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.

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 - http://ourlittlehouseinthecountry.com #fall #autumn #crafts #kids

Disclosure: I received the clay used in this activity from ArtMaterialsCo.com 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 - http://ourlittlehouseinthecountry.com #fall #autumn #crafts #kids

What we used:

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Lawn Care Questions This Week

Common Questions of the Week:

THATCH

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.

Vole Activity In Lawns

It has been one long winter and the signs of spring are starting to come through! Today a customer sent some images to us:

vole3 vole2

*Images by: Ruby S.

The images show vole surface and some vole subsurface tunneling. These mammals are herbivorous and are active year-round, including during the winter months. Visually, they resemble mice with short tails – and for how small they are, their damage can appear to be big.

The good news:
The turf will usually bounce back on it’s own, you may rake the areas to help this process along, though voles usually will not damage turf roots. Rake and let it grow and correct itself.

The bad news:
Voles gnaw at the bark and stem of many landscape plants and can cause damage, including die back. If you inspect the landscape areas or ornamental plants around the tunneling you may note chew marks, missing bark or damaged plant bases.

How to protect your landscape plants:
Trees and shrubs may be wrapped with a mesh or other protective barrier to help keep voles from chewing on them.

Lawns:
Rake the turf that has been trampled down or chewed off,  it should bounce back.

Once the season warms up:
You should note less activity as their food supply becomes more abundant. Also, voles may go through population booms every few years; so you may notice it one year, though not in others.

Too many voles, what can be done?
You may leave them be, if you want. They will still scurry about and it’s recommended that you wrap your trees or shrubs around the base and truck to protect the bark, trunks and stems.

You may also opt to trap these critters if they are causing damage to your landscape plants:
A cheap mouse trap with oatmeal, peanut butter & a small amount of coco powder will attract the vole. Place the trap near your landscaped plants that are being gnawed at.

It is important to note that there are other animals which may create tunnel systems in the lawn and they will not be attracted to the oatmeal / peanut butter mix: moles & shrews.

For more information about wrapping your plants: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1058&context=vpc14

What may or may not happen as we hit spring 2014

There is a potential of snow mold striking lawns in our area as we head into spring this year. If you recall, we had snow fall, then it warmed up and we had rain followed by a Sunday of wet (great for sledding) snow. This being the Sunday that our area went into level 3 snow emergencies for 3 days! Granted, it got cold… really cold; but, snow was already covering the soil which may have warmed up from the previous rains. So, we have a layer of unfrozen soil covered by wet snow shielding it from the cold. This may lead to some areas of snow mold in our service areas.

We wont really know until Marchish, but as the snow begins to melt in spring, you may notice areas of the lawn that appear matted down, slimy and straw colored with possible pink boarders around the discoloration. If you notice this occurring in your lawn, the best thing to do is gently rake the turf to help air circulation. If this tends to happen to your lawn on an annual basis, you want to make sure that you are cutting late into the season (before snow fall), and you are cutting the lawn on a low setting to help prevent the turf blades from matting down – though not too low as you are scalping the lawn. There are some fungicides that may be applied to help prevent snow mold is it is a consistent issue with your grass, though they need applied in late fall/early winter before the disease begins.

I hope this information is helpful.

Spiders do not bite.

Reblog about spiders: interesting info

Arthropod Ecology

Last week, the arthropod lab was lucky enough to be highlighted on the website “Montreal Openfile”.  When discussing our work with spiders as related to McGill’s spider collection, I was asked about the most common misconception about spiders, and I responded quickly with the following:

       There are a lot of misconceptions about spiders. The most common is the idea that spiders frequently bite people – they do not. Most so-called spider bites are caused by something else. Spiders generally have no interest in biting us, and would rather feed upon invertebrates. I have been working with spiders for over 15 years, and I have handled many, many kinds of live spiders and I have never been attacked by a spider.

It is really quite astounding – almost anyone you talk to seem to know someone who has been bitten by a spider and/or they themselves have…

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