your lawn. By simply plugging holes into the soil, you are allowing for some amazing things to happen to your lawn. Grass roots need air, water and nutrients to grow thick and strong roots that can survive the winter and hot summer months. Have you ever planted grass seed in the Spring and been impressed by how well it started off, only to watch it fizzle out come August? 

Soil Compaction

display showing a bad lawn due to shallow roots, and a lawn with healthy roots from aeration

The reason for this is most likely your ground is super compact. When soil becomes compacted, even slightly, it ruins the flow of nutrients that support thicker, healthier lawn growth. A layer of compacted soil just a quarter to half inch thick can make a significant difference in the health and beauty of your lawn. Sadly, this is most often the case when a lawn burns out in a hot summer. An aeration in the spring and fall could have helped to allow the grass roots to reach those nutrients just a little below the surface. Just one aeration could help save your lawn from dying out! We recommend doing an aeration in the Spring and Fall for the best results. Once a year is fine, but twice a year will really make the lawn stand out. An easy way to figure out if your lawn is compacted is by simply sticking a screwdriver into the ground. If you meet resistance fairly quick, think about how hard the roots of your lawn must be struggling if you can’t even stick a metal object into it!

Thatch Layer

demonstration of thatch layer build up on a piece of turf

You also may notice your lawn has more thatch than usual. Thatch is the build up of decomposing grass that will acts like compaction to prevent the flow of air, water and nutrients grasses need. Aeration will also prevent this, and help fight against thatch buildup. 

When To Aerate A Pennsylvania Lawn

Once the heat waves of August and early September have died off, we enter peak growing season. Pennsylvania is in a ‘cool season grass’ growing zone, but we can healthily support warm season grasses as well.. You may notice some of your lawns have zoysia grass which is a popular warm season grass that turns dormant in the winter and looks completely white. The month of September and the first few weeks of October are the best times for growing grass, which also makes it the best time to aerate a lawn in Pennsylvania. Lawn aeration and overseeding go hand in hand! Add in some starter fertilizer and now we’re really talking. 

Aeration should precede any overseeding or fertilization. It is even alright if you aerate and don’t seed for a few days/a week after.

How To Aerate A Lawn

Aeration can be done a variety of different ways. The most common is renting a core aerator, or hiring a lawn aeration service such as ourselves. You could also simply take a pitchfork and plug holes all through your lawn, especially if you have areas that are more compact than others. There are a number of videos available online that demonstrate this, and this coming fall we will be making some video footage of us aerating to put on the website as well for reference.

The easiest way to aerate is to walk the perimeter of the lawn in a square and keep closing the square in, this way you limit turns and it’s less fatigue on the operator. I highly recommend renting or buying the Ryan Lawnaire V Aerator with Easy Steer, which will save you a serious headache. (Rent or buy with the Honda engine not the Briggs and Stratton). Most aerators are an absolute pain because you can’t turn with them so each time you need to make a turn, you have to turn the tines off and flip the machine yourself and re-engage the tines, and continue working, only to repeat 800 times. 

We currently run one of these on our team and we are able to fit through gates that only allow 36” clearance, so if your lawn falls into this category, let us know!

If you are looking for lawn aeration near me, look no further than Bolton Lawn Care. Give us a call or send us an email for an estimate. We promise to reply promptly.

-AB