March-April 2013 | BE IN GROUND CONTROL




PGMS founder Bob Novelli has some tips for those who really care about their lawn

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: Portrait by Grant L. Gursky

Some people look out over the Eastern Shore landscape and see a rolling sea of green. Not Bob Novelli. Instead, what the founder-president of PGMS, Inc. sees is more like red. That’s because after 40-plus years’ experience in the art and science of agronomy, his expert eyes pick up with laser precision all the things that are being done wrong, or not being done at all, when it comes to our precious Eastern Shore real estate. And all too often, that includes the “professionals.”

“Unfortunately, this industry is crammed with so-called professionals who are either motivated by the green they want to see in their pockets instead of on your lawn,” said Novelli, “or they’re just inept. Often, it’s both. I believe in the two Ps of business: passion and professionalism. I just wish more in this industry felt the same way.”

Novelli established PGMS in 1978, and over the years he’s exceeded the expectations of such high-profile clients as Hewlett-Packard, Giant Food Stores, Atlantic General Hospital and Taylor Bank. He’s also served as golf course superintendent at the prestigious Chartwell Country Club, Annapolis Golf Club and the Century XXI Country Club. 

Novelli shared some insider tips so that you can enhance the exterior beauty of your residence this year without getting, ahem, “clipped.”

Sharp Mowing Blades. A dull and overused mowing blade tears and shreds the tips of the turf instead of making a clean cut, because of the stress on the damaged turf. Ever notice that after mowing, some lawns have a whitish color to it? That’s due to dull and worn-out blades. It’s best to sharpen the blade at the beginning of the season and, if possible, again at midseason.
Mulching. Many homeowners add mulch to their planting beds year after year, which is actually not a good practice. Once plants are established, adding more mulch is primarily for aesthetic reasons, but over-mulching causes layering effects and possible plant damage, root rot, surface roots, fungus and much more. Mulch should be worked up and removed every third year and then be re-mulched at approximately 2 inches in depth.
Lawn Care. Homeowners purchase a variety of lawn-care products for their turf without really knowing what the turf actually needs. The result is over-application, which causes more damage to the turf. Soil samples taken by a professional lawn-care company give a complete analysis of your lawn and can save the homeowner several hundreds of dollars during the season. Once the soil samples reveal the exact condition of your lawn, it can then be treated for the necessary issues rather than having unnecessary and redundant applications heaped on just because some lawn-care company needs to make its quota. 
Irrigation. Many homeowners irrigate their turf manually or with automatic irrigation at the wrong time of the day. Early morning (4–8 a.m.) is prime-time when it comes to watering. During extreme heat and humidity, late afternoon or late evening is NOT the time to irrigate, as these are the times when various diseases and fungi thrive. Re-set your physical, manual or automatic systems to early-morning watering.

Editor’s note: PGMS, Inc. is a fully insured, full-service lawn-care and maintenance company certified and licensed by the Maryland and Delaware Departments of Agriculture. They also specialize in low-voltage landscape lighting, irrigation installation and service, landscape design and installation, water-feature installation and service, tree-and-shrub programs and much more.

PGMS, Inc.

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