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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!

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Yesterday I attended a workshop at O.S.U. in Stillwater on Winterkill of Bermudagrass and Spring Dead Spot. Both are big issues now on bermudagrass lawns, so the turfgrass department gave us the latest information on both. Part of the challenges of growing bermudagrass was evident while we were there, wearing jackets in mid-May due to the temperatures in the 40’s. Bermudgrass just won’t do much until temperatures get into the 80’s and 90’s consistently, with nighttime temperatures at least in the 60’s. That’s not been the case this spring, which is the reason I’ve only had to mow my bermuda lawn once this year so far.

Although it was a long, cold winter, Dr. Martin from O.S.U. stated that while we’ve had some winterkill, it’s fairly spotty. The bermudagrass is just having a hard time getting going with the cool weather, and in some cases the lack of adequate soil moisture. They did visit about the fact that some varieties of bermudagrass are more susceptible to winterkill than others, hence the fact that some lawns are affected and some look just fine. There are many varieties of bermudagrass, and many genetic differences within certain varieties, such as U3 Common. So just as people do not all look and perform alike due to genetics, the same is true of grass.

Spring Dead Spot is a fungus disease, again more common on certain varieties of bermudagrass. That’s why some lawns will have it, and others will not. While soil fertility, weather, drainage, and turf age are all factors, genetics is the major factor in disease incidence. One study that O.S.U. did recently showed that ending nitrogen fertilization on bermudagrass by mid-September decreased the severity of the disease. That’s exactly what we do at LawnAmerica, with our final “fall fertilizer” for bermudagrass applied in August into early September. So while we can make a lawn dark green and lush with fertilization in late September and early October, that’s not what we want to prevent Spring Dead Spot from taking over a lawn. Fertilizing with nitrogen too late in the growing season also hurts the root system, which makes the grass more prone to winterkill. So we try to run the turf a little on the lean side as we go into fall as far as nitrogen and color is concerned.

Even if we do all the right things though, Spring Dead Spot can still come in and be a factor. In severe cases, O.S.U. recommends two fungicide treatments in fall, when the Test showing influence of fertility on Spring Dead Spotfungus is active, to prevent the disease from being severe the following spring. We can provide that at LawnAmerica with our Spring Dead Spot Fungicide Treatment, and it does seem to show some decent success. It’s not perfect, but one can expect to see fewer dead spots the following spring, and they will fill in faster with healthy bermudagrass. We apply one treatment in early September, and followup with another 30 days later. The fungicide does need to be watered into the soil for best results after treatment. Fungicides are not cheap, so our fee is 2.1X your normal lawn treatment cost to cover both treatments.

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Yesterday in honor of Earth Day, LawnAmerica participated in our annual Day of Service with the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), of which we are members of. Hundreds of lawn and landscape companies across the nation participated in local service projects in their local communities to demonstrate their love of the outdoors, people, and to highlight the benefits of green spaces in our urban environments.

IMG 0342Partnering with G&G Lawn and Landscape here in Tulsa, we installed landscaping, trimmed trees, and re-sodded turf in front of Tulsa Will Rogers High School<. Rogers is a beautiful old building, recently celebrating a 75 year anniversary. I graduated from Rogers way back in the day (not 75 years ago), when it was a much different school. As many inner-city schools, it’s has had some real challenges over the years. However, the old school recently enjoyed some renovations, both in the building and in the programs for the students. So we wanted to do our part in renovating a somewhat bare landscape with new landscaping in front of the building.

IMG 0375We’ve been treating the turf area in front of Rogers for over 4 years for free. So now with the addition of some new landscaping and sod, it may just be one of the most beautiful campuses in the city of Tulsa. A healthy lawn and landscape provides tremendous benefits, such as improved air quality, reducing sound pollution, moderates air temperatures, and absorbs rain water. Studies show that enjoying trees, turf, and landscaping reduces stress and improves health of people. Some of the z
teachers, staff, and students from Rogers came out yesterday to visit and were really appreciative of what we were doing.

IMG 0421So if you’ve not celebrated Earth Day, and it’s also National Lawn Care Month now, then go plant a tree (or replace the dead trees and shrubs from our brutal winter), mow your lawn, plant flowers, and call LawnAmerica to help with the difficult chore of weed-control and fertilization

. That’s what we do, so homeowners can really enjoy their lawns, while giving back to the communities we all share

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Spring has finally arrived in full force in Tulsa, with trees, shrubs, and lawns coming back to life after a long, cold winter. At least most are coming back. With the droughts we’ve experienced, and then a very cold winter, some trees and shrubs have been damaged, or even killed. My Redbud tree I planted two years ago had no blooms on it and is totally dead. I had several burning bushes that were killed back, with little sprigs of green showing from the base. Even some of my ornamental grasses are not showing signs of new green growth. And I took care of these plants, with good watering and fertilization, or so I thought. But it just goes to show you that even if we think we are doing all the right things, mother nature is still in charge. It appears that the extreme weather has just caught up with some of my plants, and sent them over the edge.

2 Year Old Redbud

My 2-year old Redbud didn't make it!

Older, more mature trees and shrubs are fine, as they have an extensive root system. Certain plants are just hardier than others against the challenges of weather and soil conditions. For example, my Photenias are doing great, as are some of my other plantings from two years ago.

So now is a good time to re-plant new trees and shrubs, replacing ones that are either dead or just not doing well. I planted a new Japanese Maple where my Redbud was, and it looks great. I’ll prune back dead growth on certain shrubs, so that new growth can come in and grow. We are still very dry in Tulsa, over 6” below normal so far this year. So we really need some good spring rains and storms, or it could be a long summer for lawns and landscapes in Tulsa.

It does appear that most bermudagrass lawns in the Tulsa area are recovering from that April 15th hard freeze, and showing good signs of new green growth. There are some areas of winterkill though, which does not surprise me with the winter we’ve had. The damage is rather spotty, and should fill in when the weather turns nice and hot, along with some good rains or irrigation.

It’s a great time for fertilizer, as that, along with warmer temperatures and good rains or irrigation will bring them totally out from winter dormancy and into the green and growing mode. We’re anxious for the bermudagrass lawns to get going, as a thick, healthy, growing turf helps choke out late spring weeds also. So get your mower blade sharp, as lawns will need to be mowed weekly from now into summer.