close x

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 .

Lawn Care and Maintenance Lawn Weeds and Control Pro-Lawn-Plus0 comments

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.

Lawn Care and Maintenance Lawn Weeds and Control Pro-Lawn-Plus0 comments

Tree & Shrub Salt Damage

Injury due to salt is most common on landscape plants growing adjacent to highways, streets, sidewalks, and driveways that are regularly salted during the winter for ice control. Most of the salt used for deicing purposes is sodium chloride, ordinary rock salt or table salt. On highways, the major problem to plants is caused by salt spray kicked up by fast moving traffic on wet, salted roads. The salt spray is deposited on adjacent plants causing dehydration of evergreen leaves. In the city, the major problem is salt runoff washing into the soil. Salt in the soil may be absorbed by the roots and cause direct toxic effects.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Tree Salt

Salt_Injury2237

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt spray causes bud death and twig dieback. Subsequent shoot growth at the branch base produces clusters of twigs known as “witches’ brooms.” Symptoms typically become evident in the spring. In evergreens and conifers, salt spray causes leaf browning or yellowing, needle tip flecking, and twig dieback. Salt in the soil is slower acting and may not affect plants for several years. Symptoms include an initial blue green cast to the foliage, marginal leaf burn or needle tip burn, reduction in leaf, flower and fruit size, premature fall coloration and defoliation, stunting, and a general lack of vigor. The symptoms often become evident in late summer or during periods of hot dry weather.

Commercial Lawn Care Lawn Care and Maintenance Pro-Lawn-Plus Tree and Shrub Care2 comments

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.

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

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.

 

Lawn Care and Maintenance Lawn Weeds and Control Pro-Lawn-Plus3 comments

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.

 

 

 

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

Summer Watering Tips.

Now that summer weather has arrived, many of our customers start asking us about watering the lawn – what is the best time of day to water; how often; how long, etc. Our answers to those questions have changed over the years because of our concern about water conservation practices.

The turfgrasses grown in lawns in Maryland, including Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, fine fescues and zoysia all have fairly good drought tolerance. Their natural reaction to hot, dry conditions is to going into dormancy until cooler weather and soil moisture returns. However, if you want to keep your grass green during the summer, here is the best advice:

iStock_000003021437XSmallTurfgrasses in Maryland need about an inch of water per week. If your lawn is fairly flat, try heavy, more infrequent watering. Usually an hour or so in each sprinkler location two or three times per week is sufficient. If your lawn is sloped, you will need to do more frequent, lighter watering to avoid the water running off of the slope.

The best time of day to water is very early in the morning if possible. Mid-day and afternoon watering is very inefficient because the some water evaporates before it has a chance to get down into the root system. Evening or night watering is more efficient and is acceptable as long as your lawn is not susceptible to fungus diseases, which high humidity and free moisture promote.

You will find if the weather is sunny and hot for an extended period of time, you are going to have a difficult time seeing the effectiveness of your watering because of high evapotranspiration rates. It makes sense to wait until any heat wave breaks and we have a few cloudy days to help make your watering more effective.

 

DroughtDamage_MS2013

Heat stress and drought can affect your lawn quickly.

 

Commercial Lawn Care Lawn Care and Maintenance Pro-Lawn-Plus0 comments