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Winterizer and fall weed control


The weather is getting colder, which means the growing season is coming to an end. However, fall is one of the most important times of the year to help your lawn through the winter months. A winterizer fertilizer application -- nitrogen and other nutrients -- for the lawn keeps the soil healthy through the winter season, which helps prevent disease and injury to your lawn. Additionally, a winterizer application will help your lawn maintain a better color in the winter, allows for a quicker bounce back in the spring and helps establish the root system.

And if that's not enough, an application of weed killer is essential in keeping weeds from taking over your lawn in the next growing season. Weeds grow throughout the year and need to be controlled even during the winter months. A weed killer application in the fall keeps the weeds from germinating in the winter and spring months, which gives you a fighting chance before the growing season already begins. If a weed killer is applied in the fall months and a pre-emergent application is performed in the spring, your weed problem will be drastically reduced. Consistent weed applications will ensure your lawn is healthy and green throughout the year.





Fall Foundation Spray



Pests such as spiders, ants and other outdoor insects invade our homes as the temperatures drop as they search for winter protection. Once inside, these pests are difficult to get rid of. However, prevention is the best method to ensure these pests do not invade your home. One of the best methods is a fall foundation spray, which sets up a barrier during the winter months. The foundation spray is applied directly to the foundation of your home, providing a barrier for a few months. If the fall foundation spray is followed up by a spring foundation spray, your home will be protected for most of the year. One or two additionally applications may be needed to provide a full year of protection.

At Ferta-Lawn, all of our lawn technicians have been trained and licensed to spray for these pests safely. Call Ferta-Lawn to learn more about the foundation spray and how to get signed up for this home application. If you sign up to receive a foundation spray on the same day as your lawn application, we'll give you a discount.





Cranberry Girdler


The temperatures are cooling down, which means fall is shortly to follow. And while your plants, trees and lawn prepare to go into dormancy in the coming months, there are still several pests that appear during this time of the season. And if left untreated, your lawn and trees could start showing signs of distress, which will only get worse next spring. One such pest that thrives in the fall months is the cranberry girdler. The cranberry girdler is a webworm that gets underneath the turfgrass and is not readily visible to the naked eye. This pest thrives in cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, bent grass and fine-leaf fescues. In addition to attacking the root system of turfgrass, the cranberry girdler also damages firs and coniferous trees.

The cranberry girdler larvae do the most damage by pruning the roots or destroying the crowns. Often damage is similiar to grub damage where the sod can be easily pulled away from the soil. The first indication of cranberry girdler is small brown spots in late summer, which is when the larvae is near maturity. Healthy, green lawns will generally show less damage, but the damage can spread quickly.

Several natural agents such as parasitic wasps and flies, and birds can be effective in eliminating cranberry girdler, but often an insecicide can be the best way to erradicate this pest from your lawn and trees. Broad spectrum products work effectively, but may reduce natural enemies. If you suspect cranberry girdler to be in your lawn or if you have more questions about this pest, contact Ferta-Lawn.





Planting Pansies


Pansies are one of the most popular flowers in the United States, with several varities, colors and sizes giving homeowners several options. The best tetmperatures for growing pansies is from 40 degrees to 60 degrees, and thrive better in mild weather. Pansies will have their prettiest flowers during the spring months, but the flower will fade as the temperatures increase. Some of the stronger plants will bloom in the fall, and occasionally in the winter. Pansies grow best in full sun or partial shade. If the plant is in the shade for most of the time, the number of flowers is decreased. It is best to plant pansies about 7 to 12 inches apart, but should not be planted in the same location for more than 3 years in a row.

Planting pansies as a seed should be done as early as July or August. It typically takes about 6 weeks for seeds to become seedlings. If starting from seedlings, plant in September to get a good jump on spring. Once the seedling has been placed in its permanent site, it will take another 6 weeks for it to become established. Pansies require rich, well-drained soil.

Pansies are beautiful flowers and can brighten up any landscape.





What This Summer Taught Us



This summer was one of the hottest and driest on record. Dry spots and weeds like Bindweed (Morning Glory) were found in many of our yards as a result of the growing season. Living in the second driest state, water is always a concern. So how do we help our lawns stay green?


Water for longer periods. Many people think watering every day is the only way to keep a lawn from drying out. But this can keep the roots shallow and increases the need for more water. Cut a few days off of your schedule, but increase the watering times. This helps the roots stay deep and gets the water deeping in the soil, which reduces evaporation. Also, water early in the morning. This keeps the lawn moist as the temperatures increase during the day. This also reduces certain types of fungus that grow in lawns that are watered during the evening.

Don't overwater. Lawns that receive more water than needed can develop many problems. Necrotic Ringspot (NRS) is one such disease that can appear in your lawn if you overwater. And once you get NRS, there is no getting rid of it. You can do things to mask it or slow it down, but the disease will always be in the soil. Additionally, overwatering removes vital nutrients to a healthy lawn, such as iron and nitrogen.


Cut your lawn at a higher setting. During the warmer months, keep the length of the lawn around 3 inches. This is one of the best things a homeowner can do to reduce the water needed for your lawn. Also, this keeps the water from evaporating, keeps the roots deep and crowds out the pesky weeds. Weeds such as Morning Glory prefer dry soil. Lawns are a great environment for this type of weed to grow and will take advantage of any dry spots or short spots in the lawn. Finally, fertilize regularly. A healthy lawn is able to withstand the heat and drought better.





Fall Gardening: Broccoli & Peas



The summer season is winding down and soon fall will be upon us, which means cooler temperatures. And although the temperatures are slowly dropping, there are still some vegetables you can plant before the growing season is over. Some of the cool season vegetables are broccoli and peas. The following are some recommendations when planting broccoli and peas.


Although broccoli is a cool season vegatable, it prefers sunny locations and areas of well-drained soil. Before planting, make sure there is about 2 - 4 inches of composted organic matter for the best results. Broccoli can be grown from seeds or transplants, with seeds needing to be about 1/4 - 3/4 inch deep. Try to select early maturing cultivars, planting approximately 50 - 75 days before maturity date. When planting, broccoli should be spaced 12 - 18 inches between plants in the row, with each row being about 2-3 feet apart. Once planted, the broccoli plant should be watered with about 1 - 2 inches of water per week. Broccoli grows best when temperatures do not go above 75 degrees and below 28 degrees.


As with broccoli, peas are a cool season vegetable that require sunny locations and need well-drained soil. The most common variety of peas to plant in the fall is the garden peas. However, depending on your location, different varieties can grow well in the fall. Before planting, make sure to add 2 - 3 inches of composted organic matter to area. Plant seeds about 1 inch deep and 1 - 2 inches apart in the row, with each row being about 12 - 24 inches apart. Peas require 60-70 days to mature depending on the variety. Garden peas should be planted around mid-August or when temperatures fall below 80 degrees. Peas do poorly when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Regular watering will ensurre the best production; however, watering times will vary depending on soil type.





Weedless Wednesday: Common Groundsel


Today's weed is a fairly common weed in your lawn, but many people are not familiar with its name. Groundsel -- a winter annual -- is found in several places, including lawns, gardens, pastures and planter boxes.

Common groundsel seeds germinate in mid-spring and in autumn, flowering 5-6 weeks after seedlings emerge. Approximately 5-11 days after flowering, most seeds are able to germinate immediately.

Groundsel can grow to heights of 6-18 inches tall, with mature leaves about 3/4 - 4 inches long and 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches wide. Veins on the underside of the leaves are usually cottony-hairy. Stems are often purplish in color. The flower head appears to look like a small dandelion.

This pesky weed grows easily in the lawn and garden, but is not difficult to eliminate, especially with a consistent application of weed killer. For best results, use a pre-emergent application in early spring, continuing with a blanket application of weed killer throughout the year.





Weedless Wednesday: Oxalis


One of the most difficult weeds to control is Oxalis. This little "red clover" with a yellow flower loves the lawn and garden, particularly when the temperatures are hot. It is one of the most aggressive and persistent weeds that plagues homeowners. And unless you're diligent in trying to eliminate this weed, it will continue to overrun your lawn.

Oxalis is hard to control because it spreads through seeds, bulblettes and roots. Often, it takes more than an entire season to control Oxalis, with regular treatments necessary. Simply pulling up this weed from the lawn will not do the trick; Oxalis will grow back and you'll have the same problem. However, a strong weed killer will help eliminate this pesky weed.

To learn more about how to eliminate this persistent weed from your lawn, give us a call to speak with one of our lawn technicians.





Proper edging techniques




Edging the lawn is a common practice that many of us do to make our lawn look well trimmed. It's surprising to know that most of us edge improperly, which causes a few problems most people don't expect. 

First, lets discuss how edging is done wrong. Most homeowners use a "weed-whip" for trimming around the house, fence, or trees. Some use it to edge around the sidewalk and driveway. The problem with this is that a weed-whip will scalp the lawn, which causes a spot where weeds will grow instead of grass. This is the most common cause of weeds in lawns. Crabgrass and Spruge love scalped lawns. If you are going to edge the lawn, make sure to use a vertical blade type edger, not a weed whip. 

Also, over edging is a concern. Many edge every time the lawn is mowed. Every time you edge, you remove a protective area for the lawn. This protective area guards against weeds, drought, and even insects. It's wise to edge, at the most, every other time you mow.

Trees, too, can benefit from less edging. Damage to the trunk caused by a weed-whip is the number one cause of tree decline, next to insects. Keep your tree happy by putting a tree ring around it. This will eliminate having to whip around the tree.

By practicing these simple steps, you will maintain a well-trimmed and a healthy lawn.








In summer, lawns often show signs of the heat, with brown spots occasionally appearing. While some brown spots may be the result of underwatering, oftentimes there may be other issues. Many so-called dead or brown spots in the lawn may actually be an insect. And grubs are one insect that can do some significant damage quickly. Although a slow-moving insect, grubs attack the root system and destroy the turf grass. Grubs can be easy to spot once in your lawn. One sure sign of grubs is dead spots appearing in a normally healthy lawn. If the grass is easy to pull up, almost like a new piece of sod, this may be another sign of grubs. Once you're able to pull back the grass, grubs should be easy to spot.

Although grubs can destroy your lawn quickly, they are one of the easiest pests to treat. At Ferta-Lawn, we can apply a treatment that will kill the grubs and help restore your grass back to normal. Recovery can take weeks, sometimes months, but your lawn will come back.

However, the best solution is prevention. A simple grub preventor treatment in late spring will keep these pests away for good. This treatment stops any damage before it can get out of control.





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