Growing Concern

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Seasonal Tips

Lawn Fungus

Helmihisporium Blight is the most common turf fungus in our area. Initial symptoms are a blue to grey color and later the turf will turn straw colored. At that point the leaf blades have died. Many factors are involved with the causes of lawn fungus, most are preventable. The number one cause of lawn fungus is lack of water. If a turf grass is receiving sufficient water it is far less likely to develop lawn fungus. One way to check if your turf is receiving enough water is by performing a water audit (see below). Most common turf species in our area need between 2-3 inches of water per week. Often watering problems can be corrected simply by adjusting or replacing sprinkler heads, increasing the amount of time the turf grass is watered. Water penetration is also an issue and your soil may be compacted thus not allowing for proper water penetration. Aeration will help alleviate compaction. Mowing frequency and height will also contribute to developing a fungus. Never remove more than 1/3 of the turf blades in one mowing, this will stress out the turf grass and repeated low mowing will lead to developing a fungus.

How to Perform a Water Audit

  • To perform a water audit you will need a few items, a ruler, and several disposable pie tins.
  • Place the pie tins around your turf.
  • Run your irrigation system for its normal cycle.
  • When the cycle has concluded, retrieve the pie plates, place them on a level surface, and measure the water inside. This will help to determine the precipitation rate for each individual zone.
  • After you have measured the amount of water in a pie tin, divide that number by the time in which the system was active.
  • Example: ¼ of an inch collected over a 15 minute period of time means that in 1 hour that particular zone puts out 1 inch per hour. Do this for all zones to establish precipitation rates for each zone.
  • Adjust the zones accordingly to reach a unified 1 inch per hour precipitation rate in all zones. You may need to repeat the water collection procedure to insure uniformity.

Once you have established a uniform precipitation rate, it is now time to calibrate the automated timers or sprinkler clock. Using the example above, you have a precipitation rate of 1 inch of water for every hour of run time.

Lawngevity is our Business

Cultural Procedures for liquid lawn feeding and insecticide applications

Bermuda grass lawns should be “scalped” and raked to stimulate new growth in the early spring. Scalping is the process of mowing the turf to the lowest level to remove dead grass, this should only be done early in the spring season. After your lawn is liquid feed children and pets should be kept off treated areas until they have been watered in, and the turf is dry to the touch. Lawn fertilizer can stain clothes and pets fur. If you own a white dog, you may want to bring it inside when watering over the next few days to prevent staining its fur. Foliar applications sometimes pool under trees and shrubs, if pooling occurs, just dilute it with water or wait until it dries up before letting pets and kids out in the yard. The contact insecticides we use are ‘photo degradable’ meaning that they dissipate with sunlight. They are not long lasting, a few days at most. Grub controls are an insecticide and your service tech will leave specific watering instructions for that service. All of our fertilizer services are available without insecticides or herbicides.

Mowing Height

We are often asked, what is the proper height for mowing turf grasses? We follow standard turf guidelines for mowing height. For common Bermuda 1.5-2 inches is recommended. For tiff Bermuda 1-1.5 inches mowed with a reel mower is best. Fescue should be mowed at 2.5-3 inches. In the summer when it hits 90 degrees and up, the higher range is preferred. People often make the mistake of mowing their turf too low. When turf is cut too short it often looks burned and is at risk of a turf fungus. Mowing frequency is also important; turf should be mowed regularly at the same height to avoid burning it. Not less than once every 10 days, however every 5-7 days is best.

White Grubs

Are the larval stage of several different beetle species. They can cause significant damage to turf grass areas if left untreated. The most common damaging beetle larvae are the June beetle. Adult beetles take flight particularly after a heavy rain at the end of May or beginning of June. They fly around mate and lay eggs in turf for the first few weeks of June and into July. In this area grub damage is usually most notable in late July through September. The larvae feed off of the roots of turf grasses causing affected turf to dry up or lose vigor due to a lack of established roots. Significant damage can be noted when turf can be readily pulled by hand with a lack of roots or sometimes even rolled like carpet. Early indicators of a grub infestation include a large influx of birds pecking through your turf and skunk damage. The birds and skunks eat the grubs so they cause damage to the turf as they search for them to feed off of. Insecticide applications must be applied at the correct time when grubs are small and feeding actively, this is July- October. Our monthly customers will be receiving grub control applications in July and then again in September as needed.

Note that all of our fertilizer applications are available without insecticide or herbicides. You just have to ask several days in advance so we can schedule you properly.

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