Posted by & filed under Lawn Care.

I set out to write an inspiring blog today about the origins of Labor Day.  After researching the start of Labor Day, I learned it was not all that inspiring.  It is a holiday born out of strikes, clashes and even deaths in the late 1800’s.  Many of the traditions associated with Labor Day came to be out of finally recognizing the efforts of the working man, who at that time earned low wages and averaged as many as seven 12-hour workdays each week while working in less than ideal conditions.

In many ways, the conversations that took place back then are the same conversations that take place now.  We still have national discussions on work hours, pay, and overall working conditions.  Regardless of your point of view though, I think we can all agree that without hardworking Americans, our country would not be the great place it is today.

Here at LawnAmerica, we strive to provide the highest pay possible for our staff, which averages anywhere from 20-40% higher than other lawn care companies.  We also strive to provide a great place to come to work, great benefits, the best equipment, and opportunities to grow.

However, this post is not about LawnAmerica the business – it’s about the 68 people that make up LawnAmerica.

Our Route Managers and Technicians spend the year walking 10 miles or more each day while pulling a hose or pushing a spreader.  Sometimes those miles are covered during 100 degree days while others are in the cold of winter.  There are cloudy days and windy days and days where the storms sneak up on you.  There are 50 pound bags of fertilizer to carry around.  There are sore muscles and the ever persistent pollen allergies.  There are hundreds of phone calls to make each year in addition to knowing about weeds, insects, and fertilizers.

Our office staff may not be subject to the same temperature extremes, but their jobs are equally as challenging.  First of all, they have the task of keeping 50 Route Managers and Technicians (who are in their 20’s and 30’s) in line, which can be a full-time job of its own.  But in addition to that, they talk to thousands of customers each year – helping to measure properties, set up services, take payments, and solve problems.  They manage countless reports helping us not miss services and to make sure that we stay on time.  Without them, we would never get anything done!

Our people have always been what makes LawnAmerica great.

To the men and women that make up LawnAmerica; we love and appreciate you!

Happy Labor Day

 

P.S. – We will be closed Monday, September 4th in observation of the Labor Day holiday.

Posted by & filed under aphids, crape myrtles.

Written by Evie Baltzer, LawnAmerica Horticulturist

Aphids are a big problem for Crape Myrtles every year and this year is no different. If you have a Crape Myrtle with wet, sticky leaves and tiny white to greenish yellow bugs all over the underside, then you probably have aphids. In this region, aphids primarily affect Crape Myrtles, but have been known to affect Rose of Sharon as well as Roses from time to time.

Aphids are tiny insects that feed on the sap of a plant, and if severely infested, can make it decline in health and keep it from blooming. More severe infestations will actually damage the plant enough that it will not be able to survive a harsh winter. Therefore, it’s important to take care of your aphid problems before they become substantial. The easiest solution is to prevent them.

Preventing aphids is fairly easy. At LawnAmerica, we prevent aphids by performing two applications: one in the spring and one in the summer – using a systemic insecticide that provides excellent results. However, if you missed the first preventative application, we can still treat aphid problems with the same insecticide.

If you prefer a do it yourself approach, Merit Insecticide (active ingredient: Imidacloprid) is readily available at most big-box stores and garden centers. Just remember to read the directions for treating aphids specifically.

Lady bugs are also a common predator of aphids. So if you’re interested in going the more natural route, lady bugs should be in your arsenal – as well as insecticidal soap.

If you are unsure whether or not you have aphids, or for any other landscape related issues that may need attention, give us a call. We’re always happy to help.

Posted by & filed under overseed.

The drive into the office took a bit longer this morning.  School buses took their rightful place in the morning traffic, picking kids up and dropping them off for the start of another school year.  This familiar sight is just another reminder that summer is winding down and fall is right around the corner.

With the impending change in seasons on the horizon, it is time to start planning to overseed your Fescue lawn.  Unlike warm season grasses such as Bermudagrass or Zoysiagrass, which spread on their own, Fescue requires overseeding to maintain thickness and density.

Fescue is a cool-season, clump type turfgrass, which performs best in cooler climates. But it can be used in the transition zone for shaded areas, where warm season grasses do not perform well.  Being a clump type turfgrass means that it does not develop its density from underground rhizomes or stolons on the surface.  Instead, it has to be seeded every year to help repair any damage from drought, disease, insects or heavy traffic.  Re-seeding, or overseeding, introduces new plants into the grass, which as they grow and mature, will develop into a thick, healthy lawn.

Fall is the ideal time for Fescue seeding.  Seeds planted in September and October have time to sprout and develop a strong root system before winter sets in, which is critical to a healthy plant.

Over the coming weeks, your Route Manager will be leaving behind information for Fescue seeding. Our seeding operation consists of using a top-quality blend of Fescue seed, with zero weed seed.  We aerate the soil, rake the bare areas, apply a starter fertilizer, and leave behind detailed watering instructions.  We also return in about three weeks after the overseeding to check for any thin areas and apply extra seed if necessary.

Call LawnAmerica today to make sure you reserve your spot on our schedule.  It does fill up quickly.

Also, look out for those school buses and school zones!

Posted by & filed under fertilizer, herbicide.

Recently, my wife and I spent a good portion of the summer in the beautiful mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado. I couldn’t help but notice how green and lush the bluegrass was while enjoying one of the outdoor concerts in the area. Kids were happily playing in the grass, others laying on it, and I even caught a glimpse of a woman running her hands over the soft blades of grass as though she were petting a dog.

I wondered if the experience would have been as pleasant if the park was not allowed to use fertilizers and herbicides to achieve such a thick, inviting lawn.

The word “herbicides” can have a negative connotation in some parts of the country. The perception is that herbicides are harmful, or really not needed to get a beautiful lawn. In fact, some municipalities have passed ordinances prohibiting the use of pesticides on lawns and in landscapes.

But when it comes to grass, people want it green and weed free and that can only happen with the use of herbicides.

Some might object, going along with the opinion or belief of the day. But if you do the research, while there are some risks to using herbicides, they’re minimal if used properly. The benefits include a beautiful, thick lawn everyone enjoys when they’re running barefoot on it. When push comes to shove, most customers tell us to use whatever is necessary to make the lawn look great – trusting us to do the right thing.

So, whether it’s a park, sports venue, golf course or backyard, fertilizers and herbicides are necessary tools to help produce the healthy, green, beautiful lawn Americans love. Professionals, such as LawnAmerica, know how to use these tools properly, doing what we do with pride.

As for the city that banned pesticides? Recently, an upper court judge ruled that the local ban was not valid, since there are already state and federal rules in place to properly regulate the use of herbicides and pesticides.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

We’ve seen a huge influx of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale this year and it’s becoming a big problem and you may want to know what it is and how it can be treated.

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale is a fairly new insect problem in our area that’s just developed specifically on Crape Myrtles in the past few years after coming up from Texas. This particular type of scale looks like a small white waxy lump and will always be located somewhere on the branch of the Crape Myrtle. Scale is an insect that feeds on the plant, and over time can kill it.

There are things that can be done to treat and prevent Crape Myrtle Bark Scale. At LawnAmerica, we use a very effective product. It’s a systemic insecticide that is absorbed through the leaves, stems and roots. The best time to treat for scale is in February/ March when scale is just coming out of dormancy and is most susceptible to insecticides. However, LawnAmerica can treat for scale at anytime of the year and it will produce fairly good results. Prevention of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale can, in most cases, be achieved by spraying them in February with Safari systemic insecticide and Dormant Oil, and then following  up with a second spray in April/Early May.

If you are trying to treat scale yourself, aim for treating in February with a mix of Imidacloprid systemic insecticide and Dormant Oil.  You will want to treat again in April. If the Crape Myrtles aren’t too tall, you can remove a good bit of scale by using a brush and a light soapy water solution.  Keep in mind the treatments you can buy in stores is not as effective as professional treatments in scale treatment, but will definitely keep the scale at a manageable level and should keep your Crape Myrtles healthy.

If your Crape Myrtles aren’t looking their best, the professionals at LawnAmerica can help. Give us a call for more information or to schedule treatment.

Summer Lawn Tips

Posted by & filed under summer lawn care tips.

The sun is intense this time of year. We find ourselves slathering on sunscreen and grabbing extra water, but what about your lawn? With the scorching temperatures we’ve been seeing, your lawn may need some extra care. The experts at LawnAmerica want to help ensure that your lawn looks its best during these hot summer days with these hot summer lawn care tips.

Tip #1: Ensure you are watering enough

It’s recommended that you water your lawn with one and a half inches of water per week. Longer watering, spaced a few days apart is also recommended compared to shorter more frequent cycles.

Short watering causes the roots to stay in the upper few inches of soil. These upper inches tend to be the first areas to dry out and cause the plant to show signs of stress.  Less frequent, longer water cycles tend to encourage root growth to go deeper into the soil where moisture is more readily available.

You can measure the amount of water your lawn is getting by placing empty tuna cans around your yard. Most tuna cans are roughly a half inch in height, so if you fill up the cans three times per week, your lawn should be getting sufficient water.

Tip #2: Water your lawn at the correct time

The best time to water is in the morning between 4 AM – 7 AM. At that time, it’s cooler and there is less wind, allowing the moisture to be absorbed before evaporating. It also allows the lawn time to dry as the morning progresses.

Lawns that are watered at night will stay damp and are more susceptible to fungal diseases. While afternoon watering increases the amount of moisture lost due to evaporation and rather than “cooling” the turf, it amplifies the heat and humidity.

Tip #3: Adjust your mower height  

Cool season turf, such as Fescue, needs to be mowed at the tallest possible setting. Warm season turf like Bermuda grass can generally handle being mowed at a lower level compared to Fescue.

No more than 1/3 of the grass blade should be removed at one time. For example, if your grass is 3 inches tall, cut no more than 1 inch off each time. Doing so will remove a lot of the dark green color, but will also add unnecessary stress to the plant.

Ideally, mowing cycles would be based on the 1/3 rule, not the “I cut my grass every Saturday” rule.

Tip #4: Don’t panic if your lawn turns brown

If you can’t water and your lawn starts to turn brown, don’t be overly concerned. Heat stressed Bermuda grass will go dormant and turn brown, much like it does in the winter. It isn’t dead, but it is conserving energy. Once the stress of the heat is gone, or moisture improves, color returns and recovers nicely.

Fescue on the other hand, won’t go dormant but will stop growing and tend to turn brown. Depending on the length of the heat and lack of moisture, it may recover, but most likely will require supplemental seeding in the fall to help re-establish anything that doesn’t recover.

Summer lawn care is essential in these hot temperatures. Contact LawnAmerica to help keep your lawn looking its best this summer!

Posted by & filed under post-emergent, pre-emergent, Spurge, Weed-control.

SpurgeWith hot and dry weather that we encounter in July and August in Carolina, a common summer broadleaf weed named Spurge can invade lawns and beds. It can not only grow in lawns, particularly well along the edge bordering the street, but in landscape beds as well, small cracks in driveways, etc. It does not take much soil for Spurge to germinate in and grow, with its’ deep taproot sinking down wherever it can find a place to grow. It is well adapted to hot, dry, Carolina summers with thick fleshy leaves holding the water in the plant well. From one taproot, spurge can spread out like a mat into the lawn or shrub bed. The good news is that it can easily be pulled up. And because our broadleaf herbicides are not as effective when temperatures are over 90 degrees, this is really the best way to eradicate it.

Spurge is one of those broadleaf weeds which the early spring pre-emergent does not control very well. It will help some, but spurge is just going to germinate during the summer. Our Bed Weed-Control Program, with special pre-emergents applied in early spring, will actually control spurge better than our lawn pre-emergent, Barricade. So with this troublesome summer weed, you’ll have to go “old school” some and hand pick the weeds in most cases.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Each year we find ourselves enjoying the great outdoors, yet somehow ticks and mosquitoes find a way to get back to us. Both insects carry a number of diseases that can put anyone at risk from Lyme Disease to West Nile Virus. LawnAmerica wants to help protect you and your family by sharing 3 ways to keep ticks and mosquitoes away.

Protect your Landscape: Both mosquitoes and ticks prefer areas with tall grass and a lot of shade. Mowing your lawn and keeping tall or overgrown weeds low helps deter ticks and mosquitos from hanging around.

We get it, everyone has a life and sometimes you just don’t have time to treat and protect your landscape from mosquitos. LawnAmerica’s Buzz Off! Mosquito Control program helps protect your lawn and landscape so you have more time to spend outdoors without worrying about the nuisance of mosquitoes.

Insect Repellent: The CDC recommends repellents containing products such as DEET. This product is effective at keeping both ticks, mosquitos, and other insects away. Remember, always follow instructions carefully before applying.

Other natural repellents are also available online or at local health food stores, but may not be effective against ticks or other bugs.

Clothing: Covering and minimizing exposed skin in loose, light-colored clothing is a great way to prevent both mosquito and tick bites. This may be uncomfortable to do in the summer heat, but it will help keep ticks and mosquitos away from your skin.

Mosquitoes are attracted to dark areas, so wear the opposite color—either white or neutral shades. By wearing light colored clothing, you’ll also have an easier time identifying if a tick is on you before it’s too late.

Although mosquito and tick encounters are impossible to prevent, taking preventative measures like wearing the right clothing, applying insect repellent and keeping your landscape clean can help protect you and your family all season.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Every year families across the country gather together to watch fireworks light up the night sky in honor of our nation’s birth. North Carolina has an incredible fireworks selection throughout the state, complimented by fun family festivities to enjoy before the show. LawnAmerica has picked out some of the best places to go and celebrate Independence Day!

 

Bryson City Freedom Fest

When: July 4, 2017

Where: Downtown Bryson City, NC

Start celebrating Independence Day with a 5k run in downtown Bryson City at Freedom Fest. Afterwards, enjoy live music, food, crafts and a watermelon eating contest. The best fireworks show in the Smokies starts at 10PM.

 

July 4th Freedom Festival

When: July 4, 2017

Where: Forest City Owls Stadium, Forest City, NC

Celebrate the 4th during Forest City Freedom Festival. Watch the parade, compete in the pie eating contest, sack races and of course watch the fireworks light up the Forest City sky!

 

Red White and Boom  

When: July 3, 2017

Where: Old Town Rock Hill, SC

Looking to celebrate the 4th of July a day early? Look no further than Old Town Rock Hill’s Red White and Boom. Starting at 5:30PM watch live performances from RadioJacks and The Legacy Motown Revue, enjoy food trucks and an ice cream eating contest. After a day of fun activities, gather around and watch the fireworks blast off at 10PM.

 

SkyShow 2017

When: July 4, 2017

Where: BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte, NC

Get the family together and head to SkyShow 2017 at BB&T Ballpark to watch Team USA play against Team Cuba. Before the game, stop by the SkyShow Street party so you can listen to live music from 3-9PM. If you want to see the fireworks, but don’t plan on going to the game, you’re in luck! Just head to Romare Bearden Park, directly across from Mint street.

 

Birkdale Village’s 4th of July Celebration

When: July 4, 2017

Where: Birkdale Village, Huntersville, NC

Birkdale Village’s 4th of July Celebration with entertainment for all, a bike parade, and a water fight courtesy of the fire department. Admission is free and takes place from 10AM to 1PM.

 

Gather the family and celebrate our independence!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

The news has been buzzing about the decline of our bee populations, and the dramatic consequences their loss could have globally. According to pollinator.org, an estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages are made possible by pollinators which is nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.

Without bees, the produce section would be a lot smaller but did you know that you can help protect the pollinators by creating a pollinator-friendly habitat? LawnAmerica wants to spread the word and share two of the easiest ways to make your space more pollinator friendly.

 

Plant a Pollinator Friendly Space

Choosing an assortment of plants with overlapping bloom periods will provide food for pollinators throughout the season. Here is a list of some native shrubs, trees that bees and other pollinators LOVE:

Flowers –

Early Bloom:  Lanceleaf Coreopsis and Smooth Penstemon.

Early Mid Bloom: Wild Indigo.

Mid Bloom: Butterfly Milkweed, Great Blue Lobelia, Joe Pye Weed, Mountain Mint, Purple Coneflower, and Wild Bergamot.

Mid-Late Bloom: Field Thistle, Marsh Blazing Star, and Wingstem.

Late Bloom: Bottle Gentian, New England Aster, New York Ironweed, Seaside Goldenrod, Sneezeweed, and Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod.

 

Shrubs and Trees –

Early: Cockspur Hawthorn, Eastern Redbud, Highbush Blueberry, and Pussy Willow

Mid: Basswood

Mid-Late: New Jersey Tea

You can find more about these plants at here.

 

Create a Hydration Station:

Don’t forget, like us, bees and other pollinators need water. A single bee visits at least 2,000 flowers daily so as you might expect, bees need lots of water to keep going. During hot summer days, bees will use the water throughout the day to cool down their hive, dissolve crystallized honey, and hydrate after a busy day.

You can help bees stay cool and hydrated by taking a plastic bowl and filling it with water and glass marbles or even rocks. The marbles provide the bees a nice place to land while hydrating.

You can find instructions to build a hydration station here.