Can Your Lawn Handle the Heat?
A few weeks ago, I gave some tips on drought proofing your lawn. Hopefully you took advantage of those suggestions, because we are experiencing some hot, dry conditions that are stressing our lawns right now. While no time is a good time for extended days of upper 90’s with little to no rain, late summer is a time that places undue stress on your landscape. Grass and plants should be building up carbohydrate reserves for winter right now. Our turf and plants cannot do that when they are struggling, though.
What Should You Do?
Now the time when it’s nice to have an irrigation system. If you are lucky enough to have one, don’t over water, but be sure your landscape is getting the water it needs. Look for wilted plants or discolored turf and ensure your irrigation is running long enough and is reaching all areas.
If you are like me and don’t have an irrigation system, you can still help your plants and turf. Don’t attempt to water your entire lawn or water every day necessarily. Go for the long, soaking method and water the areas that need it the most. I’ve got an area in my front yard near an oak tree that struggles any time of the year. Right now, the grass in this area is fighting to survive so I soaked that area yesterday. Another part of my lawn was damaged when I did some work last year, so I have paid special attention to this area since the grass has been getting reestablished this year.
Pay attention to your landscape beds as well. If you have any plantings that were new this year, the roots of those plants are not as well established. Shallow rooted plants such as hydrangeas or azaleas will often wilt when it’s this hot and dry.
Insects and Disease Can Flare Up in the Heat
Armyworms, Chinch bugs and Spittlebugs often attack lawns during dry periods. The damage these insects cause mimics drought symptoms. The same goes for your plant material. A shrub covered in aphids can wilt much like it would during a drought. A fungus referred to as melting out disease thrives during dry, hot days. If you’ve watered your lawn and the discoloration gets worse, investigate for insects and disease.
Time to Give Up?
Hardly so. The good news is grass and plants are usually very resilient. Most of our landscape will come through this heat and dryness just fine. Lawns that have received proper fertilization and maintained properly will fare better. Bottom line is take a walk around your lawn and look for areas of stress. Water stressed areas to give them relief and be sure you water deeply and infrequently. If you see signs of serious stress, give us a call at 662-534-4535 or contact us. One of our certified, trained technicians will be glad to offer advice.
Don’t Let Mosquitoes Destroy Your Summer
Mosquitoes can make outdoor activities miserable during the summer. Along with the itch left from their bite, they also present a health risk. Mosquitoes carry numerous diseases including yellow fever, malaria, encephalitis, West Nile virus and Zika. Don’t fear mosquitoes, but understand the risks associated with them.
Mosquitoes can quickly establish themselves around your home. Proper maintenance and vigilance in eliminating their breeding grounds go a long way in battling these pests. While proper application of an insecticide helps eliminate mosquitoes, eliminating their breeding sites is even more important. These insects can lay their eggs in as little as half an inch of water.
Why Pay Someone to Manage Mosquitoes?
As I said earlier, mosquito management involves so much more than insecticides. Our Mosquito 360 service targets the months of highest activity in North Mississippi. From March through October, our certified technicians visit your property and look for areas that mosquitoes could breed in. We offer feedback on steps you can take to prevent a mosquito infestation. Once we have eliminated breeding sites, we then apply a barrier that mosquitoes do not want to cross.
If the mosquitoes happen to come back, so will we. Our Mosquito 360 service is backed by our guarantee. All you have to do is call or text us at 662.534.4535. It’s all included with your service. We’re not happy unless you are.
Although we talk about mosquito bites, they actually don’t bite us. Rather, they insert their proboscis in our skin to suck blood.
Mosquitoes can fly multiple miles for a blood meal.
Male mosquitoes feed exclusively on plant nectar, while females feed on both nectar and blood.
Female mosquitoes need the protein from blood to reproduce.
The carbon dioxide we exhale as we breath is an attractant to mosquitoes.
Call us at 662.534.4535 or visit us at https://lawnandpest.net if we can help!
What is a Proper Termite Treatment?
As we find ourselves amid termite swarm season, it is important to know what to look for in a termite professional. Termite treatments are quite possibly one of the most misunderstood services a homeowner purchases. The appearance of termites in or near your home is alarming, and you should know what the proper steps are for treatment.
Termite treatment is not something to put off until you see termites. Prevention is available and it works. You often don’t know you have termites until they’ve caused extensive damage.
If You Find Termites
In the spring as temperature and humidity fluctuates, we will see termite swarms. Termites send out reproductives to start new colonies periodically. This is most often seen during swarm season. If you have termites emerge inside your home, you need to take action. Don’t panic and allow an unscrupulous exterminator to back you in a corner, though.
If your home is not under contract for termite protection, you need to get a proper treatment performed to stop the termites. However, the sight of a swarm does not indicate the need to treat today. To limit the spread of termites and stop damage, you do want to find a pest control company you trust to perform a treatment for you within a few days of the swarm. Just don’t put off treatment indefinitely.
Homeowners often will spray the swarmers with some type of insecticide. Once the swarmers die, the misconception is that the threat has passed. This is not true! Termites do not live out in the open. They must maintain a constant temperature and humidity, so most of a termite colony lives within the soil or inside mud tubes in your home’s walls. Their activity and damage can go undetected for years.
Did you know termite treatments are regulated by the state of Mississippi? Standards are in place to protect consumers and ensure treatments are performed correctly since termites can be very destructive. To properly treat for termites and protect your home against further damage, three actions must happen:
- An interior and exterior inspection of your home.
- A full treatment as defined by state regulations. This can be a liquid application that is trenched and injected into the soil around your foundation, or a bait station application around the perimeter of your home.
- Issuance of a termite contract that states what type of application is performed, the products used, a diagram of the structure treated and the cost for the initial treatment and ongoing annual inspections.
Annual inspections must include both an interior and exterior inspection of your home. If your current provider comes by and hangs an invoice once a year, you have not received a proper inspection. Do you want to trust your most valuable asset to a company that does not perform complete inspections?
Spot treatments are allowed in certain situations but should not be relied upon as an effective treatment. Some companies may provide an annual spray for termites. If the soil around your home has not been trenched and treated or you’ve not had bait stations installed around your home, an annual spray for termites does not provide you any benefit. In fact, if these annual sprays are not targeting a specific pest other than termites, they are in violation of proper treatment protocols and result in irresponsible application of pesticides.
What We Recommend
Investigate the pest control company you have a contract with or are considering hiring. Ask what their inspections include; if you will have a contract with a diagram; and what they will do should termites appear again in your home.
Lawn & Pest Solutions provides both liquid treatments and bait station treatments. Our liquid applications are performed using Termidor®, one of the leading non-repellent termiticides on the market and backed by years of research. Our bait station applications utilize the Sentricon System® which uses some of the most advanced pest control methods. Sentricon is only available to Certified Sentricon Specialists who have been trained in the proper installation and inspection techniques for this system. Click here for information on our Termite 360 program.
Both of our termite treatment methods are backed by a contract that clearly states all of our pricing and what you can expect. Additionally, we perform interior and exterior inspections for our customers annually.
What About the Price?
Price is important to all of us. Don’t always trust your home to the lowest price contractor, though. If you find a price for termite treatment that is significantly lower than other companies you’ve investigated, ask questions. Ask about their annual inspections, if a contract will be issued, how the treatment will be applied and what products will be used. If you get evasive answers or feel pressured to make a quick decision, you may want to reconsider the low price you‘ve received for treatment. Ask yourself if you want to trust your home to a contractor that may not provide the best results. Also, remember termite treatment is not a do it yourself pest control project.
Have more questions? Reach out to us on our contact page. At Lawn and Pest Solutions, we are serious about pests including termites. We would love to have one of our certified technicians stop by your home and give you an estimate or just answer questions for you. We service all of North Mississippi, including Tupelo, New Albany, Oxford, Hernando and all points in between.
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale: North Mississippi Seeing Increased Infestation
Crape myrtles are one of the most common trees you’ll see throughout the South. Not only are their flowers beautiful and long-lasting, but the tree itself is extremely tough and impervious to most insects and pathogens.
Today, crape myrtles are suffering from a new threat: crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS).
CMBS is a strain of pest that sucks sap from the tree and secretes a dark mold onto its surface. The bugs themselves are a light gray to white color with a felt-like texture. They’re rather inactive—they simply cling to the tree, seeking to lay eggs and suck sap. But unchecked, they do that really, really well. CMBS can spawn two or three generations each season.
The mold is another matter. While the mold doesn’t attack the tree, it blocks the tree from receiving sunlight and can be extremely difficult to remove. CMBS inflicts significant damage to the tree and can greatly compromise its aesthetics, and left untreated can kill a crape myrtle.
CMBS has been identified within our service areas in Lafayette, Lee, DeSoto, and Tate Union counties.
If CMBS is identified on your crape myrtles, aggressive treatment is the best course of action. We recommend a regimen of three different treatments to ensure optimal control. Even if you don’t live in these areas, it’s a good idea to have a preventative treatment applied to your crape myrtles. CMBS is most noticeable in the late summer and fall, but becomes active in the spring. A preventative treatment needs to be applied each spring to prevent future infestation.
CMBS can be tricky to identify, since aphids can leave a similarly-colored mold. It’s best to call a professional rather than applying the wrong treatment, which can cause additional problems. Our certified technicians will not only inspect your crape myrtles and advise you on how to control CMBS, they’ll also apply an insect growth regulator that allows lady beetles to continue feeding on the CMBS.
Crape myrtles are an important part of our landscape—many yards in Oxford, Tupelo, Hernando and New Albany feature these beautiful trees. Give us a call today at (888) 534-4535 or reach out through our contact page to set up your assessment with a certified Lawn & Pest Solutions technician.
Don’t Forget the Gutters!
As spring inches ever closer, you are likely making a checklist for your spring cleaning. You probably have your windows, garage, storage room and maybe flower beds on the list for a deep cleaning. Have you thought about your gutters? Clogged or slow draining gutters can lead to a multitude of problems for you, your landscape and your home.
As leaves fall over the winter, your gutters have likely filled up. Those leaves make their way to the downspout and then your gutters drain slowly or not at all. Heavy rains like we experienced last week then start causing problems. Overflowing gutters can lead to rotten or decaying wood along the side of your home. This is a ready made buffet for termites.
Also, as gutters overflow, you may experience washed areas in your lawn or flower beds adjacent to the house. These washed areas can hold water that you don’t need close to your foundation. Saturated soil near your home can allow water to seep under your foundation. Termites love moisture, so you may be unwittingly creating a perfect environment for termites to thrive. You may also have areas of your lawn thin out, or have mulch wash out of your flower beds. Either of these problems then give weed seeds an open area to germinate in and grow.
Mosquitoes require just a couple of teaspoons of water to lay their eggs. When your gutters hold water, you are leaving mosquitoes a breeding ground next to your home. To avoid attracting mosquitoes, be sure that your gutters are free from leaves, and the downspout drains freely also.
A little time spent on your gutters this spring will help keep weeds and insects away. For weed control, termite control, or if you need the exterminator, give us a call at 662-534-4535 or visit us at www.lawnandpest.net . North Mississippi pest control is our specialty!
Weed of the Week-Henbit
I wrote about dead nettle a few weeks ago. A weed that closely resembles it is henbit. Like dead nettle, henbit germinates from seed in the fall and grows into a very small plant, which overwinters through December and January. It begins growing again very early in late winter and is often flowering by late February or early March in North Mississippi. Henbit is in full bloom right now around Tupelo, Oxford and New Albany.
Henbit has square stems along with bright purple flowers. It can grow into large clumps 12-15 inches tall if left unmowed or untreated. Its name probably originated from its seeds serving as food for chickens. Some wildlife enjoy eating this plant including voles-which you’d rather not encourage in your landscape.
Winter annual weeds such as henbit germinate in the fall, overwinter as a small plant and begin growing again in early spring. They complete their life cycle and go to seed in spring or early summer. The best strategy for control of these weeds is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall for prevention. A professional lawn care service that provides a program to attack these weeds is your best defense. Check out our Lawn 360 program.
If this weed or others are already growing in your lawn, they can be controlled with a properly applied herbicide. Reach out to Lawn & Pest Solutions at 662-534-4535 or www.lawnandpest.net/estimate and one of our certified technicians will be glad to give you an assessment of your lawn and answer your questions.
Weed of the Week-Annual Bluegrass
Our weed of the week can best be described as a headache! This weed causes frustration for homeowners and lawn care professionals alike. Why would someone that provides lawn care services dislike a weed? This weed is becoming resistant to many herbicides. Here’s the story of annual bluegrass.
Annual bluegrass, also known by its scientific name poa annua, is obviously an annual weed. Poa annua is a prolific seed producer. Like our other winter annuals, it starts to germinate in the fall and becomes evident in your lawn in late winter or early spring. As I have stated in previous posts, this year’s warmer, wet weather has encouraged rapid growth of annual weeds such as annual bluegrass.
Annual bluegrass can spread rapidly once it germinates. This weed has become such a problem that a research project targeting this weed has begun. Mississippi State University along with other land grant universities in the Southeast U.S. are conducting a project to try to pinpoint this weed’s ability to adapt to different herbicides. Lawn & Pest Solutions is looking forward to aiding research scientists in collecting samples of this weed in our area.
What Can You Do?
All hope is not lost if you have this weed, though. There are some specialized products that do aid in the control of this weed. A two-pronged approach is helpful in controlling this weed. Along with the proper herbicide, relying on a good lawn fertilization program will help reduce the incidence of this weed in your lawn.
If you take advantage of our Lawn 360 program for your lawn, you don’t have to ask yourself, “what is the best lawn fertilizer?” Our trained, certified technicians know which fertilizer your lawn needs and will apply nutrients to your lawn at the correct time. Call or text us at 662-534-4535 if we can help you with your lawn, or visit us at lawnandpest.net/estimate.
Weed of the Week-Hairy Bittercress
Hairy bittercress is a winter annual weed that is quite prolific in the spring. Bittercress is similar to the weed I discussed last week-it germinates from seed in the fall and grows into a very small plant. By late February or early March in North Mississippi, bittercress is in full bloom. With this year’s warmer temperatures, we are already seeing this weed flower in our area.
Our picture of hairy bittercress shows the white flowers that are indicative of this plant. These flowers go to seed, which helps this weed quickly spread. Once this weed has started producing seeds, you can walk through your lawn and hear the seeds release from the plant. For such a small plant, bittercress produces an amazing amount of seeds./
Winter annual weeds such as bittercress germinate in the fall, overwinter as a small plant and begin growing again in early spring. They complete their life cycle and go to seed in spring or early summer. The best strategy for control of these weeds is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall to prevent bittercress and other weeds. If you take advantage of professional lawn care services such as Lawn 360, a fall pre-emergent is a typical part of our program.
Spring weeds that have already emerged can be controlled with a properly applied herbicide. There is hope if you are already seeing bittercress, henbit, dandelions or other weeds. Have you ever asked yourself, “How much does lawn care cost?” Reach out to Lawn & Pest Solutions at 662-534-4535 or www.lawnandpest.net/estimate and one of our certified technicians will be glad to give you an assessment of your lawn and answer your questions.