Posted by & filed under azaleas, pruning azaleas.

If you haven’t pruned your azaleas yet, now is the time! Not only will pruning help stimulate new growth for next year, it will also provide a full and vibrant bloom as the season progresses. The lawn care experts at LawnAmerica want to share some helpful tips to keep your azaleas looking their best.
Tip #1: Timing is everything

Timing is key when it comes to pruning azaleas. It’s best to prune azaleas when they’re finished blooming and before new buds start to bloom. New bud growth usually starts in June or July. If you prune them during this time, you risk cutting off already developing buds.

 

Tip #2: Hand select the branches that need trimming

Azaleas prefer to be trimmed naturally. When they are shaped into hedges with sharp corners they will only develop blooms on the very outer inch of the shrub. If you want a very full blooming azalea from the inside out, thin the plant by selecting individual branches to trim and use pruning sheers to get the job done.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that azaleas will add about six inches of new growth from any spot they have been trimmed. However, if six inches of new growth is too much, you can trim branches back six to twelve inches above the base of the plant.

 

Tip #3: Fertilization adds necessary nutrients 

LawnAmerica offers a 2-Step Azalea Program that is designed to provide necessary nutrients to help keep your azaleas looking their best. This service is performed in mid-May through June, after the blooms have developed.

Now is the perfect time to prune and fertilize your azaleas in order to keep them looking their best. If you haven’t already, give the experts at LawnAmerica a call to set up an azalea fertilization appointment.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

by: Jake Johnson

The word “hero” is thrown around these days a great deal. Usually the word follows some sort of tragic event where individuals did something unselfish to save other people and putting themselves in harm’s way.

Sometimes it’s the guy returning home from war with a chest full of medals and ribbons or the unit coming home from a year long deployment with signs saying “Welcome Home Heroes!” being waved in the crowd.

Then there are the men and women who returned home, but in a box covered by an American flag carried by solemn men in uniform back to their hometown to be laid to rest. Laying under that flag, they will be driven down roads they probably used to cruise in high school on summer evenings looking for trouble or just something to do. However, on this final trip through town, the roads are lined with people paying tribute to someone who made the ultimate sacrifice.

That sacrifice is what separates something heroic from a hero. A true hero is someone whose story is no longer being written. The heroes we are remembering today had their story cut short, and did so for you, me and for their country. They didn’t do it for glory, or honor or even politics. As soon as that first bullet flies overhead in combat, all the things we think important in life are stripped away and we are left with only the things which are most important.

Be it race, politics, religion, social upbringing, financial status; none of it mattered over there. We leaned upon each other for strength and fought as one force against evil and for those who could not fight for themselves. We were a microcosm of the America that so many have given their lives for before us. An idea of what America was, can be and still is. As long as we have young men and women like the ones that I fought with that believe in that idea of America, she will continue to live on through the generations.

You see, those are the real heroes to me. Myself and those of us that came home from war aren’t heroes, no matter how brave or courageous we fought to earn the medals we wear. We smile and thank anyone if they refer to us as such, but inside we feel a tinge of guilt.

We aren’t heroes, I’m sure not at least.

I’m still going to make selfish choices from time to time. I’m going to let down my wife, my family and my children at some point.

I will let down my fellow brothers that came home by not calling and keeping up with them enough now that we are scattered across the country, some still overseas fighting a war we have all forgotten about.

But ultimately, I will let down the guys that gave their lives so that I would be able to still make these selfish choices.

The memory of what they gave is my daily reminder that it is our responsibility to them to build upon this great idea of American Life. Their final choice was one completely pure and completely unselfish, to give the one thing that you can never get back.

A real hero is someone who has given that life and laid it upon the altar of freedom as Abraham Lincoln once wrote, “so that others may live under that blanket of freedom.”

To me, all of the real heroes are dead.

Today, take time from however you choose to celebrate those lost by taking a moment and thinking about the choice that those heroes have made for us. Celebrate their lives and remember their sacrifices so that we will always know what true sacrifice, and true heroes look like. By doing that this weekend and all the days in between, we can ensure that the real heroes continue to walk side by side with us as we continue to build on the legacy that they have left for us.

NEVER FORGET.

IN HONOR OF:

GYSGT CHRISTOPHER H. EASTMAN

SSGT ADAM L. PERKINS

SGT DONALD J. LAMAR

CPL DAANE A. DEBOER

LCPL CHRISTOPHER RODGERS

LCPL FREDERIK E. VAZQUEZ

LCPL JOSHUA M. DAVIS

LCPL KEVIN M. CORNELIUS

LCPL RICHARD PENNY

LCPL THOMAS E. RIVERS JR.

LCPL TYLER O. GRIFFIN

LCPL WILLIAM T. RICHARDS

PFC VINCENT E. GAMMONE

AND

SGT TREY HUFF

Posted by & filed under bermudagrass, brown patch.

It’s that time of year to be on the lookout for brown patch turf disease in Carolina lawns. High humidity, excessive moisture, and warmer temperatures are the perfect conditions for lawn diseases such as brown patch to develop.

In order for lawn diseases to occur, there are generally three things that must be present. Those three things include a susceptible host, present fungi, and the right weather conditions. Fungi loves warm, wet, humid weather, which is what we generally experience during this time of year.

As for brown patch, fescue is a good host for this disease and some varieties are even more susceptible than others. Bermduagrass is another grass susceptible to severe brown patch, along with large patch, which is often found on zoysiagrass lawns. Fungi are present just about everywhere and are waiting for the right conditions to grow.

Brown patch will cause yellow to brown splotchy areas in lawns. A turf fungicide can be applied on a preventative and curative basis. But it typically has about a two to four-week residual, so repeat treatments are often needed for best results. In periods of heavy rainfall, make sure you turn off your irrigation system and let the lawn dry out.

If your lawn has been impacted by brown patch turf disease, it’s best to remove the grass clippings when mowing. This will help remove some of the fungi present and allow better air circulation within the turf.

For more information on symptoms, control methods and a variety of pictures to help with identification, check out the NC State Turf files page.

The professionals at LawnAmerica can also help to diagnose and treat brown patch. Give us a call for more information or

to get set up on a program.

 

 

Posted by & filed under mosquito control.

Mosquitoes are easily one of the most annoying and hated insects. They buzz around seeking out victims to feast on, especially later in the evening when everyone is trying to enjoy time outdoors, in the pool or around the grill.

Unfortunately, there’s a lengthy list of diseases and health concerns caused by mosquitoes ranging from itchy bites, all the way to West Nile, Dengue and Zika. However, not every species of mosquito is a carrier of these dangerous diseases, and identifying which one is flying around your head is difficult, if not impossible.

Instead we recommend our Buzz Off! Mosquito Control Program to help control this pesky problem.  With LawnAmerica’s Buzz Off! Mosquito Control program your property is treated using a combination of two proven insect control products. The combination of these two products safely eliminates existing mosquito populations, while interrupting a mosquito’s reproductive cycle.

This application is applied with a backpack mist blower around the landscape of your home and along the perimeter of your backyard.

In addition to our treatments, it’s very important to follow some basic tips to help eliminate breeding habitats for mosquitoes.  Simple things like keeping your gutters free of debris, removing areas where standing water can accumulate, and refilling bird baths regularly will also help to lessen populations.

If you’re already a LawnAmerica customer with our Buzz Off! Mosquito Control Program, we should be out for your first application soon, if we haven’t been already. However, if you haven’t signed up, it isn’t too late. We still have time to get all four treatments completed so you take back your backyard!

Sign up online or give us a call today!

Click here for tips to help control mosquitoes!

Posted by & filed under mushrooms.

With all the warm and wet weather we’ve been getting lately, we’re beginning to get more calls regarding mushrooms in lawns.

Mushrooms are actually part of a fungus that grows underground and are caused by a mixture of increased moisture, lack of light, and buried organic matter.

The fungus grows by breaking down organic matter such as buried timber, stumps, or roots of trees and shrubs that have been removed.  It’s a natural process that actually helps improve the structure of the soil.

The “toadstools” are most commonly recognized for their flowering structure of the fungus that contains all of the spores. Spores can be spread by wind and water, which helps to establish other fungal colonies.

One of the easiest ways to get rid of mushrooms in your lawn is to mow them and once the soil begins to dry out, the fewer mushrooms you’ll see. Meaning there’s no need to apply a product to your lawn because in most cases mushrooms do not cause any damage.

There are a few cases where mushrooms can be a sign of a turf fungus, rather than a soil fungus.  Although not common in North Carolina, fairy ring is a disease that can easily be recognized by the arc-like or circular patterns of mushrooms.

The ring pattern is caused by the outward growth of fungal mycelium, which forms a dense, mat-like structure in the soil that decomposes organic matter. This decomposition releases nitrate into the soil, which stimulates the growth of dark green grass at the outer portion of the ring. The fungus may also release certain byproducts that are toxic to the turf, leading to brown or dead turf next to the ring.

Fairy ring is difficult to control. One method of controlling the disease is to dig out the affected areas and replace it with new soil and sod. Another method is to apply turf fungicide. We recommend to just wait for hotter and drier weather, as the problem seems to go away. If the disease is severe enough, we can apply a product labeled for fairy ring disease. But remember that this is only when the mushrooms are found in an arc pattern associated with the turf disease.

Posted by & filed under dallisgrass.

In the early 1900’s, paspalum dilitatum was introduced to North America. A native plant of South America, paspalum dilitatum is a fast-growing forage plant originally used by A.T. Dallis of LaGrange, Georgia.

The benefit of this South American plant was its ability to survive harsh southern climates, while providing a nutritional food source for livestock in pastures. However, Mr. Dallis probably had no idea that the food source for his cattle would one day turn into a troublesome weed for homeowners.

Dallisgrass is a hard to control perennial grass. Not only will it come back every spring, but it’s also a prolific seed producer – spreading seeds all season long with the help of wind, water, mowers, kids and pets. Pre-emergent applications can be effective when dealing with seeds, but they are totally ineffective in controlling existing plants.

So, if you can’t prevent the plant with a pre-emergent, how do you effectively get rid of it? There are really only four effective options:

  1. Dig it up. This is the most labor intensive option, but it does ensure that the plant is gone forever. It is recommended that you cover the newly bare areas with sod to prevent more weed seeds from germinating.
  2. Use a non-selective herbicide. Non-selective herbicides, commonly known as Round-up, will kill Dallisgrass, but it will also kill anything else it encounters, such as the existing turf around the plant. This option is effective, but will leave unsightly dead patches. Again, these dead patches should be covered over with sod to prevent more weeds from germinating and to keep a uniform appearance.
  3. Use a selective herbicide specifically labeled for Dallisgrass. This option is the most common, but chemicals only suppress Dallisgrass. Suppression will keep the plant growing lower to the ground so it’s less noticeable and unable to produce as many seeds. While reducing seed heads is beneficial, it’s not nearly as effective as eradicating the plant altogether.
  4. Call a professional. Lawn care professionals have stronger products available to them. LawnAmerica provides Dallisgrass protection for 6 and 7 step customers. Timing of the application is key to success (late summer into early fall).

Dallisgrass can be eliminated. But it will require one or a combination of all of the techniques above. Not to mention a healthy dose of persistence and patience.

For more information check out this information prepared by NCSU.

If you find yourself needing help with Dallisgras this year, contact LawnAmerica. We have several locations in North Carolina, including Asheville, Charlotte and Spartanburg/Greenville.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

You’ve seen the TV commercials by now, saying that you can spray Roundup for Lawns to kill all of your weeds without harming the grass. So a homeowner goes to the big box store and looks at the big fancy Roundup display, with all types of jugs saying Roundup on them…..for lawns, for cracks, for grasses, northern lawns, southern lawns, etc.  I noticed a consumer just staring over the different products before this picture was taken, walking away with nothing purchased after a minute of contemplation. Good call. Many unsuspecting homeowners will just grab the prettiest looking jug saying Roundup, buy it, spray on their weeds, and a week later wonder why their lawn looks dead. And the reason is that it probably is dead, after purchasing the Roundup that’s been around for years, which kills anything that’s green.

Roundup has the chemical glyphosate in it, a great compound, which has been used for over 40 years mainly in agriculture settings, along with spot-treating mainly in home lawns and landscapes. If a weed or plant is green and growing, Roundup will probably effectively and safely kill it. It will also kill the desirable turfgrass, be it bermudagrass, zoysisagrass, or fescue here in Carolina.

So Monsanto has apparently decided that since the name Roundup is so recognizable, why not just slap that name on a jug containing other chemicals that control broadleaf and grassy weeds without harming the turf, as most of the products we use at LawnAmerica do. This new “Roundup for Lawns” formulation does not contain glyphosate, but rather is a combination of four products commonly used for treating weeds in lawns:

  • MCPA
  • Quinclorac
  • Dicamba
  • Sulfentrazone

MCPA and Dicmaba are components of our common broadleaf herbicides, so they control things like dandelions. Sulfentrazone is the same thing as what we call Dismiss, the product we use in summer for good nutsedge control. And Quinclorac is a herbicide we now spray on Crabgrass, since MSMA is not available anymore. It does OK on Crabgrass (not great like MSMA did), but does not control weeds like Johnsongrass or Dallisgrass.

This new “Roundup for Lawns” states that it controls 253 weeds, as it should, since it’s actually a combination of four different herbicides. And as long as homeowners follow label instructions, it should work fine for most weeds.  A combination of four herbicides trying to cover all bases seems like overkill to me, more expensive, and a waste of product when maybe just one specific herbicide would do.

The problem is that mark my word, many people will be confused, buy the “real Roundup” with glyphosate in it, and spray it on their lawns thinking that it’s safe to use. That will kill their lawn since they sprayed glyphosate on it. This thing is just an accident waiting to happen.

So the best solution to this is really just to use a professional, like LawnAmerica! Monsanto just wants to sell their products and make money. That’s fine, but this marketing decision will cause confusion in the marketplace along with a bunch of dead lawns and angry homeowners. Just let the professionals do this….it will be a lot easier for you!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

It’s spring and every year tiny little yellow flowers start popping up all over the place. In a matter of days, children believe they can make wishes once they turn into white puffballs. But Carolina homeowners find these flowers to be nothing more than a nuisance.Dandelions are common weeds throughout the country, but thankfully LawnAmerica is here to help you treat and control them before they become a big problem.
Dandelions are considered a broadleaf perennial and can grow in almost any soil. This common weed has a long taproot, which can go down several feet in the soil and emerges in the spring.
Dandelions typically “disappear” ­– or more accurately – go dormant in the summer, as they don’t like the heat. But the long taproot allows it to survive and cycle back to life as cooler temperatures return.Pre-emergent applications, despite what you might assume, do very little in preventing dandelions from germinating each year. They can be adequately controlled by other methods though.

How to control Dandelions in your Carolina Lawn

  • Lawn Care: Healthy, dense lawns make it harder for weeds to germinate and grow. It’s important to keep your lawn thick and healthy to avoid dandelions
  • Mowing: Mowing over dandelions before they bloom can help prevent seeds from spreading across your lawn and neighborhood.
  • Hand pulling: Although this method may seem like an easy solution, it’s often a difficult method to controlling dandelions. If you don’t remove the entire root system, you will not only waste time, but you’ll be back to square one.
  • Spraying: The most common method would be to use herbicide labeled for broadleaf weeds.
  • Call the experts: The simplest solution is to call the experts at LawnAmerica. Evaluations are free for new customers and service calls are free for existing full program customers.

Don’t let dandelions take over your yard. If you find yourself needing help getting rid of weeds this year, contact LawnAmerica today.

Posted by & filed under landscape tips, landscaping.

 

Spring has finally arrived in North Carolina with trees, shrubs, and lawns coming out of dormancy after a somewhat mild winter. As the weather continues to warms up along with our beneficial April rains, it’s important to start preparing your landscape. Today I want to talk about four spring landscaping tips for Carolina homeowners.

Fertilize your Lawn

Fertilizing your lawn this time of year helps give your lawn the nutrients it needs as it is coming out of winter dormancy. Not only will fertilizing your lawn give you the healthy green color we all want, it will also help to thicken up the turf which will in turn naturally choke out weeds. Keep in mind though, not all fertilizers are created equal.

Mowing
Proper mowing is one of the most important cultural practices of taking care of your lawn.  It helps to remove any dying vegetation of weeds that may have been sprayed this spring. It is also a good idea to remove the dormant vegetation of bermudagrass lawns after the last freeze potential.  In North Carolina, you are usually safe to “scalp” your lawn after April 15th, but it does vary from season to season. For cool season grasses like Fescue, this is prime growing season so it isn’t unusual to have to mow twice a week or more.  Unlike warm season grasses, scalping is not recommended for Fescue, but rather a mowing height at 3 to 4 inches tall will provide the best-looking lawn.  Just make sure the blades on your mower are sharp.  Dull blades rip the grass and leave the grass damaged and more susceptible to disease.

Replant and Replace Trees and Shrubs

Now is a good time to also replant new trees and shrubs, replacing ones that are either dead or just not doing well. I planted a new Japanese Maple where my Redbud was, and it looks great. I’ll prune back dead growth on certain shrubs, so that new growth can come in and grow. This will help keep your landscape looking more polished once summer arrives.

Check your Irrigation System

Another important part of Spring is making sure that your lawn is getting the proper amount of water.  Thankfully we are getting our fair share of help from Mother Nature, but it is North Carolina we all know that weather conditions can turn on dime.  That’s why it is important to check your sprinkler system.  Verify that there aren’t any leaks and that all of the heads are working properly.  In some cases, your shrubs may need to be trimmed to allow proper coverage or the height of the sprinkler heads may need to be adjusted.  If you are uncomfortable with doing it yourself, there are plenty of reputable companies available to help.  We have a few listed on our website under our page.

Now that spring is here, it’s a great time to get your landscape ready for the warmer weather ahead. Just keep these four tips in mind to ensure your landscape is looking its best. If you ever have a problem or concern regarding your landscape, give us a call!

Posted by & filed under fertilizer.

Fertilizer is fertilizer, right? Well, not exactly.

It’s true that most fertilizers contain a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N, P and K), but that’s where the similarities end. While phosphorus and potassium are important and have their place, today we are going to focus on nitrogen, because let’s face it, when we think about applying fertilizer we’re looking for a greener lawn.

Nitrogen is the nutrient most responsible for the green color that is so important to homeowners.  But not all nitrogen sources in fertilizer are made equal or provide the same level of performance.

There are quick release, slow release, controlled release and even stabilized nitrogen products.

Many companies will stick mainly with the quick release products like urea, primarily because it’s a less expensive alternative to the various slow release products. Urea usually releases all of the available nitrogen to the plant and is gone over the course of two-four weeks.

At LawnAmerica though we take a different approach.  We still utilize urea, but as a component of a more balanced nitrogen source.  Our current blend of fertilizer, 36-1-3 contains 25% controlled and slow release nitrogen.

Our fertilizer is custom blended just for us utilizing products like Polyon and Duration CR which are controlled release nitrogen sources designed to last 12 weeks or longer.  We also utilize UFLEXX and UMAXX, which are stabilized nitrogen fertilizers.  Basically, that means they are less likely to be volatized into the atmosphere allowing more time for the product to be properly absorbed into the soil where it can be utilized by the plant.  XCU is another slow release nitrogen that achieves longer release times through polymer-coated sulfur coated urea.
The combination of these products allows us to apply fertilizers now as many of the Fescue lawns in the Carolinas are looking really good, while still having plenty of nitrogen in reserve in the soil to maintain a healthy green color without creating an unnecessary surge of growth over the coming months.

It does cost more to be able to use the advanced nitrogen sources, but in our opinion it is the right thing to do.

There is one other thing that makes our fertilizer better than most. Our people!

When you partner with LawnAmerica to take care of your lawn, you not only get the best products available on the market, you get the best staff as well.   Contact us today to make sure you are giving your lawn the best!