Posted by & filed under Flowers, landscaping, Tree & shrub.

Knockout RoseMites are.little microscopic creatures which serve no purpose whatsoever, other than to cause turf managers, landscapers, and homeowners to despair. Now Rose bushes in Carolina and other areas of the country are being attacked and even killed by the Rose Rosette Virus, which is spread by the tiny eriophyrid mites from plant to plant. “The disease alters the growth habits and form of the rose,” said Steve Huddleston, senior horticulturalist for the Dallas Arboretum, which has had no roses since 2015. “It results in a phenomenon called witch’s broom, where the ends of the branches get shortened and twisted close together like a broom.”  Even if plants do survive, they are weakened and more likely to develop other problems which could kill the Roses. In my case, two large plants were affected last year, and after some pruning, not much is left other than one small flower for now.

There is not much a homeowner can do to prevent Rose Rosette Virus, other than removing and destroying infected plants. Applying a dormant oil monthly may help somewhat with controlling mites. Planting Roses with other shrubs in the landscape spaced in between them may help cut back on infection by separating the plants.

For more complete information on Rose Rossete Disease, CLICK HERE for a good fact sheet.from Oklahoma State University.

 

Posted by & filed under General, Lawn Care, post-emergent, pre-emergent, Weed-control.

Tree SaplingsLawns are actually not natural. They are nice, healthy, and add tremendous environmental benefits to the urban environment. Mother Nature however is always trying to do her thing, and attempting to eventually grow a forest in your lawn. That’s what all these little tree saplings are that always pop up in Carolina lawns in spring. Many homeowners think they are weeds, and technically they are, as a weed is a plant growing out of place. Homeowners want lawns, with only turf such as fescue growing and no weeds, or tree saplings.

These tree saplings are actually little trees germinating from seeds that blew into the soil last year, or planted by squirrels and other animals, such as acorns from oak trees. Maples, hackberry, elm, and oaks are notorious seed producers. So if you or your neighbors have these types of trees, you’ll probably have tree saplings in your lawn every spring. Pre-emergent products applied earlier don’t do anything to prevent tree saplings from germinating, so they will just come up anyway. It’s really impractical to spray these with a post-emergent herbicide, as they will die out as soon as the lawn is mowed. So they will simply go away soon with mowing, and they don’t put any pressure on the turf at all.

If the lawn was not mowed and you allowed Mother Nature to run her course, then eventually you’d actually have a forest in your lawn. But that’s not going to happen, as you’d receive a citation from the city well before that would come about! So we recommend to just mow them down, as lawns need mowing now anyway.

 

Posted by & filed under Environmental, General, landscaping, Lawn Care.

April National Lawn CareEvery spring in April we celebrate the contribution that healthy lawns play in our families and communities in North Carolina. At LawnAmerica, we take great pride in doing what we do…….caring for lawns so that families can have more free time to do the things they really enjoy. We do this with properly timed treatments of fertilizers, weed-control products, and other inputs which turf needs to remain healthy and thrive. It can be a lot of work, and it’s hard when dealing with the curveballs that Mother Nature throws us at times. We do it for a big payoff though, and it’s much more than just for money in our pockets.

In addition to the aesthetics and economic benefits of quality turf, healthy lawns provide big environmental benefits, such as healthier air and less runoff. To read about the positive benefits of healthy turf, CLICK HERE.

According to a survey commissioned by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and conducted by Harris Poll in May 2015, eighty-three percent of Americans think having a yard is important. Here are a few insights about the value of our lawns and backyards.

Your neighborhood’s landscaping is important. Americans (91%) want to live in an area where they can see or walk to nice landscaping. So if you want the best chance of increasing the home prices in your neighborhood, make sure the landscaping looks good.

Your neighbors care what your yard looks like. Seventy-one percent think it is important that their neighbors have well-maintained yards. Perhaps “good landscaping makes good neighbors” should be the new word.

NIce landscaping helps to sell your house. Eighty-four percent say that the quality of a home’s landscaping would affect their decision about whether or not to buy. Great neighborhood landscaping helps, but it isn’t enough; yours needs to look good too.

 

We want to enjoy our yards. Seventy-five percent of people feel that it is important to spend time outside in their yards.

Despite common misperceptions, even Millennials want to spend time in their yards. Seventy-five percent of Millennials think spending time outside in their yards is important.

People want help with their landscape. A large majority of Americans (67%) agree that professional landscape help would allow them to have a nicer yard.

So show your love for your lawn this April, by showering it with the attention it deserves and partnering with the professionals at LawnAmerica!

Posted by & filed under Lawn Care.

earthday

This month on April 22nd, we’ll enjoy Earth Day, a celebration of the earth we live on. It’s an amazing place, this planet, created by God for us to live on and enjoy. Too bad we humans seem to mess it up at times. From one who actually makes his living by tending to the earth, loves the outdoors, and who spent over 4 months hiking through a beautiful part of our earth on the Appalachian Trail 5 years ago, I truly do love the earth and the benefits and bounty it provides.

For most homeowners in the Carolina area, our part of the earth we’re most responsible for is our lawn and landscape. A well-cared for lawn not only looks good and adds value to a home, it also provides real environmental benefits to urban cities such as the Charlotte or Asheville area. A 50×50 foot lawn area (that’s pretty small actually) will supply enough oxygen generation for a family of four, while absorbing harmful carbon dioxide and other gasses. Lawns in our county can store up to 37 billion tons of carbon, lessening the impact of global warming on our earth. The air temperature over grass can be up to 30 degrees cooler than the air over a blacktop driveway or parking lot. So a healthy green lawn and landscaping will cool our cities, lessening the heat trapping effect of concrete. Lawns and landscapes help buffer sound pollution, trap dirt, and prevent soil erosion, all of which help make our cities more livable.

According to a recent Harris Poll, most homeowners love their lawns, with 88% of Americans saying that having a nice lawn and landscape is important. A well cared for lawn and landscape has solid economic value, adding up to 15% to the value of a home most experts agree. Add the aesthetic and psychological benefits of enjoying a nice-looking lawn, and it just makes sense to do what we can to appreciate and care for our lawns well.

The products and the processes that professionals and homeowners use to provide the results of a healthy green lawn are safe and pose hardly any risk to people, pets, and the environment. It’s important to follow label instructions, and practice Integrated Pest Management, which basically means treating for weeds and pests only if there is a problem that justifies that treatment. Using organic-based and slow-release fertilizers at the proper times and using correct rates is important. And cultural practices such as proper mowing and irrigation also can go a long way towards growing a healthy lawn in conjunction with environmentally responsible application of fertilizers and weed-control products.

So April is a great time to invest in your little part of the earth and love your lawn, by taking care of it responsibly, and nurture it to provide the amazing benefits that it can provide us. For more information on the benefits and care of lawns, visit www.loveyourlandscape.org or www.thelawninstitute.org.

Posted by & filed under General.

The effects of global warming are being demonstrated right before our eyes now in Carolina lawns, of all places. We’ve been receiving strange reports at LawnAmerica of doughnuts appearing overnight in area lawns. That’s weird enough, but our concern is that people have been eating those, only to experience some sort of hallucinogenic effect and acting goofy and such after consuming these.

What seems to have happened is with the extremely warm winter and now spring, a rare mushroom has moved up from Mexico, that historically grows only in hot, dry climates. And in Mexico, they are known for their hallucinogenic effects on people, not harming them, but causing them to act goofy, almost like they are drunk or high on something. As the species has moved north into the south, it’s actually evolved into what’s called a doughroom. Seems that it looks more like a doughnut than a mushroom, and it appears very only after a hot spell, when temperatures cool just a little at night to below 48 degrees and the humidity increases to be above 60. So a homeowner wakes up to discover what looks like doughnuts all over their lawn!

These are actually called doughooms, not doughnuts, but tell that to a lady leaving for the office without breakfast or a hungry kid on his way to school. Many have been gobbling these up, only to be a little loopy a few hours later. Reports from a school in Huntersville are that a most of a 4th grade class had gone crazy and tied up their teacher with masking tape while going out for recess all day running around on the playground. And homeowners have been thinking they were like Moses and the Israelites receiving “doughnuts from heaven” or something. And after consuming these doughrooms, they’ve been reported to be doing crazy, illogical things, like calling Trugreen to care for their lawn rather than LawnAmerica.

So if doughrooms appear in your lawn, don’t pick them, and for sure don’t eat them! Only LawnAmerica has the effective control for these. Contact us now, and we’ll have one of our friendly, experienced Route Mangers come out to spray these and rid your lawn of this invasive species. Or we can safely gather those up, and take them to our sales guy, Darrell. Some people are immune to the goofy effects of Doughrooms, and he is one of the lucky few. He can consume mass quantities of these, and not show any of the hallucinogenic effects of these.

And…….Happy April Fools Day from LawnAmerica!

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

HenbitWeeds can be tough to control, especially in spring. And that’s why many homeowners in the Carolina area call LawnAmerica and depend upon us to help control weeds. Weeds that are growing now are mainly winter annual weeds, which germinate way back in fall and into early spring. They are hard to control now since they are going to flower and at the end of their normal life cycle. Post-emergent weed sprays are usually effective, but they are not perfect. There are things a homeowner can do to help with controlling existing weeds.

  1. Mow the weeds and lawn about 7 days after a treatment.
  2. Make sure to water in the pre-emergent applied to prevent summer weeds such as crabgrass.
  3. Be patient, as it takes time for weeds to die, especially in cool weather.
  4. Call LawnAmerica for free service calls if needed to spot-treat persisting weeds.

For more information on weed-control in spring, VISIT HERE.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Flowers, General, landscaping.

 

Annual FlowersWith the warm spring weather finally, it’s tempting to pick up some flats of those brightly colored flowers at the nursery and plant them into your flower bed. Annual flowers are just that….annual, meaning they survive just one season and do not come back year after year as perennials do. I like perennials for this very reason, that you don’t have to be continually planting new stuff every year. However, annuals do have a place in the home gardens of North Carolina, so here are some recommendations for those.

You’ll pay more for purchasing annual flowers in packs and trays that are growing rather than trying to establish from seed. It’s much easier and faster though, so this is usually the best route to take. There are some popular flowers such as Pansies that can be planted in fall or early spring, and they are really nice. With the summer heat though, they’ll be gone by June or July. So at this point in the spring, I’d recommend going with more of a summer annual that grows and produces flowers up until the first frost of fall. Proven and new varieties of Impatients, Periwinkle, Petunia, Snapdragon, and Begonias are hard to beat. Lantana and Melampodium will thrive in hot summers. And consider Ornamental Sweet Potato for an easy, fast-growing vine that fills in gardens with green foliage, just no flowers.

We are still two weeks away from the frost date of April 15th, so I’d wait until that and allow the soil to warm up a little more before planting annuals. And don’t forget that some old varieties such as Zinnia and Marigold can easily be established from seed, which is much cheaper than planting small plants rooted in cell packs. For more information on planting and caring for annual flowers in Carolina, VISIT HERE.

Posted by & filed under Environmental, Lawn Care.

ST. Patricks DayDid you know that there’s gold in your grass! Not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but every day your lawn and landscape is healthy adds value to your home and our local communities in the Charlotte and Asheville areas in North Carolina.

According to Smart Money Magazine, a nice lawn and landscape adds up to 11.3% to the value of a home. Money Magazine states that: “attractively landscaping your yard can be one of the most cost-effective ways to boost your home’s curb appeal.” And for businesses, greening of business areas increases price and draws customers to the businesses. A recent study in Boulder, Colorado neighborhoods showed that property values decreased by $4.20 for each foot away from a greenbelt.

LawnAmerica provides great jobs to many folks, so we have a personal vested interest in caring for lawns and landscapes in the areas we serve. We are just a small part of growing industry though with tremendous economic benefits. According to a recent USDA-funded research project, the green industry provided the following benefits:

  • $147.8 billion in output
  • $64.3 billion in labor income
  • $6.9 billion in indirect business taxes
  • $95.1 billion in value added

Green spaces and healthy lawns and landscapes benefit us in so many other ways also. Environmental benefits of healthy lawns and landscapes include oxygen generation, soil erosion prevention, cooling or urban areas, and carbon dioxide absorption just to name a few. And then there is the aesthetics and physiological benefits that green spaces can provide.

So if you’ve not done so yet, make an investment in your lawn, by becoming a partner with LawnAmerica, and allow us to help you find some gold in your grass.

Posted by & filed under Environmental, Lawn Care, Tree & shrub.

Cold SpringAfter enjoying a very mild late winter and early spring, it seems that winter has made a sudden re-appearance in the Carolina’s. This can affect plants that have already bloomed out or are sensitive to early spring freezes. Fescue lawns, being a cool-season turf, will be fine. Certain landscape plants or plants in the gardens though could be damaged. We are not out of the woods yet in dealing with cold weather, so VIsit Here for a link from North Carolina State University on how to deal with cold snaps.

One simple thing to do for all plants is to make sure there is good soil moisture before cold weather hits. Certain plants and flowers can be covered with a cloth cover, not plastic, on nights where temperatures are forcasted to drop into the 20’s. And if flower blooms are damaged, or new green foliage damaged, many plants will recover with time.

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Flowers, Insect Control, landscaping, Tree & shrub.

Crape MurderEvery year at this time of the season, I cringe at the sight of the “bad haircuts” on what should be large, beautiful Crape Myrtle shrubs. Homeowners, and even “professional’ landscapers whack back the stems on Crape Myrtles at the very same point they were pruned last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. All that’s left is an ugly, twisted clump of stem at the tops of the shrub. This picture on the left is really bad. It’s even worse because it was a bad pruning cut, looking like it was just ripped off with a weed-eater or something, rather than a clean, sharp cut.

We call this practice of pruning Crape Myrtles every year in the same place, just to give one something to do, as Crape Murder. It does not actually kill the shrub, but it it does take away from the natural growth, health, and beauty of the shrub. These shrubs can grow quite large, with colorful displays of flowers all summer, especially in the more southern states such as Carolina. With the warmer winters we are having, I don’t remember one where they were damaged by a hard freeze, which can happen. In that case, then yes, some pruning may be needed.

Otherwise, we recommend to just let them grow with minor pruning just to keep a nice shape and prevent from becoming too dense. If space allows, let them grow to 8, 10, even 12 feet or more. And if pruning is needed, don’t take out every stem at one time, but selectively prune for shaping.

For a good video on Crape Murder, and how to properly prune these shrubs, visit here. And if you really want to do something at this time of year to help your Crape Myrtle, apply a systemic insecticide and dormant oil. This will help prevent aphids and scale later on in the season, which are two pests which can harm Crape Myrtles.