Posted by & filed under tree saplings, weeds .

What’s the deal with all of the baby trees in my lawn?

They look like weeds to me!

Well, technically they are weeds, as a weed is merely a plant growing out of place.

Homeowners expect a lawn that is 100% grass, but mother nature is always working hard to help other plants survive as well.  Trees in the landscape will produce thousands of seeds every year.

Those seeds, with the help of wind, water, and animals will end up spread all over even home lawns.  Some of those seeds will germinate in the spring creating the tree saplings.

Spraying tree saplings is generally not necessary.  In most cases keeping the leaves mowed off early in the year is enough to deplete the energy reserves of the seed, and without leaves to photosynthesize the plant basically starves to death. All plants have growth points, known as meristematic regions. This is where the plant produces the cells to push growth upward. Grasses grow from their crown that is near the soil. This is the only reason they tolerate mowing in the first place. Broadleaf weeds, including trees, grow from the tips of their branches or stems. When these are cut off it causes the plants to struggle and use up quite a bit of energy. That is why they cannot tolerate mowing for very long. You are literally mowing off the part of the plant that has the largest amount of expanding cells and growth hormones.

Spraying can also be detrimental to mature trees if the sapling is a ‘sucker’ coming off of the roots of an established tree rather than from an individual seed.  These ‘suckers’ will absorb the chemical and it will be drawn up into a healthy tree, which no one wants.

While they can be unsightly and even somewhat frustrating to deal with each spring, tree saplings don’t put any pressure on the turf.  So with a few mowings and a little patience, they will fade out on their own.

If you are having issues with weeds other than saplings, be sure to give LawnAmerica a call.  Service calls are always complimentary for our full-program customers.

Posted by & filed under mowing .

Has spring finally arrived?

Based on the winter coat I needed to leave the house this morning, it sure doesn’t feel like it! However, now that we’ve made it through this morning’s cold front, the forecast shows we may finally be sliding into a more spring-like pattern.

We sure need it! This has been one of the longest winters I can remember from recent years!

It’s no surprise that warm season grasses such as bermudagrasses are still showing more dormant turf rather than the green, new growth of spring. This occurs anytime soil temperatures struggle to stay warm enough to allow for the plant to know it is okay to start growing again.

Now that the forecast has moved away from freezing temperatures at night, it is recommended and even encouraged to scalp warm season turf. The practice of scalping removes the dormant vegetation from the lawn, allowing the sun to help raise the soil temperatures, which in turn, helps the grass to turn green and start producing new shoots.

Scalping is one of the few times we recommend that you bag your clippings when mowing, because of the amount of dormant leaves and stems you will be collecting. It is a little more work, but it makes the lawn look better, helps prevent unnecessary thatch build-up, and will keep your neighbors from being annoyed that your clippings are blowing into their lawn.

It is worth noting though, the recommendation to scalp only applies to warm season grasses such as bermudagrass or zoysia. Fescue turf does not need to be scalped and does not tolerate the shorter mowing heights that the warm season turfs do. We recommend fescue be mowed no shorter than 2.5” in the spring, and even higher as we get into the summer and fall months.

For many of us, this will be the first time to fire up our mowers since last fall, so it’s not a bad idea to give yourself a few extra minutes to check that everything is in good working condition. Be sure to check the oil, replace the spark plug and clean out the air filter. It is also a good idea to replace any residual fuel with fresh gasoline. Finally, be sure to either replace or sharpen your blades. Sharp blades provide cleaner cuts, which help prevent unnecessary damage and disease pressure in your turf.

While mowing is not one of the services we offer at LawnAmerica, we strive to help our customers with all of their lawncare needs and can provide you with a referral to a great mowing company. Just call our office at (918)249-5296 and ask for a referral.

Posted by & filed under earthworms, natural fertilizer .

“Why do I have all the small clumps of ‘dirt’ all over my yard?” is just one of the many questions we get during the course of the week.

So we thought we would take few minutes and give you the ‘dirt’ on earthworms and their castings.

Worm castings are the remnants of the digested organic matter produced by earthworms. As they consume the material, they output castings in their path. When it rains they come to the surface, and these piles of castings can be clearly seen where the earthworms have exited the ground.

Although they may be unsightly for a time they are far more beneficial than just a pile of ‘dirt.’

These castings are some of the most nutrient and humus rich natural fertilizer known to man!

As an integral soil and plant amendment, these castings are like a one-a-day vitamin for the soil with all of the nutrients they pack. They also help the soil clump together for better water absorption as well as oxygen and nutrient exchange.

You can actually buy worm castings in bulk for a couple of dollars per pound but its best to do your research first.

Earthworms play a much more prominent part in the soil biology than most people care to know and these are just a few of the benefits. So next time you see the small piles after a rain, don’t be alarmed. It’s just the earthworms saying hello and letting you know they are hard at work making your soil RICH.

Posted by & filed under pre-emergent, spring lawn care .

Can you believe it is April already?

If you are like me, looking at the temperatures and the landscape, it sure doesn’t feel like April.  We just had one of our colder Easters in Oklahoma this past weekend.  The trees are barely leafing out in most cases, and much of the bermudagrass has still not greened up yet.  It seems like Winter just won’t let go this year!

But, rest assured, warmer weather is coming.  With the warmer weather, we will have green lawns and more flowers soon.

Here at LawnAmerica, we are wrapping up our spring pre-emergent applications over the next couple of weeks for new customers.  For existing customers, we are busy applying your Round 2 fertilizer application, so we can make sure that your lawn has all the nutrients it needs to come out of dormancy successfully.

In addition to our core programs, now is a great time to get signed up for our 4-Step Perimeter Pest Control Program to help keep the bugs outside; where they belong.  Also, don’t forget that we are still offering a $50.00 Bonus, in cash or credit, for every friend or neighbor you refer that signs up for service.

Posted by & filed under dandelions .

We can tell Spring has officially sprung because we’re busy cleaning up dandelions for our customers. Isn’t that just dandy? Well dandelions certainly seem to think so! Dandelions can be a nuisance but they aren’t all bad. The entire plant is edible, they do pull nutrients from deep within the soil and deposit them back onto the top as they wither away. Their long tap root additionally helps alleviate soil compaction. Most folks fondly remember playing with them throughout their childhood, and many of us even made our fair share of dandelion bracelets. Despite the fond childhood memories, most of us don’t want dandelions disrupting our lawns. We’ll be happy to help you get rid of them.

Questions about our treatment plan for dandelions are always high this time of year because there is a misconception that the pre-emergent we put down earlier prevents them. Unfortunately, there is no pre-emergent on the market that can prevent all weeds from growing. Instead, successful weed control means spot treatment as the weeds appear. Once spot treated, the dandelions will grow profusely. Crazy, I know! The treatment’s immediate effect make the plant look like the flower version of the incredible hulk. While the dandelions look like we might have accidentally given them fertilizer instead of weed treatment, they are actually reacting exactly as planned. They are literally growing themselves to death. The most common broadleaf herbicides contain 2,4-D which cause the plants to grow until they are completely depleted of energy. You’ll be able to witness this forced growth and energy usage quite easily as the plant twists and curls. This contortion caused by the herbicide is known as epinastic growth. It will be your confirmation that the herbicides are working.

After the treatment has run its course, the dandelion will be sedentary. This is the time to mow. We always recommend mowing within a week or so after treatments are completed because it helps the weed to quickly decompose. Mowing also reduces the chance of the plant recovering from the spot treatment. By eliminating the leaves, you’ll increase the success rate of the treatment by reducing its ability to create food. Thankfully, this will cause your weed to expend its energy quickly and begin decomposing. If the weed is not mowed within a week or two of treatment, it may attempt to hulk out again to regain some new healthy tissue. It will not immediately disappear though. The pace of decomposition will depend on the temperature as well as other factors, so it will not immediately disappear. This means that there is no need to be alarmed if your dandelions aren’t immediately gone after being treated. Once wilted, it will sit on your lawn until you mow and nature turns it back into soil.

Give us a call if you spot dandelions in your yard and you aren’t interested in reliving the old dandelion bracelet days. As always, we look forward to serving you!