Tough Summer Plants

drought tolerant container plantsThe warm days of summer are here and we are busy at Terra Bites Lawn Service.  Like most Georgia homeowners, you are probably dreaming of enjoying your outdoor space surrounded by bright, colorful blooming plants. Choosing  summer plants that enhance your garden will ensure that your yard will keep you happy all throughout the hot season.

Selecting tough-as-nails flowering plants for your landscaping provides the vibrant color you want, while lasting through the summer heat. Consider planting these hardy varieties to keep your landscape looking cool all summer.

Blooming plants

  • Bitterweed – This Texas native sports golden blooms and narrow, grassy leaves. So tough, it can grow in the cracks of your cement!  Growing to about 1-foot tall, it is beautiful in containers.
  • Butter Daisy – This easy-to-grow, tough summer plant is a colorful annual that produces many yellow daisy-like blossoms. It grows from 8 to 24 inches tall, excels in hot, dry conditions and does best in locations with full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Lantana – These cheerful looking drought-resistant plants require very little water, making it a natural for container gardening. It grows quickly and blooms solidly throughout the summer for a profuse splash of color throughout the warm season. Available in both shrubby varieties suitable for low hedges as well as spreading types that are excellent as ground covers. Lantana comes in a variety of sizes, colors and hybrids – check out Lantana “New Gold”.
  • Zinnias – To bring color and attract wildlife, plant zinnias in your landscape. These colorful blooms are favorites of butterflies such as Painted Lady, Monarch, Swallowtail and other insects who enjoy their nectar. The blossoms attract Hummingbirds, Goldfinches and Sparrows, and other songbirds are drawn to their seeds.

Foliage impact

  • Coleus “Big Blonde – A very heat hardy plant, Coleus can take full, hot sun, tolerates low humidity or high humidity, and features bright chartreuse foliage with deep magenta stems. Beautiful as a border plant, it grows from 24 to 36 inches high.
  • Dusty Miller – A gardener’s favorite, Dusty Miller’s soft grey leaves bring a welcome color variation which blends well with other plants. This annual has decorative silvery foliage perfect for enhancing your unique drought-resistant landscaping.

For expert advice about planting and maintaining summer-friendly plants, as well as all your lawn care needs, you can count on Terra Bites Lawn Service.   Click here to check out our Facebook page for even more landscaping ideas for your home.  Contact us today to discuss a personalized lawn service plan to help you grow your gorgeous lawn!

Beware the Weeds of Winter

poa annuaWith the harsh winter temperatures flowing through the Georgia this month, it may seem surprising that at this very moment cold weather weeds could be taking hold in your yard. Terra Bites Lawn Service wants to help you identify these annoying plants and make sure they aren’t lurking in your lawn.

  • Annual Bluegrass (Poa Annua) – We’ve talked about this weed before, but that just goes to show you what a pest it can be! Annual Bluegrass is very difficult to get rid of due to the thousands of seeds on its blades. With its quick rate of re-seeding, it’s no wonder this weed is able to survive year round.

  • Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) – Similar in appearance to Purple Deadnettle, this purple flowering weed has green, flat leaves surrounding it and blossoms in winter. Luckily, these winter annuals can usually be pulled by hand.

  • Common Chickweed (Stellaria media) – Is a cool season annual that spreads slowly in the winter but picks up pace when your grass’s seeds begin to germinate in spring.

  • Speedwell (Veronica arvensis) – This last winter annual specifically targets newly seeded lawns and thin turf. It is a low to the ground weed and is very difficult to control.

Other weeds to be weary of this winter include two perennials, the wild garlic and wild onion. If you should see any weeds creeping throughout your yard this winter take action! First, research the plants to be sure they are weeds. If they are, next investigate the best course of action to remove them without damaging your lawn. If you’re unsure or have any questions, contact our Terra Bites Braselton, Ga. office. We’d love to take care of your weed problem for you!

6 New Years Resolutions

Deciding to make changes and better your life can be daunting. You have to take a hard and honest look at yourself and your past decisions in order to ensure you choose New Years Resolutions that you can keep. Here are 6, easy resolutions you should consider for 2015.

  1. Take the stairs. This little lifestyle goal can help you lose weight and feel goo as well as  helping you  stay on track with healthier choices.
  2. Turn off your cell phone. “Me time” is important, turning off your mobile devices will help make your alone-time more valuable and help you dedicate that time to actually relaxing.
  3. Spend less time on the computer. Your social networks will always have updates, get out and do something! Don’t worry too much about others and what they share on social media.
  4. Volunteering can be a great way to meet new people and help out in your community. Set a goal to volunteer once a month or whenever it is reasonable for you to do so.
  5. Making your bed each day. It’s a simple, easy chore that can greatly contribute to your overall happiness.
  6. Listen more. It’s one thing to hear but it’s another to be a more active and responsive listener in every day conversations.

At Terra Bites Lawn Service in Braselton, we’re wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year in 2015. Good luck in achieving your goals and all of your resolutions!

November Brings Record Lows to Georgia!

Did you notice how many cold blasts we had this past November? Chances are, you did! Parts of North Georgia experience record-setting lows. In fact, November’s temperatures made the top five for lowest overall average temperatures in Georgia history!

Typically, the average temperature for November in Atlanta is about 54 degrees F. However, the average was about 49 degrees, that’s a 5 degree difference! Because the weather was so unpredictable throughout the month, Georgia experienced both record-breaking highs AND lows for temperature during the month of November.

fallen leaves

image via freedigitalphotos.net

December is proving to line up according to predictions with some dry weather and average, cool temperatures. However, the three month outlook shows we could see more precipitation as the winter months continue on. In addition, many parts of the country, including Georgia, are predicted to experience above average temperatures during the  second half of December. Parts of South Georgia can expect weather that is more wet and temperatures are that are cooler.

The weather can be the single most influential factor in the overall well being of your lawn. Don’t leave the overall health of your lawn to chance when you can make sure it is cared for properly! Be sure to call us today for an estimate on your lawn care services. We can’t predict the weather but we can treat your lawn so its strong enough to stand up to whatever Mother Nature has planned! You can request your estimate here.

Weed of The Month: Poa Annua

This common weed, Poa annua or known more conventionally as annual bluegrass. This pesky weed is extremely common in lawns and can even be found in gardens. While it’s tough to control and harder to prevent, poa annua can be controlled and eventually rid from your lawn or garden.

Poa annua is hard to control and prevent because it has the potential to produce hundreds of seeds each season. In addition, these seeds can remain dormant for several years before becoming active and growing.poa annua

This weed is fairly simple to identify. Look for a long, stalky weed sticking out above the line of the rest of your grass. It has serrated-like leaves. During the summer months, Poa annua can die and cause large, unsightly brown spots throughout your lawn. It also thrives in cold weather when your lawn is more weak, allowing the weed to thrive. Poa annua will grow during the late spring and early summer months, so prevention and treatment are key.

When it comes to preventing and treating Poa annua, timing is key. Poa annua will germinate in the late fall and early spring. Plan accordingly. Besides the strategic application of herbicide, round up and boiling are also effective options as control methods of Poa annua.

The most aggressive and effective treatment plans for getting rid of and preventing Poa annua are best left to certified professionals. At Terra Bites, we can evaluate your lawn and propose the best solution to suit your needs. Contact us today for a free estimate of your lawn.

Protect Your Lawn From Doggy Damage

Trust us, we love our furry companions as much as the next doggy-lover. Seriously, who doesn’t love a doggy’s sweet little face? All dog owners know that with faces as sweet as their’s, it’s hard to be mad at your pup when he or she does something bad… even when he terrorizes your lawn. Here are some tips to help you identify the damage and what to do to treat your lawn and prevent further pup-induced damage.

Identifying your dog’s handy work: While holes are easy to identify, the brown spots caused by urination can be harder to detect.  If you notice brown, dead spots on your lawn surrounded by dark green grass, it is most likely caused dog urine. Dog urine has salts that cause browning of your turf.

small dog in yard

photo via pixabay

Treatment: When it comes to dealing with your dog’s digging problem, the best thing to do is get a dog trainer involved. Thorough training or even distractions such as new toys, may help with the constant digging. Spots cause by urination can be treated by regular mowing and fertilization of your lawn. To best maintain your healthy lawn, it should be treated four times a year. If the damage is bad, you can also reseed or lay down sod.

Tip: To give your doggy a new favorite place to go, lay down some mulch in a favorite spot of theirs in your yard.

Keep you and your pup happy by keeping your lawn healthy and lush, for more information on lawn protection in Braselton, GA, contact us today.

What Are Chinch Bugs?

When you invest time and energy into caring for your lawn, it is important to be knowledgable about all of the possible things that could be out to destroy it. Whether it be chemicals, bugs or weather, be prepared so you can take care to prevent your lawn from potential harm. One of these threats to the welfare of your lawn is the chinch bug.

Chinch bugs are that use their small mouths to pierce your lawn and feed of it. They’re grayish-brown in color once they reach full maturity and only measure about 1/8 of an inch. lawn care services

Chinch bugs prefer warmer weather, usually higher temperatures than 70 degrees will be most favorable for these little pests. Chinch bugs that breed in the south have been known to thrive in temperatures as low as the mid 60s, which means you could have a problem through the end of December.

Because chinch bugs are so small, an infestation can be tough to detect. If you do notice them, don’t worry! Having your lawn well fertilized and irrigated will help your lawn survive.  Watering your lawn prior to implementing insecticide will help bring the bugs to the surface and ensure that they are taken care of. It’s best to allow a professional to handle this problem to make sure that it is taken care of once and for all without having to worry about the little pests returning.

If you have more questions about chinch bugs or lawn care in Braselton, GA, contact us today and set up a free estimate. 

Dealing with Deer on Your Lawn

There’s nothing worse than giving your lawn or garden a fresh new look only to have a deer come and eat it for breakfast. With winter quickly approaching and vegetation dying, the deer are going to be more hungry than ever. In fact, a hungry deer can eat nearly four pounds of vegetation at one time. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that your lawn doesn’t become a deer’s dinner.

deer photo

photo via freedigitalphotosnet

  • Be mindful of what you plant. Plants of a more prickly variety such as Juniper will not be as appealing as other varieties of plants. Succulents and pansies are bound to get gobbled up by deer.
  • Odor repellents are another option but it is critical that they are switched out often as their scent will wash away with the rain. As a best practice, deer repellent should be applied to your plants at least once a month or after each rainfall. If the meal options for deer are really scarce, they may eat your plants regardless of the taste.
  • For the really invasive deer, you could always build a fence. Fences around gardens are an option to prevent deer from making an meal out of your plants, however, they have been known to gnaw through wood fences. If the problem persists, you could always employ electric fences to make a point.

Keeping deer out of your lawn and garden may not be entirely preventable but these tips can help you prepare before the harsh winter or springtime comes. Prevention is key in all aspects of the detrimental elements that can harm your lawn or garden. For more information on lawn care services in Braselton, contact us today. 

Controlling Fungi and Mushrooms on Your Lawn

Mushrooms on your lawn can be a problem for many reasons. They are unsightly, and can cause damage to your lawn. Not to mention, they can be toxic for your pets and small children. Keeping mushrooms and their respective fungi at bay are an important part to maintaining your lawn’s overall health and look. Mushrooms and fungi can be found in your mulch, turf and landscape.

Mushrooms are a type of fungal growth. There are other types of fungal growth that include puffballs and stinkhorns. In addition to fungus, slime mold can infest your lawn and appears as an oily growth. It can be found on your mulch or lawn.lawnphoto

Preventing these pests from inhabiting your lawn is nearly impossible. Fungus is actually part of what is known as a natural recycling process, so they get their nourishment to grow from decomposing organisms. In order to get rid of it, you must rid of whatever it is growing on, not just the fungus itself.

If you see fungus or mushrooms developing around trees, it may be a sign that the tree is dying. It is particularly troublesome if you see fungus or mushrooms on the limbs of the tree, which could be a sign that the tree is weak and may fall. It is best to have a certified professional come out and examine the mushrooms and the affected area to make sure that the tree and your home is safe from the tree falling.

If you see mushrooms around your lawn or landscape, you can get rid of the mushrooms and just wait them to stop growing. If you’re worried about the overall health of your lawn, contact us for a free lawn care estimate.

The Importance Fall Fertilization

Caring for your lawn according to the seasons is one of the best ways to ensure that you have a healthy lawn year round. Think of it as conditioning for when your lawn is only display next Spring. While it may be tedious, it’s important to acknowledge the seasonality of fertilization to make sure that you don’t deprive your lawn of the nutrients it needs during the Winter time.

By now your lawn should have had it’s first fall fertilization. If it hasn’t it may already be nutrient deprived and dying. However, better late than never! As long as fertilization is done prior to the ground freezing (which is luckily pretty late in Georgia) there is still a chance for your lawn to benefit. Benefits of proper fall fertilization include leaf spot damage when spring time comes. In addition, your lawn will have greater rooting and color in both Fall and Spring, this is because it has received sufficient nutrition to maximize it’s natural processes. The ideal time to have your second fertilization complete is by the end of November. 2013-08-06 17.04.48

Having your lawn properly fertilized in the Fall is also very important to root development. While the shoots aren’t growing the roots are! This is critical for when the ground warms up in the Spring time.

Properly fertilizing your lawn each Fall in tandem with regular aeration and seeding are the best ways to ensure your lawn is at its healthiest. For more information on fertilization and lawn care in the Braselton area,  Contact us today. Be sure to ask about how to receive a free estimate.