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fall leaves

What a beautiful fall we’ve had in Oklahoma! For that matter, we’ve had a pretty good year overall with the weather for us who are responsible for growing grass and caring for lawns and landscapes in Tulsa. I recently spoke to the O.S.U. Master Gardeners class about lawn care in Tulsa, and told them that we are basically urban farmers, with grass as our crop. And just as farmers are subject to the whims and challenges of Mother Nature, so are we in the lawn care business. We’ve had our share of challenges the past few seasons with drought and hot temperatures especially. However this year has been great, and I’m very thankful for that.

Thanksgiving will be here soon…..a time to give thanks for all the blessings we enjoy. So allow me to express my thanks to our customers who we have the privilege of serving. Our customers allow us to do what we do, in caring for their lawns and in helping the community we all share. Our customers help to put bread on the table for about 50 families and growing. Our customers help make us better people, as they challenge us to get better, work harder, and provide them with great results. So thank you!

It’s at this time of the season when you can spend less time in mowing and watering, due to the cooler weather of late fall and winter. So enjoy it while you can. For that last mowing of the season on bermudagrass or zoysiagrass, I recommend mowing it rather high, at about 3” or so, in order to leave a thick layer of dormant turf to insulate the root system over the winter. Fescue will continue to grow some, and mowing while bagging helps to remove leaves from your turf, which is important for fescue seedlings especially.

Much of our staff also transitions into Christmas elves at this time of the year, providing Christmas lighting for many customers. So contact us soon if you’d like to lessen the stress of the Holiday season with the gift of lights from Christmas Décor.

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There’s a sucker born every minute. Have you seen the latest TV infomercial on Grassology, the miracle grass? Bob Villa is recommending it, so it must be great…..right? It is also showing up in some of the box stores, including Wal Mart. Here is the link to the TV spot so you can see their claims:

grassologybag1They claim this miracle seed provides a turf that is thick and green, requires little watering and fertilization, naturally fights insects, disease, and weeds, and it’s even made in the USA. For only $14.99 plus shipping, you can buy a whole two pounds of seed. If you look at the actual seed label, which is required by law, one will see that most of the turf varieties do not even grow or do well in Oklahoma:

  • Creeping Red Fescue
  • Tall Fescue
  • Perennial Ryegrass
  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Hard and Chewing Fescues

Tall Fescue is the only one that is found in Oklahoma turf. The rest are inferior types, clumpy, or die out in summer heat. And, there is .08% other crop seed and .05% weed seed in their blend. Both should be 0%, as our LawnAmerica blend is. Any weed or other crop (a weed) seed is unacceptable in a seed blend. The label also states that the variety is unstated. In other words, they buy a bunch of crap that seed companies do not sell, or whatever is left over from the seed season, and stick it into the bag.

There is no miracle grass that does not need water, fertility, and just naturally repels weeds, disease, and insects. There are no university studies behind grassology. And hate to burst their bubble, but pretty much all grass seed comes from the good ole’ USA. I toured the seed farms in Oregon two years ago, where most is grown, and we were not shown any miracle grasses coming our way.

The real kicker is that a homeowner will pay over $7 per pound for this “miracle seed”. We sell to some customers our custom LawnAmerica Tall Fescue blend in the fall for about $2 per pound, and its stuff that really grows in Oklahoma with zero weed and other crop seed. Plus, there are good varieties in our blend which we personally research and pick out.

So don’t be fooled into buying this grassology stuff, because it is just a rip-off. Like anything else, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Fall is a great time to be outside in the lawn in Oklahoma, with the cooler temperatures, bright blue skies, and changing fall colors. Lawncare changes in the fall, from fertilization to weed-control, at least for bermudagrass and zoysiagrass lawns. We are done fertilizing warm-season turf such as bermudagrass, as it is shutting down and preparing for winter dormancy. It is a good idea to raise your mowing height some with your soon to come final mowing of the season for bermudagrass and zoysiagrass. A thicker layer of dormant turf helps to insulate the crown and root system of the turf over the winter, protecting it from possible winterkill. Thick turf also helps to prevent winter weeds from germinating to a certain extent. The main focus in mid to late fall is to apply pre and post-emergent weed-control to warm-season turf, which prevents or controls winter annual weeds such as henbit, poa annua, chickweed, and dandelions from taking over next early spring.

FescuelawnOverseed Fescue Lawn NowCool-season turf such as fescue is cared for totally different than bermudagrass. We do not apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall, since most fescue is overseeded in the fall. So our emphasis see fescue mowed high in the fall. This is one time of the season when a homeowner can mow both bermudagrass and fescue at the same height, about 3” or even more.

It won’t be long until the leaves start falling in Tulsa. Allowing leaves to accumulate on fescue that has been seeded in the fall will damage new seedlings. So do invest your time, or money in some cases, in picking up those leaves on a consistent basis later this fall. On warm-season turf, having leaves off of the turf allows us to get a better liquid weed treatment, so do help us out with that also.

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If there is one question that we get asked a lot during the course of the year, it is “When is the best time to seed Fescue?” The answer to that question is right now, if not sooner.

The Autumn season is the best time of year to establish or over-seed a Fescue turf for several reasons.

  1. Fescue prefers the cooler temperatures that Fall provides. It is warm in the day to help with germination, but no so hot as to stress out the new seedlings, and then ground temperatures are generally cooler.
  2. Usually in Oklahoma, the entrance of Fall brings with it some much needed moisture that new Fescue seedlings desperately need. That hasn’t been the case yet this year, but we are still hopeful.
  3. Fescue that is established in September or early October will have the entire winter to develop a strong, healthy root system that will help better prepare the plant for the hot summers we typically experience.

We, at LawnAmerica, offer Fescue seeding services from mid-September through mid-October. In our seeding process we cultivate the ground using core aerators and rakes, we apply our custom LawnAmerica Fescue seed blend (which has NO weed seed), we fertilize with a combination of liquid fertilizers and an organic soil amendment as well as following up in 3-4 weeks to insure that seedlings are germinating properly.

If you have Fescue turf or need Fescue turf, don’t delay seeding, whether you do it yourself, or enlist our help. A little of bit of time and effort spent this Fall will pay dividends in a beautiful turf next Spring!

If you need our help, I recommend that you call soon. Our schedule is almost full.

And I almost forgot, don’t forget to water, or pray for rain (or both)! It’s pretty dry out there.

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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!