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We are now about 14” above normal for rainfall in much of Oklahoma, even more in some areas. And most of that rain has come over the past few months, at a time with the temperatures are warm to hot. This is the perfect recipe for turf diseases, such as Brown Patch, to develop in Oklahoma lawns.

There are three things that must be present for turf disease to occur…..a sussceptable host, fungi present, and the right weather conditions. Fescue is a great host for Brown Patch, with some varieties more succeptable than others. Even bermduagrass can get Brown Patch in sever cases, along with Large Patch that is often found on zoysiagrass lawns. Fungi…..they are present everywhere, just waiting for the right conditions to grow. Most fungi love warm, wet, humid weather, which is what we’ve been experiencing a lot of here since May, and now even into July when it normally would be drying up some. Not so this year.

So we’ve had many of our lawncare customers, especially with fescue, experience Brown Patch problems in their turf, with yellow to brown splotchy areas developing and wilting of the turf. We can’t control the rainfall and humidity, so disease is going to happen under conditions such as we’ve experienced. A turf fungicide can be applied on a preventative and curritive basis, but these typically have about a 2-3 week residual. So repeat treatments are usually needed for best results. Turf off your irrigation system and let the turf dry out some. When mowing, remove the grass clippings, to help remove some of the fungi present and allow better air circulation within the turf.

If it ever heats up and dries out, as it probably will soon, the disease pressure will go away. Fescue overseeding season is just two months away in September, so damaged turf can be renovated with new seeding done then.

For prevention and treatment options, contact LawnAmerica, Inc. today!

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With the rains and now hot weather, your bermudagrass especially may be growing like crazy now. Primo is a great product that has been around for about 20 years now. When applied to turf, it will slow down the growth of the turf by about 50% over a 5-6 week period. The turf more or less grows horizontally more than vertically, giving it a thicker appearance also. Other benefits include stronger and healthier root growth, which helps with nutrient and water uptake from the soil. And, Primo gives the turf a slightly darker green color for a few weeks after application.

Many golf courses and sports fields have known about Primo and used it for years to improve their turf. We are applying it monthly to the baseball field at OneOK Field this summer to help their groundskeeper with their bermudagrass turf. We have some customers who have us apply two treatments every summer to help them cut back on mowing frequency and build a better turf. And if you are going on vacation, have us apply Primo and your lawn will be fine when you return without facing a hay field. With Primo, you can cut back 50% on your mowing frequency, so if you are mowing weekly, you can stretch it out to every two weeks and be just fine. So it's a great time saver, while giving you a healthier turf.

To schedule your Primo treatment, visit our website at: http://www.lawnamerica.com/Tulsa/Lawn-Care-Services/Primo-MAXX.aspx

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With all the May and June rains, it's the perfect conditions for a for a troublesome turf disease we really don't see much in Oklahoma, Dollar Spot. Symptoms appear as small brown or dead-looking spots about the size of a silver dollar, usually in bermudagrass. Some spots can merge together to form large brown irregular patches in the turf. It is often a summertime disease that shows up in turf that has been under-fertilized with nitrogen. And as with all turf diseases, excess rainfall, irrigation, and high humidities increase the severity of the disease.

With over 20" of rainfall in many areas of Oklahoma this spring, much of the nitrogen in soils have been leached out, leading to a nitrogen deficiency, and hence more Dollar Spot pressure. We usually don't get too excited when we encounter Dollar Spot, as a good nitrogen fertilization will often take care of the problem. Dollar Spot is also not a disease that will kill the turf, as other diseases can. It's more of an eyesore, which again will quickly disappear once the lawn is fertilized well, and with drier weather.

We find that our full-program 6 and especially 7-step customers don’t really have many problems with Dollar Spot, as they are receiving the full recommended amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied during the season. Without at least 3-4 good lawn fertilizations during the summer, bermudagrass will be under-nourished, as it loves nitrogen. And in these cases with low fertility, especially with excess rainfall or irrigation, expect to see some Dollar Spot.

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So What’s the Difference between LawnAmerica and Trugreen?

I was out in the field with two of our Route Mangers in Bartlesville on Wednesday helping to do some lawn treatments and checking on how things were going. There happened to be a Trugreen truck running around in the same neighborhood treating some lawns, one of which was right next door to one we had just treated. In the markets we serve in Oklahoma and in North Carolina, Trugreeen is the biggest competitor, as they are the largest national lawncare company in the nation. In Tulsa however, LawnAmerica is larger than Trugreen, which is rare in the larger markets they are in.

We sometimes are asked the question, “What makes us better than Trugreen”, or any other lawncare company for that matter. So these pictures show just a few examples of why customers are better served by using LawnAmerica.

TruGreenTrugreen

Notice the sidewalk next to the turf where the lawn flags are. The LawnAmerica lawn has no fertilizer on the sidewalk, as our guys carry a blower on their trucks to remove granular fertilizer off concrete surfaces such as sidewalks, and put it into the turf where it belongs. Their guys are too busy to do that, and have too many lawns to treat that day. Blowing fertiizer off sidewalks and driveways is the right thing to do, from an agronomic and environmental standpoint, but it does take time and money.

Their fertilzer was all white, inicating that there was zero slow-release nitrogen or organic material in their fertilizer blend. TrugreenOur LawnAmerica lawn fertilizer, as you can see in this picture, has some blue pellets, green, and with two shades of brown, in addition to the white pellets. We’re not trying to have pretty colored fertilizer or anything, but these are all slow-release nitgrogen or organic sources of nitrogen. Addiing slow-release nitrogen to a fertilizer blend is also the best agronomic and environmental practice, and leads to superior results. Again, they do cost more money. I can can buy a bag of fertilzier without slow-release Nitrogen for about $6, while our spring fertilzier blend came in at almost double that price. But the results are worth it. And you can also see in the Trugreen lawn a line of crabgrass and other weeds in the turf next to the sidewalk, which has fertilzer still on it. Our lawn is clean and weed-free.

So these are just a few of the many real differences between LawnAmerica and Trugreen. It’s all about better people, better products, and better processes, such as doing the little things in blowing fertilizer off concrete areas. Trugreen is a big, national company owned by private equity. Those investors living in other states really don’t care much about customers, just the balance sheet and financials. LawnAmerica is locallly owned, and while the balance sheet is still important, I as the owner know the importance of taking care of employees and customers, and giving back to our community. That is where it all starts, and are the keys to providing great service. And I’m sure that the owner of Trugreen is not out working in the lawns, talking with customers, and does not write his own blogs!

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Proper Mowing After Rainy Periods

After the second rainiest spring in Oklahoma history, it’s been difficult to keep up with the mowing schedule on Tulsa area lawns. And, bermudagrass and zoysiagrass lawns will be exploding in growth soon with the hot temperatures, good soil moisture, and assuming that our LawnAmerica fertilizer is in the soil doing its job!

The general rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3rd of the leaf blade with each mowing. However, when it rains all the time, and one cannot even get a mower on the lawn for up to two weeks, the grass is going to be really high, so you’ll need to make some adjustments. If you mow at the regular height for bermudagrass, say about 2.5” now, and the grass is 5-6” tall, then you are removing over half of the leaf blade. This not only looks bad, especially with all the heavy grass clippings left on the turf, it’s also bad for the health of the turf. Excess clippings left on the turf can lead to thatch problems, as the heavy clippings cannot decompose as light clippings do. When more than 1/3rd of the grass plant topgrowth is removed, the turf then puts all of its energy into recovery and growing the leaf and blade back, at the expense of the root system. So the roots just shut down temporarily, which is bad for the turf.

So raise your mower to the highest setting, so you are not removing as much of the grass. Wait a few days then, lower the setting to normal, and mow it again. So by taking the mowing height down in stages, you’ll lessen the shock to the turf and ease it down into the proper height.

A deep, extensive root system is key for a healthy turf, so anything which hurts the root system will harm the turf. With all the rain, the turf roots have had plenty of soil moisture on the surface, so that’s where they grow. Let the top inch or so dry out some, so that the roots will then have a motive to grow deeper in the soil to absorb that deep soil moisture. A homeowner can also help train turf roots to grow deeper with mowing a little higher than normal, as there is a direct relationship between mowing height and root depth.

With the good soil moisture, now is a great time to aerate your bermudagrass lawn. This is another cultural practice which helps the health of a turf root system.