Tick season is upon us again. Because of our mild winter, experts predict that this year’s tick season will be more active than the last couple of years. Ticks get a lot of the media attention this time of year because of Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The University of Georgia reports that the most common Southeastern ticks that spread these diseases are the Lone Star, American Dog, and the Black Legged Ticks.
There are basically four life cycles to the tick. The first being the egg stage. A mass egg drop from a female can be upwards of 6,000 eggs at one time. The mass group of eggs is typically dropped in grassy or wooded areas. Within about two weeks, the eggs will hatch into a seed tick. The seed tick will typically congregate in the area where they were hatched. They’ll climb shorter grasses or brush and wait for smaller hosts. After they latch to a host, they quickly grow and move to the nymph stage. Once they do, they look for a larger hosts. This is the time the tick looks for larger patches of grass or brush where larger animals such as deer would pass. After the tick finds a larger host, they will continue to feed and develop into a strong adult. High humidity and thick vegetation areas are the best habitats for any tick population. In the right conditions, a tick in any of these stages can wait for a full year to latch onto a host.
It’s important to note that Lone Star and Black Legged Ticks will latch onto humans in any of its life cycles; while the American Dog Tick will typically latch to a human only during its adult stage. If you have to be in areas where ticks may be prevalent, we recommend these steps:
ALF is committed to helping you protect your family through the summer months. If you feel that our Flea and Tick services would be beneficial to you. Please call us at (844) 369-TURF (8873) and we’ll provide you the best service in the business.
Aerations are an important part of keeping warm season lawns healthy during the growing season. There are two types of aeration that can be performed. The spike aeration punches holes in ground. These holes do not last as long as the plug aeration. Plug aeration pulls plugs of soil from the ground that are 2 to 3 inches long. This form of aeration lasts longer and produces the best results. It is proven that warm season lawns that are aerated annually are healthier and fuller. Aeration combined with weekly maintenance, proper watering and fertilization is a winning strategy for having a Beautiful Lawn!
We get several inquiries this time of year from people looking for answers on how to eliminate mosquitos. The honest answer is that unless the State of Georgia just went out on an outright mosquito fogging quest through the entire state, we’re all doomed to get bit at some point throughout the summer. The good news is we can take steps to help deter the mosquitos from being an outright nuisance.
If you’re not someone that cares to subscribe to a pest control plan for some reason or another, there are some products out there that can help deter them from your lawn.
Citronella Candles are available at most grocery stores. We’ve also inserted a DIY link if you like the more natural approach. The candles provide some relief to your immediate area. From 1-10, the effectiveness is roughly a 3. If the composition of the chemical is strong enough and the flame is steady, you’ll see relief in a 5-10 foot radius around the candles.
Ultrasonic Mosquito Traps are available at most of your Home Depots and Lowe’s. We’ve provided a link so you can see the product. They are designed to attract mosquitos so you don’t want to place them near the area you’re occupying. From 1-10, the effectiveness is roughly a 5. They do a decent job at capturing the mosquitos that fly around them but the downside is they don’t do much for the mosquitos flying around you.
Bat Houses are probably the best DIY alternative to keeping mosquitos out of your yard. A single bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitos per night and even in a small bat house up to 20 bats could be living in it. They fly around all night and eat as many as they can. From 1-10, the effectiveness is roughly a 7. They eat so many in a night they can keep the mosquito population quite manageable in a small yard. The downside is that proper conditions have to exist for bats. You need a very tall tree, south facing exposure to sun, and a water source within a 1000 feet so bats are encouraged to inhabit the house.
If you need professional help, ALF provides a mosquito program that’s more effective than the DIY or natural alternatives that are out there. From 1-10, our products have an effectiveness of a 9. We are able to attack the existing mosquitos and the habitats of the adults and larvae. So we’re not just attacking the mosquito that’s present. We’re attacking the entire life cycle which typically gives our customers around 28 days of total relief per application. We recommend a succession of 6 applications from April through October to keep you mosquito free through the summer. Our products are also not harmful to pollinators if that might be a concern of yours. The only reason that we feel our products don’t reach a 10 out of 10 is that some environments reduce the effectiveness of the product. Heavily wooded, overgrown, and/or water saturated areas can often provide too many habitats for the adult mosquitos and their larvae than it is possible to cover. In these cases, we may need to consider a customized program in conjunction with other traditional methods to optimize the effectiveness of a satisfactory mosquito program.
If you have any questions or you are in need of help with mosquitos, please feel free to contact us at (844) 369-TURF (8873). We’ll be happy to help in any way that we can.
A weed control and fertilization plan is a vital part of keeping your lawn beautiful. Your lawn doesn’t become and stay beautiful with just nature alone. There are hundreds of other competing forces in nature that inhibit healthy lawns, primarily weeds.
Weeds are your most common problem. Weeds take away valuable nutrients from your grass. They are almost parasitic in nature and can quickly take over your yard. Weed prevention is the key here. It’s extremely important that pre-emergents are placed on your lawn to prevent the weed seeds from germinating. The pre-emergents create a barrier that deters the weeds from getting started. Once they start you’re in for a long battle. It takes patience, time, and changes in seasons then next year’s round of pre-emergents to keep them from coming back.
You fertilize because nature alone doesn’t give your lawn what it needs to stay healthy. Even in a weed free lawn, grass depletes the soil of the vital nutrients that it needs just by regular feeding. So you have to replenish the soil every year to keep the soil full of nutrients. Then the grass will stay healthy year after year.
Then even if you do all that right, the soil can become too acidic over time as you feed it with nitrogen through the year. So it’s important that you keep an eye on the PH balance of the soil. As the PH lowers, moss and weeds will try to make a comeback even if you feel you did everything else just right. A lime application once per year will help counteract any reduction in PH levels. The balance lime offers for your PH rounds out a balanced weed and fertilization plan.
Weed control and fertilization go hand in hand. It’s important as well as cost effective to seek out a local expert to help you with your lawn. For more information how ALF can help you visit our website at www.alfga.com for more information then give us a call.
All the leaves are out of your yard. All your crape myrtles, trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and roses have been cut back. All you really do in your yard now is chase the leaves that the neighbor across the street doesn’t want to rake up….Jeff! But what else is there to do? Football is done with for five months. There’s only so much basketball one person can take. And you just want to get outside somehow, some way.
Well I suggest two things over the course of the next couple months. The first is just relax and plan. It’s a good time to plan what updates you want to do to your landscape. Which means it’s also a good time to ask a landscaper to help you with some ideas. Most will come out free of charge this time of year. But be considerate. Time is money. So if you can throw them a bone on your project or with other services they provide.
The second thing you can do is review your weed control and fertilization plan. As the soil temperatures slowly rise, you’ll experience different levels of weeds. The caveat is that if you’re starting to see weeds now. It’s too late. Those are actually winter weeds. You should’ve taken preemptive measures months ago. All we can do now is get in front of the weeds that start when we get soil temperatures consistently above 50 degrees. So what do you do? You need to make sure that you have at least one, recommended two rounds of pre-emergence down by the March 15th time frame. Each round should be applied roughly six weeks apart. These two rounds will be critical to help with most annual summer weeds. Keep in mind, there will be some wild fescues and dallisgrasses that are perennial problems that we’ll have to address directly as things warm up. Unfortunately there’s just not a magic bullet for everything. We’ll cover how you handle these problems in one of our upcoming spring blogs.
If you have any questions about pre-emergence or need help with one of your projects, just give us a call or fill out our contact form. We’ll be happy to help.
Dogs can be a great addition to a family. They often give us as many hours of entertainment and companionship as we give them. But unfortunately they can create a lot of problems for our lawns. The wear and tear from running around in the same areas will thin out quickly and prevent the grass growing back. If they have a favorite spot on the lawn for their bathroom habits, it’ll deteriorate a root system quickly. And then when you throw in all the other frustrations of keeping your lawn healthy it creates quite the headache. We can’t just get rid of our best friends. But we can incorporate some best practices to eliminate some of the wear and tear to our lawns.
Dog urine is loaded with nitrogen, especially the first release of the day, because all the protein they eat. And too much nitrogen is a killer for a lawn. Just don’t let your friend out to go where he wants, he’ll just keep going to same spot or where he smells other animals. Take a few minutes, specifically in the morning, to show them where you want them to go. Hopefully with time, they’ll learn to stay off the lawn. There are also supplements at your local pet store that help regulate the nitrogen they produce.
Don’t forget to pick up after them. Dog stool is a killer too. It contains high levels of nitrogen as well. As it break down it will transfer higher than recommended levels of nitrogen to the ground. Over time it will burn the grass as well. I know it’s not our favorite chore. But if you make sure you cleanup after your friend a couple times a week. It’ll go a long way to preventing dead spots.
Aerate and over seed your lawn routinely. Whether you have a warm or cool season lawn, it’ll be important that you repair those areas that get most of the wear. The aeration is needed to help with the compaction to help get nutrients back to the roots again. Then the over seeding will help restore grass to those areas. You’ll just need to keep your friend off the reseeded areas for a few weeks after it’s done.
Make sure the grass is getting the right amount of sun and water. Depending on the grass, too much or too little light will speed up the process of a thinning lawn. Your grass will also need a certain amount of water each week, typically one inch, to keep the root system from stressing too much. Any added stress will certainly make the problem worse. But consult your local lawn professional to see what is best for the type of grass you have in your yard.
When all else fails, you do have an alternative. Go artificial! There are several companies around the country that offer artificial alternatives to grass. With today’s technology in artificial grass, you’ll have many choices that will give you a similar feel and look to natural grass. It’s typically a sizable investment because of costs in material and preparation. But if you’re looking for a long term solution, it will certainly be money well spent.
After the snow comes and the cold sets in, it’s easy to forget about the lawn in the winter. Especially for those of us in the South, the last thing we want is to spend hours outside in the cold when there’s football on inside. But we do need to put a few hours here and there over the next few months to help promote new growth. Here’s a couple thoughts to be mindful of from your friends at ALF as we make the slow winter’s crawl to spring 2018.
1. Do a quick sweep of your lawn every couple weeks. Any objects that are left on the ground, even leaves, will leave impressions that could lead to dead spots in the lawn when it’s time for new growth. It will likely leave those areas stunted and thinner most of the year.
2. In periods of winter weather, you need to keep your driveways and walkways clear of snow and ice. Guests won’t be tempted to cut through the yard. And they won’t mistake your yard as part of the driveway. Even the smallest of cars or excess foot traffic can stunt or kill the grass as well as promote weeds when the temperature is just right.
For updates on our tips, tricks, or promotions connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @alflovesgrass. Or call us at (844) 369-TURF for help with lawn care today.
Snow in the Deep South is unusual in early December. But it’s a welcome sight this close to Christmas especially since we’ve seen spring like temperatures over the past couple years. Even though the snow is sometimes a fun by product of our winters. It can have some negative effects on our warm season lawns here in the South.
Bermuda and Zoysia lawns are susceptible to winter-kill when there are prolonged periods of ice, snow, or cold temperatures. The cold and wet conditions could create a fungus that infects the areas. Or the conditions could simply kill the crown of the grass keeping the area from generating new growth next growing season.
ALF recommends these four simple steps to give you the best chance of preventing winter-kill next spring:
1. Remove the ice/snow within 3-4 days.
2. Ask you turf care company about Fungicide Programs.
3. Eliminate any drainage issues where water sits more than 2 days.
4. Make sure your irrigation is off for the winter.
We get asked all the time what is the number one thing a homeowner can do to get their lawn in good order. Unfortunately, there is no “Magic Bullet” that we can offer you. If there was, we certainly would be the only game in town. At Atlanta Landscape and Fertilization (ALF) we help our clients identify their problem areas. Once we do, we will help the homeowner (the captain) Chart a Course for a Beautiful Lawn.
Your first voyage is now complete. You have successfully turned the neighborhood eyesore into the neighborhood envy. You’re a proud captain and have a proud crew. With time, good captains chart a new course and set sail again. There will always be new endeavors for your lawn and obstacles to overcome. Everyone at ALF is committed to being you first mate every step of the way. If you need any assistance with you lawn please call us at (844) 369-TURF or (706) 216-1254.
Last week we provided some great information for you to take care of your own yard. If you missed it, don't worry about it. Just click HERE! This week we want to continue on this topic and provide more information to you to help you have a Better Yard!
Why do I need service in the Winter?
Even though warm season grasses are dormant, leaves and trash that build up in the Winter months can smother the root systems. During dormancy, grass concentrates on root growth. If the nutrients can’t get to the roots, you’re going to have a rough start to the growing season with your lawn.
How much and when do we need to water?
One inch a week is suggested, preferably in the cooler, early morning hours. Watering during the day can turn the beads of water into a magnifying glasses. You may think you’re cooling things down but you’re really turning up the heat. During the growing season, it’s best to water sometime between 4am-6am when the temps are at their coolest. More water will absorb during this time, rather than evaporate, which will save you money in the long run. Plus, watering when it’s cool reduces the risk of pesky funge popping up.