There are so many pests that can damage your lawn. Being a vigilant homeowner means keeping an eye out for all of the things that can cause damage from carpenter ants to grass diseases. Of all of the types and varieties of pests and disease that can do extensive damage, the grub is one of the grossest and more damaging pests. Let’s take a look at the warning signs and methods of prevention for these little buggers.
Grubs are the larvae of Japanese beetles, June beetles, and chafers, among others. These dirty white, soft bodied, C-shaped creatures feast on the roots of grass and plants. The size of a white grub varies with the species and its age. The adult beetle lays its eggs in the ground during the summer. As soon as the grubs hatch, they start feeding on the roots until cold weather drives them two to eight inches deeper into the soil where they overwinter. When warm weather arrives again in the spring, the grubs move up from the lower soil regions and resume feeding near the surface until they become mature from May through early-June. That means you may have grubs in your grass right now ready to do some damage.
Spotting the first signs of grub infestation may be the best way to tackle the problem before it gets out-of-hand. Early symptoms include gradual thinning, yellowing, and weakening of the grass stand followed by the appearance of scattered, irregular dead patches. As damage continues, the dead patches may increase in size, and apparently healthy turf areas may exhibit sudden wilting. The turf may feel spongy as you walk over the infested area. Sod that is infested will not be well anchored to the ground and will pull up easily like a rug. Another indicator might be the signs that skunks, raccoon, or flocks of birds such as blackbirds are finding something yummy in your turf! It may be grubs.
Prevention and Treatment –
Call Pro-Tech immediately if you see any of these c-shaped pests in your lawn. If applied on time, this will stop grubs from doing any damage to your lawn and keep insects from laying any more eggs there as well. Preventative care may be needed if you have had grubs in the past few years. A worst case scenario may include replanting a lawn if the infestation is extensive.
The grass is beautifully manicured, the hedges are trimmed, flowers are planted and now you want something to take the look of your landscaping “over the top.” Mulching might be the answer. In fact, mulching will not just add to the aesthetics of your yard but will help the health of your lawn overall. Mulching is one of the simplest and most beneficial practices you can use in the garden and in your planting beds. Mulch is simply a protective layer of a material that is spread on top of the soil. Here are some quick tips to mulching for the health of your lawn.
The Benefits of Mulching
Regular mulching can help your flowerbeds, gardens, and plantings retain water, reduce weeds, and improve the health of your soil. Benefits also include:
- Reduces evaporation from soil surface, cutting water use by 25-50%
- Stabilizes soil moisture
- Prevents soil compaction
- Controls weeds, which rob soil moisture
- Moderates soil temperature extremes
- Controls erosion
- Gives a finished look, improving aesthetic quality
Type of Mulch
Once you have decided that you want to try mulching, the next decision you will have to make will be the type of mulch you want to use. The choice may be determined by price, color and type of particles. There are many types to choose from including:
- wood chips
- cedar bark
The Mulching Process
Before you begin mulching the areas that you have chosen, you should first weed the area and lay down a barrier that will stop weeds from growing. Then decide on how much mulch you will use. The thickness of mulch you apply will vary depending on the size of the mulch particles. If the mulch is made up of fine particles such as shredded bark, you’ll want to put down between 2 and 3 inches. Any more could reduce oxygen flow to the roots of the plants or your lawn.
Homeowners who have a dog or a cat consider their pet a member of the family. Their safety is a top priority not only while you are out for walks but at home and in the yard as well. Safety includes keeping a family pet safe when they romp or dig (unfortunately) in your yard. There are many products out there that may make your lawn healthy, but they make cause your four-legged family member to become ill. Here are some tips for keeping your furry-friends safe even in your backyard.
- Lawn Products – Before you start using just any products or services on your lawn, make sure you know the facts. Read the instructions and warning labels on all products that you use whether it is in the garden or on the lawn. Educate yourself on the hazards of different products including application processes. If you decide to use a lawn care company like Pro-Tech Lawn Care be sure to tell us that you have pets and any of your concerns.
- Fertilizer Fears – Pet owners have probably heard the horror stories of pets getting into the fertilizer bag and getting gravely ill after ingesting the product. Fertilizer should be safe if applied properly. Most pets that get sick from fertilizer get sick because they ate the product in large quantities form the bag.
- Insecticides – These products are safe as long as instructions are followed for application. Just like with fertilizer, pets can become ill if they ingest directly from the package in larger quantities than what is on the grass. Insecticides, like rock salt used in the winter, can cause irritation on a pet’s paws. When first putting down the insecticide keep your pet away from the lawn if at all possible.
In general, dogs and cats can remain safe from your lawn products as long as homeowners follow the directions and properly store the products away from Fido and Fluffy. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care if you need lawn care or have questions about lawn care and your pets.
As lawn care professionals, we have seen it all. Disease, pests, and lawns that are in dire need of help. Over the years we have compiled some fun facts that you may not believe about your lawn and garden. Here are just a few of our observations and fun facts.
- Americans spend about $30 million on their lawns every year! That calculates to about $400 per lawn a year!
- According to the National Gardening Association Survey, 22 million homeowners hire a lawn care professional to handle their lawn care and landscaping needs.
- Despite the sprawling lawns we see on t.v and in magazine, the average lawn size for a home is only 1/5 of an acre.
- There are approximately 50 million acres of grass in the United States. Approximately 21 million of those acres are in our front and back yards.
- The average American spends an average of 4 hours per week taking care of their lawn. That adds up to 208 hours per year, or over 8 days.
- Lawns are great at producing oxygen. A 50-foot by 50-foot lawn can release enough oxygen throughout the day for the needs of one person. Given the length of their growing season, this makes grass great for maintaining balance in the ecosystems.
- There’s even a museum dedicated to the lawn mower, the British Lawnmower Museum, in Merseyside, Great Britain.
- Powered lawn mowers cause 68,000 injuries every year. Hire a professional if you need help or are unable to mow by yourself.
- There are over 10,000 types of grass species in the world.
- Grass is in many of the foods and drinks we consume, including beer, whiskey, and bread.
- Grass is essential to many sports around the world such as golf, tennis, and cricket. The most famous grass tennis court in the world is the Center Court at Wimbledon in England.
(Sources: The Lawn Blog, Farmer’s Almanac, The Tractor Supply Company, Task Easy Grass Blog)
Not all lawns are created equal. Some are prone to pests and disease while others tend to stay disease free. While there are a multitude of reasons why this is the case, one of the easiest explanations is the general care of the lawn and yard. Clients ask us all the time what they can do to prevent pests and disease from gaining a foothold in their yard. The truth is that no one’s yard or home is immune to pests, but there are some things you can do as a homeowner to help prevent pests and disease from finding a home in your lawn.
- Mowing – One of the easiest things you can do for your lawn to discourage pests is to mow regularly. Keep your mower blade sharp and don’t mow too short. Go with the ⅓ rule. Cut only one third of the height of the grass each time. If your blades are dull and you’re mowing your lawn too short, that will actually put stress on your lawn, which will make it more vulnerable to disease.
- Feeding the Lawn – Keep your lawn healthy by making sure you feed it the right fertilizer at the right times. Check your lawn to make sure it is not compacted so that when you fertilize and water the nutrients will be able to get to the roots. If it is compacted consider aeration to loosen the soil and get the nutrients and oxygen down to the roots.
- Watering Correctly – Water less often but deeply. You should be able to take a screwdriver and easily push it into the ground. If it is hard to do so you need to water deeper.
- Inspect for Disease – Each time you are out in your yard, inspect the area for the starting signs of disease. The sooner the disease is identified, the sooner you can work to treat it.
- Call in the Professionals – If you don’t know when the right time is to aerate, fertilize or treat for pests, then you need help. Pro-Tech Lawn Care has been doing this for years and can help you get your lawn in tip-top shape.
Having a great lawn free of pests and disease is not magic. Try these few simple tips that will help you get the lawn you have always dreamed of!