Posted by & filed under Fescue.

Now that summer is finally fading away (hopefully), now is the time to fertilize cool-season tall fescue to strengthen plant and turf roots so that it comes out strong next spring. Late fall is the most important fertilization of the season for fescue. As the warm season turf is slowing down and ready to go dormant, fall is when fescue does the best. Now that the leaves are starting to fall, it’s also important to make sure that they are off the grass before we come out and spray your Late Fall Application. Just like the other applications, we recommend watering the treatment into the soil within a day or two of us coming out.

Fescue

For fescue turf that has been seeded earlier this fall, this fertilization provides a nice boost of nitrogen for growth, along with other soil nutrients for plant health. After not growing much during the winter, early spring warmth will then stimulate earlier spring green-up with the nutrition provided from the fall fertilization. “Fall fertilization is the foundation for a successful turfgrass fertility program,” says John S. Kruse, Ph.D, a research agronomist with Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. “Winter survival and spring green-up depend, to a significant degree, on a sound fall fertilizer application, particularly when combined with timely cultural practices.”  We also will carefully spot-treat any existing winter annual broadleaf weeds with a liquid post-emergent herbicide at this time of year. There usually are not many broadleaf weeds now, and we have to be careful not to harm any new fescue seedlings.

We DO NOT apply a fall pre-emergent to fescue turf in the fall, as this would harm fescue seeding. We assume that homeowners will at least overseed in the fall, so we do not apply pre-emergent to fescue as we do on bermudagrass or zoysiagrass. About the only grassy weed that comes up in the fall may be some annual bluegrass. It usually blends in OK or is not much of an issue in healthy fescue turf. If it is, then we do offer a supplemental treatment of Prograss Weed-Control, which can be safely applied in early December without harming new fescue seedlings.

Fall is not only an ideal time to fertilize turf, it’s also an ideal time to give trees and shrubs that important boost as the winter months near. Late Fall is the ideal time for deep-root fertilization, so we’ll start this service sometime in late November and on into December.

Posted by & filed under Fall Deep Root Fertilization.

Do we really need to fertilize our trees too?

If you live anywhere other than undeveloped countryside, the answer is yes! However, it’s easy to understand why this service can be overlooked by homeowners when anyone can look out in the country at all the healthy, beautiful native trees growing fine on their own.

For the most part, as long as the soil is healthy, the trees growing from it will be healthy as well. Did you know that when we start adding landscaping, turf and concrete to a property, we might make it look prettier, but we also change how all of these things interact with each other. Trees in urban landscapes usually need additional help to get all the nutrients they need to thrive. One way that trees get their nutrients is from the leaves they shed in the fall. Once those leaves decompose, they provide an additional layer of organic material, which provides nutrients over time that feed the soil. Of course, not every homeowner has the option to let those leaves sit on their yard all winter long. Sometimes HOA’s have rules requiring leaves to be raked, or maybe you just don’t like having that mess and want it cleaned up. Other reasons for raking are unavoidable and you don’t really have a choice. For example, my wife told me that I have to rake the leaves at our house. She didn’t care much about the “natural organic material,” and just wanted it bagged up. So if you’re like me, you might be asking yourself, “How do I replace those lost nutrients?”

The nutrients required for healthy trees are the same as needed for healthy turf; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). Tree roots and grass roots compete for the soil’s nutrients, which means the deeper tree roots are often left hungry when a homeowner only fertilizes the surface of the soil. Trees actually require a higher rate of NPK than turf, however applying that higher rate on the surface would not only damage the turf, but prevent all of the nutrients from traveling far enough down to the roots to be absorbed. To ensure the nutrients get deep enough and are applied at the correct rate, we inject pressurized liquid fertilizer about 12 to 14 inches in the soil. The pressurization breaks up and aerates the soil, providing much needed oxygen to the root system as well. Tree roots are opportunistic and will develop wherever oxygen, nutrients moisture or space are present. Even through that crack in your sidewalk, unfortunately.

So what can you expect to see after our deep root fertilization? Your trees will have a much greener leaf color and thicker foliage. They will benefit from improved disease and drought resistance, healthier root growth, and additional protection against damage in the winter. The only drawback is that next fall you will have even more leaves to pick up unless you can convince your spouse otherwise. If anyone does manage to get out if it, please write in and let me know how you did it. If I don’t respond, I’m probably raking.

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care.

With summer winding down and fall right around the corner, we are starting up our fall fescue seeding program and sending out the seeding crews this week. The window for this service generally falls between mid-September to mid-October. That allows the seed to germinate and grow some before winter sets in. The more time the seed has to get established this fall, the better it will look come springtime and survive in the summer heat. If you are considering this service, don’t wait until the end of the season to pull the trigger, the earlier in the window you get it done, the better your results will be.

Our mission at LawnAmerica is to give our customers all of the benefits of having a healthy, green lawn without having to spend the time and money it would take to DIY. Out of all of our services, Tall Fescue Seeding requires the most help from you the customer to ensure great results. Once we aerate, prepare the soil, and get the seed and liquid starter fertilizer in the ground, we leave specific and easy to follow watering instructions for you to follow to maximize your results. Requiring the seed bed to be moist for the first 10 days or so, and making sure that it is not allowed to dry out is the most essential step in the process. We recommend watering your new seed three times a day for about 15 minutes. The easiest way to do this, is to set your sprinkler system and let it do the work for you. For those that don’t have an irrigation system in place, it can be a little trickier, you can find timers for outdoor water faucets and set up sprinklers in your lawn to help if you are not able to water during the day. Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to get a little help from Mother Nature like we have this week, and the good news is that it’s hard to over water during those crucial first 10 days.

At around the three or four-week mark, we return to check on your seed and make sure everything is germinating and growing appropriately, adding any seed if and where needed. One common concern we get from customers is that their seed appears to be coming in too thin. Most of the time, the concern is unfounded. When Fescue seed first begins to peek through the moist (hint-hint) soil, the blades are thin and spaced out a little wide. This is completely normal and ideal. It is not going to come in like the green shag carpet our grandparents used to have in the 70’s. To fully develop into a full and thick turf, the seeds need space to grow and nutrients from the soil. We’re careful not to put down too many seedlings too close together because they will end up competing for the nutrients and water resulting in your turf not having the developed root system needed to survive next spring and summer. I promise, next spring, the blades will grow thicker and healthier and if properly maintained, your lawn will fill out and look great.

The bottom line here is that we need your help with the seed process. We want the best possible results for you and your lawn. As long as we are able to work together, manage our expectations and follow the watering schedule, your lawn will be thick and healthy come spring time! If you haven’t already scheduled your Tall Fescue Seeding with us, just give us a call or click here for a free estimate. We’ll get any questions you have answered. Remember, the sooner, the better!

Posted by & filed under acorn, Tree Care.

I have a beautiful oak tree in my front yard that has recently become the neighborhood gathering spot for what seems to be all of the local squirrels.  They are attempting to enjoy the abundance of acorns the oak tree has produced this year, many of which have already dropped despite still being green.

For the most part, I don’t mind the squirrels, though there is one that I am convinced doesn’t like me.  Every time I venture outside close to the tree, he drops half-eaten acorns on me.  I personally think he is throwing them at me, but that makes me feel a little crazy to admit that a squirrel would target me.  I’ve given him no reason to be mad at me, but he doesn’t drop (or throw) them at anyone else in my family so what other conclusion am I supposed to make?

It got me to thinking though, it’s still August but I have an abundance of acorns on the ground and many, many more still in the tree.  Why do I have so many acorns this year, especially since I had so few last year?

The first source I turned to was the Farmers Almanac.  For years folklore has suggested that an abundance of acorns was a sign of an upcoming harsh winter with cooler than normal temperatures and above average snowfall.   As with most folklore, this analysis has to be taken with a bit of skepticism.  Some years the theory proves true, but just as many years go by where it does not.

The second source I turned to was a book I read late last year, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.  Mr. Wohlleben has spent his life as a forester in Germany and now manages his own environmentally friendly woodland there.  In chapter 5 of his book, Peter discusses how the amount of seeds (acorns) is more of an indication of stressors on the tree from the previous season.  Periods of drought or insect infestation in the previous season will cause the tree to produce more offspring (seeds) the following season as a defense mechanism to ensure the survival of their species.

Peter’s analysis does fit with what we have seen with the number of stressors over the past year; everything from drought to late-Spring freezes, to extreme heat.  It only makes sense that acorns would be abundant this year.

So it looks like the squirrels and the deer will be eating well this fall.  It’s also a pretty good indication that we will have some tree saplings to manage next spring, but that’s another story for another day.

I have to admit though; there is part of me that hopes the Farmers Almanac is right.  A little snow this winter sounds good, especially on this warm August day!

 

 

Links:

Can Acorns Predict a Rough Winter?

20 Signs of a Hard Winter

The Hidden Life of Trees

Posted by & filed under Fescue, fescue seeding.

I took a stroll through the store last night and was reminded that fall is just around the corner.

How is that, you ask?

Everything from coffee, cookies, and cereals all the way to air fresheners and body washes were flavored or scented in pumpkin spice.  Don’t get me wrong; pumpkin spice has its place, and many people swear by a hot pumpkin spice latte at their favorite coffeehouse, but man it feels a little early!

You know what’s not early?

Planning for overseeding if you have a fescue lawn.

Unlike warm season grasses such as Bermudagrass or Zoysiagrass, which spread on their own, Fescue requires overseeding to maintain thickness and density.  And a thick, dense lawn is your best defense against weeds throughout the year.

Fescue is a cool-season, clump type turfgrass, which performs best in cooler climates. However, 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, introduce 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 robust 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 bare areas and sow extra seed if necessary.

Call LawnAmerica today to make sure you reserve your spot on our schedule.  This way rather than spending your weekend behind a rake and an aerator, you can instead enjoy your pumpkin spiced oatmeal, while drinking your pumpkin spice coffee and enjoying the smell of your pumpkin spice scented candle.

Maybe we will jump on the bandwagon next year and have pumpkin spice coated fescue seed!

Posted by & filed under Fescue, Lawn Care.

We talked in our last blog about how to properly care for warm-season turf.  Today we want to look at the other side of the spectrum and talk about cool season grass, or more specifically about fescue.

As you might suspect a grass such as fescue that is part of the cool-season family of grasses doesn’t particularly like the heat of summer.  While it is true that fescue may not thrive this time of year, it is possible to protect it and prepare it for when colder weather returns later in the year.

First and foremost, make sure you are not cutting it too short.  Fescue, this time of year, should be maintained at between 3.5 to 4 inches in height (or taller) and should never be scalped, especially when it’s hot.  The taller the grass, the more shade it provides to the soil helping to keep the plant cooler and maintain essential moisture in the root zone.

Irrigation is vital as well.  Ideally, your lawn would receive at least 1.5 inches of rain each week.  Some weeks you may get lucky enough for Mother Nature to cooperate, but in most cases, you will likely have to utilize a sprinkler system or hand watering to supplement.  Watering in the morning is ideal, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for early mornings, anytime during the day is better than not watering at all.  It is crucial not to water late in the evening or overnight to help reduce chances of fungus activity.

Fertilizers can be applied in the summer, however, it is imperative that the fertilizer be comprised of organic material that does not contain quick-release nitrogen sources.  Quick-release products that are high in nitrogen will burn fescue in the summertime, causing more damage than benefit.  LawnAmerica utilizes a liquid organic product that in addition to a small amount of nitrogen also has iron, humic acid, and other micro-nutrients that not only benefit the plant but help to improve the structure of the soil.

Despite best efforts though, fescue will thin out during the heat of the summer.  Since most turf type fescues do not spread laterally, any thin areas will have to be overseeded later in the fall.  Applying seed in the heat will be of little benefit.  However, when the nighttime temperatures start to cool off in September and early October, seeding can be accomplished successfully.

Posted by & filed under bermudagrass, Lawn Care.

It’s July, it’s hot, and unless you have been one of the fortunate ones to have a pop-up shower lately, it’s pretty dry too.  The temperatures are making it pretty rough for our LawnAmerica guys out treating lawns.  It’s making it tough on turfgrasses as well.

Warm season grasses and cool season grasses each react to the summer differently.  Today we are going to discuss warm season turf.  In our next blog, we will cover cool season turf.

Warm season turfs such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass don’t mind the heat so much and actually thrive in the summer heat as long as they are adequately maintained and irrigated.

Irrigation can be a challenge in this heat, but maintaining a supply of about 1.5 inches each week will ensure the plant has enough moisture to look great.  Summertime in North Carolina can be known for Mother Nature being unpredictable when it comes to helping with rain consistently making the use of a sprinkler system or hand watering a necessity.   Watering in the morning is ideal, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for early mornings, anytime during the day is better than not watering at all.

In situations where irrigation isn’t an option, and Mother Nature isn’t helping out, warm season grasses can begin showing signs of stress by turning a bluish-gray color before fading to brown. In cases like this, the lawn isn’t dying but instead is going dormant.  This is a way for the plant to defend itself during times of stress to ensure survival.  Once the stress of the heat is diminished or consistent moisture returns, the grass will resume growing as usual.

I don’t recommend allowing your grass to go dormant if you can help it as it will use up necessary reserves of energy breaking dormancy again and can leave your lawn thinner heading into winter which will impact not only the health of the turf next spring but the number of weeds present as well.  A thick, healthy lawn will always be your best defense against weeds.

Despite the heat, warm-season grasses still need to be fertilized. Bermudagrass does exceptionally well when adequately fed this time of year.  Utilize granular products with several sources of slow-release nitrogen along with natural organic content to help prevent burn potential and provide a consistent color without the excessive top growth that can come from the quick-release nitrogen sources.

It is also essential to maintain a consistent mowing schedule. Regular mowing helps bermudagrass to spread and stay thick.  Mowing height will depend on the type of bermudagrass you have.  The newer hybrid varieties can generally be kept shorter than common bermudagrass, but on average between 2 and 2.5 inches will provide excellent performance.  Just be sure that when you mow that you don’t remove more than one-third of the plant each time.  Removing too much top-growth will not only remove the color but will also stress the turf which is something we want to avoid. Contact LawnAmerica today for more information.

Posted by & filed under Christmas Decor, Christmas Lights.

I think the heat must be taking a toll on us over here at LawnAmerica because all we can talk about lately is Christmas lights, wreaths and garland! I know you must be thinking that we’re totally off our rocker but give me a chance to explain why.

The Christmas season is something our employees excitedly prep and train for each year. Due to the lack of lawn care work during cold winter months, many lawn care companies choose to temporarily lay off their employees from mid-November until just after the new year, but at LawnAmerica, we value our employees too much to do that. For the last 20 years, instead of a holiday season of unemployment, we’ve turned to Christmas lights to maintain a revenue stream during the cold winter months. By signing up for our Christmas Décor service, you’re helping make it possible for over 70 employees to remained employed full-time, year-round. We certainly know what we’re thankful for each year!

Many of our staff have begun their annual transformation into Christmas elves, and are busy planning beautiful Christmas Décor displays for our current smart customers on Santa’s “nice,” list. We decorate homes with LED bulbs and provide all the lights and materials, custom fitted to your home, install a digital timer so you don’t have to keep plugging and unplugging them each night, service the display through Christmas and then return after the new year to take everything down and store it safely in our warehouse until the following season. Everything is included in one up-front price, making it as easy as possible. I know when it comes to the hectic, holiday season, I welcome anything that can simplify my life!

LawnAmerica doesn’t just have a strict standard for excellence in lawn care, it carries over into Christmas Décor as well as everything else we do. Our team members receive specialized safety training in the proper use of LED lights, electricity and ladders in addition to learning the proper techniques for installing the perfect Christmas display for each unique property. Our team members welcome the short break from killing weeds and love the opportunity to bring the Christmas spirit to so many of our customers and their loved ones. We love our work!

Want to join Santa’s nice list? Guarantee your spot in this popular service schedule and save some money too! For being a good sport and humoring us for talking about Christmas in July, we’re offering a 7% discount for all customers who sign up by August 31st. By taking advantage of our early-installation discount now, your personalized Christmas display is guaranteed to be installed before the Thanksgiving weekend. So rather than wasting your time, or risking life and limb to do it yourself, give the experts a call at 1-866-567-5296. We would love to decorate for you. You can give us a call, or go online to request a free estimate. Once you sign up, all you’ll need to do is tell us the color of light you prefer. It really is that simple.

Now if we could just get some Christmas cookies to go along with all of this holiday spirit…

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care.

I started out with all intentions of writing a moving blog full of historical facts and patriotism for the 4th of July.  But, sometimes the words have already been spoken and need no further elaboration.  Such is the case today.

Though not born at the time of the signing of The Declaration of Independence in 1776, Francis Scott Key still managed to pen the poem that would become the U.S. National Anthem as he watched a British assault on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.  As we celebrate our independence this week, I wanted to share the full version of his patriotic poem with you.

May you have a Safe and Happy Independence Day!

God Bless America!

 

 

The Star-Spangled Banner

Francis Scott Key

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight

O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,

‘Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion

A home and a Country should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

Sources:

https://www.biography.com/people/francis-scott-key-9364165

https://amhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/pdf/ssb_lyrics.pdf

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care.

Every year families across the country gather together to watch fireworks light up the night sky in recognition of our great country’s founding on July 4, 1776, the day the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation through the Declaration of Independence. North Carolina has an incredible fireworks selection throughout the state, complimented with fun festivities for the whole family to enjoy. We picked out some of our favorite 4th of July activities to share with you. We hope you have a wonderful and safe Independence Day!

4th of July Festival

When: July 3 & 4, 2018

Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte, NC

USNWC’s 4th of July two-day festival features outdoor adventure, yoga, live music, and spectacular firework displays. Musical performances on the River Jam Stage will take place in the afternoon and evening of each day, followed by a stunning firework display over the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Bring out your blanket or chairs, pick out a great viewing spot, and enjoy the show with your loved ones!

Bryson City Freedom Fest

When: July 4, 2018

Where: Downtown Bryson City, NC

Beginning with a Firecracker 5k run at 10am, downtown Bryson City’s Freedom Fest then continues with over 60 local artisans and crafters with handmade items, festival foods, and fun events including Kids Zone where you’ll find bouncy houses, a watermelon contest and much more during this evening of incredible, local entertainment. There’s even something for Fido! Enter your best friend in the “Strut Your Mutt” event at Riverfront Park for a chance to win. Afterwards, enjoy one of the most spectacular fireworks shows in the Smokies!

Ingles Independence Day Celebration

When: July 4, 2018

Where: Pack Square Park, Downtown Asheville, NC

The Ingles Independence Day Celebration is a free event of family activities throughout the day beginning at 2 p.m., with a fireworks extravaganza capping off the event at 9:30 p.m. The event will feature live entertainment, the Ingles Ultimate Air Dogs, LEAF Easel Rider, food vendors and more!

SkyShow 2017

When: July 4, 2018

Where: BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte, NC

Look no further than SkyShow 2018 for the Southeast’s largest outdoor fireworks spectacular. The fireworks start after the Charlotee Knights finish playing Durham. Before the game, stop by the SkyShow Street party so you can listen to live music from 2-10PM. 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, 2018

Where: Birkdale Village, Huntersville, NC

Birkdale Village’s 4th of July Celebration with a bike parade, bike decorating, face painting, bounce houses, circus daze, lawn games, bike rodeo and a fire department water fight! Admission is free and takes place from 10AM to 1PM.

Gather the family and celebrate our independence!