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If so, you probably have moles, gophers, or both in your lawn. Moles and gophers always seem to be a big problem in Oklahoma lawns at this time of year. The bermudagrass is dormant, lawns are not being mowed, so the unsightly dirt piles just stay there after the moles and gophers do their digging. Gophers are larger than moles, did deeper tunnels, while bringing up larger mounds of dirt. They eat plant roots, so they can destroy gardens if left un-checked. Moles on the other hand are much smaller, eat earthworms, grubs, and other soil insects, and make shallow tunnels as they search for food in the lawn.

There are many methods that homeowners have tried over the years in controlling moles and gophers, most of them failing. We do offer a mole control program at LawnAmerica which consists of setting baits that look and smell like earthworms, a major source of food for moles. We consistently set the baits as we come out for regular lawn treatments, and provide service calls in-between treatments also. This works well sometimes, but in other cases may not be as effective, so you just never know. We can’t make the mole eat the bait, but it does help in some cases.

Applying insecticide to control grubworms is not very consistent either, so we really don’t recommend that as a control method. Spray on products containing castor oil are not very good either. Other products are just a waste of money.

The best way to control both moles and gophers in the Tulsa area is to contact our wildlife trappers we recommend on our website. Both are very good, and charge a base fee plus a bounty per animal caught. If a homeowner is persistent and has plenty of time, you can learn to trap them yourselves. But from our experience, just pay these guys and you will probably be happy!

Read our mole control page for more information.

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We finally have some moisture in Oklahoma, in the form of snow and ice. Hey, we’ll take it in any form with it being so dry now. It wasn’t much, so let’s hope for some good, soaking rains soon.

We were able to fire up the snow plows and use some of the truckload of ice melt we have in the warehouse at LawnAmerica though. Some of our trucks are equipped with the capability of adding a plow and a large ice melt spreader, so we are able to help some of our customers with ice and snow control in the Tulsa area. It looks like the snow won’t last long though, and that’s fine with us.

As the snow melts into the soil, it will water in any pre-emergent weed-control applied last week. We are in the middle of applying our Round 1 Early Spring Weed-Control Treatment, and with decent weather, should have all of our customers lawns in the Tulsa and Oklahoma area serviced by early to mid-March. Crabgrass won’t even begin to germinate in Tulsa until late March at the earliest most seasons, so as long as the Barricade pre-emergent is applied before then, your crabgrass issues should be minimal.

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Last year at this time of the season, we were experiencing the driest January and February on record in the Tulsa area. Well, here we go again. 2015 is starting off as another year of drought it appears. We are currently in the D1 moderate drought category. But go west and it gradually deepens to extreme and even exceptional drought, and it is gradually moving this way.

We’ve really been in a long-term drought since 2010 in Oklahoma. Yes, we’ve had some periods of nice rains last year, but still ended up well below normal. So how does this affect you, and LawnAmerica, who is responsible for much of the care and quality of your turf in the landscape? It’s pretty simple…..plants need water to survive and thrive. Yes, many of our customers have irrigation systems, or can put a hose and sprinkler out in the lawn. That’s great, and is necessary most of the time for a quality turf. But there is nothing that can take the place of good, soaking, natural rainfalls. These provide much-needed deeper soil moisture, which trees especially need for survival.

Even during the winter, it’s important to provide good soil moisture for lawns and ornamentals. I’ve had to irrigate my fescue turf several times recently, as the topsoil is very dry, and those seedlings from last fall’s plantings are still not fully mature. Fescue turf can die in the winter if it becomes too dry and cold. Even bermudagrass should be watered some, as the chances for winterkill occurring are much greater if the soil is extremely dry.

If you have recently had an early spring pre-emergent herbicide applied (hopefully from LawnAmerica), that weed-control product needs to be watered into the soil within about five days for best results. If a homeowner does not water it in, and just waits for the next rainfall to occur, which could be weeks on end, some of the product will break down with sunlight. It is not activated until it’s watered into the soil, where it will then be able to do its’ job.

It’s going to take a lot of rain this spring and summer to really bust out of this drought, so in the meantime, please water your lawn, shrubs, and trees even now in the winter.

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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.