Tis the season for stress; Lawns are getting pummeled right now with heat related stresses. All you need to do is look at any retention basin and see how green the lower areas are compared to the basin’s rims or higher areas. This is very obvious that water will collect in the low areas and offer relief from heat stress. Your lawn is no different and needs more water right now than it did in April and May. Give your lawn an extra 5 minute manual watering in the early evening 2-3 times weekly to give it a cooling down from the mid day heat. If this causes fungus activity or excessive weed breakthrough pull back on the extra time. If it helps and you think the grass could benefit from a little more water then by all means give it some. This is a very common sense approach to combating summer stress in lawns.
Let’s talk about grubs as they pertain to lawns. “White” grub activity is a legitimate concern for those who want to protect their lawn during the summer. These pests feed on grass roots and can wipe out an entire lawn. It has been our experience that 25% of lawns will experience some level of grub activity if there are no grub controls in place. Activity can range from a few patches to the entire lawn. The optimists are saying “I have a 75% chance of being safe from grubs with no damage this year”. The realists are saying “Odds are I’m going to get some damage eventually if I don’t have grub protection”. Grub protection is a one time application that costs 20% more than a normal fertilizer. If you are interested in my professional advice it is simply this; “You are reading this blog because you care about your lawn, it is a worthwhile investment to protect it from this peril”.
Time is Fast Approaching to Control Kyllinga
The time is fast approaching to begin to control kyllinga with properly timed applications of herbicides. Kyllinga is a very troublesome invasive weed species that has moved northward from the south into New Jersey and has begun to take over lawns in recent years. Its’ root system is comprised of an underground system of nodes, called a Rhizome, which allows it to spread laterally beneath the soil. It typically rears its ugly head in mid-May. Warm soil temperatures, consistently 60 degrees or warmer, drive this weed out of its dormancy. It appears in clumps with tiny fuzzy balls at its tips. Left untreated, kyllinga will spread in a mat form and literally take over your existing turf grass. It is very difficult to control once the large mats form.
Ideal conditions for the growth of kyllinga would be lawn areas that receive a lot of sunlight and are poorly drained and/or over irrigated. This weed can be transferred from other lawns using mowers that are not properly maintained and it can just be spread by the wind. However, the number one way the kyllinga gets into lawns is through animal transference. Animals will eat the kyllinga elsewhere and plant it on another lawn through their droppings. Impossible to control this phenomenon. Therefore, it is very important to understand that control is achieved with MULTIPLE applications of an herbicide. Catching the problem early before the kyllinga mats become large, applying an active herbicide correctly, and being persistent are keys to achieving control.
Treatment Options with Green Side Up
For those lawns with known kyllinga issues or those past the management phase there is a treatment option available through Green Side Up. We offer management of existing kyllinga through a two-step (sometimes three-step) process. The first step is to apply a chemical herbicide in the form of a blanket spray that targets and stresses kyllinga and other sedges. The second treatment is applied 3-4 weeks later and will further weaken and kill all stressed kyllinga. These treatments can start as soon as late-May to prevent an outbreak, but treatments are available throughout the summer months.
Depending on the severity of overgrowth and the resilience of the weed, a third treatment may be necessary. Additionally, while this treatment rids turfgrass of current kyllinga infestations, maintaining your lawn after treatments is profoundly important as the key to preventing future outbreaks. It’s amazing how much healthy turf survives after the kyllinga is eliminated. There will be some thinning of the grass. Thickening the lawn through aeration and seeding is a great tool to use and will replenish any damage from kyllinga. It’s also worth looking into installing a drainage system if oversaturation is an issue in your yard. Diligent attention and monitoring is necessary to ensure kyllinga doesn’t creep back into your yard as quickly as we eliminate it. Due to the increased recent findings of kyllinga across local New Jersey yards, Green Side Up anticipates this will become a routine service rendered from year to year.
Like it or not, weeds are a fact of life when it comes to our lawns, and possibly the number one reason why companies like ours exist. They can be incredibly hearty and may employ several methods of self -preservation and procreation. Some varieties produce thousands of seeds per year, while others develop extensive underground root systems, called rhizomes, that allow the plant to survive underground even when the plant above ground is being stressed. In some cases, stress can cause these root systems to expand as a means of survival. In addition, the seeds of many varieties have the ability to remain dormant in the soil for several years until favorable conditions cause them to sprout.
A weed is basically described as a plant that is growing somewhere that we don’t want it to grow. Consequently, what one person might define as a weed might not meet their neighbor’s definition. If you’re particular about your lawn and have a neighbor who allows Dandelions to flourish, you know what I’m talking about! They can have some positives though. In some areas weeds help to stabilize the soil and provide organic material to it. Weeds can also be an important source of nutrition, and even shelter sometimes, to wildlife. Heck, in certain parts of the world, plants that we try to eradicate in our own lawns are cultivated as crops. I’ve personally heard several stories of people using Dandelions in salads and to brew teas! To each his own I guess.
There are literally hundreds of types of weeds, but we’re going to focus here primarily on weeds that we encounter in early spring. Like our lawns, or any other organism that lives in the soil, weeds react to temperature changes. As we begin to thaw out, signals begin to be sent out. Each plant has a different point at which it activates, and the way that we handle weeds that sprout now may differ from the way we treat weeds that emerge later in the year. As always, you’re an important component when it comes to the success of your lawn’s overall health, so we’ll talk about your role as well.
Chickweed is probably one of the most common early spring weeds that we encounter. It is a cool-weather annual that generally can be controlled effectively without the use of herbicides. Cultural practices such as proper mowing and watering can be an effective means of controlling this weed. As always, the best way to control weeds is with a healthy lawn. Mowing helps to stress out this weed as it succumbs to warmer temperatures.
Another common springtime weed is Onion grass. Onion grass is a perennial weed, which can survive for several years under ground. It’s a cousin to the cultivated onions that we grow in the garden and is edible as well. Regular mowing will help to stress out the leaves that appear above ground and warming temperatures will cause the bulbs below the surface to go dormant. Don’t try to remove the bulbs though. Any portion of the plant that is left underground will quickly spread.
Groundsel, or Old-man-in-spring, is a member of the daisy family. It is an annual plant, which means that individual plants die off after one season. It procreates by producing thousands of seeds during its life cycle and can grow in a wide range of habitats. It is a relatively weak competitor as far as lawn weeds are concerned, so a healthy lawn can easily suppress its growth. As with other spring weeds, early mowing and rising temperatures will help to stress it out.
Hairy bittercress is a cool weather annual. It’s weed system is a basal rosette, which means that it’s leaves grow out in a circular pattern low to the ground. As it matures it produces upright seed capsules with tiny white flowers. It favors shaded areas as well as lawns that are mowed too short. It can be removed by hand but do it before it goes to seed.
Dandelion is a perennial. It can survive in the soil for several years. In addition to growing in a basal rosette pattern, it also develops a long tap root that allows it to store nutrients through the winter and bloom again in spring. It is edible and highly nutritious. It reproduces by windblown seeds and can produce up to 15,000 seeds per plant. It thrives in lawns the are mowed too short.
Flowering ground ivy is also known as creeping Charlie. It is a perennial that spreads with stolons, which are creeping stems that root along the ground. They root through a system of nodes that shoots out additional stems as they grow. This makes this type of plant more difficult to remove by hand. It prefers damp, shady areas but grown anywhere.
Clover is a cool season perennial that roots through a system of nodes. It reproduces through both stem and seed. It grows anywhere but favors poorly maintained lawns and flower beds. It is considered a weak competitor and can be choked out by a healthy lawn
This is just a sampling of the types of weeds you may see on your lawn in the early spring months. Despite their differences most of these early spring weeds can be controlled effectively by establishing a healthy lawn through proper cultural management of your lawn. We believe in treating lawns in the most environmentally responsible way possible while developing a partnership with or customers. A successful lawn depends a three-way relationship between mother nature, us and you. As always we’re here for you when you need us!
Controlling green kyllinga in turfgrass requires a combination of control procedures.
Kyllinga, it may not be a weed you’re familiar with yet, but the quicker you’re able to recognize and control this invasive sedge the better. In the past 5 years kyllinga has recently surfaced as a major problem for lawns across New Jersey. The weed takes on the appearance of nutsedge with smaller and less upright leaves and is always spotted as a collective group in dense mats across turfgrass. Unlike the nutsedge it mimics, kyllinga will always produce flowers despite regular lawn maintenance and mowing as it a low-lying weed. On top of that it’s also very hard to kill and it takes multiple applications.
When considering how to tackle kyllinga, it’s important to take a look at how the weed spreads. It moves easily and quickly from landscape beds to nearby turfs in late spring and becomes extremely evident in the late summer months. Growing well in the warm months of late- May through October, it lies dormant in the winter. Kyllinga has both seeds and rhizomes – or underground stems – and can use both methods to spread to neighboring lawns. The seeds (up to 5,000 are produced per season) can be carried from lawn equipment, shoe soles, clothing and even animals, while the rhizomes create a parasitic root system that grows exponentially. If these rhizomes are removed, new plants can grow directly from each chopped section – making reclaiming the lawn a long and tedious process.
It thrives in damp soil that has access to direct sunlight but will certainly make do with partial shade. This makes over-watered yards and those with drainage issues the perfect environment for the pesky invader. It is incredibly resistant to close mowing and can actually flourish while the healthy turfgrass is cut too short and no longer able to compete. It acts as a parasite, turning an otherwise level-surfaced, uniform and aesthetically appealing lawn into an uneven yard with different colors and textures; not to mention forming a weak sod that results in poor footing.
So how do you get rid of the kyllinga plague? Initially it’s less about elimination and more of a management strategy – namely, prevention is key. Keep a constant eye on your lawn, monitoring for new invasions. If solitary patches are spotted, the plant should be removed in its entirety (roots included) and the area watched closely to ensure there is no re-growth. This will result in the need of filling in the area with top soil and seed or a small patch of sod if available. Kyllinga spares nothing, so when it comes to your decorated plants in the garden, be vigilant. It forms a suffocating and dense layer around anything in its path and prevents the survival of many desirable species.
It’s important that your turfgrass is as healthy as it can be to compete against the kyllinga. Dense and well-cared-for grass will put up a better fight as well as provide shading that makes it difficult for the weed seedlings to take hold. Properly managed irrigation and drainage systems can eliminate the moist conditions most suitable for kyllinga growth. Also avoid such conditions by never overwatering your turfgrass.
For those lawns with known kyllinga issues or those past the management phase there is a treatment option available through Green Side Up. We offer management of existing kyllinga through a two-step (sometimes three-step) process. The first step is to apply a chemical herbicide in the form of a blanket spray that targets and stresses kyllinga and other sedges. The second treatment is applied 3-4 weeks later and will further weaken and kill all stressed kyllinga. These treatments can start as soon as late-May to prevent a outbreak, but treatments are available throughout the summer months.
Depending on the severity of overgrowth and the resilience of the weed, a third treatment may be necessary. Additionally, while this treatment rids turfgrass of current kyllinga infestations, maintaining your lawn after treatments is profoundly important as the key to preventing future outbreaks. Thickening the lawn through aeration and seeding is a great tool to use and will replenish any damage from kyllinga. It’s also worth looking into installing a drainage system if oversaturation is an issue in your yard. Diligent attention and monitoring is necessary to ensure kyllinga doesn’t creep back into your yard as quickly as we eliminate it. Due to the increased recent findings of kyllinga across local New Jersey yards, Green Side Up anticipates this will become a routine service rendered from year to year.
Today I read the news that Scott’s has merged with Tru-Green. The article was about 6 or 7 paragraphs and it detailed the transaction and included comments from the heads of both of the companies. The projected combined customer base will be 2,300,000 customers (that’s right Million) with $1,300,000,000 in sales. In all the detail provided, neither company commented once on the impact or benefit to their customers. This is a very telling detail that all they care about is the division of assets and future rights of ownership.
As a small business owner, I know how these mega corporations are bottom line oriented and do not prioritize their valued customers. I preach this daily and it is my quest to make sure all my service areas know there is a family owned and operated alternative to the giant companies. It is clear with that size company they can’t possess the willingness to ensure customer satisfaction as the local ma and pa company can. In the service industry this is crucial, and unfortunately they operate on volume not happy customers. I run into my valued customers daily, at the supermarket, gym, Wawa, kid’s schools and even at church. I take a lot of pride in the service we deliver and know if Green Side Up’s standards slip those encounters with my customers could be awkward.