Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Organic Fertilizer-2014

Hi folks!

I hope the beginning of 2014 has been awesome for you.  Even though our lawns are frozen solid and covered in snow right now,  I've been thinking about ways to make them greener come Spring time.

I wanted to give everyone some good information about organic lawn fertilization, and the products I'll be using this year to achieve some healthy, green lawns.  You may already be using my services for your lawn.  If so, thanks a bunch! And...this will provide you with detailed information about what is already being applied to your lawn.  If you're not fertilizing yet, I strongly encourage you to contact me soon so that we can set up a plan and schedule for your property in 2014.

I want to start by saying that homeowners that use organic products have to be a bit more tolerant than those using chemical products.  There are a few reasons for that.  The takes longer than chemical. Why?  I like to think of organic fertilization as a 'soil transformation'.  You are introducing organic matter and activity to your lawn. This is a process of microbial organisms (and bugs and worms) living, eating, excreting, and dying in your lawn.  Sounds gross...I know.  But, this activity creates food for your grass to eat.  It also creates a healthy environment for your grass to live on.  However, it takes time to create that healthy soil bed in your lawn.

Using a chemical fertilizer, you are applying food for your grass that is immediate and direct.  No soil transformation has to take place in order for your grass to eat.  However, you are actually depleting the soil of all of it's healthy nutrients.  The grass simply depends on what you apply to the lawn.  That is why some chemically treated lawns can be so temperamental throughout a season. takes longer.  That needs to be understood.  Another reason why organic users need to be tolerant is because it's not perfect.  Within the world of grub/pest control, weed control (crabgrass preventer), etc., organic treatments work to create an environment within the soil that isn't ideal or inhabitable for these unwanted issues.  Chemical treatments simply 'kill' or destroy the issue at hand.  That isthe goalI suppose.  However, this also kills many beneficial nutrients in the process, and leaves you with a lawn that you can't be near because of associated health issues it causes.  If you have young kids or pets, or are pregnant, you'd be crazy to have these chemicals around. (For more info on that, check my previous 'Another reason to go Organic with Lawn Care' post.) Never mind the fact that so many people burn their lawn with these products.  They are so temperamental and harsh that if used incorrectly, you'll do some serious damage to your lawn.  But once in a while, you may get the chemical balance correct, and achieve that perfectly lush, green lawn.  You can achieve that with organic, it just takes a bit more time, and the plucking of some stray crabgrass once in a while.

I don't tell you this to scare you away from using organic products.  That wouldn't be a good business plan.  I tell you this to have an honest dialogue about the process, and to inform you on how they are different than chemicals.  Yes...with organic comes tolerance.  But I am completely confident that with some time and dedication, these organic products are the way to go.   And besides a healthy lawn, you can be proud of a long list of other benefits including no chemical 'run-off' into local waterways and reservoirs, less of a carbon footprint in the manufacturing and application of the products, a lawn that you can lay on with no health risks involved, and a landscaper (that's me!) that doesn't go home with a host of health issues from chemicals (the stories from some chemical applicator workers are unbelievable!).

Click here for more info!
The application and product line that I use is very simple.  I use a Blue Seal (Bow, NH) product.  It involves the Pre-emergent Weed Control (Corn Gluten) in the early Spring and in mid-Summer (2 applications/season).  It also involves the Lawn Food in early Summer and Fall (2 applications/season).  That totals 4 applications for the season.

All in all, I'd love to talk to you more about these products and come up with a plan and schedule for making the investment in your own property.

Email me at, and don't forget to visit my website at

Stay green!
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Time to Aerate!!

Hey homeowners!  Along with fall clean-ups and the fall fertilization treatment that you might be thinking about, I wanted to talk a little about aeration.

When I mention aeration to people, I often get the question, "What is aeration anyway?"

Well...aeration is when you poke a bunch of holes in your lawn.  That's it!

To get a little more scientific, there are two types of aeration:

Spike Aeration - This technique is as simple as the definition above.  It just involves poking holes in your lawn.  This can be done with a hand roller, a roller attached to a tractor, or you can wear cool shoes with spikes on the bottom (these are multi-functional and also double as weapons).  It may take a while to cover your entire lawn with these, but you'll look very unique doing it.  This method is not as effective as the next.

Core Aeration -   This is the type I recommend, and that I'll do for you... if you so please.  It involves running a self-propelled machine over your yard. The tines on this machine actually poke into the soil, grab onto a 'plug', pull the plug out of the turf, and toss it onto your lawn.  The plugs slowly breakdown and act as a food for micro-organisms.  The holes that are created allow for water, oxygen, and nutrients to reach down to the roots of your grass...where it's needed.  They also act as a reservoir, where fertilizer can break-down and be consumed, and where grass seed can find soil contact and nutrients needed for successful sprouting.

Check out this chart that illustrates the activities:

I'd love to give you a quote for aeration, or any other fall service like organic fertilization, pruning of ornamental trees and shrubs, or a standard fall clean-up.

To learn more about me, check out my website here.

Until next time...keep developing those Grass Roots!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Another reason to go organic with lawn care...


New studies now show a link between exposure to herbicides and pesticides ...and Parkinson's Disease.  Click on the link above for the article.

Many of the fertilizers, grub killers, weed killers, etc. that homeowners use on their lawn, contain the chemicals that  have been studied in this research.

It's common sense people...don't use these products!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cut'n Grass!

Had fun mowing this beautiful property in Rye, NH this weekend.  The homeowner was on vacation and just needed a one time visit.

If you go on vacation...or your lawn mower breaks down...or you would rather have someone else mow your me!  I'd love to help!

The service is surprisingly affordable, especially considering the fact that you no longer have to maintain that mower, and buy and store gasoline for it.'ll have the piece of mind that your lawn will always be taken care of without you finding the time to do it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mulch Time!


You can dramatically improve the look and value of your landscape by adding mulch beds to your property. If you don't have them...they can be added by carving out part of the turf.  Then, flowers or shrubs can be added.

If you already have them, it's time to redefine the edges of your beds, and then add fresh mulch to them.  As you can see in the first picture, the edges of beds have blended with the turf, allowing weeds/grass to crawl in.  Using an old school 'edger', you can carve out the line that was once there and achieve a clean edge that looks professional, and is easy to maintain.

If you're not feeling up to edging or mulching...East Concord Grass Roots is!  Let me know if I can help!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

From Grubs to Green!

Well hello there...and welcome to the first blog post from James Thorpe and East Concord Grass Roots!  I hope you can take some valuable information from this, and apply it when approaching your seasonal lawn care and maintenance.  If you don't want to approach me!  I'd be happy to help!

Taking care of your lawn is an investment.  Lets face it...achieving a lush, green lawn, and then maintaining it...can be very expensive and totally time consuming.  However, your hard work can bring on a desired curb appeal that makes the rest of the neighborhood jealous.  It can also bring a much greater value to your property.  Don't underestimate the ability of your landscape to make your home look comfortable and inviting.

There are many speed bumps on the road to a great lawn.  And...there are usually many ways to handle those speed bumps.  Therefore, homeowners are often confused as to what to do!  The most common "bump" I've seen this season (much more commonly than last season) is the dreaded GRUB.

These nasty little creatures can lead to many other issues.  A homeowner told me the order yesterday when he said, "Let's goes grub, mole, skunk, fox...right?"  I replied with, "Yes, but skunk and fox management is outside of my expertise!"

If you have a bunch of tunnels and small dirt piles in your lawn, you probably now have moles, who are creating underground super highways to the best grub-snack-bars in your lawn.  My neighbor and I have been dealing with these since the fall.  I recommend watching Caddyshack to take some tips from Bill Murray as he attempts to control what I remember is a groundhog or hedgehog.  At any rate, he's got some great techniques that you could try.  If those don't on.

Obviously, the best way to control this issue is to 'nip it in the bud'.  You want to control the grub population before you have moles, skunks, and foxes having a picnic on your front lawn.

"How do I do that," you may be asking?  Great question.  You can go to any hardware or big box store and buy the strongest chemical grub treatment available.  This is what one customer told me was is "napalm" approach.  DON'T DO THIS!  There are so many things wrong with using a pesticide- chemical.  I assume everyone knows this, but I remember my dad telling me not to assume anything.  I'm amazed at the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides homeowners are applying every year.  I could write an entire post on the negative effects of this...maybe I'll revisit that in the future.  Anyway, do your research people! Have more respect for yourself, your family, your pets, your neighbors, and mama earth!

The better approach to the grub control is the organic approach.  Beneficial Nematodes are one organic method.  These are microscopic organisms that get into the grub and eventually kill it.  But...they are very temperamental because of the fact that you must maintain a wet environment for them for some say 2 hours, some say 2 days, some say 2 weeks.  And they have to be shipped, and stored on ice until used.  Not cool.

The most effective, and practical organic grub control that I've found is the Milky Spore bacteria.  The bacteria is eaten by the grubs, and it eventually kills them. This can be purchased in a granular form, and spread with a broadcast spreader on your lawn.  You can then water it to activate it...or simply wait for the first rain.  It's recommended that you apply this in the spring, summer, and fall for two consecutive years.  The great thing about Milky Spore is that the results have proven to last for 5-10 years in most situations.

You can purchase Milky Spore at most garden centers or hardware stores, or you can call me, and have East Concord Grass Roots assess your situation and apply it for you!  Soon enough, you'll move from grubs to green, with a healthier, more resilient turf that is free from unwanted critters.

Thanks for hanging out!  Don't let your grubs lead to skunks!  Smell you later!