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Mowing at a proper height is essential to quality lawn treatment. Mow high, at a height of 3" or greater. Keeping the lawn cut tall encourages a deep hardy root system, maximizing its health. Taller grass shades the soil from ugly weed germination and drying out. Mow TALL to best create a lush, thick healthy lawn with a deep root system. Your lawn will be healthier for it.
Improper mowing, at too short a height, is the single biggest cause of unsatisfactory lawn service. Mowing at the right height adds to the health and appearance of your lawn, maximizing your satisfaction with your lawn. Mow too short, and your lawn will suffer. Cut too close to the roots, and you'll be unhappy with ours or anyone else's lawn service. Cut at a healthy height, and you'll enjoy a vibrant, healthy lawn, perfect for relaxing summer evenings with the family.
Mow at the highest height setting possible throughout the entire growing season. Only during the last few mowings of the season (late October and early November) is it acceptable to lower the mowing height to 1 ½.". Give your lawn the height it needs to be healthy.
It's the same with your lawn's edging. Do not "scalp" the edges of your lawn while trimming. This always leads to an infestation of crabgrass and other unsightly weeds along the edges. Use an edger that has a blade that cuts straight up and down, using the "slice and edge" approach along the borders of your lawn. If you have a string trimmer and would like to use it for edging, turn the cutting end 90 degrees from the surface being cut to slice the edge.
Remove a "narrow slice" along the edge of your lawn, rather than opening up a large gouge of soil when you do your edging. Exposing the soil along the edging only establishes a perfect seedbed for crabgrass and other ugly weeds to take hold, ruining the beauty of your lawn.
As many homeowners find, crabgrass is often the most difficult weed to control. A healthy, thick lawn is the most effective means of preventing crabgrass. Crabgrass often gets the upper hand in stressed areas, littering sidewalks, driveways and the edges of the street. This is where traffic is heaviest.
Improper mowing or edging further adds to the stress, allowing the crabgrass to develop an infestation that will choke your lawn. Monitor where crabgrass appears year after year so you can more effectively prevent and treat it.
Treatment is accomplished primarily through "pre-emergent" herbicides that kill the seeds as they germinate. Apply these controls in the Spring. The thin barrier will remain active for 8-10 weeks.
When the crabgrass dies, the problem isn't gone for good. It's only hidden deep within your soil. Certain seeds may be kept from sprouting this season, but other seeds in your soil will begin germinating next spring or even years from now. Since crabgrass is a constant threat to the health and beauty of your lawn treatment, yearly applications of pre-emergent herbicide are best.
The best way to keep out crabgrass is to do everything possible to eliminate the "thinness" and "stress" within those sunny areas of your lawn prone to crabgrass germination. Grow your lawn hearty and thick, before the crabgrass gets its chance to take over.
Mowing the lawn as tall as possible THICKENS the turf and, eliminates stress. Remember that concrete and blacktop surfaces act as heat banks, absorbing the sun's rays, releasing damaging heat into the surrounding turf and soil, damaging the bordering areas of your lawn. Heavily water areas along roadways, sidewalks and driveways to maintain the hearty vigor of the turf.
Turfgrass is a living breathing plant that contains 93% water by weight. Your lawn needs at least one inch of water per week from a combination of rain and sprinkling. When rainfall fails to meet the one inch requirement, you can determine how long to run your sprinkler by placing a tin can underneath your sprinkling pattern and time how long it takes to fill the can a depth of one inch. You can use this measurement, or fraction thereof, to deliver the desired amount each time you water.
Single, deep waterings in early summer will stimulate the growth of your lawn, allowing for more time between waterings. Water deeply versus too often.
Watering after sundown can damage your lawn, as the evening's moist environment and lack of light provide ideal conditions for the growth of lawn diseases (fungus) that can threaten your lawn treatment. It's best to water early in the morning.
Note: Never set your 'Sprinkler System' to automatically turn on. Run your system as needed and 'Soak' the lawn deeply.
You should check your sprinklers and irrigation systems regularly to make sure all lawn areas are getting an equal amount of water. The most important technique to remember is to overlap. At each new position, the spray should reach to the previous position. Overlapping ensures that all of your lawn is getting a healthy amount of water. Proper watering techniques will prevent ugly 'Dry Spots' no matter the weather.
Ever wonder what winterizer is? It's a special blend of fertilizer designed to feed your lawn important nutrients during cool and cold weather. During the late Fall, your grass isn't growing rapidly like it does during the early Fall. Because of cooler temperatures and changes in the sun's spectrum of color, your grass in the Fall slows down its rate of growth, beginning to become dormant. Your grass isn't dead. It just needs a long nap during winter. Like a bear in the winter, your grass goes into hibernation. Winterizer is the food your lawn needs to stay healthy. It maintains the crucial nutrients for next Spring. Adding winterizer to your lawn before the snow hits will build added carbohydrates, giving your lawn the sustenance it needs to develop and survive the winter and wake up fresher and earlier the next Spring.
The difference between your late season fertilizer and Winterizer is the level and balance of nutrients. Apply fertilizer in the late season to take advantage of Fall growth or thickening opportunities. This lawn treatment will still help your lawn keep its lush green, aiding to the health of its roots. As for Winterizer, the lead ingredient is potassium- an essential nutrient that your lawn needs to develop strong cell structure and hardiness for the winter and maintain its health for a bright, fresh start quickly in the Spring.
If you would like to add this beneficial product to the health and beauty of your lawn, ensuring that it will be lush and green early in the Spring when its beauty is just beginning to wake up, give our office a call today.
Moles can tear up the surface of your lawn with their tunnels. They dig through the soil of your lawn, making tunnels and forming mounds as they look for food. Moles can cause extensive damage to your lawn, ruining all you've invested into your lawn service. If not handled properly, moles can quickly colonize across your lawn, spreading their devastation through adjacent residential properties.
Trapping is the most effective method for mole control. You'll have the greatest trapping success in the spring and fall, especially after a good rain. Overwatering your lawn can bring the insects and moles closer to the ground surface, making the tunnels more visible and easy to spot. Harpoon, scissor-jaw and choker loop traps are especially effective.
A mole problem should be handled quickly. A professional critter control company can stop the problem before it gets out of hand, ruining the smooth beauty of your lawn. Call us for a referral.
Yellow jackets' sharp, lance-like stingers can sting repeatedly. Swarms can quickly overtake unsuspecting children, turning innocent summertime games into traumatic childhood memories. An infestation of yellow jackets threatens the sanctity and peace of mind you've come to expect from quality lawn service.
Yellow jackets build their nests in your home, massing large populations in the search for human food. They infest areas where people live, work and play, becoming a perpetual summer-time nuisance, especially from August through October. The freezing temperatures of November and December kill off their colonies, but the eggs are in place for next year, becoming a perpetual nuisance if not dealt with directly using a professional exterminator.
A typical yellow jacket is ½ inch long, short and blocky, with alternating black and yellow bands on the abdomen. The queen is a bit larger, about ¾ inch long. The workers can often be confused with honeybees. Yellow jackets aren't covered in tan brown dense hair and don't have the flattened, hairy hind legs that bees use to carry pollen. Yellow jackets can sting repeatedly, making them especially a threat to young children and older people. Honey bees, on the other hand, have a barbed stinger and sting only once.
If infestations aren't dealt with properly, yellow jackets can prove to be a dangerous pest, ruining outdoor activities, possibly even causing medical emergencies in the case of the young or very old.
SAFETY WARNING: Never leave open cans of soda in areas frequented by yellow jackets. This has been known to cause deadly throat stings.
This disease usually first appears when snow thaws in the spring, commonly found in lawn areas of greatest snow accumulation. The most noticeable symptoms include bleached, white crusted areas of grass, leaving the blades dead, bleached and matted together. These bleached areas can range in size from several inches to several feet in diameter.
The chief diagnostic feature of gray snow mold is grass stained with hard, dark-brown to light-brown pinhead-sized fungus bodies. These are embedded in the leaves and crowns of infected grass plants as patches of disease, threatening the health of your lawn. In most cases the fungus does not kill the grass or the roots, but it causes death to the grass blades and weakens the plant structure making your lawn susceptible to problems later in the year.
The fungus will survive in the thatch, clippings and crown area of the turf until the following winter. Under the cover of snow, these bodies germinate, growing a fungus that induces infection. Gray Snow Mold seldom occurs, except under snow cover when the soil is not frozen. Of course, this is typical in areas where snow falls on unfrozen soil and melts gradually, trickling water down the turf, feeding diseases and fungi that will litter the blades of your grass.
This disease occurs when temperatures are in the 40 to 50 F range. Pink fungus spores accumulate on the leaves of infected grass plants under snow cover. Individual grass blades may seem nearly red or sickly pink. Another diagnostic feature is the absence of the pinhead brown sclerotia, common with Gray Snow Mold. It usually attacks only the leaves. However, under conditions ideal for disease development, the fungus can kill the crowns and roots as well.
Pink Snow Mold is a much more severe disease than Gray Snow Mold, especially when cold wet weather in the fall results in the development of the disease prior to snow cover. The fungus will continue its activity from winter into spring. Under these conditions, damage to the turf is likely to be severe and long-lasting. Snow mold damaged areas are prone to later growing season disease issues, threatening your lawn's health later in the season.
Brown patch appears as irregularly shaped enlarging patches of blighted turf grass, a few inches to 2 feet in diameter. At first, it's purplish-gray, but then fades to light brown as the withered leaves of your lawn dry out and die. During periods of warm, humid weather, dark purplish rings bordering the diseased area can be seen early in the morning.
The fungus begins to be active when the average daily air temperature is 73°F. When temperatures reach 80° to 85°F, particularly in a moisture-saturated atmosphere, Brown Patch symptoms can become quite severe within hours.
The disease may even occur under conditions of low soil-moisture content, but a moisture-saturated atmosphere will cause a Brown Patch outbreak in epidemic proportions, threatening large areas of your lawn. On leaves that are already infected, the disease will have an active growth in the 80° to 85° temperature range.
Anthracnose occurs both as a foliar blight and a rot of the crown, stem base, and roots. Anthracnose typically occurs in the mid-summer, attacking the leaves and stems of most cool-season turfgrass species. Anthracnose basal rot can occur during the spring, summer, and fall, developing in the crowns, stem bases and roots.
Anthracnose appears in irregular yellow or bronze patches of diseased turf. Symptoms on individual plants first appear as yellow or red lesions on the oldest leaves, and then progress to blight the younger leaves and shoots. These lesions can enlarge and merge to kill the entire leaf blade. The fungi commonly infect grass blades from the tip down, especially infecting grass that has been freshly mowed. During cool, wet periods- or during hot weather on closely cut lawns- water-soaked lesions will rot the stems. The lesions will become bleached, girdling the tiller, scattering individual or small patches of plants to turn yellow and die. This can especially occur during warm to hot weather, especially on dry soil when the turf and atmosphere are wet or very humid.
Powdery mildews generally present more serious problems to cereals and forage grasses than turf grass. At times, however, powdery mildew can damage your turfs density and aesthetic beauty, especially on shaded areas of susceptible Merion Kentucky bluegrass.
The disease appears first as small, superficial patches of ugly white to gray-white fungus growth on the leaves and sheaths. The growth occurs mainly on the upper surface of the leaf, but it may eventually engulf the entire leaf. Once the fungus penetrates your grass, a yellow lesion develops, later turning tan or brown as the vitality of your lawn is killed. In advance stages, older, lower leaves are often completely covered by mildew. In severely infected areas, the turf is a dull, pale white, as if dusted with lime.
Powdery mildew prefers cool, humid, cloudy weather, with temperatures about 65 F. The mildew occurs in severe form during the late fall and early spring.
Dollar Spot is a common disease deriving its name from the size and shape the infection that centers on short-cut bent grass. On longer-cut turf grass, infected centers of completely killed turf grass may be several inches in diameter.
Viewed from a distance, Dollar Spot resembles various other turf problems, especially on higher-cut grass species. Closer inspection, however, reveals the characteristic hourglass symptoms on the individual blades of grass. Regardless of grass variety or species, the disease is first evident as yellow or yellow-green blotches. These will soon appear water-soaked, and within 24 hours the blotches will bleach to a light-tan or straw color. In the early morning, a white cobwebby growth of fungal thread is often visible in the infected center. Overall, the most reliable symptom for diagnosis includes the presence of constricted straw-colored areas with reddish-brown margins on the leaf blade.
Avoid mowing wet turfgrass, which only spreads the fungus pathogen, creating extensive damage by smearing spores throughout your lawn and opening its vascular system to further disease that can damage the health of your lawn.
Avoid watering in the evening or at night.
Red Thread can cause severe damage to any lawns cultivated in the cooler, humid regions. Its chief characteristic is a pink colored fungus tissue that adheres to the surface of the shoots and leaves of the grasses. In wet weather, these fungus outgrowths are very conspicuous, stretching from leaf to leaf, binding the parts of the plant together.
In early stages, infected tissues are water soaked, but later they become dry and lose their color. The patches of blighted grass range in diameter from two inches to three feet, often appearing ragged due to the fairly high population of unaffected leaves.
Field diagnosis of red thread is easiest when the disease is in its final stages of development. The ends of the leaves will have fine bright coral thread-like fungus structures, damaging the health of your lawn.
Myths and superstitions about the origins of fairy rings have persisted for centuries. In Holland, the rings mark places where the devil churns his butter. In France, entrance into a fairy ring might mean an encounter with a giant toad. In England, building a house on land scattered with fairy rings was considered a good omen.
But despite their charming mythology, they will litter your lawn. Many soil-inhabiting fungi can cause fairy rings. Although the rings vary in size and shape, they are usually distinct circles or semi-circles of turf grass that are darker green and faster growing than the surrounding grass. These stimulated grass bands may range from 4 to 12 inches wide, with a diameter of 3 to 200 feet. Characteristically, mushrooms or toadstools can appear in the rings in later summer during periods of high soil moisture.
Fairy rings are classified in three main types. Some fairy rings are detected only by the presence of the ring of mushrooms or puffballs. Another type of ring exists where the grass is stimulated by the release of methane gas created by the decomposition of organic matter within the soil. The most devastating type of fairy rings kill the turf, leaving a circle of expose soil with stimulated grass sprouting on the inside and outside margins.
Orange colorations indicate rust fungus, and they can affect the stems, leaves, and crowns of your lawn. Low temperatures will arrest its development. Spread and infection is slight during late spring and early summer when your grass is growing rapidly. But symptoms become more evident in the late fall when the growth of your lawn is slower. The ultimate environment for stem rust is 8 to 16 hours a day of high light intensity with air temperatures of 85° to 95°F.
Stem Rust occurs when Kentucky bluegrass is grown. The cultivar Merion is extremely susceptible.
Leaf Rust is widespread, generally found throughout the summer. It's usually of minor importance. In heavily infected years, the leaf blades are distinctly yellowed.
Crown Rust is a common disease of Italian ryegrass, perennial ryegrass and fall fescue. The bright yellow fungus is often found wherever those turf varieties are grown.
Rust can become a major nuisance turning 'Everything Orange'. Rust can be reduced by core aeration and overseeding more resistant grass types or by use of a fungicide.
This fungus was initially reported as a disease of sorghum, but has since been found to also cause a problem on bent grasses.
On the leaves of turf grass plants, the disease first appears as small reddish lesions, which soon enlarge and becomes dark red. Blighting of the entire leaf soon results as these lesions merge.
The disease, seen from a distance, first appears as a copper-colored patch, 1 to 3 inches in diameter. Intensity of this coloration increases during wet weather, due to the pink spore masses which are produced. Cooper spot is often confused with dollar spot; the latter has a bleached, straw-colored appearance. Both diseases may occur simultaneously in the same stand of turf grass.
Cooper spot is primarily a warm, wet, weather disease; active growth begins when temperatures reach the 70 to 75 range. The fungus spores are spread by splashing water, germinate rapidly, and cause new leaf lesions to appear within a relatively short period of time.
The smut diseases of turf grass are fungi which affect leaves, stems and seed heads. Those attacking vegetative portions of the plant can be very destructive, resulting in the shredding and death of the plants. Where turf grasses are grown for seed production, outbreaks of smut in the floral tissues can cause considerable decrease in yields.
Infected turf grass usually grows slowly and appears stunted. Long yellow-green streaks develop on the leaves of the affected plants. The streaks become gray. Later, black dusty spore masses form stripes that sometimes extend the entire length of the leaf and into the sheath. The leaves die from the tip downward. Distinct browning often occurs during hot dry weather as the leaves become shredded.
Extended periods in the 50 to 60 F. range are most conducive to stripe smut development. Plants grown at 90 F for prolonged periods usually do not show symptoms. The disease is more severe on older turf areas than in newly seeded or seedling areas, and is more prevalent in varieties that tiller profusely. Stripe smut is most severe during cool dry springs when the fungus can keep pace with grass growth.
Leaf spots are circular to elongate, straw-colored, and surrounded by reddish-brown borders. During long periods of wet weather, many of the spots may be surrounded by a margin of water-soaked tissue.
Severe infection often causes the leaves to wither. A diseased stand of bent grass may give a drought- injured appearance, even though soil moisture is adequate.
Red Leaf Spot is a warm, wet weather disease, usually first seen in late May or early June and reaching it speak in late July and August. The leaf blighting and "droughtstricken" phase of the disease usually occurs during this period, particularly after longs periods of wet weather.
On bent grass, the disease is first seen as smoky-blue, irregularly shaped turf areas, varying from 1 to 4 feet in diameter. Soon after, the grass plants yellow and die. Finally, these areas appear water-soaked and matted down. This disease may appear in the spring on home lawns as well as on bent grass greens and fairways.
On the leaves, the first symptoms are minute yellow flecks, which soon progress to irregularly shaped, water-soaked blotches.
Pythium blight is among the most destructive of the turf grass diseases, capable of completely destroying established stands within 24 hours after the onset of favorable environmental conditions. More than 148 species are susceptible to this blight, including annual bluegrass, Bermuda grass, colonial bent grass, creeping bent grass, Kentucky bluegrass, rough bluegrass, Italian ryegrass, perennial ryegrass, velvet bent grass, tall fescue, red fescue and red top.
Lesions on individual leaves are water-soaked-green or straw color with no distinct margin separating diseased from healthy tissue. The infected area of turf appears as a circular spot varying from less than one inch to several inches in diameter. In the early morning, the infected plants seem water soaked with a cottony growth on matted leaves. With the onset of lower relative humidity, the growth disappears and the grass blades shrivel and die.
The fungus becomes destructive with an abundance of moisture and warm temperatures (85 F and higher), although infection can occur with temperatures as low as 68 F. Disease development is greater at highly unbalanced nitrogen levels, and in calcium-deficient soils.
Although it may seem odd to find a discussion of mosses included with turf grass diseases, it is true that mosses can be a turf problem and they do spread by means of spores. Thus, there is logic to this placement. Mosses are plants that are usually only a few inches tall, but may reach a height of two feet. Most of them possess leaves and stems, although some are scale-like and result only in flat growth on rocks or trees. Unlike the fungi, all mosses contain chlorophyll and produce their own food through photosynthesis. There are three general types of mosses: the true mosses (Musci), the liverworts (Hepaticae) and the hornworts (Anthocertae).
The liverworts were so-named because they were believed to be beneficial for liver malfunctions. However, the liverworts have no known medicinal value and no mosses have any such value. As a matter of fact, there are probably very few groups of plants that have a lower economic value than the mosses. Only the sphagnum peat mosses show any significant worth. Although mosses grow in nearly every kind of agronomic circumstance, most of the time that they constitute a problem in turf they are found in moist, heavily shaded situations. Furthermore, any additional pressure that makes it difficult for grass to be the major species encourages takeover by moss. Moist, shaded areas or areas with poor air circulation are where moss will be found to thrive. Eliminate the moss, open up the area for air movement and thicken the turf to help mitigate a moss issue.
It is usually very difficult to get turf established in areas that have been infested with moss. This is due to the fact that the environmental conditions are more favorable to moss than to turf.
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