Last Chance for Fall Lawn Maintenance

 

Fall Season Lawn Maintenance, by John Gallagher, AMJ

<< BA

As days shorten and temperatures descend, it becomes time to implement fall lawn maintenance to prepare your home for the upcoming winter, when your lawn goes dormant.

Fertilizing is essential during these months. Fertilization of your lawn can provide an additional nutrient boost to be stored and used during the dormancy period. Throughout the winter, roots will keep growing and utilize these stored nutrients until the spring.

When leaves start falling, blow or rake the yard clean once per week at minimum. Making sure your yard is free of leaves not only improves appearance, but influences the health of your yard. Leaves block out sunlight, which your lawn needs in the fall as it stores up food for winter dormancy.

Aeration Overseeding

Dethatching

Thatch is the tightly intermingled layer of partially decomposed grass stems and roots which develops beneath the actively growing green vegetation and above the soil surface. Thatch decreases the vigor of turfgrasses by restricting the movement of air, water, plant nutrients, and pesticides into the soil. This operation should be performed when thatch is greater than or equal to one inch in depth and only during periods of cool weather and adequate moisture.

Maintaining a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 will favor microbial activity and hence, break down of thatch. It is not necessary to dethatch every year, rather, only when thatch build-up becomes excessive.

Aeration

Fall is also a good time to aerate your lawn. Lawn Aeration fights grass compaction from summer traffic and promotes uptake of oxygen and nutrients.

Aeration is the process of mechanically removing plugs of soil from the turf area, thereby creating an artificial system of large pores by which moisture or plant nutrients can be taken into the soil. Aeration is employed to alleviate soil compaction and can significantly reduce thatch.

Aerators are equipped with hollow tines (usually 3–4 inches in length and ¼ to ¾ inches in width) or open spoons to remove plugs from the soil.

We usually avoid aeration in the spring because sometimes spring dethatching will bring large numbers of weed seeds to the soil surface and create voids for weeds to germinate and grow.

Power Seeding increases turf density. It improves the overall appearance and health of your yard. AMJ’s Lesco power seeder is designed to dispense the exact correct seed amount without harming existing turf.  Power seeding in fall can also help the yard recover from the heavy use from the summer and has an effect on the way the lawn will look during the upcoming spring.
The best natural defense against insect and weed damage is a dense lawn.

Winter Fertilizations

Our time tested preference is to provide a slow release Winter Fertilizer which not only provides the carbs needed for the plant to survive and continue growing roots but also store enough energy until pre-emergent controls can be applied in Spring.  The benefit is that your lawn get a nice growth spurt in the Spring, and its color comes back without the excessive height produced by Spring Fertilizations.

Call TODAY for a FREE Lawn Evaluation to discover what could be hiding in your lawn.

LED Landscape Lighting

LED Lights have made the use of Landscape Lighting even more affordable.

LEDs run on up to 90% less electricity

  • Use less wire in the ground to make connections
  • Use a smaller transformer to power the lights
  • Same ease of installation on the ground or in the trees shining down to the ground
  • Nearly all styles available in LED
  • Makes a great Christmas present

Call Today to Schedule a design appointment 410.437.3027

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The new Family Gathering Place is the FirePit

Nothing is more exciting than having a fire pit in the back yard!family enjoying fire pit

  • Smores, marshmallows and hot dogs
  • Causal Conversation
  • Extend the summer evenings into Fall/Winter
  • Easy to maintaincustom fire pit
  • Wood or Gas
  • Decorative Fireglass available for Gas units
  • A few hours less of reality TV
  • All Ages can Enjoy!

 

Get started for less with EP Henry’s Fire Pit Kit– it comes complete with segmental wallstones and caps, copper basin and a fire screen.  We have one outside our Customer Design Center you can try out for size and effect.  Installed price for the EP Henry Kit is $2450 locally.

firepit kit, EP Henry Coventry Wall

EP Henry Fire Pit Kit

Add a gas burner up to 400K Btus with custom color glass for easy use and no cleanup.  AMJ Landscaping can provide the plumbers and electricians too.firepit with glass

HPC Burner

250K Btu x 37″ penta burner by HPC

 

Get creative and make it a centerpiece for a new table.  Need Ideas? Call 410.437.3027 Today!

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5 Common Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Sorry, this was so well written I had to copy and share it with you. –John

5 common grilling mistakes and how to avoid them

Your barbecue could be better. Here’s how.

Kori Perten

Kori Perten 
May 04, 2016

Cooking is still a science, even when you’re doing it outdoors. Despite what your dad might have taught you, grilling is more about patience and planning than poking and prodding. Make a single error, and your burgers could turn out tough and bitter, your chicken rare and unappetizing.

Luckily, these errors are easy to avoid.

At Reviewed.com, we’re determined to host nothing but perfect barbecues this summer, so we devoted hours upon hours of research to compiling the ultimate list of grilling don’ts. Here are the five top barbecue mistakes you might be making—and how to prevent them in the future.

Reviewed Guide to Grilling

1. Your grill is dirty.

We don’t mean to be rude, but your grill is filthy. And why shouldn’t it be? Those grates have seen countless steaks, skewers, and sausages—which means they’re coated in grease and charred bits of food.

Here’s the problem, though: That charred mess could ruin tonight’s dinner.

Dirty grill
Dirty grates can make your food taste bad.   View Larger

Weber 6464 18-Inch Bamboo Grill Brush

Buy now for $6.65 Grilling chicken? It’ll stick to the dirty grates, shredding when you remove it. This makes for an ugly meal and an even dirtier grill. Plus, the grime will give your food a bitter flavor and increase the chance of flare-ups.Cleaning isn’t fun, but if you do it every time you use the grill, it should be relatively painless. It’s easiest to scrape off grease and food remains when the grates are hot, so we recommend going to work with a metal grill brush during preheating. That way, when it comes time to actually slap some food on that bad boy, it’ll be clean and ready to go.

2. You don’t preheat the grill.

Not only is preheating a great time to clean your grill, but it’s also crucial to getting the best possible cooking results. If you throw on some ‘dogs before your grill is hot enough, they’ll stick to the grates. You won’t get those nice, dark grid marks, and you might end up overcooking your meat in the pursuit of a good sear.

Preheated grill with food
A preheated grill gives your food those nice grill-marks.   View Larger

The fact of the matter is that metal grates take a while to heat up. The flames may be hot, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your cooking surface is—yet. And if the grates are made of thick cast iron, it may take a really long time for them to get as hot as the rest of the grill.

So employ some patience. After you light the grill, shut the cover to help trap heat (unless you’re doing necessary cleaning). Give it 10-20 minutes, and resist the temptation to keep staring at the flames. Then, by all means, start cooking. Good on you for being so patient, friend! You get a mouthful of tasty barbecue for your troubles.

3. You don’t use the lid properly.

There’s a time and place for everything, and that includes the lid on your grill. Sometimes it’s meant to fit over your food, keep it safe, and help it cook. Other times, it should be anywhere but on top of the grill. The trick is knowing when to use it—and when to skip it.

The lid performs a very important function: trapping hot air and smoke. So if you’re cooking thick cuts of meat, like roasts or bone-in chicken, you’ll want to use it to conserve heat and make sure your food cooks through.

Grill with lid
Use the lid when you want to trap heat or cut off the grill’s oxygen supply.   View Larger

Just make sure not to open it too often. It’s okay to flip burgers or check on your food every now and then, but every sneak peek affects the way your food cooks. If you’re cooking on a gas grill, your curiosity will cost you heat. If you’re rolling coal, the sudden rush of oxygen will make the coals burn hotter, which could burn your food.

For quick-cooking foods like burgers, shrimp, and sliced veggies, you can leave the lid off and cook directly over the flames. You’ll get a good sear, but the food won’t cook through as fast because the ambient air will be much cooler. In other words, you won’t lose that pink, juicy center in your steak or burger, and your asparagus won’t turn to mush.

Pro tip: If you find yourself battling flare-ups, shut that lid. Cutting off the grill’s oxygen supply can knock down the flames.

4. You’re overzealous with the heat.

Our caveman brains tell us that fire is good. Flames produce the heat that cooks your food. It’s only natural to want to coax them to greater heights and put your food right in their crosshairs.

Unfortunately, that’s a big mistake. (Huge!)

Grill with tall flames
Your food shouldn’t be exposed to direct heat at all times, especially if the flames are too high.  View Larger

We’re really talking about two issues here: Tall flames and direct heat. Tall flames may look totally awesome, but they’ll leave your meal burnt and bitter—not exactly a recipe for success. It’s best to keep the fire low, so that your food can sit over it instead of in it.

As for direct heat, it’s not always the best way to cook. Searing a steak or burger? Sure. But cooking a chicken through? For that, you’ll want to distribute coals over one half your charcoal grill, or only light the burners on one side of your gas grill. That way, you can sear items on the hot side of the grill, then cook them more gently on the other side, using indirect heat. The cooler side of the grill is also a convenient place to shift your meat or veggies during a flare-up to prevent burning.

5. You add sauce too early.

How could sweet, smoky barbecue sauce possibly ruin your lovingly grilled food? You’d be surprised. The same sugars that can give your meat that flavorful, caramelized glaze will also burn when exposed to heat for too long.

There’s no benefit to adding your sauce early in the process. It doesn’t soak into the meat, and it’ll just give you a blackened, acrid crust when it overcooks.

Grill with BBQ sauce
Brush on the barbecue sauce in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.   View Larger

Avoid this tragedy by waiting until the final 5-10 minutes of cooking and then applying the sauce with a brush.

When it’s all done, sit back and consume the fruits of your labor! If you took care with your technique, it’s bound to be tasty!