Who wants to deal with fall leaves? They are wet, cold and heavy. Even the leaf blower struggles to move them!
One thing we know for sure, fall leaves have to go! So many of our lawn AND pest problems stem from piles of leaves and debris in the yard.
Option one: Mulching
Mowing your lawn with a mulching mower is a great way to get the most benefit from the leaves. Fall leaves are a great source of organic matter for your lawn.
Ideally, you should mulch your leaves on a regular basis throughout the fall. A mulching mower chops up leaves that give your lawn air, water and nutrients over the winter and spring months.
If you have been mulching your fall leaves, your lawn will thank you properly this spring.
Option two: Raking
Definitely not the easiest option. If your leaves are wet, you need to rake them up. If you don’t, the wet leaves will smother the grass blades underneath.
A covering of wet leaves keeps the sun from warming up your lawn this spring. The longer your lawn stays cold, the longer it takes to wake up (and to turn green).
You can tell a lawn is dormant when it turns brown. During this cold winter time, it is conserving water and nutrients. This just means your lawn has gone to sleep. It isn’t dead, it’s dormant.
Option three: Bed coverage
You can use some of your fall leaves for flower bed coverage. A thin layer of leaf coverage is good for your flower bed. Leaves can act as a natural mulch and can protect your flower beds from weeds. Just be careful that the leaves don’t get too thick.
The time is now
When you are searching for answers about lawn care and services, know that we at Lawn and Pest Solutions are always here for you. You can always Ask Paul! We service the Memphis, TN, and North Mississippi areas with lawn care weed control services for homes and businesses. Our licensed technicians are available to consult with you about how we can best serve you.
Fall plant health care
What does fall plant care mean? Think of it as shutting your lawn down for the season.
Pool owners close the pool for winter. Boat owners remove their boats before waters start to freeze.
When an ice storm is predicted, we move our new car into the garage. Like pools, boats and cars, our landscapes are an investment.
Protecting your investment
To understand fall plant health care you have to think of your lawn as an investment. All of the time and money you have spent on planting, lawn fertilizing, nurturing and watering shouldn’t go to waste.
By adopting a fall plant health care program, you will be proud of your healthy and well protected lawn in the spring.
At Lawn and Pest Solutions, we offer a plant health care program that focuses on keeping your landscape and shrubs insect and disease free.
- With our program, an expert will visit your lawn six times per year.
- The pro will examine all of your plants, make notes and leave a written report at each visit. In addition to your copy, the notes will also go on file.
- The pro will then treat your plants based specifically on what is happening with your plants AND what they need.
Why our plan is different
Most plans include a pre-mixed spray that is applied to all of the plants, no matter what they need at that time. Not ours.
You can spend a lot of time and money guessing what is wrong with your landscape. With our plant health care plan, you can spend less money and save lots of time by leaving it up to a professional.
Contact our office today to protect your investment. You can reach out to us at 662-257-3148 (MS) 901-560-2399 (TN) or fill out our online contact form. Our licensed and trained technicians serve the North Mississippi and Memphis,TN areas.
Leopard print frost
After the first frost of the season, you may notice that your lawn seems to have a leopard print like pattern. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you.
Parts of the lawn will have turned brown overnight from the frost, some parts won’t. This “frost leopard print” effect may cause a little panic!
More about frost
Frost forms when:
- The temperature of the grass surface cools to a temperature that is below freezing.
- The temperature of the grass is colder than the dewpoint of the air.
- The thickest coating of frost typically occurs when temperatures are closer to 32 degrees, because colder air cannot hold as much moisture.
Your lawn is not dead, it is dormant.
Once we have cooler weather in the fall and eventually have a frost, our lawns go into a state of being dormant. When the brown appears in patches with frost leopard print, some may think their lawn has a disease.
Remember that dormancy just means that your lawn is resting for the winter. It is saving all of the nutrients and energy it needs for the upcoming spring.
As a result, the grass will turn brown. Your grass will continue to hibernate until temperatures reach a consistent low in the 60’s.
Protect the fragile
Our warm season grasses here in the South are not in danger of frost. However, there are precautions that you can take to ensure a healthy lawn in the spring.
Following a heavy frost, stay off your lawn until the frost dissipates. Until then, the blades of grass can be brittle and frozen.
Stay off of the grass! Walking or driving equipment across frozen blades of grass can break them.
Tender plants need to be protected from the frost, especially summer blooming plants that you may be attempting to keep through the winter.
Allow your grass to grow a little bit taller as the temperatures drop. The extra leaf blades can have an insulating effect for your grass and its’ root system.
The need for aeration
Now is the perfect time for aeration. Aeration is one key element of our Lawn 360 program at Lawn and Pest Solutions.
As the weather gets colder, your soil will naturally harden and become compacted. Compacted soil chokes your lawn’s root system, making it difficult to draw nutrients from the soil.
High foot traffic, new sod, and standing water are just a few problems that can lead to compacted soil.
Lawn 360, a year round program
When you take a peek to “check out the damage” of our first frost this year, you can take a deep breath and know that your leopard print lawn isn’t dying.
At Lawn and Pest Solutions, we don’t think about your lawn one season at a time. Our certified lawn technicians want you to get the most out of your lawn.
In addition to aeration for the winter, our techs can give you other pointers to get your yard through every extreme season of our wild and crazy South!
Contact us today to learn more about the Lawn 360 program at Lawn and Pest Solutions. We serve the North Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee areas.
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale is a type of insect/pest that attaches itself to the trunk of a Crape Myrtle tree. When looking at photos, it is hard to tell exactly what you are seeing.
Before you see the pest, you will probably first notice black areas forming on the trunk or branches of your tree.
Bark scale covers parts of the Crape Myrtle tree with a black, sticky soot-like substance. Untreated, it will eventually cover all of the tree.
Is Bark Scale a plant, a growth or a pest?
It’s a pest! The actual pest (called 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 spread across the South as far across as North Carolina.
How does Bark Scale do the damage?
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale causes sidewalks, driveways, shrubs, flowers, fences, garbage cans, pools, and toys under your trees to turn black. Everything under the infected tree will get a black, moldy, sooty stain.
How to look for Bark Scale
Crape Myrtle Bark Scale typically gathers in the branch crotches or at pruning areas, also under loose bark. As it takes over, the scale 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 you treat it?
For some, the black sooty mold that covers your trees and everything underneath is more cause for concern than tree health. Deciding to treat for this pest may come down to you deciding to protect the investment you have made in your trees, landscape, and property.
What if you decide not to treat it?
- 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.
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.
Grubs, Moles and Armadillos
What do grubs, moles and armadillos have in common? As with most pests, it’s all about their next meal. In an interesting twist, armadillos and moles like to eat grubs!
If you are having a problem with moles or armadillos destroying your lawn, it’s because they have found their food source (grubs) 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.
The problem with grubs
Grubs hatch in your lawn when 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 (now).
How to look for 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.
Signs of Moles
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.
Six Armadillo facts:
- 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.
First things first. Remove the grubs.
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 of our website at Lawn and Pest Solutions.
We serve Memphis, Tennessee and all of North Mississippi. Let us help you in the battle against whatever may be digging a tunnel under your yard!
Nutgrass (nutsedge) is a persistent weed. Not to cause confusion, but in our region, most refer to it as nutgrass but it IS a sedge.
Nutgrass is so persistent it can be recommended for ground cover. For some, as a lawn replacement! Who wants their lawn replaced by a weed?
What’s the difference between grasses and sedges?
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.
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.
It’s not going away without work.
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 up to four feet, they are protected from cold weather and common treatments for killing nutgrass.
How bad can it be?
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!
We can help
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.
They aren’t really worms at all
Army worms start out as night flying moths that arrive in swarms after a cool, wet spring. You might notice them flying around porch lights at night. The gray moths arrive en masse and cover your lawn.
While you are sleeping, they can lay up to 300 eggs per night for 3 nights. Do the math…each moth can lay up to almost 1,000 eggs (see how they got the name “Army” worms?) Seven days later, they hatch as “very hungry caterpillars” and start feasting.
“He ate and he ate and he ate.”
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Army worms (aka caterpillars) will spend the next 20-25 days eating everything green, yellow or red. They can destroy lawns or crops almost overnight. Their only objective is to eat as much as possible.
After the feast ends, they rest for about 2 weeks before emerging as a moth. The cycle continues….with the possibility of three generations of Army worms in just one summer through fall.
Check out this newscast from 2018 which shows how crops in Texas were devastated by an invasion of Army worms.
Signs of Army worms:
- Little bits of chewed up leaves
- “Skeletonized” leaves
- The presence of birds (who like to feast on Army worms)
- Moths swarming around your outside lights at night
Can you stop the invasion?
Because they arrive at night and hide themselves so well, you may not even know you have been invaded until the damage is done.
There’s not much you can do to prepare. However, if you THINK you have them, act immediately.
Remember this: after the eggs have been laid, you have 7 days before the feasting on your lawn begins.
If you see any signs of an Armyworm attack on your lawn, please give us a call as soon as possible. Let our licensed lawn and pest technicians evaluate what is happening and plan an attack on these pests.
Our Lawn and Pest Solutions crew will help you recover your lawn and protect it from future invasions. We send our trucks all over the Memphis and Oxford areas as well as all of North Mississippi.
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.
With extreme heat, you may notice your grass turning brown. Don’t get too concerned, as most of our grass species can take three to four weeks of dormancy without dying.
How to tell if your lawn is stressed:
- In a time of drought, our grasses take a break and go into dormancy. This just means your grass is stressed.
- 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.
- 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. Walking over the same areas of lawn compacts grass and soil, which 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.
Remember this: 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.Lawn and Pest Solutions