5 Ways to Control Lawn and Garden Bugs in Fall

When it comes to bugs in fall, there’s a whole world of insect maintenance you’re going to want to be ready for. In any garden, there are two things you can always rely on: You need a watering system, and you’ll find pests somewhere.

So, today we’ll be looking at five of the best ways out there to keep these plant-munching baddies at bay this autumn.

Man with Bug Insecticide Sprayer - Central Services Lawn Care

Getting Rid Of Bugs In Fall

Kick Them Out

The truth about pest management is that even good pesticides can often be ineffective.

There’s a simple answer if you have relatively few bugs and aren’t too squeamish: Simply pluck them off. With a bucket or other container, take a walk through your garden and pick any bug that’s large enough off, by hand. Put it in a bag and take them all to a dump or safe location, far from your home and plants.

Keep Them Out

Sometimes, the best way to keep something out is a nice, solid door.

Well, in the case of pest control, maybe not a door. Row covers are lightweight sheets of fabric that are positioned above and around plants. These sheets are porous enough to allow light and air to pass through but work wonders at keeping out locusts, caterpillars, and other larger insects.

Don’t Encourage Them

Waste management is a bit of a tightrope for gardeners, but it’s one of the most important steps in stopping pest invasions.

First, never let waste pile up in or around your garden. This brings insects right to your door and can have a negative impact almost immediately. Be vigilant and remove rotting leaves, stems, or offcuts before they become a problem.

Next, pay very close attention to what goes into your compost heap. If the trash is being taken out of your garden, don’t put it into the compost that you’re putting back in your garden. These same insects will develop in the compost, and go right back into your garden’s ecosystem when you use it.

If your compost already has bugs in it, warm it up, wash it down, and then spread it out in a thin layer so that it can dry out.

Natural Pesticides and Insecticides

Of course, once you already have a problem, it helps to know how to take care of it.

There are all-natural and organic pesticide and insecticide options for gardens that already have insect problems.

Salt and/or garlic sprays have been shown to work well, or, if you’re willing to spend a little more, you may want to consider a good mineral oil.

Of course, a byproduct of any organic product is that they often don’t have the “staying power” of a more harmful chemical compound. You have to remember to apply these organic compounds more regularly in order for them to be effective.

Better Planting

There are also a few steps you can take while planting to prevent insects:

  • After watering, space your plants out to give them more space to dry.
  • Dry off your leaves to prevent fungal growth.
  • Cut off and discard diseased plants as soon as possible.
  • Test your soil regularly, and adjust the pH and mineral levels accordingly.

Bugs In Fall: Get It Under Control

Fall is a bad time for insects in any garden. Dying leaves, rotting mulch, and wet air all contribute to a pest revolution that will eat your yard whole if you leave them unchecked.

Hopefully, with a little help from us and our Milwaukee lawncare pros, you’ll have it all covered. Good luck out there!

How to Make Your Own Fall Lawn Fertilizer

It may sound too good to be true, but we promise it’s the real deal. Keep reading to learn how you can make the best fall lawn fertilizer right from your home.

If you’re like us, you love looking after your lawn. And with fall here, there’s nothing more satisfying than kicking off your shoes and running your toes through the soft, lush blades of grass. And, while you may think that fall means it’s time to stop caring for your lawn, you couldn’t be more wrong. But don’t go out to your local hardware store and spend tons of money on ineffective fertilizers!

You can simply make your own at home for the low price of, well, free.

Wheelbarrow with compost fertilizer in lawn - Central Services of Wisconsin

Understanding Your Lawn

Just like people, certain types of grass require certain types of nutrition. If you have no clue what soil you’re working with, consult your zoning board. Chances are they have documentation that can help you along.

Now, you can’t use fall lawn fertilizer the same way you do in summer or spring. You’ll need to fertilize your lawn 6 to 8 weeks before the coldest months. This will likely vary by climate, so keep an eye on the forecast.

Use Household Goods

Here’s the good news: You can make an effective fall lawn fertilizer with things you likely have at home! Here are some of the most effective resources and recipes you can use for your fertilizer.

Coffee Grounds

Ahh, coffee. It wakes us up in the morning, keeps us focused, and grows grass? It may sound odd, but believe us, coffee grounds actually make for great fertilizer. So, next time you’re getting ready to throw out your old grounds, save them instead.

Use 1/2 pound as the foundation for a compost with grass clippings and add 5 gallons of water. Now, place the compost in a bucket and spread across your lawn evenly and gently. The water should break up the grounds. Make sure the grounds fall in between the grass, not on top.

Best of all, the coffee acts as a deterrent to pests! No more worrying about slugs, snails, and pesky insects.

Soda and Beer

Here’s a combo you’d never want to taste. While it may sound repulsive to your palate, your lawn will love it. A couple caveats: Make sure you’re using full-calorie cola and a darker beer. The chemical make-up will affect your grass otherwise.

Take 1 can/bottle of each, then combine them with half a cup each of ammonia, dishwasher soap, and mouthwash. The suds from the soda and beer will deliver nutrients while the ammonia produces nitrogen. Combine all into a spray bottle or hose and rinse your lawn.

Epsom Salt and Ammonia

Finally, you can use a simple combination of Epsom salt and household ammonia. Epsom salt brings nutrients like as magnesium and sulfur, while the ammonia will dilute the salt and introduce nitrogen.

Use about a cup of each and spread evenly over your lawn.

Need Some Help With Your Fall Lawn Fertilizer?

Using these recipes should get you results in a few weeks. Be sure to keep checking on your grass periodically and record your findings. You may have to vary the recipes slightly depending on your climate and soil types.

Of course, if you’re looking for some help, don’t be afraid to get in touch! Whether you’re inexperienced or simply don’t have the time, we can help.

We’d love to give you a hand in making your lawn greener and more gorgeous than ever. Get in touch today and see the difference a professionally maintained Milwaukee lawn can make.

How to Get Rid of Weeds in Grass and Protect Your Lawn

Some people don’t worry about how to get rid of weeds in grass because they know every part of a dandelion can be eaten. You can eat the blossoms, stalk, and roots. Cooked or raw. In salads or soups.

But dandelions can also wreak havoc on your lawn, stealing moisture and nutrients from your vibrant green grass. So, let’s take a look at how to get rid of weeds in grass.

Cutting Out Weeds in Lawn - Central Services of Waukesha

Strategy 1: Crowding Them Out

Although weeds may have their creative uses, such as edibility, they are usually unwanted visitors to our lawns.

One reliable way of how to get rid of weeds in grass is to crowd them out. Support your grass in growing strong and lush, leaving no room for weeds to squeeze in.

Weeds are always looking for opportunities to take root in the most fertile of soil. When your grass is healthy and thriving in the sun, weeds are less likely to push their way in.

Fertilize Just the Right Amount

Under fertilizing leaves grass thin and weaker. This leaves more opportunity for weeds to take root. And over fertilizing can nurture weeds you don’t to encourage in your lawn. Many weeds crave excessive amounts of fertilizer.

Be sure to read the application recommendations and use fertilizer with slow release nitrogen for your soil. This allows for steady nutrients available to your grass.

Strategy 2: Watering Your Grass Sporadically and Deeply

Americans are known for cherishing their lawns. And one of the best ways to keep your lawn healthy is by watering it in just the right way. Your lawn care regimen should include watering about one inch per week in infrequent and soaking strides.

Shallow and frequent watering inspires the growth of certain weeds.

Strategy 3: Mowing Higher

Allowing your grass to grow higher keeps the sun from reaching the ground and drying out the topsoil. It also strengthens the turf by supporting your grass in producing adequate nutrients.

A good height for your grass is typically between 3 and 4 inches tall. But you may want to ask someone who knows about your specific type of grass.

Strategy 4: Resorting to Herbicides

Herbicides are the most commonly used pesticide in homes and garden, with more than 90 million pounds used on lawns each year.

As a good rule of thumb, it’s best to leave the option of herbicides as a last resort. But sometimes nothing else seems to keep the weed population down enough. If your grass is overrun with weeds after you’ve tried the less invasive approaches, you can try the chemicals. Just try to use as little as necessary to still get the job done.

Follow the guidelines and make sure the herbicide you choose is appropriate for your specific lawn.

How to Get Rid of Weeds in Grass

You want your lawn looking lush, vibrant, soft and supportive for your bare feet. And, for that, you need to employ these strategies to keep your weed population down.

If you’re looking to spruce up your Milwaukee lawn for the upcoming season, check us out at Central Services.

Top 5 Tips for Lawn Care in Fall

Proper lawn care in fall will give you a healthy yard, increased value of your home, and a healthier body.

We get it: The summer is over, the kids are in school, and football graces television sets around the country four days a week. A glorious season, indeed. However, this is no excuse to ignore your lawn. In fact, your yard needs some special attention this time of year. Ignoring your lawn in autumn will result in extra work in the spring.

Fall Lawn Care & Raking - Central Services serving Milwaukee, WI

Here are five tips to handle your lawn care in fall.

1. Mow Lower

You want your grass to produce more nutrients in the summer. In autumn, however, drop it back down to 2 inches. This is the standard deck height for most mowers.

Don’t mow too short. A lawn cut too short in the fall will be a breeding ground for weeds.

If you don’t mow low enough, your yard will be ruined by leaves, winter snow, and be a safe haven for field mice.

2. Rake on the Reg

Some people love the appearance of fall. And yes, the leaves turning colors is pretty and will have an artistic look scattered around on your grass. However, allowing leaves to pile up on your yard is a bad idea.

Raking leaves is lawn care in fall 101. As they become wet and stick together, they form a mat-like surface that suffocates your grass. This will result in springtime patches, making your yard an eyesore.

3. Yoink Those Weeds

Many weed varieties go to seed in the fall. If you want to avoid a lawn in spring that’s full of weeds, get them in autumn.

If you’re averse to using chemical herbicides, a simple vinegar and water solution will do the trick. Just do your best to keep it on the weeds and not your grass.

4. Aerate the Soil

This isn’t an annual thing. Aeration is a part of proper lawn care in fall, but you really only need to do it every couple of years.

Essentially, this is just poking holes in your lawn. You can do it by hand with a border fork or rent a machine. The purpose is to loosen up your grass and create channels for water, oxygen, and fertilizer to ensure your lawn grows healthy and strong in spring.

5. Fertilization for Lawn Care in Fall

You shouldn’t care about the growth of your yard right now. For lawn care in fall, you want to worry about what’s going on beneath the surface.

Your lawn should be properly aerated. Now’s the time to capitalize on the previous labor. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall will allow your roots to grow quickly and be healthy. This is when you want to lay seeds in bald or thin spots. You’ll want to rake the soil so your seed and fertilizer can work quickly and effectively.

These are the secrets to building an amazing lawn. What you do in the off-season matters just as much as what you do in the spring and summer.

If you would like to find out more about our Milwaukee lawn care services, have questions, or would like to utilize our services, contact us today.

Sodding vs Seeding

Central Services is proud to be your seeding and sodding experts in the Waukesha and Milwaukee areas. When you offer expertise in both services, a question you often get is “Well, should I seed or sod?” Both have advantages and disadvantages, but the three important decisions you need to make when considering lawn establishment methods are turfgrass selection, site preparation, and care of the new lawn. Read on to learn more about these considerations.

The most important difference between seeding and sodding is the time necessary for developing a mature or durable turf. Sodding is essentially transplanting a mature turf that has been cared for by a professional. Seeding involves the same process used in the establishment of sod and can be accomplished by a professional or the homeowner. The number of variables involved in seeding makes it difficult and many times unsuccessful for the homeowner.

One of the advantages of seeding is that there are far more grass types and varieties to choose from. It’s also less costly than sodding and develops stronger root systems initially. The main disadvantages are that the initial establishment takes longer, and best results are often only achieved in late summer and early fall. Moisture is also critical for the young seedlings, and failure to water properly results in a failed lawn.

Sodding offers advantages in a rapidly established and relatively weed-free lawn, at least initially. Sodding is great for slopes or areas prone to erosion because it won’t wash away at the first rain like seeding. Sod can also be laid anytime during the growing season. The main disadvantages of sodding are the high cost in comparison to seeding, and the smaller selection or control over kinds of grasses, especially in shade tolerance varieties.

With both options, establishment is critical and the process varies quite a bit. The experts at Central Services have experience with just about every lawn establishment situation possible. Our highly skilled landscape experts will tackle your most challenging lawn projects armed with the knowledge and tools to make any lawn establishment a great success. Don’t waste time and money by trying to do it yourself, call Central Services and get the lawn you want quickly, and ensure that it will last.

Contact us Today!

Interested in sodding or seeding for your property? Call Central Services, your local experts in landscape design, grounds maintenance, snow removal, and much more! Contact us at (262) 548-0005 to get started on your project today!

3 Ways Decorative Stone Installation Improves Your Property

For over 40 years, Central Services has built a reputation in Waukesha and Milwaukee as the Premier landscaping design company. With over 30,000 satisfied customers, it’s no wonder that Central Services has been around since 1974, with the same superior standards, affordable services, and exceptional employees that make us great at what we do. We’re proud to promote another great service we offer to the Waukesha and Milwaukee areas: Decorative Stone Installation. Let our skilled landscapers add this amazing improvement to your property of distinction today!

It isn’t just that decorative stone is available in a wide variety of colors and textures that make it add great curb appeal to your home, there are many benefits of a decorative stone installation. Whether you choose large red granite, with its deep texture and unique look, or multi-colored pea gravel, which adds vibrancy and color to your landscaping, you’re in for a host of benefits to your property, including these 3:

Reduces Weeds By Blocking Sunlight

Although it seems weeds will grow anywhere, they need sunlight just like more desirable plants do. Decorative stone, when used in gardens or other features, creates a barrier that keeps the sun out of the open areas. By removing the sun exposure to the seeds that would grow into unsightly weeds, you’re essentially cut off their food supply, preventing them from ever getting off the ground. Best of all, your decorative stone installation looks better than an open garden!

Insulates Roots From Extreme Heat And Cold

Anyone who lives in a brick house will tell you: they’re great at regulating heat. On the hottest summer days, brick homes tend to stay cooler, and in the dead of winter, they hold in the heat well. The same properties apply to decorative stone. Although a bed of pea gravel or other stone isn’t weather-proof, it helps to regulate the temperature of the soil by blocking the sun’s rays and maintaining a consistent temperature. With the soil temperature regulated, your plants’ precious root systems are also kept in an environment that promotes good plant health, helping to ensure that your beautiful landscaping will flourish.

Is Long Lasting And Low Maintenance

Rocks will outlast all of us, and Central Services installs quality decorative stone that is designed to last many years in your outdoor areas. Best of all, our decorative stone installations maintain their beauty for many years, even through harsh Wisconsin weather. Depending on your choice of decorative stone, you may occasionally have to reposition some stones that were displaced by wind or animals, and occasionally rinse the stones to remove debris and brighten their surfaces. This minimal maintenance is a small price to pay for a beautiful decorative stone installation.

Contact Us Today!

Interested in decorative stone for your property? Call Central Services, your local experts in landscape design, grounds maintenance, snow removal, and much more! Contact us at (262) 548-0005 to get started on your project today!

Grounds Maintenance Services Can Save Homeowners Time and Money

In today’s hectic world, it can be hard to find time for the things that really matter. Most modern families consist of parents who both work full-time (or more) and kids with busy schedules of sports and other activities. How does one find time to keep up around the house? Many families are learning what business have known for many years, that outsourcing tasks such as grounds maintenance and snow removal, can actually result in a net savings for them in terms of time and money. In Milwaukee and Waukesha, trust your landscaping maintenance needs to the experts at Central Services.

Busy schedules and lack of time for planning and executing the regular maintenance involved with keeping an outdoor living space at it’s full potential causes stress. This leads to a dissatisfaction with the appearance of your grounds, and family plans get cancelled or postponed in favor of yard work. In summer, when families typically take advantage of open schedules for long family vacations, it becomes even more difficult to keep up with tedious landscaping projects. With modern families, it all comes down to time, and time is priceless.

Central Services, as full-service landscaping, grounds maintenance, and snow removal firm, has the expertise, experience, and quality equipment necessary to make short work of all projects. Take snow removal, for instance. Consider the hours you spend after every Wisconsin snowstorm clearing snow. Between pulling out the snowblower, getting it running, clearing as much as it can handle before clearing the rest with the shovel, and then putting everything away, you’ve just spent a large portion of your day on this project, and the snow keeps falling. Factor in the cost of the snowblower, maintenance, shovels, and more, and you start to understand that outsourcing could save you money in the long term. Central Services averages only a quick half hour for most snow removal projects; our work is efficient and thorough, and it’s done without you having to lift a finger.

Also consider the opportunity costs of other projects you’re not getting done because of your time spent on grounds maintenance. Whether it’s missed work opportunities, home improvements, hobbies, or much-deserved relaxation, you can’t always put a value on the things that you miss out on because of time spent on yard work.

Contact us Today!

Take the weight of yard work, cleanup, and maintenance off of your mind and save money as well! Call Central Services, your local experts in landscape design, grounds maintenance, snow removal, and much more! Contact us at (262) 548-0005 to get started on your project today!

Wet Basement? Try Drainage Correction

A wet basement, with leaks in the walls, puddles, and odors is a problem no one wants to have. If you have plans to finish your basement that are being postponed by the dampness due to water infiltration, a fix may be easier than you think. Your problem may be related to drainage and grading, and may not require any work to be done on your foundation walls themselves. In Milwaukee and Waukesha, your drainage correction experts are ready and waiting at Central Services.

There are many symptoms of drainage problems, including water ponding, wet basements and garages, damage to your foundation, loss of plants and shrubs, and more. These problems can eventually cause serious damage and negatively impact the value of your property.

If you see any of these problems, you may need drainage correction to repair landscaping drainage elements so that they properly drain rain and other water sources away from problem areas. We can repair many types of landscaping drainage systems, including French drains, sump pumps, surface drainage and dry creek river beds.

It is of utmost importance that water finds its way off of your property in an efficient manner. Since water is highly predictable in that it always finds the lowest point, grading is a relatively easy fix. At Central Services, our over 40 years of experience in landscaping services gives us the knowledge and skill to fix any drainage problem, no matter how difficult. From gardening and horticulture to landscaping construction and maintenance, we are the company that can be relied upon to deliver fast, quality results.

We’ll begin by understanding the draining issue by diagnosing the symptoms to develop a unique solution that corrects the problem. Solutions can be simple, such as adding downspout extensions or a simple drain, as a cost-effective fix. In more complicated cases, our decades of experience in landscape architecture helps us better understand the problem – and provide the necessary solution.

Our employees are true professionals who are fully-trained and fully-licensed subject matter experts in their respective fields. They participate in year-round training designed to build on their knowledge and acculturate them to Central Services’ standards of quality, visual beauty, and excellence. When you entrust your lawn and landscaping needs to Central Services, you also get the full backing of our exceptional personnel who will arrive at your job site on time, neatly-dressed, and properly outfitted with the right equipment. No matter the size of the job, our team will work tirelessly to ensure your lawn and landscaping needs are not only met, but exceeded.

Contact us Today!

Central Services are your local experts in landscape design, not to mention grounds maintenance, snow removal, and much more! Contact us at (262) 548-0005 to get started on your project today!

Summer Pest Control

With the beauty of Wisconsin summer comes the unfortunate reality of summer pests such as mosquitos and ticks. Our great state boasts many miles of gorgeous landscape, and Wisconsin homeowners work hard to capture that beauty in their own backyard with beautiful landscaping, trees and shrubs, and lush foliage. No one wants to be forced inside by an infestation of annoying and potentially health-damaging insects. That’s why Central Services is proud to offer effective and safe Mosquito and Tick Control in the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas.

In order to have an outdoor living environment that is relatively free of mosquitos and ticks, there are many things you can do to inhibit their ability to thrive and multiply, as well as countless products designed to be a shortcut to effective pest control. At Central Services, we believe the best summer pest control results from adhering to the following prevention techniques to reduce the likelihood of infestation, combined with our Mosquito and Tick Control Services, which will eliminate the pests that make it past your control efforts. Read on to learn more about preventative protection from annoying summer pests.

When it comes to mosquitoes, the most important thing you can do is to eliminate their preferred breeding grounds. Keep your gutters clean, and eliminate standing water from birdbaths, playground equipment, wheelbarrows, and swimming pool covers. Clear away ivy and decaying leaves as well, which will give the mosquitoes far less opportunity to lay eggs and hatch a new bunch of pests.

Also, if you’re still using traditional incandescent outdoor light bulbs, your pest control efforts may be a good excuse to upgrade to either LED bulbs or yellow-tinted bulbs. These types of bulbs are much less attractive to mosquitoes, and highly effective at keeping them at bay during the evening and nighttime hours.

Ticks love tall grass and lots of shade, so keep your lawn mowed, remove leaves and other debris, and try to let as much sun into your yard as possible. Consider building a fence around your property to keep out deer and other large animals that can carry ticks. And don’t forget to check your pets for ticks after they have been romping outside.

If you exercise these tips and techniques for pest prevention, you’re sure to have considerably less of a problem with pests in your yard. However, even these techniques are no match for Mother Nature, and the prevalence of these pests in our state. Once you’ve eliminated or greatly reduced the pests’ opportunities to nest in your yard, finish the job with Central Service’s Mosquito and Tick Control Service. Our safe and effective methods virtually eliminate the remaining pests from your yard and give you a comfortable and pest-free outdoor living environment for approximately 4 weeks.

Contact us Today!

Central Services are your local experts in landscape design, not to mention grounds maintenance, snow removal, and much more! Contact us at (262) 548-0005 to get started on your project today!

Retaining Walls: Not Just Utilitarian

We’ve previously discussed how taking your landscaping from average to exceptional can add substantial curb appeal, not to mention increased value, to your home. This principle also applies to other features that many homeowners dismiss as utilitarian, such as retaining walls. Sure, you can build a highly functional, plain old retaining wall and it will serve its purpose just fine. But if you add some design expertise and creativity, you can have a beautiful feature that integrates into your lifestyle and adds excitement to your property, while still serving that utilitarian purpose. Central Services offers a wide variety of landscaping, hardscape and other services to the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas, providing you with a unique contractor that can not only install utilitarian features, but offer beautiful design along with solid functionality.

By thinking outside the box when it comes to your retaining wall needs, you will find that your retaining wall can integrate into a great multi-use space, and contain built-in features that can add great enjoyment to your outdoor living this summer and for many summers to come.

Retaining walls aren’t required to be perfectly straight. A curve adds interest to a boring straight wall and may be a much more efficient use of space. To plan out how your retaining wall can run through your space, use a garden hose or large rope and set the layout of the curve, giving you a visual idea of how the retaining wall will look.

Think big when it comes to your retaining wall project. Taller walls create a very opulent look for an outdoor space which can separate areas and contain features that increase the enjoyment potential of your outdoor space. Consider a retaining wall that is taller than it needs to be for its utilitarian purpose and you may stumble on a beautiful upgrade to your space. Also, consider terracing when the wall transitions to and from different heights. The talented landscape designers at Central Services can provide you with the information and design examples you need to make an informed decision, and our design expertise can help you design the retaining wall of your dreams.

At Central Services, we pride ourselves on our quality work and a wide variety of service offerings, but we also offer design expertise to take your ordinary space and make it extraordinary. Contact us today and we’ll get to work building out your dream outdoor living space.

Contact us Today!

Central Services are your local experts in landscape design, not to mention grounds maintenance, snow removal, and much more! Contact us today at (262) 548-0005 to get started on your project today!