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Truett Cathy, the founder and President of Chick-fil-A, died yesterday in Atlanta at age 93. One may think what the significance of a business owner who sells chicken have to do with lawn care in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so allow me to explain.

20 years ago, as a still wet-behind-the-ears 39 year old business owner of 10 years, I wrote a letter to Mr. Cathy telling him of my admiration for him and the way he conducts his business, especially from a Christian perspective. His secretary actually called me back a few weeks later and invited me out to Atlanta to meet with Mr. Cathy. So I excitedly flew out to Atlanta to personally meet with Truett Cathy at the Chick-fil-A headquarters. I really didn't have an agenda, other than just having the opportunity to personally meet a very successful business owner whom I admired and wanted to learn from. I don't even remember what Truett and I talked about while in his office for 20 minutes or so. He took me to eat lunch at the cafeteria, where we had, you guessed it, chicken sandwiches. I still have the styrofoam cup from the Coke in my office. He introduced me to his son Bubba I remember, and took me on a tour of their little museum at the headquarters. I believe that Truett spent about an hour and a half with me, a young (it's all relative) businessman aspiring to build a business similar to Chick-fil-A, but in lawn care.

As I have read some of the media coverage of his death, I'm amazed, and a little angry, that half of the information is about the recent flap over comments about their stand on not supporting gay marriage. Why is that even talked about? What should be discussed is what a great man Truett Cathy was, as a husband, father, and businessman. Here was a man who from very humble beginnings, with hard work, dedication, and a strong Christian faith, built one of the best businesses in the country. They have good food, and great service. They have experienced great growth, to over $5,000,000,000 in sales, with healthy profits. But how they have grown and conducted their business, and what they do with some of their profits for our communities, is what separates Truett Cathy and Chick-fil-A from 99% of the other businesses in our country.

Truett Cathy did not leave his Christian faith in the church pew while working Monday through Saturday. He used the principles of faith in conducting and growing his business, with staying closed on Sundays just one of many practices they followed. Didn't seem to affect their growth and profits much. They have funded and built things for kids, such as foster homes and summer camps. Chick-fil-A sponsors things like leadership and marriage conferences. They and their store operators give back millions of dollars to local communities, especially supporting kids and education. The recent Keith's Ice Cold Lemonade Stand supporting the Little Lighthouse, is just one of many examples of a local Tulsa operator giving back to our community. They provide scholarships for students to attend college who have worked at Chick-fil-A. I don't believe there is any large company who gives more back to the communities we all live in than Chick-fil-A, and it all started from the values and leadership of Truett Cathy.

Truett and his company have always been one of my mentors, without them even knowing of it. I've wanted to build a lawn care business by using some of the same values and processes that his company has. I believe that our customers in Tulsa, Bartlesville, Grand Lake, and now in Oklahoma City, are better served in part due to what I've learned from Truett Cathy and his business. Employees are better taken care of, lawns are more beautiful, and communities are better off. Little ol' LawnAmerica tries to emulate the community stewardship that Mr. Cathy does, as we try to reflect and practice our faith by giving back to others.

Truett Cathy has done what many small business owners strive to do, leave the world a better place through their efforts….leave a legacy. Thank you Mr. Cathy for how you have lived, as it extends much further than just chicken sandwiches. You've influenced countless business guys like me who strive to be like Truett. So I'll go enjoy a chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a cold Coke in your honor today for lunch!

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The rains this early summer have been nice for lawns in Tulsa and NE Oklahoma. But with the water comes increased mosquito activity. There are things homeowners can do to help control mosquitoes, and we have a new service at LawnAmerica which can help with control also. The key word is control. We can’t eradicate them, but we can cut back on the numbers of pests with our service.

We are testing mosquito control in out Tulsa, Bartlesville, and Grand Lake service areas. This consists of a mist spray of both a conventional insecticide plus a natural mosquito repellent. This needs to be applied in the landscape every 3-4 weeks for best results.

  • Treatment with Permethrin, a widely used and safe synthetic Pyrethroid insecticide that acts in a manner similar to the natural products produced by chrysanthemum flowers.
  • All natural Mosquito Barrier consisting of garlic extract, which naturally repels mosquitos. Totally safe for people and pets.

The Permetherin product will provide good results, as it has been proven over many years to be safe and effective. Consistency is the key, as the product breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, which is one characteristic that makes it a safe choice. We sometimes will switch to another product named Bifentherin, which has good results also.

If you have a special party or outdoor event, we recommend two treatments, one about three weeks before and a follow-up treatment a few days before the event. For general control for the rest of the summer, if you subscribe to three treatments, your fourth treatment is FREE. Pricing is as follows:

Lawn and landscape size up to 4000' $49

Lawn and landscape size 4000' to 8,000' $59

Lawn and landscape size 8,000' to 15,000 ' $69

Lawn and landscape size 15,000' to 25,000' $79

Lawn and landscape size over 25,000' Call Us

For practical tips on how to control mosquitoes in your yard in addition to spraying, go to this link:

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We are winding down our fall turf fertilization for our LawnAmerica customers, and transitioning into our fall weed-control. Warm-season turf such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass are slowing down their growth with the cooler fall temperatures. They actually begin to prepare for winter dormancy at this time of year, slowing down their topgrowth and sending food down into the root system for storage over the winter. So we intentionally back down on nitrogen fertilization in fall, so that we are not pushing the turf to be super green and grow too much. Applying too much nitrogen and applying it late in the season is detrimental to the turf for many reasons.

  1. Excessive nitrogen fertilization in mid to late fall will weaken the root system, which is bad for turf preparing to over-winter.
  2. Winterkill of bermudagrass is more likely to occur on turf that has had excessive nitrogen applied in the fall.
  3. Excessive nitrogen at this time of year can lead to higher rates of Spring Dead Spot Disease next spring.
  4. Excessive nitrogen at this time of year is just wasteful and not good for the environment, as warm-season turf does not need it or utilize it fully.

So we don’t want a super green bermudagrass or zoysiagrass as we head into late September and October. Don’t judge a lawn service at this time of the year as to how green they can make a lawn. If I wanted to make a lawn green, I could do it, by applying a lot of nitrogen and having you water like crazy. But this is NOT the right thing to do. What we want is a moderate green color, and to go a little lean on the nitrogen into the late fall. And I’m sure you are tired of watering and mowing your lawn by now also!

Now Fescue is totally different, being a cool-season grass. The most important fertilization of the season for fescue is in mid to late fall. So instead of applying fall pre-emergent, we apply a heavy dose of granular fertilizer to our fescue lawns in fall. We don’t apply a pre-emergent to fescue in fall either, as this will negate any fescue seeding that needs to be done in the fall.

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It’s been a mild summer with some good rains, for which the lawns in Tulsa and we are all thankful for. However, we knew it would not last forever, as it’s turned hot now with little rain in the forecast. So I know we said you could turn your sprinklers off, but times have changed.

Go ahead and irrigate 2-3 times per week now, which is normal for summer in Tulsa. The good news is that with the deep soaking rains in summer, most turfgrass has a deep root system now, picking up that deep soil moisture. So I suspect that it will need to get very hot and dry before we see brown areas from moisture stress in the turf. Much of that depends upon your soil type.

Sandy soils will dry out quicker, so you’ll need to water more frequently. And as always, water in the early morning if at all possible.

Do continue to keep an eye out for Armyworms in Tulsa. If you see just a few, that’s no big deal. But if you see more than say 4 per square foot, and you can see your lawn literally moving as they march across the turf, then it’s time to apply insecticide or call LawnAmerica ASAP.

And if you’ve not done so yet, raise your mowing height on notch on your bermudagrass or zoysiagrass, as we like to see it a little higher in the fall. This helps to stimulate your root system to grow deeper, which is a great thing for turf.

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Just four weeks ago on August 1st, lawns in Tulsa were green and lush. What a difference in just four week with no rainfall and sudden hot temperatures. ithout irrigation, many lawns in Tulsa and NE Oklahoma are turning brown. Earlier this week I diagnosed Grubworm damage in what was a nice Zoysiagrass lawn in south Tulsa. After digging down a little into the soil, I found about 8 fairly large Grubworms in a small area, with the turf turning brown due to the worms eating the turf roots. But the really big problem now is a possible major outbreak of Armyworms in Tulsa.

The last major outbreak of Fall Armyworms was 14 years ago, and I remember it well. Most of Tulsa was covered with Armyworms, which quickly devoured many lawns in Tulsa almost overnight. Whether we are in for another major outbreak now, or just in certain lawns, we really don't know yet. We are seeing more and more Armyworms in most areas of Tulsa, and are recieving many calls. I suspect that with some rain in the forecast, we could see an explosion of worms in lawns after that. But then again, we may not. We just don't know when dealing with Mother Nature.

Armyworms are easy to kill with many common insecticides. Just read the label, and apply with a hose end sprayer. Granular insecticides are easier to apply, but may not be as effective as sprays. If I had a Fescue lawn, I would be most concerned, as Armyworms can chew it down to the ground and it probably will not recover. So, you'll need to reseed your Fescue lawn this fall. Bermudagrass is tough, so even if Armyworms chew the turf down to the ground, it will recover. However, it will look very bad for several weeks. From my experience, they don't like Zoysiagrass, but you never know. We are encouraging customers to really look at their lawn and scout it daily for Armyworms. Don't spray or have us spray just because you have a brown lawn, as it could be drought also, or even Grubworms (unlikely though). If you see worms, and if you don't want any damage, then treat ASAP or contact LawnAmerica ASAP for an insecticide treatment.

We will know alot more within a few days as to the extint of the Armyworm problem. It may just be some lawns affected for whatever reason. Or……it could be lawn care Armageddon, with millions or Armyworms chewing down turf in a span of just a few days. We are ready, and will do the best we can with being responsive to the problem. If you want to make sure to control them quickly, and we are unable to get to your home quickly, try spraying yourself or just get a bag of granular insecticide, apply, and water it in.