Common plant and turf diseases

on Aug 25 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

Have you ever noticed a white powdery substance on your plants, or large yellowish brown spots in your grass? If you have, more than likely your landscape has been affected by a plant disease. Plant diseases are common in our garden spaces, especially with the summer temperatures and humidity we are frequently experiencing. In this blog we will go over a few diseases and hopefully help you learn how to control them. Read More

Proper Turf Irrigation for the Summer

on Jul 21 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

With longer days and scorching temperatures, summer irrigation plays a crucial part in your lawn’s wellbeing.

Irrigating your lawn can be a hit or miss. It’s possible that you are not irrigating enough. Drought stress has many different effects on turf. As grass loses water, the leaf blade becomes less rigid and starts to wilt. If you are seeing certain areas in your turf turn a purple hue, water the area immediately, as this is usually a sign of wilting. A good way to test if your turf is wilted is to step on the area. If your shoes leave depressions in the turf after walking through the yard, it more than likely has drought stress and needs watering. If the grass goes a long period without water, it will go into dormancy and turn a yellowish color. The plant is still alive but the leaves dry up and die. Read More

Liquid vs Granular Fertilizer for Annual Flowers

on Jul 05 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

Green Flower Blossom Just Opening

Anyone who has visited a garden center or plant nursery looking for a fertilizer to give their summer annuals a nutritional boost has probably had the daunting task of wading through product after product to find just the right blend. It can be quite the educational experience as well as a frustrating one.

Here, we will add a few more pieces to the puzzle of understanding the processes that summer annuals go through and what exactly they are looking for in a food source. Annual flowers, like people, require a regular intake of nutrition to maintain their overall health and productivity.

The two most common application types of fertilizer for annuals are liquid forms and granular forms. Both can be very efficient when used correctly, but understanding how they perform separately is the key to successful use.

Granular fertilizers are a popular choice due to their ease of application. They come ready to use and are truly as simple to apply as thoroughly mixing them into the top 8” of soil at the time of planting. After planting and watering in, the new flowers will be ready to take on the weather for the next 4-6 weeks.

One application, however, is not enough to keep flowers healthy and producing all season long. Eventually they will use up that initial food source and another application will be required. At that time applying a dusting of the same fertilizer over the top of the soil is the best way to utilize granular fertilizers after the initial application.

However, using granular fertilizer this way has one physical downside; the roots of the plants are not at the surface of the soil. This means in order for the fertilizer to reach down to the roots requires another method of transportation in the form of water. Often times when using a granular fertilizer I highly recommend watering the plants immediately in order to help facilitate the movement of the newly applied nutrients downward toward the roots.

Applying granular fertilizer just before a good rain is another way to help ensure your fertilizer isn’t simply sitting on top of the soil doing nothing. Still, the greatest risk to applying granular to the surface is the high probability of runoff. Granular fertilizers on the soil surface are often carried away with water with much of the fertilizer never making it to the roots of the plants.

Liquid fertilizers tend to be a more efficient form of delivering nutrients directly to the roots of the intended plants and they are Yard-Nique’s preferred method of application for flower beds. They start in a powdered form that is easily dissolved in water, which allows us to control the ratio of fertilizer to water when being mixed. When we apply liquid fertilizers to our flower beds the nutrients are immediately delivered to the roots of the plants and become instantly available for the plants to use. Because liquids allow us to control the rate of use it is easier to ensure over fertilization does not take place, which is common in granular forms. Being a liquid however, the fertilizer moves through the soil faster and tends to break down at a quicker rate than granular fertilizers. Therefore, it is important to apply liquid fertilizers about every 4 weeks to help promote healthy plants and consistent blooms.

RDU Sees Massive Rainfall

on Jul 03 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

Black and White UmbrellasJune turned out to be an extraordinarily wet month this year.

From massive thunderstorms to short intense showers, the Triangle and surrounding areas of North Carolina received significantly more rainfall than normal.  According to wral.com the normal amount of rain for June is 3.52″ while this year we received 10.8″.  That’s 7.28″ more than usual in just one month!

WRAL.com illustrated the huge increase in average rainfall with a series of charts and graphs in the following article  http://www.wral.com/weather/page/1934052/.

Large Patch

on Jul 21 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

Large patch is a new name for an old disease of warm-season turfgrasses. This disease was formerly called brown patch, the same disease that affects cool-season grasses during hot weather. Other than the fact that they affect different grasses, there are several important differences between brown patch and large patch that necessitated a name change: they occur at different times of the year, produce distinct symptoms, are caused by different strains of the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, and require very different control strategies.

Large patch appears in roughly circular patches that are yellow, tan, or straw-brown. The patches are initially 2 to 3 feet in diameter, but can expand in size rapidly up to 10 feet or more in diameter, hence the name “large patch”. Multiple patches may coalesce to encompass even larger areas of turf. When the disease is actively developing, the outer edge of the patches are often red, orange, or bronze in color. Close examination of individual plants reveals the presence of reddish-brown or gray lesions on the leaf sheaths. It may be necessary to peel away the older, dead leaves in order to reveal the lesions on the younger leaf sheaths below.

Establishment of a disease-resistant turfgrass species is the most effective means for management of large patch. Bermudagrass rarely sustains significant damage from large patch, and grows of out the symptoms quickly when the disease does occur. In contrast, centipedegrass, seashore paspalum, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass often sustain serious damage and recovery can take several weeks or months. Fescues and bluegrasses are immune to large patch and are also an option in areas where cool-season turfgrasses can be maintained.

Do not apply nitrogen to warm-season grasses in the fall and spring. These grasses are growing slowly during this time and do not require a significant amount of this nutrient. In general, nitrogen should not be applied to the warm-season grasses within 6 weeks before dormancy in the fall or within 3 weeks after green-up begins in the spring. Warm-season grasses vary in their fertility requirements, so refer to local University recommendations for more specific recommendations for timing and rates.

Avoid establishing warm-season grasses in low lying areas that remain saturated for extended periods of time from surface runoff. If this is unavoidable, install subsurface drainage to remove excess water from the soil. Irrigate only as needed to prevent severe drought stress in the fall and spring. Control traffic patterns to prevent severe compaction, and aerify as needed to maintain soil drainage and aeration. Mow at recommended heights, and power rake or vertical mow as needed to control thatch accumulations.

Brown Patch

on Jun 16 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

As you know we have been experiencing very high temperatures with high humidity, these conditions are perfect for an outbreak of brown patch in the fescue turf. We are prepared to handle such and outbreak should it occur. Please contact our office should you notice small circles of brown growing larger over time, we will then visit your property and confirm that it is brown patch and then provide you with a quote (approx $140 per bag of chemical) should your yard require treatment. If you have any questions please contact us at 919-388-9878.

Japanese Beetles

on Jun 01 in Pest Control, Spring Agrinomics, Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

Summer is also a time when trees and shrubs are damaged by Japanese beetles. These insects feed aggressively on plants like roses, hydrangeas, crape myrtles, etc. We have applied a systemic insecticide deterrent in the late winter, early spring to protect against Japanese beetles. We are also applying a sprayable insecticide at the first signs of damage weekly you may also want to spray Sevin to supplement our regimen as rainfall diminishes the effectiveness of these products. Some neighbor- hoods still experienced severe Japanese beetle damage to their knock-out roses. Japanese beetles are migratory insects and it is impossible to control all Japanese beetle populations. The good news is Japanese beetle populations should be declin- ing in the coming weeks. The corrective measure we will be taking to repair the roses will be to first prune them back by 1/3. We will then fertilize them with a 14-14-14 nursery grade fertilizer. This will stimulate new growth and they should flush out within a few weeks.

Fescue Maintenance Tips

on May 02 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

Fertilizer is not recommended during summer months for tall fescue. There are some products that can be provided by a landscape professional. Mow grass at 3.5”-4” to help protect the lawn from stress due to the high temperatures. Mowing the turf higher keeps the lawn from needing as much water as when it is cut at 3”-3.5”. Leave grass clippings on the lawn! Grass clippings are 75 to 85 percent water and are a good source of nutrients. When left on the lawn after mowing they quickly decompose and release nutrients. This process called, grasscycling can supply up to 25 percent of your lawn’s yearly fertilizer needs. NC state law prohibits disposal of yard wastes, including grass clippings, in landfills. Using grass clippings as a nutrient source saves time, money, and protects the environment. It will also promote greener color and a deeper, stronger root system.