Fleas and ticks can be a year-round problem in Oklahoma, especially with the mild winters we’ve experienced lately. They are a real nuisance on our dogs and cats, along with being a health issue. And especially with ticks in the landscape, diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease can be threats. So it’s a good idea to control these small but irritating critters with both cultural and sometimes chemical practices.
LawnAmerica provides a good Flea & Tick Control Program as an add on service for homeowners. We always stress though to not just treat the lawn, but also the pets, and even indoors if needed. Our service is good, but we can’t guarantee that you’ll never see a flea or tick on your pet. Check with your veterinarian as to which products are good for pets.
We use a granular product that contains Permethrin, which is a very common and safe product. They affect the nervous system of the insect, causing repetitive nerve firings. They are effective yet easily broken down, so this makes their toxicity fairly low. Permethrin controls fleas, ticks, ants, and many other common surface insects. After the granular product is activated with irrigation, it will provide about 3-4 weeks of residual control of insects. Permethrin is so safe that it is even applied directly to animals, such as my cattle in my pasture at the farm. Even certain clothing now has Permethrin imbedded into it for insect control in outdoor situations. For a label, which details probably more information about it than you really want to know, visit HERE.
For best results, we apply the Permethrin with summer applications of fertilizer, about every 4-6 weeks. So with 3-4 treatments during the peak of the insect season, this really helps lessen the population of insect pests such as fleas and ticks in the Tulsa and OKC areas. Our new Buzz Off Mosquito Control Program also uses a form of Permethrin, along with another insecticide, so this service also helps cut back on flea & tick pressure in the landscape.
For more complete information on controlling fleas and ticks, visit this OSU Master Gardener fact sheet: http://www.tulsamastergardeners.org/lawngarden/insects/fleas_ticks.shtml
And for more information on our LawnAmerica Flea & Tick Control Program, visit HERE.
Summer is a great time to aerate a bermudagrass or zoysiagrass lawn in Oklahoma. The root system on these warm season grasses is very active during the warmth of summer, so roots will absorb oxygen from the soil efficiently and new turf roots will grow into the new holes in the soil made by the aeration equipment. Our service will remove thousands of small soil cores about 3.4” wide by 2” deep, and deposit them on the surface. These plugs of soil will soon disappear, as they “melt” back into the turf with time and water.
Aeration provides several great benefits to the health of your turf:
- Helps lessen soil compaction and allow better absorption of oxygen by the root system.
- Helps stimulate a denser root system.
- Allows water to more easily penetrate into the soil and prevent runoff.
- Helps control thatch by depositing fresh soil micro-organisms on top of the turf and decompose thatch.
Many golf courses aerate their fairways at least once annually. While this may not fit into the budget of most homeowners, we’d recommend at least every few years to aerate your lawn. At LawnAmerica, we provide this service from June through September, with July and August being the preferable months to do this. Cool season turf such as Fescue is best aerated in fall, in conjunction with fall fescue seeding. In this case, we go over the lawn twice with the aeration equipment, which with all the loose soil provided, really helps with seed germination.
To order this service, and Save $25 off this summer, visit HERE, and enter the code SAVE25.
Fescue is not very green in our hot summers.
It’s July, it’s hot, and it’s pretty dry also. With temperatures in the 90’s and breaking 100 degrees this week, it’s pretty rough not only on outdoor workers such as the LawnAmerica guys treating lawns, it’ tough on the turf also. Fescue is a cool-season grass, which is obviously not the case now in Oklahoma. So no matter what a homeowner does, fescue is just not going to look real great in July and August in Oklahoma. It’s just too hot, and it just sits there, and doesn’t even grow much, while fading to a brownish color if it’s dry.
Good irrigation will help, so supply about 1.5” per week of water if Mother Nature does not help us. Water about 3-4 times per week, not every day, and only early in the mornings if possible. Raise your mowing height on Fescue now, which will help the root system grow deeper and pick up that deep soil moisture, if it’s there.
At LawnAmerica, we treat our fescue lawns totally different in the heat of summer. Applying the same type of fertilizer to Fescue in summer as we use on warm-season turf such as abermudagrass and Zoysiagrass would burn and damage the Fescue. So we use either a granular fertilizer product with mainly organic material and a bio-stimulate named Humic DG, or in most cases, will apply our liquid Soilbuilder to the lawn. Neither of these will burn the turf in summer and can be safely applied. Both products will supply very small amounts of slow-release nitrogen, some iron, and mainly organic soil ammendments which help to feed and improve the soil. This helps Fescue to remain as healthy as possible during the heat of summer, while helping the turf to utilize soil nutrients more effectively in fall as the Fescue recovers from summer stress, and new Fescue plants are added with seeding in the fall.
So rest assured that LawnAmerica knows the drill on caring for Fescue properly and using the right materials at the right time. With our 32 years of experience in caring for turf, and by keeping up with the latest innovations on lawn care products, your Fescue will survive this hot summer just fine, as long as you do your part with proper watering and mowing.
With hot and dry weather that we encounter in July and August in Oklahoma, a common summer broadleaf weed named Spurge makes its’ presence known. It can not only grow in lawns, particularly well along the edge bordering the street, but in landscape beds, small cracks in driveways, etc. It does not take much soil for Spurge to germinate in and grow, with its’ deep taproot sinking down wherever it can find a place to grow. It is well adapted to hot, dry, Oklahoma summers with thick fleshy leaves holding the water in the plant well. From one taproot, spurge can spread out like a mat into the lawn or shrub bed. The good news is that it’s easy to pull up. And since our broadleaf herbicides are not as effective when temperatures are over 90 degrees, this is really the best way to eradicate it. With the thick, waxy, and small leaves, it’s difficult for a broadleaf herbicide to adhere to the leaves and be absorbed for good control.
Spurge is one of those broadleaf weeds which the early spring pre-emergent really does not control much. It will help some, but spurge is just going to germinate during the summer. Our Bed Weed-Control Program, with special pre-emergents applied in early spring, will actually control spurge better than our lawn pre-emergent, Barricade. So with this troublesome summer weed, one will have to go “old school” some and hand pick the weeds in most cases.
Half a Pear tree gone!
Oklahoma is subject to some crazy weather, with spring and summer severe storms pelting us with rain, hail, high winds, and a few tornadoes spinning from time to time. This was the case on Thursday, July 14th, when blue skies in the morning gave way to dark scary looking clouds by noon. You know it’s going to be bad when the sky has that dark, greenish hue to it, with clouds swirling all around. Tornado sirens blasted, and the storm blew through for about an hour or so, with heavy rain and high winds.
As I drove through Tulsa, many neighborhoods had leaves, tree branches, even entire trees blown down by the high winds. One tree in particular which we really despise is the Bradford Pear tree. It was a popular tree planted in many home lawns back in the 80’s and 90’s especially, before folks discovered how weak they are in standing up to high winds. Bradford pears grow very quickly, and do form a nice oval canopy, with nice white flowers blooming in the early spring. However, they are really more like a shrub than a tree, need frequent pruning to keep from becoming too large, and eventually will just be blown down by Oklahoma winds. Their wood and branch structure is very weak, so as the tree in this picture, will not stand up to high winds or ice storms. So the remaining part of this tree will not look good or survive, so it will need to be taken out.
This Silver Maple will now need some serious pruning or removal.
Another old tree variety that was planted years ago that has a weak branch structure is the Silver Maple. It too will loose entire branches with wind damage, which causes the tree to look really bad and eventually will need to be removed from the landscape. There are newer varieties of Maples, such as Red and Yellow Maples, which have much better shapes and structure, stronger wood, and are less prone to wind damage. They also exhibit great fall colors, so they are much better choices for a home landscape in Tulsa or OKC.
We can control weeds and bermudagrass from taking over your beds.
Our lawn care service in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas controls weeds in your home lawn, with applications of fertilizers and weed-control products to the lawn. However, we don’t apply these same products into landscape beds where flowers and shrubs are located. Sure, some of the granular fertilizer pellets will shoot into adjoining beds close to the turf, and that can help the plants some that are growing there. But much of the herbicides we are applying to the lawn cannot be sprayed into the beds, as they could harm desirable plants growing there. So we are always very careful when spraying lawn areas that have adjoining flowers and shrubs.
We do have a special optional program, our Weed-Control in Beds Program, which specifically targets weeds that can grow into ornamental beds. This is not only an eyesore, these weeds will compete for water and nutrients needed by the plants you are trying to grow. With this, we apply a special granular pre-emergent herbicide named Snapshot, which safely prevents many grassy and some broadleaf weeds from germinating. We apply this in early spring with our Round 1 Treatment, and again in early fall with our Round 6 treatment. It’s not 100%, and it does not stop nutgrass from coming up. That will just have to be pulled up by hand during the season.
During one or more of our summer treatments, we then go in and apply another special herbicide named Fusilade. It can be sprayed over the top of most flowers and ornamentals to control grassy weeds such as crabgrass and even bermudagrass which often creeps in from the lawn and can take over a bed if left un-checked. It does not harm ornamentals, and yet will kill any grassy plant, including bermudagrass. It’s very tough to keep bermudagrass out of beds, but if this is done once or twice per summer, it really makes a difference.
Another cultural practice to help keep weeds from taking over a shrub bed is to properly mulch. It not only looks better and helps preserve soil moisture, it also makes it more difficult for weed seeds to reach the soil and germinate. Now is a good time to add some fresh mulch to your ornamental beds.
For more information on our Bed Weed-Control Program, CLICK HERE:
Bermudagrass, or Cynodon dactylon as my college professor would call it, is the most common turf type in Oklahoma lawns. Bermudagrass is warm-season, sun-loving grass, drought tolerant, wear tolerant, and fairly easy to grow. It’s usually established by sodding, laying rolls of existing turf on bare soil, to establish a lawn quickly. Certain varieties can also be established by seed, such as common bermudagrass. However, these varieties are not as good for home lawns compared to the newer hybrid turf varieties which are sodded. One can also save some money by plugging or sprigging bermudagrass roots and stolons into the soil, watering well, and with patience, the turf will spread out and develop into a thick turf with time. Now, in the heat of summer, is a great time to do this to establish bermudagrass.
Bermuda grass originally came from Africa, where it had frequent disturbances such as grazing, flooding, and fire. It can be forum growing in pastures and understories of open woodlands and orchards. It is called bermudagrass in the U.S. because it was introduced from the Bermuda Island many years ago. Today, it is a favorite pasture grass for cattle, used in home lawns and parks, golf courses, and on sports fields.
During a drought, and during the cold of winter, bermudagrass leaves will turn brown and go into a dormant state. During June it was dry, and un-irrigated turf was turning brown in some areas. The recent rains have helped green up the turf some. The crown and root system are still alive, but the top part of the plant stops growing and turns brown. This is the natural way that the grass survives either cold conditions or drought conditions. In Oklahoma, bermudagrass typically will begin to slow growth and go dormant in late October to November, and then green-up again in late April, depending upon the weather.
Bermudagrass will grow and perform well in Oklahoma especially with the following:
- Good full sun area, receiving at least 8 hours of full sunlight each day.
- Hot temperatures. Bermudagrass does not like cool weather.
- Good soil fertility. Bermudagrass loves nitrogen, about 4-5 lbs/1000’ per season.
- Good watering. While it will survive without water in a drought, it will not be green.
- Good mowing. As with any turf, it needs to be mowed properly—about 1.5”-2.5” high.
Bermudagrass will develop a thick turf if maintained properly, and help to choke out many invasive weeds. Proper weed-control will help cut down on weeds competing with the turf also. One common problem in home lawns is the thinning of bermudagrass turf as small trees become larger trees, shading portions of the lawn. At this point, seeding fescue into these shaded areas is needed, which can tolerate some shade compared to sun-loving bermudagrass.
We’ve had some much-needed rain recently in Oklahoma, which the lawns really needed. So your bermudagrass lawn especially may be growing like crazy now with the hot weather, which bermudagrass loves. Did you know that there is an easy way to cut your mowing time in half with the use of Primo on your turf?
Primo is a great product that many lawncare companies have available which slows down the growth of your turf by 50%, reducing the need for weekly mowings. Primo is a turfgrass growth regulator, manufactured by Syngenta Professional Products. It is a liquid treatment that is sprayed on lawns during the growing season. We have been applying Primo to some of our customers lawns for years with great results. Those homeowners who know about Primo and have used it for the most part are very happy, and have us apply Primo several times during the growing season on their bermudagrass lawns. And if you are paying a mower to mow your lawn every week, you can save money by going to every two weeks with the use of Primo. In most cases, the cost of a Primo application is less than paying for 6 mowings instead of 3 during a 6 week period, which is about the length of time a treatment will last.
Not only does Primo slow down the topgrowth of turf, it also enhances turf color, provides a denser turf, and increases root development. We apply Primo to OneOak Field in Tulsa just for this reason, to improve the quality of their playing surface. Many local golf courses also do the same. Environmental benefits are substantial, with an average of three fewer mowings over a 6-week period, leading to a decrease in exhaust emissions. Fewer clippings means no need for bagging clippings. And a healthier root system will decrease the water consumption of the turf.
I’ve gone on vacation for two weeks at a time during the summer, and with Primo, have come back to a lawn that still barely needs mowing. It’s a great product, which I find that most homeowners still don’t realize is out there. To me, the time savings, environmental benefits, and the fact that Primo really does produce a greener, thicker, more attractive lawn make this a no-brainer decision to use during the summer. For more information, CLICK HERE.
The fall webworm infestation in certain Oklahoma trees is here, even though it’s summer, with the first generation of pests wrapping up webs in trees. The fall webworm larva hatch from eggs deposited on tree leaves, mainly pecan, walnut, persimmon, and other fruit bearing trees. Some ornamental trees found in the landscape such as river birch, oak, and sweet gum can also be prone to attacks. My native pecan trees have been hit, although not too bad yet.
The caterpillar will eat the leaves while forming a web around the outside of branches. They will soon pupate in the forest floor or lawn and overwinter, hatching out later this year or next as small adult moths starting the cycle all over again.
The webs are an eyesore, but the caterpillars will rarely cause significant damage to trees.Trees don’t die from webworm invasions, unless there are other problems with the tree now or later. We don’t recommend treating with insecticides once the webs form, as the damage has been done by the time webs are present. Plus, it’s difficult for any insecticide applied to even penetrate the webs for effective control. A high pressure hose or a long stick may be used to knock the unsightly webs from tree branches, but otherwise, just let wind and weather take care of them. If you insist, our tree & shrub department can come out to spray for webworms, but the existing webs will not disappear. This will help prevent further damage for a few weeks, but a second generation may come later in early fall also.
In some cases, a systemic granular or liquid insecticide named imidacloprid, or Merit, can be applied in early spring under the tree. This insecticide is then absorbed by the roots and taken up into the tree to help control infestation. As the worms eat the foliage, small amounts of imidacloprid are absorbed to control the insect pest. Always follow label instructions when applying insecticides.
By now, most bermudagrass areas that were affected by Spring Dead Spot disease are in the process of filling in with healthy turf from the sides. With good fertilization and watering, along with this hot weather we are experiencing, bermudagrass will fill in those dead spots pretty quickly.
Spring Dead Spot is a troublesome disease, which affects only bermudagrass, and especially certain varieties of bermudagrass. It’s most prevalent in lawns that were sodded about 3-12 years ago, and tends to become less of a problem as the lawn matures.
Fall treatments of a special turf fungicide will really help with this problem, with few spots in the spring and faster fill-in of dead areas. Two treatments are required in September and October. Last fall we treated many lawns with Velista Fungicide with good results. As you can see in this picture, the lawn this spring has healthy bermudagrass with few spots present. The fungus infects turf in the fall, so these treatments are needed then to prevent the symptoms of large dead spots in what should be green bermudagrass in the spring. Left un-treated, some lawns that are prone to the disease will be inundated with ugly, brown dead spots every spring.
Contact LawnAmerica for more information and a quote for this service.