Posted by & filed under mosquito control .

Mosquitoes are easily one of the most annoying and hated insects. 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.

Unfortunately, there’s a lengthy list of diseases and health concerns caused by mosquitoes ranging from itchy bites, all the way to West Nile, Dengue and Zika. However, not every species of mosquito is a carrier of these dangerous diseases, and identifying which one is flying around your head is difficult, if not impossible.

Instead we recommend our Buzz Off! Mosquito Control Program to help control this pesky problem.  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 two products safely eliminates existing mosquito populations, while interrupting a mosquito’s reproductive cycle.

This application is applied with a backpack mist blower around the landscape of your home and along the perimeter of your backyard.

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 refilling bird baths regularly will also help to lessen populations.

If you’re already a LawnAmerica customer with our Buzz Off! Mosquito Control Program, we should be out for your first application soon, if we haven’t been already. However, if you haven’t signed up, it isn’t too late. We still have time to get all four treatments completed so you take back your backyard!

Sign up online or give us a call today!

Click here for tips to help control mosquitoes.

Posted by & filed under fungal mycelium, mushrooms .

With all the warm and wet weather we’ve been getting lately, we’re beginning to get more calls regarding mushrooms in lawns.

Mushrooms are actually part of a fungus that grows underground and are caused by a mixture of increased moisture, lack of light, and buried organic matter.

The fungus grows by breaking down organic matter such as buried timber, stumps, or roots of trees and shrubs that have been removed.  It’s a natural process that actually helps improve the structure of the soil.

The “toadstools” are most commonly recognized for their flowering structure of the fungus that contains all of the spores. Spores can be spread by wind and water, which helps to establish other fungal colonies.

One of the easiest ways to get rid of mushrooms in your lawn is to mow them and once the soil begins to dry out, the fewer mushrooms you’ll see. Meaning there’s no need to apply a product to your lawn because in most cases mushrooms do not cause any damage.

There are a few cases where mushrooms can be a sign of a turf fungus, rather than a soil fungus.  Although not common in Oklahoma, fairy ring is a disease that can easily be recognized by the arc-like or circular patterns of mushrooms.

The ring pattern is caused by the outward growth of fungal mycelium, which forms a dense, mat-like structure in the soil that decomposes organic matter. This decomposition releases nitrate into the soil, which stimulates the growth of dark green grass at the outer portion of the ring. The fungus may also release certain byproducts that are toxic to the turf, leading to brown or dead turf next to the ring.

Fairy ring is difficult to control. One method of controlling the disease is to dig out the affected areas and replace it with new soil and sod. Another method is to apply turf fungicide. We recommend to just wait for hotter and drier weather, as the problem seems to go away. If the disease is severe enough, we can apply a product labeled for fairy ring disease. But remember that this is only when the mushrooms are found in an arc pattern associated with the turf disease.

Posted by & filed under landscaping and rainfall, plants and rainfall .

What a difference a year makes, or even a month! After dealing with wildfires and burn bans all winter, now we are coming off the wettest month ever for rainfall in Oklahoma, and so far the month of May is putting up some pretty impressive rainfall totals too. So, while it’s good that the subsoil now has moisture, the ponds and lakes are full, and we can save money on our water bills, there are also negative effects of excessive rainfall on plants and turf in the landscape. As with most things, too much of something good can often be just as bad as not enough.

Remember learning about photosynthesis and respiration in science class way back when? I’m a science teacher by trade, as I was a teacher for 8 years before becoming a lawn care operator. So allow me to pull out my old overhead projector and give a brief lesson on how this excessive rainfall can affect your lawns and landscapes.

Plants need oxygen to live, since it is a component of the respiration process in combining with sugars (produced from photosynthesis) to produce water and energy the plant needs for growth. The root system of plants absorbs that oxygen from tiny pore spaces found in the soil. However, when the soil is constantly saturated with water from rainfall, or excessive irrigation, these pores are filled with water and not oxygen. Therefore, this lack of oxygen uptake from the roots can result in death of some of the root system, leading to dis-coloration of foliage, wilting, and sometimes even death of the plant. Certain plants, and plants planted in poorly-drained soil are more susceptible to damage. If you lose plants during this rainy time, you may consider improving the drainage, or changing to a hardier plant. Certain trees can show a color change in leaves, and/or have leaves drop. It’s no cause for concern usually, and with drier weather will go away.

With our unique 70% slow-release nitrogen fertilizer applied back before all this rain hit, our customer’s turf really should be fine, since most of the nitrogen is water-insoluble and not as prone to leaching or washing away as water-soluble quick-release N sources. When the soil stays completely saturated for weeks on end, the turf roots will be damaged, so we’ll need some drier and warmer weather to help the roots recover. Until that happens, most turf will just not look as good as it normally would at this time of the season. However, when the soil stays saturated, the pre-emergent in the soil will break down sooner, so we do expect to be dealing with more weed issues this summer.

Posted by & filed under dallisgrass .

In the early 1900’s, paspalum dilitatum was introduced to North America. A native plant of South America, paspalum dilitatum is a fast-growing forage plant originally used by A.T. Dallis of LaGrange, Georgia.

The benefit of this South American plant was its ability to survive harsh southern climates, while providing a nutritional food source for livestock in pastures. However, Mr. Dallis probably had no idea that the food source for his cattle would one day turn into a troublesome weed for homeowners.

Dallisgrass is a hard to control perennial grass. Not only will it come back every spring, but it’s also a prolific seed producer – spreading seeds all season long with the help of wind, water, mowers, kids and pets. Pre-emergent applications can be effective when dealing with seeds, but they are totally ineffective in controlling existing plants.

So, if you can’t prevent the plant with a pre-emergent, how do you effectively get rid of it? There are really only four effective options:

  1. Dig it up. This is the most labor intensive option, but it does ensure that the plant is gone forever. It is recommended that you cover the newly bare areas with sod to prevent more weed seeds from germinating.
  2. Use a non-selective herbicide. Non-selective herbicides, commonly known as Round-up, will kill Dallisgrass, but it will also kill anything else it encounters, such as the existing turf around the plant. This option is effective, but will leave unsightly dead patches. Again, these dead patches should be covered over with sod to prevent more weeds from germinating and to keep a uniform appearance.
  3. Use a selective herbicide specifically labeled for Dallisgrass. This option is the most common, but chemicals only suppress Dallisgrass. Suppression will keep the plant growing lower to the ground so it’s less noticeable and unable to produce as many seeds. While reducing seed heads is beneficial, it’s not nearly as effective as eradicating the plant altogether.
  4. Call a professional. Lawn care professionals have stronger products available to them. LawnAmerica provides Dallisgrass protection for 6 and 7 step customers. Timing of the application is key to success (late summer into early fall).

Dallisgrass can be eliminated. But it will require one or a combination of all of the techniques above. Not to mention a healthy dose of persistence and patience.

For more information check out this short video from OSU.

If you find yourself needing help with Dallisgras this year, contact LawnAmerica. We have several locations in Oklahoma, including Tulsa, Edmond/Oklahoma City and Bartlesville/Grand Lake.

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

Roundup

So which one do I buy??

You’ve seen the TV commercials by now, saying that you can spray Roundup for Lawns to kill all of your weeds without harming the grass. So a homeowner goes to the big box store and looks at the big fancy Roundup display, with all types of jugs saying Roundup on them…..for lawns, for cracks, for grasses, northern lawns, southern lawns, etc.  I noticed a consumer just staring over the different products before this picture was taken, walking away with nothing purchased after a minute of contemplation. Good call. Many unsuspecting Tulsa and Oklahoma City homeowners will just buy the prettiest looking jug saying Roundup, buy it, spray on their weeds, and a week later wonder why their lawn looks dead. And the reason is that it probably is dead, after purchasing the Roundup that’s been around for years, which kills anything that’s green.

Roundup has the chemical glyphosate in it, a great compound, which has been used for over 40 years mainly in agriculture settings, along with spot-treating mainly in home lawns and landscapes. If a weed or plant is green and growing, Roundup will probably effectively and safely kill it. It will also kill the desirable turfgrass, be it bermudagrass, zoysisagrass, or fescue here in Oklahoma.

So Monsanto has apparently decided that since the name Roundup is so recognizable, why not just slap that name on a jug containing other chemicals that control broadleaf and grassy weeds without harming the turf, as most of the products we use at LawnAmerica do. This new “Roundup for Lawns” formulation does not contain glyphosate, but rather is a combination of four products commonly used for treating weeds in lawns:

  • MCPA
  • Quinclorac
  • Dicamba
  • Sulfentrazone

MCPA and Dicmaba are components of our common broadleaf herbicides, so they control things like dandelions. Sulfentrazone is the same thing as what we call Dismiss, the product we use in summer for good nutsedge control. And Quinclorac is a herbicide we now spray on Crabgrass, since MSMA is not available anymore. It does OK on Crabgrass (not great like MSMA did), but does not control weeds like Johnsongrass or Dallisgrass.

This new “Roundup for Lawns” states that it controls 253 weeds, as it should, since it’s actually a combination of four different herbicides. And as long as homeowners follow label instructions, it should work fine for most weeds.  A combination of four herbicides trying to cover all bases seems like overkill to me, more expensive, and a waste of product when maybe just one specific herbicide would do.

The problem is that mark my word, many people will be confused, buy the “real Roundup” with glyphosate in it, and spray it on their lawns thinking that it’s safe to use. That will kill their lawn since they sprayed glyphosate on it. This thing is just an accident waiting to happen.

So the best solution to this is really just to use a professional, like LawnAmerica! Monsanto just wants to sell their products and make money. That’s fine, but this marketing decision will cause confusion in the marketplace along with a bunch of dead lawns and angry homeowners. Just let the professionals do this….it will be a lot easier for you!