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The rains are nice, but with the mild temperatures, conditions are very favorable or turf disease, such as Large Patch, or Zoysiapatch as it is sometimes called. This disease mainly occurs in zoysiagrass, but under certain conditions, some varieties of bermudagrass can also get this disease. Wet and rainy weather, with mild temperatures are prime conditions for this, and that’s what we’ve been experiencing. Symptoms appear as large yellow to brown areas, often circular shaped, which can be up to several feet in diameter. A light orange ring is often found around the very outer edge next to the healthy turf, where the spot is spreading out. Spring Dead Spot in bermudagrass is similar, but the spots are smaller.

Dr. Dennis Martin, head of the Oklahoma State University turfgrass department, was out with one of our managers yesterday, and told him that after more than 25 years at O.S.U., he’s never seen the turf disease problem this bad. Maybe it’s been so dry these past few years that fungus disease spores are just waiting for the conditions to wreck their havoc, who knows?

Large Patch typically can be a problem from about mid-April through early May, and again during mid-fall. Hot conditions as we have in summer will dry things out, and the disease goes away. But again in fall, with mild temperatures and high rainfall, it can come back again. Zoysiagrass is so slow to recover from damage that we recommend a spring and a fall fungicide treatment to turf to help prevent this from occurring. If it’s present now, we highly recommend treating turf, as it can quickly spread, damage, and even kill turf.

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Most homeowners in the Oklahoma area have bermudagrass lawns, which by now have come out of winter dormancy, greened-up, and are well on their way to growing so that mowing is necessary every week or so. You don’t need to “feed” your grass however to have it looking great, as most homeowners believe. Grass, like all green plants, are unique in that they can make their own “food” from the basic elements of soil minerals, sunliqht, water, and air. As long as these are present, and the environmental conditions are right, then beautiful, green and growing grass appears in your lawn.

If you do your own fertilizing, you may buy a bag of fertilizer that says “Turf Food” on it. It’s not food at all! It’s usually a combination of naturally occurring mineral elements, synthetic organic elements, and maybe even some natural organic elements. Most urban soils do not have all the necessary nutrients required for good plant growth. In an urban situation, that usually means having the greenest lawn on the block! Just keep in mind though two important points:

  • The greenest lawn, while it is beautiful, may not be the healthiest lawn.
  • There is much more than just fertilizer necessary for a green, healthy lawn.

Warm-season turf, such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, require fertilization from 2-5 times per growing season (April—September) to perform their best. How many times per season a homeowner should fertilize depends upon soil type, irrigation, grass type, fertilizer rates and types, and most of all—homeowner expectations. Bermudagrass especially loves nitrogen, the most important element in found in turf fertilizers. Nitrogen is the element mainly responsible for the nice green color of turf, and for the growth of turf. Nitrogen is constantly being used up, lost, and changed due to many complicated processes you only need to know if you are in college, or if you are in the lawncare business like me. (If your lawncare provider doesn’t know, maybe you should switch!) The bottom line is this: if you want a green lawn, you need to apply nitrogen fertilizer to your turf several times per season. If you don’t, it’s not that your grass will die, but it will be thin, weed-infested, and just will not look good, as your neighbors may have already informed you.

When you go to the local garden center, or the big box store, the choices, brands, and all those numbers on the bag may be confusing. There are three primary nutrients that most turfgrasses need and may be deficient in the soil—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen, the most important one, is the first number listed. Phosphorus and potassium are listed second and third. Therefore, when you buy a 50 pound bag of a fertilizer labeled 29-3-10 for example, you have 14.5 pounds of actual nitrogen, 1.5 pounds of phosphorus, and 5 pounds of potassium in that 50 pound bag. It’s good to have some slow-release nitrogen as part of the nitrogen source. This allows you to apply more fertilizer each time without burning the turf, and extends the nitrogen release so that your grass will stay green a little longer in between fertilizations. Slow-release nitrogen is more efficient, with more of the nitrogen being used by the turf and on a more consistent basis. Less is lost due to leaching or runoff. Using slow-release nitrogen will add to the cost of the fertilizer however, which is why most of our competitors don’t use it, or use very little of it. Our Round 2 blend is a 36-1-3, with from 50% to 70% slow-release nitrogen in several different forms. This unique blend applied at a heavy rate provides enough nitrogen to get the grass green and growing, while slowly releasing more nitrogen over about an 11 week period. With this product, it allows us to then apply Echelon in our Round 3 for weed-control, since there is still adequate nitrogen in the soil being utilized from the Round 2 treatment, before we again go back to granular fertilizer with Round 4.

Oklahoma State University (go Pokes!) recommends that 1 pound of actual nitrogen be applied per 1000 sq. ft of warm-season turf per growing month. In other words, about 5 to almost 6 pounds of actual nitrogen/1000’ per season should be applied from late spring to early fall, and our 7-step LawnAmerica Program does just that. The last fertilization of the season should be in August or September. With that final early fall fertilizer, it’s good to decrease the amount of nitrogen, and increase the potassium (the last number). It’s not healthy or wise to apply excess nitrogen in late summer and early fall, as the turf is preparing to go into winter dormancy. Potassium will help the turf develop a stronger root system and help with disease resistance.

Phosphorus, the middle number, is usually found in great abundance in Oklahoma soils. Therefore, we really don’t apply very much during the season. The only time a high-phosphorus fertilizer such as 10-20-10 should be applied is during the seeding process. New fescue seedlings for example will benefit phosphorus applied during the fall seeding process.

A common mistake for homeowners is to fertilize Cool-season turf such as fescue in the same manner as bermudagrass. Fescue does not need as much nitrogen as warm-season turf to perform well. In fact, if fescue is over-fertilized during summer, burning and/or turf disease can occur. Apply lighter rates of fertilizer to fescue. Fescue needs fertilizer earlier in the season, since it is a cool-season grass. Late fall is the most important time to fertilize fescue, since it will help the turf come out stronger and greener the following spring. At LawnAmerica, we use a custom blended organic soil amendment named Soil Builder with a very low amount of slow-release nitrogen on . fescue during summer, which totally eliminates the possibility of over-fertilizing with nitrogen.

All granular fertilizers need to be watered into the soil so that the nutrients can move down into the root zone to be absorbed by the plant. Turf fertilization, while very important for the color, density, and health of the lawn, is not the only ingredient for lawn success. If overdone, it can be just as detrimental as not enough. There are many other cultural practices, such as proper mowing, irrigation, and weed-control necessary for a healthy turf.

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The spring rains have been nice, and it’s great to finally have a season with rainfall at normal or even above average in our area for the first time in many years. But with the rainfall comes the likelihood of other issues, such as a larger mosquito population this summer. Mosquitoes can be a harmful pest in the landscape, with increasing issues with West Nile Virus in particular. So our team at LawnAmerica has expanded our service offerings with new and improved mosquito control solutions.

We use a special backpack blower to apply a fine mist of two products to your landscape around your home, especially in the backyard. These products are the latest in insect control technology, and are so safe they can also be used in the home. But don’t ask our guys to blow the mist through the back door, as that is not going to happen! One of many unique features about these new products from Syngenta is the longevity of control, providing up to 8 weeks of insect control. While many companies will use products which are much cheaper, they don’t last nearly as long and are not as effective as our products:

  • Demand CS is an advanced-generation pyrethroid which control mosquitoes and more than 30 other insects such as ants, fleas, ticks, and spiders.
  • Archer insect growth regulator can effectively interrupt the life cycle of mosquitoes, preventing them from reproducing, and lessening the total population.

The combination of these two great products applied on a consistent basis about every 6 weeks should provide excellent control. We can’t guarantee that you’ll never have a mosquito land on your neck, as this does not provide perfect results. You will see a dramatic decrease in the problem though, allowing you to enjoy being outdoors in your yard this summer and on into fall. Plus, these treatments will help with other insect pests, such as fleas, ticks, ants, and spiders, along with some landscape damaging insects such as aphids.

In 2015, if you subscribe to the full program of 4 treatments, beginning in May, you’ll receive one FREE treatment, with your final service in early fall for no charge. That’s 4 treatments for the price of 3! Pricing per application depends upon lawn size as follows:

  • Lawns up to 4,000’ $59
  • Lawns 4,000’ to 8,000’ $69
  • Lawns 8,000 to 15,000’ $76
  • Lawns 15,00’ to 25,000’ $82
  • Lawns over 25,000’ Call us.

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Today is the day we celebrate the earth we live on. It’s an amazing place, this planet, created by God for us to live on and enjoy. Too bad we humans seem to mess it up at times, in more ways than one. From one who actually makes his living by tending to the earth, loves the outdoors, and who spent over 4 months hiking through a beautiful part of our earth on the Appalachian Trail 5 years ago, I truly do love the earth. I am very grateful to be able to enjoy and live in this beautiful part of the world in Oklahoma, and to be able to live off the bounties the earth provides.

We are proud of the contributions we make at LawnAmerica to our urban environment. Most of us live in cities, with homes, roads, parking lots, and many man-made structures. And those are all good and necessary for life in our modern world. In amongst these concrete, wood, and steel structures are islands of grass, trees, and urban landscapes. Our responsibility, which we take very seriously at LawnAmerica, is to properly care for these islands of green space in an environmentally responsible way.

A well-cared for lawn not only looks good and adds value to a home, it also provides real environmental benefits to our urban cities. A 50×50 foot lawn area (that’s pretty small actually) will supply enough oxygen generation for a family of four, while absorbing harmful carbon dioxide and other gasses. A healthy green lawn and landscaping will cool our cities, lessening the heat trapping effect of concrete. Lawns and landscapes help buffer sound pollution, trap dirt, and prevent soil erosion (which was my winning 6 th grade Science Fair project by the way).

While there are a few folks who may say what we do is bad for the earth, science and years of experience tell the true story. The products and the processes we use to provide the results of a healthy green lawn are safe and pose hardly any risk to people, pets, and the environment. We use the latest in weed-control and fertilization technology, which are proven to be safe and effective. We follow label instructions, and practice Integrated Pest Management, which basically means we only treat for weeds and pests if there is a problem that justifies that treatment. We use organic fertilizer and soil amendment components in most of our seasonal blends of fertilizer, with quality slow-release nitrogen incorporated for more efficient utilization of nitrogen. And, we have only the best, highly-trained managers applying the products in the right manner.

In honor of Earth Day, our guys at LawnAmerica are treating about 25 acres of Tulsa city parks for free this week, with a special application of pre and post-emergent weed-control and fertilization. With budget constraints, many cities such as Tulsa cannot afford to consistently care for their parks. So as we have in the past, and since it’s also National Lawn Care Month, we’re trying to help them out as best we can by helping to beautify some of our local parks.

For more information on the many benefits of home lawns, check out the following link:

https://www.loveyourlandscape.com/LYL/Lawn-Landscape/National-Lawn-Care-Month/LYL/National-Lawn-Care-Month.aspx?hkey=6dac870e-0037-4c5a-b6a2-987e899db5cd

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With the nice rains this spring, bermudagrass lawns are greening up nicely now. We are actually just a little ahead of normal rainfall for the year so far, which has not been the case for many years here in Oklahoma. If you have a Bermudagrass lawn, you may notice many brown circles appearing as your grass is trying to green-up in the spring. No, it’s not crop circles, but rather a very common and troublesome turf disease called Spring Dead Spot. Spring Dead Spot is a turf disease which is unique only to Bermudagrass, especially certain cultivars. It is caused by a common fungus, which actually infects the turf during the fall. The symptoms do not actually appear until the following spring, as circular dead areas up to several feet in diameter. The surrounding grass will be green and healthy, only to be infiltrated with a few up to many round dead areas, sometimes filled with weeds, with little healthy turf to help crowd them out. If you have a severe case of Spring Dead Spot, the spots will re-appear every season, often in the same place. Certain varieties of Bermudagrass are more prone to this disease than others. Hard winters seem to increase the severity of the disease in the spring. It has nothing to do with whether you use a lawn service or not. The disease seems to be most severe in bermudagrass lawns which are from 3-12 years old. As the lawn becomes older, the severity of the disease seems to lessen.

The dead areas will eventually fill in with Bermudagrass as summer progresses. It often takes much of the summer for this to happen though, so your lawn may not look real good for much of the early summer. You can speed up the fill-in by filling the circles with a thin ½” layer of good, black topsoil. This will help the surrounding grass fill in much quicker. You could also dig out the spots, replace with some good soil, and place a fresh piece of Bermudagrass sod on top. Try to match up with the same variety of Bermudagrass you now have, which may be difficult.

Dead SpotsThere is a preventative treatment program we can do in the fall, which has Dead Spots been shown to lessen the severity of Spring Dead Spot the following spring. A special turf fungicide named Velista can be applied at a fairly specific time—at the first onset of cooler fall weather, along with a follow-up treatment 4 weeks later. This is when the fungus infects the turf. We apply two treatments, spaced about 4 weeks apart, which is the current recommendation from Oklahoma State University. In spring we will take pictures of where the dead spots are, so that in fall we can concentrate where to apply the fungicide in the lawn. At LawnAmerica, we have treated many lawns in mid-September into late October. It has shown some fairly good results, with a decrease in the number of spots and quicker fill-in the following spring. Just because we apply the fungicide, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll have no spots the following spring though. If you have a severe case of Spring Dead Spot, we would recommend you try this, and see if it works for your lawn. The fungicide cost is more than most other products we use, so our fee is 2.1 X your normal lawn treatment price for the two fall treatments. For example, if your regular treatment is $50, the fungicide service will be $105, and covers both treatments.