Posted by & filed under nutgrass .

Oklahoma native, Will Rogers, famously said, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.”

So far, 2017 has lived up to that quote and then some! In January, few days ever got above the freezing mark. After that, we thought it was summer with temperatures often in the 80’s.

Resource: ticker.mesonet.org

Now in May, we’ve had more spring like temperatures with nonstop rain.  April set a record for rainfall totals, and May doesn’t appear to be relenting either.  At last look, the 60-day rainfall totals for northeast Oklahoma ranges from 15 to 24 inches.

Rain is good. But too much of a good thing can cause problems.

As we discussed in a previous blog, when the soil becomes water logged, grass roots and other plants have trouble getting the necessary oxygen from the soil – causing the plant to drown. Without oxygen, the grass obviously struggles.  Couple that with temperatures resembling March rather than late May, and it’s easy to see why things are off.

With the increased moisture and cooler temperatures, we also tend to see more weeds.  One of the more common weeds during this time of year is Yellow Nutsedge, commonly known as nutgrass, which LOVES wet conditions.

Thankfully, we utilize a product by the name of Echelon, which helps combat this pesky weed.  Echelon is the only chemical on the market labeled as both a pre- and post-emergent for Nutsedge.  We apply Echelon from early May through late June to help not only control the fast-growing weeds that are

already present, but also kill the nutlet below the surface, which causes nutgrass to spread so prolifically.  As an added benefit, Echelon also helps control many broadleaf weeds, as well as providing extended crabgrass control.

As a full program LawnAmerica customer (6 or 7 step customers), the Echelon application is included in your regular applications.  If you are on a 4 or 5 step program, we can still apply Echelon for an additional charge.  Just give us a call at the office and we’ll get you set up.

Posted by & filed under mosquito control .

Mosquitoes are easily one of the most annoying and hated insects. They buzz around seeking out victims to feast on, especially later in the evening when everyone is trying to enjoy time outdoors, in the pool or around the grill.

Unfortunately, there’s a lengthy list of diseases and health concerns caused by mosquitoes ranging from itchy bites, all the way to West Nile, Dengue and Zika. However, not every species of mosquito is a carrier of these dangerous diseases, and identifying which one is flying around your head is difficult, if not impossible.

Instead we recommend our Buzz Off! Mosquito Control Program to help control this pesky problem.  With LawnAmerica’s Buzz Off! Mosquito Control program your property is treated using a combination of two proven insect control products. The combination of these two products safely eliminates existing mosquito populations, while interrupting a mosquito’s reproductive cycle.

This application is applied with a backpack mist blower around the landscape of your home and along the perimeter of your backyard.

In addition to our treatments, it’s very important to follow some basic tips to help eliminate breeding habitats for mosquitoes.  Simple things like keeping your gutters free of debris, removing areas where standing water can accumulate, and refilling bird baths regularly will also help to lessen populations.

If you’re already a LawnAmerica customer with our Buzz Off! Mosquito Control Program, we should be out for your first application soon, if we haven’t been already. However, if you haven’t signed up, it isn’t too late. We still have time to get all four treatments completed so you take back your backyard!

Sign up online or give us a call today!

Click here for tips to help control mosquitoes.

Posted by & filed under fungal mycelium, mushrooms .

With all the warm and wet weather we’ve been getting lately, we’re beginning to get more calls regarding mushrooms in lawns.

Mushrooms are actually part of a fungus that grows underground and are caused by a mixture of increased moisture, lack of light, and buried organic matter.

The fungus grows by breaking down organic matter such as buried timber, stumps, or roots of trees and shrubs that have been removed.  It’s a natural process that actually helps improve the structure of the soil.

The “toadstools” are most commonly recognized for their flowering structure of the fungus that contains all of the spores. Spores can be spread by wind and water, which helps to establish other fungal colonies.

One of the easiest ways to get rid of mushrooms in your lawn is to mow them and once the soil begins to dry out, the fewer mushrooms you’ll see. Meaning there’s no need to apply a product to your lawn because in most cases mushrooms do not cause any damage.

There are a few cases where mushrooms can be a sign of a turf fungus, rather than a soil fungus.  Although not common in Oklahoma, fairy ring is a disease that can easily be recognized by the arc-like or circular patterns of mushrooms.

The ring pattern is caused by the outward growth of fungal mycelium, which forms a dense, mat-like structure in the soil that decomposes organic matter. This decomposition releases nitrate into the soil, which stimulates the growth of dark green grass at the outer portion of the ring. The fungus may also release certain byproducts that are toxic to the turf, leading to brown or dead turf next to the ring.

Fairy ring is difficult to control. One method of controlling the disease is to dig out the affected areas and replace it with new soil and sod. Another method is to apply turf fungicide. We recommend to just wait for hotter and drier weather, as the problem seems to go away. If the disease is severe enough, we can apply a product labeled for fairy ring disease. But remember that this is only when the mushrooms are found in an arc pattern associated with the turf disease.

Posted by & filed under landscaping and rainfall, plants and rainfall .

What a difference a year makes, or even a month! After dealing with wildfires and burn bans all winter, now we are coming off the wettest month ever for rainfall in Oklahoma, and so far the month of May is putting up some pretty impressive rainfall totals too. So, while it’s good that the subsoil now has moisture, the ponds and lakes are full, and we can save money on our water bills, there are also negative effects of excessive rainfall on plants and turf in the landscape. As with most things, too much of something good can often be just as bad as not enough.

Remember learning about photosynthesis and respiration in science class way back when? I’m a science teacher by trade, as I was a teacher for 8 years before becoming a lawn care operator. So allow me to pull out my old overhead projector and give a brief lesson on how this excessive rainfall can affect your lawns and landscapes.

Plants need oxygen to live, since it is a component of the respiration process in combining with sugars (produced from photosynthesis) to produce water and energy the plant needs for growth. The root system of plants absorbs that oxygen from tiny pore spaces found in the soil. However, when the soil is constantly saturated with water from rainfall, or excessive irrigation, these pores are filled with water and not oxygen. Therefore, this lack of oxygen uptake from the roots can result in death of some of the root system, leading to dis-coloration of foliage, wilting, and sometimes even death of the plant. Certain plants, and plants planted in poorly-drained soil are more susceptible to damage. If you lose plants during this rainy time, you may consider improving the drainage, or changing to a hardier plant. Certain trees can show a color change in leaves, and/or have leaves drop. It’s no cause for concern usually, and with drier weather will go away.

With our unique 70% slow-release nitrogen fertilizer applied back before all this rain hit, our customer’s turf really should be fine, since most of the nitrogen is water-insoluble and not as prone to leaching or washing away as water-soluble quick-release N sources. When the soil stays completely saturated for weeks on end, the turf roots will be damaged, so we’ll need some drier and warmer weather to help the roots recover. Until that happens, most turf will just not look as good as it normally would at this time of the season. However, when the soil stays saturated, the pre-emergent in the soil will break down sooner, so we do expect to be dealing with more weed issues this summer.

Posted by & filed under dallisgrass .

In the early 1900’s, paspalum dilitatum was introduced to North America. A native plant of South America, paspalum dilitatum is a fast-growing forage plant originally used by A.T. Dallis of LaGrange, Georgia.

The benefit of this South American plant was its ability to survive harsh southern climates, while providing a nutritional food source for livestock in pastures. However, Mr. Dallis probably had no idea that the food source for his cattle would one day turn into a troublesome weed for homeowners.

Dallisgrass is a hard to control perennial grass. Not only will it come back every spring, but it’s also a prolific seed producer – spreading seeds all season long with the help of wind, water, mowers, kids and pets. Pre-emergent applications can be effective when dealing with seeds, but they are totally ineffective in controlling existing plants.

So, if you can’t prevent the plant with a pre-emergent, how do you effectively get rid of it? There are really only four effective options:

  1. Dig it up. This is the most labor intensive option, but it does ensure that the plant is gone forever. It is recommended that you cover the newly bare areas with sod to prevent more weed seeds from germinating.
  2. Use a non-selective herbicide. Non-selective herbicides, commonly known as Round-up, will kill Dallisgrass, but it will also kill anything else it encounters, such as the existing turf around the plant. This option is effective, but will leave unsightly dead patches. Again, these dead patches should be covered over with sod to prevent more weeds from germinating and to keep a uniform appearance.
  3. Use a selective herbicide specifically labeled for Dallisgrass. This option is the most common, but chemicals only suppress Dallisgrass. Suppression will keep the plant growing lower to the ground so it’s less noticeable and unable to produce as many seeds. While reducing seed heads is beneficial, it’s not nearly as effective as eradicating the plant altogether.
  4. Call a professional. Lawn care professionals have stronger products available to them. LawnAmerica provides Dallisgrass protection for 6 and 7 step customers. Timing of the application is key to success (late summer into early fall).

Dallisgrass can be eliminated. But it will require one or a combination of all of the techniques above. Not to mention a healthy dose of persistence and patience.

For more information check out this short video from OSU.

If you find yourself needing help with Dallisgras this year, contact LawnAmerica. We have several locations in Oklahoma, including Tulsa, Edmond/Oklahoma City and Bartlesville/Grand Lake.