Hello. Frank's Lawn & Handyman Service has decided we should begin sending newsletters to our valued customers, and I have been asked to write the first one. Since this is the first I would very much appreciate any feedback you might have to help me make this a useful and informative resource for our customers.
After several long cold months, the lawn service is beginning to mobilize for spring. The demand for snow removal was not nearly as high this winter, as opposed to last season's record breaking snowfall. Having said so, we have not been completely idle. We had several requests for Christmas lighting this December, more than we expected for the first year offering this service. The new Handyman service has also been a great success. Recently, several of our landscapers attended classes and seminars from Techno-Block, Cambridge Paver, and the NJDEP. Still, we are looking forward to the break in the weather that will bring Spring and the start of our busiest season. Hopefully, 2015 will be our best year ever. Below, I discuss a few of the topics we feel are important in the next couple months.
March Focus: Overseeding
March is an excellent time to overseed your lawn. There are far fewer animals, especially birds, looking to scavenge seeds in March, and the heaving of the soil, from repeated freezing and thawing, pulls the seed into the earth, where it will germinate as soon as conditions become favorable. This will help it compete with weeds and protect the grass seed from your crabgrass pre-emergent application in April.
April Focus: Starting Up
April is an extremely busy month, as the lawn and landscape rushes to bring itself back to life. Important chores for the month include weeding, mulching, fertilizing, and especially putting down crabgrass pre-emergent.
Did you have crabgrass last year?
If so, it is important to put down a pre-emergent AT THE PROPER TIME. A crabgrass pre-emergent has a useful life of 90 to 110 days, depending on the chemical used and the weather. Pre-emergents last longer in dry seasons and not as long during very wet seasons. Either way, you want to wait as long as you can to apply the crabgrass killer without waiting too long. Once the seed has sprouted, pre-emergent is useless. Post emergent control is considerably more difficult.
Crabgrass germinates when the soil warms up to 65-70 degrees, and requires a gap in the lawn where sunlight can actually strike the soil. All New Jersey topsoils contain crabgrass seeds and the sunlight actually causes a chemical reaction in the seed coat that allows the seed to sprout. Putting down a pre-emergent weeks early is a waste, and you want it to be active for as long as possible when the crabgrass is also active.
How do we know when to make the application?
Luckily, there are now websites and blogs that track soil temperatures and crabgrass germination. There are also less technologically driven methods. For example, do you, or any of your neighbors, own forsythia? It is a diagnostic plant. It is finished blooming at about the time that crabgrass germinates. So when the forsythia is in full bloom, it is time to put down crabgrass pre-emergent.
Looking forward to this season, we will continue to offer excellent landscape services. If you are looking to have your annual spring cleanup early, please call soon. We plan to try and continue to expand our Hardscaping and Handyman services. Last year, we built several nice paver patios, and building on that experience, one service we are planning to add this season is the construction of outdoor fire pits, grill islands and pizza ovens. If you are interested in these or anything else I have discussed in this letter, please call or email us for more information.
Underused Plants: The Eastern Redbud
One of my favorite plants, and one that I think is underused in this area, is the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis). This is a small tree, similar to a dogwood in terms of how it can be used in the landscape. The Redbud has large green or purple heart shaped leaves, and the tree is covered in small pinkish purple flowers in April and May. It is hearty and mostly pest free.
Recipe: "Polynesian" Chicken
This recipe is not authentic, but it is very good.
You will need a 4-6 quart slow cooker
3lbs boneless chicken, breasts or thighs (I sometimes also use drumsticks)
2 bell peppers, cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 cup of mushrooms, cut into chunks (optional)
1 ripe pineapple
1 bottle of garlic-teriyaki sauce with pineapple juice (like Soy-Vay Island Teriyaki)
Brown chicken in a skillet on the stove.
Put a layer of onion on the bottom of the slow cooker bowl, then chicken on top. If you don't like the chicken to be tenderized to the point where it is falling apart, then put it in the slow cooker frozen. Pour half a bottle of your Island Teriyaki over the chicken and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Peel and core pineapple, chop into bite sized bits, add this to the slow cooker with the peppers and the mushrooms. Cover with the rest of the teriyaki, and continue to cook on low. Total cooking time should be 8hrs. Serve over rice with crusty bread. Leftovers make good sandwiches.
I can always rely on Frank. He is a property owner and treats my properties like his own. Good advice, good service, fair price.
- Herbert Hess. 8/11/2018
Great job clearing out my jungle (backyard)
- Michelle Battistone. 8/11/2017
I just started with Frank's Lawn Service and I have been very happy with the excellent care they give my lawn. John in Cherry Hill, NJ....May 2015
- Frank Slattery. 1/19/2016
Frank, Robb and Darren turned a mass of weeds and overgrown shrubs into a beautiful, colorful and easy to maintain garden. It's the garden of my dreams for a price that doesn't cause nightmares. My family and friends have all commented on the beauty - mainly Frank's design- and when I tell them what I paid, they are amazed.
I cannot think of another company and team that would provide such creative designs at a fraction of the price of other perhaps more popular landscapers.
I'm very satisfied!