Are Soil Microorganisms Important for Plant Health?

When biologically active microorganisms are present in your soil, they help break down organic matter and replenish your soil with nutrients to improve its quality and structure. This helps plants and grass grow stronger and taller, while warding off the potential for disease and pest infestations.

Waste of aeration technique used in the upkeep of lawns and turf. Lawn maintenance. Illustration for article, infographics or instruction. Stock vector

Soil microorganisms can be grouped into bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, algae, protozoa and nematodes. Apart from the dead plant or animal residues in soils, soil organic matter is composed of a significant amount of living microorganisms and their dead fractions.

But your plants and grass can’t thrive on microbial activity alone. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons soil microorganisms are important for plant health and fertilization’s role in making this happen. 

The Importance of Soil Microorganisms

Soil microorganisms play an essential role in decomposing organic matter, cycling nutrients and fertilizing your soil. They also help make up and produce soil organic carbon, which locks carbon into the soil for long periods of time and improves your soil’s fertility and water-retaining capacity.

grass with roots and soil

Soil microbes are also important for the development of healthy soil structure. They cement soil aggregates, which keep your soil from crumbling when exposed to water. And fungal filaments are like threads that surround the aggregates like a hairnet — holding it together.

Soil microorganisms, and fungi, in particular, can also be harnessed to draw carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil. Bacteria and fungi are decomposers, so soil microorganisms may provide a way to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gasses and help to limit the impact of greenhouse gas-induced climate change.

How To Keep Your Soil Microorganisms Healthy

Beneficial soil microbes are living organisms. And like most living organisms, they need a few things to live, including:   

Without all of these critical elements in your soil, your plants and grass would not be able to survive and grow.

But there are ways to ensure you soil microorganisms are getting all of the nutrients they need, and you don’t need to know a lot about soil science, just the basics. They include:

  • Aeration: Core aeration opens your soil, allowing more air and water to reach the roots. This is especially important if your soil is compacted. Soil aeration can enhance the activities of the three rhizosphere soil enzymes. Plant rhizosphere is the soil nearest to the plant root system where roots release large quantities of metabolites from living root hairs or fibrous root systems. This aids plant growth.
  • Balance pH Level: Most beneficial bacteria thrive best in neutral to near-neutral pH (6.5 – 8), but some thrive in very acid conditions and some can even tolerate a pH as low as 1.0.
  • Watering Deeply: Soil health and watering go hand in hand. Deeply watering (at least an inch and a half) gets moisture deeper into your soil and keeps the microbial communities happy. Soil with higher moisture content also tends to have a higher CO2 release. 
  • Soil Temperature: The hottest part of the summer is the busiest time for microbes. Soil microbes thrive most in 70- to 90-degree temperatures. Soil temperature alters the rate of organic matter decomposition and mineralization of different organic materials. It also affects soil water content, its conductivity and availability to plants.   
  • Available Carbon: The majority of available carbon consumed by soil microbes comes from shed roots, decomposing organisms, clippings, and fallen leaves. Soil organic carbon tends to be concentrated in the topsoil. Topsoil ranges from 0.5% to 3.0% organic carbon for most upland soils. Soils with less than 0.5% organic C are mostly limited to desert areas. Soils containing greater than 12%-18% organic carbon are generally classified as organic soils. Adding compost to your garden can help since carbon is the primary energy source for microorganisms, they need lots of organic matter to thrive. The same goes for mulching.
  • Mycorrhizal Fungi: Up to this point, we’ve been talking a lot about soil bacteria. You’ll need an ample level in your solid because this fungus attaches directly to the roots and funnels nutrients to them. It is often lacking, especially on newer lawn where the soil is not good. You can actually buy mycorrhizal fungi and apply them to your soil. It comes in gel form as a bare root dip, made into a liquid for soil injection. It can also be applied as a soil drench.

Didn’t know there was so much going on in your soil, did you? The fact is, all of these elements are working together. To keep grass and plant diseases at bay, they all should be functioning at optimum levels. 

Fertilization’s Role

Fertilization is an important part of what attracts beneficial microbes in the first place. When you think about fertilizer applications, you probably connect those nutrients to improved plant growth. But these nutrients are available to all organisms in the soil system, including the microbes. 

fertilizer for grass
feeding lawn with granular fertilizer for perfect green grass

One study found that manure increased soil organic carbon for all the measured soil depths compared to inorganic fertilizer and control treatments. Remember, more carbon means better soil structure. The study also found manure significantly increased total nitrogen compared to fertilizer treatments.

Lush Lawn Can Help

It’s important to apply the right amount of fertilizer to your lawn or plants. Overusing chemical fertilizers can actually decrease organic matter in the soil. 

At Lush Lawn, we are proud to help Southeast Michigan homeowners keep their lawns thriving. 

Our services include: 

  • Lawn health evaluation and diagnosis
  • Treatment programs for soil health
  • Aeration to break up compacted soil

It’s a three-step process for optimum soil health. 

Lawn Health Evaluation

One health issue with your lawn can snowball into myriad problems. Our experts will diagnose your lawn to ensure your soil is providing all of the nutrients it needs.

Soil Health Treatments

Our soil health treatment programs include:

  • Soil Sweetener Program that’s designed to balance the pH level of your soil.
  • Soil Fertility Program that increases specific nutrient levels in your soil. 
  • Soil Balancer Program can help to bring soil pH levels down (if needed).

Once your soil is tested we’ll be able to determine which of our soil treatment programs is best suited to the lawn care needs of your property.

Core Aeration Services

We use our state-of-the-art equipment to ensure optimal results. Our core aeration services will give your lawn the room it needs to absorb nutrients and eliminate areas of standing water that can lead to lawn diseases and attract mosquitos. 

lawn aeration

We recommend at least one core aeration service in the spring or fall, and even better if you’re able to aerate twice per season.

Want to make sure your lawn is ready for summer? Request a free quote today.

What Are the Best Trees to Plant in Michigan?

Spring is here — and among warming temperatures and flowers blooming, that means it’s time for tree planting season. Planting trees in the early spring, right as the ground starts to thaw and plants are still dormant, gives new trees ample time to establish their roots and develop their leaves before the harsh conditions of summer and winter arrive.

This still leaves the question of which trees to plant. Ideally, you’ll want to find trees that not only add beauty to your outdoor space but ones that are also native to your climate. That way, you’ll get the aesthetics you want without all the added time, maintenance and costs. Not to mention, native plants are also beneficial to the environment, as they require fewer pesticides and less water to maintain.

With those elements in mind, here are three trees we recommend planting in your Michigan yard.

3 of the Best Trees to Plant in Your Michigan Yard

1. Eastern Redbud Tree

If you’re looking to add a pop of color to your outdoor space, the Eastern Redbud is an ideal fit. This native tree is recognized for its pink and purple flowers that line its branches in early spring, and the heart-shaped leaves that emerge as the temperature warms. Eastern Redbuds are also known to attract a variety of wildlife, from butterflies to songbirds, inviting the soothing sights and sounds of nature into your yard.

eastern redbud tree

Source: Getty Images

2. White Oak Tree

Most homeowners crave a mix of sun and shade in their outdoor space. While this can come from the addition of structures, it can also come from the trees you plant — with white oak being a perfect example. Between their majestic size and sprawling branches, white oaks offer ample shade to Michigan yards on sunny days, while producing acorns that attract the likes of white-tailed deer, squirrels and other small mammals. In the fall, these native trees also grace yards with pops of burgundy and red colors that create a dynamic, beautiful look.

white oak tree

Source: Getty Images

3. Crabapple Tree

The crabapple tree is a native tree that checks a lot of boxes. White or pink blossoms in the early spring set the scene for bees to pollinate, and once pollination is complete, fruits begin to grow on the tree and are ready to pick by early fall. While crabapple trees make a visual impact year-round, this is especially true in the winter months when the red fruit sits against the backdrop of snow-covered branches.

crabapple tree

Source: Getty Images

As a tree care expert with branches across Southeast Michigan, Safari Tree is passionate about helping local homeowners plant the right trees and keep them healthy and beautiful. Learn more about our tree care services here.

Follow These Lawn Mowing Tips to See the Best Results

There’s nothing like a freshly mowed lawn… the fresh smell, the crisp green. But when done wrong, the results are less than aesthetically pleasing. Put your mower blades too low and the sun could scorch your lawn. Mow in the wrong weather condition and you could put your lawn at risk of disease.

When it comes to lawn care, there are a handful of best practices to follow for better results. In this blog post, we share four lawn mowing tips that will make your healthy lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

4 Lawn Mowing Tips for a Better Lawn

In addition to making sure your mower blades are sharp and your mower is in tip-top shape, here are four tips for growing and maintaining the best lawn.

Adjust Your Mower Height Properly

Set your mower blades to a height of about 3 inches and only cut one-third off the top each time you mow. This may result in cutting the grass more often, but longer grass blades can support more roots and help develop a deeper root system, making it easier for those roots to locate water and nutrients in the soil. What’s more, is longer grass blades will make it harder for weeds to establish themselves in your lawn and give your lawn the appearance of a thick, green carpet.

Cutting the grass too short, what’s referred to as scalping, forces grass to focus its energy on regrowing blades rather than deepening their roots. This also makes it easier for weeds to push their way through.

Stick with Versatility in Your Mowing Pattern

Have you ever noticed the different patterns in the grass of baseball fields? This variation in mowing patterns is prompted by an effort to boost the turf’s health, and because it looks good.

When you constantly mow in the same directions, your grass will start to lean in that chosen direction. Freshening up the pattern will allow your grass to stand tall and straight. Also, mowing in the same pattern will eventually leave ruts in your lawn.

Account for Weather Conditions

The best time of day to mow your grass is in the early evening because that’s when it tends to be the driest (if it hasn’t rained that day). It’s also when the hottest part of the day has passed and it gives the grass time to recover before the next day’s heat.

Avoid mowing the grass when it is wet as this can result in an uneven trim and clog your lawn mower. When wet clumps of grass clippings sit on your lawn, they smother the grass below, causing brown spots to form.

Utilize Leftover Mower Clippings

Resist the urge to rake or collect grass clippings as you mow. They act as a natural compost and break down quickly, adding nutrients back into your lawn. This only works if your clippings are small and they aren’t in huge clumps. If you’d rather bag your clippings, use them as mulch in your garden or compost them — but only if your grass hasn’t been treated with weed killer.

The experts at Lush Lawn know all the tricks to keeping a lawn healthy and green. Ready to work with your next lawn dream team? Request your free quote.

Spring Lawn Care Diseases: What to Look Out for Early On

Spring is almost here and with it comes lawn diseases that can creep up at the start of the season.

You likely put a lot of time and effort into ensuring your lawn is well cared for, and as a result, finished last season with a lawn full of lush green grass. But, no matter how well you cared for your lawn last season, there is always a risk that spring lawn diseases can spread and damage your lawn as soon as the weather warms.

As the snow begins to melt, keep your eye out for these common spring lawn diseases in Michigan.

Common Spring Lawn Disease: Snow Mold

Snow mold is a fungal infection that grows in extremely low temperatures, which Michigan’s winters are known for. The fungal infection usually presents in two ways: gray and pink snow mold.

Gray mold attacks the blades of grass and doesn’t cause much damage to the roots. Pink mold is more severe and attacks the entire plant, which makes it more difficult to reverse the damage. Both types of molds can also remain dormant and resist the summer’s high temperatures.

grey snow mold
Gray snow mold. Source: Getty Images.

These fungal infections leave circular patches that look like straw on your lawn. Both look the same, but gray snow mold causes hard growths to develop on the crowns and leaves of the grass.

For minor snow mold issues, you might be able to alleviate the problem by raking your grass. More severe issues may need a fungicide treatment applied.

Common Spring Lawn Disease: Red Thread Disease

Red thread disease is a fungus that thrives on grass that has a lack of nutrients. You’ll recognize this infection by the red or pink fibers that are around the stems and leaves of the plant. As the infection progresses, the red fibers grow into circular clumps ranging from 4 to 8 inches in diameter.

red thread disease
Red thread disease. Source: Kris Lord, Flickr, CC By 2.0.

You can treat a minor red thread disease infection by aerating your lawn and applying fertilizer. More severe infections may require a fungicide treatment.

Common Spring Lawn Disease: Leaf Spot Disease

Michigan’s cool, moist climate makes it a perfect environment for fungal lawn diseases, and chief among these issues is leaf spot disease. This fungal infection causes leaf damage and then makes the roots rot. If it’s not controlled quickly, it can destroy a wide range of grasses.

During the first stages of the disease, you might notice tan or brown lesions on the leaves of your grass. As the infection progresses, the lesions may turn black or dark brown.

leaf spot disease
Leaf spot disease. Source: Getty Images.

If you don’t address the lesions, your lawn will experience root rot, which makes your turf die in large patches.

Fertilization and aeration can help prevent leaf spot disease as can strategic watering. However, if your lawn is experiencing leaf spot disease, it will need a fungicide application.

Want to make sure your lawn is ready for spring? Request a free quote today.

How to Treat Snow Mold in Lawns

Snow tends to blanket Southeast Michigan lawns for a good chunk of the winter. So when the snow finally melts in the spring, it can be a reveal to some degree — and what’s beneath this coverage is not always the healthy, green lawn you remember from fall.

One of the most unpleasant of these finds is circular patches of matted grass with a white or gray webbing, otherwise known as snow mold. A freeze-tolerant lawn fungus, snow mold grows in cold, snowy conditions and, more specifically, forms when snow or wet leaves remain on a lawn for too long. While remaining active throughout the winter months, signs of snow mold are only visible in the springtime after the snow melts — meaning it has more time to go unnoticed and impact a lawn’s health.

While prevention is always the best option for snow mold, there are steps you can take to treat snow mold already in your yard. The route you take depends on the severity of the lawn issue.

When Snow Mold is Relatively Minor…

When dealing with snow mold infections on a more minor scale, you can use a rake to lightly comb through the infected area(s) of grass. Without causing damage to other areas of your lawn, this technique will help dry out the infected area (as it has more exposure to sunlight) and prevent further growth of the fungus. While this will help the lawn repair itself, overseeding can be performed on top of this step if there is a need to fill in any infected bare spots afterward.

When Snow Mold Is More Severe…

In the case of more severe snow mold outbreaks — where snow coverage tends to last for an extended period of time — professionals like Lush Lawn can apply a fungicide to counteract the lawn issue and curb future growth. These fungicides are most effective when applied in the fall, specifically in October or November, so they can not only treat existing problems but also provide protection against snow mold growth throughout the duration of the winter season. This helps prevent the recurrence of snow mold, saving you time and headaches in the long run.

Differentiating Between the Two Varieties of Snow Mold

It’s important to note that there are two varieties of snow mold: gray snow mold and pink snow mold. While both types are active underneath snow coverage, pink snow mold is recognized as the more severe form as it can invade and destroy grass crowns and roots, whereas gray snow mold tends to only damage the leaf blades of grass. As their names suggest, pink snow mold can be identified by its white-pinkish appearance and gray snow mold by its white-grayish look.

Lush Lawn Can Help You Control & Prevent All Types of Snow Mold

At Lush Lawn, we are proud to help Southeast Michigan homeowners keep their lawn free of damaging diseases — a list that includes snow mold. From gray snow mold to pink snow mold, we’ll tailor our treatment plans to align with the severity of the infestation and work to make sure lawn snow mold issues are less likely to occur in the future. To learn more about our snow mold control and prevention services, contact your local Lush Lawn branch today.

Why Soil Testing Should Happen Before Spring

We talk a lot about the importance of timing in lawn care. Whether it’s a matter of taking place too early or too late, this shift can impact the effectiveness of the overall technique. That leads us to today’s topic: soil testing.

While soil tests can in theory be performed any time of the year, there are distinct advantages to performing this task before spring. (This explains why current Lush Lawn customers can expect to see our team arrive at their property to collect soil samples at this time.) Here’s why that’s the case.

Why You Should Perform Soil Testing Before Spring Arrives

When collecting soil samples, one of the biggest needs for reliable test results is having a good, comprehensive sample. Examples of this would be soil that is consistent in terms of depth and also offers an adequate number of cores to reduce the impact of natural variation. Based on the springtime conditions — typically the rainiest season of the year — soil pH levels and nutrients can be naturally impacted and lead to increased error in terms of sample results. On the flipside, drought-like conditions in the summer can cause sampling issues from a depth perspective and lead to inaccuracies as well.

By testing soil before the spring arrives, there are better odds of obtaining a more representative soil sample and in turn gaining more meaningful insights into necessary treatments. This might be a case of sweetening your soil to raise the pH level or balancing it down to decrease the pH level.

What’s also beneficial about a pre-spring soil test is it gives you time to evaluate the test results, while still having enough time to implement the treatment plans. Consider the case where test results show that your soil could benefit from a soil treatment program. You’ll have time to apply an early spring treatment designed to adjust the PH level of your soil, balancing it into a more fertile range. Having the correct PH level makes the lawn a healthier place for grass to grow.

The PH level adjustment aspect of the Lush Lawn program, along with other applications, are designed to improve the structure of your soil and to add vital micronutrients and fertilizer. In doing so, we’ll give your soil and lawn the jump start it needs right as it wakes up.

For more information about our soil treatment services, click here.

Lawn Care Brighton MI: 4 Tips That Make a Big Difference

Putting together a lawn care to-do list for your Brighton, MI, home? We’ve got a few tips on which maintenance to-dos to prioritize so you can see the biggest return on your investment — with best practices included.

1. Apply a Pre-Emergent Early for Weed Control

As the name implies, pre-emergent herbicides are designed to inhibit root growth as weeds begin to sprout — not to kill established weeds in your lawn or their seeds. So if a pre-emergent is applied too late, after seeds have already germinated and weeds emerge from the soil, odds are they’ll be ineffective. Generally speaking, it’s best to apply pre-emergents in the early weeks of the spring and fall season so chemicals have time to take effect before seed germination.

2. Keep Your Lawnmower Blade Sharpened

We’ve all experienced the scenario where a dull knife leaves behind a jagged, uneven cut. The same rule of thumb applies to cutting your lawn. Like other metals, a lawnmower blade can become dull over time — and when that happens, the blade will tear at the grass and cause more stress to it. Sharpening mower blades after about every 20 to 25 hours of use will deliver a clean cut that gives your lawn a healthy appearance and avoids damage. (An added bonus: The sharper your mower blade is, the faster you can trim your lawn!)

3. Mow Your Brighton Lawn at the Proper Height

While we’re on the topic of lawn mowing, it’s also important to talk about height. In general, no more than ⅓ of the lawn height should be removed with each cut. If a lawn is cut too short — what’s known as scalping — it can rob grass of energy and nutrients and leave it more susceptible to damage and weed infestation. So while in theory, shorter cuts may seem like they reduce chores, they actually add much more time and headaches to your lawn care to-do list in the long run.

4. Apply Fertilizer Throughout the Growing Season

Sunshine and water are critical to the health of lawns, but it’s fertilizer that strengthens the roots of grass blades and helps them better absorb these vital nutrients. Based on the fact that soil loses nutrients over time — with factors such as excessive rainfall and strong winds to blame — fertilizer should be applied on a routine basis during the growing season to replenish what’s lost and help prepare Brighton, MI, lawns for what’s ahead, from drought-like summer conditions to the harsh temperatures that come with wintertime.

Looking for help tackling your lawn care to-do list? With branches in Brighton, MI, and other surrounding areas of Southeast Michigan, Lush Lawn can assist with your local lawn care needs — bringing years of experience to the table. To get started, request your free quote today!

Fertilizing After Frost: Good or Bad Idea?

Across Michigan, the first signs of frost tend to appear in mid- to late September, and then on a regular basis throughout October. Based on appearance alone, it’s often assumed soil is frozen at this point too and that no more fertilizer should be applied, as the soil can’t absorb nutrients. The reality is, however, that fertilizing after frost is a good idea — and we’ll tell you why here.

Lawn Frost Does Not Equal Frozen Soil

As the air becomes colder, it naturally gets drier too. This can be attributed to the fact that cold air can hold less water vapor than warm air. For frost to form, temperatures must be low enough that water molecules in the air freeze — but there also needs to be enough moisture in the air for this to happen in the first place. Taking into account that the air temperature can be several degrees warmer than the ground temperature, frost can occur at above-freezing temperatures.

What this means is that while a lawn may be dusted with frost, the soil isn’t necessarily frozen. The ground will not be frozen until daytime temperatures settle below 0℃, at which point the soil will become dense and rigid to the touch. Until that point, soil stays active and needs nutrients.

Tip: An easy way to check if your soil is frozen: pat it in various places. If it doesn’t give at all in response, it’s safe to assume the soil is frozen.

The Importance of a Late Fall Fertilization

While fertilization should happen several times throughout the year to keep lawns healthy, a late fall fertilizer application carries specific importance. Think of it as winterization for your lawn.

Winter as we know can be tough on lawns, from the weight of the snow itself to the freeze-thaw cycle that soil goes through on a regular basis. So, before a lawn goes dormant, it’s naturally beneficial to replenish the soil with nutrients to improve its root system, provide defense against winter injury and disease, and lead to better growth and a healthier appearance come spring.

As with other fertilizer applications, it’s important to make sure you don’t overfeed your lawn in late fall. Flooding the lawn with too many nutrients at once can cause salts to build up in soil and subsequently dry it out — what’s known as fertilizer burn. What’s left behind is yellow or brown grass that requires a generous amount of water (and time) to return to a healthy state. Be sure to only apply the recommended amount per the product label instructions, and spread it evenly across the soil.

Let Lush Lawn Handle Your Fertilization Needs Year-Round

At Lush Lawn, we’ve developed a lawn fertilization program that ensures Southeast Michigan lawns have the right amount of nutrients at all times of the year. This includes a winterizer fertilization in October that prepares lawns for the dormant season and reduces the impact of snow mold in the springtime.

Interested in our professional fertilization services? Use our convenient online feature to get a free quote — it’s that simple!

How to Winterize Lawn Equipment: Your Step-By-Step Guide

It happens every year when winter rolls around. As temperatures begin to grow colder and the snow begins to fall, homeowners move their lawn equipment indoors for the season — whether it be in a storage shed, the garage or a basement.

In the context of winterizing lawn equipment, proper storage can be thought of as the last step. Before it’s stowed away for the winter, it’s critical that the proper care and maintenance steps are taken so when you go to use the equipment in spring, it performs efficiently and effectively.

While we’re a few months into winter, you can use this checklist as a guide to catch up on any to-dos you may have missed this season, and as a roadmap to guide your efforts moving forward.

✓ Drain Gas From Power Tools

Did you know that gasoline can go bad over time? Gasoline breaks down over time, not only becoming less effective as a fuel, but also releasing gums and varnishes into the fuel system. What’s more, is the longer the gasoline sits, the more varnish that’s created. Pair this with the fact that in winter months as temperatures fluctuate, condensation can build up in the gas tank, adding water to the gas and further reducing its effectiveness.

With all of these elements in mind, the best thing to do before storing a power tool for the winter is to run its engine until it runs out of gas. That way, gas is removed from the carburetor and the fuel system.

✓ Drain Oil From Power Tools

In theory, it may seem like a time-saving task to leave oil inside a power tool so it’s ready to run come springtime. But when oil sits in an unused power mower, for instance, over the winter, it can turn into a sludgy substance that coats internal parts of equipment and causes them to rust.

While the technique for draining oil may vary slightly based on the tool itself and the model, the general approach is to first find an oil-safe container and then unscrew the oil pipe plug so it can drain into the container. Once the oil has been given enough time to fully drain, the cap can be screwed back on to close the oil drain pipe.

✓ Clean Spark Plugs in Gas-Powered Tools

Spark plugs are responsible for the ignition of a gas-powered tool’s engine. But when dust and dirt interfere with the air-fuel mixture that triggers this response, a few things can happen: the engine may not be as powerful or run as efficiently as it should, or it may not start at all.

To clean spark plugs, remove them from the lawn equipment and use a wire brush and brake cleaner to wipe away any unwanted debris. If you notice that a spark plug is corroded, it’s best to replace the plug so the lawn equipment has the power it needs to start in the springtime.

✓ Clean or Replace Air Filters

Think about what happens when the air filter in your home becomes clogged with dirt: it restricts the airflow and causes your HVAC system to work harder. A similar scenario plays out in the context of lawn equipment. When a lawnmower’s air filter, for instance, becomes clogged with oil and other debris, a decreased airflow can cause the engine to experience a loss in power and burn more fuel to compensate for it. And if the problem persists over time, debris can enter internal parts of the tool’s engine and cause premature wear.

Air filters can come in either reusable or disposable forms. In the case of reusable air filters, you can clean them by removing the filter from the tool, washing it with soap and warm water to cut through the grease and then drying it before it’s snapped back into place. For disposable filters, you can simply toss out the old paper filter and replace it with a new one for a fresh start.

✓ Lubricate Hinges & Parts

In any machine (lawn equipment included), hinges and parts rely on lubrication to minimize friction and enable parts to slide past each other with ease. If a lawnmower is stored in the winter without any lubrication, it’s likely that hinges and parts will dry out and rust into place. This affects both the efficiency of the system in the long run, as well as its expected life span.

All you have to do is apply an all-purpose lubricant to the moving parts of your lawn equipment, per the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s recommended that lubricant is also applied come spring.

✓ Remove Batteries from Battery-Powered Tools

While battery-powered tools have improved significantly over the last few years, batteries require some special care during the winter months. If possible, it’s recommended that batteries are removed from tools and stored in a warm environment for the winter. This helps prevent excessive discharge and lengthens the life of the battery cell. Although you don’t need to keep the battery on a charger all the time, charging it occasionally to prevent total discharge is a good idea and helps lengthen the life of the battery.

At Lush Lawn, we have years of experience helping Southeast Michigan homeowners keep their lawns beautiful, healthy and safe. If you’re interested in professional lawn care services, we encourage you to reach out to us for a free quote.

Tree Health: The Benefits of a More Proactive Approach

It’s not an uncommon scenario for homeowners to notice signs of poor tree health and then make the decision to take action. Whether this decision is prompted by the sight of dead branches, discolored leaves or decaying bark, the shared problem is the damage has already been done — to some degree. In other words, you’re doing what you can to reverse the issue, which can become a costly and time-consuming feat that doesn’t always deliver the best results.

As is the case with lawn maintenance, maintaining tree health should be a proactive measure, not a reactive one. This will save Southeast Michigan homeowners many headaches down the road — a handful of which we’ve highlighted in this blog post.

4 Reasons to Be Proactive With Your Tree Care

Your Landscape Will Be Healthier & Safer

Consider the case where a storm hits, and weak branches fall victim to the harsh conditions. Or maybe it’s a matter of pests that have infested trees moving to other areas of your lawn and cause further damage to plants. In either scenario, declining tree health puts your landscape (and your home) at risk. With a preventative tree care plan that combines deep fertilizations, fungal sprays and periodic insect control applications (in conjunction with pruning), you can eliminate these issues before they ever have a chance to do more harm to your landscape.

The Longevity of Your Trees Will Increase

While the life span of a tree varies vastly depending on its species, it’s also a matter of the level of preventative care it receives. Let’s circle back to the fertilization example referenced above. When trees are given the nutrients they need to grow strong, they have a structure in place to better withstand the impact of weather, pests and disease — which in turn helps them live longer. As you appreciate the beauty and shade of trees already in your landscape, you’ll also save the costs of having dead trees cut down and removed (an average of $750) as well as the cost of planting a new tree, which can come out to (with labor included) more than $500.

You’ll Save Costs on Extra Tree Treatments

While a homeowner can plan for the routine costs of a preventative tree maintenance plan, the costs associated with reactive measures are not only surprising but also more expensive. For instance, if an apple tree is infected with apple scab over several seasons, it can make itself susceptible to other diseases that exacerbate the initial problem. When these issues pile onto one another, homeowners can find themselves shelling out more money to try and combat the declining tree health — and oftentimes, having to make the costly decision of tree removal.

The Value of Your Property Will Increase

Curb appeal has a big impact on the perceived value of your home. Whereas trees that appear weak with scarce leaf coverage can take away from the aesthetics of your landscape, healthy and well-maintained trees can add to the beauty of your home and boost its price point. This increase in value can stretch anywhere from 7% to 19%, according to recent nationwide surveys.

At Lush Lawn & Safari Tree, we believe in proactive care to keep your trees healthy and safe. While you’ll save costs and frustrations, your landscape will look and feel its best. Learn more about our tree care services — and when you’re ready, request a free quote!