When Should I Water My Lawn in the Summer?

In the harsh summer heat, dehydration is a major concern. Whereas people can feel lightheaded and weak when they don’t drink enough water, a lawn that doesn’t get enough water is subject to root damage and a dull, brown appearance. That’s why it’s critical to perform deep watering applications (1 to 1½ inches) once or twice a week, based on how dry conditions are.

While this speaks to the importance of watering your lawn, there’s also a conversation to be had when a lawn is watered. The timing of lawn watering can not only impact its effectiveness but in a worst-case scenario, contribute to the spread of new lawn diseases and pest infestations.

The Best Time to Water Your Lawn in Summer Is…

The morning — more specifically, anytime before 10 a.m.

For water to improve the health of lawns, it first needs to be properly absorbed. That’s one of the reasons it’s best to water your lawn in the early morning hours in the summer, as well as the spring and fall. Whereas too much sun and heat mid-day can cause water to quickly evaporate, the cool temperatures and calm winds of the morning give water a chance to soak into the soil and reach grass roots.

While water is absorbed into a lawn, it not only delivers nutrients to grass roots, but it also helps keep the lawn cool in the hours that follow. This covers the hottest parts of the day when lawns are most prone to heat stress — an issue that can trigger the onset of lawn diseases, insect infestations and bare spots. While rebounding from the effects of heat stress can be difficult, watering your lawn in the early morning helps prevent the issue in the first place, while saving wasted water.

What about watering at night? While the evening hours may seem like a convenient time to water your lawn, the problem with this route is that lawns will remain wet overnight as there is no sunlight to help fuel absorption. This wet foliage can become a breeding ground for fungal diseases (like dollar spot) that tend to thrive in moist, humid conditions.

Keep Your Lawn Hydrated All Summer Long

Between high temperatures and heavy foot traffic, lawns can feel a lot of stress in the summer. Paired with the proper mowing techniques and a fall overseeding, sticking to an early morning watering schedule that uses the right amount of water will help develop deep root systems that keep lawns protected throughout the summer season.

With the goal of helping Lush Lawn & Safari Tree customers keep their lawns hydrated amid hot, dry conditions, we offer a water maximizer treatment as part of our lawn care services. This organic solution is designed to loosen soil so that water can better penetrate the surface and be absorbed into root systems. So while you’ll cut your monthly water bill in half, you’ll also — with the proper watering techniques — maintain the health and appearance of your lawn all summer.

Interested in a water maximizer treatment or other services for your Southeast Michigan lawn? We’d love to hear from you. It all starts with requesting a free quote.

Mosquito Control Chemicals: Are They Safe?

Every homeowner dreams of a mosquito-free yard in the summer. While professional solutions may seem viable to keep these pests at bay, it’s natural for there to be concerns over the safety of mosquito control chemicals — especially if you have children or pets.

So, are mosquito control chemicals safe? When EPA-registered mosquito control chemicals are applied based on label instructions and at low levels, the answer to this question should be yes.

There are households with increased sensitivities to chemicals, whether it’s tied to allergies, sensitive skin or compromised immune systems. In these scenarios, mosquito control chemicals deemed safe by the EPA and properly applied can still have adverse effects. This can come in the form of skin, eye and bronchial irritation.

If you’re worried about the chemical sensitivity of your household, it’s probably best to swap the traditional mosquito control chemicals with a more natural route.

Natural Mosquito Control for Sensitive Households

As the name implies, natural mosquito control eliminates the use of chemicals and instead uses organic materials to ward off mosquitoes. These all-natural recipes come with no negative side effects for children and pets (or the environment for that matter), which translates to stress-free mosquito control for even the most sensitive households.

Just as is the case for mosquito control chemicals, some natural mosquito control solutions are more effective than others. Whereas as citronella, for instance, evaporates quickly and provides defense against mosquitoes for only a short period, cedar oil — a natural protectant for cedar trees against mosquitoes and other pests — evaporates more slowly and provides longer, more effective protection. (Pair cedar oil with a hint of peppermint, an aroma that mosquitoes can’t stand, and you’ll have an added layer of defense in place.)

Safari Tree Offers Conventional & Organic Mosquito Control

While every home deserves safe and effective mosquito control, we realize this doesn’t always come in the form of a single solution. Conventional applications of mosquito control chemicals will fulfill the needs of some homeowners, while others will require (or prefer) a more organic approach. That’s why to best serve Lush Lawn & Safari Tree customers, we offer conventional and organic applications for mosquito control.

Even though our conventional and organic mosquito control programs use different products — the former uses safe synthetic chemicals while the latter uses cedar and peppermint oils — both treatments are highly effective at driving away living mosquitoes and preventing mosquito larvae from maturing. Each conventional and natural application lasts for about 21 days, after which another spray is needed to provide full protection. (Note: Natural mosquito control sprays can be applied more than their synthetic counterparts since they have no negative side effects.)

Keeping your yard mosquito-free doesn’t have to come at the expense of feeling safe. With conventional and natural mosquito control programs to choose from, Lush Lawn & Safari Tree provides you with the options you need to feel comfortable in your outdoor environment. Talk to us about your mosquito control needs and we’ll set you up with the services you need to feel safe year-round. It all starts with requesting a free quote.

How to Control Dollar Spot in an Effective Way

Circular, sunken patches of straw-colored grass, no bigger than the size of a silver dollar. While an American coin inspired the name dollar spot, it’s only fitting that this lawn fungus comes with a cost. If left untreated, dollar spot can rapidly spread across lawns and eat away at grass roots, leading to bare spots throughout the lawn and breeding grounds for weeds and pests to thrive.

In the event that a lawn becomes infected, the best way to get dollar spot under control is the use of fungicides. Some fungicides on the market are of course more effective than others — and we’re here to help make those distinctions.

Boscalid & Flutolanil

Boscalid and flutolanil are two fungicides that can effectively treat dollar spot in the short term. From a long-term perspective, however, the story changes. There is a high risk that dollar spot will adapt to the boscalid and flutolanil over time and essentially learn how to outsmart their control measures. So even if more fungicides are applied, dollar spot will grow in spite of them.

Chlorothalonil & Mancozeb

Unlike boscalid and flutolanil, chlorothalonil and mancozeb are at low risk for dollar spot becoming resistant to them. While this bodes well for the long-term stability of the products, the problem is that neither of these fungicides is particularly effective in the first place. So while the fungicides will deliver the same results over time, these results tend to be lackluster.

Propiconazole & Fludioxonil

Propiconazole and fludioxonil offer the best of both worlds — high effectiveness with a low risk of lawn disease resistance. In other words, these fungicides effectively kill dollar spot fast so it doesn’t have an opportunity to adapt to disease control measures and work around them. This can be attributed to the fact that propiconazole and fludioxonil penetrate tissues to provide long-lasting, systemic control from the grass roots to the top of the plants.

The Lush Lawn Treatment Plan for Dollar Spot

At Lush Lawn & Safari Tree, we use the most effective fungicides on the market (propiconazole and fludioxonil) to remove dollar spot from yards across Michigan. To achieve the best results, we apply these fungicide sprays multiple times a year, ensuring each spray covers an extensive area to eradicate any sources of the lawn disease.

In many cases, dollar spot can leave behind a sea of bare spots in infected backyards. While unsightly in appearance, these bare spots offer an open invitation for insects and weeds to set up shop and cause subsequent lawn damage. With these concerns in mind, homeowners can also lean on our team for reseeding services. Laying down new grass seed can eliminate the patchy appearance of and introduce new healthy grass that helps crowd out pesky weeds.

There’s also a conversation to be had around fertilization. Among environmental conditions that can trigger the onset of dollar spot  — a list that includes poor soil moisture and excess thatch — low nitrogen levels in soil can be to blame. Nitrogen is the primary ingredient for plant growth, so without it, the root systems of plants become weak and less resistant to external forces. We offer nitrogen-rich fertilization services so grass retains essential nutrients for its health and is better equipped to ward off diseases like dollar spot.

Interested in learning more about how we can help keep your Michigan lawn beautiful and safe? Request a free quote today to get started.

Why Mosquito Control Is Important — and How It Works

We’ve all experienced the nuisance of mosquitoes during a relaxing evening outdoors. The buzzing sounds they make can irritate as you relax, while the itchy bumps from one of their bites can take a few days to clear up. While certainly frustrating, these scenarios showcase the mild impact mosquitoes can have on humans.

Research shows that more than 1 million people across the globe die every year from mosquito-borne illnesses. Known to be carriers of harmful diseases like the West Nile virus, mosquitoes can inflict debilitating symptoms that last weeks, months or even years in some cases. (Humans aren’t the only ones affected. Dogs and horses are also very susceptible to contracting mosquito-borne illnesses as well.)

While this shines a light on why mosquito control is important, the next step is to consider the different measures to keep mosquitoes at bay in your yard — some of which aren’t as effective (or convenient) as others.

Setbacks of Temporary Mosquito Control Solutions

Mosquito Repellant Spray

As with other sprays, it’s not always easy to tell if you missed a spot — but mosquitoes that are on the hunt are sure to notice. So even if you reapply as the product label indicates, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the total coverage you need to stay protected. (And often, when we’re caught up in conversation, we tend to forget to reapply mosquito repellent anyways.)

Aside from the room-for-error, mosquito repellant spray is also known to come with strong odors and the potential to irritate your skin. The spray could also catch the wind and accidentally end up in someone’s eye, causing irritation as well.

Citronella Candles

Citronella candles can add ambiance to your backyard, but they tend to be of little help when it comes to mosquito control. While the oil inside the candles is meant to mask scents that attract mosquitoes, the candles tend to emit only a small concentration of oil, which evaporates quickly. This causes them to be ineffective in blocking out mosquito populations.

How Our Mosquito Control Works All Season Long

At Lush Lawn & Safari Tree, we take a more proactive, long-term approach to mosquito control. This means fewer inconveniences for you and greater protection against mosquito-borne disease.

Using a backpack mister/blower unit, our team applies an EPA approved mosquito control to shrubs, trees and shaded areas of your lawn where mosquitoes tend to hang out during the day and breed. With these control measures in place, you’ll eliminate the mosquito populations that strike at night.

While our mosquito control program is effective, it’s also important to note that it’s safe. We apply products when your windows and doors are closed, which in turn allows the mosquito control to dry and get to work before the evening arrives. And there’s no need to worry about harm to surrounding plants, as our product is safe for your entire landscape.

Since mosquitoes hatch all summer long, a treatment only lasts three to four weeks. Our licensed technicians apply five treatments beginning in May and going through September, allowing you to enjoy the entire season without the buzzing sounds or bites of mosquitoes.

There’s no better time to invest in mosquito control measures for your outdoor space. Contact Lush Lawn & Safari Tree today to receive a special offer on season-long protection against mosquitoes.

Your Guide to Oak Wilt & How to Defend Against It

Strength, beauty, longevity. These are the types of positive attributes often used to describe oak trees. Yet, like other trees, the unique qualities of oaks are paired with unique susceptibilities — an example of which is oak wilt.

What Is Oak Wilt?

Oak wilt (or Bretziella fagacearum) is a fungal disease that infects the vascular system of oak trees, and — as the name suggests — causes leaves to wilt, become discolored and eventually die.

The roots of this disease can be connected to one of three transmission methods:

  • Insect transmission: Beetles and other insects feed on the fungal spores on infected trees and carry these spores to healthy trees.
  • Root graft transmission: As the roots of two oak trees meet and merge together, the disease can move from infected trees to healthy ones.
  • Firewood transmission: When firewood is moved from an infected tree to a new area, the fungal disease spreads.

 

Among the oak species, red oak trees are most susceptible to oak wilt, often dying within 1-2 months of being infected. This can be attributed back to the fact that they are often the site of fungal spores, and their symptoms are not always as apparent as in other oak species.

While oak wilt was first recognized as a harmful disease in 1944 in Wisconsin, it has now been confirmed in 24 states across the U.S. — one of which is Michigan. On a statewide scale, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has identified oak wilt in 61 Michigan counties.

How to Put a Stop to Oak Wilt Before It Appears

With the majority of red oaks unable to recover from oak wilt, the need for proactive measures is clear. Here are some simple yet effective ways to prevent the spread of this damaging disease.

Prune Your Trees in the Winter

Trimming away weak or dead branches from trees — otherwise known as pruning — is one of the most effective ways to keep them strong and healthy. Like other trees, oak trees should be pruned in the winter months. Not only is it easier to identify branch patterns during this time, but there is also less insect activity and subsequent infections to worry about.

In the case of sap beetles, these insects are most likely present between mid-April and mid-July. (Note that some types of beetles can be active during the summer and into the early fall.) These are the times when the risk for infection is highest, and thus pruning should be avoided.

Keep Firewood in One Place

Firewood can be moved many miles from its original location, whether it’s to a vacation property or a campsite. With this transport comes an assumed risk that the firewood may carry a disease that can harm subsequent trees.

If trees infected with oak wilt are cut and used to make firewood, make sure it remains in one area to avoid transmission to healthy trees. A tarp with no holes should cover to firewood so as to prevent beetles from feeding on the sap of the wood and picking up fungal spores.

Safari Tree’s Tree Care Program Can Help

At Safari Tree, we recognize that trees have unique needs and face unique threats. That’s why we’ve developed a comprehensive care program that ensures trees can effectively resist and recover from any number of health issues (oak wilt included).

If you’re a Michigan homeowner in the market for tree care, we encourage you to reach out to the Safari Tree team and request a free quote.

What Is Crabgrass and How Do I Prevent It?

Late May is an exciting time for homeowners, with warm temperatures right around the bend and more hours in the day to enjoy the outdoors. But for lawns, this can be a tricky time. Late May is also when a pesky weed tends to germinate: crabgrass.

An Introduction to Crabgrass

Crabgrass is an annual weed that favors warm temperatures and grows in bare spots of lawns where there is sunlight. While this “opportunistic” plant grows vine-like limbs and is naturally an eyesore for outdoor spaces, it also crowds out and weakens surrounding grass, making lawns more susceptible to the spread of insects and disease.

Aside from its distinct crab-like structure and light green hue, crabgrass is also defined by the fast rate at which it spreads. Once crabgrass germinates, a single plant can produce thousands of seeds between summer and fall. Growing faster than the healthy grass that surrounds them, crabgrass can quickly dominate lawns and leave homeowners unsure of what to do.

The Treatment Plan for Crabgrass

Considering the vigorous nature of crabgrass, getting rid of this weed after it germinates can be a trying task. But that’s not to say there aren’t measures that can help. A lot of this comes down to following best practices in lawn care:

  • Fill thin, bare spots on your lawn with grass seed to repair weakened areas
  • Mow your lawn at a higher setting so taller grass blades can shade the soil
  • Water your lawn deeply one or two times a week to help crowd out weeds

 

(Note: If you’re dealing with a small crabgrass infestation, you can pull them out by hand — if they are easy to remove. This should be paired with the lawn care tips highlighted above.)

The Better Bet: Prevent Versus Treat

The best way to kill crabgrass is to eradicate it before it even germinates. This solution comes in the form of a pre-emergent herbicide. How it works is simple: when applied to lawns, the granular material dissolves and creates a protective barrier near the soil’s surface to intercept and stop the growth of germinating crabgrass seeds.

(Note: Timing is important when it comes to the application of pre-emergent herbicides. To effectively control crabgrass throughout its entire growing season, pre-emergents should be put down before crabgrass seeds begin to germinate.)

Rather than take the DIY route, it’s best to let a professional handle pre-emergent applications. The licensed lawn care technicians from Lush Lawn can put down the proper preventative herbicides for your specific lawn conditions, avoiding any room for risk and ensuring the most effective results.

The Lush Lawn Crabgrass Prevention Plan

Crabgrass pre-emergent is included as a standard part of the Lush Lawn program. The preventative we use — Prodiamine — is the preferred product among professional landscapers. This granular pre-emergent provides season-long control of crabgrass, as well as other annual grasses and broadleaf weeds like chickweed, dandelions and more.

Interested in our lawn care services for your home? Contact us today for a free, instant quote.

Get Your Mower Ready for the Spring Lawn Care Season

Spring lawn care season is in full bloom, and now is the perfect time to get your lawnmower ready for use. It’s important to make sure that all parts of your mower are functioning properly before putting it to use so that any breakdowns can be avoided during the upcoming season. Follow these tips to get your lawnmower ready for this spring.  

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS YOUR SPARK PLUG?

Do you know where the spark plug is on your lawnmower? Or how to make sure that all the cables and breaks are functioning properly? Annually tuning your machine will help make sure that it stays functioning from year to year. Check out these five tune-up tips:

  1. Check the oil- If you didn’t change the oil at the end of last season, it would be a good idea to do that now. An engine can overheat and fail prematurely with insufficient or dirty oil. Checking and changing your oil now can save you money by extending the life of your lawnmower.
  2. Know the steps- Know the steps of how to tune-up your lawnmower. Helpful video or picture guides, like this one, will walk you through what you need to do to help your mower run its best.
  3. Be sharp and sharpen your blades- One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you begin mowing your lawn again is not sharpening the mower blades.
    Dull blades can do more harm than good to your lawn. A dull blade will “rip” out your grass instead of cutting it, which can subject your lawn to disease and even kill it overall. Therefore, make sure that your mower’s blades are either sharpened or replaced before using it on your lawn this spring. The Home Depot offers some great tips on how to sharpen lawnmower blades. Read more about how to do this here.
  4. Have the right tools- Knowing the tools that you will need for the project will save you time later on. For a complete list of tools that you will need to give your lawnmower a tune-up, click here.
  5. Do some research- This is said a lot, but knowing the proper techniques for mowing your lawn can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. To learn what you could be doing wrong, read this article for more information on tips and tricks on mowing this spring.

SUBMIT FOR A FULL INSPECTION

While it may not be the most popular idea, paying a professional, or even having a home improvement center look at your lawn mower can take the work out of the process.

Five Easy-to-Follow Spring Lawn Care Tips

Things are starting to turn green in Michigan. If you’ve driven through the parks lately or spent much time outside, you may have noticed the first subtle green glimpses of new life mixed in with the drab brown we’ve been surrounded by for five months. They’re tiny now, but these buds and leaves hold the promise of sunshine and summertime. Soon, the dreary browns and grays will be but a distant memory, and the trees, the shrubs and that one neighbors lawn will be vibrant emerald green. To help you be “that neighbor” — with the best lawn on the block — here are some helpful spring lawn tips:

  1. Weed Killer – There are a few different types of weed killer, and they work in different ways. Penn State’s professor emeritus of agronomy, John C. Harper II, gives the simplest instruction on which to use and when in his publication, “Lawn Management Through the Seasons.” He says, “Annual grass weeds, such as crabgrass, can be controlled with preemergence herbicides. These chemicals should be applied prior to weed seed germination in early to mid-spring…Broadleaf weeds, such as dandelion and ground ivy, usually are controlled with broadleaf herbicides. It is especially important to identify weeds present and select the herbicide that will provide the best control. Broadleaf herbicide applications should be made when weeds are actively growing in spring or fall.”
  2. Water – Water helps strengthen and enlarge the root system of your turfgrass, which will naturally choke out weeds. Once you notice that your lawn has begun to grow again, you may water it two times a week. For more information on watering your lawn, check out Michigan State University’s suggestions here.
  3. Fertilizer – Fertilizer is food for your lawn, and it goes hand in hand with water. Start with a light application of fertilizer to be sure that you aren’t also feeding weeds that you may not have control of yet. It is important to water your lawn after you fertilize, so if you are environmentally conscious or want to cut down on your water bill, fertilize your lawn before a forecasted rain shower.
  4. Move Matted Grass Around – If you have areas of grass that are matted down, hard raking will only damage your lawn. The newly growing grass beneath these mats needs a gentle touch so a leaf blower is a better option, as is a regular mowing with your lawnmower on a high blade setting to allow the circular motion to lift the matted grass.
  5. Reseeding – Bare spots and exposed soil in your lawn are likely to fill in with weeds like crabgrass, so it is important to identify these areas early in the season and encourage new turfgrass to grow. The old adage, “an ounce of prevention” is key here! For an in-depth guide to reseeding, see Michigan State University professor Dr. Kevin Frank’s article, “Tips for Reseeding Lawns in the Spring.” One final tip from Dr. Frank if you are following a reseeding with fertilizer: “Make sure to follow label directions, contain all fertilizer on the area to be seeded and off the driveway, and keep a minimum of 15 feet from any surface water.”

Get your equipment tuned up and dusted off and your supplies ready to go. With these suggestions, a little common sense, and a little elbow grease, you can have a lush, green lawn all summer.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Need More Help?

In lawn care, being late can mean the difference between a beautiful lawn and one that is full of weeds. That’s why LushLawn is here to help you take care of your lawn without you having to do it yourself! Use our Instaquote to get a free, fast lawn care quote today!

Do I Have Snow Mold in my Lawn?

Snow mold is a common problem, especially in Michigan. It can turn your gorgeous green lawn from fall into a true eyesore. Even though most cases of snow mold are not completely detrimental to your lawn’s health and may not require professional treatments, snow mold can still be irritating. So what exactly is snow mold and why does it happen?

What is snow mold?

Snow mold is actually a form of mold that forms under blankets of snow during winter. If you take a walk around your yard, you may notice circular spots that are gray, white, or pink. In the center of the spots will be a cobweb-like material, called mycelium. If the spot is gray, the mycelium will be gray or white. If it’s pink snow mold, there will be a pinkish tone to the mycelium. Knowing the difference between the two is very important; pink snow mold can be very harmful to your lawn and you should contact a professional lawn service like LushLawn immediately. Luckily, gray snow mold is much more common than pink in our area and it will not kill your lawn.

Why does my lawn get snow mold?

It forms due to a lack of sunlight and restriction to airflow. It is especially common after the winter season after your lawn has undergone a period of freezing temperatures and snow cover. It can also form without snow cover if it is cool, rainy, or overcast. Snow mold can happen to even the most well-groomed lawn, especially in Michigan with unpredictable weather changes.

How do you treat snow mold?

There are many steps that you can take to help your lawn with the effects of snow mold. Wait until the grass grows a little bit and mow the affected area to remove the dead, “crusty,” parts. If a week or two later, lightly rake the areas and “fluff” up the grass. Make sure you don’t rake too hard or you could damage the plant.

Let LushLawn Take the Work Out of Lawn Care!

LushLawn’s team of certified technicians can help you get the lawn you’ve always wanted. Our 14 step program addresses every issue you may encounter and delivers a beautiful lawn for you and your family to enjoy.