Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
15 Oct 2012

North Dallas St Augustine Issues to Watch for This Fall

St. Augustine is a tropical plant and our summer highs of over 100 degrees and occasional single digit winters makes it far more stressed than its more natural home of Houston or Orlando.  That stress makes it a prime candidate for two issues we’re seeing quite a bit of this fall…

Chinch Bugs – The first, and most destructive, is Chinch bug damage.  These insects have been very active in the north Dallas area the past two years.    This is actually a summer problem but, because the damage looks like a sprinkler problem, you may just now be realizing that “dry” area isn’t recovering – even after all the rains we’ve had.

What should you do if you have chinch bug damage?  Our cooler weather may have already killed them but you might want to treat the areas with a Bifenthrin product, just to be sure.  If you have dead areas and they are in a sunny area, if you’re patient the areas will fill back in on their own next year.  If you’re in a hurry, you can fill in the areas with a few yards of St. Augustine sod.  Next summer if your St. Augustine starts turning yellow, especially near concrete such as your driveway or sidewalks, you might want to check for chinch bugs while your checking your sprinkler heads.

Brown Patch – Over the past three or four weeks you may have notice some light brown rings cropping up in your St. Augustine.  More than likely this is brown patch, a fungus that attacks St. Augustine in fall and spring.  When our evenings become cool while our days are relatively warm the grass never quite dries out making perfect conditions for fungus to develop.  Left untreated the areas will spread until the frosts stop it.  Most of the time it is just unsightly for a while but if we have a cold enough winter, these weakened areas might suffer freeze damage.

What to do to avoid or treat brown patch?  First, water in the morning so the lawn has a chance to dry quickly.  Cut back on watering shady areas as much as possible, instead of 30 minutes per week, try 10 or 15 minutes in those areas. Second, brown patch feeds on nitrogen so avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers in St. Augustine during early spring and fall – we use a 5-10-31 ratio.  Last, if you see signs of brown patch treat the areas with Propiconazole.  This won’t make the brown patches go away but it will stop it from continuing to spread.

We offer preventative programs for both of these problems so if you haven’t already signed up for our Surface Insect Program and our Brown Patch Program you can go to our website and sign up or give us a call.

12 Oct 2012

Fall flowers in North Dallas

Looking for fall and winter color?  Here are some tips for choosing the plant that’s right for you:

Pansies – Hands down the best choice for adding color all winter long.  These don’t seem to mind the ice and occasional snow Dallas sends our way.  They just bounce right back the day after the cold is over.  Plant in sun and add some organic material such as potting soil to help them not have wet feet.  Warning: Pansies are rabbit candy so if you have wild rabbits you will have to battle them to keep them from devouring your flowers.  Oddly enough they don’t eat cabbage and kale.

Cabbage and Kale – These don’t bloom but they have a nice color – especially when you mix the white and purple.  Oddly enough the rabbits will eat pansies but they usually leave cabbage and kale alone.  These are grown for the foliage so when they start to bloom in late winter you’ll want to cut the bloom off.


Chrysanthemums – 
Nothing says fall like mums the problem is they only bloom a few weeks out of the year.  These are perennials, so they’ll come back each year.  Cut them back once they’ve gone dormant after a couple of frosts.

 

 

01 Oct 2012

Pyrethrin – What is it and how does it kill mosquitoes?

 How do pyrethrins kill mosquitoes?

Pyrethrins are natural insecticides produced from dried chrysanthemum blooms.   Pyrethrins will penetrate the nervous system of insects of insects, such as fleas, ticks, ants and mosquitoes.  Small doses of pyrethrins are very effective against many insects and, because human nervous systems are different, are safe when used around people.

You may not realize it but you probably already have been using pyrethrin products.  It is safe enough that it is used in pet shampoos to kill fleas and ticks and, since it controls a broad range of insects, you’ll see it as the active ingredient for many of the products you might currently be using to control fire ants and crickets.

Applying a light spray in shady areas where mosquitoes land, such as in bushes, mulch or under decks can greatly reduce their population.  The residual will typically last a month or so, killing insects that pass through it or land on it.

While finding pyrethrin products in the hardware store is easy, if finding the time to apply it is tough, give our Mosquito Assassin program a try…

Click Here and Start Enjoying Your Backyard Again!

 

 

 

01 Oct 2012

Dallas Watering in the Fall

How much should I water in the Fall?

From mid-September through November your lawn requires on average half of the water it did in the summer.

If you have the typical heads like this photo you can set your controller to water one day per week. Have your sprinklers run three times in the morning, 10 minutes each time.  Setting your controller for start times of 2am, 4am and 6am should allow enough time in between for the water to soak in.  If you have rotors (the type of sprinkler that sprays in a long thin stream and slowly turns) you will want to water twice that long or possibly longer.  These times are for areas with full sun.  In shady areas you can water about half or a quarter of the length of time suggested for sunny areas.

If you have a seasonal adjust spot on your controller you can leave the minutes and days alone and just set the seasonal adjust percentage to 50%.

Not sure what your city’s water restrictions are?  Here is a city by city list of links to their water restrictions.

If you need help setting your controller give us a call us or click here and we can probably walk you through the programming over the phone or (of course) we’ll be glad to stop by and set your controller for you.  We can also check to see if there are any leaks or clogged nozzles at that time.