Posted by & filed under mosquito control, mosquitoes .

Mosquitoes are easily one of the most annoying and hated insects around. Worse than simply being annoying, they unfortunately kill more people than any other species in the world. The main mosquito transmitted diseases we deal with in the USA are zika virus, west nile virus, dog heartworms (dirofilaria immitis), and encephalitis.

They buzz around seeking out victims to feast on, especially later in the evening when everyone is trying to enjoy time outdoors, in the pool or around the grill, and it seems especially unfair that mosquitoes have figured out that young children and family pets tend to be easy victims of their bites.

There are three types of mosquitoes; culex, aedes, and anopheles. All three favor different environments, but all like to hang out in the shade. They are all a nuisance, but the most aggressive and intrusive kind is the Asian tiger mosquito of the Aedes variety. Females will feed on blood for 20 hours a day in order to lay eggs. A single female can lay thousands of eggs in something as small as the cap of a soda bottle.

While not every species of mosquito is a carrier of dangerous diseases, it’s practically impossible to know if the one swarming around your head at any given moment is a carrier, which tends to leave one’s stress level high. To give yourself peace of mind in keeping your loved ones safe we recommend our Buzz Off! Mosquito Control Program to help control those annoying pests along with a variety of other insects. With LawnAmerica’s Buzz Off! Mosquito Control program your property is treated using a combination of two proven insect control products. The combination of these products safely eliminates existing mosquito populations, while interrupting a mosquito’s reproductive cycle.

This application is applied with a special backpack power blower to apply a fine mist to your shrubs, trees, lawn and around the perimeter of your home. The products are very safe and effective for not only controlling mosquitoes, but also help with fleas, ticks, spiders, and other pests.

We’re bee friendly! We train our employees to consciously protect the food sources for bees and ensure flowering plants will not be treated with our mosquito control products.

In addition to our treatments, it’s very important to follow some basic tips to help eliminate breeding habitats for mosquitoes. Simple things like keeping your gutters free of debris, removing areas where standing water can accumulate, and replacing the water in bird baths every 3-5 days will also help to lesson populations.

If you’re curious about trying out this program, don’t wait any longer because there are only about 3 weeks left for first time customers to sign up in time to ensure they receive all the treatments needed to take back your yard from those pesky insects!

Click here for a free estimate or give us a call today!

 

Posted by & filed under irrigation, lawn care .

Shakespeare may have had nobler intentions for his famous line in Hamlet, but without proper watering techniques, you will find your lawn and landscape wondering if it is to be, or not be, especially during the summer heat.

Proper watering isn’t really a mystery, but it does require more effort than just throwing out the hose or setting and forgetting your irrigation system.

“How long should I let my sprinklers run?”

In a world where all things are equal, we would be able to give a blanket answer.  But since lawns are different, soil types vary, and different kinds of plants have different water needs, there really isn’t a one-size fits all answer.  There are however a few guidelines that can help.

  • Don’t rely on a set schedule. It doesn’t rain every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 4:30 in the morning (though it would be awesome if it did).  Instead, rain is sporadic, which is how your sprinkler should be.  The best method is to pay attention to your plants and turf, looking for signs of drought stress and only watering when those appear.  In turf, the grass blades will curl and have a blue-gray appearance.  The leaves on trees and shrubs will curl and start to lose some color.  When these signs begin to appear, it is time to water.
  • Water deeply and infrequently. When things turn hot, we tend to water more often, but usually, the amount of water applied is just enough to wet the top layer of soil.  The problem with light, frequent irrigation is that it trains the roots of the plant to stay closer to the surface of the ground.  The top layer of soil is the first layer to dry out as the moisture moves through the soil profile causing the plant to dry out faster even though you may be watering more often.  Watering deeply and on an irregular schedule will encourage root growth to go deeper and in turn help your plants survive in hot, dry conditions better.
  • Don’t assume all areas are getting the same amount of water. It is essential to evaluate your sprinkler system periodically.  Small rain gauges spaced out over the lawn are a great tool to see how much water is being delivered with each irrigation cycle.  As you move the gauges around you may find that you are delivering too much or not enough water and can adjust accordingly.
  • Group plants together that have similar moisture needs. Summer annuals will usually require more water than an established lawn or more mature shrubs.  Having annuals on a sprinkler zone of their own will allow you to water at a different rate without unnecessary watering occurring in areas that need less.  Also don’t be afraid of using the garden hose or a watering can for areas that might need a little extra attention between the rain or irrigation cycles.
  • Use mulch to maintain soil moisture. Bare dirt will dry out much faster than soil that is covered.  Mulch helps to provide that cover in beds.  The same benefit can be accomplished in turf by mowing taller in the summer.  The canopy of the taller grass will help to shade the soil and reduce the amount of moisture evaporating back into the atmosphere.
  • Schedule watering for the early morning. This is undoubtedly easier if you do have an irrigation system.  Even if you don’t, you can connect your manual sprinklers to a small timer that can be found at most home improvement stores. Watering early in the morning is beneficial because usually the temperatures are lower and there is less wind.  This keeps the water from blowing off target or evaporating before being absorbed, ensuring you get the best use of the moisture you provided.  If you do have to water later in the day, don’t do it during the hottest part of the afternoon, but you will want to water early enough in the evening to allow the grass to dry out before nightfall.  Wet grass overnight is the perfect breeding ground for fungus and will ultimately end up causing more damage than not watering at all.

Proper watering along with consistent mowing will help your lawn survive and even thrive in the heat of summer.  By following the techniques above, not only will your lawn perform well, but chances are you’ll actually reduce your water bill.  I don’t know about you, but I love it when I can save on my water bill, and my wife does too!

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.