Should I treat this fungus on my lawn?

Should I treat this fungus on my lawn? Of course you should! If you are reading this blog, you have probably invested plenty of time and money into your lawn.  Why would you NOT treat a fungus that could destroy your beautiful lawn?

Never stop learning

A fungus. The fun never ends when you are writing a blog about lawns and pests. Especially when you know nothing about lawns OR pests! So it goes without saying that an easy way to start a blog about something you know nothing about is to “Google it”!

Fungus or Fungi?

While googling may not get what you really need at first, you always learn something new and usually find something to laugh about. For instance, the plural of fungus is fungi and what better way to remind us of that than this scene from Seinfeld

Just one more random reference.

Let’s go ahead and get this obvious fungus connection over with, but how could I write so much about fungi and NOT mention this very gross and hard to erase memory?  Yes, it’s the commercial for Lamisil (the animated toenail fungus who climbs underneath the big cartoon toenail). I am so sorry. Moving on to the real mission here. A fungus can be easily treated by our trained lawn technicians. You just need to watch for it and call us if you see the signs. 

What type of fungus is growing in my yard? 

The main types of fungus that tend to grow in our popular grass types include:

  • Dollar Spot/Bermuda grass: can cause spots of brown or straw-colored that start as small as a grapefruit. Beware, they can grow to take over your whole yard.
  • Rust/Zoysia grass: to check for rust fungus, take a white tissue and rub a few grass blades. If an orange color comes off on the tissue, you have a rust problem.
  • Gray Leaf Spot/St. Augustine grass: leaves large gray spots on your grass blades that grow larger as the infestation gets worse.

Why now?

Sometimes fungi become a problem when we have had too much rain, sometimes when we haven’t had enough. A common cause for fungi trouble is mowing our lawns too low. Even having a dull mower blade can be an issue or irritant for fungi. Some sources even suggest that if you have a really large lawn that you sharpen your blades a second time mid season!

What can be done to rid my yard of this fungus?

Our techs will come by and investigate and determine the best plan of treatment. A fungicide can be applied to your lawn and have the fungus problem under control in no time. All healthy lawns contain millions of fungi spores at all times. Most fungi will never cause problems , but we never know when one is going to decide to show off. 

As with all lawn issues, when you are working with professionals like Lawn and Pest Solutions, we are only a phone call away.  If you see something going on in your yard, and you know it’s not right, let us know so that we can address the issues before more damage can occur. Your lawn is your investment and we want to help you not only maintain it, but allow it to thrive.  If you aren’t already a customer of ours, consider contacting us here, we serve the areas of Memphis, Oxford, Tupelo and all of North Mississippi. 

How to repair a bald spot in your lawn

Repairing a bald spot in your lawn is fairly easy. Maybe not as easy as buying a can of spray on grass, but it’s a totally doable process. If only it were as simple as Ron Popeil of  Ronco in the early 90’s pushed with “GLH”, his Great Looking Hair spray on hair product. If you don’t remember spray on hair, check out this video for two minutes of pure delight. Speaking of things that are bald…

But the bald eagle isn’t bald!

A simple Google search of bald spot brings up many images before you find a patchy looking lawn. You can imagine…a bald eagle, which isn’t bald after all. Yes, I had to find out how it got its’ name here. That lead to a search for “famous people with a bald spot” and guess what? Not many results. Looks like famous people take care of their bald spots before the paparazzi catches them! Let’s get on to repairing bald spots on your lawn…

The dog did it.

Before getting to the repair, you must first determine the cause of your bald spot(s). For many, bald spots are caused by pet urine. Yuck. Specifically dog urine. But what can you do? One fairly easy solution to stopping the damage is to redirect your dog to other areas to relieve themselves. This will take action on your part, as dogs tend to visit their same spots. It also assumes that you are taking your dog out on a leash and have control of where he or she “visits”. If that is not the case, skip to the “I don’t even have a dog!” section below. 

I don’t even have a dog!

Pet urine is not the only reason for bald spots in lawns (I never thought I would type that phrase), there could be issues with disease, weed or insect infestation.  If this is the case, contact us at Lawn and Pest Solutions and get our guys out to do some investigating. Let us help you determine the cause before we attack with a solution. Solutions for bald spots are pretty easy to understand and don’t require too much labor. 

Seed or sod

The two easiest ways to repair a bald spot on your lawn are to either plant seed or lay sod over the bald spots. Of all of the DIY articles around, this one from HGTV is easy to follow. Either way you go, the steps are simple to follow and in the big scheme of things, not very time consuming. Within a couple of weeks (and regular watering) your bald spots could be a thing of the past. 

RONCO was on to something.

While we can’t offer spray on grass for your lawn, we can easily handle your bald spot issues. Your lawn may have bald spots today, but contact us and we can have our guys out as soon as possible to get rid of “those embarrassing problem areas”. One of RONCO’s biggest selling points was membership in his club. You can benefit from our Lawn 360 program, too! Having you and our guys working together as a team will only make your lawn better. We service the North Mississippi and Memphis areas and have loyal and dependable technicians who are dedicated to doing the best for our customers. Contact us here for an estimate and let us get you on the road to a healthy and lush lawn.

How much should I water my lawn?

Have you ever read an online recipe that seems simple and easy? Then you read the comments and before you know it, the “suggestions” make you order a pizza instead? This is what happens if you read too many articles on “How much should I water my lawn?”

Do I have to?

Well, it depends. Our common grasses in the South (Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bermuda and Centipede) have deep root systems. A deep root system typically allows our lawns to withstand drought. If you have an established, healthy lawn, you don’t really have to water. These types of lawns can go dormant and survive for weeks without water. They will turn brown, but once water (rain) returns, they will recover! 

How do I know when my lawn needs a drink?

After a rainy season in the South, it seems like we will never need to water our lawn. Just remember, July is coming! But there are ways to know when your lawn needs “a drink”. If your lawn looks a little gray or dull, water it! If you walk across your lawn and your footprints stay sunken, give it a drink!

When do I water my lawn?

Get up and get going, water your lawn before 10:00 a.m. when it is cooler.  You need this calm time of day to let the water soak in before it evaporates with sun and wind later. Maybe you like to come home from work and water as you unwind. Try to get watering done before 6:00 p.m. so the blades of grass can dry before dark. 

Let’s keep it simple this time.

If your lawn gets 1” to 1.5” of water in a week per week, your lawn will be fine. Whether the water comes from a good rainfall or a really high tech system, it all counts the same. If you are watering, it is really best if you can divide your waterings into two per week. 

Maybe you aren’t into “simple”

If dragging out the old green hose and spraying your yard is too old fashioned, there are plenty of options. Old fashioned sprinklers are still around, but today you have “smart” options that allow you to program your watering systems. You can even water your lawn from your smart phone if you want to show off at the baseball game. Some smart systems are even linked to the local weather systems info and will water at the most perfect moments. 

Did this information send you to the watering hole?

Hopefully not. If you are really into it, there are so many articles with more information, You can become a lawn scientist or a lawn watering mathematician, but like a simple recipe, why ruin it? Start with a healthy lawn, and we at Lawn and Pest Solutions can get you to that point. Keep your lawn healthy with some simple watering tips above. Do a little research, get a little help. Give us a call. We can send a licensed lawn technician over, get you a quote and have you watering that lush green lawn in no time at all. We serve the areas from Memphis to all over North Mississippi. 

Should I mulch or bag?

For a person who has never mowed a lawn in her life, I have watched more YouTube videos about lawn care than I could have ever dreamed. The things you do when writing a blog on the topic of “mulching versus bagging” are surprising. 

Should I mulch my lawn?

What are the benefits of mulching your lawn clippings? I asked my 17 year old daughter (another person who has never touched a lawnmower) what she thought the benefits would be . Her reply, “well, there must be some sort of nutrients or vitamins or something that your yard gets from the clippings”. OK, this is starting to make good common sense! Yes, there are nutrients galore in your clippings. According to one expert, one of the most beneficial is water.

So you want to mow it and leave it…

You knew there would be a catch. Mulching your lawn clippings and leaving them to nourish the lawn is a “win-win” situation. However, if you are committed, mowing once a week during this time of year (May through August) is required. Yes, once a week, sometimes every 5 days. Clippings that are allowed to pile up on top of growing lawns encourage the problem of thatch. Final answer, if you can’t commit to once a week, bag it up. 

Committed to the mulch?

Mulching is wonderful for your lawn. Mulch once a week and your yard is going to thrive. However, not all lawnmowers are made for mulching. There are two keys to success. The first part of your commitment is to make sure you have the  proper equipment. First, a lawnmower that is made for mulching. Second, setting your lawnmower blade to the proper height. Refer to the owners manual for specifics. The end result of a commitment to mulching is a beautiful and healthy lawn. 

Whatever happened to “summers off?” 

If mowing your lawn once a week give you second thoughts, there is another option. Bagging your lawn clippings isn’t anything to be ashamed of, own this option! If once a week lawn mowing is out of the question, get those clippings off of your lawn. Now that we know better, the “bagging” option is really referring more to the lawnmower’s collection system. Disposing of your clippings responsibly today looks more like using them for compost, not throwing bags of “lawn garbage” in a land fill. There are consequences to leaving your clippings too long.

Looks good, looks good…

If you leave clippings piled up on your lawn all summer while it’s growing like crazy, you are going to have a bigger weed problem in the form of thatch. One positive benefit to bagging your clippings is the satisfying thought of having a totally “clean” lawn. We can all picture a parent or grandparent standing proudly with hands on hips, admiring the freshly mowed and raked lawn! I can’t imagine my extremely detail oriented and lawn obsessed grandmother EVER leaving her lawn clippings out. I can hear her now…

So what did we decide?

Mulching is good for your lawn, but you need a good machine, set to the right blade height and you need to be mowing every 5-7 days. Bagging is not bad, especially if you don’t have the time to mow so frequently or if you don’t have the right equipment. Whatever you decide, you can always contact our licensed lawn techs at Lawn and Pest Solutions for help. If thatch has already gotten the best of you, let us help you get that under control. Call our North Mississippi office, we serve the Memphis area and all over North Mississippi.

Aeration for lawns

Leave it to me to compare lawn care and skin care (and just a tad bit of art history), but it just had to be done. This week our blog topic is aeration of the lawn. Recently we have been promoting aeration with our new sports field service, but today we are focusing on aeration of our lawns. 

What is lawn aeration?

Aeration is a process where, to put it simply, holes are poked in your lawn. The holes in the top surface allow for “the good stuff” to get down into the roots. “Good stuff” includes water, nutrients, and fertilizer. Aeration makes everything healthy.

Do I need to aerate?

The layer of dead grass (thatch) that builds up on your lawn can rob your grass of necessary rain and nutrients. Aeration can break up and get through thatch which has compacted over time. Aeration can improve the health and beauty of your lawn significantly.

So what does this have to do with skin care?

A few years ago, it became a trend among celebrities to micro needle or derma roll their faces. A derma rolling tool looks scary to say the least, like an old manual lawnmower covered with tiny needles. You roll this scary tool all over your face to “aerate” your skin. After rolling, you indulge your skin with every kind of magical potion you can get your hands on. As crazy as it sounds, the users swear by the process. What’s the difference in the two? Your lawn and your face are both are being aerated!

Do I need a professional to aerate my lawn? 

One actual Google result about lawn aeration is “can I use a pitchfork to aerate my lawn?”. Well. How much time do you have on your hands? OK, the answer is yes, you can get out your pitchfork if you have a lot of time, a lot more energy, and hopefully, a really tiny yard. 

(As promised, here’s one for the painters)

As an avid lover of art history, I can’t just let the pitchfork moment pass without giving you a chance to “aerate” your brain with one little reference to “American Gothic” by Grant Wood. Just in case you ever need a fine arts reference to pitchforks by American artists, you can thank me later. 

Not ready to get out the pitchfork today?

An easier solution would be to call a lawn professional like Lawn and Pest Solutions in New Albany, MS and let one of our licensed technicians take care of you (no pitchforks will be needed). You can contact us here to have one of our nice folks give you a quote on a lawn aeration service. We can make the Lawn and Pest Difference in your lawn today!

One thing leads to another

Cleaning gutters prevents many other issues

In 1983 an English new wave band hit the charts with “One Thing Leads to Another”. While The Fixx probably didn’t write this song about cleaning out your gutters, the theory certainly applies. 

Don’t be that guy on YouTube

Cleaning out gutters is a chore no one looks forward to. It seems like one of those chores where many bad decisions are made. There is always a ladder that seems a little less than reliable and no one wants to help. YouTube has many results of “guys falling off of ladders and roofs”, at least half of them had to have been on gutter duty that day. This video link isn’t necessarily a guy cleaning his gutters out, but you get the picture. Try to keep safety first in mind if this blog convinces you to climb up and clean out!

So what if I don’t clean out the gutters?

When gutters don’t drain, collected water can cause a multitude of issues. Collected water causes wood to decay and rot. Guess who loves rotting and decaying wood? That’s right, termites! But that’s not all…

Washed areas can also hold water close to your foundation. When water is being held close to your home, the soil becomes saturated and water can seep under your foundation. Guess what pests also love moisture? Termites AND mosquitoes!   

One more thing…

Overflowing gutters can wash out mulch and flower beds near your home. These washed areas can thin out your lawn. This can then give weed seeds an open area to grow and germinate. No one needs more weeds or a thinned out lawn.

“One thing” you can do is clean out your gutters this spring. That can keep all of the “other things” from leading to bigger issues. While we don’t offer gutter cleaning services, Lawn and Pest Services can assist you with termites, mosquitoes and weed control. Contact us here and we will send a licensed pest technician to give you a quote. As we like to say, you don’t have to live with pests!

Does yard work count as “PE” for homeschooling?

Of course, yard work counts as physical education! Sheltering in place has taken a toll on most of us who are homeschooling children or just have restless teens and/or adults in the house. Here are several activities that will not only take the energy level down a notch, but will help your lawn in the long run.

Get off the sofa and mow the lawn!

Before you know it,  your lawn will be dry enough to get out the mower. This is a great time to teach those sofa dwelling children and teens how to mow.  Take a moment before you crank it up to click on the link to a blog we posted last year on “The Art of Scalping”. It never hurts to refresh your memory!

Here are more outdoor activities that definitely qualify as physical education and will have your lawn looking gorgeous by the time we can all get out and about! Here are some tips to get the children, teens and other household members moving:

  • Be careful not to prune spring or summer flowering shrubs or you will cut off blooms
  • Prune low hanging limbs from trees in your yard, this makes mowing easier, it improves your landscape and it gives the grass around your tree every opportunity to get sunlight it needs
  • If remulching your flower beds to keep weed growth down, don’t allow it to get too thick next to the foundation of your home, this can become a superhighway for termites!
  • Look for standing water in old flower pots, wheelbarrows, birdbaths, that old tire from your lawn mower. It only takes a teaspoon of water for mosquitoes to lay eggs, dump it out!
  • Do something to prevent weeds in your flower beds and lawn. If you don’t know what to do or you don’t want to do it, Lawn 360 is for you! Contact the Lawn and Pest professionals at Lawn and Pest Solutions.

There won’t be a test, but let’s review. Yes, yard work counts as physical education while homeschooling your children. So get them off the sofa, teach them how the lawn mower works and give them an A+.

Easy tips to prepare your lawn mower for spring

Believe it or not, the rain will stop, the lawn will dry and it will be time to roll out the mower. It has been stored away for a few months now, so before you attack the lawn, here are a few tips on getting your lawn mower ready for spring. 

Roll up the umbrella and roll out the lawn mower

No one likes this step, but it has to be said. Read the manual. Now, let’s work on this list:

Check the blades. If they need to be replaced, it is really important to use the specific blades designed for your specific model of mower. This particular part is not where you want to buy a cheaper “universal fit”. Sharp blades are good for your grass! Dull blades will weaken and brown your grass tips making your grass prone to pests and disease.

Change the oil. Again, use the type suggested by the manufacturer. If there is old oil from last season, drain it and replace with new. After each time you have used your mower for approximately 5-8 hours, you should change the oil filter and add oil. 

Change the air filter, it is recommended you do this every season. If you have a washable filter, soak it in warm, soapy water. If your filter is made of cardboard or paper, just put in a new one. 

Lubricate the throttle and any other moving parts while you are at it.

Install a new fuel filter, (this has to be new, they can’t be cleaned because they can easily be damaged).

Install a new spark plug once a season. Spark plugs are inexpensive, so don’t try to clean or reuse old ones.

Replace the belt or battery if needed.

Check your fuel! If you have left fuel in your mower for more than 30  days, this could be what keeps your engine from turning over. If the fuel smells odd or is thick, go ahead and drain it and fill with fresh fuel. Make sure to check the manual to see that you are using the proper type of fuel. 

Here is a link to a YouTube video to help you get that mower started if you are having trouble. 

And for those of us need a little more help….

While Lawn and Pest Solutions is not in the business of mowing lawns, we want to help you have the healthiest lawn you can and having the proper equipment is very important to achieving a beautiful lawn. Getting your lawn mower ready for spring is one step you can take at home. If you need more help on getting a beautiful lawn, we have a staff of professional lawn technicians. Lawn and Pest Solutions can help you, just contact us today.