Posted by & filed under Insect Control.

Buzz-off

Mosquitoes can be a nasty pest in home landscapes in North Carolina. In addition to carrying diseases such as West Nile Virus and Dengue, a big concern now is with the new Zika Virus outbreak. Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated that the Zika virus is “scarier” than first thought, and that mosquitoes that carry the virus could travel to more states in the US than previously thought.

There are over 140 different species of mosquitoes in the US, but less than 10 are actually considered as a health hazard. The Zika virus is carried and transmitted by only one, the Aedes species. This species of mosquito prefers to fly and rest in landscape areas below 10′ from the ground, feeding mainly on mammals, of which we are one! Another “bad boy” species, the Culex, prefers to fly and rest above 10′ up in the air, feeding on birds. The Culex species is the main carrier of West Nile Virus.

With our new Buzz Off Mosquito Control by LawnAmerica, we’re providing some peace of mind for homeowners concerned about mosquitoes, by treating the landscape and areas around the home with two proven insect control products, Demand and Archer. Demand is so safe that it can actually be used indoors also, and is much more effective and long-lasting compared to other products that are used. We apply these insect-control products with a special backpack mist blower into the landscape foliage, around the home, and along the perimeter of the backyard especially.

Other mosquito control tips, such as keeping gutters clean and cleaning up areas where standing water accumulates, can be found by clicking here. And if you want to combat mosquitoes, along with helping with other insect pests around the home such as ants, spiders, fleas, and ticks, contact the professionals at LawnAmerica now for more information on Buzz Off.

Posted by & filed under Insect Control, Tree Care.

aphids-green-300x225

Aphids are very small soft bodied insects found on many trees and shrubs in the Carolina landscape, which can sometimes cause damage to plants. These insects can be varied: they can be black, brown, red or green; some have wings and others do not. Damage to plants is caused by their piercing-sucking mouthparts that pierce the leaves of plants to suck the sap out of them, causing curling, dis-coloration, and even death. The aphids produce a sticky substance called honeydew, with then coats leaves and stems. This in turn serves as a food source for ants, and can cause black sooty mold to form on leaves and stems. So plants can basically become a sticky, moldy mess from aphid infestations, which may not kill them, but does stunt or dis-color them, causing them to look bad. There are several generations of aphids per season, so make sure that you check every few weeks for high populations. They tend to from dense clumps on susceptible shrubs, such as crape myrtle, rose, fruit trees, hackberry, conifers, and others.

Natural predators such as ladybugs do help keep aphids in check. Just washing plants with a high pressure stream of water can help somewhat. Application of horticulture oils help smother the eggs during winter, and some can be applied during the season to smother the small adults. Systemic insecticides such as imidacloprid do a great job of preventing aphids from feeding during the season. Our T1 Early Spring Tree Shrub Dormant oil treatment in fact is a combination of both dormant oil and a systemic insecticide. And for existing populations, many common insecticides are labelled for control. Make sure to spray so that insecticides are reaching the underneath sides of leaves, since that is where aphids tend to be. Always read the label and follow directions when applying insecticides for control.

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care, Weed-control.

Poa annuaPoa annua, or Annual Bluegrass, is a common winter annual grassy weed found in Carolina lawns at this time of year. It mainly germinates in the fall with the first cool rains, and stays fairly small until the following spring. It’s a lighter green color, shallow-rooted compared to the existing turf, and is a prolific seeder.  The hundreds of tiny seeds can really stand out and look bad in a nice fescue turf.

The best way to control Poa annua is with the application of a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall, before weed seeds germinate. At LawnAmerica, we use a great new product named Specticle in bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, which does an excellent job of prevention. Later in the fall, we add an additional product names Simazine or Atrazine, which will also control any newly emerged weed plants. In fescue turf however, they are not even labelled for use in fescue turf.  So we cannot apply these fall pre-emergent products, since they would inhibit fescue from germinating in the fall. There is one product named Prograss that can be applied in late fall and winter to a fescue lawn and control Poa annua. It’s an expensive treatment, and usually not recommended. We feel that in a thick, healthy fescue turf, the Annual Bluegrass is not that evident in the turf, and does not justify treatments in most cases.

If Poa annua is present now during April and May, it can be spot treated with various post-emergent products such as Monument, Revolver, and Certainty, but only in warm-season turf. These will take out the bluegrass without harming the desirable turf. However, as the bermudagrass greens up and the weather turns hotter, any Poa annua present tends to die out naturally. In wet, shady areas of the lawn, Annual Bluegrass can remain all year as a perennial weed in some areas.

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care.

oktoscalp

If you have warm-season turf such as bermudagrass or zoysiagrass, scalping is a process which many homeowners and mowing companies do during spring. Scalping turf basically is mowing down the grass really short, removing much of the brown, dormant leaves and stems, and removing those by bagging the clippings. It helps even out the turf, looks nice after doing so, and may may help with lessening thatch accumulation, but not by much. It also helps with removing any dying winter weeds present. One other benefit of scalping is that it allows the soil to warm up faster and helps green up your lawn more quickly.

However, it is very important not scalp too soon in early spring, as it increases the chance of cold damage and winterkill on bermudagrass in mid-spring. We like to keep the root system and crown of the plants insulated with that dormant turf until the chance of a late spring freeze is past. The good news is that the 10-day forecast calls for nothing close to freezing temperatures throughout Carolina, so I think it’s OK to break out your mower for the first time.

If you have a cool-season grass such as fescue, you’ve probably mowed a few times already, as it’s been green and growing for a few weeks now. Make sure that you NEVER scalp a fescue turf, as it does not tolerate shorter mowing heights as bermudagrass does. Ideally, fescue should be no shorter than 2.5″ in spring, and higher as we get into the summer and fall.

And before firing up your mower for the first time, if not done last fall, sharpen the blade, clean out the gas line, change the oil, and generally get it tuned-up for proper mowing this spring.

Posted by & filed under Insect Control.

ants

Well, that’s better than having ants in your pants! This time of the season, ants do seem to be more prolific in Carolina home lawns. Little mounds of dirt piled up by the working ants can be seen along edges or in the turf. And with dormant bermudagrass, the ant mounds are more visible since the grass is not full and growing such as with a fescue lawn. Ants really don’t harm the turf at all, and in fact, are natures best little aerators. They are more of a nuisance than anything else. With the exception of fire ants, which can be bad news, we don’t recommend treating the lawn for ants.

If the ants are entering your home, then consider doing a perimeter treatment with insecticide, which controls the ants around the home and prevents them from entering. Our Perimeter Pest Control Program does a good job of helping to control ants, spiders, centipedes, and other pests from entering your home. This consists of four treatments of both granular and liquid insecticides around the outside perimeter of your home, applying around openings such as windows, doors, vents, and other areas where bugs can enter the home. It’s not perfect, but does do a good job of preventing most insect issues inside the home, with actually applying products inside.

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.