Posted by & filed under Environmental benefits, lawn care, Weed-Control .

RoundupThis past Friday as I got home my wife told me I should watch the CBS news, as there was going to be a news report on a weed herbicide. I really like Scott Pelley, and he was trying to give a fair report on the fact that a judge in California had ruled that Roundup, a common herbicide used in agriculture and lawns for well over 40 years, can add a “Cancer warning” on the label.  An international health organization from France had last year submitted a report that stated the chemical in Roundup, glyphosate, “probably causes cancer.” This, in spite of the fact that glyphosate has the approval from over 800 health and safety studies over more than 40 years, including our own E.P.A, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, and the European Food Safety Agency to name a few. This latest ruling from a California judge has caused much confusion, as it flies in the face of every other scientific study on Roundup.

Roundup is the most common herbicide used in agriculture in helping to grow crops. This article is not intended to justify the use of Roundup by agriculture. But suffice it to say, that without it, feeding the world becomes even more challenging and expensive. One would need to plan on spending more at the local grocery store, as farmers would lose an important tool which many use. In fact, most of the corn, soy, and cotton grown in the U.S. are genetically modified to be resistant to Roundup, allowing these crops to be sprayed with the product to effectively control weeds without harming the crops.

Roundup is also used some in home lawns, parks, sports fields, and other urban turf areas, but on a much smaller scale. The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, affects only plant enzymes, and is very effective in killing green unwanted plants. So unless you’re a plant, you’re good. And once it is absorbed and utilized, it has a very short half-life, on average of 32 days, and is bound to soil particles before being broken down by soil microbes. At LawnAmerica, the main application we have for Roundup is during winter and very early spring. When the bermudagrass is dormant at that time, we spot-treat fescue clumps to kill them, since the dormant bermudagrass turf will not absorb the product. We also use Roundup on a spot-treatment basis to carefully treat weeds in shrub beds. I personally like to use Roundup to treat along borders to kill a small band of bermudagrass or zoysiagrass, so that I don’t have to use the weed-eater (saving trees and less emissions from an engine). And I’ll use it to kill weeds in non-turf areas such as cracks in driveways. I’ll use it in mulched areas and even around my blueberry patch and in gardens, as long as it’s not sprayed on desirable plants. So in reality, we use a very small amount of this product and only in spot-treatment cases in the lawn care industry.

My concern is the confusion and fear reports like this can cause to the public. Even my wife was alarmed when she heard the headline about cancer, before I set her straight. The facts are that the toxicity of glyphosate, or the LD50, comes in at 5,600 with scientific studies. This means that it’s slightly toxic. Then as I put salt on my potato tonight, with an LD50 of 3,000, eat biscuits made from baking soda (LD50 of 4,200), take acteminophin from the headache I got over this article (LD50 of 1,944), and then drink my cup of coffee the next morning (LD50of 192), I’m putting stuff into my body with lower LD50’s and are more toxic then the Roundup that I spot-spray on a lawn every now and then!

Truth is that it’s the dose that makes the poison, and how something is used which determines if it’s a valuable tool, or something that can harm you. For example, most medicines can be for good if used properly, but can kill if not. For some good information on this Roundup issue, relative toxicities, and what “probably causes cancer” actually means, visit here for a link to a website from gmoanswers.  To see the E.P.A.’s response, visit here. And for more information on Roundup specifically with links to other reports, visit here.

Rest assured, that after 32 years of caring for lawns in Oklahoma and other states, we’ll never use a product that is not fully tested and proven to be effective and safe. If anyone should be concerned it’s the people handling the products and applying them daily. Both of my adult sons are now working for LawnAmerica, applying many of the same products I’ve applied for 32 years. I believe in their safety if used properly, which we do. Now I’ll go have a glass of wine this evening (which could actually kill me or others if used improperly), and enjoy a good night of sleep before I wake up and drink that caffeine-loaded cup of coffee in the morning, even knowing that it’s rated as very toxic. It’s still very good!

 

 

Posted by & filed under fertilization, lawn care, Weed-Control .

A sure sign that spring is coming are seeing all the various lawncare trucks hitting the Tulsa and Oklahoma City neighborhoods. There’s the big corporate guys Trugreen, various regional companies, small companies, and mowers without even a logo or number on their trucks (which is illegal). It’s become a very competitive business over my 32 years in caring for lawns. And they can all sound alike in some ways, with the customer perception that they all do the same thing.

Well…..not exactly.

While all lawncare companies try to control weeds, build healthy turf with proper fertilization, and combat various insect and disease problems in turf at times, the product used, the people applying those products, and the timing and level of service provided can vary greatly from company to company. 

So how does a homeowner determine who to use in 2017 for their lawncare needs? For more help and information on choosing the best company to help you, CLICK HERE for an online and printable version on How to Choose a Lawn Care Company.

 

Posted by & filed under Environmental benefits, fertilization, lawn care, Weed-Control .

Are beautiful, healthy lawns only cosmetic in purpose? Should pesticides be avoided at all costs? What about weeds…..aren’t they not all that bad? And does fertilizer just make lawns green with no other positive benefits?

There are some misperceptions and myths about lawns and lawncare and the beneifits that healthy lawns provide. The tools that are used by lawncare professionals, such as fertilizers and herbicides, are sometimes given a bad rap. However the professional lawncare industry which LawnAmerica is proud to be part of, has proven to be a valuable part of our urban environment and community.

Lawns and landscapes in the Oklahoma region are much more than just for aesthetics, but also provide environmental, safety, and economic benefits to us all. Those healthy lawns and landscapes don’t just magically appear either, as it takes good tools such as fertilizers and herbicides, applied professionally, to help do the job.

For more information on dispelling some of the myths of caring for lawns, Click Here to read more.

Posted by & filed under pre-emergent, Weed-Control .

lawnamericaAnother new year is upon us, so the LawnAmerica team is busy preparing for another year in providing lawns that our customers love while making our world a little greener. We typically will begin our spring weed-control later in January, as long as the Oklahoma weather cooperates, which often does not happen. But if we’re lucky and the sun is shining, we’ll start in with our pre-emergent treatment that prevents crabgrass and other grassy weeds from germinating. Barricade, the product we use, is really good. However even Barricade will not prevent all weeds from coming up, especially broadleaf weeds. Those will need to be sprayed after they germinate, later during the spring. This is one reason why successful lawn care needs a program, with consistent treatments, about every 5-8 weeks in our case.

Our very best program is our 7-Step Showcase Care Program, with lawn treatments about every 5-6 weeks. All of our programs include this important Step 1 Spring Weed-Control, as the pre-emergent herbicide is so important in setting the stage for successful weed-control during the season. Lawncare is like anything else….you generally get what you pay for. So the more frequently your lawn is serviced with weed-control and fertilization, the better the results will be.

While we are a week away from going out to treat lawns, we’re busy with staff education, planning, working on equipment, and many other projects in preparation for a great, and greener 2017 at LawnAmerica!

Posted by & filed under fescue seeding, lawn care, Soil .

fall-leavesFall is finally here in Oklahoma, and the changing leaves have been nice, but can be a real chore for homeowners when they start piling up on the ground. Clearing leaves off the lawn prevents suffocation, letting the turf breathe in preparation for spring. Newly seeded fescue especially can be damaged from heavy leaves piling up the turf. And while leaving fallen foliage on beds and borders can eventually generate useful mulch, this creates a slippery mess on driveways, pavements, patios and paths.

So with no saturday football on now, no excuses for not getting out for leaf duty on the lawn now. So what is the best way to clear dead leaves out of your high-use areas?

  • Mowing the leaves and mulching the clippings is a great way to take care of the leaves, as long as they are not too heavy. Leaf clippings will decompose and actually add valuable organic material back into the soil with time.
  • If leaves are heavy, use a leaf blower to blow onto a plastic tarp into a pile, which can then be carried off the lawn for disposal. We recommend making a compost pile with dead leaves, grass clippings, and other organic material.
  • One can go “old school” and just carefully rake the leaves. But do so without causing any damage to tender fescue seedlings that may be growing in the turf.
  • If leaves need to be hauled off to a re-cycling landfill, put into paper bags if possible.

So give your lawn a chance to breath, and it looks much nicer, by clearing the lawn of leaves. Most have fallen by now and it’s a great time to do so, before the cold winter weather and snow make an appearance.