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Petscaping for Mutts

This summer, give your four legged friends a safe and comfortable place to play.  By petscaping, you are showing your pets where they can and cannot play in order to keep your beautiful garden out of harm’s way.

Petscaping will help your mutt have a better relationship with you, your landscape and your neighbors. Keep your pets in mind this season and watch as they stay out of trouble for years to come.

Let Mutts Play:

Keep it Cool. Provide a cool, damp, shady area for your pooch. This will not only keep him away from your garden, but it will also cut down on digging. You can use either sand or grass for this special place for your pup.

Make a Space. Your pets want to be in the spotlight, just like your kids! Make an area for them to run around in where they will be seen. Many dog runs are placed in areas out of the way. Let them have their moment, front and center.

Water Danger. Be mindful of where your pets are in relation to water. While they might have fun splashing in the sprinkler, they should be wearing a life vest when in a lake as they can get tired too.

Gardening for Your Mutts:

Go Organic. Both your lawn and garden are places your pup will explore. By using natural organic materials such as Espoma’s organic lawn care and organic fertilizer, it keeps even hidden dangers away.

Pet Safe Plants. Where do your pets love to go? If they are always sniffing around in certain parts of your garden, plant pet safe plants. This way both your garden and your pets thrive.

Fence them in. The plants we mean! If your pet is constantly getting into your garden beds, set up a fence to keep them out. Just be mindful of sharp edges to protect them from getting hurt.

Want to learn more? Check out our guide on how to get a Safe Paws Lawn!

Espoma Products for a Safe Paws Lawn:

 

Winter is Coming – Frost Preparedness

It may still be warm outside, but that doesn’t mean winter is not going to come bite us in the bud. Frost is coming and it will hit your garden hard if you aren’t prepared.

Be sure to find your first frost date and prep your garden for winter.

What is Frost?

Frost is when the dew you see on your garden turns into ice crystals. This happens when the temperature drops down to 32° F or lower.

Even a light frost can end your garden for the season. This happens when temperatures are between 29-32°. When frost hits a garden that hasn’t been properly prepared, you can say goodbye to heat-loving plants.Winter can be hard on any garden, but many plants can be protected from a light frost and continue to grow until your first hard freeze.

Find your Frost Date.

The easiest way to find your frost date is to type in your zip code into this frost date calculator.

This calculator gives you an idea on when frost will hit first and when you can expect temperatures above freezing in the spring. The percentages on top of the chart explain that you have that much of a chance of having frost for that date. For example, in the Fall 32° row, if you have the date Oct 14 under the 50 percent column, you have a 50 percent chance of 32° on October 14th.

What does this mean for your garden?

Once you know your frost date, it’s time to prepare your garden to preserve what you can.

Prepare. Often times, first frosts are light and followed by some sunshiny days before everything freezes over for good. Cover crops with a blanket or cloth material to keep them warm during this period. Try to avoid plastic as it can freeze and crack. You can also try to hose off your garden first thing in the morning to get any of the excess ice crystals off and warm your plants back up.

Harvest. Remember to harvest as your vegetables continue to ripen. You don’t have to make a mad dash to get all of your vegetables inside, but keep an eye on them. If they stop producing or if a harsh frost is coming, harvest any vegetables on your plants and let them ripen inside. Frost will damage the delicate tissue of fruits and veggies like tomatoes.

Wait. For winter vegetables, such as some squash, pumpkins, and cabbage families, you can wait until after the frost. In fact, some root crops actually have improved flavor after the frost. Check your seed packet or with your local garden center to check which vegetables you can keep outside during a frost.

Feed. Lawns will stop growing when it gets colder. This is great news for you – no more mowing! Give them a fresh dose of Espoma’s Fall Winterizer Lawn Fertilizer to help it withstand the winter’s harsh cold.

When the hard frosts are on the way, it is time to put your garden to bed for the winter.

Step-by-Step: Prep the Garden for Winter

Did you feel that? Jack Frost has flown in for the season. We’ve already felt the first nip of cold weather, which means your garden has, too.

For many, the first frost date arrives in late October or early November.

Help your garden weather the cold this season. Prepare the lawn and garden beds now for an easy, fruitful spring.

Gardening for winter consists mostly of outdoor cleanup, followed by an indoor revival. Cleanup first, though!

winter lawn

Clip, Drip and Equip the Garden before Winter

  • Discard the Deceased. Compost spent annuals and vegetable plants.
  • Protect Perennials. Water perennials (rose bushes included!) once more. Then, after the ground freezes, cut perennials back to 3”, and remove any dead or diseased cane on roses. Finally, mulch.
  • Create a Clean Slate.Remove weeds from garden beds and then create superb soil. Take the soil test and add organic amendments as needed. After a hard freeze, mulch beds.

winter-lawn-care

So Long to the Lawn

winter garden tips

Ta-Ta for Now Trees

  • Leave the Leaves. Turn those golden leaves into garden gold by composting them!
  • Bolster the Bark. Feed trees with an organic tree fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Tree-tone for winter sustenance.
  • Stare at the Bare. After the leaves have fallen, examine your tree for weak spots and problems to prevent damage from fallen tree limbs during snow storms.

Your garden’s been put to bed for the winter and will surely sleep soundly. Now, let’s focus on those incredible indoor plants to keep you gardening all winter long.

Keep Your Lawn Strong – Even in the Dead Of Winter

If you want a greener lawn in spring, did you know the most important time to organically fertilize your grass is the fall? Most people guess spring!

Learn why a fall fertilizer — or winterizer — is so important and how to correctly apply this organic lawn food.

Winter Lawn Care Essentials: Boost Your Lawn with an Organic Lawn Winterizerwinter lawn care

In the fall and winter, your lawn looks like it’s done growing, but it’s actually flourishing underground. Grass roots are absorbing nutrients so long as the ground isn’t frozen.

Applying a slow-release, organic lawn winterizer supplies your grass with nutrients throughout fall and winter.

A lawn winterizer is simply a food formulated to help your lawn survive winter. Lawn winterizers contain nitrogen to promote thicker, fast-growing grass come spring. This organic, winter fertilizer also possesses potassium to help lawns recover from summer droughts.

In spring, your grass then uses this stored energy to grow greener grass fast — usually by mid-March.

Put Your Lawn to Bed with an Organic Winterizer

  1. Give Your Lawn a Look. Check if you have cool or warm-season grass. Most areas with freezing winters grow cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, ryegrass or fescue. Southern regions have warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, Saint Augustine or Zoysia. Only apply winterizer to cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses do not get fertilized at this time.
  2. Prime Time. Apply an organic lawn winterizer one week after your final mow of the season. Or if it’s easier to remember, apply around the week of Thanksgiving.
  3. Need to Feed. Spread organic fertilizer onto dry grass. Get step-by-step instructions on applying lawn winterizer here.

Applying a lawn winterizer is like wrapping your lawn up in a cozy blanket and presenting a warm cup of soup.  Your lawn stays warm and well-fed during winter, so it can grow back thicker, greener and faster next spring.

Still looking for more info? Check out our Winter Lawn Care Pinterest board?

See Spot Go. Tricks to Fix Brown Spots in the Lawn

At summer’s end, your lawn may begin to look less than stellar.

If your entire lawn is brown, no need to worry. Your grass has gone dormant, which happens during heat waves with little rain. Your lawn should bounce back as soon as the weather cools and rain returns.

The real problem is those random, pesky brown spots in the lawn. Luckily, there’s treatment.

  1. Pup Clean Up. Dog urine is one of the most common causes of brown spots. These small, round patches appear in areas where your dog does his business. Repair these spots with organic gypsum. To avoid future mishaps, train your dog to go only in a certain section of the lawn.
  2. Brown Bares. Some brown spots are actually soil peeking out through bare spots. Now is the time to reseed your lawn to fix bare spots.
  3. Learn from the Burn. Chemical fertilizers when spilled, overused or incorrectly applied cause lawn burns. Dilute by watering. From now on, stick to organic lawn fertilizers. Organic lawn food is safer for you and your pets and more cost-effective in the lawn-term.
  4. H2O Flow. Check your lawn after watering. If the surface stays wet while the soil remains dry, the watering is too frequent and superficial. To fix, water deeply
  5. That Thatch Patch. A thatch layer of more than 1/2” decaying grass prevents water from getting to living grass roots. Break up the thatch with a rake. Then, apply an organic lawn fertilizer.
  6. Know the Mower. A dull mower blade tears grass, causing brown spots. So, sharpen your mower blades every fall and spring. Also, if your mower blades are too low, you’re scalping the lawn. Avoid more brown spots by never cutting off more than 1/3 of the grass’s current height.

See spot disappear! Those unpleasant brown spots are on their way out! You’re one step closer to a greener, lusher lawn.

Live on Lawn! Tips for End of Summer Health

From barbecues and summer parties to gardening and endless games of fetch with your pup, your lawn has endured lots of activity this summer.

But, the summer isn’t over yet and your lawn needs some TLC. Go out with a bang by rejuvenating your lawn and prepping for the cooler season ahead.organic

safe paws espomaHelp Your Lawn Hang On All Winter Long

  1. Know How to Mow. When mowing, keep the mower blades high (3” or higher) to encourage healthy roots.
  2. Agree to Reseed. If all of your lawn looks dry and brown, overseed the whole lawn. If only certain areas look bare, reseed only those spots. First, perform a soil test and improve if needed. Then cut grass and remove clippings. Level and rake soil smooth. With a broadcast spreader, apply a seed that best suits your region and weather. Finally, water.
  3. Prepare with Care. Get your lawn ready for the cooler weather ahead by fortifying it with nutrients. An organic fall winterizer promotes growth, helps lawns recover from drought and increases winter hardiness. So apply an organic fall winterizer after you’ve seeded and mowed. Follow instructions here.
  4. Fido First. Always use an organic lawn fertilizer or winterizer. Harsher, chemical lawn products can be eaten, ingested or passed on to your dog. This exposure has been linked with a higher risk of canine cancer. Keep your dog alive longer by making sure their paws are safe thanks to organic lawn products.

And just like that, you’re done with lawn care for the summer! How are you going to celebrate? We foresee a barbecue with fresh herbs and spicy homegrown peppers.

Dogscape – So Every Dog Has Its Day

In the garden and in life, dogs are our best pals. Plus, they’re the only ones who ever seem to help us weed!

So, thank them by dogscaping and create a yard that’s dog-friendly to keep them happy, healthy and out of trouble.

Create a Landscape of Wagging Tails and Happy Dogs:

1. Safe Paws, Safe Pets. Dogs love your lush, green lawn. The chemicals used in many lawn fertilizers and products aren’t safe for pets or people for that matter. Keep dogs’ paws safe, happy and healthy by opting for a 100% organic lawn program.

Safe Paws, Safe Pets organic lawn program.

2. Munching on Mulch. Since dogs often eat mulch, choose one that’s non-toxic and pet-safe. Avoid cocoa mulch, and any mulch that has essential oils, resins or chemical insecticides. Apply it like this.

safe paws organic lawn

3. Mend the Fence. Whether you choose electric or wooden, fences prevent dogs from running away and keep them safe. Check for holes, gaps, breaks or broken latches. And, fence off pools, ponds and fire pits to prevent injuries.

Safe paws organic lawn

4. Let Them Play! Make a doggy-dream spot by picking an area in the shade and fill it with their favorite toys.

Safe Paws organic lawn

5. Keep them Cool. Add a pool! A kiddie pool is cheap, loads of fun and protects dogs from the summer heat. Want it a bit more hidden? Dig out an area to create a pseudo in-ground pool, so only the top 1-2” is exposed. You can fence in the area if you please.

Safe Paws, organic lawn

6. Dig It. If your dog is frequently digging up your favorite flowers, create a dog-friendly dig spot. Pick a spot and put a border around it using rocks or bricks. Then, fill with loose dirt or sand. Bury a few toys and bones here to introduce the area. Reward your pup with treats when they dig here.

Safe paws organic lawn

Do you hear that? It’s the distant, but unmistakable sound of your dog’s tail wagging! Congrats, your dog officially has the coolest, safest yard in the neighborhood.

Keep Your Pet Safe During Hot Summer Days

Summertime means the fun doesn’t stop! From barbecues and homegrown veggies to beach trips and sunshine, we bet you’ve got a lot planned for the next few weeks.

Pets would like to follow us wherever we go. And we love traveling with our dogs, whether it’s to the mountains for a getaway or just to the garden center.

Are you (and your pet) taking a road-trip this summer? Keep the good times rollin’ by keeping pets safe in the hot weather.

During the summer months, never leave your pet alone in the car. Even with the windows cracked, your car’s temperature can rise 19°F in 7 minutes. Let’s avoid those types of hot dogs!summer pet safety

Here are hot weather traveling tips from the ASPCA:

  • Keep a bowl of water outside in the shade, and pack water and a bowl for dogs when traveling. Pets need lots of fresh, cool water in hot weather.
  • Exercise your pet during the coolest parts of the day (dawn and dusk), and never immediately following a meal.
  • Hot asphalt and tar can burn sensitive paw pads. Walk your pet on grass or dirt when possible.
  • Provide shade when your pet is outside on a hot day.
  • Get a veterinary checkup before traveling and make sure you have the necessary vaccination certificates for the area you will be visiting, as well as flea and tick treatments.

Another way to keep your dog cool is to avoid giving them a buzz cut! Get this — keeping your dog’s long hair groomed actually helps circulate air and better regulate body temperature.

Unsure if your dog is over-heating? Go inside, give ‘em water and check for heat stroke. Look for redness around the eyes or excessive panting. Cool them with a refreshing bath. If you’re still concerned, call the vet.

Another way you can keep pets happy and healthy this summer is to make sure the lawn is pet safe.

Did you know most lawn fertilizers contain harmful chemicals that can lead to canine cancer? Most people simply don’t know! Use only organic lawn fertilizers to keep your pets cancer-free this summer and for years to come.

See how we’re keeping dogs safe through Safe Paws — and how you can help.

Share this post to help keep more pets safe this summer!  

Safe Paws for Pets Everywhere

Have you heard about our Safe Paws initiative and April’s Safe Paws Challenge?

The Espoma Company is equipping pet owners with tips to keep pets safe outdoors by avoiding the dangers of common lawn hazards.Safe Paws Espoma Puppies

During the month of April, we used our Facebook page to raise awareness and made a $700 donation to the National Canine Cancer Foundation.

In addition to providing healthy and safe lawn care tips on Facebook and Twitter, we brought our Safe Paws campaign to three garden centers in the Mid-Atlantic.

Primex Garden Center, Homestead Gardens and Bucks Country Gardens welcomed us with open paws for our Safe Paws launch. Our events included on-site adoptions, local vet Q&A’s, a Safe Paws photo booth, treats and more from local pet vendors.

What great events! We had perfect weather and great turnouts. Most importantly, we heard from every pet parent that a healthy lifestyle for their pets in their #1 priority.

We listened to pet parents tell their tales and we heard their concerns. Some of you never considered the damage harsh chemicals could be doing to your animals! But many of you told us stories about your sick pets, and how you’ve stopped using chemicals on your lawn to protect them.

Lawn chemicals are potentially harmful to both cats and dogs that run and play in yards, neighborhoods and parks, and may be a contributing factor in the increase of cancer in pets. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, an alarming one out of every three dogs is diagnosed with cancer.

With knowledge, there is power. So we’re working to make sure every home is aware of the benefits of an organic lawn.

Our new Safe Paws guide, which we unveiled at the events, showed guests that

It’s surprisingly easy to do our job when surrounded by puppies!

Baxter Safe Paws

Five tips for keeping paws safe:

  1. Inspect your yard for hazards. Dogs and cats are curious. Keep dangerous chemicals such as fertilizers, insecticides, paint and gasoline out of reach.
  2. Switch to an organic lawn food. Harmful lawn chemicals can easily be ingested or tracked into homes, keep them off of lawns to begin with. Espoma’s annual feeding program features products that provide 2.5x more slow release nitrogen than the leading conventional program. And you don’t have to worry about your kids or pets rolling around in chemicals on the lawn.
  3. Encourage pets to stay away from certain areas in the yard by creating borders using soft materials like cedar mulch.
  4. Provide shade and shelter for pets while they’re hanging out on the lawn. Consider adding a dog house and provide plenty of water.
  5. Fleas and ticks hide in longer grass. Mow your lawn to the proper height to keep fleas and ticks at bay.

Share a photo of your favorite pet on our Facebook page! And let us know where you’d like us to have Safe Paws events next year!

30 Tips in 30 Days to Celebrate Lawn Care Month!

Hello April! In addition to rain, spring blooms and warmer temps, this month is great for growing healthier lawns with Espoma’s 30 days of tips!

Starting today, we’re sharing daily lawn care tips to kick off National Lawn Care month and help people make the switch to organic lawns and create “Safe Paws” environments. Follow along on Facebook or Twitter to learn how to create a lush, green and organic lawn in 30 days.

To show our commitment to chemical free lawns that are safe for pets, we are also hosting a #SafePawsChallenge and donating $500 to the National Canine Cancer Foundation for every 5,000 new likes during the month of April. The foundation funds research and raises awareness to fight cancers that affect dogs.

Creating an organic lawn keeps your family and pets safe. But did you know an organic lawn can save you money and time, too?

According to Environmental Grassroots Education, you’ll save money making the switch to organic lawns in the long-term. Specifically, you can save more than 25% by using organic lawn products. How’s that possible?

With conventional, chemical lawn programs, you spend money every year on products engineered to be short-term solutions. And you leave your lawn craving more.

Organic lawn care is different. 

From all-natural soil amendments to organic lawn fertilizer, they all improve your soil’s health and structure over time. As natural lawn foods break down, your soil becomes stronger on its own and needs less help.

As an added bonus, organic lawns need less watering, fertilizing and mowing all summer long. Yes — that means you get to spend more time enjoying your beautiful lawn and less time caring for it!

Saving money and time are big advantages of organic lawn care. But we haven’t even got to the most important one yet!

Every time you opt for organic lawn care products, you’re creating a safer environment for your pets and family. Plus, you’re taking care of the planet.

Listen to this: Americans spread 90 million pounds of pesticides on their lawns every year according to the EPA.

All those chemicals and pesticides are potentially harmful to kiddos playing barefoot and pets running in the grass.

With organic lawn care products, there’s no need to worry about harmful effects on your family or the planet.

So, spend this spring and summer fully enjoying your outdoor sanctuary.

The first step is to follow Espoma on Facebook. Next, watch for our daily tips using the hashtag #LawnCareMonth. You’ll learn how to create a plush, healthy and organic lawn within 30 days. We’re covering everything from using an organic lawn fertilizer to eliminating weeds and perfecting your soil’s pH levels.

What questions do you have about organically caring for your lawn? Let us know below, and we’ll answer!