Posted by & filed under Environmental, Lawn Care, Natural Choice, Organic lawn care, Weed-control.

Natural Choice White BannerWE hear a alot about being “environmentally friendly”, “green”, “organic”, or “eco-whatever” these days. All good and relevant, as we believe it’s important to do what’s right for the earth we all share. Clean air and water, healthy soils, and less pollution are all important things we value at LawnAmerica. Truth is that what we do in improving lawns and landscapes provides real environmental benefits to our urban areas, as long as the products and processes are correct. They are at LawnAmeirca.

Some customers however desire a more natural choice or something with less input of fertilizers and herbicides to the environment, and that’s fine. We can do this with our new Natural Choice Lawn Care Program. With this, you’ll still enjoy a green, healthy, more weed-free turf. We’ll decrease the amount of conventional fertilizers we’ll apply over a season to just two, and these will be more of a slow-release nature. We’ll increase the use of our Soil Builder organic soil amendment, increasing the biological health of the soil so that less fertilizer input is needed. And we’ll apply only pre-emergent herbicides, ones that are safer and can be used at lower rates. We’ll only spot-treat weeds, not apply blanket treatments with post-emergent herbicides. It’s not a true all organic program, but rather organic-based, with the consistent treatments of organic soil amendment. It’s truly a blend of using the science and technology of herbicides and synthetic fertilizers with organic and natural products, producing a more natural looking turf with a few weeds from time to time.

So your lawn will be healthy and green, just not as green as our regular programs will provide. We’ll stop many weeds from germinating, but not all. You’ll have a few mainly broadleaf weeds and sedges. So don’t expect the level of weed-control that our regular programs provide. You’ll need to either go old school and pick them, or just mow more consistently and you’ll not notice many of them. The environmental benefits are that we’ll be able to decrease the input of fertilizers and chemicals by over 50%. So if this is important to you, and you are willing to live with a really good lawn, just not a great one, then Natural Choice may be the best program for you.

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care.

seedfescue

Every spring we have to try to convince folks not to seed fescue in spring, but rather wait until fall to overseed. Yes, fescue can germinate if one sows seed in spring in the Carolina area, assuming that a pre-emergent has not been applied earlier in the spring. It may come up and look fine into mid-spring. But as the temperatures rise later, and the humidity increases, many of these tender seedlings may be killed by either brown patch turf disease, or hot weather and drought.

These spring-seeded plants just are not mature enough to withstand the typical stresses that summer can throw out. Compare this to fescue that was seeded up to 6 months ago the previous fall. This turf is mature by the time the summer heat and humidity hits, with a stronger root system that can absorb soil moisture better.

And if a homowner wants to do spring seeding, then applying a pre-emergent in the spring cannot be done, so you’ll have more weeds to deal with. Therefore, we enourage folks that if they really need turf in an area in spring, consider sodding it, although it’s more expensive than seeding. If you can wait about 6 months, then September and early October are much better times for long-term success with fescue seeding.

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care, Mole Control.

Mole diggingMoles are becoming very active on lawns in Carolina as we get into spring, especially in the Asheville area. Moles are small mammals that spend most of their lives in underground burrows. They are seldom seen by humans, as most of their feeding is done at night. Moles have enlarged, paddlelike forefeet and prominent toenails, which enable it to “swim” through the soil. Moles have strong legs, short necks and elongated heads. They lack external ears, and their eyes are so small that at first glance they appear to be missing. They prefer moist, sandy loam soils in lawns, gardens, pastures and woodlands. They generally avoid heavy, dry clay soils. They construct extensive underground passageways — shallow surface tunnels for spring, summer and fall use; deep, permanent tunnels for winter use. Their nest cavities are located underground, connecting with the deep tunnels.

Moles have high energy requirements and bit appetites, eating 70 to 80 percent of their weight daily. Moles feed on mature insects, snail larvae, spiders, earthworms and, occasionally, small amounts of vegetation. Earthworms and white grubs are preferred foods. Mole activity in lawns usually appears as ridges of upheaved soil, which can really tear up a lawn. The ridges are created where the runways are constructed as the animals move about foraging for food. Burrowing activity occurs year-round but peaks during warm, wet months. Some of these tunnels are used as travel lanes and may be abandoned immediately after being dug. Mounds of soil called molehills may be brought to the surface of the ground as moles dig deep, permanent tunnels and nest cavities. Main tunnels are often found running in straight runs along driveways, houses, patios, and along shrub beds.

LawnAmerica does offer a Mole Control Program, consisting of setting Talprid Mole Baits into the main tunnels with every regular lawn treatment, and with a follow-up service call before your next treatment to monitor and set more baits if needed. Sometimes this works well, and sometimes it can be inconsistent. If the moles feed on the bait, it will kill them, but they sometimes do not cooperate as much as we would like! We really do not recommend applying a grub control insecticide to take away that food source and therefore causing them to move elsewhere.  They also feast on earthworms, and we don’t want to kill them. This method may help some, but again, it’s not foolproof.

The best way to control moles completely is to trap them, either yourself or by using a professional. With persistence, you can have some success trapping them yourself, if you have plenty of time and patience. If not, try contacting Ace Animal Control Experts at www.animalcontrolexperts.com.

Posted by & filed under General.

spring

March 21st, the first full day of Spring, my favorite time of the year! Spring is coming on strong here in North Carolina, after a somewhat mild winter here. The lawns, landscapes, and trees are about a little ahead of schedule as to where they normally are in late March, and as long as we can escape a hard freeze, they should be OK.

I love spring for many reasons. One is that it starts around my birthday (March 20th), and I’m blessed to be alive and kicking one more year. Being in the lawn care business for over 30 years, this is the peak of our selling season, so we’re gaining new customers like crazy during this season, and for that I’m thankful for also. I’’s also a lot of fun (and a lot of work also) seeing our company grow like a weed so to speak during the busy spring.

I love Spring because it reflects the consistency, dependability, and renewal that’s displayed in nature. I know every March that fescue will be looking great and need to be mowed, certain weeds will display their flowers, tulips will sprout from the earth, and the Dogwood trees will explode with bright white flowers. It’s guaranteed that nature will display her spring colors every season, within a few weeks difference every year. After sitting brown and dormant for months, the bermudagrass and zoysiagrass will slowly begin the process of renewal in spring for another season of green growth.

In a fast-paced world of fast-paced change and uncertainty, the consistency of spring renewal can be counted on, year after year. It’s so refreshing just to soak it all in and enjoy it, escaping the change and problems our world throws at us these days. So celebrate Spring by getting outside and enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. That’s one thing that drove me into the lawn care business, is my love for the outdoors, and now I’m blessed to provide a great service for almost 15,000 families and businesses, providing great jobs for 60 families, and making our world a little greener and nicer along the way.

LawnAmerica supports a non-profit organization called Come Alive Outside, which promotes families and children getting outside more to play, learn, and enjoy healthier lives outside. For more information, visit their website at: https://comealiveoutside.com/.

Posted by & filed under landscaping, Lawn Care.

Spring is Here

 

March 21st, the first day of Spring, my favorite time of the year! Spring is coming on strong here in North Carolina, after a somewhat mild winter here. The lawns, landscapes, and trees are about a little ahead of schedule as to where they normally are in late March, and as long as we can escape a hard freeze, they should be OK.

In honor of the 1st day of Spring, if you are an existing customer, visit our website at www.CarolinaLawnAmerica.com next monday, and you’ll see a special offer for savings up to $75 on one service by subscribing to either Mosquito Control, Perimeter Pest Control, Primo, or Bed Weed-Control. And NEW customers can save up to $75 off their very first Round 1 Spring Weed-control Treatment by subscribing on that day.

I love spring for many reasons. One is that it starts the day after my birthday of March 20th, and I’m blessed to be alive and kicking one more year. Being in the lawn care business for over 30 years, this is the peak of our selling season, so we’re gaining new customers like crazy during this season, and for that I’m thankful for also. It’s also a lot of fun (and a lot of work also) seeing our company grow like a weed so to speak during the busy spring.

I love Spring because it reflects the consistency, dependability, and renewal that’s displayed in nature. I know every March that fescue will be looking great and need to be mowed, certain weeds will display their flowers, tulips will sprout from the earth, and the Dogwood trees will explode with bright white flowers. It’s guaranteed that nature will display her spring colors every season, within a few weeks difference every year. After sitting brown and dormant for months, the bermudagrass and zoysiagrass will slowly begin the process of renewal in spring for another season of green growth.

In a fast-paced world of fast-paced change and uncertainty, the consistency of spring renewal can be counted on, year after year. It’s so refreshing just to soak it all in and enjoy it, escaping the change and problems our world throws at us these days. So celebrate Spring by getting outside and enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. That’s one thing that drove me into the lawn care business, is my love for the outdoors, and now I’m blessed to provide a great service for almost 15,000 families and businesses, providing great jobs for 60 families, and making our world a little greener and nicer along the way.

LawnAmerica supports a non-profit organization called Come Alive Outside, which promotes families and children getting outside more to play, learn, and enjoy healthier lives outside. For more information, visit their website.

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care.

stpatricks

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in 2016 than with making your lawn and landscape greener this season. Having a healthy, green lawn is more than just aesthetics. Caring for lawns helps our urban environments, creating a better tomorrow for all of us. Carefully fertilizing and watering your lawn, controlling weeds, pests, and diseases, along with proper mowing all are great investments for your home and the world we all share.

Just a few benefits of green, healthy lawns and landscapes are:

  • Well cared for lawns and landscapes can aid in reducing air conditioning costs up to 50%.
  • One small lawn produces enough oxygen each day for a family of four.
  • Lawns help trap and help control dust and pollen that can cause allergies.
  • Healthy lawns prevent soil erosion and filter groundwater, reducing pollution.
  • Lawns and landscapes help soften urban noise by up to 50%.
  • A well-maintained landscape can add up to 15% to a property’s value.

So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, new homeowners can receive your very first lawn treatment for FREE by starting our professional service today. Visit our website at www.CarolinaLawnAmerica.com, complete the evaluation request, and we’ll provide you with information today to make your decision to enjoy a greener lawn this year.

And for more information on the environmental benefits of a green lawn, visit http://projectevergreen.org/resources/environmental-benefits-of-green-space/

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted by & filed under Fungicide, Turf Disease.

red thread turf disease

Red Thread turf disease can often pop up in Carolina fescue lawns in spring and fall. Disease development occurs often during cool temperature periods in fall and spring, especially during rainy periods as we have experienced earlier. Symptoms appear as circular patches of tan or pink turf about 4-8 inches in diameter. The pink or red color is caused by the sclerotia and flocks of pink mycelium on leaf blades. Mycelium are the vegatative part of the fungus. Red Thread affects mainly cool-season grasses such as tall fescue, bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. The disease is sometimes associated with low quality, slow-growing turf, but outbreaks can also occur on well-managed turf during wet, cool conditions.

Red Thread found in a home lawn will not kill the turf, but will look unsighly while it is active. A good application of nitrogen fertilizer will often help the turf outgrow the disease, and removing clippings after mowing may help some. Turf fungicides can be applied to clear up the problem, but unless the disease problem is severe, one may want to just wait for drier and warmer weather. Do not over-irrigate your lawn, and always water in the early morning so that the turf can dry out quickly after irrigation.

For more detailed information from NC State Turfgrass, CLICK HERE.

Posted by & filed under landscaping.

Pruning

Homeowners are eager to get out and do something in the landscape this time of year, especially when the weather is as nice as it’s been. One chore that can be taken care of during March is pruning certain shrubs and trees. Remember, not all shrubs need to be pruned, and certain shrubs that bloom during early spring such as Azaleas, should only be pruned in summer after spring blooming.

Shrubs are pruned to maintain or reduce size, rejuvenate growth, or to remove diseased, dead or damaged branches. Deciduous shrubs are those that lose leaves each winter. Evergreen shrubs maintain foliage all year, such as yews, hollies, and junipers. Shrubs that bloom on current seasons’ growth or that do not produce ornamental flowers are best pruned in March. Pruning during the spring allows wounds to heal quickly without threat from insects or disease. There is no need to treat pruning cuts with paints or sealers, and this could actually harm plants.

There are three basic methods used in pruning shrubs: thinning, heading back, and rejuvenating. Thinning is used to thin out branches from a shrub that has become too dense. It is accomplished by removing most of the inward growing twigs by either cutting them back to a larger branch or cutting them back to just above an outward-facing bud. On multi-stemmed shrubs, the oldest canes may be completely removed. Heading back is done by removing the end of a branch by cutting it back to a bud and is used for either reducing height or keeping a shrub compact. Rejuvenation is the most severe type of pruning and may be used on multi-stem shrubs that have become too large, with too many old branches to justify saving the younger canes. All stems are cut back to 3 to 5-inch stubs.

Use good, sharp tools for pruning, with a little oil or lubricant to help them work better and for protection when putting away until next time.

Posted by & filed under Weed-control.

HEnbit

A sure sign that spring is here are the lawns that suddenly turn purple with an explosion of purple flowers in their lawn. This weed is a winter annual weed named Henbit, a member of the mint family. If you rub it in your fingers, you’ll notice the stems are square and with a minty smell to it. These weeds, along with chickweed, annual bluegrass and others, germinate in the fall, but really don’t show themselves much until the first warm days of early spring. Left unchecked, like all weeds, they can choke out healthy turf and look bad in the process.

The best means of control for henbit and other winter annual weeds is to apply a pre-emergent in the fall, which nips them in the bud before they even germinate. Without this, these weeds can take over a lawn. At this time of the season, if a lawn has been properly treated in the fall, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass should be clean, brown, and dormant still. Fescue lawns are starting to green up a little with warmer weather, and being green, tend to mask the weeds somewhat. But they are still there. At this point, the best means of control is the application of a liquid post-emergent herbicide such as Trimec, which is what we use at LawnAmerica. It’s safe to use as long as label instructions are followed and applied at the proper rates. It will take time though for the henbit to totally die out. If you mow down the dying weeds about 5 days or so after treating, that will speed up the weed’s dying, and you’ll be removing much of the dead vegetation so that you lawn will look nicer. We aren’t using some type of magic juice that makes the weeds just disappear after they are sprayed. Mother Nature has to slowly allow them to die and then decompose into the soil, and that takes time.

So while one can spray henbit and other early spring weeds, preventing them in the first place is much better. By maintaining a thick, healthy turf and applying timely fall pre-emergents this season, your lawn won’t be invaded by these purple monsters next spring.

Posted by & filed under landscaping.

Ornamental grasses are becoming more popular in home and business landscapes every year, and we are right there also as big fans of them. They are very well adapted to Carolina weather and soil conditions, very low maintenance, and provide a beautiful contrast to shrubs, trees, and lawns. Some of our favorite varieties are Fountain Grass, Maiden Grass, Pampas Grass, Zebra Grass, Mexican Feather Grass, and Japanese Blood Grass. Some stay moderate in size, while some such as Pampas Grass can become quite large, so care must be made in deciding where to plant these. Some ornamental grasses such as Liriope, Feather Reed Grass, and Northern Sea Oats are more shade tolerant than turfgrasses such as Fescue, so these may be a good alternative for extreme shade conditions.

Spring is an excellent time to add them to the landscape. New plants can be purchased and planted, or you can divide existing plants by cutting off a portion of the root system, crown, and stems and re-planting elsewhere. Ornamental grasses do fine on one or two fertilizations per season, using a balanced slow-release fertilizer. They are fairly drought resistant, but good irrigation or rainfall is a plus.

Don't Try This at Home

In late winter and very early spring, it’s a good idea to cut back brown dormant vegetation to make room for new spring growth from the base of the plant. Sharp shears or a strong weed-eater may work, but larger more mature grasses can become large and difficult to prune back. If the grasses are very large, and if you live in the country as we do and the ornamental grass is away from your home, you can actually burn back the dead vegetation with fire, but do that very carefully. If you live within city limits, that’s not legal nor smart to do. You’ll have to cut back the vegetation in this case. But if you are out in the country, and with a water hose handy just in case things get out of hand, you can burn back the dead vegetation. Wait until it rains, and then do this the day after while surround vegetation is not dry.

Either way you do it, cutting back and eliminating the brown, dead leaves and stems from last year’s growth will help the plant spring back to life better later this spring and develop a better shape without all of the brown stems from last year.