Posted by & filed under azaleas .

Written by Evie Baltzer, LawnAmerica Horticulturist

Are your Azaleas bright green or yellow in color?

If so, you may have pH problems with the soil around your plants.

You can determine if it’s a pH problem by inspecting the leaves a little more closely. If portions, or in severe cases, all of the leaves on the plant are a bright green to yellowish color, but still have clearly visible green veins, then you have a pH problem.

Left untreated, it will eventually kill the plant. Thankfully, there is an easy remedy.

Azaleas require acidic soil within the pH range of 4.5-6.0. If the soil around the Azalea becomes more alkaline and goes above 6.0, which often happens in our area, then the plant and its subsequent blooms will suffer.

There are several things a homeowner can do to help remedy this problem. Applying Sphagnum Peat, Aluminum Sulfate or Ferrous Sulfate are among the easiest solutions.

Sphagnum Peat and Aluminum Sulfate can usually be found at your local nursery/garden center or at most big box home improvement stores. Two inches of Sphagnum Peat can be added around the root ball of the plant and then tilled into the top eight inches of soil.

Follow directions on the package for Aluminum Sulfate to ensure proper amounts are added. You can also add a thin layer of Sphagnum Peat to Azaleas every year to try to preserve optimum pH levels.

At LawnAmerica, we use Ferrous Sulfate, which is a powdered form of Sulfur. It’s easy to apply, works well, but unfortunately is harder for a homeowner to come by.

In most cases, once you’ve amended the soil with any of these products, you’ll see the leaves start to change back from bright yellowish to its regular green color in about two months or less.

And as always, if you have any questions regarding your property, contact LawnAmerica today.

Posted by & filed under lawn care .

I set out to write an inspiring blog today about the origins of Labor Day. After researching the start of Labor Day, I learned it was not all that inspiring. It is a holiday born out of strikes, clashes and even deaths in the late 1800’s. Many of the traditions associated with Labor Day came to be out of finally recognizing the efforts of the working man, who at that time earned low wages and averaged as many as seven 12-hour workdays each week while working in less than ideal conditions.


In many ways, the conversations that took place back then are the same conversations that take place now. We still have national discussions on work hours, pay, and overall working conditions. Regardless of your point of view though, I think we can all agree that without hardworking Americans, our country would not be the great place it is today.

Here at LawnAmerica, we strive to provide the highest pay possible for our staff, which averages anywhere from 20-40% higher than other lawn care companies. We also strive to provide a great place to come to work, great benefits, the best equipment, and opportunities to grow.

However, this post is not about LawnAmerica the business – it’s about the 68 people that make up LawnAmerica.

Our Route Managers and Technicians spend the year walking 10 miles or more each day while pulling a hose or pushing a spreader. Sometimes those miles are covered during 100 degree days while others are in the cold of winter. There are cloudy days and windy days and days where the storms sneak up on you. There are 50 pound bags of fertilizer to carry around. There are sore muscles and the ever persistent pollen allergies. There are hundreds of phone calls to make each year in addition to knowing about weeds, insects, and fertilizers.

Our office staff may not be subject to the same temperature extremes, but their jobs are equally as challenging. First of all, they have the task of keeping 50 Route Managers and Technicians (who are in their 20’s and 30’s) in line, which can be a full-time job of its own. But in addition to that, they talk to thousands of customers each year – helping to measure properties, set up services, take payments, and solve problems. They manage countless reports helping us not miss services and to make sure that we stay on time. Without them, we would never get anything done!

Our people have always been what makes LawnAmerica great.

To the men and women that make up LawnAmerica; we love and appreciate you!
Happy Labor Day!

 

Posted by & filed under Armyworms .

 

 

UPDATE:

It appears that we are well into our second generation of fall armyworms.

Typically, one generation of fall armyworms can develop in about 18-28 days – depending on weather conditions. The first generation of the 2017 season showed up in north east Oklahoma in late July/early August – leaving plenty of time for multiple generations to affect lawns.

Our recommendation is to continue applying a liquid insecticide to help control populations, especially if you have fescue. While the effected areas on bermudagrass can be significant and unsightly, generally bermudagrass will recover. Fescue, however, will not fare well from the damage of a severe infestation this late in the season.

Multiple insecticides are available at your local home improvement stores to control the fall armyworm, just be sure to read the label and follow the instructions for best results. We are also more than happy to help provide our professionally applied insecticide application. Just give us a call or request the service online here.

For more information on fall armyworms, check out:
1) https://www.lawnamerica.com/blog/what-happened-to-my-yard-armyworms/
2) http://entoweb.okstate.edu/ddd/insects/fallarmyworm.htm
3) http://turf.okstate.edu/pest-management/insects-1/fall-armyworms/
4) http://www.dasnr.okstate.edu/Members/donald-stotts-40okstate.edu/fall-armyworms-infesting-some-oklahoma-lawns/


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 fescue, overseed .

The drive into the office took a bit longer this morning.  School buses took their rightful place in the morning traffic, picking kids up and dropping them off for the start of another school year.  This familiar sight is just another reminder that summer is winding down and fall is right around the corner.

With the impending change in seasons on the horizon, it is time to start planning to overseed your Fescue lawn.  Unlike warm season grasses such as Bermudagrass or Zoysiagrass, which spread on their own, Fescue requires overseeding to maintain thickness and density.

Fescue is a cool-season, clump type turfgrass, which performs best in cooler climates. But it can be used in the transition zone for shaded areas, where warm season grasses do not perform well.  Being a clump type turfgrass means that it does not develop its density from underground rhizomes or stolons on the surface.  Instead, it has to be seeded every year to help repair any damage from drought, disease, insects or heavy traffic.  Re-seeding, or overseeding, introduces new plants into the grass, which as they grow and mature, will develop into a thick, healthy lawn.

Fall is the ideal time for Fescue seeding.  Seeds planted in September and October have time to sprout and develop a strong root system before winter sets in, which is critical to a healthy plant.

Over the coming weeks, your Route Manager will be leaving behind information for Fescue seeding. Our seeding operation consists of using a top-quality blend of Fescue seed, with zero weed seed.  We aerate the soil, rake the bare areas, apply a starter fertilizer, and leave behind detailed watering instructions.  We also return in about three weeks after the overseeding to check for any thin areas and apply extra seed if necessary.

Call LawnAmerica today to make sure you reserve your spot on our schedule.  It does fill up quickly.

Also, look out for those school buses and school zones!

Posted by & filed under Aphids, crape myrtles .

Written by Evie Baltzer, LawnAmerica Horticulturist      

Aphids are a big problem for Crape Myrtles every year and this year is no different. If you have a Crape Myrtle with wet, sticky leaves and tiny white to greenish yellow bugs all over the underside, then you probably have aphids. In this region, aphids primarily affect Crape Myrtles, but have been known to affect Rose of Sharon as well as Roses from time to time.

Aphids are tiny insects that feed on the sap of a plant, and if severely infested, can make it decline in health and keep it from blooming. More severe infestations will actually damage the plant enough that it will not be able to survive a harsh winter. Therefore, it’s important to take care of your aphid problems before they become substantial. The easiest solution is to prevent them.

Preventing aphids is fairly easy. At LawnAmerica, we prevent aphids by performing two applications: one in the spring and one in the summer – using a systemic insecticide that provides excellent results. However, if you missed the first preventative application, we can still treat aphid problems with the same insecticide.

If you prefer a do it yourself approach, Merit Insecticide (active ingredient: Imidacloprid) is readily available at most big-box stores and garden centers. Just remember to read the directions for treating aphids specifically.

Lady bugs are also a common predator of aphids. So if you’re interested in going the more natural route, lady bugs should be in your arsenal – as well as insecticidal soap.

If you are unsure whether or not you have aphids, or for any other landscape related issues that may need attention, give us a call. We’re always happy to help.