Posted by & filed under tick control .

Is it just me, or does it seem like there are more insect-borne diseases to be aware of?

Maybe it was the innocence of youth, but I don’t remember being overly concerned about things like ticks and mosquitoes growing up.  Don’t get me wrong, I had my share of mosquito bites, and since most of my time was spent playing outside with my dog, it was inevitable that I would end up with a tick crawling around on me at some point during the summer.

I really didn’t think much about it then but as I have gotten older I have become more aware of the dangers of ticks and diseases they spread.

Most of us have heard of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a tick-borne disease.  Ticks that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever are infected with the organism Rickettsia rickettsii.  When the infected tick attaches to your skin, the infection can be spread to your bloodstream. The symptoms of infection are not easy to identify because they initially mimic those of other illnesses.  Symptoms can include high fever, chills, headache, nausea, and confusion.  A rash is possible too, though it doesn’t show up right away.  Identified early, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can be treated with antibiotics successfully.  However, left undiagnosed, it can cause significant long-term complications.

Alpha-Gal Allergy is another disease that is triggered by tick bites, specifically from the lone star tick, which commonly found in the eastern and southeastern United States.  Alpha-Gal is a carbohydrate that is present in cells of many of the animals that humans eat, but is also present in ticks.  Researchers believe that a tick bite can trigger an autoimmune response in some people to alpha-gal, causing the body to fight against the carbohydrate.  The symptoms of the allergy can be as mild as a headache or a runny nose after eating meats or can be life-threatening by causing anaphylaxis, shutting down your bodies ability to breathe.

Lyme disease is another common disease spread by tick bites.  The symptoms of Lyme disease, like several other tick-borne diseases, are easily confused with the symptoms of other issues.  The most common are flu-like symptoms, rashes, and a small, red bump at the site of the tick bite.  According to the Mayo Clinic, ticks generally need to be attached for 36-48 hours before an infection occurs, so a careful check each day to make sure you haven’t been bitten will go a long way in preventing Lyme Disease.

There are some easy steps to help prevent tick bites, especially if you are going to be outside or in wooded areas for long periods of time.

  • Be sure to cover up. Long pants and long sleeved shirts will do wonders.  They will also help prevent sunburns.
  • Use personal insect repellents. Products that utilize DEET are helpful for areas of exposed skin.
  • Stay on paths when hiking. Usually, the brush isn’t as thick on a well-worn path making it much harder for a tick to hitch a ride on your body.
  • Keep your lawn mowed. Tall grass and areas of brush or leaves are great hiding places for ticks.
  • Insecticide Applications. Correctly timed and applied insecticide applications can help to control populations of ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, chiggers and a wide variety of other insects.

Don’t let the fear of ticks or the nasty diseases they transmit keep you from enjoying the outdoors.  Take the proper precautions and check yourself after being outside.  Know the symptoms and when in doubt, check with your doctor.

 

Information sourced from:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rocky-mountain-spotted-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20361032

https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/alpha-gal#outlook

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20374651

Posted by & filed under bermudagrass, thatch, zoysiagrass .

It’s that time of year again.

Time to break out the aerator on warm season turfs like bermudagrass and zoysiagrass.

Core aeration, sometimes referred to as core aerification, is a process where a machine makes multiple passes over a lawn, pulling cores of dirt ranging from two to four inches deep and deposits those cores on top of the turf.  The holes left behind help to reduce compaction and open up the soil to be able to absorb water better and increase air flow at the base of the plants. The cores of dirt left behind are then broken up as the lawn is irrigated forming a thin layer of soil over the thatch just below the canopy of the turf.  The general premise is that the soil covering the thatch will help it decompose faster.

Thatch is the dead grass, and other organic material that builds up on top of the soil surface usually left behind by mowing.  Too much thatch can prevent water from reaching the root zone of the turf and reduces air circulation to turf roots causing decay.  Excess thatch can also create a moist environment where disease can grow and infect healthy turf.  Keeping thatch layers at acceptable levels is essential to the overall health of your grass.

This year we are using a newer product in conjunction with core aeration.  It is a liquid product made by Greene County Fertilizer Company by the name of N-Ext D-thatch.  It is described as a “Thatch Digester” that is designed to reduce the thatch build up in lawns.

“N-Ext D-thatch focuses on composting thatch faster by encouraging microbial activity at the soil surface and increasing heat.  This exothermic release by increased soil activity will break down thatch from the soil level up.  Thatch is quickly reduced and organic matter is captured as a food source for your turf.”

Our goal in combining conventional mechanical aeration with a liquid application of N-Ext D-thatch is to ensure that your lawn gets the most benefit and performs at its peak.  For this summer we are offering 50% off N-Ext D-thatch applications when completed at the same time as a core aeration on warm season lawns.  To take advantage of this offer, give us a call and mention this blog.

If your lawn is made up of cool-season turf, such as Fescue, we recommend that you wait to mechanically aerate the lawn until later in the season in conjunction with overseeding efforts.  Core aeration this time of year in fescue only serves to tear up the turf.  We can, however, apply N-Ext D-thatch to Fescue with great results this time of year.  In fact, if your fescue has a thick layer of thatch and is prone to disease each year, we would strongly encourage an application.  Again, anything that removes the thatch and opens up circulation is going to naturally deter disease issues.

For more information on how a N-Ext D-thatch application will help your fescue lawn or to secure your spot and pricing for Fall Overseeding, give us a call today!

Posted by & filed under brown patch, fescue .

Fescue Lawns are some of the best looking lawns during the spring in this part of the country.  This year has been no exception.  The cooler than normal spring helped this cool-season grass maintain it’s health and vigor into the start of summer.  However, our sudden turn to July-like temperatures and higher humidities has the potential to take its toll on your beautiful Fescue lawn.  There are a few things you can do to help keep Fescue looking its best.

Raise your mowing height.  One common mistake that we frequently see on Fescue lawns is that the turf is being cut too short.  Some mowing contractors and homeowners alike tend to cut it short, so they hopefully will not have to mow as often.  In the cooler months it is possible to get away with doing that, but as the temperatures rise, your mowing height should as well.  Cool-season grasses, like Fescue, that are cut too short will undergo unnecessary stress on the plant, making it more susceptible to other issues. Taller Fescue in the summer months will help to keep the soil cooler as well as help to keep the soil from drying out too quickly.

Reduce your nitrogen input.  It goes against what you hear from the “experts” at the big home improvement stores, but if your if Fescue is not performing well in the heat, the answer is not more fertilizer, especially not more nitrogen.  Fescue does like nitrogen, but not in stressful situations such as summer temperatures.  High-nitrogen fertilizers are going to cause a lot of top growth and will tend to increase the amount of water that the plant needs.  Increasing the plant’s requirements for water during the hot and dry months of summer just doesn’t make sense.  At LawnAmerica, we utilize products in the summer on Fescue that contain little to no nitrogen, but instead, apply products with iron and other micro-nutrients that help maintain color and to improve the soil while developing the plant’s root system.

Be on the lookout for disease.  This time of year Fescue is especially susceptible to fungus issues with Brown Patch being the most common disease diagnosed.  Brown Patch will appear during hot and humid parts of the year, resulting in irregular patches of yellow or brown turf that if left untreated will wilt and die.  Cultural practices, such as proper mowing height, watering, and fertility will help to lessen the chances of Brown Patch.  Fungicide applications are available to help control Brown Patch and in many cases will need to be applied every 3-4 weeks or until weather conditions improve to keep the disease in check.

Water early in the morning.  Proper irrigation is essential to keep Fescue performing its best, especially in the heat of summer.  The best time is early morning between 5:00 and 8:00 am.  By watering early in the morning, you help to ensure that more of the water makes it into the soil.  If you water later in the day, wind can blow your sprinklers off target and the heat of the day will cause more of the moisture to evaporate before being absorbed.  Watering late at night is equally detrimental.  Warm nighttime temps with wet grass blades create perfect conditions for fungus to thrive and spread.  It is also imperative that you resist the urge every day.  Deep, infrequent watering causes roots to grow deeper and will help to prevent distress in the plant due to heat or drought conditions.  While it may seem counter-intuitive, more frequent and shorter bursts of irrigation are detrimental to the plant because the roots don’t have a need to grow deeply and instead reside in the layer of soil that is most likely to dry out first.

Fescue is a lot of work.  However, with a little extra attention over the summer months, you can keep it healthy and sustain it until the cooler temperatures of Fall arrive.

Do you have specific questions about your Fescue lawn?  Give us a call; we would love to help.

Posted by & filed under lawn care .

It seems every year that more and more people are getting into the lawn care or lawn maintenance business. Figuring out whom to trust, and why, becomes harder with each new company that enters the marketplace.

It is a fear many of us will experience. You have just handed a check to someone you have briefly met in exchange for services at your home or business. Sure, their online reviews were great, but can you really trust that they will provide you with the pleasant experience or product they claim?

Thankfully, NALP, the National Association of Landscape Professionals has a new designation to help combat these fears when selecting a landscape, lawn care, irrigation or interior landscape professional; the Landscape Industry Accredited Company designation.

LawnAmerica is proud to be the only company in Oklahoma and among the first seven professional companies in the United States to earn the Landscape Industry Accredited Company designation.

So what does that mean for YOU?

It means we are committed to the necessary training, education, safety, and ethics that are required to provide the highest level of care for your property. It means that we are committed to raising the standard of professionalism in the green industry.  It means you can trust that we will always do what is best for you, for your lawn, and for the environment.

Why should you check for the NALP company accreditation when looking for a professional lawn care service?

NALP accredited companies are:

  • Committed to Customer Service Excellence

While online reviews are a great place to start separating the great from the not so great companies, NALP took things a step further, completing an in-depth satisfaction survey and requesting details on how LawnAmerica cares for customers. For us, customer service is so important that we made it our mission statement; “to please our customers so much that they’ll tell others about us.” We know that to do this, we need to go above and beyond the ordinary to exceed expectations, and that simply satisfying customers through basic or minimal experiences has no place in our company. We are grateful to continuously receive compliments from customers on our lawn care service, but it’s the compliments we receive regarding the quality of our employees and their attention to detail, care for the customer, and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to exceed their expectations that we value the most.

Knowledgeable

To earn accreditation, professional lawn care companies must have at least 10% of their staff Landscape Industry Certified. Certification is administered and maintained by the University of Georgia and gives employees comprehensive knowledge on proper care of warm and cool season grasses.  Rigorous written and in-person tests are overseen by the National Association of Landscape Professionals to ensure certified techs are up to speed.

  • Safe

Safety is paramount to a successful lawn care company. Each accredited company must participate in a nationally recognized safety program. It demonstrates a commitment to the safety of our customers and employees on each job site.

  • Ethical & In Compliance

Prior to earning the NALP accreditation, companies must prove their ethical client relations and business practices. The National Association of Landscape Professionals verifies that we provide clear client communications and ethical operating procedures. They also verify we maintain proper insurance coverage and warranty policies. This ensures that each Landscape Accredited Company complies with state, local, and federal statutes and licensing requirements, all providing you peace of mind and comfort.

Do you want to learn more about LawnAmerica’s core lawn care and enhancement services? Visit our website here or give us a call 918-249-5296 or 405-562-4300.

Posted by & filed under mosquitoes, pet care .

Mosquitoes.

The insect that everyone loves to hate, and the ultimate party crashers.

Every time we want to be outside enjoying our beautiful lawn, mosquitoes end up crashing the party, annoying and biting us and our loved ones.  It isn’t just us humans that they are after though; they will zero in on our pets too causing issues such as heartworms in our four-legged friends.

Heartworms, according to an article published by the FDA, are caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis.  These worms are carried by mosquitoes and under the right conditions can cause infections primarily in dogs, but also in cats and ferrets. Left undiagnosed or untreated, these parasitic worms will mature, reproduce and move into the heart and lungs of our pets causing sickness or even death.

Thankfully, there are multiple ways to help prevent the spread of heartworms to our furry friends.

  • Since mosquitoes are most active around dawn and dusk, limit outdoor exposure for both yourself and your pets during these times.
  • Use of preventative treatments for pets is recommended. Products like Heartgard or K9 Advantix help to repel mosquitoes as well as fleas and ticks.  Consult your local veterinarian for the best product for your pets.
  • Eliminate all standing water from your lawn. Replace the water in birdbaths frequently, and don’t forget to keep your gutters clean.
  • Use a professional service, like our BuzzOff! Mosquito Control Program, to help kill existing mosquito populations and interrupt the life cycle of the mosquito.

We all love our dogs, and I have been told there are apparently people who even like cats. Regardless of species, we want to make sure they are all well taken care of and live a long, healthy life.  Helping eliminate mosquitoes is just one way that we can ensure our pets are happy and healthy.

For more information and a few more tips check out this blog from the Pet Health Network.  You can also give us a call.  We are always happy to discuss dogs….I mean services.