Bittercress in lawns

Found some bittercress growing along the East side of our shop. Likes shady areas & moist soil. Liquid weed control will target this weed:

More info about this plant can be found here:  http://www2.turffiles.ncsu.edu/PDFFiles/004090/Bittercress_Hairy.pdf

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Tick prevention & tips

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

In an article posted on Yahoo Health ( https://www.yahoo.com/health/ticks-are-early-abundant-and-urban-this-year-117256478987.html?soc_src=unv-sh&soc_trk=tw ) 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: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/

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:

http://www.cdc.gov/features/stopticks/

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/life_cycle_and_hosts.html

http://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/out-for-blood-ticks-lyme-disease-cases-the-rise-in-ohio

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.

What’s your soil?

Whether you are an avid gardener, in the industry or you are just looking for more detailed information about your lawn, understanding your soil profile is important.  Some plants perform better in clay while others are happier in sand – this is a subject we will get more in depth with in a later blog post.

The Web Soil Survey website is a great resource when trying to find general information about an areas soil type, it is maintained by the USDA and offers up lots of great tools that a free to use. I’ll walk you through a very quick tutorial about how to utilize this site. You may find it here: http://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/WebSoilSurvey.aspx

web soil survey screen shot
web soil survey screen shot

On the left you will see an option for “Quick Navigation/Address”.  Type in the area of the soil you wish to look up. Keep in mind, your area of interest has to be relatively small plots, you can’t pull a whole county. We put our shop address in.


 

web soil survey screen shot
web soil survey screen shot

There is a tool that allows us to draw which area of our visual we wish to survey (AOI, we selected the rectangle tool).


 

web soil survey screen shot
web soil survey screen shot

And here’s our plot. The green rectangle and diagonal lines indication our Area Of Interest (AOI).


 

web soil survey screen shot
web soil survey screen shot

Next, click “Shopping Cart (Free)” near the top and “Check Out”.  A .pdf report will be generated for download and it contains useful information that will be helpful in determining the soil profile of the AOI. (my browser actually blocks the pop up for this download, if nothing happens after clicking “Check Out”, look into your pop-up blocker).


 

web soil survey screen shot
web soil survey screen shot
web soil survey screen shot
web soil survey screen shot