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There are several types of white grubs that feed on the roots of lawn grasses. All of them can cause severe damage if left untreated.
Out of sight…out of mind
Grubs live and feed in the soil. It’s easy to miss grubs as they gradually cut the roots out from under your lawn until brown patches begin to appear and they’re finally discovered. If you suspect grubs, pull back the turf. If the lawn pulls up easily (like new sod), you may find white grubs in the top inch or so of the soil.
Spring and fall feeders
Grubs are the larval (or worm) state of many types of beetles. The beetles lay their eggs in your lawn, and the newly hatched worms work their way through the thatch and into the soil, where they feed on the roots of grass plants. Most beetles lay their eggs in early to mid summer, and the young grubs do their greatest damage during the fall months.
As the weather cools, most grubs burrow deeper into the soil for the winter. They then return to the surface to feed again as the soil warms in the spring. After this spring feeding, the grubs pupate into adult beetles and begin the cycle again.
Grubs don’t disappear on their own. They should be treated by Master Lawn before damage begins to appear, or as soon as they’re discovered. When discovered early enough in the year, a preventive treatment can be applied. When damage appears in the fall, a fast-acting curative treatment is needed.
Summer Lawn Stress
If hot summer weather wears you down, just think about how your lawn must feel. High temperatures and dry conditions are bad enough for your turf, but add in the insects and diseases that summer always brings, and your lawn could be in need of some serious help.
Signs of a stressed lawn
Drought and lack of watering often lead to bluish-green coloring or footprints that remain in the turf after you’ve walked on it. If insects or diseases are present, you may also notice brown patches or chewed grass blades.
Stopping stress before it starts
Healthy lawns are less likely to fall victim to summer stress, making proper watering, mowing and fertilization extra important in hotter weather.
Be sure that your turf gets from 1 to 1 1⁄2 inches of water per week from rainfall or watering. And when sprinkling, let water soak in to a depth of 6 inches so that enough moisture reaches the roots.
Raise your mowing height in hot summer weather to keep the grass blades longer and the soil more shaded. To avoid shredding the tips of your grass blades (which makes it easier for diseases to invade), your mower blade should be sharpened at least once per year.
Finally, remember that regular applications of fertilizer will help your turf to stand up to insects and disease while decreasing its water requirements throughout the summer months.
For more information on helping your lawn stand up to summer stress, give Master Lawn a call today.
To keep your lawn green, growing and looking its best, a consistent program of fertilization is essential. Regular fertilization will lead to a thicker, healthier lawn that reduces erosion, filters pollutants, provides natural cooling and cleans the air. Plus, your lawn will be less likely to suffer from weed, insect and disease problems when it’s fertilized on a regular basis. And perhaps best of all, your lawn will need less water when it gets the nutrients it needs throughout the year.
What’s in fertilizer, anyway?
Fertilizer contains three primary (and many secondary) nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen promotes strong color and top growth, phosphorus stimulates root development, and potassium helps with disease resistance and water retention. For the best results, your lawn should be given these nutrients in evenly spaced treatments throughout the year.
How do lawns use fertilizer?
After fertilizer becomes mixed with the moisture in the soil, it’s absorbed by the plants through hair-like feeder roots. Once inside the plant, nutrients are distributed to the areas where they’re needed and can go to work building new roots, promoting fuller leaf growth, warding off diseases and helping the grass hold water throughout the seasons.
Based on our local history, we know the best fertilizer for your particular needs, and we can apply it in the right amounts at the right times of year to ensure beautiful, healthy growth. Call Master Lawn today for more information on lawn fertilization, or to schedule your lawn for this very important service.
Lawn Seeding for Shady Lawns
Is your lawn getting thin, turning brown or developing spots that just don’t look as good as they should? Over time, most soil becomes compacted or hard, and your turf has trouble filling in those thin and browning spots. Drought, disease and insects can also take their toll. If any of this sounds familiar, lawn seeding may be in order.
Getting your lawn back on track
All shady lawns, regardless of their condition, can benefit from seeding every year or so. One of the best means of seeding turf is to combine the power of professional aeration and vertical mowing with overseeding.
During aeration, a machine pulls plugs of soil and thatch up from the lawn to break up compacted soil and create more room for air, water and fertilizer to reach the roots. This results in expansion of the root system for thicker, healthier grass.
Vertical mowing slices through and removes a portion of the thatch. This process brings some soil to the surface and mixes it with the remaining thatch to speed thatch breakdown. Like aeration, vertical mowing increases penetration of air, water and fertilizer to the root zone.
Following up aeration and vertical mowing with overseeding is a great way to thicken up a thin lawn or add a hardier, more drought-resistant grass variety to your property. Good seed-to-soil contact is essential for seeding success, and the dual process of aeration and vertical mowing creates the ideal seed bed. Keep in mind that if your lawn has been seeded, the soil should be kept moist with light, frequent sprinklings until the new grass is well established.
For more information on lawn seeding, or to schedule aeration, vertical mowing and overseeding, give Master Lawn a call today.
Two of the most common types of lawn fungus diseases are dollar spot and rust. These diseases develop most rapidly in the spring and fall during periods of warm, moist days and cool nights. They continue to develop during humid weather throughout the summer. Plants growing with low nitrogen levels, and in dry soil conditions with high moisture levels around the leaves from dew and frequent watering, are more susceptible to dollar spot and rust. Both diseases can be spread by wind, rain, watering, lawn mowers and shoes.
Dollar spot may appear as round, brown-colored and somewhat sunken spots approximately the size of a silver dollar. In taller grass the spots will be larger. Dollar spot is distinguished by characteristic lesions on the blades of live plants near the border of the affected area. These lesions are light tan with a reddish-brown border and usually radiate from the margins of the blade. Hybrid Bermuda and Zoysia grasses are especially susceptible to this disease.
Rust first appears on grass leaves as small, orange to reddish-brown flecks that enlarge to form raised pustules on leaves and stems. Individual pustules are usually oval or elongated and contain a powdery mass of orange to reddish-brown spores. As the pustules mature, they turn brown to black. Heavily infected turf becomes thin with an overall yellow-orange to reddish-brown color. Infected leaves turn yellow, wither and die. If you notice a reddish-brown powder on the bottoms of your shoes after walking through the grass, this is a sign of rust disease. Bermuda and Zoysia grasses are most commonly infected.
Fungus diseases can often be controlled culturally through fertilization to maintain adequate levels of nutrients, and through proper irrigation to prevent moisture stress. Collection of infected clippings during ideal conditions for disease may help to curb their spread. However, if these methods do not bring the diseases under control, fungicides may be necessary.
If you suspect dollar spot, rust or any other disease problem, give Master Lawn a call.
Mowing & Watering Tips
Mowing Your Lawn
By mowing correctly, you’ll be rewarded with a healthier, more beautiful lawn. Here are some easy ways to make the most of your mower:
- In the spring, we recommend scalping all warm-season lawns. Scalping is the process of removing the dead grass that has kept your dormant lawn insulated during the winter. This will enable the sun to reach and warm the ground better so your lawn will green up sooner. Scalping is for warm-season lawns only and should only be done after all possibility of frost has passed. This is the one time of year we recommend bagging your lawn clippings. Afterward, we recommend gradually raising the mowing height until winter arrives.
- Bagging is not recommended during the rest of the year, because you are removing valuable nitrogen in the grass clippings. If your lawn is mowed on a proper schedule and at the proper height, bagging should not be necessary.
- Keep your mower blade sharp. A dull mower blade leads to brown, shredded grass tips that are unattractive and more susceptible to disease.
- Alternate your mowing pattern so that your grass won’t bend in one direction.
- For obvious safety reasons, avoid mowing wet grass. This will also give you a more even cut and the clippings won’t clump up as much.
Watering Your Lawn
The importance of watering your lawn properly can never be stressed enough. Your lawn is between 75% and 85% water by weight, and water helps nutrients and other organic compounds to move throughout the grass plants. Water also protects grass plants from sudden temperature changes through its capacity for cooling, and it helps to keep grass cells turgid (or rigid) – which makes your lawn more wear-tolerant.
In hot summer weather, regular watering is more important than ever. The basic rule of thumb is to ensure that your lawn gets from 1 to 11⁄2 inches of water per week from rainfall or sprinkling, and the soil should be soaked to a depth of 6 inches with each watering. The best time to water is early morning, since evaporation rates are lower in cooler temperatures.