Posted by & filed under brown patch, excess rain, large patch in Zoysia .

We are barely at the halfway mark for the month of August, but already the talk of breaking moisture records in Oklahoma is all over the news. Not that we are complaining, because with the increased rain our temperatures have remained surprisingly comfortable and the landscapes have remained lush and green.

However, all this extra rain can cause challenges that we don’t usually face in our typically hot and dry summer patterns.

Excess moisture tends to lead to increased weed pressure. Part of the reason is due to the breakdown of pre-emergent herbicides that are applied in early spring. It would not be uncommon to see late season crabgrass start to break through. Broadleaf weeds also love the moisture, as well as the cooler temperatures, making it easier for many to germinate. Not to worry though, as a full program LawnAmerica customer, all you need to do is give us a call, and we will be happy to return at no charge to keep any pop-up weeds in check.

Excess rain also creates disease pressure, especially in Fescue and Zoysiagrass lawns. Fungicides are available to help keep any disease issues under control. For more information on what to look out for, check our previous blogs on Brown Patch and Large Patch in Zoysia.

During wet conditions, grass often grows taller than normal. After this above average grass growth, a common mistake made is to mow too short. Rather than adjusting the height of the mower to remove only one-third of the blade, the mower is left at normal height and too much is mowed off. When that happens not only does the grass become unnecessarily stressed, but the vast majority of the color of the turf is removed, leaving the lawn a pale green rather than the darker green we all want.

Also, don’t be afraid to just turn off your sprinkler system for the next week or so. Your lawn and plants will appreciate the opportunity to dry out.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized .

We have been seeing them again in Tulsa and surrounding areas.

In 2014 with the last big invasion, you may remember actually seeing the lawns move as thousands of caterpillars moved across the turf eating grass blades down to the dirt.  You could actually hear the chomping of the insects eating the turf. The key to controlling Armyworms is to treat them with an insecticide when they are smaller and before they do damage to the turf.

The first sign is a grey moth. She will fly in and lay nearly 2,000 eggs just for you. Tiny larvae hatch out and hide down in the thatch. You will need to get on your hands and knees to see them. Within a week or so, they will be mature and much larger. Mostly green with brown racing stripes on the sides of them. They have many generations from now until the first frost.

These devastating pests are rightly named, since they can destroy turf seemingly overnight, as they typically invade the lawns like an army and appear to be marching over the turf.

Fescue is the main concern since they eat it all the way down to the soil, especially when it is hot, it has little chance of survival. We never recommend scalping Fescue, and an Armyworm invasion is like a super scalp job. If your Fescue dies, then you will be re-seeding 100% of your lawn this fall. That will be much more expensive than an insecticide treatment. Armyworms also love to eat Bermudagrass, and can take it down to the stems and dirt too. However, Bermuda is pretty tough, and it will recover in most cases with good irrigation and fertilization. Your lawn will look awful for several weeks before it recovers. If you have a Zoysiagrass lawn, you’re in luck, as typically they won’t touch it.

Scout your lawn, if you see them, we recommend contacting us promptly. If we experience a major invasion of Armyworms in Tulsa, most lawn care companies will be hard pressed to treat everyone who calls that day.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized .

We’ve seen a huge influx of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale this year and it’s becoming a big problem and you may want to know what it is and how it can be treated.

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale is a fairly new insect problem in our area that’s just developed specifically on Crape Myrtles in the past few years after coming up from Texas. This particular type of scale looks like a small white waxy lump and will always be located somewhere on the branch of the Crape Myrtle. Scale is an insect that feeds on the plant, and over time can kill it.

There are things that can be done to treat and prevent Crape Myrtle Bark Scale. At LawnAmerica, we use a very effective product. It’s a systemic insecticide that is absorbed through the leaves, stems and roots. The best time to treat for scale is in February/ March when scale is just coming out of dormancy and is most susceptible to insecticides. However, LawnAmerica can treat for scale at anytime of the year and it will produce fairly good results. Prevention of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale can, in most cases, be achieved by spraying them in February with Safari systemic insecticide and Dormant Oil, and then following  up with a second spray in April/Early May.

If you are trying to treat scale yourself, aim for treating in February with a mix of Imidacloprid systemic insecticide and Dormant Oil.  You will want to treat again in April. If the Crape Myrtles aren’t too tall, you can remove a good bit of scale by using a brush and a light soapy water solution.  Keep in mind the treatments you can buy in stores is not as effective as professional treatments in scale treatment, but will definitely keep the scale at a manageable level and should keep your Crape Myrtles healthy.

If your Crape Myrtles aren’t looking their best, the professionals at LawnAmerica can help. Give us a call for more information or to schedule treatment.

 

Posted by & filed under Insect Control .

Dogs and kids playing in the gardenFleas 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.

Hot summer tips

Posted by & filed under summer lawn care tips .

The sun is intense this time of year. We find ourselves slathering on sunscreen and grabbing extra water, but what about your lawn? With the scorching temperatures we’ve been seeing, your lawn may need some extra care. The experts at LawnAmerica want to help ensure that your lawn looks its best during these hot summer days with these hot summer lawn care tips.

Tip #1: Ensure you are watering enough

It’s recommended that you water your lawn with one and a half inches of water per week. Longer watering, spaced a few days apart is also recommended compared to shorter more frequent cycles.

Short watering causes the roots to stay in the upper few inches of soil. These upper inches tend to be the first areas to dry out and cause the plant to show signs of stress.  Less frequent, longer water cycles tend to encourage root growth to go deeper into the soil where moisture is more readily available.

You can measure the amount of water your lawn is getting by placing empty tuna cans around your yard. Most tuna cans are roughly a half inch in height, so if you fill up the cans three times per week, your lawn should be getting sufficient water.

Tip #2: Water your lawn at the correct time

The best time to water is in the morning between 4 AM – 7 AM. At that time, it’s cooler and there is less wind, allowing the moisture to be absorbed before evaporating. It also allows the lawn time to dry as the morning progresses.

Lawns that are watered at night will stay damp and are more susceptible to fungal diseases. While afternoon watering increases the amount of moisture lost due to evaporation and rather than “cooling” the turf, it amplifies the heat and humidity.

Tip #3: Adjust your mower height  

Cool season turf, such as Fescue, needs to be mowed at the tallest possible setting. Warm season turf like Bermuda grass can generally handle being mowed at a lower level compared to Fescue.

No more than 1/3 of the grass blade should be removed at one time. For example, if your grass is 3 inches tall, cut no more than 1 inch off each time. Doing so will remove a lot of the dark green color, but will also add unnecessary stress to the plant.

Ideally, mowing cycles would be based on the 1/3 rule, not the “I cut my grass every Saturday” rule.

Tip #4: Don’t panic if your lawn turns brown

If you can’t water and your lawn starts to turn brown, don’t be overly concerned. Heat stressed Bermuda grass will go dormant and turn brown, much like it does in the winter. It isn’t dead, but it is conserving energy. Once the stress of the heat is gone, or moisture improves, color returns and recovers nicely.

Fescue on the other hand, won’t go dormant but will stop growing and tend to turn brown. Depending on the length of the heat and lack of moisture, it may recover, but most likely will require supplemental seeding in the fall to help re-establish anything that doesn’t recover.

Summer lawn care is essential in these hot temperatures. Contact LawnAmerica to help keep your lawn looking its best this summer!