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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Summer's here and its hot, Texans are used to this weather, right? Not necessarily. Over the last three years we have broken records each of those three years, the most recent being the hottest, driest months on record. Yes, I suppose in this region North Texan's are more apt to handle hot weather than say our northern neighbors, yet as we look at temperatures for the last century, we find we have been hotter consistently and below average rainfall. So if temperatures are high as usual without any rainfall, drought conditions magnify turf problems, without water your investment is wasted. Bermuda for example does have some drought tolerances, consequently, just like the any living plant, Bermuda needs a certain amount of water to stay healthy. The University of Texas A&M experts in regional turf grasses, have some surprising prescriptions for regional turf grass irrigation recommendations, a suggestion far less than one would expect. 1 to 1.5 inches per week, with longer periods of slow watering the better. The pro's who study turf grass management have done their field work, analyzed the data, to formulate suggested weekly watering tables for regional turf grasses, both Bermuda and St. Augustine require only one to two inches weekly to be healthy. Which is a surprisingly low amount, given the time it takes to apply. With this prescription a homeowner can breathe a sigh of relief in times of drought and forced water restrictions. Your irrigation system should be in proper working order, insuring the heads are functioning properly, however, only needing one to two inches weekly should be an easy chore, assuming your system is working as intended. In this time of what seems to be a pattern of drought we're stuck in, take the time to have your system audited, fixed and maintained. Follow the weekly rule of one to two inches per week and your investment should be fine. Rain will eventually fall again, but until it does, you can be comforted in knowing under restrictions you can still have a beautiful lawn. Check out Lawn Tech's answer to watering restrictions, a product called "Moisture Manager" a unique bio-degradable substance which helps maximize your yards water consumption. Visit our website at: www.lawntech.com to read more or call us at 972-346-2696 for more information.
In years past our industry struggled with eliminating fire ants from our environment, we fought the gallant fight, put up resistance at every turn, only to find fire ants back at work in a week or so, tormenting our customers. After many battles our efforts seemed futile until recently, our industry has finally found a product that works as advertised. Top Choice, a broad spectrum insecticide targeted mainly at fire ants works well and is easy to apply. The active ingredient Fibronil seems to work wonders in riding your lawn of the angry little pest and sends them packing. Designed to be broadcasted out by conventional spreader application rates, these tiny granules breakdown with moisture and create a barrier once penetrated is carried on their bodies back to the mound and causes death. Perfect control is obtained because of the inherent nature of fire ants to forage or move locations based on weather patterns, moisture distribution and food sources. As they forage across areas applicated with Top Choice they come in contact with the chemical and the rest is as they say "history" The good folks at Bayer Environmental Sciences have really hit the mark with a wonderful product that works, as long as this product is applied correctly by a licensed applicator, you can't go wrong with investing in a Top Choice application. There is however some small problems when not applied effectively or watered in properly, the biggest being full coverage of all dirt surfaces, any areas missed and ants will reside there. Secondly, this product is a controlled use product and must be applied by professionals, finding the right company with applicators that are diligent with how they apply Top Choice can make a huge difference in total infestation removal. Proper irrigation following recent applications can make the difference in success or failure, without proper watering, Top Choice doesn’t work. If you are interested in a proven product that our industry is proud to apply, please contact Lawn Tech at 972-346-2696 or visit nofireants.com and read more about this outstanding product with a yearlong guarantee from Bayer.
From the University ot Texas A&M,comes a great article about proper mowing heights, making a point to show you how mowing can help conserve water. The following exerpt is from the Agri-Life Website:
"Mowing grass at the proper height conserves water. Mow, St. Augustine grass and Buffalograss at 3 inches; for Bermudagrass mow at 1 inch; for centipedegrass and Zoysiagrass mow at 2 inches.
Applying fertilizer to the lawn at the proper time and in the proper amount can save time, effort and money through reduced mowing and watering. Fertilizers also can be a major source of pollution of streams and groundwater if excessive amounts are applied."
Read the rest of this article at: www.earthkind.tamu.edu
Most customers understand in order to have a healthy lawn, water plays a vital role, under stage restrictions, homeowners fear the worst as spring is around the corner. The key word to drought stage restrictions is "education" Learning how much water your lawn needs to be healthy, what alternatives if any, are on the market to help maximize water intake and proper irrigation auditing.
Education starts with the homeowner, taking the time to read up on water conservation, understanding restrictions, undertanding your irrigation system and following up with available alternatives.
From a business standpoint, we as commercial applicators have a role as well in water conservation, irrigation audits, alternative product awareness and education to the consumer.
Each of us have a responsibility to ourselves, the consumer and our environment to properly educate one another as to the "ins and outs" of water restrictions, conservation and proper irrigation management.
Perhaps the biggest concern amoung those in an industry such as ours, is to have consumers being irresponsible with water, in this day and age we have the ethical resposibility as a society to be conscious of our environment and educate ourselves to those aspects of conservation which pose the greatest risk to our existence.
Taking this into question, Lawn Tech has other alternatives to over-watering and stage restrictions to include:
Proper Irrigation Audits
Water Management Techniques
Proper drainage Techniques
Chemical Applications to improve water absorption "Humectants"
Take the time to visit our website or call Lawn Tech for applications that can help conserve water such as "Humectants", irrigation auditing, and water management techniques, we would be glad to show you how to have a beautiful lawn during drought conditions, please visit: www.lawntech.com or call 972-346-2696 we would be glad to assist you. Also you can click on the title of this blog entry to be taken to the Texas State Watering Website. or copy and paste the following website: http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/conservation/municipal/
Lawn Tech is very proud to be the recipient of the 2011 Angie's List Super Service Award! This prestigous award was given to the top five percent of companies that have shown to be outstanding in the area of customer service and positive feedback.
We are honored to have recieved this award and take our customer service responsibility seriously, awards help us realize that our efforts are being noticed and appreciated. Angie's List has become the leading business forum for potential clients to communicate and make judgement on whether or not to do business with us, this award which is the highest compliment a company can receive, is an honor we are very proud of.
We thank Angie's List for this award and appreciate our customer's for taking the time to praise us for our outstanding customer service, we thank you for your business.
Please take the time to visit angie's list today and see why Lawn Tech is the 2011 Super Service Award Winner. www.angieslist.com
Make this Holiday Happy and Profitable
We all love to see Christmas lights on our house, where we shop and in our places of business. The festive attitude brings about a cheery mood everyone seems to love. Making this holiday special means lighting up your environment. Doing so can be costly and problematic, hiring a company with no proven experience or track record of good service can be a holiday nightmare.
Most customers would admit to some negative experience hiring a Christmas light contractor to install custom lighting, the nature of the industry lends to some "fly by night" installers. Everyone knows someone; a painter, landscaper, mowing company, the boy next door, you name it, anyone and everyone can install Christmas lights professionally, right?
Wrong! Christmas lighting can be difficult, not to mention down right dangerous! In order to install Christmas lighting properly, correctly, within proper safety standards, and look classy and professional, training and proper supplies must be considered. Just a few problems installers face include:
1. Working in high places, (Risk of fall, injury or death)
2. Performing work in awkward places, (roof pitch, steeples, gables)
3. The right Equipment for the job, (extension ladder, wire tools)
4. Working in inclement weather, (slipping, falling, sliding)
5. Being electrocuted, (plugs, outlets, frayed wire, ground plugs)
6. Tripping or fall hazard, (unstable roof, ladder, ground clutter)
Despite all the hidden concerns, installing Christmas lights doesn't have to be hazardous, with the right company trained to install lighting professionally, following a safety first mentality, insured and bonded to be on your property or roof, can give the customer peace of mind. No matter if you are a business owner or homeowner, hiring a company with a proven track record for safety and professionalism is the answer. Taking all the risk out of installing and keeping your holidays a special memorable occasion is the best way to enjoy your holiday season.
The Christmas Decor Difference:
The Christmas Decor network has over 375 locations within our family of contractors, we specialize in holiday decor projects designed specifically for each customer, giving them a unique holiday lighting package exclusive to there neighborhood. Christmas Decor has specialized training, attention to detail and the best holiday decorating products available on the market today. Our crews will handle your holiday decorating needs promptly, professionally and above all safely. Click on the website below to find out more information about your local installer, find out why over 50,000 clients yearly rely on CDI to install their lights, Commercial or Residential Christmas Decor is your premiere holiday lighting installer.
Ornamental Lawns, Drought and Water Restrictions
Having an ornamental lawn in this region can be a daunting task, most homeowners throw their hands up in disgust as their yard seems to relent under the pressure of the oppressing heat, county water restrictions, drought conditions, and the instinct to constantly apply water takes a toll on most homeowners.
Professional experience is more of a rational way to approach lawn care in this region, understanding how and when to water, what chemicals to apply and at what rate, can make the reality of the North Texas region more tolerable. Water restrictions are what they are, most cities across North Texas start water restrictions around this time every year, however, if you water the right suggested way, your yard should remain healthy.
Watering results can be different for every lawn, depending on several factors; slope or grade, type of soil and type of irrigation system. Yet water restrictions should not mean the end of a beautiful lawn. The University of Texas A&M, the foremost experts in native Texas soils and turf grasses, gives the following watering prescription year round, despite restrictions.
Texas A&M recommendation: "Water turf grasses once a week, insuring a long slow soak similar to a rain event, 1/2 to 1 inch of irrigated water in the north Texas region, this practice is better than several times weekly or 1/16 to 1/4 inch."(twdb2008)
This recommendation fits all water restrictions, usually under restrictions you can water at least once a week. So, according to the experts, your yard should not be damaged by lack of water, the method in which you apply water is the only change. Of coarse, watering more often for longer periods of time would be ideal to encourage a healthier lawn, however, its not needed, if your system is audited and puts out the right amount weekly, then one day is sufficient.
Lawn Tech can help you apply the right chemicals at the right time, limiting burn and helping you to target summer pest which can add to your problems, have your irrigation system audited, water once weekly as prescribed and your troubles should fade away, Call Lawn Tech today for help with your lawn, after all "A Beautiful Lawn Is Our Business" 972-346-2696
The previous post gives homeowners insight to proper irrigation, most follow the basic procedures laid out by us and others in the industry, applying those watering procedures helps, nevertheless, we still find customers who do not water enough, this is a problem with our industry. I will list some comments we hear regularly:
"My system is set and I water regularly, there is no way I don't water enough!"
We get this comment all the time, only to audit the system, finding very little pressure at some heads and more at others, when measuring water output their system output falls short of weekly needs, some heads pointing opposite of target area and while others don't cover at all, the wrong head for the job or pop ups where there should be rotors and vice-versa. Also, most customers will water 10-15 minutes each zone twice weekly, in reality this is just not enough water when it gets hot.
"I water till I see run-off so I know my yard gets watered enough."
This comment is perplexing to me, run-off can start the minute you water, ground so hard water beads up and rushes to the path of least resistance. Just because you see run-off does not mean you have watered enough, reality is, you will see a ton of run-off when watering properly.
"I water my yard myself so I know its watered properly!"
You can water your yard yourself and do an adequate job, however, the odds are you will either not water enough, water one area heavy and not the other, or tire of moving a manual sprinkler throughout the yard. This may be a true statement,but can you really keep this process up?
"I water every other day, water is not the issue with my lawn!"
So often we here customers say this, yet when we survey the yard, we can barely get the soil probe into the ground, hard as a brick, yet we can go to a different part of the yard, say the back and soft as pie, so why is this? Could be so many reasons, soil not as good in that area, sprinkler head doesn't put out as much, homeowner sees his system come on as he's leaving for work and assumes his yard is being water properly. All the while the rotor is not covering the area of his yard which illicit the most complaints.
"Its been raining, So I know my yard has been watered."
This example is very common, yes it may have rained, even if you keep a rain gauge in your garden and you know its rained two inches, how long does that rain last? Is that enough for a month? Rain is great but just because it rained one day last week, that's not enough to sustain a healthy lawn.
The comments above are merely examples to express to those who read this, your watering methods may not be as good as you perceive them to be, this is no hack on you personally, just part of customer service and helping to educate those who care about their lawn. All to often we investigate why a yard looks bad and 7 times out of 10, its a watering issue. Please consult this blog for additional information like the previous mentioned post or the Texas A&M watering guidelines PDF located on the sidebar of this blog, or call LawnTech if you have any questions at 972-346-2696.