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Category Archives: Lawn Weeds and Control

No one likes a weedy lawn. Let the Professionals at Pro-Lawn-Plus help you identify and eliminate troublesome weeds from your lawn.

Summer Weeds

Weeds that appear in hot summer weather are some of the toughest to control. They germinate when your lawn is under stress from heat, humidity and drought and thrive under these conditions. Some summer weeds are grass like and are not susceptible to ‘normal’ weed control measures.  Here are some of the weeds you will be seeing during these hot summer months.

Nutsedge

Yellow nutsedge 02_edit2

Nutsedge
Click to enlarge.

If a bright, yellow-green, grass-like weed is detracting from your lawn’s beauty, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with nutsedge.  Nutsedge is a yellow-green warm season perennial. It has upright, grass-like leaves with a glossy upper surface and dull lower surface that emerge from the base of the plant. The leaves are 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide, up to 3 feet long, and have parallel veins with a prominent midvein.  Its flat topped, burr-like flowers occur July to September and are affixed to the end of a stout triangular stem. It grows in all soil types, especially moist ones, but does not tolerate shade.

Nutsedge is a perennial weed that is hard to eliminate, mainly because it reproduces itself from tubers beneath the soil. If you hand-pull nutsedge, the tuber is usually left behind and will regerminate. Nutsedge grows quickly in low, wet soil. Left unchecked, it will grow as tall as 2-3 feet! Pro-Lawn-Plus’s 5 Treatment program includes a summer weed spray, that helps control  nutsedge.  But in lawns with an abundance of nutsedge, it is usually necessary to add one or two supplemental treatments.

Click for more information on Nutsedge.

Dallisgrass

dallis_auburn

Dallasgrass
Click to enlarge.

Dallisgrass is a light green warm season perennial. It spreads upright forming clumps with leaves that are about 1/2 inch wide. It germinates in 60 to 65 degree soils, and although it thrives in the hot and humid south, it can be found all the way up to Maryland. The best way to remove this plant is by pulling out the clumps with your hands or a small garden tool since no herbicide is currently labeled to selectively control it.

Click for more information on Dallisgrass.

Spotted Spurge

spottedspurge_1

Spotted Spurge
Click to enlarge.

Spotted Spurge is a summer annual that produces seeds in 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. From a central taproot, it grows a flat, extensively-branched mat up to 2 feet in diameter. The stems leak a milky sap when broken. Its leaves are small, oval and up to 3/5 inch long. They can be purple spotted and hairy. Flowers occur June to October and are small and cup shaped. It is found in thin, drought-stressed soil in hot climates and closely mowed grass. This weed is resistant to many weed control products. To minimize Spotted Spurge, water deeply, aerate your lawn, fertilize in autumn and avoid close mowing.

Click for more information on Spotted Spurge.

For information about these and other weeds, visit the Difficult to control weeds section of our website .

ProLawn Plus’s Exclusive Five Treatment Lawn Care Program will leave you with the best looking lawn on the block! Add to that our tree and shrub care and perimeter pest control services and you have the best lawn care and landscape service in the area. Contact Us

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Spring Lawn Care

 

Spring lawn care

Spring Lawn Care

After a long, cold winter we are looking forward to getting started on spring treatments next week. Time to start thinking about spring lawn care! ProLawnPlus provides expert lawn care services including lawn fertilizer, lawn weed control, crabgrass control, flea and tick control, aeration and seeding. For more than 35 years we have served Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County in Maryland.

We’re locally owned and operated.

This local “flavor” allows us to get to know you and your lawn so we can customize your treatments as needed. Want us to call a day before we come out? We can do that. Do you want an Organic Lawn treatment? We can do that. We’re your neighbor, so we want what’s right for you.

family_norisk

Click to for your FREE, no obligation, lawn analysis

Our environmentally friendly lawn care programs will help you get a thicker, healthier lawn.

ProLawn Plus’s Exclusive Five Treatment Lawn Care Program will leave you with the best looking lawn on the block! Add to that our tree and shrub care and perimeter pest control services and you have the best lawn care and landscape service in the area.

We take pride in providing you with the best looking lawn and best customer service possible. We also have numerous lawn care videos and educational documents on grasses, weeds and lawns available to help you understand how to care for your lawn.

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Fall Leaf Removal Tips

Raking

Fall leaf removalIt may not be as fun as it use to be to rake leaves in your lawn. But it is necessary to get the leaves off your lawn as soon as possible. If you wait until all the trees in your yard are bare, it could be too late. The leaves will become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form an impenetrable mat that will suffocate the grass below and possibly breed fungal diseases. An alternative to raking leaves is to use a lawnmower fitted with a collection bag or vacuum system.  Regardless of whether you use a rake or a lawnmower, just be sure to remove the leaves before they turn into a soggy, suffocating mess. Another alternative is to mulch the leaves into the lawn.

Mulching

If you’ve got a large yard and you use a riding lawn mower, try leaf mulching. When the leaves are dry, drive over them with your lawn mower. The mower chops them up and returns the smaller leaf pieces to the lawn. Leaf mulching with a mower doesn’t negatively affect turf performance, and it is a time-efficient way to get rid of those leaves, which can damage your lawn. Maintaining a leaf-free yard this fall can help assure a healthy lawn come spring.  It may seem like a thankless task, the leaves just continue to fall, littering your lawn with more leaves. But come Spring, your lawn will be thanking you!

Commercial Lawn Care Lawn Care and Maintenance Lawn Diseases and Fungus Lawn Weeds and Control Pro-Lawn-Plus0 comments

Difficult to Control Summer Weeds

Weeds that appear in hot summer weather are some of the toughest to control. They germinate when your lawn is under stress from heat, humidity and drought and thrive under these conditions. Some summer weeds are grass like and are not susceptible to ‘normal’ weed control measures.  Here are some of the weeds you will be seeing during these hot summer months.

Nutsedge

Yellow nutsedge 02_edit2

Nutsedge
Click to enlarge.

If a bright, yellow-green, grass-like weed is detracting from your lawn’s beauty, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with nutsedge.  Nutsedge is a yellow-green warm season perennial. It has upright, grass-like leaves with a glossy upper surface and dull lower surface that emerge from the base of the plant. The leaves are 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide, up to 3 feet long, and have parallel veins with a prominent midvein.  Its flat topped, burr-like flowers occur July to September and are affixed to the end of a stout triangular stem. It grows in all soil types, especially moist ones, but does not tolerate shade.

Nutsedge is a perennial weed that is hard to eliminate, mainly because it reproduces itself from tubers beneath the soil. If you hand-pull nutsedge, the tuber is usually left behind and will regerminate. Nutsedge grows quickly in low, wet soil. Left unchecked, it will grow as tall as 2-3 feet! Pro-Lawn-Plus’s 5 Treatment program includes a summer weed spray, that helps control  nutsedge.  But in lawns with an abundance of nutsedge, it is usually necessary to add one or two supplemental treatments.

Click for more information on Nutsedge.

Dallisgrass

dallis_auburn

Dallasgrass
Click to enlarge.

Dallisgrass is a light green warm season perennial. It spreads upright forming clumps with leaves that are about 1/2 inch wide. It germinates in 60 to 65 degree soils, and although it thrives in the hot and humid south, it can be found all the way up to Maryland. The best way to remove this plant is by pulling out the clumps with your hands or a small garden tool since no herbicide is currently labeled to selectively control it.

Click for more information on Dallisgrass.

Spotted Spurge

spottedspurge_1

Spotted Spurge
Click to enlarge.

Spotted Spurge is a summer annual that produces seeds in 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. From a central taproot, it grows a flat, extensively-branched mat up to 2 feet in diameter. The stems leak a milky sap when broken. Its leaves are small, oval and up to 3/5 inch long. They can be purple spotted and hairy. Flowers occur June to October and are small and cup shaped. It is found in thin, drought-stressed soil in hot climates and closely mowed grass. This weed is resistant to many weed control products. To minimize Spotted Spurge, water deeply, aerate your lawn, fertilize in autumn and avoid close mowing.

Click for more information on Spotted Spurge.

 

For information about these and other weeds, visit the Difficult to control weeds section of our website .

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Seedheads in Lawns

If you look closely at your lawn this time of year, you may think it is full of weeds. But in reality it could be a natural phenomenon that occurs in many turfgrasses in the spring called inflorescence – or flowering and seedhead production. Unfortunately, an abundance of seedheads can make a lawn look unattractive and the physiological effects on turf plants may temporarily reduce overall turf quality. And if you are sneezing a lot after walking on your lawn, you could be allergic to grass pollen, which comes from these and other grass seedheads in May.

seedheads

Seed production takes energy away from the plant and may cause turf blades to become sparse and off-colored.  The seed stalks have fewer leaf blades and their woody structure resists mowing which adds to the eyesore.  Sharpening mower blades can help. The seed production is seldom consistent throughout a home lawn and it sometimes occurs in patches.  Thus, the problem is often made more obvious by patches of seedheads occurring in an otherwise smooth, dark green lawn.

seedheadscustomerTurfgrass seed heads usually begin to form below the recommended mowing height of 3″ – 3 1/2″  for home lawns. The seed heads will still develop despite frequent mowing.  However, you should NOT lower the mowing height in an attempt to remove all of them as they are a short-live aesthetic problem; they do not cause long-term damage to turf plants.   The stress produced by low-mowing can cause long-term injury to turf plants.

Frequent mowing will not prevent seed development, however, infrequent mowing will allow seed heads to fully develop and make the problem worse.  Note that the seeds that would develop on hybrid turfgrasses  used in home lawn would not be viable seed. Thankfully, the unsightly seedheads and stalks will eventually disappear on their own by early June allowing Maryland lawns to return to an aesthetically appealing uniformly green carpet.

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Limestone Benefits for Lawns

limestone benefits

Limestone Benefits

Limestone benefits your lawn in many way. When your soil pH is too low or acidic, it needs limestone to bring it back into balance. Soil that is too acidic causes fertilizers and important nutrients to become ‘locked up’ and thus unavailable to the grass plant.

Locked up nutrients may result in the grass becoming thin and yellow, allowing thatch to build up faster, and hinder root growth. Even with proper fertilization, a lawn with poor soil pH can’t fully utilize the nutrients applied to become thick and stay green.

We suggest limestone applications for acidic lawns. Limestone may be applied any time of the year but is most effective when applied in the late fall or early winter because it is insoluble. Rain, snow, and alternate freezing/thawing of the soil at this time of year helps work the limestone into the soil. Movement of limestone into the soil is slow, even under the best of conditions. Even during winter months, there is something you can do to help your lawn.

Why do soils become acid?

Soils become acid through natural processes and human activities. The pH of most soils is controlled by the amount of rainfall. In humid areas, such as the northeastern United States, rainfall percolates through the soil, leaching ions such as calcium and magnesium which prevent the soil from becoming more acid and replacing them with acidic ions such as hydrogen and aluminum. Other natural processes that increase soil acidity include root growth and decay of organic matter by soil microorganisms.

More information on soil pH and lime from Penn State here.

Start Today

Contact Pro-Lawn Plus today to get your FREE no obligation estimate. Let us help your lawn get the start it needs today, to be the lawn you’ve always wanted tomorrow. Pro-Lawn Plus is a local lawn care company. We provide lawn care as well as tree and shrub services for Maryland residents in Baltimore, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, in addition to portions of Harford County and Carroll Counties.

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Fall Lawn Care Tips

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

The Baltimore Ravens have taken the field, nights have cooled and most of us are not thinking about our lawns. The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of lawn care though.  Now is the time to think forward and prepare your lawn for next spring. Many homeowners think lawns need less care in the fall because the grass grows more slowly. In fact, just the opposite is true. During this time of year, grass is busily absorbing energy, moisture, and nutrients in preparation for a long, dormant winter. Here are some tips that will help your lawn get a head start for next spring.

Rake Leaves

It may not be fun but it is necessary to rake leaves from your lawn as soon as possible. If you wait until all the trees in your yard are bare, it may be too late. The leaves will become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form an impenetrable mat that if left unmoved will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases.

An alternative to raking leaves is to use a lawnmower fitted with a collection bag or vacuum system. These methods are particularly effective if you have a very large yard with many deciduous trees. Regardless of whether you use a rake or a lawnmower, just be sure to remove the leaves before they turn into a soggy, suffocating mess.

Fertilize

According to turfgrass scientists, the best time to fertilize lawns in Maryland is the fall. This is the time of the year when the grass recovers from summer heat and drought stress. Fertilizer applied from late August through early October promotes increased density of the turf without promoting excess shoot growth. Late fall fertilization from mid-October through early December promotes increased root growth.  It also increases carbohydrate storage for the grass to survive the winter and prepare for the following spring’s new growth.

Weed Control

It is important for the health of your lawn to limit the overall number of weeds it’s competing against. There are millions of weed seeds throughout your lawn lying dormant, waiting to be ‘activated’. They are brought by wind, rain, animals, even your mowing service. Mother Nature is resilient; she makes it hard to eliminate weeds completely. But with Pro-Lawn-Plus’s 5 treatment program and some good mowing practices you’ll, be on your way.

LawnAeration

Aerate

In most home lawns, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during excavation of the basement or footings, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is more compact, higher in clay content, and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn. Aeration can help relieve soil compaction and increase the air circulation needed to help your grass to grow deeper roots and make more efficient use of water and fertilizer.

Seed, Fill in bare spots

A few lawn conditions that require grass seeding work include:

• Thin Lawns: Can you see the soil or thatch layer when you look down at your grass? Lawn thinness permits weeds to easily grow in the lawn and causes the grass to dry out much faster. Thin lawns need lawn seeding to grow and be healthy.
• Heavy Thatch: The thatch layer can become so heavy that the primary root system is growing more in the thatch than in the soil below. Shallow, thatch-rooted lawns are much more susceptible to drought damage.
• Poor Turf Variety: Do you want to develop a more disease-,insect-, or drought-tolerant lawn? Pro Lawn Plus’s lawn seeding experts can help. There are grass varieties that bugs, diseases, and hot weather don’t bother as much as others.

Other conditions that require new grass turf or lawn seeding work include repairing lawn drainage problems and fixing worn or rutted areas.

Start Today

Contact Pro-Lawn Plus today to get your FREE no obligation estimate.  Let us help your lawn get the start it needs today, to be the lawn you’ve always wanted tomorrow. Pro-Lawn Plus is a local lawn care company. We  provide lawn care as well as tree and shrub services for Maryland residents in Baltimore, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, in addition to portions of Harford County and Carroll Counties.

 

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Fall Lawn Fertilization

According to turfgrass scientists, the best time to fertilize lawns in Maryland is the fall. This is the time of the year when the grass recovers from summer heat and drought stress. Fertilizer applied from late August through early October promotes increased density of the turf without promoting excess shoot growth. Late fall fertilization from mid-October through early December promotes increased root growth.  It also increases carbohydrate storage for the grass to survive the winter and prepare for the following spring’s new growth.

Here are some University of Maryland guidelines for fertilizer applications.

fert001

 

If you are not presently on a lawn fertilizer program, now is a great time to get started. A lawn professional has the expertise to apply fertilizer in a proper manner using the recommend rates. They are also aware of the environmental impacts of misapplied fertilizer. A professional has properly calibrated equipment, knows to blow granules off of sidewalks, driveways and patios and back onto the turf. Properly applied lawn fertilizer does not runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. Properly fertilized lawns actually protect the Bay because a well-fertilized lawn provides dense vegetation which stops sediment loss which in turn carries nutrients from storm water into Bay tributaries and ultimately into the Bay.

 

 

 

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Poison Ivy

We spend a lot of the summer outdoors, hiking, camping, gardening etc. But quiet time in the garden or a  nature walk can quickly turn into an itchy adventure if you don’t watch your step. Poison Ivy grows mostly in non-cultivated areas, along stream banks, roadways, and woodlands. It can also make its way to your ornamental shrub or perennial borders. Pro-Lawn Plus has the knowledge and experience to identify and remove the unwanted plant if it creeps too close to your house/yard. Knowing how to identify and control Poison Ivy are the best defenses against accidental contact.  The fact sheet on Poison Ivy below has some great detailed information.

Identification

The best way to identify poison ivy (Rhus radicans) is by its characteristic compound leaf consisting of three leaflets. The leaflets are two to four inches long, dull or glossy green with pointed tips. The middle leaflet is generally larger than the two laterals. The margins of the leaflets are variable, appearing irregularly toothed, lobed, or smooth. The leaves are positioned alternately on the stems. In contrast, Virginia Creeper, a non-poisonous vine often mistaken for poison ivy, has five leaflets radiating from one point of attachment.

iStock_poisonivy

Poison ivy can be found in one of three forms; as an erect woody shrub, a trailing shrub running along the ground, or a woody vine. The vine is usually seen growing on trees or other objects for support. It has aerial roots along the stem that give it the appearance of a “fuzzy rope.”

Control

There are three methods that can be effective in eradicating poison ivy in ornamental beds. They include hand pulling or grubbing; severing the vine and then treating the regrowth with an herbicide; or applying an herbicide to individual leaflets.

 

Things to Know

The blistering rash caused by poison ivy is the direct result of contact with the oily toxicant, known as “urushiol.” Urushiol is found in resin ducts within the plant’s phloem. These ducts are found throughout the plant, including the roots, stems, bark, leaflets and certain flower parts. The plant has to be crushed, broken, or in some way injured to release the resin. The injury may be something as little as an insect chewing on the plant.

Once urushiol is released, it can find its way to your skin by direct contact with the plant and then spread by touching other parts of the body. Because the sticky, oily substance is easily transmitted, there are indirect ways to contact it, for instance, from the fur of the family pet, garden tools, garden gloves, clothing, golf balls or other objects that have come in contact with an injured plant. Contrary to popular belief, the rash from poison ivy cannot be transmitted from touching the oozing blisters.

If you know you have contacted poison ivy, wash the area as soon as possible with soap and cool water. Warm water may cause the resin to penetrate the skin faster. Because urushiol can penetrate in a matter of minutes, you may still get a rash, but at least you have contained the infected area. A visible reaction, redness and swelling may be apparent within 12 to 24 hours. Contact your family physician or pharmacist for recommendations for effective non-prescription medication.

One additional caution is that people can contract a rash by exposure to smoke of burning poison ivy; be careful not to burn wood with the poison ivy vine attached to it. Take extreme caution to avoid inhaling smoke or contact of smoke with skin and clothing.

Welyczkowsky, Cindy, and Jane C. Martin. “Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet.”Ohioline.osu.edu/. Ohio State University Extension, 2001. Web. 

 

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Summer Crabgrass Control

An early spring application of pre-emergent is the best time and method for controlling summer annual grasses like crabgrass and foxtail. Once crabgrass and foxtail germinate and get established, they are extremely difficult to control.  High temperatures in July and August slow down the growth of your lawn but actually accelerates crabgrass growth. If you failed to apply a pre-emergent in the Spring, chances are your lawn may be overrun by crabgrass by now. In years where there is either a lack of rainfall (creating drought stress) or a year like this year when there is an overabundance of rainfall (when the pre-emergent material applied in the spring is washed out), we see larger amounts of crabgrass germination and breakthrough, especially as the summer wears on.

Crabgrass02_ms_2013_edit

Here is what crabgrass may look like
during this mid-summer period

We can apply a post-emergent to control crabgrass and foxtail during the summer, which we do in our Summer Lawn Treatment. In bad years however, you will see a second flush of  germination in the late summer. At that point, there is really no reason to spray it because as an annual grass, it dies out by itself in late September and early October. In most cases, the lawn will fill in where the crabgrass dies out. A late fall fertilization helps that process. In worse cases however, overseeding of the lawn might be required.

In our next blog post we will be talking about fall aeration and the various methods of seeding your lawn.

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