Posted by & filed under Uncategorized .

689e0d9c-1560-45ce-ba69-8b62f281eb59Next week can’t come soon enough for many of us, as this long and nasty presidential race mercifully comes to an end. There are many important state and regional races and state questions to decide upon also, but it’s the presidential race that has dominated the headlines, with many of us scratching our heads as to what to do. While there are some folks in our area that strongly support one or the other candidate, there are more people that have a lot of mistrust, dissatisfaction, and even downright anger directed at  both candidates, causing many to ask, “Is this the best we can do?”

Many in the business world may be concerned about the consequences of one party gaining control, while other people from different walks of life may be concerned about the other party. We’ve heard all the negative things that the other candidate will bring to the table if they win, with impending doom and gloom, along with promises of nirvana if the person speaking is elected.

But our democratic system works, and next week, we’ll have a newly elected President and leader for our country. The sun will still rise on November 9th, and I’ll bet it will be another beautiful Oklahoma sunrise. We’ll still have families to love, and people who love us. Some of us will still have businesses to run and employees to take care of. And for people of faith, we’ll have the assurance that our God will still be in control.

Some people in Oklahoma thought the world was coming to an end eight years ago. And sure, it’s a challenge for a business owner to deal with all the government regulations, taxes, changes in the marketplace and such. However, it’s not seemed to slow us down much here at LawnAmerica. We’ve more than doubled in size over that time, employing over 60 people now with great jobs, serving thousands more Oklahoma customers, paying more taxes, doing more good in our community, while making a bunch of lawns look really nice!

So does it really matter all that much as to who is in the Oval Office for the next four years? It does, so hence the need to vote. But WE can have so much more influence in our families, schools, businesses, communities, and hence our world if WE just focus on our own individual responsiblity in being the best person we can be and in serving the people around us. Whoever turns out to be our next President will have a tough trail to hike on, with over half of the country critical of them before they even take the oath of office. I say let’s support them, give them a little grace (which both could really use), and work hard in doing what we can do to have influence in for our families, our community, our businesses, and individually to make our next President look good.

So go vote next week, get past this election, and let’s roll. WE can then just concentrate on being stronger together, and our country will become even greater…..playing to both candidates vision for our country!

Posted by & filed under gophers, professional trappers .

It’s that time of the season again, when it appears that there are little volcanoes exploding in the turf in the Tulsa and OKC areas. These little cone-shaped piles of dirt about 6” high in lawns are actually signs of pocket gophers in most cases. The dirt is from the excavation of their tunnels, which are generally about 4”-18” below the surface, covering up to an acre for just one gopher. Gophers are rodents, which have strong front claws for digging, causing much damage to home lawns and landscapes in spring and fall especially it seems.

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They can sometimes be confused with moles, which are smaller and make tunnels right on the surface. Gophers are herbivores, feeding mainly on plant roots and bulbs. Moles feed mainly on soil insects and earthworms. Both can cause extensive damage to lawns, making it difficult to mow with unsightly mounds of dirt everywhere. And gophers can actually damage landscape plants, flowers, and trees by eating roots.

There are various types of control for gophers, many of which either don’t work at all or are very inconsistent.  They are subject to natural predators such as hawks, but those are not found too often in the urban environment. We’ve found that trapping the gopher is the best way to effectively control them. I’ve spoken with several homeowners who’ve had success with their self-trapping methods, assuming they have the time to do so. It does take some knowledge and experience though.

In the Tulsa area, we have two professional trappers that we recommend to trap both gophers and moles, or both in some cases. They have a base charge plus charge per critter that they trap. It could be just one gopher, or could be several of them plus even moles mixed into the situation.  Their contact information can be found on our website at: http://www.okrangelandswest.okstate.edu/files/wildlife%20pdfs/NREM-9001.pdf

For information on trapping them yourself, Oklahoma State University has a good information sheet at: http://www.lawnamerica.com/client-corner/preferred-providers.php

Posted by & filed under bulbs, spring-flowering .

Generally, it is recommended to plant hardy bulbs (especially daffodils) and tulips in October to give them enough time to root before winter. But it is certainly not too late to plant them now, as the temperatures have been warm, leading to a warm soil temperature.  As long as the soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F, the bulbs should continue root development. Most garden centers still have a good selection, and they can be purchased on-line also. Try to select large, firm bulbs that have not begun to sprout. While many bulbs can adapt to a wide range of soil types, none can tolerate poorly drained soil.  Prepare the planting bed by adding organic matter such as peat moss, well-rotted manure, or compost and mix into the soil.

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Good fertility is essential.  Use a fertilizer relatively high in nitrogen such as a 29-5-4, 27-3-3, or something similar. Apply these fertilizers at the rate of 2/3 pound per 100 square feet.  Organic sources of fertilizers low in phosphorus include blood meal (12-0-0) applied at 5 to 10 pounds per 100 square feet, cottonseed meal (6-0.4-1.5) applied at the rate of 10 pounds per 100 square feet and soybean meal (7-2-1) applied at the rate of 8 pounds per 100 square feet. Mix all fertilizers and amendments thoroughly with the soil before planting the bulbs.

The size and species of the bulb determine how deep to plant. In general, the depth to the bottom of the bulb should be about 2 to 3 times the size of the bulb, but check the planting instructions specific to each particular flower.  We recommend planting in bare or open areas in the landscape bed, to compliment shrubs and other plants growing there.  Plant in

bunches, with at least 6 in each bunch. Don’t plant out in the lawn, as it not only looks weird, they will also be harmed when applying turf weed-control products during the spring.

Posted by & filed under bermudagrass, mowing, winterkill .

It’s late October, and many bermudagrass lawns are still pretty green, as long as the turf is being irrigated. It’s been another dry month, and a hot one, so warm-season turf such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass think it’s still September in many areas of Oklahoma. I for one am ready for it to turn cool for various reasons, including shutting down the growth and color of bermudagrass, so I can stop mowing it!

Now if your turf is turninglawnamerica-ok brown due to a lack of irrigation, we’d still recommend that you irrigate some, to keep the soil from becoming too dry. We don’t want to send the turf into winter dormancy, whenever that comes, in a weak condition for any reason, including water stress.

One concern is that with many lawns so green still, if we do receive one of those sudden cold snaps in November or early December here in Oklahoma, as we sometimes do, it could cause some winter damage to warm-season turf. The grass needs time to “harden off” and slowly go into winter dormancy by shutting down top growth and turning brown. If the turf plant does not fully go into a state of dormancy, sudden hard freezes can cause winterkill or turf damage. One of the worst times I’ve experienced with winterkill was exactly that, caused by a sudden hard freeze in early December of 1989 I believe it was. Then that following spring, turf managers, homeowners, golf course superintendents, you name it……we all “enjoyed” brown bermudagrass in May with large areas of winterkill.

Not much can be done to prevent this at this point, other that keep soil moisture levels adequate, and mow your bermudagrass fairly high with your final mowing of the season, hopefully coming soon.

Posted by & filed under fertilization, lawn care, pH, Soil .

urlThough we often think of soil testing as a spring chore, fall is actually a better time. At LawnAmerica, we offer soil testing for a $20 fee, working with a laboratory in Ohio, and can send you results within a few weeks. We can test your lawn, or if you have a garden, are happy to do that also.

With lawns, we are mainly looking at what your soil pH is. The acidity or alkalinity of a substance is measured in pH units, a scale running from 0 to 14, with a pH of 7 being neutral. As numbers decrease from 7, the acidity increases. As numbers increase from 7 so does the alkalinity. Soils generally range from an extremely acidic pH of 4 to a very alkaline pH of 8. This range is a result of many factors, including a soil’s parent material and the amount of yearly rainfall an area receives. Most cultivated plants and turf enjoy slightly acidic conditions with a pH of about 6.5.

If a soil test shows the pH not being in the preferred range from about 5.8-7.2, we’ll recommend several treatments of either lime or sulfur to amend the soil. At very acidic or very alkaline levels, certain soil nutrients are tied up in the soil and not available. So, the nutrients, such as Iron for example, may be in the soil, but the plant cannot utilize it if the pH is too alkaline. With acidic soils, nutrients such as Phosphorus and Potassium are tied up and not available. So with low pH soils, we’ll apply granular lime to raise the pH gradually. On alkaline soils, we apply granular sulfur to help lower the pH. No more than two treatments per season should be applied, and late fall is a great time to do so if needed.

If your soil test suggests more organic matter, and most soils in the urban areas of Oklahoma are short of this, fall is a much better season to add organic matter to gardens or lawns. Materials are more available than in the spring, and fresher materials can be used without harming young tender spring-planted plants. Generally, the more organic matter in the soil, the better for your plants.

Most Oklahoma soils have adequate levels of Potassium and Phosphorus, and Nitrogen is always going to be needed, as it’s utilized by plants or is lost in other ways. If a soil test shows low levels of these primary nutrients, we can adjust our fertilizers used on your lawn and/or apply a supplemental treatment during the late fall, winter, or early spring. So contact us now for a soil test, and if the soil chemistry is not ideal, it’s a good time to begin applying amendments to correct.