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.
Bermudagrass Mite damage on a lawn.
Bermudagrass Mites are becoming an ever-increasing problem in Oklahoma lawns. I’ve been caring for lawns for over 30 years in Oklahoma, and until a few years ago, mites were not that big of an issue. We don’t really know why they are increasing, but the changing weather patterns with warmer winters does seem to play a role in it. Another big factor is that two popular insecticides that were even labelled to control mites, Dursban and Diazinon, have been off the market due to E.P.A. regulations for the past 10 years or so. The replacement insecticides used for things such as flea and tick control while good for those insects, do little to control Bermudagrass Mites.
Mites are very small, only 1/100” in size, so they cannot be seen with the naked eye. The mites feed under the leaf sheaths, sucking sap from the plants. The can go from egg to adult in 7-10 days, so the population can quickly explode into a damaging level in turf. As the mites feed on bermudagrass, the plants shrivel and develop a “witches broom” effect or what looks like tufted growth on the stem. Yellowing and wilting then can occur, giving the appearance of drought stress and thinning turf. Most homeowners, and even many professionals, cannot properly diagnose Mite problems due to the small size, newness of the problem, and because the symptoms looks similar to other issues such as drought.
Mites spread by wind, water, from other insects, etc. If mite damage is present, mow turf a little shorter than normal and bag the clippings to remove as many mites as possible. Water and fertilize the grass well so that the turf will outgrow the damage. There is no miticide or insecticide that has the bermudagrass mite on the label. However, university research and our experience has been that at least two liquid treatments of insecticides such as Bifenthrin applied about a week apart can provide some control of the mites. We also add horticulture oil to help smother the mites and their eggs. LawnAmerica can provide a liquid insecticide treatment if needed. You may also try insecticide which can be applied with a regular garden hose and try the treatment yourself.
For more information, visit our YouTube on Bermudagrass Mites at:
Happy Earth Day, a celebration of this 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.
For most homeowners in the Oklahoma area, our part of the earth we’re most responsible for is our home lawn and landscape. A well-cared for lawn not only looks good, it also adds value to our homes and provides real environmental benefits to urban cities such as the Tulsa or Oklahoma City area. A healthy green lawn and landscaping will cool our cities, lessening the heat trapping effect of concrete. The air temperature over grass can be up to 30 degrees cooler than the air over a blacktop driveway or parking lot. Lawns and landscapes help buffer sound pollution, trap dirt, and prevent soil erosion, all of which help make our cities more livable. A small 50×50 foot lawn area 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 the atmosphere.
According to a recent Harris Poll, most homeowners love their lawns, with over 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 and landscapes.
The products and the processes that professionals such as LawnAmerica use to provide the results of a healthy green lawn are safe and pose very little 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 go a long way towards growing a healthy lawn in conjunction with environmentally responsible application of fertilizers and weed-control products.
For more information on the benefits and care of lawns, visit www.loveyourlandscape.org or www.thelawninstitute.org.
Mosquitoes can be a nasty pest in home landscapes in Oklahoma. In addition to carrying diseases such as West Nile Virus and Dengue, the big concern now is with the new Zika Virus outbreak. Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated that the Zika virus is “scarier” than first thought, and that mosquitoes that carry the virus could travel to more states in the US than previously thought.
There are over 100 different species of mosquitoes in the US, but less than 10 are actually considered as hazardous to health. The Zika virus is carried and transmitted by only one, the Aedes species. This species of mosquito prefers to fly and rest in landscape areas below 10′ from the ground, feeding mainly on mammals. Another “bad boy” species, the Culex, prefers to fly and rest above 10′ up in the air, feeding on birds. The Culex species is the main carrier of West Nile Virus.
With our new Buzz Off Mosquito Control by LawnAmerica, we’re providing some peace of mind for homeowners concerned about the hazards and nuisance of mosquitoes, by treating the landscape and areas around the home with two proven insect control products, Demand and Archer. Demand is so safe that it can actually be used indoors also, and is much more effective and long-lasting compared to most other products that are used. We apply these insect-control products with a special backpack mist blower into the landscape foliage, around the home, and along the perimeter of the backyard especially.
Other mosquito control tips, such as keeping gutters clean and cleaning up areas where standing water accumulates, can be found by clicking here. And if you want to combat mosquitoes, along with helping with other insect pests around the home such as ants, spiders, fleas, and ticks, contact the professionals at LawnAmerica for more information on Buzz Off.
Aphids are very small soft bodied insects found on many trees and shrubs in the Oklahoma landscape which can sometimes cause damage to plants. Some are wingless and others with wings, in colors from green, to red, brown, and black. Damage to plants is caused by their piercing-sucking mouthparts that piece the leaves of plants to suck the sap out of them, causing curling, dis-coloration, and even death. The aphids produce a sticky substance called honeydew, with then coats leaves and stems. This in turn serves as a food source for ants, and can cause black sooty mold to form on leaves and stems. So plants can basically become a sticky, moldy mess sometimes form aphid infestations, which may not kill them, but does stunt them or dis-color them and cause them to look bad. There are several generations of aphids per season, so check every few weeks for high populations. They tend to from dense clumps on susceptible shrubs, such as crape myrtle, rose, fruit trees, hackberry, conifers, and others.
Natural predators such as ladybugs do help keep them in check. Just washing plants with a high pressure stream of water can help somewhat. Application of horticulture oils help smother the eggs during winter, and some can be applied during the season to smother the small adults. Systemic insecticicdes such as imidacloprid do a great job of preventing aphids from feeding during the season. Our T1 Early Spring Tree Shrub Dormant oil treatment in fact is a combination of both dormant oil and a systemic insecticide. And for existing populations, many common insecticides are labelled for control. Since they tend to prefer the underneath side of leaves, spray so that the insecticides are reaching those underneath areas. Always read the label and follow directions when applying insecticides for control.
Poa annua, or Annual Bluegrass, is a common winter annual grassy weed found in Oklahoma lawns at this time of year. It mainly germinates in the fall with the first cool rains, and stays fairly small until the following spring. It’s a lighter green color and shallow-rooted compared to the existing turf. It is a prolific seeder, producing hundreds of tiny seeds, which will lead to the next generation of weeds if left un-checked.
The best way to control Poa annua is with the application of a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall, before weed seeds germinate. At LawnAmerica, we use a great new product named Specticle in bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, which does an excellent job of prevention. Later in the fall, we add an additional product names Simazine, which will also control any newly emerged weed plants. In fescue turf however, we cannot apply these fall pre-emergent products, since they would inhibit fescue from germinating in the fall, and they are not even labelled for use in fescue turf. There is one product named Prograss that can be applied in late fall and winter to a fescue lawn and control Poa annua. It’s an expensive treatment, and usually not recommended. We feel that in a thick, healthy fescue turf, the Annual Bluegrass is not that evident in the turf, and does not justify treatments in most cases.
If Poa annua is present now during April and May, it can be spot treated with various post-emergent products such as Monument, Revolver, and Certainty. These will take out the bluegrass without harming the desirable turf. However, as the bermudagrass greens up and the weather turns hotter, this tends to choke out any Poa annua weeds. In wet, shady areas of the lawn, Annual Bluegrass can remain all year as a perennial weed in some areas.
If you have warm-season turf such as bermudagrass or zoysiagrass, scalping is a process which many homeowners and mowing companies do during spring. Scalping turf basically is mowing down the grass really short, removing much of the brown, dormant leaves and stems, and removing those by bagging the clippings. It does help even out the turf and it looks nice after doing so. It may help slightly with lessening thatch accumulation, but not much. It does help with removing any dying winter weeds present. And it does help open up the turf, allowing the soil to warm up faster and greening up your lawn quicker now in spring.
However, we stress to not scalp too soon in early spring, as it will increase the chance of cold damage and winterkill on bermudagrass in mid-spring. We like to keep the root system and crown of the plants insulated with that dormant turf until the chance of a late spring freeze is past. It looks like the 10-day forecast calls for nothing close to freezing temperatures though in Oklahoma, so if you want to break out the mower for the first time this spring, I think it’s OK to do so now. If you have a cool-season grass such as fescue, you’ve probably mowed a few times already, as it’s been green and growing for a few weeks now. And NEVER scalp a fescue turf, as it does not tolerate shorter mowing heights as bermudagrass does. We like to see fescue mowed no shorter than 2.5″ in spring, and higher as we get into the summer and fall.
And before firing up your mower for the first time, if not done last fall, sharpen the blade, clean out the gas line, change the oil, and generally get it tuned-up for proper mowing this spring.
Well, that’s better than having ants in your pants! This time of the season, ants do seem to be more prolific in Oklahoma home lawns. Little mounds of dirt piled up by the working ants can be seen along edges or in the turf. And with dormant bermudagrass, the ant mounds are more visible since the grass is not full and growing such as with a fescue lawn. Ants really don’t harm the turf at all, and in fact, are natures best little aerators. They are more of a nuisance than anything else. With the exception of fire ants, which can be bad news, we don’t recommend treating the lawn for ants.
If the ants are entering your home, then consider doing a perimeter treatment with insecticide, which controls the ants around the home and prevents them from entering. Our Perimeter Pest Control Program does a good job of helping to control ants, spiders, centipedes, and other pests from entering your home. This consists of four treatments of both granular and liquid insecticides around the outside perimeter of your home, applying around openings such as windows, doors, vents, and other areas where bugs can enter the home. It’s not perfect, but does do a good job of preventing most insect issues inside the home, with actually applying products inside.