Scorch on Oak

A customer brought in a sample of some of his oak tree leaves which have been discoloring annually along the edges. He went on to explain that the plant’s location was once backfilled with lime stone and other various rocks to help give a solid foundation before soil was laid (in this case, about 20″ of soil was applied) so a structure could be built. There is also about 10 feet between the tree and a waterway.

close up of oak tree leaves

Oaks have a deep root system. As his tree continues to mature, the roots will continue to grow as well – the problem is that now his tree has an obstacle in the way of healthy root development and is now developing symptoms of scorch.  For his situation, a maple would probably serve this location better.


Annual Bluegrass, AKA: Poa Annua

Annual bluegrass can be unsightly in home lawns, especially when it produces seed heads. Germination typically occurs in early fall when the soil temperature dips below the 70 degree mark.

If annual bluegrass is problematic in your lawn, the best treatment is a late summer application of pre-emergence (though this herbicide will halt turf seed from germinating too). This will stop the seed heads from germinating before winter sets in.

The above images show a close up of the seed head and a germinated annual bluegrass plant.

If you have annual bluegrass in your lawn and you want to schedule a pre-emergent for summer, give us a call as so we may note your account: 419-536-4344.

Stink Bugs

Brown marmorated stink bug adult I believe the first time I really took notice of stink bugs in our area was in 2012 or 2013, though they were probably in the Northwest Ohio area prior to that. They have since become problematic for the agriculture industry, home gardens and around (inside & outside) our homes. The good news is that the stink bug does not bite humans and is otherwise harmless to us (with the exception of damaging our food supply and for those with certain allergies). The pest is active during the growing season with peak activity in fall as the insect attempts to find shelter for the winter. Keeping the stink bug out:

  • Seal cracks around windows, doors, chimneys, siding, etc.
  • Repair broken screens
  • Keep lawn debris away from foundations

Stink bugs may be targeted with a [dish] soap/water mixture. This spray must come in direct contact (sprayed on the pest) with the stink bug for it to be effective in terminating the pest. This is a great video of someone trying different mix rates of soap and water specifically for stink bug control: Bifenthrin has also shown promise in controlling these pest.

Tick prevention & tips

May is right around the corner and also marks Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

In an article posted on Yahoo Health ( ) has noted that tick activity this year is expected to start earlier than usually and possibly be more abundant than usual, especially in areas that were blanketed with snow during the winter.

Tick Facts

  • Ticks will usually wait for a host by resting on tall vegetation, when the host rubs up against the plant the tick will then ‘grab’ onto him/her and begin to search for an appropriate feeding site.
  • Ticks can locate to a new area by hitching a ride on a host, be it a deer, bird of other animal.
  • When a tick feeds, it may transmit a variety of different diseases. Read about the different diseases here:

Protect Your Home

  • Keep your lawn mowed
  • Clean up leaves & debris
  • Keep shrubs trimmed
  • Prune low branches
  • Keep wood piles off the ground and at least 20′ away from the home
  • Create a mulch or stone pathway barrier at least 3′ in front of wooded areas to deter ticks from crossing from woods to your lawn (if your lawn abuts a wooded area)
  • Deter deer and rodents from your lawn
  • If ticks are a concern, you can have your lawn sprayed (or a perimeter) with insecticides

Protect Your Family

  • Wear light colored clothes when playing or working outside to make it easier to spot a tick
  • Wear products with DEET (applied to the skin – always read and follow label instructions) to repel ticks and other insects
  • Use products that contain permethrin for your clothing and shoes
  • After outside activity, check for tick activity on yourself, others and pets

Want more? Check out these sites too:

Have a newer tree planted in your lawn? Might want to protect it from winter.

Salt can cause considerable damage to plants as it breaks down in the soil and starts replacing available nutrients with compounds that are toxic to the plant, some plants are more susceptible to its effects than other.

  • If your plants are along a roadway that may get slush spray from salted roads you can help protect them by building a barrier with plastic along the road way.
  • Water the landscaped areas and trees close to walkways, roads or drives deeply before winter sets in. You can also add gypsum to promote leaching in late fall or spring (when the snow thaws).
  • Use salt that does not contain sodium chloride for areas around sensitive plants.

Some common trees in our landscape & lawns that are susceptible to salt damage:

  • American Sycamore
  • Box-Elder
  • Japanese Maple
  • Red Maple
  • Serviceberry
  • Boxwood
  • Birch
  • Redbud
  • Dogwood
  • Beech
  • Crabapple
  • Norway Spruce
  • Norway & Red Pine
  • Eastern White Pine
  • Scotch Pine
  • Douglas Fir
  • Many species of Oaks
  • Lilac
  • Yews
  • Arborvitae

Wrapping the trunk of a tree with tree wrap or a light colored wrap will help reflect the suns rays to help prevent activated growth during the winter months.

Heavy cold winds can cause evergreen plants to lose moisture through their needles and dehydrate them. The needles will become brown (though that is not an indication that the whole branch is dead) and unsightly. Help protect your conifers by watering deeply before winter sets in and setting up a burlap barrier on the unprotected side of the tree.

mulch-trunkMulch newer trees to help the soil cool down slower and retain moisture. Never pile mulch directly against the trunk of the tree – it should have a ‘volcano’ appearance (as if the trunk of the tree is the lava shooting out).

For more information, check out:

Clay Autumn Leaves – Fall Crafts for Kids

Love this idea, it even gives an opportunity to teach kids about different species of trees & other plants 🙂

Our Little House in the Country

Clay Autumn Leaves – a great, simple Fall craft for all ages.  It’s amazing what you can make with a little clay, glue and glitter!

Clay Autumn Leaves - Falls Crafts for Kids - #fall #autumn #crafts #kids

Disclosure: I received the clay used in this activity from as a free sample in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts are my own.

I often get my inspiration for our craft and art activities from the materials themselves and when this pack of clay arrived in the post the beautiful rich colour of it immediately made me think of all the lovely autumn activities we had been doing over the past few weeks.  We have spent a lot of time having fun with fall art activities such as our sunflower crafts and our autumn trees so I wondered if we could possibly make leaves with the clay.Clay Autumn Leaves - Falls Crafts for Kids - #fall #autumn #crafts #kids

What we used:

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Watering tips for the lawn

It’s summer and if you want to keep the grass green, you need to water it. If you do not water your lawn, it will discolor and go dormant (this is a method the turf uses to survive drought & heat as well as winter as nutrients are pulled into the root structure).  At this point, you need to make a decision: you can water the lawn to keep it hydrated on a regular basis or you can let it go dormant – but you can’t water a couple of times a month and then let it go dormant to only water again two weeks later, that will promote a shallow root system.

If you let your lawn go dormant, count on it discoloring and thinning out. Although it looks like the turf is taking a beating, it should bounce back once favorable conditions come back into the area. If we go for 3-4 weeks with less than 1″ of moisture, then you can give your lawn a drink to help the root system stay hydrated.

There are many factors that play into how much water a lawn needs: shade, turf type, soil type, temperature, etc. Today we will talk about soil types.

Different soil types require different watering techniques.

Before we get into watering techniques, lets talk about how much water is ‘needed’. On average, your lawn will require 1 – 1.5″ of moisture a week to stay green and actively growing. Area precipitation should be noted as you do not want to or need to water if nature is doing it for you. Use a screw driver after a test run of the irrigation to see how deeply the moisture level in the soil goes, it should be between 6-8 inches (determined by how easily the screw driver can be pushed into the soil).

Ideal time frame: 7:00 am – 10:00 am (under ‘normal’ weather conditions)

Soil Type (under ideal conditions)

• Clay: Because clay is so dense, it is recommended to water every other or every third day for two 10-20 minute intervals (water for 10-20 minutes, allow the water to soak into the soil and water again for 10-20 minutes). Clay will hold more moisture, though run off might occur with one long watering cycle.
• Loam: Water every other or every third day. One run of 20-30 minutes.
• Sand: Leaching occurs in sandy soils, it is recommended to water every day or every other day for 20-30 minutes per watering or in intervals of two cycles a day (like clay) with a short break in-between. Sandy soils leach or run water through quickly, so the small break in between will help replenish moisture at the root zone if leaching is occurring.

Extreme temperatures
When the temperatures exceeds 85 degrees for a few consecutive days or more, you can relieve heat stress from the lawn (usually only needed in full sun areas) by watering in the middle or hottest part of the day. Most of the water will evaporate before penetrating the soil and it is important to note that the mid-day watering goal is to relieve stress, not hydrate the lawn. Watering for 10 minutes will help relive heat stress from the lawn.

Important notes about watering & trees:
Most conifers/pine trees prefer dry soil. Be careful not to over water the pines.
Maple trees are surface feeding trees. If you have a maple and we are in the midst of drought-like conditions, give that area additional water as the maple tree will compete with the turf for moisture.

Dollar Spot turf disease

Lots of rain followed by warm, humid weather is an ideal environment for some disease activity to start in the lawn, today we are going to highlight Dollar Spot:

Dollar Spot on Kentucky bluegrass: Image by: Kevin Mathias

Dollar Spot

Some varieties of perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass & creeping bentgrass are highly susceptible to this disease which starts as light tan lesions with darker brown borders on the leaf of the grass. As the disease continues the lesions grow, eventually spreading over the leaf turning the infected turf blades light tan or even white from the tip down. The fungus spreads to neighboring turf blades eventually creating silver dollar size patches of infected turf which discolors (this tell tale sign is where the disease name has it’s origins: dollar spot). As the disease progresses, multiple patches may eventually form so close together that a large portion of the lawn is showing signs of dollar spot.

What you can do:

  • If your lawn tends to get dollar spot every year, you may opt for a preventative fungicide. Usually the target date of this product would be after a long period of rain in late spring, right before our weather turns warm and humid.
  • Add additional nitrogen to promote leaf growth. If you are one of our customers give us a call to see how we can help your lawn.
  • Water later in the morning and do not water daily (unless you have newly seeded areas or the temperatures warrant it).
  • Mow the lawn on a regular basis and try to only take 1/3 of the blade off at a time. This will help reduce stress to the lawn so it may better recover on it’s own.
  • When the temperatures reach over 85 for a consistent number of days, you may opt to water in the middle of the day briefly. This will not hydrate your lawn but rather help to reduce heat stress. Usually this method only needs done on the full sun areas.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Lawn Care Questions This Week

Common Questions of the Week:


This is our second week on the field, thanks to the snow, but we are moving along swimmingly. Our phones have been busy and our techs smiling, glad they are finally able to work outside again. Here’s a couple of the frequently asked questions from this week:

Do you de-thatch?
No, we do not. We can aerate a lawn, which will help – though if you have thick thatch (about 1″), you should consider a true de-thatching for the lawn.

When is the best time to de-thatch the lawn?
When temperatures are cool and moist. De-Thatching is the process of pulling a power rake or other machine through the yard the cuts, slices and pulls at the layer of thatch. This process can cause a lot of stress to a lawn, but a deep layer of thatch can suffocate the yard as well. We would recommend de-thatching be done in late summer/early fall. A follow up over seeding is also a good idea during later summer/early fall as well. This allows the lawn time to recuperate.

Is this a good time to seed my lawn?
Spring is the second best time to seed your lawn; though the BEST time is late summer/early fall. Here are the reasons:

  • Cooler temperatures heading into fall: your new seedlings run a low risk of heat stress
  • Usually moist fall weather: you new seedlings run a low risk of drought stress
  • No pre-emergent crabgrass control in fall (unless you’re targeting annual blue grass): pre-emergent is typically done in spring and is designed to halt the germination process of seedlings – the target is crabgrass, though your turf grass will be affected as well.

If you plan on seeding in spring:
Since the crabgrass prevention herbicide will halt the germination process of your turf grass seed as well; you may ask to not have it applied (though you won’t receive the protective layer it offers), or you may add top soil AFTER the pre-emergent has been applied and then seed on top of the top soil (a good idea for small areas). The layer of top soil will create a barrier between the seed and the herbicide so your turf seedlings can germinate.

When will my first application be completed?
Our technicians are currently running through their routes, we are about 3 weeks behind our normal calendar start date; but the soil is too. Our goal is to have the crabgrass prevention put down before soils reach a consistent 55 degrees.