Can you believe it is April already?
Winter is finally coming to an end (at least we hope!) Lawns are coming out of dormancy, trees are leafing out, and the vibrant colors of spring can be seen in flowers all around. With the warming temperatures, you can’t help but want to spend more time outside.
Here at LawnAmerica, we are spending a lot of time outside, wrapping up our spring pre-emergent applications over the next couple of weeks for new customers. For existing customers, we are busy applying your Round 2 fertilizer application, so we can make sure that your lawn has all the nutrients it needs to come out of dormancy successfully.
In addition to our core programs, now is a great time to get signed up for our Tree and Shrub program to help control insects and disease issues before they cause problems this year. Also, don’t forget that we are still offering a $50.00 Bonus, in cash or credit, for every friend or neighbor you refer that signs up for service.
We can tell Spring has officially sprung because we’re busy cleaning up dandelions for our customers. Isn’t that just dandy? Well dandelions certainly seem to think so! Dandelions can be a nuisance but they aren’t all bad. The entire plant is edible, they do pull nutrients from deep within the soil and deposit them back onto the top as they wither away. Their long tap root additionally helps alleviate soil compaction. Most folks fondly remember playing with them throughout their childhood, and many of us even made our fair share of dandelion bracelets. Despite the fond childhood memories, most of us don’t want dandelions disrupting our lawns. We’ll be happy to help you get rid of them.
Questions about our treatment plan for dandelions are always high this time of year because there is a misconception that the pre-emergent we put down earlier prevents them. Unfortunately, there is no pre-emergent on the market that can prevent all weeds from growing. Instead, successful weed control means spot treatment as the weeds appear. Once spot treated, the dandelions will grow profusely. Crazy, I know! The treatment’s immediate effect make the plant look like the flower version of the incredible hulk. While the dandelions look like we might have accidentally given them fertilizer instead of weed treatment, they are actually reacting exactly as planned. They are literally growing themselves to death. The most common broadleaf herbicides contain 2,4-D which cause the plants to grow until they are completely depleted of energy. You’ll be able to witness this forced growth and energy usage quite easily as the plant twists and curls. This contortion caused by the herbicide is known as epinastic growth. It will be your confirmation that the herbicides are working.
After the treatment has run its course, the dandelion will be sedentary. This is the time to mow. We always recommend mowing within a week or so after treatments are completed because it helps the weed to quickly decompose. Mowing also reduces the chance of the plant recovering from the spot treatment. By eliminating the leaves, you’ll increase the success rate of the treatment by reducing its ability to create food. Thankfully, this will cause your weed to expend its energy quickly and begin decomposing. If the weed is not mowed within a week or two of treatment, it may attempt to hulk out again to regain some new healthy tissue. It will not immediately disappear though. The pace of decomposition will depend on the temperature as well as other factors, so it will not immediately disappear. This means that there is no need to be alarmed if your dandelions aren’t immediately gone after being treated. Once wilted, it will sit on your lawn until you mow and nature turns it back into soil.
Give us a call if you spot dandelions in your yard and you aren’t interested in reliving the old dandelion bracelet days. As always, we look forward to serving you!
Nitrogen, the primary component of most fertilizers, has long been lauded as the element responsible for the dark green color that homeowners are hoping to achieve with fertilizer applications. Numerous studies show that in fact, Nitrogen is only one component and that there are many other components that impact the color and overall health of the plant, but we will save that conversation for another day.
Today we are going to look at the two primary ways that fertilizer can be applied. One is through liquid or “spray” applications. The other is through granular applications. Each option is effective in providing the necessary nutrients for the lawn.
Liquid applications do tend to be more uniform due to being able to keep the product in solution, whereas granular products can clump up in the spreader or separate in the bag creating a less than uniform application if you are not careful.
Granular is definitely easier to work with. All you have to do is open the bag, make sure your spreader is calibrated, and walk in a consistent pattern. Liquid applications, on the other hand, require larger tanks, mixing of the product, and more expensive equipment. Most homeowners are limited to granular options due to the equipment needed for successful liquid applications.
What about the plant though? Does it really care? The answer is no. The liquid fertilizers are sprayed and absorbed by the plant. Granular products have to be watered in to convert them to a liquid in the soil in order to be utilized by the plant. Either way, fertilizer is absorbed, and the plant is happy.
At LawnAmerica, we utilize both liquid and granular fertilizers in our programs. Currently, we are working on our Round 2 Fertilization and Weed Control application, which consists of liquid fertilizer and soil amendments, along with a broadleaf herbicide to control the dandelions and other flowering broadleaf weeds. As the year progresses and the weed pressure subsides, we will utilize granular fertilizers to keep your lawn looking great.
With Winter finally waning and Spring starting to bloom, make sure your lawn is properly fertilized and ready to perform at its best. It’s also not too late for the Spring crabgrass pre-emergent. Give us a call for a special offer and to get signed up today!
Comparing lawn care programs and pricing can be a lot like trying to understand the difference between the colors lime green and chartreuse. So let’s see if we can shed some light on a common question; are two pre-emergent applications better than one?
First of all, weed control products in their most basic forms break down into two major categories
- Pre-emergent Herbicides – These are products applied before (pre-) weeds begin to germinate. The timing of application depends on the product and the type of weeds to be prevented.
- Post-emergent Herbicides – These are products applied after a weed has germinated to kill the weed through various modes of action.
Post-emergent herbicides can also be broken down further into Selective Herbicides and Non-Selective Herbicides. Roundup is probably one of the most recognized non-selective products, meaning that it is supposed to kill everything it is sprayed on, weed or grass. Selective Herbicides, on the other hand, are usually labeled for specific types of weeds and are only effective on those types of weeds.
Lawn care companies all have access to the same chemicals, though it seems that everyone has their own model of success. Some companies apply a single pre-emergent to prevent weeds like crabgrass while others split it up and apply two rounds of pre-emergent. The question is, does one method outperform the other?
To answer that question, we have to establish that regardless of how many times a company applies a pre-emergent, there is a maximum amount of product that can be applied over the course of the year. Programs that apply a single application of pre-emergent usually apply at the higher rate, giving as much as eight months of control. Programs that apply two rounds of pre-emergent will decrease the rate of the product by half for each application. So in reality, you are getting the same amount of pre-emergent, just spaced out by a month or two.
At LawnAmerica, we choose to apply at the high-end of pre-emergent rates and complete the process in a single application. We feel like this provides the most value to the homeowner and allows us to invest in better fertilizers and post-emergent products for the second application of the season, rather than selling you the same service twice.
So back to the question; one or two applications?
The answer is both are effective options when applied according to the manufacturer’s label. The biggest difference comes down to cost. Do you want to pay twice for something that can be accomplished once?
If you haven’t had a pre-emergent application yet this year or if you aren’t sure if you got a full rate of pre-emergent from a previous application, give us a call, we can make sure you are covered.
It’s not uncommon this time of year to see lawns scattered throughout neighborhoods that have been sprayed blue or in some cases a neon green. What’s up with that?
Basically, it is just a dye that some companies add to their weed control applications. The color adds nothing to the effectiveness of products being sprayed. The added dye doesn’t help the weeds die faster or disappear sooner. It doesn’t make the pre-emergent last longer, and it doesn’t cause the grass to come out of dormancy quicker.
It does, however, make a mess on concrete and fences. Generally, the color breaks down quickly in sunlight, but until that happens, you are stuck with it.
So if there is no real value to the turf, why do some companies use it?
Some companies use it a training tool for new, untrained employees to learn how to cover the entire lawn adequately. Others use it as an advertising method, hoping that if you see your neighbors yard all of sudden turn blue, that you will call and want yours turned blue too.
Here at LawnAmerica, we don’t make a practice of using a blue dye in our Round 1 applications. Rather than investing in dyes, we use that money to invest in the best pre-emergent, Barricade, along with top of the line post-emergent and liquid fertilizers, and the best employees in the industry to make sure your lawn performs at its best.
If you haven’t scheduled your Round 1 Pre-Emergent application to prevent crabgrass this year, now is the time to get it done. Soil temperatures are warming up, and Spring will be here before you know it. Give us a call at 1-866-567-5296 or head over to our website to sign up today!
Springtime is just around the corner here in North Carolina. Already, trees are budding out, and daffodils are blooming. With the new flush of growth there a few things that you can do (or not do) now to help your lawn and landscape perform well.
- Don’t overwater. Too much water can be more detrimental than not enough water. When soils remain too moist, roots tend to stay close to the ground. As soils dry out, roots tend to go deeper, which in turn creates a plant that is better able to survive changing conditions.
- Don’t scalp your lawn. Cool season grasses, such as tall fescue, don’t need to be Scalping a practice used on warm season turf such as bermudagrass to remove dormant grass and stimulate the plant to start growing again. Since fescue doesn’t really go dormant over winter, there is no need to risk injury by cutting too short.
- Don’t aerate your lawn. For cool season grasses, such as tall fescue, aeration should only occur in conjunction with seeding. Aerating now just tears up existing turf and since tall fescue doesn’t spread it won’t recover from the damage until more seed is planted in the fall.
Spring seeding of fescue is generally discouraged because it won’t have time to become established before summer heat stress kicks in. Spring seeding also limits your ability to apply a pre-emergent leaving you with more weeds to deal with during the growing season.
- Apply a pre-emergent. Weeds will germinate. It is a fact of life, much like the changing seasons and the rising sun each morning. Applying a pre-emergent at the right times will help to keep many of those weeds in check. No pre-emergent will prevent all Spring pre-emergent applications are usually applied to stop crabgrass. Timing is essential for the application to be effective.
- Prune ornamental grasses. Cut back the brown, dormant vegetation to make room for new spring growth for the base of the plants. Make sure you have some gloves, and a pair of sharp shears as some varieties can be difficult to work with.
With a little bit of extra effort this time of year, you can get a jump start on a great looking landscape.
Of course, you can always call LawnAmerica. With more than 19 years of pleasing customers, we are ready to help, especially with your weed-control and fertilization needs. Give us a call to learn more about our Spring Specials!
By Evie Baltzer, Staff Horticulturist
I’m sure many of you have heard the term, “Crepe murder,” so today I wanted to talk about how to trim Crepe Myrtles properly and how to avoid, “murdering,” them.
The best time to trim back Crepe Myrtles is in February or March, when they are just coming out of dormancy. While Crepe Myrtles do not have to be trimmed to leaf out and have blooms in the summertime, trimming will most effectively spur on leaves and blooms for the coming season.
Crepe Myrtles can endure a drastic amount of trimming and will even thank you for it. Here are some rules of thumb:
- Remove half of the branch length. For example, if the Crepe Myrtle is 6 ft. tall, cut it back to 3 ft. While this is optimum, it isn’t a requirement; cutting off any amount will help.
- If you pruned your Crepe Myrtle back the previous year, make your new cut about 2 inches above last year’s cut to avoid the gnarly claw like growth pattern that we refer to as, “Crepe murder.”
- Even Dwarf Crepe Myrtles will benefit from being pruned.
Be mindful of winter kill on Crepe Myrtles this spring. The extreme cold temperatures this winter may have killed parts or all of a Crepe Myrtle. Since they are Southern plants, they suffer severely when temperatures fall below 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also only see new growth on your Crepe Myrtles coming up from the base of the plant and consequently no new growth on any of the existing branches.
As always, when you are out trimming your Crepes, inspect the branches for scale. This insect will look like tiny round white dots stuck randomly on each branch. Scale is running rampant through our area right now, so it’s very possible your landscape is already affected. If it is, don’t worry! LawnAmerica has treatments available and suggestions you can do as a homeowner.
Your trees and shrubs represent a major investment in your property, but with everything going on around the holidays, coupled with spending more time inside because of colder temperatures, it is easy to overlook some beneficial opportunities to show them some love. That’s why we are here to help.
Deciduous trees and shrubs have all lost their leaves, or at the very least have lost all the color in their leaves. Just before the leaf drop, these plants pull in all the nutrients from the leaves and store them in the roots for the winter. They also use the roots over winter to gather up and store available water so that next spring they force the nutrients that they have stored back up the trunk and into the branches next spring.
This cycle from leaves to roots and back up to the branches makes the timing of our Fall Deep Root Fertilization applications ideal. Using a probe, we inject a combination of water, soil amendments, and liquid fertilizers all around the root zone of the plants. The roots naturally uptake the water and extra nutrients and hold them in reserve until spring temperatures signal the time to bloom and leaf out again next year. With added nutrients, your trees and plants will have the necessary food to grow taller and stronger providing for an overall healthier plant.
Evergreen trees and shrubs function similarly, uptaking nutrients and moisture from their roots over the winter, but they differ from their deciduous counterparts in the fact that they don’t drop their “leaves” or actually needles in most cases. These plants rather than changing colors and dropping their leaves instead form a wax coating over the needles or leaves that helps to prevent moisture loss during the winter. They, however, equally benefit from a deep root feeding.
At LawnAmerica, we provide this service from now through the end of the year. Give us a call to make sure you are signed up and give your plants a fancy Christmas feast this season.
Here it is late November, and still, we have high temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s. While it has made the job of decorating homes with Christmas lights much more comfortable, it is not what we would like to see as far as turf and landscapes are concerned.
I have been noticing many landscapes around town with confused plants due to the warmer temperatures. In my own yard, I have azaleas blooming, and even some of my daffodils are sprouting from the bulbs we planted just a month ago. While they are pretty to look at right now, it is a little disheartening because that means in the spring my azaleas will have fewer blooms and my daffodils likely won’t have enough energy reserves to push through the ground again.
Another challenge of our warm weather is that our grass is still growing, which means many of us are still mowing. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to put the mower to bed for a while. The good news is that we are looking at colder temps next week, so I am crossing my fingers that this weekend will be the last time I fire up the mower.
On that last mowing, I plan on having the mower deck set for about 3.5 inches on my bermudagrass. For the fescue in my lawn, I will be raising the deck even higher, up to the 4-inch mark. This will help to give the lawn a uniform look without removing too much of the canopy of the grass so as to protect the root system over the winter if we do indeed ever get cold. Many homeowners make the mistake of cutting their grass too short just before winter, leaving it more susceptible to winterkill and making it easier for weeds to germinate.
Once you finish mowing, there are a couple of things you can do for your mower to prepare it for winter and have it in good operating condition next spring.
- Clean off the top and bottom sides of the mowing deck.
- Empty any remaining fuel or add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank. With our ethanol-based gasoline, this is extremely important. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with the fuel stabilizer for best results.
- Change the oil.
- Clean or replace your air filter and spark plug.
- Sharpen your existing blade or replace the blade if it is too damaged. You might even find a better deal replacing it in the off-season as many stores need space on their shelves for other items.
With a little extra effort this weekend, your mower will remain in excellent condition over the winter and be ready to go next spring. We encourage you to call LawnAmerica with any questions or service needs you may have.
If your house is anything like mine right now, the parades are on tv, and the turkey is in the oven. The smell of pies, casseroles, and homemade rolls are filling the air. There are still a few hours before the Thanksgiving meal begins, giving us plenty of time to browse the Black Friday ads and see what retailers have that we cannot live without.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, not just because of the food and online shopping, but because It is one of the few times of year where we as Americans collectively slow down and take a break from our crazy schedules. Our responsibilities and busyness sometimes prevent us from recognizing how blessed we are. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to see through the clutter and express our gratitude.
Today as the meals are prepared, and families are gathering, I hope you can find time to reflect on the blessings in your life and express your thankfulness to those you hold dear.
We at LawnAmerica are thankful for every one of you who entrust us with your lawn care. We are thankful for the 65 employees and their families that make LawnAmerica. We are thankful for another successful year and for the opportunity to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
May God bless you and your family this holiday season.