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The practice of chopping off the tops of crepe myrtles over the winter has become very common in Oklahoma. We sometimes call it Crepe Murder at LawnAmerica, as it really hurts the look and health of the plant over time. Many folks believe this is necessary to promote flowering, but that is not necessarily the case. More often than not, it’s something that some commercial maintenance companies tell you needs to be done, but really just gives them something to do in early winter. It’s not really needed in most cases.

Pruning in late winter or early spring will stimulate vigorous new growth in spring, and may lead to slightly more blooms. However, they will bloom if pruning is not done.

Proper pruning can serve several purposes in plants, including crepe myrtles:

  • To encourage blooming or fruiting
  • To restrict growth
  • To train the plant into a certain shape
  • To improve the health of the plant

The main justification for pruning crepe myrtles is to develop the proper shape of the tree by removing suckers at the base and removing all limbs growing from ground level except 3-5 of the strongest limbs. As the tree matures, remove lower, lateral branches up to one-third to halfway up the plant, and ones that are crossing or rubbing against each other. Make your cuts to a side branch or close to the trunk, using good, sharp pruning shears.

Do corrective pruning to remove dead branches, and remove small twigs or branches in the center to create more open spaces for sun and air movement. If the plant is becoming too large, you can limb up or chop off the tops of the crepe myrtle in an attempt to keep it from becoming too large. Do not just cut it off at the same place every year though. If you have doubts about your ability to correctly prune, don’t hesitate to contact a local arborist.

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With such great weather in Oklahoma this February, we are making good headway with our customer’s R1 Early Spring Weed-Control Treatments at LawnAmerica. This weed treatment really sets the stage for a more weed-free lawn this year by preventing crabgrass and other summer annual weeds from germinating.

We do not use the blue turf dye in our liquid treatments as some companies do, but rather invest our money on products which actually help the turf, such as herbicides and fertilizers. Our LawnAmerica Managers and Technicians are good and experienced enough that they don’t need to color the lawns to see where they have sprayed. It’s not necessary if things are done properly. And, our LawnAmerica customers don’t really like to have their dogs and kids feet blue for weeks on end.

One thing which I really question in our industry is the fact that more and more companies are applying two spring pre-emergent treatments, when with today’s products such as Barricade, only one is needed if applied at the proper full rate. For example, this is right off of the website of a local competitor, showing applying, and billing the customer, for TWO treatments.

1. Early Spring – Pre & Post-emergent application for crabgrass & broadleaf weed control.
2. Spring – Pre & Post-emergent application for crabgrass & broadleaf weed control.
3. Late Spring – Special Start-up Fertilizer and spot treatment for grassy & broadleaf weeds.
4. Early Summer Fertilizer with Turf-Booster and spot treatment for grassy & broadleaf weeds.
5. Summer Complete Fertilization and spot treatment for grassy & broadleaf weeds.
6. Late Summer Special Winterizing Fertilization and spot treatment for grassy & broadleaf weeds.
7. Fall Pre & Post-emergent crabgrass & broadleaf weed control to prepare for spring weeds.

So why do they do that?

It’s simple….cash flow. By applying half of the product very early, and then coming in 4-5 weeks later for the other half, it makes for two very profitable applications at the start of the season. At LawnAmerica, we give our customers the full value for their lawncare dollars, with a full rate of Barricade. Our Round 2 then consists of a super slow-release fertilizer, which will green-up the lawn sooner, and provide good color for up to 11 weeks. This allows us to then use the Echelon product for superior nutgrass and broadleaf weed-control in our Round 3, while applying a booster application of Barricade in late spring when the lawn really benefits from it.

The bottom line is that LawnAmerica does things right, from an agronomic standpoint, and from the standpoint of giving our customers the best value for their lawn care dollars. We may be a few dollars higher per application, but we give our customers the best products, with the best people, and the best value. Our program is unique, and has proven to be the best available, as our 13,000 customers in the Oklahoma region can testify to.

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It’s the final week of January, and we are in the midst of a beautiful stretch of winter weather in Oklahoma. After a very cloudy, dreary December, it’s nice to see the sun. It feels like spring is just around the corner, but don’t let that fool you, as we do like in Oklahoma. I suspect we’ll still see a snowfall or two at some point.

We are still in a long-term drought in Oklahoma, especially in the western part of the state. Yes, we did receive some decent rains last year in the Tulsa area, but still ended up below normal in precipitation. And now in late January, the soil is starting to become pretty dry now. If you have fescue turf, you’ll notice it’s a little on the brown side now. Cold temperatures will keep it from being nice and green during the winter, but with some good soil moisture, it will turn greener during these warmer stretches in winter we are enjoying now. So it’s a good idea to turn the sprinklers on just a little.

Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass are dormant, but the root system is still alive. We recommend to even irrigate warm-season turf if we go several weeks without significant moisture. Very dry soil will become colder than soil with some moisture, so extreme cold temperatures later in winter could lead to possible winterkill of bermudagrass. So keeping the soil somewhat moist during the winter is like insurance against winterkill. It does lessen the chances of that occurring.

Don’t let the warm and sunny weather fool you into thinking it’s time to scalp bermudagrass also. That’s not a good idea now. Yes, mowing just a little shorter will clean up the dormant turf, remove any leaves from the lawn, and it may look a little nicer. But don’t take it down to the soil, as we like to leave a thick, insulating layer of dormant grass over the crown and root system of the turf over the winter. Wait until after April 15th for any aggressive scalping of the turf.

With the nice weather, we’ve started applying our Early Spring Weed-Control Treatment, consisting of Barricade pre-emergent plus post-emergent herbicide for any existing weeds. This does need to be watered into the soil within a few days of treatment for best results.

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2015 will be the 17th year for LawnAmerica caring for lawns in Tulsa, Northeast Oklahoma, and now the Oklahoma City area. We care for more homeowners and their lawns than anyone in the entire state of Oklahoma, almost 13,000 customers and growing. For that, I am very grateful. We’ve grown not because I’m such a smart marketer, or by throwing a lot of money into advertising, but rather simply by doing a great job and taking care of our customers. That is done mainly due to the quality of people we have at LawnAmerica. Sure, we do use superior products, but everyone says that. We really do though, and we apply them at the right time at the proper rates. See the article on Pre-emergent Weed-Control for more information.

I think we’ve also grown because people like to do business with local businesses that give back to the community we all live in. We often times don’t like to promote the details of our giving, but suffice it to say, that giving back and helping those in need is just a part of why LawnAmerica exists, and many of our customers know this. We strive to give back 3% of our gross revenues to non-profits, schools, churches, and organizations helping people in need. We do this with cash donations or providing free services. So 3 cents of every dollar you invest in your lawn with us ends up going back into our community and our world in helping people.

LawnAmerica now is a major sponsor of a new non-profit in the Tulsa area, the Oh Be Joyful Farm. I have a vested interest in this, as my wife and I are the founders. We basically are helping foster kids and families in the Tulsa and Oklahoma area out at our little 40 acre farm. Please visit our website at www.Ohbejoyfulfarm.org to learn more. There are kids who will have their lives changed from the Oh Be Joyful Farm, and it would not exist without LawnAmerica and customers doing business with us. So Thank You!

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If mosquitoes are a problem in your yard, consider our new Mosquito Control Program. This consists of a mist spray of control products applied around the outside of your home and landscape every 4 weeks for best results. We use two types of products with our service:

  • Treatment with Permethrin, a widely used and safe synthetic Pyrethroid insecticide that acts in a manner similar to the natural products produced by chrysanthemum flowers.
  • All natural Mosquito Barrier consisting of garlic extract, which naturally repels mosquitos. Totally safe for people and pets.

mosquitoThese products are safe and effective. Consistency is the key, as the product breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, which is one characteristic that makes it a safe choice. We cannot guarantee that you’ll never see a Mosquito all summer with this service, especially if you subscribe to just a few treatments. However, it will greatly cut down on the mosquito population, and the more frequently we can treat, the better the results will be.

If you have a special party or outdoor event, we recommend two treatments, one about three weeks before and a follow-up treatment a few days before the event. For general control for most of the summer, if you subscribe to 5 treatments, you’ll receive one FREE treatment this year, with you final treatment at no charge.

Pricing per treatment is listed below:

  • Lawn and landscape size up to 4000' — $49
  • Lawn and landscape size 4000' to 8,000' — $59
  • Lawn and landscape size 8,000' to 15,000 ' — $69
  • Lawn and landscape size 15,000' to 25,000' — $79
  • Lawn and landscape size over 25,000' — Call Us

In addition to controlling mosquitoes, this service also will do a good job of helping to control fleas, ticks, spiders, and even insect pests in your shrubs and trees. So this is a nice side benefit to this program. For more information, or to subscribe, contact us at 918-249-5296, or visit our website at www.lawnamerica.com