Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and fescue are the three main grass types found in Tulsa and Oklahoma City area lawns. And for these turf types to grow into a thick, healthy, green turf, fertilization is a key component. Bermudagrass especially loves nitrogen, the main component in fertilizer, so it needs to be applied several times during the growing season for best results. Nitrogen requirements for fescue are less, and in fact can harm fescue if applied too much during the summer.
There are all types of fertilizer for turf, with different timing of applications and rates. One of the many things which separate LawnAmerica from the pack of others is the quality of fertilizer we apply to our lawns. Our’s contains from 25% to 75% slow-release nitrogen, which is more efficient and better for the turf and environment. Many others just use quick-release nitrogen, or even just straight Urea (46-0-0), which is much cheaper.
For more information on proper lawn fertilization, READ MORE.
At $59 for a 47 lb bag, this is a rip off. Just hire a professional!
Many homeowners who try to do their own lawn care are subject to the weed-n-feed woes. They don’t realize it, or they would not even purchase this product at the big box stores. When one pays $59 to purchase a bag of something that is supposed to “feed” your lawn and eliminate all weeds (it won’t), it’s just not a good value at all when compared to hiring a professional such as LawnAmerica.
This particular product, with a well-known brand and a fancy bag, says it will fertilize a 15,000′ lawn area. However, there is only about 13 pounds of actual nitrogen in this 47 pound bag. Bermudagrass needs at least one pound of nitrogen per 1000′ of turf every month to perform well. With this, you’ll be applying less than a pound of nitrogen.
These weed-n-feed products have the herbicide portion of the mix applied on a light carrier, so that when it’s applied to the turf, the little granules are supposed to stick to the weeds with the herbicide then absorbed by the weed leaves. So one must water the lawn first so that the weeds are wet, the product is absorbed, and the weeds are killed. It’s not that easy. In reality, few of the herbicide-laced granules actually adhere to weeds, with most being wasted dropping off into the turf and soil. Many weeds are more vertical than horizontal, so it’s almost impossible for any of the product to adhere to weeds. The only herbicide in this mix is a broadleaf herbicide, so grassy weeds and sedges are not affected at all with this product. And if a lawn just has areas of weeds, there is alot of herbicide that is applied over the whole lawn and wasted, let alone the unnecessary herbicide input into the environment.
When we treat a lawn at this time of the season, we’ll apply a granular fertilizer with more nitrogen in the bag, since having a percentage of slow-release nitrogen allows us to safely apply more at one time. Then our technicians will spot-treat with different liquid herbicides only where they are needed, using Integrated Pesticide Management techniques, or IPM. A typical lawn that has had our service for at least a year will only have a few weeds present usually, so we may only spray about a gallon or two of mixed product, with just a few ounces of actual herbicide applied. The key is that it’s only applied where it’s needed, and at the proper rates and products. This is a much better method of caring for lawns, with better results and less input of herbicides. And the best part is that a professional lawn service can do this for about the same cost as the price of that pretty bag at the box store! Plus, it’s guaranteed, or we’ll come back to spot treat any persisting weeds. Try taking the empty Scott’s bag back to the box store and telling them it did not work and you want another bag for free.
So don’t get the weed-n-feed woes this summer, just call a pro!
The reason they call it Nutgrass is not because it drives homeowners and lawn care operators nuts trying to control it, but rather the little nutlets in the soil from which it germinates. Nutgrass is actually a sedge and not a true grass. The main species we deal with in Tulsa and Oklahoma City is Yellow Nutsedge. Purple Nutsedge and Green Kylinga are other species we see in certain areas. Sedges love to grow in moist soil conditions, and we certainly have had our share of that lately. Yellow Nutsedge has tall triangular stems, with narrow light green blades. After mowing, it is hard to notice. However it grows about twice as fast as your turf, so a few days after mowing, it’s sticking up tall and scraggly looking. If left un-mowed for over a week, it can produce a spikelet seedhead, which is even more obnoxious looking! Each nutsedge plant produces hundreds of nutlets underground, which spread out along underground roots. This is one reason why it has exploded in populating many lawns in Oklahoma lawns and other areas. There are thousands of nutlets in a typical lawn just waiting to produce nutsedge plants. Once established in a lawn, it often forms larger areas of plants clumped together. Since it is a sedge, conventional pre-emergent herbicides do not stop it from germinating. It will come up starting in April, and continues to grow and take over lawns on into late summer.
At LawnAmerica, we have used a unique product named Echelon for the past few years for customers on our very best 6 and 7-Step Showcase Care Program. Echelon is a unique, and somewhat expensive product (as most new chemistries are), which is a combination of Barricade pre-emergent for crabgrass and Dismiss Herbicide for nutgrass control. It’s the Dismiss that will not only control nutgrass that is up and growing, but will actually kill the nutlets in the ground also. Plus, Dismiss will control many summer broadleaf weeds, such as dandelion, oxalis, spurge, and others. We have timed this special blanket treatment of Echelon to be applied from early May though late June, when Nutgrass is up and growing, along with other summer annual weeds. We also mix a small amount of our Soilbuilder Organic Soil Ammendment into the mix, giving these lawns a slightly deeper green color response. After an Echelon treatment, these lawns are pretty clean and free of nutgrass and other weeds. Plus, the extra Barricade pre-emergent herbicide applied with this helps prolong your crabgrass control longer into the summer. We also have seen that with this product being applied annually, there is a decrease in the number of nutlets in the soil, leading to less pressure from new Nutgrass germinating.
If you have experienced a bad nutgrass problem, as many customers have, this new product really works well! If you are not currently on our 6 or 7-Step Program, you can still upgrade to this service level if you contact us now. We can apply Echelon up until late June and obtain good results.
Photenia is a beautiful shrub for Oklahoma landscapes. It’s fairy easy to establish and grows quickly, reaching heights of over 6′ within just a few years. If left un-pruned or with minor pruning, it can reach heights of almost 20′. It can serve as a nice wind or privacy block if planted in rows or groupings, such as is evident around the perimeter of Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa along 61st and Lewis streets. They are evergreens, maintaining their leaves all season long. During the spring and summer growing season their leaves are a nice purple or red color, hence the variety named Red-tipped Photinia.
These tender leaves are susceptible to a common disease called Leaf Spot. Some photenias will have this every year, and others seem to be more resistant to it. It typically begins in early April as the new foliage blooms out, with small dark brown spots on the leaves. These can merge together to dis-color the entire leaf, and prevent photosynthesis from occuring, leading to plant health problems and even death if left un-treated. We recommend our Photenia Program for plants with a history of Leaf Spot Disease, with 3-4 treatments of fungicide sprayed on the foliage from mid-spring through early summer, when the disease pressure is at it’s peak. Warm, wet, and humid weather brings on higher disease pressure, so once we get into the hot and dry summer, it typically will not be an issue.
Do not water the foliage of shrubs if at all possible, and do not irrigate in the evening causing the leaves to stay damp all night. Contact us for more information on how LawnAmerica can help prevent this disease and protect the health of your photenias. We also recommend good pruning done a few times during the season to help shape the shrub and prevent it from becoming too tall.
Every year at this time of the season we’ll have some customers contact us about all of these weeds in their lawns in Oklahoma. So with service calls being free in-between regular treatments, our Route Managers will go out to spot-treat only to discover they are not really weeds, but small tree saplings that have germinated in the lawn.
Well technically they are weeds, as a weed is simply a plant growing out of place. And homeowners expect a lawn that is 100% berumudagrass, zoysiagrass, or sometimes fescue. But trees in the landscape and in the area are trying to reproduce like any other living thing, so they’ll produce thousands of little tree seeds every year, and emit them into the environment where the wind, water, animals, etc. will disperse them. And some of them end up germinating in your lawn and landscape.
It’s really not even practical to try to spray it, as once it’s mowed, the little sapling doesn’t have a chance to re-generate and grow. It’s not like a tree is going to grow in the middle of your lawn, unless you don’t mow it down and you want it there. Pre-emergent herbicides do not stop tree saplings from germinating in the lawn, so they will always pop up during mid to late spring. These saplings don’t put any pressure on the turf, and will die out naturally after a few weeks. So if you have certain trees that are heavy seed producers in your neighborhood, expect an annual invasion of these little plants every spring.
We’ve enjoyed a good amount of spring rains in April and now into May, which is nice for the lawns and landscapes in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. But weeds are flowers also, which is the way they naturally reproduce, so they are out in full force also. The best defense against weeds is always a thick, healthy, growing lawn, which makes it more difficult for weed seeds to get to the soil and helps choke out existing weeds. And even with a nice turf, and with fall and spring pre-emergent herbicides applied, one will still have a few weeds pop up, especially in mid to late spring.
This is where post-emergent herbicides come into play, which are mixed with water and sprayed on existing weeds to take them out. Weeds are generally classified into two main groups…..broadleaf and grassy weeds, or dicots and monocots for those who paid attention in science class. Different types of herbicides are applied according to the main types of weeds they are. So other than a product such as Round-up or Glyphosate, which kills anything that is green, good or bad, it pays to have a professional such as LawnAmerica make those decisions as to what to use and how to use it.
Spot-treatment for weeds present, and they usually are, is a part of our regular lawn care service programs. We practice something called Integrated Pest Management, or IPM at LawnAmerica. This basically means we only treat for weeds if there is a weed on a spot-treatment basis for most of our applications. We do this with a backpack sprayer with specific products intended to control certain weeds. So during the main part of the growing season, after applying a granular fertilizer or a liquid organic-based soil amendment to a lawn, we’ll go over it and spot-treat any existing weeds present.
Service calls are also free for full program customers, as long as it’s been less than 30 days from one of these regular lawn treatments. So we encourage our customers to contact us if weeds are persisting, as they sometimes can during rainy spells in May.
It’s early May in Oklahoma, we’ve had some good rains, and while it’s not really hot enough for bemudagrass to get growing well yet, it should be mowed. It always amazes me that we have some customers who put off that first spring mowing for as long as they can, letting the bermudagrass get really tall before whacking it down. Lawns not only will look nicer if they are mowed, it will also help stimulate new and denser turf growth sooner, which helps to choke out any weeds present. And weeds that have been sprayed need to be mowed down in order to complete their kill and to remove the dying vegetation. Weeds don’t just disappear after they are sprayed. It does take time, and the dying plant material needs to be removed in order to look nice.
Three keys to proper mowing now that we are into the mowing season are:
- Mow with a sharp blade
- Mow at proper heights
- Never take off more than 1/3rd of the leaf blade
For more information on proper mowing, visit our website Here
Spring Dead Spot is a turf disease which is unique only to Bermudagrass, especially certain cultivars. It is caused by a common fungus, which actually infects the turf during the fall. The symptoms do not actually appear until the following spring, as circular dead areas up to several feet in diameter. The surrounding grass will be green and healthy, only to be infiltrated with a few up to many round dead areas, sometimes filled with weeds, with little healthy turf to help crowd them out. If you have a severe case of Spring Dead Spot, the spots will re-appear every season, often in the same place. Certain varieties of Bermudagrass are more prone to this disease than others. Hard winters seem to increase the severity of the disease in the spring. It has nothing to do with whether you use a lawn service or not. The disease seems to be most severe in bermudagrass lawns which are from 3-12 years old. As the lawn becomes older, the severity of the disease seems to lessen.
The dead areas will eventually fill in with Bermudagrass as summer progresses. It often takes much of the summer for this to happen though, so your lawn may not look real good for much of the early summer. You can speed up the fill-in by filling the circles with a thin ½” layer of good, black topsoil. This will help the surrounding grass fill in much quicker. Or you could paint with special green turf paint to mask the brown spots. You could also dig out the spots, replace with some good soil, and place a fresh piece of Bermudagrass sod on top. Try to match up with the same variety of Bermudagrass you now have, which may be difficult. This is alot of work, and often the spots will return the next year, so we really don’t recommend this.
There is a preventative treatment program we can do in the fall, which has been shown to lessen the severity of Spring Dead Spot the following spring. A special turf fungicide named Velista can be applied at a fairly specific time—at the first onset of cooler fall weather, along with a follow-up treatment 4 weeks later. This is when the fungus infects the turf. We apply two treatments, spaced about 4 weeks apart, which is the current recommendation from Oklahoma State University. In spring we will take pictures of where the dead spots are, so that in fall we can concentrate where to apply the fungicide in the lawn. At LawnAmerica, we have treated many lawns in mid-September into late October. It has shown some fairly good results, with a decrease in the number of spots and quicker fill-in the following spring. Just because we apply the fungicide, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll have no spots the following spring though. If you have a severe case of Spring Dead Spot, we would recommend you try this, and see if it works for your lawn. The fungicide cost is more than most other products we use, so our fee is 2.2 X your normal lawn treatment price for the two fall treatments. For example, if your regular treatment is $50, the fungicide service will be $110, and covers both treatments.
For more information and to schedule, click here.
Large Patch, or sometimes called Zoysia Patch, is a troublesome turf disease now in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas. It’s caused by a fungus called Rhizoctonia solani, which is found naturally in the soil. As its name implies, Large Patch Disease results in the formation of large patches of blighted turf that sometimes can exceed 20 feet in diameter. This disease mainly occurs in zoysiagrass, but under certain conditions, some varieties of bermudagrass can also get this disease. Wet and rainy weather, with mild temperatures are prime conditions for this, and that’s what we’ve been experiencing. Symptoms appear as large yellow to brown areas, often circular shaped, which can be up to several feet in diameter. A light orange ring is often found around the very outer edge next to the healthy turf, where the spot is spreading out. Spring Dead Spot in bermudagrass is similar, but the spots are smaller.
Large patch of Zoysia is a disease that can wreak havoc on any lawn during relatively cool and wet conditions. The disease is most common in the early spring and late fall as the turf is entering winter dormancy or breaking dormancy. Symptoms of Large Patch appear in roughly circular patches from 2′ up to 10′ or more in diameter. The affected turf will initially be orange, yellow, or reddish-brown in color but will then turn tan and collapse to the ground. The disease can spread rapidly to encompass large areas of turf, and distinct circular patches may not be obvious in these cases.
Hot conditions as we have in summer will dry things out, and the disease goes away. But again in fall, with mild temperatures and high rainfall, it can come back again. Zoysiagrass is so slow to recover from damage that we recommend a spring and a fall fungicide treatment to turf to help prevent this from occurring. If it’s present now, we highly recommend treating turf, as it can quickly spread, damage, and even kill turf.
An annual program with both spring and fall treatments will greatly decrease the incidence of Large Patch in your lawn. For more information and to set up service for treating for Large Patch, call our office at 918-249-5296, or click here.
As with any service business such as LawnAmerica, we could not serve our customers in Oklahoma and our employees could not do their jobs without the excellent and professional work of folks behind the scenes at the office. Today we want to express a special Thank You to our office staff for the great job that you do.
We’ll receive almost 100,000 phone calls or e-mails during 2016 in our main Tulsa office. Our office staff is the first person to address the needs of our customers, and serve as a liaison between them and our field staff. When things go wrong, as they sometimes will in the field, it’s our office staff taking the brunt of the call. When a prospect calls for an estimate or a customer has a question, they take the calls. They make the deposits, pay the bills, and handle the vast amounts of paperwork and records needed in a business like LawnAmerica. They serve both our customers, and our team members, which can be challenging at times.
So we want to say a big Thank You to our administrative professionals, as we think they’re the best around! From Sharon Cowles with over 11 years of experience, to our “newbie” Terri Dershem as a receptionist, when you call LawnAmerica, you get a real person answering the phone, not a machine full of options to choose from. Our Office Mananger, Jeremy Borrer oversees it all, with 10 years of experience in the field, with sales, and in the office. In addition to answering phones, Brian Haden is a spreadsheet genius, Mike Bennett does the inventory, and Tami Jacobs pays the bills. And even though he’s really not technically in the office but rather the warehouse, Brett Boyer does a great job supporting our field staff by keeping our trucks and equipment on the road and working on the lawns.
So take some time to show your appreciation today to the people who selflessly serve both employees and customers not only here at LawnAmerica, but in all businesses.