Suffolk County Landscaping & Lawn Maintenance
B & B Maintenance Services, Inc.

A Suffolk County Landscaping & Lawn Care Maintenance Company. Office: (631) 567-0631 Cell: (631) 335-4056

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Below is a list of helpful tips to improve your landscape setting, along with new legislation and news reguarding the 'Green Industry'.

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Clover

Posted by B & B Maintenance on April 1, 2009 at 4:55 PM
Clover is a reseeding, cool season annual plant. It is a member of the legume family, meaning that the plant can convert atmospheric Nitrogen to a form that the plant can take up and use for growth. It thrives in soils with low fertility and can compete with the grasses that were selected for low fertility growing conditions (Centipede and Fescue). The clover usually dies off as soon as summer heat sets in, but it will return as soon as temperatures remain cool enough for it to grow.

Regular mowing prevents the clover from setting flowers and producing more seed. Reasonable fertilizer application improves soil fertility and promotes a dense turf. A timely application of a preemergent herbicide in late fall prevents the weed seeds from generating new clover plants. Adopt a program that promotes the development of the grass, and the clover will gradually cease to be a problem. Acute infestations of clover can be treated with a broadleaf herbicide. Always read and follow label directions.

Letting The Soil Breathe

Posted by B & B Maintenance on April 1, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Aeration punches holes through the thatch layer and removes small plugs of soil. This increases the surface area of the lawn, and promotes exchange of gases with the atmosphere. This in turn promotes the population of aerobic microbes in the soil, who need oxygen as they break down organic material in the soil.

April is National Lawn Care Month

Posted by B & B Maintenance on March 27, 2009 at 8:58 PM

As spring arrives, 30 million acres of turf across the nation is turning green and growing.PLANET observes the importance of lawns and their aesthetic and environmental benefits during National Lawn Care Month each April.

  • Well-cared-for lawns can significantly increase your clients property values. A healthy lawn is of utmost importance to our environment. A 50-foot by 50-foot lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four. Lawns cool the atmosphere. Eight healthy front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning, which is enough for 16 average homes. Grass converts carbon dioxide to oxygen, a process that helps clear the air.

  • Dense, healthy grass slows water runoff, removing contaminants and trapping soil. Fresh, filtered water returns to the underground water supply.

Tips on Choosing a Lawn Care Service

Posted by B & B Maintenance on March 27, 2009 at 6:43 PM

U.S. homeowners are turning to green industry professionals in record numbers, spending $11.6 billion on their lawns in 2003, up 12 percent from 2002, according to a national Harris Survey. These same homeowners projected that they’d spend even more on their lawns in 2004. (Green industry services include lawn care, landscape design/construction/installation, landscape management, and tree care.) “These are impressive numbers, and year after year, lawn care and landscape maintenance continue to be the top services hired by homeowners,” says Tom Delaney, director of government affairs for the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). “Homeowners benefit from the economic and environmental benefits of turf and save time by hiring a lawn or landscape service. When you factor in that a well-maintained property can add up to15 percent to a home’s value, you quickly realize that hiring a service is a sound investment.” In addition to fertilizing and maintenance, a professional can tackle the more difficult aspects of lawn care, such as identifying and controlling lawn problems, using the proper equipment, and choosing the right products for your lawn. Hiring the right service takes a little effort, but the rewards of a thick, healthy lawn are substantial. PLANET offers these tips to help you select a professional service:


1. Determine what you want from a lawn service. Lawn care companies provide a range of services, including mowing, maintenance, aeration, seeding, landscaping, fertilizer and pest-control applications, and care of ornamental and small trees. Decide what services and products are appropriate for your needs and budget.


2. Find out which companies provide service in your neighborhood. Before looking in the Yellow Pages or answering an ad, ask your neighbors who use a lawn care company for a recommendation. It's a great way to determine a company’s reputation and the quality of service it provides.


3. Ask for a lawn inspection and a free estimate for service. Companies that quote a price without seeing your lawn are only guessing what your lawn might need. Quality companies will only offer estimates after seeing exactly what they are going to be working with.


4. Ask about the price system and what services are included. Prices are based on a property’s total square footage, minus the house, drive, and any other area that is not in turfgrass. The average cost is $6 – $8 per thousand square feet, depending on the market and lawn complexity. A service provider may offer a yearly contract, seasonal contracts, or be available on an on-call basis. Decide which level of flexibility best suits you. Also, clarify what happens if you have a problem between scheduled visits. Is there an added charge for service calls? However, don’t use price as the major deciding factor — customer service, satisfaction, and results are all very important considerations.


5. Consider annual costs as well as the cost per application. Generally, lawn care companies allow you to pay after each visit or bill on a monthly basis. Having a yearly plan for services, however, is important to estimate when and how much you will be paying for lawn care. If you are signing an extended contract with a company, ask if there is a discount for paying the annual cost upfront.


6. Make sure you have a complete understanding of what “results” mean with the company before work starts. Get an explanation of what the service can and can’t do. You do not want to find out well into a contract that you have a different concept of the definition of results than your provider does. Find out what kind and amount of visits/services are included in the proposed program, approximately when visits will occur, and what results you can expect. Clarify how scheduling for visits occurs. Ask questions and get a statement of services in writing.


7. Find out what is, and is not, guaranteed. Some services may offer a performance guarantee. Others may offer refunds if they fail to meet your expectations. Guarantees are usually limited to service providers returning to correct problems if the customer is a full-service customer. Get guarantees in writing.


8. Make sure that the lawn care service is licensed. Every state has licensing requirements for commercial lawn care companies treating your property. Call your state’s Department of Agriculture or Environment or visit their Web site for details on what your state requires. Insist on proof of state-required licensing from the company you are interviewing;


9. Insurance and certification. Every state is different, but lawn care providers usually are required to carry a state-mandated level of liability insurance and appropriate workers’ compensation coverage. Most states require some level of certification through its regulatory agency. Confirm this upfront when you request a service estimate.


10. Safety factors. Almost all lawn care products must be registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and your state. After a product has been applied, some states require posting a sign that recommends avoiding contact with the turf until the product is dry. Whether posting is required or not, it is a suggested practice to follow.


11. Professional membership. Be sure the company is affiliated with one or more professional green industry associations and is active in the community. Professional organizations keep members informed of new developments in pest-control methods, safety, training, research, and regulation. Most associations have a code of ethics that their members must follow and affiliation with a professional group indicates that a company strives for quality in its work. Ask whether the company belongs to PLANET. Better yet, ask if its staff has is PLANET Certified. PLANET certification ensures that they have the knowledge, techniques, and commitment to quality to expertly deliver the services you need.


12. If you want further information on the company's service record, contact your local Better Business Bureau (BBB). Your regional BBB often has information on companies in your area. Go to bbb.com to find out information on specific companies. The lawn care service you select will become your partner in maintaining a beautiful, healthy lawn. In addition to providing specific services, it will be able to advise you on proper mowing and irrigation techniques, becoming your partner in getting greater enjoyment from your home and increasing property value. You will create a personalized resource to turn to with concerns or questions about your lawn.


All information provided by:


PLANET- Professional Landcare Network

*NEW* Suffolk County Fertilizer Nitrogen Pollution Reduction Policy

Posted by B & B Maintenance on March 26, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Seeking to minimize the environmental damage from nitrogen fertilizers, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced three upcoming free training courses for professional landscapers who apply fertilizers.

""Fertilizers account for 56 percent of nitrogen pollution emanating from residential properties," said Levy. "It is a more cost-effective approach to prevent nitrogen pollution at the source, rather than spending millions to remediate our waterways after the fact."

The multi-pronged Fertilizer Nitrogen Pollution Reduction Policy, developed with leading environmental advocates on Long Island, was signed into law by Levy last year. The law includes:

  • A countywide ban on application of all fertilizers between November 1 and April 1; a period where the ground is likely to be too cold to absorb nutrients, resulting in increased leaching of nitrogen into the groundwater and surface waters;

  • A ban on use of all fertilizer on all county properties, with the exception of golf courses, athletic fields, the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank, and where establishing new turf along public works projects;

  • Codifying the county?s Organic Parks Maintenance Plan, which will use the minimum amounts of slow-released fertilizers needed and limit fertilizer application rates to 3 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. over a golf course;

  • Use of Best Management Practices, as developed by the Suffolk County Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Program adopted by the County Legislature for nutrient management at the Suffolk County Farm;

  • Expansion of existing educational campaigns for consumers and retailers, such as those sponsored by the Homestead A-Syst Task Force, to promote low-maintenance lawn care and landscaping, modification of fertilizer application rates and greater use of slow-release formulas. The expanded program will include an interactive website for homeowners to determine the amounts of fertilizer needed.

  • Requirement that all licensed landscapers take an approved turf management course before renewing their license. County officials estimate there are about 1,200 landscapers licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs under a home improvement license.

  • Requirement that retail establishments post signs to advise consumers about the risks of nitrogen-based fertilizers and assist them in choosing fertilizers that pose the least harm to the environment. Retailers must also make brochures available about the proper use and application of fertilizer products.

For more information reguarding this new policy effective April 1, 2009 visit:

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy Signs Comprehensive Fertilizer Reduction Plan

Suffolk Announces Three Free Fertilizer/Turf Management Courses for Landscapers


Don�t Add Lime Without a Soil Analysis!

Posted by B & B Maintenance on March 22, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Many lawn care tip sheets tell you to add lime once a year. If your grass is actively growing and responding to fertilizer applications, you don´t need to add anything at all. Lime raises soil pH. In some soil conditions, raising pH can cause Iron deficiency problems. With some types of grass, adding lime to your lawn can serious damage or even kill it. Unless you have had your soil analyzed and the results recommend the addition of lime, don´t do it.

Letting The Soil Breath

Posted by B & B Maintenance on March 22, 2009 at 7:37 PM

Aeration punches holes through the thatch layer and removes small plugs of soil. This increases the surface area of the lawn, and promotes exchange of gases with the atmosphere. This in turn promotes the population of aerobic microbes in the soil, who need oxygen as they break down organic material in the soil.

New Seed Lawn - Fall or Spring?

Posted by B & B Maintenance on March 20, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Plant cool season grasses, such as fescue, rye and bluegrass, in the fall. You can plant these in the spring, but the young plants will be ill-suited to deal with the harsh, hot weather of summer. You´ll lose a significant portion of your new grass to heat and drought stress. You´ll be right back out there in fall, overseeding again and wondering why you went through all that trouble.

Plant warm season grasses, like St. Augustine, Bermuda, Centipede and Zoysia, in spring. You can plant these in the fall, but they will not have had enough time to develop a good enough root system to allow survival against a frost.

Plant the right grass at the right time, and you´ll save money and headaches.

Getting Your Soil Analyzed

Posted by B & B Maintenance on March 7, 2009 at 11:23 PM

One of the most important steps in establishing and caring for a lawn is finding out what the soil conditions are. If your soil is low in vital nutrients or has a chemical imbalance, your grass will not perform up to your expectations. Having the soil analyzed is easy. Just give us a call and we will help in correcting any problems detected in the analysis.

An Ounce of Prevention...

Posted by B & B Maintenance on March 3, 2009 at 12:32 PM
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the old saw goes. Preventing weeds means developing a dense mat of healthy turf. Promoting that thick, green, weed-free carpet is really easy--all you have to do is make sure the lawn is watered, mowed and fertilized properly. Have the soil analyzed at least once every three years, and head off chemical and nutrient problems before they show up in sparse turf.

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