Fire ants are hard working, organized and dangerous to some, so fighting them is not easy. Sometimes their mounds are mistaken for dirt which makes them even trickier to tackle. It is important to know what to look for and how to treat a fire ant problem.
Identifying a fire ant mound
A raised mound looks like a pile of aerated dirt. This is the displaced soil from the ants digging tunnels underground. Fire ants create amazing and expansive tunnels underground for escaping should anyone or anything dare to disturb the mound. This contains the eggs and larvae of the colony, along with countless worker ants.
Disturbing the mound
When you disturb a fire ant mound, you might be shocked by the hundreds or thousands of ants that come rushing out. The agitated ants will then bite and sting anyone nearby. Fire ant stings hurt a little when you just have one, though it is more common to be stung multiple times by multiple fire ants.
The danger of fire ants
Blisters that develop afterwards are allergic reactions, though some people develop more severe reactions. The areas immediately surrounding the sting may swell, burn, or itch. These stings and/or allergic reactions to the stings can be very dangerous to our children and our pets, especially if they are allergic.
Do not disturb
While there are plenty of DIY fire ant “solutions” you can try, most people are just chasing them around underneath your lawn. The best way to fight fire ants is with a bait system. A bait system does not disturb the mounds. When the mound is disturbed, fire ants get angry.
Bait systems for fire ants
With a fire ant bait system, the fire ants get the bait and return to their underground system of tunnels. They then “share” the bait with the army below your lawn. Lawn & Pest Solutions has the technology and expertise to provide season-long fire ant control treatment for houses.
Our treatments target the queen, not just the mound. Our plan is efficient and effective. In just two strategically timed bait applications, we typically wipe out 95% of your fire ants. We will visit two more times per year just to assess the effectiveness or apply more bait (if needed) at no extra charge.
Give us a call or click here and we will send out a licensed technician to address your issues! We serve the North Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee areas with lawn and pest services.
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale
Along with the term “Crape Murder” we refer to Crape Myrtle Bark Scale quite often at Lawn and Pest Solutions. While advising our customers on how to trim their trees without killing them, we also try to prevent disease.
When looking at photos of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale, it is hard to tell exactly what you are seeing.
Is it a plant, a growth, or a bug?
What is Crape Myrtle Bark Scale? It is actually a type of insect/pest that attaches itself to the trunk of a Crape Myrtle tree. Before you spot this pest, it is highly likely that the first thing you notice will be black areas forming on the trunk or branches of your tree. This pest covers parts (or eventually ALL) of the Crape Myrtle tree with a black, sticky soot-like substance.
The actual pest (the Bark Scale) is flat, light gray or white and it feels like felt. If you press on Bark Scale and it oozes a pink substance, it is active.
Where did it come from?
According to Clemson University, Crape Myrtle Bark Scale was first found in Texas in 2004. By 2022, it has spread across the South as far as North Carolina. Most attribute the spread to the movement of plant material across the region.
How to look for signs of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale
You will first notice that sidewalks, driveways, shrubs and flowers, garbage cans, swimming pools, even toys under your trees are turning black. Everything under an infected tree will get a black, moldy, sooty stain.
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale:
Typically gathers in the branch crotches or at pruning areas
Sometimes found under loose bark
As it takes over, it begins to literally suck the life (sap) from your tree
Thick, black moldy soot will cover the tree and rain down onto everything underneath it
Is this a battle worth fighting?
For some, it’s about aesthetics. The black sooty mold coveringyour trees and everything underneath is more cause for concern than the health of the tree. This may come down to deciding to protect the investment you have made in your trees, your landscape, and your property.
It is commonly accepted that CMBS won’t kill your trees. However, the black mold does prevent sunlight from reaching the tree. This will obviously have some affect on the health of the tree.
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale will most likely affect the number of flowers on an infected tree. The size of flower clusters and overall vigor in the plant health of your Crape Myrtle trees may also suffer. It may even cause your trees to flower later than healthy trees.
Treatment of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale
1. We start by systemically injecting treatment at the roots of the trees. This slowly and methodically begins treating the entire tree and ridding it of the pest.
2. Additionally, we spray the entire tree with a growth regulator. Contrary to the name, this doesn’t improve the growth of the tree, it speeds up the process of getting rid of the Bark Scale.
3. In the fall, our techs apply dormant oil to the affected tree. This oil smothers and eliminates any remaining insects on the tree except those which are beneficial to the tree (like ladybugs).
4. Each year afterwards, we do an annual systemic treatment as a preventative to keep the CMBS from returning. This treatment also has lawn fertilization which will help your Crape Myrtle thrive in the future.
Even if you don’t have Bark Scale now you might consider this preventative treatment.
Crape Myrtles are some of the most beautiful flowering trees we have in the South. These majestic trees enhance our properties, parks, cities, and lawns. Contact us today to check on your investment! Lawn and Pest Solutions has a great system to treat your Crape Myrtles before this Crape Myrtle Bark Scale has a chance to infect your trees. Our licensed technicians are trained in recognizing and guiding you in the right direction for treatment and/or prevention. We treat Crape Myrtles at homes, schools and businesses in the Memphis, Tennessee area and all over North Mississippi.
Lawn care after Labor Day
After a long, hot summer in the South, most of the “lawn tenders” are asking, “are we there yet?” Can we pack away lawn care after Labor Day like we are supposed to pack away our white shoes and pants?
Our work is never done.
Much like laundry and housework, lawn care is never really done. Owning a home is a great thing, but keeping it up is a never-ending job. Landscaping and lawns fall under this category of never-ending work.
It was fun at first!
When you first buy or build a home, it is really exciting. Picking out paint, windows, and doors that show off your style are part of your exterior look. Landscaping is a major investment that not only adds value but also accentuates your style. These are exciting times for a new homeowner!
Fast forward ten years: the roof is leaking, the paint is peeling and the driveway is stained. The lawn is looking thin and patches have appeared.
Don’t wait for the ten year mark.
Seasonal home maintenance is important. It keeps us from being ten years down the road with thousands in repairs and sprucing up to do.
Maintaining the lawn, landscaping, turf, and plantings are all things we need to do year-round. Continuous upkeep and management of our home and lawn make this job manageable, financially and in terms of hard work.
To do list for the fall:
Do a little lawn care every day (or week) even after Labor Day. This will make lawn care easy and affordable. Small jobs done year-round will give your lawn the best chance at being beautiful and healthy.
- Keep mowing as long as the grass is growing.
- Take care of your lawnmower.
- Water your lawn, even when the weather is cool.
- Rake piles of leaves up before the job is too much to handle. Wet piles of leaves left on your lawn rot and suffocate the turf.
- Aeration and lawn fertilization WILL pay off when spring arrives.
- Never stop fighting the war against pests in your lawn. Armyworms, moles, weeds…must be controlled.
Don’t give up now.
Whether you decide to pack up those white pants for the winter or not, lawn care after Labor Day is definitely a “thing”. Lawn work and home maintenance require year-round attention. A little work every day makes this manageable. But you don’t have to do this by yourself.
Our licensed technicians at Lawn and Pest Solutions are just a phone call, text, or email away. We can help you with not only lawn, plant, and tree issues but also their future health. Our lawn care weed control services will get your lawn looking beautiful. We serve the Memphis, Tennessee and North Mississippi areas.
Grubs, moles and armadillos
Why put grubs, moles and armadillos all into one blog? What do they have to do with one another? As with most pests, it’s about food.
Armadillos and moles like to eat…you guessed it. Grubs. If you are having a problem with moles or armadillos destroying your lawn, it’s because they have found their food source in your yard.
With their favorite food found in your yard, moles and armadillos will dig in and set up a home underneath your lawn.
Grubs hatch in your when a beetles lay their eggs there. They are white, soft and have legs up near their heads. Grubs eat on the roots of your lawn causing patches to turn brown and die.
Untreated grubs grow up to become beetles. The cycle continues as they lay more eggs in your lawn. The best time to treat for grubs is mid to late summer and early fall.
Signs of grubs
Look for spongy grass and brown patches.
Pull up a piece of the brown turf.
If the turf comes up easily like a piece of carpet with no roots attached, grubs have been feeding there.
Moles live underground and create tunnels in your yard. They are small and have paddle-like feet that help them dig under your lawn.
Moles usually leave a small mound of soil as their “entrance” to the underground. The tunneling of moles under your lawn is destructive to the roots of your turf.
First things first. Remove the grubs.
- Armadillos will destroy your lawn looking for grubs, earthworms, food.
- Armadillos thrive in warm, moist climates
- Armadillos prefer loose and porous soil
- Armadillos live underground, specifically under your lawn
- Armadillos are nocturnal and forage for food at night
- Armadillo quadruplets become independent at around 6 months, so they multiply quickly
If you are suspicious that you may have moles or armadillos, look for grubs. If you find them, you need help.
Our licensed lawn technicians can evaluate your situation. We answer your calls promptly. In fact, our website has an instant chat that can get you the quickest service possible. Look for it in the bottom right corner. Lawn and Pest Solutions serves the Memphis, Tennessee area and all of North Mississippi. Let us help you in the battle against whatever may be digging a tunnel under your yard!
Nutgrass or nutsedge is a persistent weed. Oddly enough, nutsedge has many health benefits for your body. Just keep it out of your lawn.
What’s the difference?
Remember this phrase, “sedges have edges.” Sedge feels triangular instead of round and smooth. It has a center “crease” or fold that makes it have a “v” shape.
Nutgrass is so persistent it can be recommended for ground cover. Also, to our horror…lawn replacement! Who wants their lawn replaced by a weed?
How it spreads:
The way nutgrass reproduces is through underground tubers (also called “nutlets”). These extensive root systems can reach up to four feet deep. Don’t pull up nutgrass, it only causes spreading!
When does it spread?
Nutgrass outbreaks usually occur during and after really wet springs, especially in lawns with poor drainage.
Later in the summer when drought conditions exist, the persistent nutgrass or nutsedge continues to thrive.
By summer, the roots are so deep and established that they can survive almost anything.
Will it go away?
Nutgrass survives because it beats out your grass for water and nutrients. While underground, nutlets can survive for up to 10 years before emerging again. Buried at depths like that, they are protected from cold weather and common treatments for killing nutgrass.
How bad is it?
A study conducted by the Mississippi State Extension service measured the effects of nutsedge or nutgrass on a sweet potato crop. If just a little nutgrass has devastating effects on a crop, imagine what it does when it takes over your lawn!
Our licensed technicians can evaluate your lawn and use the correct treatments to treat current outbreaks of weeds and prevent them from ever taking root. Our Lawn and Pest Solutions licensed lawn techs serve Memphis, Tennessee, and all over North Mississippi. Contact us, and let us start helping you today!
Dealing with drought
Dealing with drought is one of the extremes of our region. We are either drowning in too much rain or thirsting for just a drop. Currently, we are in need of rain, so your lawn may be in a bit of distress.
With our recent extreme heat, you may notice your grass turning brown. Don’t get too concerned just yet, as most of our grass species can take three to four weeks of dormancy without dying.
Brown grass isn’t always dead grass
In a time of drought, our grasses take a break and go into dormancy. This just means your grass is stressed. If you don’t believe us, you can tell if your grass is dead or dormant by tugging on plants. If they pull out from the ground easily, they’re probably dead. If the roots hold fast when pulled, the plants are dormant. Brown grass is not the only sign of stressed-out grass, another sign is “footprinting”.
Footprinting is when you step on a parched lawn and your footprints don’t disappear right away. On a parched lawn, these are the areas that suffer first.
How does this happen?
Walking over the same areas of lawn compacts grass and soil. Compacted soil can’t absorb water.
Preventative measures to fight drought
- At the first sign of stress, begin watering!
- Your lawn needs about an inch of water or rain per week to thrive.
- If using a sprinkler, that means about 20 to 30 minutes/three times per week.
- Skip at least a day between waterings.
- Move sprinklers around to cover all areas of your yard.
- Water in the mornings, between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Watering before the sun rises helps to keep evaporation to a minimum.
- Don’t mow the lawn too short or too often during times of drought.
- Stay off the lawn!
A little water and care will go a long way when dealing with drought in lawns.
Before you file this drought recovery plan away, remember all of the time, money, and effort you have put into your lawn and landscape. It is easier and cheaper to water your lawn now than to replace it when it’s too late.
You can always Ask Paul
We work year-round with our customers to protect their investments. Whether preventing and treating disease and invasive pests or nurturing with lawn fertilization and aeration we want your lawn to look the best it can!
At Lawn and Pest Solutions, our licensed lawn technicians can help you achieve your lawn goals and maintain them all year long. We serve the Memphis, Tennessee area as well as all over North Mississippi. You can contact our office any time of day or night.
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale
We talk about Crape Myrtle Bark Scale often, and the term “Crape Murder” is popular as well. When looking at photos, it is hard to tell exactly what you are seeing. Is it a plant, a growth, a bug?
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale is actually a type of insect/pest that attaches itself to the trunk of a Crape Myrtle tree. Before you see the pest, you might first notice black areas forming on the trunk or branches of your tree.
It covers parts (or eventually all) of the Crape Myrtle tree with a black, sticky soot-like substance. The actual pest, the Bark Scale is a flat, light gray or white pest that feels like felt. If you press on the Bark Scale and it oozes a pink substance, it is active.
According to Clemson University, Crape Myrtle Bark Scale was first found in Texas in 2004. It has now (2022) spread across the South as far across as North Carolina. Most attribute the spread of CMBS to the movement of plant material across the region.
How does it do the damage?
You might first notice that sidewalks, driveways, shrubs and flowers, garbage cans, pools, toys under your trees are turning black. Everything under the infected tree will get a black, moldy, sooty stain.
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale typically gathers in the branch crotches or at pruning areas, also under loose bark. As Crape Myrtle Bark Scale takes over, it begins to literally suck the life (sap) from your tree. The thick, black moldy soot will cover the tree and begin raining down onto everything underneath the tree.
Should I get rid of Crape Myrtle Bark Scale?
For some, the black sooty mold that covers your trees and everything underneath is more cause for concern than tree health. Deciding to treat Crape Myrtle Bark Scale may come down to you deciding to protect the investment you have made in your trees, your landscape, and your property.
It is commonly accepted that CMBS won’t kill your trees. In addition to being unattractive, the black mold prevents sunlight from reaching the tree.
Bark Scale will most likely affect the number of flowers on your tree. The size of flower clusters and overall vigor in the plant health of your Crape Myrtle trees may also suffer. Crape Myrtle Bark Scale may even cause your trees to flower later than healthy trees.
How is Crape Myrtle Bark Scale treated?
Treatment starts by systemically injecting treatment at the roots of the trees. This will slowly and methodically begin treating the entire tree and ridding it of the pest.
In addition to the systemic treatment, we spray the entire tree with a growth regulator. This doesn’t improve the growth of the tree, it speeds up the process of getting rid of the Bark Scale.
In the fall, Lawn and Pest Solutions applies dormant oil to the affected tree. This oil smothers and eliminates any remaining insects on the tree except those which are beneficial to the tree (like ladybugs).
Each year afterwards, we do an annual systemic treatment as a preventative to keep the CMBS from returning. This treatment also has lawn fertilization which will help your Crape Myrtle thrive in the future. Even if you don’t have Bark Scale now you might consider this preventative treatment.
Crape Myrtles are some of the most beautiful flowering trees we have in the South. These majestic trees enhance our properties, parks, cities, and lawns. Contact us today to check on your investment! Lawn and Pest Solutions has a great system to treat your Crape Myrtles before this Crape Myrtle Bark Scale has a chance to infect your trees. Our licensed technicians are trained in recognizing and guiding you in the right direction for treatment and/or prevention. We treat Crape Myrtles in the Memphis, Tennessee area and all over North Mississippi.
Weed pulling is oddly satisfying…at first. What is more rewarding than gently extricating the weed, lifting roots and all from the moist soil? Now, repeat 10,000 times. Pulling a lawn full of never ending weeds is a chore.
Weed or plant?
In a newly landscaped lawn, every homeowner has played the game of “weed or plant?” It is easy to think of weeds as ugly sprouts in our lawn, though some aren’t ugly at all!
No matter what weeds look like, they are robbing your lawn of nutrients and moisture. Weeds compete with your lawn for all of the “good stuff.”
Why you should NOT pull weeds
Pulling weeds doesn’t seem daunting when you just spot one. That first good pull leaves you with a big chunk of weeds, roots, soil. Now what? This is usually when you notice that there are approximately one zillion more weeds!
When you pull weeds, you usually end up spreading the seeds, creating more weeds. Some might compare weed pulling to sweeping up glitter. It never goes away.
The slightest disturbance of a weed can cause thousands of seeds to fly all over your lawn. Whether that disturbance comes from the lawnmower, wind or even birds, seeds are being spread. Dormant weed seeds can even be awakened by digging in the ground while adding or removing new plant material.
Treating weeds is best
Treat weeds BEFORE they grow and spread. Realistically, you are always going to be dealing with weeds. It’s just a matter of control. Reduce their growth.
Using a lawn service like Lawn and Pest Solutions can end your weed control issues. A year-round program like Lawn360 will take care of existing weeds as well as those lurking just beneath the ground.
Our lawn technicians apply pre-emergent and post-emergent to take care of weeds at every stage of development.