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I have three dwarf Crape Myrtles in a small landscape bed tucked away in a corner, which I don't really notice that much. Last week I checked them out and was dismayed at how awful they looked, whith black sooty mold on the leaves. Sooty mold is caused by a heavy infestation of aphids, which are tiny inects found on the underneath side of the leaves which suck plant juices from the leaves as they feed. The aphids then secret a sweet, sticky substance called honeydew, which then causes the black sooty mold to form on the leaves. So it's an ugly cycle, all caused by the aphids coming in and feeding on the Crape Myrtles.

If I was on our LawnAmerica Tree & Shrub Program, my Crape Myrtles would probably be looking just fine. Aphids can be controlled with an insecticide treatment applied, usually during the summer. Aphids typically come in and feed on certain plants, such as Crape Myrtles, vegetable plants, and certain trees such as Maples. If the poplulation is large, they can damage leaves with their feeding to the extint that plants are damaged, leaves turn yellow or drop, and even death. If inseciticide sprays are used, the plants much be drenched thoroughly, as the insects are found usually on the underneath side of leaves. Some insects such as Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids, so this will help if you have some of those good insects. However, there are usually not enough natural predators to keep the aphid population down in some cases, so spraying will be necessary. Several treatments may be needed also for best results.

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It's time to irrigate you lawn. We are now more in our normal summertime pattern in Tulsa with hot temperatures and little rain. So while overall most lawns in Oklahoma have been looking pretty nice, without consistent irrigation, they will begin to dry out and look bad. Lawn fertilility…..as long as you are a full program LawnAmerica customer, you are taken care of. But without good soil moisture also, you lawn will not be very green and lush.

If you have an irrigation system, set it to come on early in the morning before the sun comes up, and before our LawnAmerica guy gets there! Usually, about 3 times per week is fine, as long as we do get some rainfall also from time to time. The key though is to water long enough to supply about 1/2" of water each time. This allows the water to get down deeper into the soil where the turf roots are. If you don't water long enough, and most people do not, you'll only be wetting the top inch or so of soil. Therefore, that's where the turf roots will grow, and they will be dependent then upon frequent watering. Plus, weed roots are often shallow, so you'll be watering the weeds. Let the very top layer of soil dry out some….that's OK, as long as you have good deep soil moisture present.

Fescue, being a cool-season grass, often struggles in Tulsa during July and August. Water fescue more frequently if you want it to look nice, but not during the evening. Over-watering leads to Brown Patch turf disease, which often looks like drought stress. During extreme heat and drought

times, it's also good to water fescue during the heat of the afternoon to cool it down, while still leaving time for the turf to dry out before sunset.

So summer is the time of the season when we really need the help of our customers to help their lawns and landscapes look good. We're good, but without water, plants don't thrive. And since we can't water the lawn, nor are we in charge of when it rains or doesn't rain, we need your help!

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Summer is here, and it sure seems to be getting off to a nice start for those of us caring for lawns in the Tulsa area. While we are actually still behind in rainfall for the year, we’ve had some nice rains over the past month, with more in the forecast. Temperatures have not been as toasty as they have been for the past several summers, so that’s refreshing to work in. For the most part, our LawnAmerica lawns are looking pretty good, especially those 6 & 7-Step customers>who received our R3 Echelon Treatment, which provides great nutgrass control and helps with crabgrass and other summer weed-control.

With the rains, you may be able to turn off your irrigation system for a while. Just remember that lawns need about 1.5” of water per week, either from Mother Nature or from your hose or irrigation system. Mowing is also an important cultural practice during the summer. Basically, mow high and often, never taking off more than 1/3rd of the leaf blade when mowing. Now is a good time to sharpen your mower blade also before getting too deep into summer. As long as you do your part in proper mowing and watering during the summer, your lawn should look and perform great.

The only exception to mowing high is if you have a bermudagrass mite problem. Then, you should mow short and pick up the clippings to remove the mites. Otherwise, just grasscycle and leave the clippings on the turf.

And today is election day, with some important elections in Tulsa. I’ve met the guy running for D.A. in Tulsa, Steve Kunzweiler, and he seemed like a good guy. My wife knows Joy Hofmeister, and I know she is an honest, smart, caring, good person, not the villain that the other candidate portrays her as. And being an ex-teacher, and from visiting with about everyone in education I know, it sure seems that Joy is their choice by far. The state Senate Republican primary is another huge race, with three really pretty good candidates. I really like two of them, but the one that gets my vote is the skinny guy with the good, deep voice. Not that this is important, he just seems to be an honest, smart, and sincere guy also…not the typical politician. But whoever your choice, just exercise your freedom and get out and vote for the candidates of your choice.

And as for the best lawn care service in Tulsa, then then votes are in, with LawnAmerica servicing more homeowners than anyone else in Oklahoma. So thank you!

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At LawnAmerica, we do a lot of different things. The primary thing being that we provide fertilization and weed control services to almost 13,000 customers in the Tulsa area. That is the “what” we do, but it isn’t the only thing we do. We provide opportunities. Opportunities to our staff to have a great place to work and provide for their families, but our “what” also provides us with opportunities to support our community.

We have long been supporters of The Little Light House. The Little Light House is a non-profit school that serves families of children with special needs such as autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy and many others in a unique program that blends special education and therapy services. They provide these education and therapy services on a completely tuition-free basis and have been since 1972.

Earlier this year we learned of one of their former students, Keith Boyd, who had the amazing idea to set up a Lemonade Stand to sell lemonade. Keith is an amazing 10 year that has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Keith didn’t just want to sell lemonade though. He wanted to sell enough lemonade to be able to donate $250,000 to The Little Light House.

I could tell you about Keith, but he has a great website that tells you all about himself, the idea for the lemonade stand as well as how you can help him reach his goal. I encourage you to check out his website as well as his Facebook page and share it with your friends and family. On his website you can learn more about Keith’s Ice Cold Lemonade and ways you can volunteer and support his efforts to raise $250,000 for The Little Light House.

logo Keiths1 http://www. keithsicecoldlemonade .com and

Starting this Wednesday, June 18th at 10:00am there will be 10 locations across Tulsa operating Keith’s Ice Cold Lemonade Stands. LawnAmerica has the privilege of hosting a stand that will be located on the campus of The Little Light House on the SE corner of 36th and Yale. We will be there every Wednesday starting this week going all the way through August 20th. The hours will be from 10:00am to 2:00pm each Wednesday. Please stop by our location, or one of the others across Tulsa. Lemonade will be available for donation.

There is still a need for volunteers around town at the various locations. If you are looking for an awesome opportunity to volunteer some of your time this summer and to help a worthwhile cause, look no further. This is the opportunity you have been waiting for!

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Non toxic

I recently was driving down Memorial, and noticed a brightly colored car with big graphics saying, "Non-Toxic Pest Control". The worker was outside his car visiting with someone, with a big cigarette hanging out of his mouth. "Something is wrong with this" I thought to myself. Here is a guy claiming he can control bugs with stuff that is non-toxic, implying that other methods are toxic, while he is sucking in air from a known carcinogen….nicotine. Cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable death, but here he is driving around with his "non-toxic" solutions to killing a few bugs making us feel better about using his company. Truth of the matter is that even the residue of the nicotine of his smoking is more toxic than the pesticides used in the pest-control business in Tulsa.

Lot's of everyday products we use are toxic, IF they are not used according to directions, or if they are used improperly. I can put salt on my eggs in the morning to make them taste better, or I can kill myself with salt by ingesting too much at one time. The gasoline I put into my truck allows me to drive to work rather than walking. That's a good thing, as I'd be late every day if I had to walk. But it's also toxic, as it can kill if used improperly or ingested. LawnAmerica does not provide in-home pest control, but we do offer outside perimeter pest control. I do know that the pesticides used by reputable companies are safe if used properly, and pose no unreasonable risk to people, pets, and the environment. There is no research out there that states pesticides used for controlling bugs causes cancer. But there is plenty of research showing that smoking will cause cancer, heart disease, and death.

So give me a break Mr. claiming that you are saving the world while you kill yourself with nicotine guy! And what about your spouse, or your kids? You are exposing them to a known carcinogen also, while you are out peddling your product. We use weed-control products at LawnAmerica with no hesitation, as they are proven to provide great benefits to our customer lawns and our urban environment, with very little risk if any at all to the public. If anyone would be concerned about lawncare products and their safety it would be me and our employees, as we work around them every day. I've treated thousands and thousands of lawns in my 28 year lawncare career, and I'm healthier than most guys half my age. And we are always looking for better, even safer solutions for our customers, using new products such as Specticle Herbicide and Holganix Organic Soil Amendment. These products are practically non-toxic, without even the need for a signal word on the product label.

Don't let the mis-information of a few people who often don't know the science behind the products sway you on the decisions in controlling insect pests, disease, or weeds. The professionals at LawnAmerica know what we are doing, use the best and safest products, and will use them judiciously. Oh, and we won't show up with a toxic nicotine cigarette in our mouth also!