Posted by & filed under Christmas Lighting, winter landscaping .

During this time of year, not a day goes by that we don’t hear, “Wait, you guys are LawnAmerica, you do Christmas lights too?” I chuckle to myself and wonder what they’d think if they knew the whole story of the long ribbon of history Christmas Décor weaves throughout LawnAmerica’s 20-year tenure. Or if they knew that we’ve been doing Christmas lights longer than we’ve been LawnAmerica! When our founder, Brad Johnson, was between lawn companies, he decided to solve the problem that plagues most seasonal companies. That problem being the struggle of being able to provide consistent work for his hardworking employees all year long.

Brad found a Christmas light decorating company that had just started franchising out of Lubbock, TX called Christmas Décor. He dove in head first, and we became the 6th out of the first original 7 franchises in 1996. The Christmas Décor brand now serves over 40,000 customers in 48 states and Canada. He was now able to provide financial stability to his employees which allowed him to attract the best talent in Oklahoma and subsequently Oklahoma’s premier weed control and fertilization lawn care company: LawnAmerica!

From the very beginning, LawnAmerica was founded on the idea of putting family first and adding a Christmas light service for the winter time was just one of the numerous ways Brad made sure he took care of his employees and their families.

Twenty years later, we’ve now grown to provide year-round employment for 70 employees and their families throughout two states! LawnAmerica continues to be the premier lawn care company for all of N.E. Oklahoma, and North Carolina’s Asheville and Charlotte, but we’ve also continued to be the premier Christmas light service company that flew under the radar. You might be hearing that we install Christmas lights for the first time by reading this, but I can almost guarantee you’ve seen our work around town. This year alone, we’ve had the honor of installing light displays for The Gathering Place, Chick-fil-A at 71st and Garnett, the City of Bartlesville’s Light the ‘Ville festival and the City of Claremore’s Christmas festival.

We recently had the honor of visiting with Maureen Wurtz from KTUL’s Channel 8 News who aired a video segment on our Christmas light service last Thursday, Nov. 29th. While we really appreciate the opportunity to showcase one of our favorite customer’s Christmas Décor display, Frosty Turpin of Owasso, OK, we realize media companies will always look for the angle they think is most eye-catching, such as how much the price tag can be for an extremely large property. The bottom line is that we’re in the Christmas light business to take care of our families and bring joy and the Christmas spirit into the hearts of people in our communities.

To view the fun video segment from Channel 8, click here

So, the secret is out: LawnAmerica is in the Christmas light decorating business. Unlike the one-person operations that seem to pop up every November, you can trust that we’ll continue to be here year after year to continue taking care of all of your lawn care and Christmas light needs. Our Christmas light packages start at $750 for a standard sized home, and it’s not too late to ask for lights for your home this year!

As this year winds down, we want to wish you the happiest of holidays and the merriest of Christmases for you and your loved ones. We’re grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Posted by & filed under Christmas Lighting .

We’ve all seen Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. Aside from A Christmas Story, it’s aired more than any other holiday movie. There’s something in Christmas Vacation that every family can to relate to. Some families have a grandma who wraps up her jello salad or their cat, other families have a Cousin Eddie parked out by the curb right now. For my family, it was Clark out on the ladder putting up the Christmas decorations. We would watch my dad climb up on the  ladder and onto the roof and keep the car ready for when he would inevitably tumble off into the shrubs.

 

Last year alone, over 16,000 people had to go to the emergency room to be treated for some sort of holiday decorating accident. From opening presents to falling off the roof, this time of year can be  dangerous to those filled with holiday spirit(especially eggnog). One third of the people who came into the emergency room were there from falling off a ladder.

 

So this Christmas season, give us a call to not only save you from a trip to the emergency room, but also to save you time! Our professional installers can work with you to create a custom package based on how big or small you want to go! You can keep up with the Griswolds by letting us handle everything from install and free service calls for burnt out bulbs to takedown and storage before next year! No more giant balls of tangled lights to fight with every year, no more stapled thumbs and no more punting Rudolph into the neighbors yard this year. Call us today to get it set up!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized .

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well. -Robert Louis Stevenson

Well it’s Veterans Day. That means I have something to write about and get to dump my feelings out onto my computer screen. I’m not going to lie, this post has been hard for me to get down. I’ll get to why that is specifically later on down. My three times a year to shine here are Memorial Day, Fourth of July and today, Veterans Day. It’s almost easier writing for the other two days because it’s not writing about myself. It’s easy to write about the men and women who came before me and their actions. It’s much harder for me to write about myself without being critical or feeling like I am preaching. If I am honest with myself and with others, I have not been a very good veteran lately. I didn’t know this was something you could be good or bad at, I always assumed it was just something you are or you aren’t. Being able to write this has helped me personally step back and gain some perspective though, and I am thankful for that opportunity.

I can’t remember where I heard this, but it ties in to today perfectly. There are three types of courage you can show; physical courage, moral courage and daily courage. Each of the three types of courage can be attributed to the three military related holidays I mentioned earlier. Memorial Day is remembering the physical courage and sacrifice so many have demonstrated on the battlefield. The Fourth of July is a celebration of moral courage, when our founders stood up against tyranny for what they believed was right. Lastly, Veterans Day represents daily courage, something that is harder to see and not often talked about. I’ll go more in depth later on, but I’ll start from the beginning.

Physical courage is the most obvious one out of the three. It’s the easiest to write about and is the most visible to everyone else. Memorial Day is when we get to hear all the stories about those who gave their lives in defense of our country. As a kid, I used to think this meant the absence of fear, just simply not being scared of anything. In fact, it turned out to be quite the opposite. There is no physical courage if there is no fear. Nelson Mandela said “Courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” I remember very clearly the first time I ever got shot at. It was maybe our 3rd day in Afghanistan. I was on an observation post, up on a hill we had creatively dubbed OP Hill. I don’t want to spend pages and pages telling war stories so I will try and sum it up to the point I am trying to make.

That day early on in our deployment, a Marine foot patrol near our hill was suddenly pinned down from a nearby house with 2 Taliban machine guns firing out the windows. Seven of us from OP Hill threw on our gear and quickly left our base and climbed a nearby hill where we spotted the house and fired a missile at it. My job in the Marine Corps was a missile man and that day we had the javelin missile system with us. It uses thermal heat signatures to lock onto targets which is great for tanks, but we found out it is not ideal in Afghanistan where everything is made out of mud. The missile landed in the front “yard”. If they didn’t know they were flanked, they did now. There was a brief pause where neither side fired, we were not sure if they would tuck tail and run after realizing our position. Suddenly, crisp snaps were going off overhead and the rocks we were crouched behind were kicked up into our faces as bullets slammed into them from their first burst of machine gun fire. We returned fire and the pinned platoon was able to start moving again and not long after, the Taliban decided to relocate. When the patrol gave the all clear, we made our way back up to safety up on OP Hill. I remember my legs shaking from the adrenaline rush wearing off and somehow even shivering cold in the 120 degree heat.

Up on the hill, we dropped our gear and high-fived each other, celebrating our great victory of shooting a $150,000 lawn dart. It didn’t matter what happened, we just knew we had passed that first test that every young man in the military worries about when joining. There was still intermittent gunfire being exchanged between the foot patrol currently clearing a nearby group of houses, but we were up on the safety of our fortified hill. I remember thinking about how much fun that was when the radio crackled, the Company Commander told us to throw our gear back on and push out further than before and help with over-watch for the nearby patrol. Suddenly things got real for me, I was no longer excited for how much fun combat was turning out to be. I was 23 years old and had brought with me the feeling that I was invincible. Growing up climbing 30 foot trees barefoot and cliff jumping into Skiatook Lake, I understood that it was dangerous, but never assumed that I would be the one to get hurt. Those first bullets missing me by inches shattered that innocence and suddenly I was terrified. I clearly remember standing inside the walls of the hill, fully geared up and waiting for the call to come over the radio to leave the friendly confines and walk out into the open, towards the gunfire. It was like I had never fully contemplated or understood the consequences of joining the Infantry in a time of war. Those of you who know me know that nobody has ever accused me of being someone who thinks things through, I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants guy. It’s probably my best trait according to my wife(just kidding). I remember looking down at my feet and feeling like they were made of concrete. How in the world was I going to pick them up and walk into that? I had always thought I would be brave in that moment when I imagined it in my head growing up and throughout training. I wasn’t the first one to have to do this, I wondered why it would be a problem for me?

I looked up at the other six guys to see if they had the same reservations as me. If they did, they weren’t showing it, none of us were. We had all spent the last year training together and had come to rely on each other, letting your brother down was the unforgivable sin in the Marines. The call came over the radio and the point man stepped out. I remember thinking “how am I going to do this?” But when it came time for me to step out, it ended up being surprisingly easy. The second I was outside the wire, everything felt natural, training instantly kicked in and I was at ease. As an individual, I wasn’t brave or courageous that day. If it was just me, I doubt I could have done it and I would have remained frozen in place. My courage didn’t come from within, it came from my fellow Marines. We trusted each other with our lives and then some. Not that we ever talked about this, but I am sure the others had the same reservations and fears along with every other young kid who has stepped into battle did throughout history. An individual can have physical courage on his own, but when we all go through that same struggle together our courage is multiplied exponentially.

Moving on to the Fourth of July, the major topic I usually write about is moral courage. Even though it feels like it’s hard to find examples of it lately, moral courage is what founded this country and continues to make our country great. When the 56 Founding Fathers put their name on the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock was said to tell them that members of Congress need to hang together. Ben Franklin replied “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” They were not sure if they signed for their independence or their death warrant. Time after time in American history, there are pivotal decisions and moments where we have shown that we as a country will not falter when we stand for what is right. In a time when Millennials are known for being selfish, self-absorbed and un-American. Millennials are also fighting a 17 year war that is all but forgotten by everyone except those who fought it. They stood up as the towers fell down, answering the call when America needed it most. The same call that Paul Revere yelled while riding through the streets that night. The same call that was answered in the devastating first blow dealt by Japan in Pearl Harbor. We see examples all over the world of what happens to a country when the young men and women are either unable or unwilling to put their life on the line to save an idea.

Which brings me to the men and women we are honoring today, those who stood up and answered the call when our way of life was threatened. They went when they were in the prime of their lives, 18 year olds willing to risk the unknown for something they were only just beginning to understand. To date, 6,954 of those have lost their life defending the abstract idea of America. On Memorial Day and Independence Day we come together as a country and mourn. Today we honor those who came home. The men and women who are left to shoulder the burden that their brothers and sisters laid down. Memorial Day to them is every day, they were able to see what the absence of freedom actually looks like. For those who served, it takes daily courage to keep contributing after they have already given so much. It takes courage for someone who lost three limbs at age 19 to wake up and smile every day when he might not feel like he has much to smile about. It takes courage to transition back into a society that sometimes doesn’t understand the sacrifices you and others made.

It’s not always easy though, most of the time it isn’t. As I said earlier, this post was difficult to get out because I feel like I have fallen short since I left the military and entered the civilian world. Sometimes it takes stopping, stepping back and taking inventory of your situation. The source of my struggle and so many others is something we learned early on in our military training though. Looking back at my first combat experience, I wasn’t brave or courageous. Not by myself. It was only through the shared struggle that I was able to take that first step out into the unknown. We are only strong if we are together, both veterans and the people who now welcome them back into society. That kind of daily courage is what makes veterans who they are. Daily courage is not wanting to take for granted the life we get to live because of those who didn’t return.

The quote at the top of the page sums it up for me. As veterans, sometimes when we go back into society it is easy for us to wonder if it was all worth it. Guys who lost limbs, eyesight, or marriages. Missing the birth of your kids and countless birthdays. Some carry with them a lifetime of pain both mentally and physically and it can be very easy to wonder if it was all worth it. Instead of focusing on the hand we were dealt, we are able to have the daily courage to go out and play the hand we have. The guys I served with were and still are my heroes, in fact I consider myself to be the luckiest guy in the world in that regard. I could very easily feel sorry for myself and sometimes I catch myself doing just that, but standing alongside
the great men and women keeps me from giving into that fear.

I am eternally thankful that I had the chance and ability to serve, it was something I will always be proud of. Just the fact that I was able to wear the same uniform as all of those who still fight daily gives me the daily courage to continue fighting for each other and to keep fighting for America. I am thankful for this opportunity from LawnAmerica that allows me to write about something I feel is important today. Lastly, thank you to every single veteran out there. Thank you for your selfless service and your strength to keep going each day.

Posted by & filed under bermudagrass, lawn care .

Looking at the weather right now, it looks like we will get our first big freeze either Thursday night or Friday night. If you haven’t already started the never ending leaf raking, you’re about to start. Bermuda will be done growing for the season and it might look like a big maze in your yard for a little while. You might have to mow your fescue once or twice more, especially to mulch some of the leaves covering up the grass. Once you rake and bag all of your leaves up, you can either put them on the curb or take them to places like Gem Dirt here in Tulsa where they compost those leaves into their soil mixes.

We aren’t hurting for rain and are above average for rainfall the last couple months. Moving into winter, we will be keeping our eye on the weather. Winterkill is one of the most common problems that can pop up from a number of factors such as too little rain, too much rain, low mowing height or insufficient or too much nutrients. Winterkill can also be caused by acute or extended low temperatures.

Even during mild winters, which they are forecasting this one to be for what it’s worth, several node and internode segments of the aerial shoot system of bermudagrass are killed by freezing temperatures. Sunlight then bleaches the dead tissue to give us the straw colored appearance. While the temperature remains too low for sustained growth, people refer to the Bermuda grass as being dormant. In more severe winters, even the shallow rhizomes(below ground horizontal stems) may have also been killed.

We recommend keeping the turf mowed high with the final mowing of the season and to keep the soil from drying out. Usually watering once a week if there is no rain should be sufficient. This should give your yard some protection and help prevent winter damage to your lawn.

Posted by & filed under lawn, mowing .

With the warm fall we’ve had in Oklahoma, we’ve been mowing lawns a lot deeper into the season.  The grass will be slowing down soon though with bermudagrass and zoysiagrass going into winter dormancy. Those of you with fescue yards can’t ditch the mowing just yet, this time of year is when fescue thrives in the cool season.  If you are done mowing for the year though, it’s a good idea to service your mower before putting it away for the season.

Make sure you drain the gas tank of gasoline-powered engines or use a gasoline stabilizer. Untreated gasoline can become thick and gummy, causing damage to the engine. A few drops of oil squirted inside the spark plug hole (after you remove the spark plug) will help lubricate the cylinder. While you have the spark plug removed, go ahead and replace it with a new one. If your equipment has a battery, clean the battery terminals with a wire brush.

Now is also an excellent time to sharpen mower blades so they’ll be ready next spring. Sharpening rotary mower blades is fairly easy, and really should be done several times per season. A good, sharp blade is really important for a proper cut on the grass, and helps with the health of your turf. With a dull blade, it often leaves jagged, brown tips on Bermuda and zoysia.

The following steps will guide you through this process:

  • Check the blade for major damage. If you can’t fix it, it should be replaced.
  • Remove nicks from the cutting edge, using a grinding wheel or hand-file.
  • If using a grinding wheel, match the existing edge angle to the wheel. If hand-filing, file at the same angle as the existing edge.
  • Grind or file until the edge is 1/32 inch, about the size of a period.
  • With a grinding wheel, avoid overheating the blade as this may warp it.
  • Clean the blade with solvent or oil, much like if you were cleaning a gun, for optimum winter storage. Do not use water because it will promote rust.

And if you don’t want to mess with any of this yourself, just take your mower to one of our good local equipment dealers, such as Smith Farm & Garden or BA Lawn & Garden, and they’ll do it for you! After that, you can put the mower on mothballs and try and remember where you put the Christmas decorations last year. Or if you want to have a hassle free holiday this year, give us a call for Christmas Decor and let us take care of you in the winter as well!