Aeration will reduce thatch which leads to turf fungus. Also, aeration lessens compaction of the soil, promotes deeper and more fiborous roots, and helps improve the soil profile under the turf. A better root system will also help during drought like conditions.
Downey Mildew is a host-specific pathogen that has attacked impatiens and boxwoods in the US and in Europe as of Spring 2012. Many growers are not growing impatiens and it maybe a few years until you see them in the marketplace.
Our recommendation is do not plant impatiens this year. If you do, the spores will stay in the soil and can cause future problems. A good substitute is New Guinea Impatiens, which are not affected and Begonias, either the wax leaf or the Dragon Wing.
A reel mower not only makes the grass look better, it is also healthier. A reel mower operates like a pair of scissors. Two blades come together to actually cut the blade of grass. A rotary mower actually rips thru the grass. With a reel mower, the cut is clean and straight. Thus, it heals quickier and is less likely to get a turf disease. With a reel mower it is imperative that the grass is cut regularly. This means at least weekly. The blade of a reel mower is designed to cut the soft bleades of grass. If you allow the grass to grow to long or allow the grass to develop a seed head then the reel mower will have difficulty in cutting the grass. You will also find that you have to keep your yard weed free. Reel mowers are designed to cut grass not weeds. Weeds and stems of seed heads are thicker and are the reel mower is not designed to cut these thicker objects. Furthermore, weeds and seed heads will dull the blades of a reel mower.
Cost is another issue in making a switch to a reel mower. A good reel mower like a tru-cut or a Locke will cost between $1500 to $3500. You will also have to sharpen your blades a couple of times during the season; more if you have a larger yard. Backlapping and grind the reels will cost on average about $125. The annual service cost of the reel mower for a homeowner is about $300 to $400 a year. If you have your home maintained by a landscape professional there is additional cost in using a reel mower. There is the equipment cost and maintenance cost mentioined above, and it takes 30% to 50% longer to cut the turf area. A homeowner should expect a 10% to 30% increase in the landscape maintenance cost.
The most important treatment is the application of pre-emergence before we hit nighttime temperature at 70 degree or lower for three nights in a row. After that Poa Annua will began to germinate. This will usually occur in Atlanta about mid September, maybe a little soon in Northern suburbs.
Even though the Poa Annua has germinated, you can not see it. In November/December, application of Simazine will help control any Poa Annua that has already germinated. Simazine will kill any recently germinating Poa Annua, and it will add an additional level of pre-emergrence.
One problem is that Poa Annua can sometimes build a resistance to Simazine. As early spring arrives, there are several post-emergent chemicals that can handle Poa Annua. The key is to identify Poa Annua early and to treat immediately.
In Atlanta, Year around landscape maintenance is very common and needed to keep a healthy landscape. While the frequency may change from weekly to a couple of times a month from November to March, there is imperative work that needs to occur to be ready for Spring. Here are a few maintenance activities that occur during these months:
- Leaf Removal
- Cutting back Liriope, perennials, and ornamental grasses
- Hard pruning of shrubs
- Limbing of Trees
- Pruning of Crepe Myrtles and Butterfly Bush
- Pruning of Roses
- Scalping of Bermuda and Zoysia
- There are also several lawn care and pest control treatments to prepare for Spring:
- Application of Simazine in Nov or Dec for Poa Annua control in early spring
- Application of Dormant Oil on Shrubs to reduce insect populations in Spring
- Application of Pre-Emergent in Late Feb/Early March
- Fertilization of Trees and Shrubs
- Application of Winter Fertilization in October for root development
- Fertilization and over seeding of Fescue
- Grub Treatment
Not maintaining your landscape in the winter will increase Spring problems and require a Spring clean up. This spring clean up is most like to cost more the continuing the maintenance through the winter. Also it will be difficult to get the landscape to look and perform as it should.
You can use deer and rabbit resistant plants. The University of Rutgers has an excellant search guide on deer resistant plants at www.njaes.rutgers.edu/deerresistance/ .
However, if you are going to use plants they like to eat, you will have to use some pre-cautions. You can use netting to cover the plants, or you can use a deterrent. We have found the best deterrent is blood meal or millorganite. Both need to be applied weekly and after heavy rains.
The University of Rutgers has an excellent search guide on deer resistant plants at www.njaes.rutgers.edu/deerresistance/.
Aphids suck the life out of trees and shrubs. Aphids are very common on crape mrytles, roses, river birches, and camellias. They produce an excrement called honeydew that will attract bees and ants. Aphids can be controlled by using Merit.
This is a systemic insecticide that is absorbed into the leaves. We can spray Merit 2 or 3 times during the growing season to help control all leaf eating insects. Aphids also will laying eggs in the winter, to set the cycle for the spring.
We can spray horticultural oil that will suffocate the eggs before they hatch in the spring. The Merit and Horticultural oil will work to control aphids, white flies, Japanese beetles, lace bugs, and scales.
Japanese Beetles are like Aphids, they suck the life out of trees and shrubs.
Japanese Beetles are very common on crepe myrtles, roses, river birches, cherry trees, plum trees, and maples. Japanese Beetles can be controlled by using Merit. This is a systemic insecticide that is absorbed into the leaves. We can spray Merit 2 or 3 times during the growing season to help control all leaf eating insects. The worst thing to do is to put out the Japanese Beetle bags because you will just attract more Japanese Beetles.
Japanese Beetles also will laying eggs in the winter in the soil, to set the cycle for the spring. Using a grub treatment in the spring and late summer will also help by killing the grubs and larvae. The Merit will work to control aphids, white flies, Japanese beetles, lace bugs, and scales.
A common question I get is “Why is my grass not preforming? What type of Grass do I need?” In Metro Atlanta, GA, we have predominantly 5 types of turf grass in our landscape: Bermuda, Thin Blade Zoysia, Thick Blade Zoysia, Fescue, and Centidpede. We do see a little Saint Augustine in the southern suburbs. This article will help homeowners and those in lawn care and landscape maintenance determine the proper turf grass for a homesite, based upon the amount of sunlight and available water.
Bermuda is the most common and most economical turfgrass. While it is ideal for home builders, it is not a good long term solution for most homes in Atlanta. Bermuda is a warm season grass that needs full sun for 7 to 8 hours during the day. As your landscape develops you may run into issues with areas of grass starting to thin because of increased shade on your turf. Bermuda is also very drought resistant and resilient. Bermuda will go completely dormant in the winter. It enters dormancy early than Zoysia and will start to green up later than zoysia. Bermuda can be installed year around. However, winter kill can be a problem if severe cold or snow occurs after it has begun to green up in the spring. This was seen in 2009 when we had a late snow fall on April 15th. The northern facing slopes and areas where snow was piled up (ie. the snowman from the children), we had severe winter kill. This is why it is recommended not to fertilize any of the warm season grasses until they are 50% green. Early fertilization can push a warm season grass out of dormancy early, which may lead to winter kill. Bermuda can be aerated once the bermuda grass is 50% green. Aerating and scalping in the early spring are two landscape maintenance practices that will help reduce turf fungus in warm season grasses. Bermuda can be cut very short up to less than a half inch. Bermuda grows rapidly and needs to be cut at least weekly and if possible every 4 to 5 days in the growing season. Letting the grass grow to seed head is not recommended as you then no longer cutting blades of grass but you are cutting stems of the seed head. This will rapidly dull your blades. Most common hybrid of Bermuda is Tiftway 419. There are some new Bermuda hybrids that are shade tolerant one that I have heard very good results about is TiftGrand. TiftGrand Bermuda needs about half the sunlight requirements (4 hours) as Tiftway 419. This will save several homeowners from having to switch their entire yard to Zoysia in shade challenged areas.
Thin Blade Zoysia is the most ideal turfgrass for Atlanta and the most beautiful. This zoysia is a warm season grass that needs about 4 to 5 hours of sunlight during the day. It is moderately drought resistant. It does not go completely dormant in the winter although the exposed blades of grass are brown. The root system is still green. Some people will spray roundup on dormant Bermuda to kill weeds and especially poa annua. Do not do this on Zoysia as you will kill the zoysia. Zoysia enters dormancy later than bermuda and begins to green up early in the spring. However, it is slow to becoming fully green until May. In Atlanta, Thin Blade Zoysia should only be installed from 15 April until 1 September. The root system of the thin blade zoysia can be damaged by cold temperature. For this reason, thin blade zoysia must be fully rooted before freezing temperatures occur. If it is necessary to install in the Sep to Apr time frame it is important to keep the root system moist. If we get really cold temperatures and the roots system is dry the roots will reach the ambient temperature. By watering the turf and keeping the roots moist, the water will freeze and insulate the root system protecting it. The most common hybrids are Emerald and Zeon Zoysia. There is a new hybrid that has been developed called Geo Zoysia. Geo is being marketed as very shade tolerant needing 2 to 3 hours of sunlight.
Thick Blade Zoysia is very similar to the thin blade zoysia, except it needs about 5 to 6 hours of sunlight. It is also moderately drought resistant. Thick Blade Zoysia follows the same dormancy patterns as the thin blade, but does a better job in reach fully green in the spring. Thick Blade Zoysia can be installed year around but it is recommended to avoid installation when coming in or out of transition. Most common hybrid is Meyer Zoysia. Aeration of any type of zoysia is recommended anytime the turf is 50% green. Aeration and scalping in early spring will reduce the amount of fungus. One of the other benefits of the zoysia is it is a very thick grass that will choke out weeds and other turfgrasses like Bermuda. Zoysia can be cut very short at half inch and it is not recommended to let the grass grow to a seed head between cuttings.
Fescue is a cool season grass and is the most difficult to grow in Atlanta. It needs only 4 to 5 hours of sunlight but it does not tolerate full sun or heat very well. It is not drought resistant and needs deep watering a couple of times a week. While it is lush and green from Fall to Spring, the high temperatures of summer turn it brown. In the summer it is not water it needs but it needs more shade and cool temperatures. Fescue is high maintenance and requires yearly aeration, over-seeding, and liming. It should never be fertilize after mid May as this will led to turf fungus. Fescue needs to be cut high at about 3 to 4 inches. Fescue does work well in large tree canopy covered areas.
Centipede is a warm season turfgrass that is very aggressive, disease resistant, and slow growing. It needs 6 to 7 hours of sunlight and is moderately drought resistant. It has very little nitrogen requirement and very low maintenance. You can mow it every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season. However, I feel it is not the most attractive grass, and definitely not comfortable to walk on barefooted.
Saint Augustine is another warm season grass that can work in the southern suburbs of Atlanta. It is shade tolerant and moderately drought resistant. It needs only 4 hours of sunlight, however it is not that common of a grass in the Atlanta Landscape and it is only seen in the South Metro Atlanta area. It is not very adaptable to the cold winter temperatures, and in severe winter there maybe areas of winter kill. Thus, very few people know how to properly maintain this grass in the Atlanta Market.
Lime will buffer the pH of the soil. This is important as having the right pH will allow the grass to absorb the nitrogen more efficiently. I recommend that lime should be applied every two years. Liming should be applied when aerating and overseeding fescue.
Crepe Myrtle need pruning during the first 5 to 7 years of being established, but as they reach maturity, they need less pruning. As they reach maturity, look to eliminate cross branching, and branches that distract from their shape.
Only prune the tips and clean up the main leaders of the crepe myrtle. It is important to know your variety. Some crepe myrtles have a vase shape while others like the Nathez has a cascading shape. The Nathez crepe myrtle should not be prune when it reaches maturity as this would disrupt the cascading look.
Snow removal is important to a community because it is a safe way to ensure the community can function when mother nature is acting out. Snow removal on the highways and access ways are a few examples of important areas that need to be cleared to ensure a safe commute.
When it snows people need to safely get to road and highways for their commute thats where Creech Landscape can help. Creech Landscape is here to offer our snow removal services for our neighbors and the community to safely ensure they can get to where they need to be.
If your driveway or sidewalks are not salted and clean, you could possibly injure yourself or others. In order to reduce your liability and provide a safe environment for you, your family, and your neighbors, please call Creech Landscape at 513-431-1130 or visit www.creechlandscape.com for a free quote, questions and or concerns.
Nutsedge is a very difficult weed to control because it produces tubers that can be 8” to 14” below ground. The nutsedge above ground dies off as the temperature drops but the tubers survive the winter and reproduce in the spring.
Post emergent spray of Sedgehammer, Tribute Total, or Basagran T/O should be used immediately as the nutsedge appears. Tubers usually develop within 6 weeks so immediate action is critical.
Most pre-emergences are ineffectice against perennial yellow and purple nutsedges. Echelon, Specticle, and Pennant will provide some pre-emergent control of annual nutsedges.
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