The ground is starting to thaw, temperatures have started to rise just a bit, and that means it’s time to get outside and dust off your lawn and gardening tools.

It’s nice enough out now that we’re encouraging everyone to get outside and start your spring clean up. March might seem early, but I promise it isn’t. Getting a head start on clean up is a fantastic way to set yourself up for success in the season to come.

Here are my five top tips for planning ahead for the spring and summer season.

  1. Start with a clean slate. Get out in the yard and start cutting back plants, cutting out weeds and clearing all the sticks and debris left on the ground by the winter weather and recent wind. All the other prep work in the world will be less effective if you haven’t done the general spring cleaning your yard needs.
  2. Find out if you’re sweet or sour. One of the best things you can do for your lawn is have the pH tested right away. This can be done easily at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven. The sooner you find out if your soil is sweet or sour, the better, because it will determine your next steps to get a jump on your lawn’s health. Sweet soil has a basic pH while sour soil is acidic. You want to have sweet soil for a great lawn. A sour lawn will shut down and absorb no nutrients, so if you find your pH balance isn’t right, apply fast acting lime all over your lawn as soon as possible. Lime is an all-natural calcium and magnesium source so there are no concerns if you have kids or pets at home.
  3. Gain control. Moss can be a tricky intruder in your lawn, so if you want to tackle it, start now. This is the perfect time to apply a moss control product, like Moss Max, as moss is actively growing when it’s cold. Take this step now vs. trying to battle moss in the heat of the summer.
  4. Take on ticks. It was a warm winter, so ticks didn’t retreat into full dormancy, meaning you may already have active ticks in your yard. The sooner you work to combat them, the less problems you’ll have throughout the rest of the year. I recommend a hose-end liquid spray you can apply to the perimeter of your property where the manicured and un-manicured portions of your lawn meet. This treatment will reduce the number of ticks coming into your yard. If you’re looking for great control choices, synthetic or organic, we offer, Bonide Flea Beater Flea & Tick Control and Eco-Smart Mosquito & Tick Control.
  5. Freshen up. There is nothing like a pop of color to brighten your home after the long, winter months. Once you’ve put in the hard work to get ready for a beautiful spring, grab a pot of cold weather hardy pansies and put them on your front porch as a primer of things to come. Pansies are a great way to reward yourself with something pretty to look at that can handle the temperatures dropping down to as low as 28 degrees.

Trust me, the work will be worth it! Putting in a little time now will save a lot of headache later.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!

stacey tips art 1In Connecticut, Ticks are no joke. By now, most of you know I love “bugs”, however, there are a few on my I Don’t Care For At All list. The number one insect on my I Don’t Care For At All list is the Tick. The Tick is technically an arachnid, not a bug. No matter, it is the Black Legged Deer Tick that is the trouble maker. Too many of us have had Lyme Disease or know someone who has been afflicted. My goal is to tell you how you can reduce and even eliminate these pests in your yard.

Don’t mess around with Ticks. Make Tick control a regular part of your spring yard work. Ticks begin hatching in the cool, spring weather. When they are young nymphs, they are tiny and hard to spot but they still carry Lyme Disease. Ticks do not love the heat so they hang out in tall grasses, weeds, woods, garden beds, and any overgrown or un-manicured part of the yard. Keep this in mind, because this fact is important when it comes to proper tick control.

Van Wilgen’s has many effective tick control products, conventional & organic, eliminators & repellents. Whether you choose to go organic or treat using the conventional method, the applications are the same.

Some great products for conventional Tick control are:

•Bonide’s Insect & Grub Control Granules

•Sevin Lawn Insect Granules

•Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer (hose-end)

•Damminix Tick Tubes

Some great products for organic tick control are:

•Eco Smart Organic Insect Killer Granules

•EcoSmart Organic Mosquito & Tick Control (hose-end)

The best type of application consists of a perimeter control treatment, where the manicured part of your yard meets the un-manicured part. I recommend applying granules for long-term control and spray with a hose-end liquid product for an immediate knockdown. The organic products help to reduce tick populations but do not provide as quick of a kill and work more as repellents. It is also important to treat in garden beds where ticks hide under flowers & shrubs. Wood piles, decks, and under garden sheds are also hot spots for ticks to hang out. Be sure to treat these areas. If you want to be very thorough, product application can be made over the entire lawn area but your most effective control will be focused along the perimeter of your property.

To enhance your perimeter tick control program, consider control over woodland creatures that carry ticks. Deer & the White Footed Mouse are big carriers of Deer Ticks. Using deer repellents will greatly reduce your deer population and in turn, reduce Tick populations in your yard. The mouse is harder to repel but using Damminix Tick Tubes will really help to reduce the Deer Tick populations in their nests. It is pretty cool. Mice steel the treated cotton balls inside of the tick tubes, bring the cotton balls back to their nest, and the ticks are killed by the product on the cotton balls. Controlling Deer Tick populations in the nests of the White Footed Mouse is an extremely clever and important part of your tick control program.

Ticks are no laughing matter. It is easy to take Tick control into your own hands with the very easy-to-use products we offer at Van Wilgen’s.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!



Ticks are no joke. Ticks are one arachnid that no one should mess around with. The diseases that they carry and transfer to humans and pets are serious. There is even a new disease caused by ticks known as Powassan. Right now there is no cure for this and the long-term effects can be devastating. The control we take over ticks needs to be serious. Don’t wait till the infestation becomes so big that you are pulling 10 or more ticks off your dog at one time. Start now. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

You can tackle tick control on your own if you follow a good DIY program. Here is what I recommend for the best tick control program in your own yard:

*Long, weedy, grassy, wet areas are breeding grounds for ticks.*

*Ticks do not like the heat. Although they are around in the summer, they are not as prolific and treatment is not as crucial. Ticks resurge at the end of summer when temperatures begin to cool off again. September or October treat

Remember, don’t delay treatment. The sooner the better. Ticks are really no joke!

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!


*Eight by Bonide

*EcoSmart Mosquito & Tick Control


*Bonide Insect & Grub Control

*EcoSmart Granular Insect Killer

*Nantucket Spider Extra Strength Tick Control