How to prepare your lawn mower for spring
It is time to get the mower ready! We have had plenty of rain and now plenty of sun is on the way. The mower may be looking a little rusty and dusty, who knows what has been thrown on top? Looks like a good weekend project has suddenly developed….
First things first.
This is an easy list to follow for preparing your mower.
Are the blades sharp? This is important. Dull blades make your grass weak. Weak grass is not good at fighting disease or pests.
Is the oil fresh? If you oil is from last season, drain it and replace with new.
Did you check the air filter? Experts say we should do this every season. If you have a washable filter, soak it in warm, soapy water. If it’s made of cardboard or paper, just pop in a new one.
Lubricate all moving parts!
Do you need a new fuel filter? Fuel filters can’t be cleaned because they can easily be damaged, so just buy a new one.
Get a new spark plug! These are inexpensive, no need 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, go ahead and drain it and fill with fresh 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.
Lawn and Pest Solutions serves Memphis and North Mississippi region with knowledgeable and licensed lawn and pest technicians. Our techs are friendly, dependable and trustworthy employees who will go to great lengths to provide you with the best service.
Why is nutgrass so hard to get rid of?
Sometimes you feel like a nut…
Have you ever heard someone use a quote and wonder, “who said THAT?” When writing about nutgrass/nutsedge and why it’s so hard to get rid of, the need to search for quotes using the word “nut” was too much. And after researching the power of nutgrass or nutsedge, this quote just seemed to make sense. “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut, that held its ground.” And here is where it would be better if you didn’t know too much about “who said THAT?” But if you really need to know, this quote is attributed to author David Icke, who if you click this link, you will discover is truly, a nut.
But back to his quote…
“Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut, that held its ground”, is so relevant to the underlying conditions of what makes nutgrass so persistant. The most prolific way that nutgrass reproduces is through underground tubers which are also called “nutlets”. These extensive root systems can reach up to four feet deep.
Does your lawn really need the competition?
Nutgrass typically breaks out during really wet springs, especially in lawns with poor drainage. However, it doesn’t take much moisture to thrive afterward because nutgrass can withstand drought. Because it doesn’t need much moisture to survive, nutgrass beats out grass that is starving for water and nutrients.
There are two types of nutgrass, yellow and purple. Even though the purple nutsedge produces more tubers, the yellow is still able to produce thousands of nutlets with patches several feet wide. As these spread underground, shoots pop up and become new plants.
They really are nuts holding their ground!
While underground at depths of 6” to 18” nutlets might hide and 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. Some people like taking on the battle against nutgrass on their own like this guy .
Now we see why nutgrass is so hard to get rid of!
If you are interested in the DIY pesticide application, you will probably also need to do some research on the difference between “sedge” and “grass”, this video is very helpful. While DIY is enticing for many projects, taking on pesticides is probably best reserved for those who are a little more “tried and true”. If reading the instruction manual is not your strength, then you probably should call Lawn and Pest Solutions to fight nutgrass, nutsedge or any other weeds that are taking over your lawn. Our licensed technicians can evaluate your lawn and use the correct treatments to not only treat current outbreaks of weeds, but also to prevent them from ever taking root. Our Lawn and Pest trucks can be found from Memphis and Oxford to all over North Mississippi. Give us a call and let us start helping you today!
Is The Very Hungry Caterpillar really based on Armyworms?
Do you remember how this popular children’s book goes?
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (an excerpt)
In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf.
One Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and pop! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.
He started to look for some food.
On Monday he ate through one apple. But he was still hungry.
By Sunday he wasn’t hungry anymore, so he built himself a cocoon, took a big nap, and two weeks later he was a beautiful butterfly!
Or was he a moth? There are a LOT of similarities when you start reading….
Armyworms aren’t really worms at all
Armyworms start out as night flying moths that arrive in swarms after a cool, wet spring. You might notice them flying around the lights on your porch at night. The gray moths will arrive en masse and cover your lawn while you sleep. There they can lay up to 300 eggs per night for 3 nights, meaning each moth can lay up to almost 1,000 eggs. (Are you starting to 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 caterpillars or Armyworms 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 Armyworms in just one summer through fall. This newscast from 2018 shows how crops in Texas were devastated by an invasion of Armyworms.
This “very hungry caterpillar” isn’t so cute anymore.
If you aren’t convinced this is a pest instead of a cute little caterpillar, look for these signs:
- Little bits of chewed up leaves
- “Skeletonized” leaves
- The presence of birds (who like to feast on Armyworms)
- Moths swarming around your outside lights at night
How do 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. You can be on the lookout, you can read up about Armyworms here but whatever you do, if you THINK you have them, act immediately. Just remember after the eggs have been laid, you have 7 days before the feasting begins. The feasting on your lawn.
Every story doesn’t end like this…
“Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out, and…he was a beautiful butterfly.” Now that you know more about Armyworms, you definitely know better. 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.
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.
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.
Good news, the murder rate of crape myrtles is declining
Kudos to the person who first coined the term “crape murder”…it worked. Today, I drove around my beautiful small town in North Mississippi looking for photo opportunities of crape murder. As small towns and gossip go, I knew better than to post a picture of my neighbor’s lawn (yikes, they really committed a heinous crime). So, I changed my search for a public property, one where the crape myrtles have been hacked off by chainsaws and look like scary stumps with big knots at the top. To my surprise, people have been listening! Our crape myrtles along the main street area are in lovely condition for this time of year. The canopies of crape myrtles in our parks have been lovingly and appropriately trimmed. Even those in neighborhoods throughout town look like they are going to blossom out and be strong for the season. Though there were plenty of knotted, gnarled and shrunken “victims”, it looks like people are getting the message!
Am I a murderer?
Many crape murders are committted by cutting back on the main trunks, on the same location every year and often to a height of around 4-5’. Yes, some of these practices will lead to many new shoots and lots of blossoms, but these new shoots will be very weak. The weak shoots can’t support the heavy blooms and they will droop and weep from the strain. Each year, as the pruning occurs in the same spots, knots will develop on the trunks. These knots are not only unattractive, but they also contribute to weakness in our trees. This is crape murder.
I don’t want to be a murderer!
First of all, timing is everything! WHEN you prune your crepe myrtle is of utmost importance! In North Mississippi, the ideal time to prune is late January through February. You can still make corrective pruning as late as March or April, though. If you missed your chance already this year, just mark your calendar for next year, and make notes….
Repeat after me, “it’s a tree, not a bush”
Don’t prune far down onto the main trunks; allow your crape myrtle to look like a tree. Ideally, your crape myrtle should look like an umbrella from a distance.
Don’t cut out large sections, just remove branches that cross one another. If there are seed pods from last year, remove those, too! If your tree is too tall, you can prune it back down to a more appropriate height, but don’t do this every year.
Ok, I want to plant a crape myrtle…
If you are considering planting crape myrtles, consult with a professional, or at the very least, do a little research first. Here are a few big ideas:
Where you plant your crape myrtle will either contribute to the successful life or the untimely death of your beautiful ornamental tree.
Crape myrtles need lots of sun but not a lot of water to live in our area.
Pruning and long-term care is just as important to the lifespan of a crape myrtle.
For more reading on crape murder,proper care and planting*, read this great article in Southern Living.
While Lawn and Pest Solutions does not offer a pruning service, we want to help you maintain a beautiful lawn. We have customers all over North Mississippi and our licensed technicians are ready to assist you. You can contact us here for a quote.
What Weed Is That?
Our weed of the week is wild garlic. The stems of this plant are shorter and finer textured than those of wild onion, but people commonly refer to this as wild onion. The control method for both is the same. Wild garlic is a perennial plant with a garlic odor which develops from a bulb. These plants do produce greenish pink to purplish flowers which are borne in clusters at the stem tip and are often mixed among small greenish bulblets. Wild garlic can be quite persistent in lawns, because pre-emergent herbicides have little to no effect in stopping this plant. However, a properly applied post-emergent will bring these under control. Lawn 360 is the answer to problem weeds. Contact us if we can help you!