Posted by & filed under landscaping and rainfall, plants and rainfall .

What a difference a year makes, or even a month! After dealing with wildfires and burn bans all winter, now we are coming off the wettest month ever for rainfall in Oklahoma, and so far the month of May is putting up some pretty impressive rainfall totals too. So, while it’s good that the subsoil now has moisture, the ponds and lakes are full, and we can save money on our water bills, there are also negative effects of excessive rainfall on plants and turf in the landscape. As with most things, too much of something good can often be just as bad as not enough.

Remember learning about photosynthesis and respiration in science class way back when? I’m a science teacher by trade, as I was a teacher for 8 years before becoming a lawn care operator. So allow me to pull out my old overhead projector and give a brief lesson on how this excessive rainfall can affect your lawns and landscapes.

Plants need oxygen to live, since it is a component of the respiration process in combining with sugars (produced from photosynthesis) to produce water and energy the plant needs for growth. The root system of plants absorbs that oxygen from tiny pore spaces found in the soil. However, when the soil is constantly saturated with water from rainfall, or excessive irrigation, these pores are filled with water and not oxygen. Therefore, this lack of oxygen uptake from the roots can result in death of some of the root system, leading to dis-coloration of foliage, wilting, and sometimes even death of the plant. Certain plants, and plants planted in poorly-drained soil are more susceptible to damage. If you lose plants during this rainy time, you may consider improving the drainage, or changing to a hardier plant. Certain trees can show a color change in leaves, and/or have leaves drop. It’s no cause for concern usually, and with drier weather will go away.

With our unique 70% slow-release nitrogen fertilizer applied back before all this rain hit, our customer’s turf really should be fine, since most of the nitrogen is water-insoluble and not as prone to leaching or washing away as water-soluble quick-release N sources. When the soil stays completely saturated for weeks on end, the turf roots will be damaged, so we’ll need some drier and warmer weather to help the roots recover. Until that happens, most turf will just not look as good as it normally would at this time of the season. However, when the soil stays saturated, the pre-emergent in the soil will break down sooner, so we do expect to be dealing with more weed issues this summer.

Posted by & filed under dallisgrass .

In the early 1900’s, paspalum dilitatum was introduced to North America. A native plant of South America, paspalum dilitatum is a fast-growing forage plant originally used by A.T. Dallis of LaGrange, Georgia.

The benefit of this South American plant was its ability to survive harsh southern climates, while providing a nutritional food source for livestock in pastures. However, Mr. Dallis probably had no idea that the food source for his cattle would one day turn into a troublesome weed for homeowners.

Dallisgrass is a hard to control perennial grass. Not only will it come back every spring, but it’s also a prolific seed producer – spreading seeds all season long with the help of wind, water, mowers, kids and pets. Pre-emergent applications can be effective when dealing with seeds, but they are totally ineffective in controlling existing plants.

So, if you can’t prevent the plant with a pre-emergent, how do you effectively get rid of it? There are really only four effective options:

  1. Dig it up. This is the most labor intensive option, but it does ensure that the plant is gone forever. It is recommended that you cover the newly bare areas with sod to prevent more weed seeds from germinating.
  2. Use a non-selective herbicide. Non-selective herbicides, commonly known as Round-up, will kill Dallisgrass, but it will also kill anything else it encounters, such as the existing turf around the plant. This option is effective, but will leave unsightly dead patches. Again, these dead patches should be covered over with sod to prevent more weeds from germinating and to keep a uniform appearance.
  3. Use a selective herbicide specifically labeled for Dallisgrass. This option is the most common, but chemicals only suppress Dallisgrass. Suppression will keep the plant growing lower to the ground so it’s less noticeable and unable to produce as many seeds. While reducing seed heads is beneficial, it’s not nearly as effective as eradicating the plant altogether.
  4. Call a professional. Lawn care professionals have stronger products available to them. LawnAmerica provides Dallisgrass protection for 6 and 7 step customers. Timing of the application is key to success (late summer into early fall).

Dallisgrass can be eliminated. But it will require one or a combination of all of the techniques above. Not to mention a healthy dose of persistence and patience.

For more information check out this short video from OSU.

If you find yourself needing help with Dallisgras this year, contact LawnAmerica. We have several locations in Oklahoma, including Tulsa, Edmond/Oklahoma City and Bartlesville/Grand Lake.

Posted by & filed under lawn care, post-emergent, Weed-Control .

Roundup

So which one do I buy??

You’ve seen the TV commercials by now, saying that you can spray Roundup for Lawns to kill all of your weeds without harming the grass. So a homeowner goes to the big box store and looks at the big fancy Roundup display, with all types of jugs saying Roundup on them…..for lawns, for cracks, for grasses, northern lawns, southern lawns, etc.  I noticed a consumer just staring over the different products before this picture was taken, walking away with nothing purchased after a minute of contemplation. Good call. Many unsuspecting Tulsa and Oklahoma City homeowners will just buy the prettiest looking jug saying Roundup, buy it, spray on their weeds, and a week later wonder why their lawn looks dead. And the reason is that it probably is dead, after purchasing the Roundup that’s been around for years, which kills anything that’s green.

Roundup has the chemical glyphosate in it, a great compound, which has been used for over 40 years mainly in agriculture settings, along with spot-treating mainly in home lawns and landscapes. If a weed or plant is green and growing, Roundup will probably effectively and safely kill it. It will also kill the desirable turfgrass, be it bermudagrass, zoysisagrass, or fescue here in Oklahoma.

So Monsanto has apparently decided that since the name Roundup is so recognizable, why not just slap that name on a jug containing other chemicals that control broadleaf and grassy weeds without harming the turf, as most of the products we use at LawnAmerica do. This new “Roundup for Lawns” formulation does not contain glyphosate, but rather is a combination of four products commonly used for treating weeds in lawns:

  • MCPA
  • Quinclorac
  • Dicamba
  • Sulfentrazone

MCPA and Dicmaba are components of our common broadleaf herbicides, so they control things like dandelions. Sulfentrazone is the same thing as what we call Dismiss, the product we use in summer for good nutsedge control. And Quinclorac is a herbicide we now spray on Crabgrass, since MSMA is not available anymore. It does OK on Crabgrass (not great like MSMA did), but does not control weeds like Johnsongrass or Dallisgrass.

This new “Roundup for Lawns” states that it controls 253 weeds, as it should, since it’s actually a combination of four different herbicides. And as long as homeowners follow label instructions, it should work fine for most weeds.  A combination of four herbicides trying to cover all bases seems like overkill to me, more expensive, and a waste of product when maybe just one specific herbicide would do.

The problem is that mark my word, many people will be confused, buy the “real Roundup” with glyphosate in it, and spray it on their lawns thinking that it’s safe to use. That will kill their lawn since they sprayed glyphosate on it. This thing is just an accident waiting to happen.

So the best solution to this is really just to use a professional, like LawnAmerica! Monsanto just wants to sell their products and make money. That’s fine, but this marketing decision will cause confusion in the marketplace along with a bunch of dead lawns and angry homeowners. Just let the professionals do this….it will be a lot easier for you!

 

Posted by & filed under dandelions .

It’s spring and every year tiny little yellow flowers start popping up all over the place. In a matter of days, children believe they can make wishes once they turn into white puffballs. But Oklahoma homeowners find these flowers to be nothing more than a nuisance.

Dandelions are common weeds throughout the country, but thankfully LawnAmerica is here to help you treat and control them before they become a big problem. Dandelions are considered a broadleaf perennial and can grow in almost any soil. This common weed has a long taproot, which can go down several feet in the soil and emerges in the spring.

Dandelions typically “disappear” ­– or more accurately – go dormant in the summer, as they don’t like the heat. But the long taproot allows it to survive and cycle back to life as cooler temperatures return.

Pre-emergent applications, despite what you might assume, do very little in preventing dandelions from germinating each year. They can be adequately controlled by other methods though.

How to control Dandelions in your Oklahoma Lawn

  • Lawn Care: Healthy, dense lawns make it harder for weeds to germinate and grow. It’s important to keep your lawn thick and healthy to avoid dandelions 
  • Mowing: Mowing over dandelions before they bloom can help prevent seeds from spreading across your lawn and neighborhood.
  • Hand pulling: Although this method may seem like an easy solution, it’s often a difficult method to controlling dandelions. If you don’t remove the entire root system, you will not only waste time, but you’ll be back to square one.
  • Spraying: The most common method would be to use herbicide labeled for broadleaf weeds.
  • Call the professionals: The simplest solution is to call the experts at LawnAmerica. Evaluations are free for new customers and service calls are free for existing full program customers.

 

Don’t let dandelions take over your yard. If you find yourself needing help getting rid of weeds this year, contact LawnAmerica today

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Posted by & filed under fertilization .

Spring has finally arrived in Tulsa with trees, shrubs, and lawns coming out of dormancy after a somewhat mild winter. As the weather continues to warm up along with our beneficial rain in April, it’s important to start preparing your landscape. Today I want to talk about four spring landscaping tips for Oklahoma homeowners.

Fertilize your Lawn

Fertilizing your lawn this time of year helps give your lawn the nutrients it needs as it is coming out of winter dormancy. Not only will fertilizing your lawn give you the healthy green color we all want, it will also help to thicken up the turf which will in turn naturally choke out weeds. Keep in mind though, not all fertilizers are created equal.

Mowing

Proper mowing is one of the most important cultural practices of taking care of your lawn.  It helps to remove any dying vegetation of weeds that may have been sprayed this spring. It is also a good idea to remove the dormant vegetation of bermudagrass lawns after the last freeze potential.  In Oklahoma, you are usually safe to “scalp” your lawn after April 15th, but it does vary from season to season. For cool season grasses like Fescue, this is prime growing season so it isn’t unusual to have to mow twice a week or more.  Unlike warm season grasses, scalping is not recommended for Fescue, but rather a mowing height at 2.5-4 inches tall will provide the best-looking lawn.  Just make sure the blades on your mower are sharp.  Dull blades rip the grass and leaves the grass damaged and more susceptible to diseases.

Replant and Replace Trees and Shrubs

Now is a good time to also replant 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. This will help keep your landscape looking more polished once summer arrives.

Check your Irrigation System

Another important part of Spring is making sure that your lawn is getting the proper amount of water.  Thankfully we are getting our fair share of help from Mother Nature, but it is Oklahoma and we all know that weather conditions can turn on dime.  That’s why it is important to check your sprinkler system.  Verify that there aren’t any leaks and that all of the heads are working properly.  In some cases, your shrubs may need to be trimmed to allow proper coverage or the height of the sprinkler heads may need to be adjusted.  If you are uncomfortable with doing it yourself, there are plenty of reputable companies available to help.  We have a few listed on our website under our page.

Now that spring is here, it’s a great time to get your landscape ready for the warmer weather ahead. Just keep these four tips in mind to ensure your landscape is looking its best. If you ever have a problem or concern regarding your landscape, give us a call!