Posted by & filed under Landscaping, mulch .

When your favorite college football team takes it on the chin, as the Oklahoma Sooners did last week, and the OSU Cowboys did the week before, why not take out your frustrations by working in the lawn and landscape? Fall is a great time to add mulch to shrub beds and around trees, while hopefully easing the pain of the most recent Saturday football heartbreak.

Mulch provides several great benefits to the Oklahoma landscape:

  1. Mulch helps preserve soil moisture around shrubs, flowers, and trees, lessening the irrigation requirements and leading to healthier plants.
  2. Mulch helps moderate soil temperatures, cooling in summer heat and warming in the winter cold.
  3. Mulch helps prevent many weeds from germinating and taking over shrub beds. It does not stop all, but it does decrease significantly.
  4. Mulched beds just look better, and adds color to the landscape.

A layer of 2-4” of mulch is best in shrub beds. Mulch comes in several types, with Cedar, Cyprus, and Pine being the most popular. Bags of mulch can be purchased at local nurseries or the big box stores, and is easy to haul and spread around. If you have a truck, many local nurseries such as Sanders Nursery in Broken Arrow or Easton Sod sell mulch in bulk, which saves a little money.

With time, mulch will break down into the soil, which also helps build a more organic soil. So it should be added annually for best results, and fall is a great time to do that.

Posted by & filed under tree care .

If you’ve ever planted a new tree or if you have a young tree that isn’t yet mature, you may have some questions. Water, fertilizer and maintenance are the main issues to consider for young trees, but rest assured it’s fairly easy to help them grow into healthy mature trees that benefit you and your landscape.

 

Fertilizing young trees is required annually from the time they are transplanted until they become established or reach a desirable size. Fertilizer is best applied between early spring and late July while the plants are actively growing, and again in early Winter. We offer two liquid deep root fertilizations for trees and shrubs, the first in March and the second in December, either of which will be beneficial for the plants in your landscape. If you would like to do it yourself you can apply a granular fertilizer around the roots inside the canopy of the tree. For shrubs, you can apply the fertilizer around the roots.

 

A grass-free circle three to four feet wide should be maintained around a young tree for at least three years. This will ensure that the tree roots are not required to compete with turf roots for moisture and nutrients. This also keep weed-eaters away from damaging the lower trunk at the base, which is a leading cause of tree death. Watering new or young trees is paramount. Make sure to supplement watering especially during the heat of the summer as the lawn sprinkler is not going to supply enough moisture to the roots of the tree, and in most cases is only enough for the turf’s roots. We recommend a soaker hose placed around the roots of the canopy of the tree and allow it to soak for several hours each time. The amount of water required will depend on the temperatures and rainfall amounts.

 

Fall is also a great time to plant new trees in your landscape. With planting now in fall, the root system will be able to become somewhat more established before the stress of our Oklahoma summer hits.

Posted by & filed under bermuda grass, brown spots .

Remember those brown spots in your Bermuda grass lawn this past spring? It’s a common lawn disease called Spring Dead Spot, and September through October is the time to help combat the problem with applications of lawn fungicides.

Spring Dead Spot is caused by a fungus (known as ophiosphaerella korrae), which infects Bermuda grass roots during the fall. The fungus will kill crowns, stolons, or rhizomes of the infected plants. Certain varieties of Bermuda grass are more prone to the disease than others, and there are also many factors which affect why some lawns have a problem and others don’t.

How to keep your lawn dead spot free

Maintaining good soil fertility, proper soil pH in the 5.8-6.5 range, proper mowing, watering, and aeration are all important in a Spring Dead Spot management program. Applying nitrogen fertilizer too late in the growing season, and/or in heavy amounts, will cause a higher incidence of Spring Dead Spot.

This is why the specialists at LawnAmerica cut down on the amount of nitrogen come the fall. While we could keep your lawn green well into October and November with a heavy nitrogen application, that’s not what’s best for the lawn’s health. Too much of a good thing (nitrogen) can sometimes be as bad as not enough.

Applying Lawn Fungicides

We have had success over the last few years using Velista Fungicide in helping to improve Bermuda grass response to Spring Dead Spot. While it does not prevent every dead spot, it will lessen the severity of the disease, and we tend to see much faster re-growth the following spring.

Two treatments about 28 days apart are required for effective control. Contact us today if you need more information on this service, or any other lawn care treatment solutions.

Posted by & filed under bulbs .

Late September through October is an excellent time to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as crocus, tulips, and daffodils into your landscape beds for a colorful pop next spring. These plants need to develop roots in the fall and must meet a chilling requirement over the winter to bloom in the spring.

It is important to choose a planting site that has full sun to partial shade. Ideally, bulbs would be planted in a sandy loam soil, but even sandy or clay type soils can be used if organic materials such as peat moss, compost, or aged bark are mixed in.

There are several things you can do that will help improve your success rate with bulbs blooming next spring.

  • Plant bulbs two to three times deeper than the height of the bulb. For example, if the bulb is 3 inches tall you will have a hole that is 6 to 9 inches deep so that there is sufficient soil to cover the bulb.
  • Plant bulbs with the “pointy” side facing up.
  • Make sure your soil is in an area with good drainage as bulbs will rot in wet soil.
  • Once the bulbs are in the ground, fertilize with a 5-10-5 granular fertilizer to help the bulbs grow.

A few other things to keep in mind as well.

  • If we experience a dry winter, supplemental watering will be necessary. Even though there are no leaves above the ground surface, the bulb is active producing roots.
  • Be sure to protect the bulbs from pests as well. Squirrels, rabbits, and voles will tend to damage or dig them up if they are planted too close to the surface.
  • Keep bulbs inside flower beds. Planting bulbs in the middle of the lawn will cause problems when trying to apply spring pre-emergent applications, potentially damaging the flowers or leaving spots of the lawn vulnerable to weeds.

With a little planning and extra effort this fall, you will be well on your way to being the envy of your neighborhood next spring. Contact LawnAmerica today.

 

Posted by & filed under Armyworms, fescue .

It’s been very dry in Oklahoma for the past six weeks, making watering your lawn much more important. And if we’ve seeded fescue grass, proper watering is even more important.

We’ve prepared the soil with good aeration. We’ve applied a good starter fertilizer, organic soil amendment, and this year, an insecticide to help prevent armyworms. Now all you have to do is wait for the seed to come up and your lawn will look perfect, right?

WRONG! Without proper watering on a consistent basis, seed will not germinate properly and the new seedlings will not grow. Water is the key, for without it plants will die.

After seeding is complete, refer to the detailed watering instructions we left at your property, which explains how to properly water a newly seeded lawn. Basically, keep the seedbed moist for at least 10 days – watering several times daily if possible.

After the seed germinates, you can cut back on the watering frequency, but the soil must not be allowed to dry out. The seedlings are fragile, with a weak root system, so it will take months for that to effectively develop. Gradually, you can increase the duration of watering, while cutting back on the frequency.

Another key factor is using the best fescue seed possible. If you are doing your own seeding, don’t use what’s available from the big box stores. CLICK HERE for more information on that. At LawnAmerica, we use a blend of three top quality fescue varieties, plus a small amount of perennial ryegrass, with zero weed seed and almost zero crop seed.

We currently find ourselves in one of those warm and dry periods we often get during the fall in Oklahoma. Mother Nature is not helping us much at this point. So please help us out and do your part in watering your lawn and seeded fescue. And remember, it will take several months before seeded fescue will mature and thicken up to be a dense grass, so be patient.