Wait to Water

The following is an excerpt from the article, “Spring Lawn Care.”  Fore more information please visit www.better-lawn-care.com.


Wait to Watersprinkler pipe water flowers

The last item on your spring lawn care list should be watering. It’s tempting to start watering in early spring, but there is usually plenty of rain to keep your lawn healthy. Wait to water until the weather gets warm and dry.

It’s ok to let the grass show signs of drought stress – this will actually cause to roots to grow deep searching for water. Waiting until the weather turns hot and dry encourages deep rooting and that will prepare your lawn for the dog days of summer.

PR 101 – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros – Part 5 – Using Your Budget

The following is an excerpt from the article, “PR 101 – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros.”  For more information please visit www.sba.gov.

Using Your Budget

piggyladySo how do you stay within budget? Surprisingly, start-ups have a variety of options that grow as you grow. For example, if your business is in a pre-funding phase or bringing in less than $250k, spend money where it matters on things such as video and your product launch. Consider bringing in an intern to help you manage day-to-day tactics such as social media posts and monitoring. Tap your mentors if you can and use them as sounding boards, ask them to review your messaging.

As you approach the $1 million revenue mark, start spending money on freelancers and contractors. Once you cross over into growth mode, you can really look to hire multiple people or bring in agencies to help you manage your communications.

Tell a Story…. Use Social Media

The following is an excerpt from the article, “PR 101 – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros.”  For more information please visit www.sba.gov.

Tell a Story

What qualifies as a good story? What gets coverage and why? Remember  – it’s not about you. “Think multi-dimensionally about story and storytelling – what works for one publication is not going to work for another,” explains Lisa Throckmorton. “It’s really important to understand the media outlets you’re approaching… their mission, and the audience it serves.” Follow the media that matter – read and subscribe to news feeds so that you have a sense for where you might fit and how to tailor your messagsocial_mediae. “The media is not going to cover you if they don’t think you’re right for their audience.

Be prepared to talk about what your competitors are doing – media is always going to consider them as they write about your product. If you can, use customer stories or validation (market research will do) to support your vision, and be prepared to discuss industry trends and how you are positioned.

Use Social Media

If no one is pushing your news, use social media to push it yourself. Choose wisely – you don’t have to use all social media channels. “Think of it in terms of layers,” explains Lisa Throckmorton.

For example, your salespeople might be pushing you to use Facebook and LinkedIn to promote your events – that’s one layer. Your PR personnel might be focused on monitoring review sites to listen and respond to what people are saying – that’s another layer. As your business grows, add another layer (consider it the “Marketing Layer”), using such sites such as YouTube, Digg, Reddit, etc. to place content, improve SEO and drive traffic back to your website. At the top layer, tap your senior executives to write blogs and develop a Twitter profile to raise awareness and share their expertise.

“You don’t have to do it all,” explains Lisa Throckmorton, “think about it in increments and what the right choices are for your business.

Crabgrass Control, Fertilizing, and Watering

The following is an excerpt from the article, “Spring Lawn Care.”  Fore more information please visit www.better-lawn-care.com.

 Crabgrass Control

Crabgrass prevention is a very important spring lawn care chore. Spring is the time to prevent crabgrass. If your lawn is dense and vigorous, consider taking chemical weed controls off your spring lawn care list. A dense and vigorous lawn will not allow weeds to invade…its the best weed control.

Crabgrass is a prolific seeder. If you had crabgrass last year, expect to see it again this year and consider using a preemergence herbicide. These crabgrass preventers stop weed seeds from germinating, so you will want to apply them before seeds germinate to get the best control. This will be when soil temperatures reach 50° F. Many gardeners plan to apply their preemergence around Easter. Blooming forsythia is another good indicator – when you see the yellow blooms, the soil temperature is 50° F.

Don’t worry if you are late applying preemergance – crabgrass and other weed seeds are germinating all season long and you’ll still get some control…better late than never.

Preemergance herbicides will control a broad spectrum of weeds along with crabgrass and many products will give you three to six months control.

 When Should You Fertilize and How Much?

Go easy on the fertilizer in the spring. Too much will cause a flush of growth at the expense of the roots.

Cool-season grasses – including Kentucky bluegrass, fescues and ryegrass – should receive the majority of their annual fertilizer in the fall, that’s when they will benefit the most. Lawns that were fertilized in the fall will green up early and won’t need to be fertilized until late spring. A light spring application – around Memorial Day – will keep them healthy and give them a nice green color boost. The amount of fertilizer that you apply in late spring should be less than 1/2 lb Nitrogen/1000 ft2.

If you missed your fall fertilizer, make it up with a couple light applications. Wait until the grass is actively growing (around mid-April) and then apply 1/4 to 1/2 lb nitrogen/1000ft2. Make another light application six weeks later (Memorial Day).

Warm-season grasses benefit from summer fertilizer applications, that is when they are actively growing. Wait to fertilize Bermudagrass, zoysia, St. Augustine, and other warm-season grasses until they green up. At least 75% of the lawn should be green. Fertilizing too early in the spring can cause a flush of growth that can damage the plants if there is a late heavy frost.

Wait to Water

The last item on your spring lawn care list should be watering. It’s tempting to start watering in early spring, but there is usually plenty of rain to keep your lawn healthy. Wait to water until the weather gets warm and dry.

It’s ok to let the grass show signs of drought stress – this will actually cause to roots to grow deep searching for water. Waiting until the weather turns hot and dry encourages deep rooting and that will prepare your lawn for the dog days of summer.

Spring Lawn Care Chores To Do When The Grass Starts Growing

The following is an excerpt from the article, “Spring Lawn Care.”  Fore more information please visit www.better-lawn-care.com.

Spring Lawn Care Chores To Do When The Grass Starts Growing:

Spring Lawn Care, Lawn Tools

Had Your Soil Tested Lately?

Or at least in the last three years? A soil test will tell you how much, if any, nutrients your lawn needs. It is the only way to determine whether or not liming is needed, and how much to apply. A soil test is also a valuable tool for diagnosing problems with your lawn, garden and landscape plants.

Mow Low To Remove The Dead Tops

Once your lawn starts to green up, give it a good short cut to remove the dead grass tops. This will give the newly emerging leaves the sunlight they need and get them growing. Take care not to cut it too short – scalping and damaging the crowns of the plants.

If you are a ‘grasscycler’ it’s OK to collect the clippings and excess debris this first mow of the year.

Core Aeration

Aerating benefits your lawn in several ways: reduces soil compaction, controls thatch, stimulates new root growth and improves water, air and nutrient filtration.

Fall is the best time to aerate cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses should be aerated in the summer – when they are actively growing.

If you missed out on aerating your cool-season lawn last fall, spring is the second best time to get this done. Just be sure you aerate before you apply a crabgrass preventer.

A good time to topdress with compost is right after you aerate, all soils benefit from adding organic matter.

Thatch ControlAerating will help control thatch and is less damaging to grass plants than power raking. If your thatch layer is over 1/2″ deep, you’ll want to consider dethatching with a power rake. Again, wait to power rake until your grass is actively growing and wait to apply crabgrass preventer until after you rake.

Overseed Bare Areas

Fall is the best time to seed cool-season grasses. However, there is a short ‘window of opportunity’ you can take advantage of in the spring…

Grass seed will start to germinate when soil temperatures reach 50° F. Get your seeding done early enough so the new grass plants have time to develop strong roots before the summer stress period.

Overseeding works best when combined with aerating. Seeds will find their way into the aeration holes where they are protected, make good contact with the soil, and germinate quickly. Skip the crabgrass control if you overseed because it also works on grass seed.

Plant warm-season grasses after the danger of frost has passed – late spring into early summer.

Have a Communications Plan, Align Your Team

The following is an excerpt from the article, “PR 101 – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros.”  For more information please visit www.sba.gov.

communication_plan_iconHave a Communications Plan

Do you know which media you are targeting and why? Where are they getting their information? Before you invest time and money in a communications program, set aside a couple of hours to map out a plan. What tactics should you consider? Bear in mind that different business models lend themselves to different PR approaches. For example, service-based businesses can benefit from demonstrating expertise, blogging, contributing articles, speaking at events, awards and so on. Product-centric companies get more from formal product launches, product reviews and sharing data sets.

Align Your Team

If one person isn’t on board with your plan then it can really sabotage office-4-white-peopleyour efforts, especially for small start-ups. Convince naysayers by focusing on the meat behind your plan: why you are doing this? What results do you expect?

Unless you have a stellar CEO who can talk to every aspect of your product and business, then you’ll need to line up more than one person to help tell your story. Identify your team’s experts and refine the message they’re going to tell. For example, a software developer will have completely different things to say than a CEO – and media will want to hear both.

Early Spring Lawn Care Tips

The following is an excerpt from the article, “Spring Lawn Care.”  Fore more information please visit www.better-lawn-care.com.

Crocus bulbs planted in lawns offer early spring color.  They finish flowering before its time to mow.  Spring flower bulbs need to be planted in the Fall.

Take It Easy on the Soil

handsinsoil_shutterstock_84774607Don’t be in a hurry to start working in your yard. Let the soil thaw and dry out before beginning your spring lawn care chores.

Foot traffic on wet soils will cause soil compaction problems. Even worse damage is caused by walking on lawns where the soil has thawed on top and is still frozen underneath, shearing roots in the frozen soil from the grass plants on top.

If you get too aggressive with raking, mowing or aerating – any activity that will open up the turfgrass canopy exposing it to sunlight – you risk damaging fragile new growth and giving early germinating weeds the jump on your lawn grass. Wait until your grass is actively growing.

 Sharpen Your Lawn Mower Blades

Early spring is a good time to give your lawnmower and other power tools a tune up. Sharpen your lawn mower blades, change the oil, spark plug, and filters.

Help the Snow Melt

If you are lucky enough to live in an area that gets a lot of snow, help it melt by spreading the piles and removing it from shady areas. This keeps snow molds from developing as the ground thaws.

PR 101 – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros – Part 2

The following is an excerpt from the article, “PR 101 – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros.”  For more information please visit www.sba.gov.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Messaging

saleshandshake_shutterstock_121221511PR is no different than introducing yourself to someone at an event or trade show, so develop an elevator pitch that conveys quickly and distinctly who you are and why you matter. Equally important is tailoring that message to your audience – your pitch to an investor will be quite different than a pitch to media or potential customers. For tips on writing one, read: Why Your Business Needs an Elevator Pitch (and Tips on How to Target it to your Audience).

Take a hard look at your website, too. Visitors need to quickly understand who you are. Think about progression from your home page or landing page; include content such as video, imagery and a demo to communicate your pitch. Add a “Press Room” where you can include contact info, FAQs, team bios, news coverage, etc. – reporters will be looking for this.

PR 101 – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros – Part 1

The following is an excerpt from the article, “PR 101 for Start-Ups – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros.”  For more information please visit www.sba.gov.

PR 101 – How to Get Visibility Without Bringing in the Pros – Part 1

If you are in start-up mode and want to launch a new product, secure private funding or bring visibility to your company, then public relations is an essential tool for your box. But how do you get started if you have few resources? Here are some tips for things you can do on your own, without the help of a PR agency or expert, to get visibility for your business with potential customers or financiers.

Disclaimer – I don’t take credit for these tips. They come directly from professionals via this on-demand webinar: PR 101 for Start-Ups presented by Lisa Throckmorton, EVP, SpeakerBox Communications and Jonathon Perrelli, Managing Partner, Fortify.vc.  It’s well worth an hour of your time.  Here’s a quick summary:

Make Sure Your Product is Ready

office-woman-on-headset-02It’s just common sense: before you engage in any communications push, make sure your product is ready. Online content has a long shelf life, so it’s important to make sure your product is tested, validated and up to snuff.

If you are not there yet and are planning on entering a hot market, such as high-tech, consider announcing a beta. This gives the media an opportunity to preview you and generate some buzz. Make it clear that your product is still in development and have realistic expectations about the kind of coverage you’ll get. Remember, you can’t control the media – they may not say what you want them to say, “so your product better not suck,” explains Jonathon Perrelli. “You need a good beta.”

Spring Lawn Care : Lawn Care Checklist

The following is an excerpt from the article, “Spring Lawn Care.”  Fore more information please visit www.better-lawn-care.com.

Ten spring lawn care and maintenance tips to prepare your lawn for the growing season.

Not all of these are Must Do’s. The most important items on this list are:

  • When to fertilize
  • Crabgrass control and other common lawn weeds
  • When to start watering

Keep in mind…the goal of your spring lawn care is to encourage maximum root volume and depth to prepare the grass for summer heat and drought. Healthy soils, fertilizing, watering and mowing practices will help you achieve this.

Spring Lawn Care Checklist:landscaper-boots

  • Wait until the soil dries out before you start working in your yard.
  • Sharpen your lawn mower blades and change the oil.
  • Help the snow melt by spreading piles.
  • Have your soil tested if it has been more than three years.
  • Mow low to remove the dead grass tops.
  • Aerate your lawn if it didn’t get done in the fall.
  • Overseed bare spots.
  • Apply crabgrass preventer (pre-emergance) around Easter.
  • Light nitrogen fertilizer application around Memorial Day.
  • Wait to water your lawn until late spring/early summer.