A sure sign that spring is coming are seeing all the various lawncare trucks hitting the Tulsa and Oklahoma City neighborhoods. There’s the big corporate guys Trugreen, various regional companies, small companies, and mowers without even a logo or number on their trucks (which is illegal). It’s become a very competitive business over my 32 years in caring for lawns. And they can all sound alike in some ways, with the customer perception that they all do the same thing.
While all lawncare companies try to control weeds, build healthy turf with proper fertilization, and combat various insect and disease problems in turf at times, the product used, the people applying those products, and the timing and level of service provided can vary greatly from company to company.
So how does a homeowner determine who to use in 2017 for their lawncare needs? For more help and information on choosing the best company to help you, CLICK HERE for an online and printable version on How to Choose a Lawn Care Company.
Are beautiful, healthy lawns only cosmetic in purpose? Should pesticides be avoided at all costs? What about weeds…..aren’t they not all that bad? And does fertilizer just make lawns green with no other positive benefits?
There are some misperceptions and myths about lawns and lawncare and the beneifits that healthy lawns provide. The tools that are used by lawncare professionals, such as fertilizers and herbicides, are sometimes given a bad rap. However the professional lawncare industry which LawnAmerica is proud to be part of, has proven to be a valuable part of our urban environment and community.
Lawns and landscapes in the Oklahoma region are much more than just for aesthetics, but also provide environmental, safety, and economic benefits to us all. Those healthy lawns and landscapes don’t just magically appear either, as it takes good tools such as fertilizers and herbicides, applied professionally, to help do the job.
For more information on dispelling some of the myths of caring for lawns, Click Here to read more.
Another new year is upon us, so the LawnAmerica team is busy preparing for another year in providing lawns that our customers love while making our world a little greener. We typically will begin our spring weed-control later in January, as long as the Oklahoma weather cooperates, which often does not happen. But if we’re lucky and the sun is shining, we’ll start in with our pre-emergent treatment that prevents crabgrass and other grassy weeds from germinating. Barricade, the product we use, is really good. However even Barricade will not prevent all weeds from coming up, especially broadleaf weeds. Those will need to be sprayed after they germinate, later during the spring. This is one reason why successful lawn care needs a program, with consistent treatments, about every 5-8 weeks in our case.
Our very best program is our 7-Step Showcase Care Program, with lawn treatments about every 5-6 weeks. All of our programs include this important Step 1 Spring Weed-Control, as the pre-emergent herbicide is so important in setting the stage for successful weed-control during the season. Lawncare is like anything else….you generally get what you pay for. So the more frequently your lawn is serviced with weed-control and fertilization, the better the results will be.
While we are a week away from going out to treat lawns, we’re busy with staff education, planning, working on equipment, and many other projects in preparation for a great, and greener 2017 at LawnAmerica!
Fall is finally here in Oklahoma, and the changing leaves have been nice, but can be a real chore for homeowners when they start piling up on the ground. Clearing leaves off the lawn prevents suffocation, letting the turf breathe in preparation for spring. Newly seeded fescue especially can be damaged from heavy leaves piling up the turf. And while leaving fallen foliage on beds and borders can eventually generate useful mulch, this creates a slippery mess on driveways, pavements, patios and paths.
So with no saturday football on now, no excuses for not getting out for leaf duty on the lawn now. So what is the best way to clear dead leaves out of your high-use areas?
- Mowing the leaves and mulching the clippings is a great way to take care of the leaves, as long as they are not too heavy. Leaf clippings will decompose and actually add valuable organic material back into the soil with time.
- If leaves are heavy, use a leaf blower to blow onto a plastic tarp into a pile, which can then be carried off the lawn for disposal. We recommend making a compost pile with dead leaves, grass clippings, and other organic material.
- One can go “old school” and just carefully rake the leaves. But do so without causing any damage to tender fescue seedlings that may be growing in the turf.
- If leaves need to be hauled off to a re-cycling landfill, put into paper bags if possible.
So give your lawn a chance to breath, and it looks much nicer, by clearing the lawn of leaves. Most have fallen by now and it’s a great time to do so, before the cold winter weather and snow make an appearance.
Expect bermudagrass to look like this after a freeze.
We finally experienced our first hard freeze of the fall on November 19th, which is really late in the season for us here in Oklahoma. So you can finally put your mower to bed for the season! Fescue may need a trim into late fall though, especially to help remove and chop up leaves on the turf. This is a good way to remove leaves, rather than raking and hauling away. If your leaves are heavy and too much to mulch, then try to take them to a local place such as Gem Dirt, which composts those leaves into their soil mixes.
We are still very dry in Oklahoma, which puts our turf under stress, making it even more susceptible to winterkill. Winter-kill simply means that part or all of the turfgrass plant died during the winter season. Winter-kill can occur from either acute or extended exposure to low temperatures. It can also be due to complications from the interaction of low temperatures and any number of stressing factors such as insufficient or excessive soil moisture, shade, excessive traffic, soil compaction, drought, low mowing height, insufficient or excessive nutrients, or any number of other predisposing stressful physical, chemical, or biological factors.
Even during the mildest of winters in Oklahoma, which have been plentiful lately, several node and internode segments of the aerial shoot system of bermudagrsss are killed by freezing temperatures. Sunlight then bleaches the dead tissue to a straw colored appearance. Following these events and while temperatures remain too low for sustained regrowth, people refer to the bermudagrass as “being dormant.” During the 2009/2010 winter, many strands of bermudagrass had most or all of their above ground aerial shoot system killed back to or slightly below the soil surface. In the most severe case, shallow rhizomes (below ground horizontal stems) may have been killed. Each turfgrass stand is unique due to the cultivars or varieties being used as well as the soils, exposure and management programs.
At this point in the season, we recommend keeping the turf mowed high with the final mowing of the season, and to keep turf from drying out too much with an irrigation every week. These practices will help decrease the chances for winter damage to your bermudagrass.