Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
29 May 2017

Chinch Bug Alert

I’m a firm believer that my job is to reduce your stress, not contribute to it, which is why I rarely sent out an alert like I’m doing today.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen chinch bugs in a few of our customer’s lawns and today’s alert is to make sure everyone knows to be on the lookout in their own lawns.

I like to say anytime we have Biblical weather; record setting hot or cold weather, or this year’s four-day winter, we usually have Biblical type plagues. One year we had crazy amount of crickets, another year we had grasshoppers and yet another year we had a Take All Patch, a fungus that attacked St. Augustine.

It seems that the weird weather becomes a perfect storm for some insect and disease to go crazy and this year’s mild winter seems to be no exception because we are seeing chinch bug damaging St. Augustine in our area.

What makes this strange is that chinch bugs are typically only active in our hot, dry months of July and August. In fact, they like hot conditions so much that they frequently start near concrete sidewalks and driveways because that soil is hotter from the heat radiating from the concrete.

How can you tell if you have chinch bug damage? First, chinch bugs prefer St. Augustine grass and rarely damage Bermuda or zoysia grass. You can spot damage by a patch of brown, usually surrounded by a yellow band. The yellow area is where they are actively feeding and the brown area is the grass they have killed.

If you look closely at the yellow band, you might see the chinch bugs running around – they are slightly larger than a pinhead (note this may take a few minutes of staring at the ground and you probably will spot 10 other insects before you see the chinch bugs.)

What makes this tricky to identify, especially in the late summer, is the chinch bug damage can easily be mistaken for a dry area caused by poor sprinkler coverage.

Make no mistake, chinch bugs can cause significant damage to the lawn if left untreated for a few weeks so if you suspect chinch bug activity it is best to treat the area with products that will control chinch bugs such as Bifenthrin.

If you need help with your lawn or have any other questions give us call at 972.495.6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com.

15 May 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: How to Kill Grub Worms & Prevent Lawn Damage

This is the time in North Texas when people start spending more time outdoors, often working in their yards and landscape beds on our pretty weekends.  Without fail, each spring, when people start turning their soil for spring planting, they find grub worms in their soil and become concerned that they have a major problem.  In fact, the past few weeks we’ve received numerous phone calls and emails on this very subject.

First, being worried about grub worms (which are the larvae of June beetles) is a legitimate concern because they can cause major lawn damage in North Texas.

The thing to know is that grub worms have a three-year life cycle.  For North Texas, that means the beetles lay their eggs in late spring to early summer, with the grub emerging in a few weeks.  They start feeding pretty much instantly on the root system of your grass.  The biggest problem is that you usually can’t see this damage until it is already done.   Another problem with grubs is that armadillos love to eat them, and if you have armadillos around, they’ll start digging up your lawn to feed on the grubs causing even more damage.

If you have a grub problem, now is the time to protect your lawn.  If you are a do-it-yourself type, make sure you use a product using Imidacloprid as the active ingredient.  Don’t make the rookie mistake of picking up the first bag of Ortho or Bayer with an easier name that has a picture of a grub.  Make the time to read and research the labels and make sure you get a product that has Imidacloprid which will create a barrier that prevents the grub worm from damaging your lawn.

If you are not the DIY type and would rather spend your time doing something else, contact Village Green.  We offer affordable grub prevention treatments and are currently scheduling treatments in your neighborhood.

The thing to remember, whether you do it yourself or hire Village Green, is that Imidacloprid is a preventative against grub worms.  It is NOT effective once they are actively feeding.  You need to act now and treat before they become active.

Another question I often get from our customers is what they should do when they see grubs in their lawn or landscape in early spring.  Does it mean they are already active? The answer is no.  You’d be hard pressed to find a lawn in our area that doesn’t have some grub worms.  They only become an issue when their numbers grow to the point where they can cause widespread destruction in late summer (it is impossible for them to grow their numbers to the point of damaging your lawn anytime but late summer in our area.)  That is why you need to treat for them now in our area.

If you have any lawn or landscape questions give us a call at 972.495.6995 or email Ken@VillageGreen-Inc.com. I love to answer your questions and often can share the information for our Quick Tip series that helps all Village Green customers. 

08 May 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Dog Vomit Fungus

Over the years, I’ve had numerous calls from Village Green customers trying to determine what this ‘disgusting’ yellow blob was in their yard or landscaped beds. These customers usually send a photo to me to help them diagnose this alien looking lump that appeared overnight. The funniest part is when they provide their own theories on what it could be while asking my professional opinion, the theories range from scrambled eggs to a giant bird’s poop.

It is actually dog vomit fungus (which pretty well sums up what it looks like to most people.) I’ve also heard it called scrambled egg fungus too. I don’t want to gross anyone out so if you want to see some examples click here for some Google images.

Whatever you call this fungus, the thing to note is that it isn’t really a fungus in the first place. It is a slime mold that is technically known as Fuligo septicai. It usually shows up during warm, wet periods, and seemingly appears out of nowhere overnight. Fuligo septicai most often grows in wood mulches or along the side of untreated wood. It can also grow in your grass.

The stuff is not only gross, it can be scary looking and many customers are concerned that it is going to harm their plants. It won’t. Slime molds like Fuligo septicai are saprophytic, which is a fancy way of saying they feed on decaying organic material. They are not a disease and won’t harm your plants. The worst-case scenario is that a large enough colony forms and smothers a plant, but this is very rare. More often you’ll find a patch in one of your landscaped beds mulch that is roughly the size of dog vomit (thus the name.)

If you have an outbreak of dog vomit fungus the best way to control and contain it is to break it up and dry it out. If it’s growing in mulch or leaf litter you can rake it up and dispose of it (I wouldn’t recommend putting it in your compost though.) If it is growing along lumber or tree stumps you can scrape it off with a small trowel or shovel and dispose of it. If it is on your lawn or plants, gently rake it the best you can to get rid of it. A strong blast of water will also dislodge any of the remaining fungi still clinging to the plants (thought that may give it the fuel to pop up later.)

Speaking of which, slime molds produce spores that are wind-borne. Surprisingly they are resistant and can survive in dry, hot weather with the spores remaining viable for several years as they wait for the right warm, moist conditions to thrive.

As I hope this Quick Tip illustrates, I really do love ALL questions, even ones asking if a giant bird pooped in my lawn! If you have a question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com.

03 May 2017

Ken’s Quick Tip: Getting Your Lawn Ready for the Summer Season

Late Spring in North Texas is a busy time for many trying to get their lawn ready for Summer.  What you should be doing over the next few weeks boils down to two things. What kind of lawn do you have, and how have you been taking care of it the past 12 months?



If you are one of our long-term fertilizer and weed-control customers this is the time of the year when we apply a granular fertilizer and spot treat your lawn for weeds.

Our bermuda lawn customers are getting a high nitrogen mix fertilizer which will help them green up for spring.

Our St. Augustine and zoysia lawn customers are getting a low nitrogen fertilizer.  This means the lawns won’t green up as fast as bermuda lawns, but it protects them from that nasty brown patch fungus (that loves spring weather and nitrogen!)

If you are new to our lawn care services and have St. Augustine grass it will get the low-nitrogen fertilizer mentioned above to keep it healthy. If you have bermuda it will receive a liquid, slow release nitrogen fertilizer, mixed with a spring weed preventative and a broad leaf weed control. That is the perfect start to green up the lawn, control even the small broad-leaf weeds that are just starting to grow, plus prevent spring and summer weeds, such as crab grass from even starting.

This is the time of year when we bounce back and forth between cool weather and warm weather in North Texas.  We are between seasons – we’re out of winter but we haven’t had quite enough warm weather for all our lawns to realize we should be in spring. Most of the lawns have greened up but there are still some pockets that haven’t yet.  We’ll have our normal warm weather over the next few weeks (probably more than we want) and when we do, your lawn will have the right food to help it become green and healthy.

If you have any question regarding your lawn and landscape give us call at 972.495.6990 or ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  We are always happy to answer your questions.