Lawn, Tree & Shrub Care Tips
Below you will find useful tips on a variety of topics. Additionally, the following links may prove useful in your information gathering:
Virginia Tech Turf: Provides publications and information from the turfgrass extension specialists at Virginia Tech
Turfweeds at Virginia Tech: Provides weed resources as well as Weed ID, a web-based photo resource of over 200 common weeds.
As always, do not hesitate to contact our offices if you require further information or assistance.
Aeration has many benefits—it will help control thatch, improve soil structure, thicken underground roots and rhizomes, relieve compaction, and improve penetration of both water and fertilizers.
The aeration process removes small cores of soil and turf from your lawn. These cores are left on the lawn to break down and melt back into the soil after a mowing and/or rainfall. These cores are a source of organic matter for your lawn. Organic matter contributes to improved soil structure, a major factor in turfgrass growth and development.
Fall is an excellent time to aerate the lawn. Ideally, lawns should be aerated annually.
Dallisgrass creates an unsightly clump in turfgrass that can be a problem in golf courses, sports playing fields, and home landscapes. The stiff clumps are much coarser in texture than other
grasses common in developed recreational areas such as lawns, golf courses, or parks and can present a hazard in sports fields and play areas, causing people to fall.
Of all the problems and pests that can damage a lawn, fungus diseases are the most frustrating and difficult to control. There are literally hundreds of diseases that can and do infect turfgrass.
The best control of a fungus is a healthy, properly fertilized lawn which is able to withstand the temporary damage done by a disease. Proper mowing and watering are also factors in disease prevention.
Fungicides, chemical controls of diseases, are too expensive and their results too erratic to make their use practical on home lawns.
Remember, most diseases are weather-related, and the damage is only temporary. A well-maintained lawn will eventually recover from disease damage when weather conditions change.
Since the chemical control of disease, on a preventive basis, is impossible and impractical as well as unwise, Green up makes no applications of fungicides, except in rare cases where we deem it necessary, and only then with a customer’s permission.
Dog urine can cause nitrogen burns in the lawn. With time, the turf will recover from these burns. Repeated urination in one area can kill turf due to excess nitrogen levels. Watering an area after urination will help dilute nitrogen levels in that area, reducing the probability of nitrogen burns appearing in the turf.
“White grubs” are the most serious turf insect problem found in Southwestern Virginia. “White grub” is a generic term for the larval stage of several different types of beetles, the most common of which is the Japanese Beetle.
The adult Japanese Beetle emerges in late June or early July and almost immediately begins laying eggs that hatch out in late July to early August. The newly hatched larva feed vigorously on grass roots at this time and can cause turf damage. The damage to the turf is caused by the severing of the roots, which causes brown dead patches of grass to appear in the yard. A tell tale sign of grub damage is that the turf will pull up easily because of the severed roots.
Our Preventive Grub Control Treatment consists of a granular application of the insecticide Imidacloprid. Imidacloprid is very effective at controlling white grub larvae. It has a three month residual effect to give long term control. Since white grub larvae hatch out in late July or early August, Imidacloprid must be applied in June so that it is already active in the soil and grass when the grubs begin to feed. If applied according to the label directions, Imidacloprid will give almost 100% control of white grubs.
A side note is that homeowners will often find grubs in the soil in the early spring and become concerned that they should begin treating for grubs in the Spring. The grubs found in the Spring are mature grubs that cause little to no turf damage and are hard to control with insecticides. It is not recommended to try and control grubs in the Spring but to wait and control the next generation of grubs that will come along in the summer.
An Imidacloprid application will not eliminate all grubs but will reduce the grub population to a level where there will be NO noticeable turf damage.
Holes In The Lawn
When holes and excavations mysteriously appear in lawns, it is helpful to note the season, location, and size. These are helpful clues when trying to identify the culprit and prevent further damage.
It is not only impossible and impractical to try to control all the insects that may be present in your lawn and/or soil—it is also unwise. Unwise because insecticides can not only eliminate turf damaging insects, but also beneficial insects and organisms, such as earthworms.
Green Up does control insect populations that grow so large that damage occurs to the lawn. While we do use insecticides, as necessary, it is Green Up policy to emphasize their prudent and judicious use. You have our word that we will take an extra measure of care to use insecticides responsibly.
Since insect problems can occur at almost any time, and it is neither practical nor environmentally sound to control them on a preventive basis, Green Up extends to all its customers subscribing to any of our treatment programs, a “No Quibble Insect Control Guarantee.” If you at any time have turf damaging insects strike your lawn, we will control them at no additional charge.
While we enjoy the beautiful colors associated with fall foliage, we also realize that most of those leaves will soon be on the ground. At this time of year, many turf managers quit managing grass and shift their focus instead to managing leaves. In some situations, leaf removal by way of blowing, raking, or vacuuming is essential because of turf use (e.g. golf course turf where finding a ball in
leaves is next to impossible). Another reason to mulch or remove leaves is to improve the turf growing conditions.
Moles are remarkable animals that are well adapted for their life of digging below ground. Moles are seldom seen by humans, but often come into conflict with homeowners when they burrow in yards. The mole is the only animal which will create a surface tunnel.
A combination of excessive shade, excessive moisture, and low soil pH are the most common causes of moss growth. Green Up performs annual tests of the customer’s yard and will notify you if your soil pH is low. Liming to correct low soil pH is offered at an additional charge each January.
Excessive shade is the biggest factor for moss growth in almost all cases, as most grass plants require at least 3-4 hours of full sunlight or 6-8 hours of filtered sunlight for growth. Tree pruning may alleviate this problem in some instances. If moss repeatedly returns to an area it may be more prudent to landscape the area with shade tolerant plants, such as English ivy, pachysandra, or myrtle.
Moss can be physically eradicated by raking with a stiff-tined rake. However, if the reasons for moss growth are not corrected this may be only a temporary solution.
Mowing is the most important thing you will ever do to your lawn. Proper mowing is beneficial to a lawn, while improper mowing can be harmful.
Proper mowing can be painless and lead to an improvement in turf quality. We recommend you follow these guidelines:
- Mow high—your height of cut should be at least 2 ½ inches.
- Mow frequently—every 7 to 10 days on average. Mow more often in the spring when cool season grasses grow most rapidly. Mow less often during the summer when hot, dry weather slows their growth.
- Use a sharp blade—a dull mower blade tears instead of cutting. Start each Spring with a sharp mower blade and sharpen once a month during periods of high use.
- Don’t bag your clippings—recycle them back into the lawn. Recent studies indicate that bagging clippings removes a portion of the nutrients applied to your lawn. By not bagging your clippings, you return these nutrients to the lawn. Additionally, clippings are a source of organic matter for the soil. Soil organic matter is a major factor in turfgrass growth and development.
A good rule of thumb: Mow often and mow high.
Mushrooms visible in the yard can roughly be compared to the fruiting bodies of trees. They are the reproductive arm of the subterranean mushroom mycelium; the mycelium is the widely branching vegetative part of the mushroom plant. Control of mushrooms is thus extremely difficult, as it would involve treating an underground organism! Mushrooms are mostly observed in the spring and fall months when adequate moisture is present.
Mushrooms are actually quite beneficial to the health of landscapes. Mushrooms decompose dead organic material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and wood debris. They enrich the soil with nutrients from these dead materials. Furthermore, mushrooms enjoy a symbiotic affiliation with plants. Mushrooms facilitate plant root uptake of water and nutrients while the plant provides sugars and amino acids to the mushroom.
Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) is a common weed found in many home lawns and other turfgrass areas in Ohio. The color, growth habit, and rapid growth rate make yellow nutsedge a prominent distraction in the aesthetics of high quality lawns. In addition to home lawns, this weed is also a significant problem in the turfgrass areas of parks, industrial grounds, athletic fields, and golf courses.
One important soil property that can be easily overlooked is soil structure or tilth. Soil structure refers to the spatial arrangement of soil particles. These aggregates form through physical, chemical and biological processes, which will greatly influence soil quality (Brady and Weil, 2008). Good soil structure is a hallmark of healthy soil. If soils are healthy, then healthy turf can follow.
Adults are approximately 17 millimeters long and have a characteristic “shield” shaped back. They produce a pungent odor. These insects often congregate on houses in the late Fall and move indoors as the temperature drops. The best control for these pests vacuum removal. Chemical controls have not been proven effective.
To keep your lawn healthy and green in our area, it is sometimes necessary to water. By watering your lawn, you can assure good growth, color, and recuperation of your grass. If you do not water, expect the lawn to cease growing and turn brown.
Green Up recommends the following guidelines when watering:
- Lawns need 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week—either by rainfall or irrigation—to remain green.
- By placing tin cans in the path of your sprinkler, you can measure how long it takes to collect the necessary amount of water. Usually two to four hours are required per location; however this varies among different brands of sprinklers.
- Watering an area once per week is usually sufficient, but be sure to get 1 to 1 ½ inches of water on at that time. Avoid light, frequent watering, which encourage a shallow root system.
- Water in the early morning, when less water will be lost to evaporation. Avoid watering at night when excess moisture can lead to disease buildup.
- Remember to mow high and use a sharp blade. During hot, dry weather, mow your grass only as necessary.
Watering Seeded Areas
To ensure the success of the seeding and germination of grass seed, you must water properly. For grass seed to germinate, it must be kept constantly moist, so light, frequent watering is best.
Green Up recommends the following guidelines to ensure the success of the seeding:
- Water the seeded areas twice per day for a shorter period of time to keep ground damp. Once you see germination, gradually reduce the frequency of watering while increasing the duration.
- Protect any straw covered areas from foot traffic—dogs, children, etc.
- In the case of aeration and overseeding, you may resume normal mowing practices after watering one time.
- When seedlings are tall enough to mow, mow high. The worst thing you can do for new seedlings is to mow short. Mow at 4″ if possible.
- Do not rake up any straw that may have been used as mulch. You will only pull up seedlings. Your mower will mulch the straw and it will decay.
- Keep new seedlings free of leaves and excess grass clippings, either by mowing or light raking.
Weeds are a constant nuisance in any lawn. An Integral part of each Green Up maintenance program is the control of weeds—both grassy and broadleaf.
Green Up control methods take three forms:
- A pre-emergent control applied to the lawn in both Spring applications to prevent weed seed from germinating.
- A post-emergent control applied to the lawn once in the Spring and once in the Fall to control weeds.
- A careful monitoring during all treatments for weeds and treating them as necessary and appropriate.
While Green Up does use herbicides to control weeds, it is Green Up policy to emphasize their prudent and judicious use. You have our word that we will take an extra measure of care to use herbicides responsibly.
Since weeds can become a problem at almost any time, Green Up extends to all its customers subscribing to any of our treatment programs a “No Quibble Weed Control Guarantee.” If you notice weeds at any time, please call us for a FREE weed control call back application.
Woolly adelgid females are 1/16th inch long, circular insects. They protect themselves with a fluffy, white wax when they lay eggs and feed where hemlock needles attach to twigs. Signs of infestation include yellowing and premature drop of needles as well as the presence of white, fluffy insects. Woolly adelgids are easily controlled with horticultural oil applications.