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Carpenter Costin Blog

Time to Lime Your Lawn

The best time to apply lime is in the fall, as it breaks down slowly and is absorbed very slowly.

Most homeowners understand that applications of lime to the home lawn are necessary to maintain a high quality lawn. Few individuals, however, have a complete understanding of why lime is applied, how to determine if liming is needed and how to apply lime to the lawn. Also, most homeowners are not aware of the potential negatives of creating a pH too high by excessive application of lime.

Lime is applied to the lawn’s soil to increase its pH level. Soil pH, a measure of the soil's acidity or alkalinity, governs the availability of many soil nutrients and can directly influence the vigor and quality of the home lawn. When the pH is below 7, the soil is said to be acidic; when above 7, it is alkaline. For turfgrasses used in local lawns, a soil pH between 6 and 7 (slightly acidic) is ideal. PH levels that are too high (8+) will have the same effect as a pH level that is too low.

When the soil pH drops below 6, a number of nutrients necessary for proper growth become less available for use by the turfgrass plant. As nutrients become less available, the lawn's color, vigor and ability to resist or recover from heat, drought or traffic stress will be reduced. Applications of lime to raise the soil pH above 6 can increase the availability of these nutrients, making it easier to maintain the quality and vigor of your lawn.

New England soils tend to be naturally acidic. Factors that contribute to acidic soils are the breakdown of rock, the prevalence of pine trees and acid rain. A yearly maintenance application of lime is recommended. Testing the pH of your soil and application of an adjustment quantity of lime is ideal.

For more information on liming and care of your lawn, please give us a call at (877) 308-8733 or contact us through our website at

Fertilize While You Irrigate with Fertigation

Fertilize Your Lawn Each Time You Water

Fertigation is a system attached to your irrigation system that will apply low doses of fertilizer to your lawn each time you water, keeping your lawn healthy and green all season long.

The benefits of Fertigation over traditional broadcast fertilizing methods include:

  • Eliminates over-fertilization and run-off
  • Increased nutrient absorption by grass plants
  • Reduction of fertilizer and chemicals
  • Reduced nitrogen leaching into water table
  • Reduction in water usage due to plant’s increased root mass and ability to trap and hold water

For more information on Fertigation, call now to arrange a consultation with our irrigation specialist at 877-308-8733.

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Insect and Pest Management Alerts

This year’s weather has brought a healthy infestation of insects and diseases. Here are some of the alarming ones:

Cottony Scale

These insects are closely related to aphids and affect Holly, Euonymus, Yews, and a variety of other trees and shrubs. Scale insects feed by tapping into the plant stem or leaf and withdrawing plant sap. Plants infested with scale will show signs of thinning or yellowing foliage and possibly branch dieback. In severe cases, they can even kill plants.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

These insects only affect Hemlocks. They are an aphid-like insect that shows up in cottony masses and sucks plant sap out of needles and stems. This insect is rapidly spreading throughout the Hemlocks in our area. Plants infested with Adelgid will show similar signs as cottony scale, thinning, yellowing, and dieback.

Diplodia Tip Blight vs. Needlecast Disease

These diseases both affect Austrian Pines yet in different ways, and require different treatment plans. Diplodia Tip Blight is evidenced by browning, starting at the tips and spreading toward the stem. Needlecast Disease tends to manifest itself as tiny yellow/brown spots on needles and progresses until entire needle becomes brown and falls.

Repeated seasons of stress from these diseases, over several years, can lead to the tree turning brown, entire branches dying, and the tree becoming deformed. If left unchecked, it can eventually kill mature trees.

Call now to have a professional arborist inspect and identify your pests and develop a custom treatment strategy. 877.308.8733.

First Aid For Your Lawn

TLC Now Will Reap Green Rewards

At this time of year your lawn may show signs of stress and be crying out for some TLC. Is your lawn experiencing any of the following problems?

  1. Thin or bare spots
  2. High traffic areas where soil is compacted
  3. Invasive grasses
  4. Excess weeds
  5. Drought damage

Here are some great, natural ways that are guaranteed to improve the health and beauty of your lawn.

Core Aeration is the mechanical removal of small cores of soil from your lawn.. This procedure reduces soil compaction and opens it up allowing water fertilizer and air to penetrate the soil’s surface. Relieving soil compaction allows grass to develop deeper, stronger root systems.

Dethatching your lawn consists of mechanically ‘raking’ your lawn to remove the layer of thatch or dead grass that accumulates over time. Removal of thatch will allow air, water and fertilizer to penetrate the root system of your grass.

Slice Seeding will refresh your lawn by adding new seed to your lawn. A slice seeding machine slices shallow trenches into your lawn and inserts new grass seeds into the trenches. The seed to soil contact increases seed germination and growth rates, resulting in a thicker, more vigorous lawn.

For more information on improving the beauty of your lawn, please give us a call at 877.308.8733 or email us

Asian Longhorned Beetle Decimates Local Trees

Invasive Insects Threaten Hardwood Trees

The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) is an invasive insect from Asia that is a serious threat to hardwood trees (trees that lose their foliage after growing season) in the United States. These trees include maple, elm, willow, birch, horsechestnut and poplar. During its infant stage, the insect bores into a tree's heartwood and feeds on the nutrients. The tunneling can cause extensive damage, which will eventually kill the tree. The insect is approximately 1 - 1.5 inches in length with antennae as long as the body itself. Although they can fly up to 400 yards, they tend to lay eggs in the same tree they emerged as adults.

The Adult female, active primarily during the summer and early fall, can chew 35 to 90 depressions into the bark of the host tree. One egg is laid at each site, which hatches in 10-15 days. The resulting offspring tunnel into the woody tissue of the tree, where it feeds and continues to develop over the winter. In the spring, the offspring build a hard case to develop in. When summer comes, they chew their way out of the tree leaving perfectly round exit holes of ¼ to ½ inch. They then feed on the leaves and twigs of the tree, before starting the cycle over again.

Getting rid of the beetles is primarily accomplished through detection and removal of the host tree. If you encounter these beetles, you are urged to contact the U.S. Department of Agricultures' (USDA) local Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Director, who can be located at the following website:

In Massachusetts, you can also contact The ALB Program at 508.799.8330 or toll free at (866) 702.9938.Qualified Arborists can provide preventative treatments to non-infested trees through a 3-year program of tree or soil injections. The chemical treatment disperses into the tree and travels into twigs and leaves so infant stage and adult beetles ingest the chemical and die.

To find out more about a preventative 3-year treatment program to protect your properties trees, contact Carpenter Costin at or call (877) 308.8733.


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