Welcome to Lawn Talk.

Designed to answer any questions you have regarding fertilization, weed control and ornamental turf diseases. Be sure and scroll to the bottom of the page for helpful articles and past entries.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Surviving the Drought, What to Know About Water Restrictions

Surviving drought conditions in Texas can almost seem impossible, you look around at your environment and all you see is burnt, dying or dead grass. If our conditions are drought like in nature consistently and all around us we see what the heat can do to our environment, then why even try to keep up? In reality, your environment is more adapted to handle the heat than you might imagine. In most cases native Texas grasses like Bermuda are built to handle the heat, grasses like buffalo grass are even more drought resistant. They may not look their best, but their alive and well below the surface. Bermuda for instance is a very drought tolerant grass, in fact Bermuda does not like or tolerate lower temps, its a tropical grass as well, meaning it can handle hot humid weather and still survive. So we come back to the issue of water management as it relates to turf management, how do we effectively apply enough water to our turf grasses under such tight restrictions? Simple. You utilize the schedule given to you by your municipality, which in most cases is one day a week, which is more than enough to put out the required amount to keep grasses healthy in the region we live in. 1 inch a week is all ornamental turf grasses need in this region to maintain a healthy status. They may not look as healthy and green as you remember from early summer, but their alive and well regardless. The website listed below is a valuable resource and can help you understand water restrictions, why they impose such harsh restrictions and how each of us can play a part in helping to conserve water. If you have any questions about turf grass management or water management, please don't hesitate to call Lawn Tech today @ 972-346-2696 and speak to a qualified expert on turf management. Cut and paste: http://texaswatersmart.com/water-smart-tips-your-lawn

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Patch or Take All Patch

Lately we are beginning to see a few yards showing signs of "Summer" patch or "Take All" patch. This troublesome lawn affliction can be caused by several underlying factors; The following is a excerpt from the University of Arkansas research and extension office; "Take all patch is caused by the fungus Gaeumannomyces graminia, the primary damage to turf occurs from root infections, but stolon's and rhizomes can also be infected. Stressed or weakened turf tends to be more susceptible to pathogen attack, especially during moist hot conditions of summer." (2013www.uaex.edu Take-All Patch) As professionals we have to diagnose problems right after they first exhibit signs of multiplying. The problem with "Take All" patch is that it usually appears in hot summer months immediately after periods of rain, once the rain stops, within a few days the disease has done its damage, the lead up time is just not enough to diagnose and treat the disease until its too late. Also, "Summer Patch or Take all patch" has been linked to other factors not associated with turf disease, for example some professionals believe summer patch is purely the result of extreme heat patterns causing the turf to stress, leaving dead top growth often in shallow areas or along mowing wheel lines, leaving the yard to look as if the areas that are affected are uniform in nature. The only way to remedy the problem is two-fold, try and put as much concentrated water directly on the affected area, with a water hose if needed to try and have the lawn recover faster, and recognize your lawn is susceptible to "Take All" patch and apply a preventative fungicide early before the disease comes back again the next year. A fungicide can be applied after the fact, however once the disease spreads shortly after a rain period, the reaction time is not fast enough to forego damage. There is some good news however and it applies to how well the lawn recovers after the next dormant cycle, according to the University of Texas A&M, the recovery rate based on diseased area as a whole and the amount of new grass that springs up the next year is promising and has shown a substantial yield in new grass coming back on damaged areas the next year. In other words not all the grass dies or looses it's ability to bounce back, offering some hope for the future. If you have any questions or think you have the above disease please contact Lawn Tech @ 972-346-2696

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An Industry Struggling for Answers

Have you noticed more grassy weeds than usual in your lawn? Do you see more and more weeds than ever before. Do you find yourself asking your lawn care provider why so many grassy weeds have not been killed? As a lawn care professional, I already know the answer to these questions, the answer is "Yes" grassy weeds have become a problem in our industry and chemicals that once controlled them effectively have been systematically taken off the market, leaving us scratching our heads with frustration. The lawn care industry sustains itself by ridding a customers lawn of weeds and making his or her environment "Ornamental" This process is done by using target chemicals to eradicate pest, in this case the pest in question is grassy weeds. The industry has long relied on a product called MSMA, a selective grassy leaf herbicide widely used in our industry for years until it's availability was derailed by the government. As a result, our industry has been limited to a small variety of less invasive chemicals, designed to cause the least amount of danger to the environment, a good thing. However, we've found those chemicals we're allowed to use, do eventually work, but much slower. As you would imagine, slow is not something that works well in the service industry. The slow kill rate, with multiple applications to kill weeds, can cause cost to go up and service calls to spike. The customer wants the weed gone and now it can take up to three applications to finally kill the weed being treated. The good news, we can control most weeds almost immediately, helping the lawn to look better quickly, with some grassy weeds requiring additional treatments to kill them. If you have a good company hired to provide weed control, they will come back for free if needed, to re-apply those chemicals which take time to work. Some companies charge extra to come back and treat grassy weeds again, so be careful when searching for a company to provide weed control, insuring that they don't charge extra to spray stubborn grassy weeds. Our industry does fall prey to the whims of organizations like the EPA, and the Government, taking chemicals away from us as they need to, to protect the environment. This is nothing new, it happens all the time. The answer to the problem of grassy weeds is a fairly easy one, find a company like Lawn Tech, that will come back out for free, to retreat grassy weeds if needed, and be patient with your lawn care provider with the understanding that some weeds are harder to kill than others and multiple applications can take time. If you have some questions regarding this post or would like to speak to someone about your lawn today, call Lawn Tech @ 972-346-2696, a company that cares about it's customers.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Abnormal Weather Patterns Can Cause Dead Areas

Most of us like to see the yard green up as spring time approaches, we enjoy the first time the lawn greens up and the flowers bud. But what if all doesn’t go as we've grown accustom too? Most residential lawns in the North Texas area are struggling to green up and in some cases aren't greening up at all. Homeowners want to know why, they insist all has been done correctly, they've watered last year as much as possible, they have hired a lawn service to fertilize and remove the weeds, they've mowed regularly, so why is the yard not greening up or looks like it's dying? The answer can be abnormal weather patterns, an early spring that goes from the low twenties to the high seventies within a week. Rain and cold one day, hot and dry the next. North Texas is known for its crazy spring weather and in most cases, these abnormal weather patterns are the culprit to your lawn not greening up. A harsh winter or late cold snap can cause some spots to die, causing "Spring Dead Spot" areas that don't green back up after winter. Some spots are referred to by professionals as "Winter Spot" areas that die because of freeze. Ornamental grasses in the North Texas region can easily be the victim of abnormal weather patterns, as the sun comes out and the temps warm up to the seventies, turf grass begins to transition, sending new tender green leaves rising toward the sun. Then a freeze comes calling, killing all the new green grass trying to transition, "Jack Frost" has left his calling card, your yard is left with large damaged areas. This pattern is visible this time of year and can cause concern to homeowners who feel the lawn is not greening up as they'd hoped. St. Augustine is very susceptible to this pattern of freezing and warming and Bermuda grass can be affected as well. Most homeowners believe something other than abnormal weather patterns are to blame and often dispute a professional diagnosis; regardless "Spring Dead Spot" is often the cause of dead patterns found in lawns this time of year. Not all is lost; some tips can help your lawn green up. If the lawn is still alive but has not transitioned yet, mowing can help the yard turn green. Also fertilizer can help the lawn begin to store nutrients and start growing. If you do actually have "Spring Dead Spot" or "Winter Spot" those areas are dead and no trick will bring them back to life. The answer to helping overcome abnormal weather patterns or harsh freezes is to have a healthy lawn by watering and fertilizer. If you have any questions about this post or want to speak to a lawn care professional please call Lawn Tech, Inc. @ 972-346-2696

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Warmer Temps Can Cause Unsettling Weeds

Typical Texas climate as of late has seen warming trends beginning earlier in the year. February seems too soon to see temps in the seventies. Weeds begin to pop out early revealing the stark contrast between the tan, gray of dormancy versus the bright green hue of weeds. Your yard is dormant and will start to show signs in some areas of coming out of dormancy, new small green tender grass begins to form in open sun areas. However, your grass is still considered "In Dormancy" until the yard is consistently green and growing. Weeds will have a better chance of taking over and making your yard look unsightly. One of the tricks of the trade so to speak is to mow the yard earlier than usual; making sure that no chance of freeze is on the horizon. Also, begin watering if Mother Nature is not cooperating. This time of year, customers forget that an ornamental lawn needs water to be healthy, dormant or not. In the colder months they need less because evaporation is less of an issue and typically there is enough moisture in winter to sustain a yard. But, a lawn still needs water regardless how it gets it. The biggest concern for ornamental lawns this time of year is pre-emergent application. In the North Texas region, we must have pre-emergent’s out by April 1st or you can expect a large amount of weeds if target dates are not met. Most lawn application companies utilize their first two treatments to apply pre-emergent. This is standard in the industry and must be watered in heavy once applied. If the homeowner will follow watering instructions and be diligent about how the pre-emergent is watered in, the results are fantastic. Less weeds to deal with. Dealing with weeds early in the year can be frustrating, a customer can watch their yard sprout weeds as weather warms up, the yard trying to green up, never fast enough to offset the weeds. The best answer is an early application. A properly applied pre-emergent, watering and early mowing can make the yard look more ornamental. You may not get rid of all of the nasty pest, but you will see marked improvement until the yard can green up and become healthy. Take the time to contact Lawn Tech today to schedule the much needed early spring treatment containing a pre-emergent, a crucial step to start the year off on a good foot. 972-346-2696 or visit our website www.lawntech.com

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tree and Shrub Care, How to Protect Your Investment.

We always think about making our lawn look beautiful, making it green and free of weeds is the most common request made by potential customers, but what about your Trees and Shrubs? Often overlooked, most are adapted to the region we live in and for the most part seem to manage on their own. However, with closer inspection, you'll find most are under extreme stress from a variety of ailments. Water restrictions place ornamentals under stress yearly, often taking its toll in the hot months, the growth patterns of most trees and shrubs are limited to the amount of water and nutrients they receive. Often the homeowner rarely gives their ornamentals the attention they need, leading to a big decline in growth rates. Disease, Insect damage and inadequate moisture often lead to late or premature budding, early loss of foliage and growth decline. All signs of some type of stress to the plant, most problems go undiagnosed, unnoticed and left to leave their mark on a homeowner’s investment. How do we gain the advantage? We give ornamentals what they need to be healthy, a combination of adequate water, early detection and application. The homeowner needs to make sure adequate irrigation is available to all plant life, making sure their system functions properly. Next, find a good company who can regularly inject nutrients to the root zone and monitor tree and shrub health, identifying any disease or insect damage and treat accordingly. Most lawn care companies have a tree and shrub program, one in conjunction with the lawn. This season, take the time to ask your lawn care professional about tree and shrub applications, a program designed to protect your investment. If you've ever had to replace or purchase new landscape ornamentals you know how expensive replacing them can be. Extremely costly, replacing trees and shrubs is more than most budgets can handle. So, take the time this year to notice your homes most beautiful asset, the landscaping. Protect your investment wisely, call Lawn Tech today and find out how a simple tree and shrub program for a small price can help you save big money in the long run. Call Lawn Tech today @ 972-346-2696 or visit our website at www.lawntech.com

Monday, January 7, 2013

Don't Wait! Hiring a Lawn Service After You Find Problems May Be Too Late.

Late spring or early summer seems to be the time when most homeowners decide it’s time to call a company for service. They've either taken the time to stop and smell the roses, or they've decided that doing applications themselves is more work than first imagined. Typically, as it warms up and the year is in full swing, homeowners have a chance to get out in the yard, relax by the pool or take a stroll around the neighborhood. As they get out in their environment they begin to notice how beautiful everything looks and how ugly. By mid May, weeds are usually taking off "Fast and Furious" they've settled into a routine of sprouting, producing root nodules and spreading seed lets. Before you know it, they've invaded your lawn to the point of being unwanted pests, an unsightly mound staring back at you in stark contrast from your ornamental lawn. Waiting can mean a daunting task for you and any company hired to take on the task. It's never too late to start, after all you have to start sometime, yet, starting late in spring and early summer has given weeds and disease time to take up residence to the point of infestation. The answer is to be pro-active and not re-active. One of the most critical parts of lawn care is pre-emergence, a product systematically applied before weeds germinate. This crucial step is one designed to be applied as the season starts, not as the season has progressed. In order to bring about the best results, target dates prescribed by our industry which afford professionals the best opportunity to rid the yard of weeds must be adhered to. Missing this window of opportunity is big in our industry, without an effectively applied pre-emergent, we know the battle is on and will rage throughout the season if not done properly. Procrastination is common; we all seem to put off today what could be done tomorrow, its human nature. However, if you have a beautiful home and want that "Ornamental Look" we all dream of having, then don't wait! Be pro-active and call Lawn Tech today to set the season off right, after all, we all deserve a beautiful lawn. Call the professionals at Lawn Tech @ 972-346-2696 or click on the title to this post to go straight to our website for a free quote, you'll find it's cheaper than you think.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chemicals and The Lawn Care Industry

The word "Chemical" sometimes has a negative connotation, movies have sensationalized the threat to the average citizen to the point that the very word can conjure up feelings of post apocalyptic horrors. The reality is far from how the movies have conditioned those viewers to believe; after all, just about every household item we use has chemicals in them. Now that doesn’t make them any less harmful, yet we have to be rational as to what classifies an ingredient as a chemical and just how that particular chemical effects our environment. As it turns out most substances labeled as "Chemicals" are found naturally in our environment and in our bodies. For instance, a very common chemical used in lawn care is Sodium Chloride which is found naturally in nature and in the human body. Yet, in large quantities can be harmful. This rational way to look at chemicals is more in keeping with the science of chemicals and less in the over dramatized picture Hollywood has depicted. There are many different families of chemicals and different classifications of chemicals. Some occur naturally in our environment while others are manmade, all typically separated by three main subcategories: Ingredient, Toxicity and Flash point. These three main categories are used to classify a certain chemical for many reasons not just the end user. Manufacturing, Transportation and Application utilize these classifications in order to insure each chemical is used as intended. The Environmental Protection Agency which governs how and when chemicals are used in our environment oversees the regulation, distribution, and application of chemicals in a wide variety of uses. Essentially the "Police" of the chemical world, the EPA have other functions however their main purpose is to protect human health and our environment. Chemicals are just one category the EPA regulates and it’s the most impactful. The EPA's involvement is one that is needed, warranted and underappreciated. In the lawn care industry chemicals are used to control pest. A "Pest" can be anything a homeowner doesn’t want in his or her yard; Weeds, Insects and disease prompt chemical use to obtain ornamental qualities and protect landscape. All regulated by the Department of Agriculture and the EPA. Each lawn care chemical company must go through detailed training yearly, pass a written test and obtain a commercial applicator's license in order to apply controlled use chemical products on someone’s yard. The chemicals used in the lawn care industry are created and chosen for their ability to eliminate "Pest" ironically, making our environment less pest intrusive and more appealing. So how safe are the chemicals used and regulated in our industry? The end user is heavily regulated by licensing agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the EPA, insuring each chemical used, is put out in a manner which causes the least chance of over application and hazard. The chemicals used typically are of low toxicity and application rates are minimized and monitored to try and limit over exposure to the environment. Chemicals like Fertilizer which have components occurring naturally in our environment, are most common, other chemicals man made in origin are used to "kill pests" all heavily regulated and diluted for use. Generally chemicals are safe for the user, our customers and the environment when applied as prescribed. Our industry is heavily regulated to insure each and every user adheres to regulations that keep chemicals from harming our environment. As long as you hire a company which is licensed to apply chemicals, has a professional staff who cares about the customer and follows the laws and regulations under which the license they carry was issued, you can't go wrong. As with any industry, you have companies who try and circumvent the rules, our industry is no different. You can find companies willing to apply chemicals without a license. Eventually, the law will catch up to them; heavy fines and jail time will follow. Finding the right company is the key to proper lawn care, finding a company properly trained and licensed is the answer. Lawn Care has always been a unique way to bring about the most satisfying aspect of any property, a beautiful lawn is a statement of health and tranquility, giving a homeowner a sense of accomplishment, a statement of success and something to be proud of. As we learn more about how chemicals are used in the lawn care industry we find that the toxicity of those chemicals is relatively small, heavily regulated with little to no impact to our environment. When properly applied by an ethical, licensed responsible company, the end result is a beautiful lawn done right. If you’re interested in finding out more how lawn care can be done right, call 972-346-2696 or visit www.lawntech.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Why Hire A Lawn Service? Why Invest the Money?

We as homeowners are a proud bunch, we take the time, energy and resources to protect our investment, after all, we pay enough for our homes, why not take care of them, right? Part of homeownership is taking responsibility for our surroundings, providing regular maintenance, like; changing the A/C unit filters, cleaning, repairing and general upkeep. Why do we do it? We know that by taking care of our most precious investment insures its longevity, its reliability and its safety. We also have a certain measure of pride associated with how our home looks; "Keeping Up with the Jones's" has long been the attitude with some homeowners who see their house as a statement to success. Now whether or not you feel this way or for that matter agree with this logic, the fact still remains for whatever the reasons, taking care of your home and its surroundings benefit you and your family. Did you know, that according to the National Association of Realtors who surveyed potential home buyers as to what the most important factor which led them to find interest in or buy a certain property was the landscaping? 77% percent out of those surveyed said that landscaping caught their eye and appealed to them foremost. Extremely telling for those of us interested in protecting our most precious investment. How the presentation of our landscaping looks captures the eye, ads to the overall architecture of any building and gives life to an otherwise meaningless structure. A beautifully manicured lawn and landscape can put the cherry on top of a beautifully crafted home, giving off an air of sophistication, peace and tranquility. The richness that a beautiful lawn provides is hard to measure as to the aesthetics and can seal the deal when it comes to selling your home. There are other reasons other than "Keeping Up with the Jones's" for maintaining a beautiful landscape that are not as obvious; One of the main purposes for maintaining your lawn is for erosion purposes, which is vital in this region of unpredictable weather, where heat can cause foundation troubles and torrential rainfall can erode your soil. Furthermore, a well maintained landscape can prevent concrete damage to sidewalks and driveways, and help control pest as well. As a result we not only take pride in our beautiful landscape as it turns out we need it. So we must protect it, provide for it and nurture it, without the upkeep and investment into how our landscape looks, its overall health, we run the risk of losing our investment we worked so hard to obtain. So we have a choice to make as to how we go about protecting our landscape from decline, or worse. We either try to take care of it ourselves or we pay a professional to do it for us. The lawn care industry has over the last few decades changed to adapt to homeowners needs; they've added products, services and made paying for it easier and more affordable than ever. If you’re like most people and don't have the time or the knowledge to take care of your landscape as a professional would, why not hire one? Hiring a lawn service gives the homeowner the best chance at protecting ones investment by allowing a professional to apply the right chemicals at the right time, giving a homeowner the best chance to keep his or her lawn healthy. We've already established the importance to maintaining a beautiful landscape, so why not allow the pro's to reassure you it’s been done right the first time? Take the necessary steps to avoid your landscapes decline and give Lawntech a quick call for a free quote, they've been taking care of lawns for close to thirty years with a long track record of satisfied customers, call them today for a chance to save on this year’s lawn care @ 972-346-2696 or visit them at www.lawntech.com, Lawn Tech, "A Beautiful Lawn is Our Business"