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. 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
We can apply a post-emergent to control crabgrass and foxtail during the summer, which we do in our. 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 aboutand the various methods of .
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.
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.
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.
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,, fertilize in autumn and avoid close mowing.
For information about these and other weeds, visit the Difficult to control weeds section of our website .
We are seeing high numbers of Japanese Beetle adults emerging now. They are flying around, feeding on trees, shrubs and certain perennials; mating then laying eggs in the lawn. Those eggs can turn into grubs if there is adequate soil moisture. In the summer of 2013, soil moisture is certainly abundant. So we expect a large grub population later this summer and into early fall.
The adult beetles can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. See this link fromfor control strategies. We do NOT recommend those yellow beetle traps because they tend to bring more beetles to your property. Insecticide sprays can help but generally rain will wash it off so in a year like 2013, multiple sprays would be necessary.
If you are on a lawn care program and you are not on the grub prevention option, you might want to consider it for 2013. The worst case scenario is that we have continue to have a wet July (so the grubs hatch and survive) then the turf dries out in August. At that time the turf has drought stress in combination with a reduced root system from the feeding of the grubs. That combination can cause damage that looks like this.Grubs in the soil.
To reiterate, if you have beetles you can expect to start seeing the grubs starting in late July and damage occurring from early August through early October. To prevent this type of damage to your property, we strongly recommend that you consider a grub preventive application as soon as possible.
Brown Patch disease (Rhizoctonia spp.) occurs in Maryland in warm, humid weather. The combination of daytime temperatures that are over 85°F and nighttime temperatures that stay above 65° F with little air flow leaving the grass moist for over eight hours are the perfect conditions for this turf disease. You can identify Brown Patch by its symptoms. Light tan lesions with dark brown edges across the middle or tips of the grass blades are signs you might have Brown Patch. On mornings with abundant dew, you will actually be able to see the signs of the fungal mycelium which look like cottony structures.
Click to enlarge
It is mainly a problem on improved varieties of Tall Fescue. If you have a variety that is especially susceptible to Brown Patch disease and the ideal environmental conditions are expected for an extended period of time, you might need to have your lawn treated with a fungicide to avoid having to. However, if a cold front is expected within a few days to lower the humidity and nighttime temperatures, it may not be necessary to spray.
If you suspect you have brown patch, avoid nighttime watering if you can. Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on a humid night set up the ideal conditions for Brown Patch disease. More information on Brown Patch UMD
Please let us know if you have any questions about this disease.
Does your lawn have either of these things?
Whenever we have a period of rainfall, warm temperatures, and high humidity, we always receive calls about mushrooms. We also receive calls about bluish-gray fungus on the lawn. The good news is that both of these are called saprophytic fungi, meaning they are not feeding on the grass itself. Therefore, neither lawn fungus needs to be treated with a lawn fungicide. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungi that feed on rotting wood underground and they may be a symptom of a lawn disease called ‘Fairy Ring’; but it does NOT need to be treated. You can just kick the mushrooms over and they will dry out within a day or so. And with slime mold, you can either wash the particles (technically called pustules) off or kick it off of the grass blades it attaches itself to. Generally, when the lawns dry out and the humidity diminishes, the mushrooms and slime mold will disappear.
Here is the link to our website that describes mushrooms
Finally, here is a link from Ohio State University that describes slime mold in more detail
Bugs seem to be on everyone’s minds lately. How many cicadas are coming? When will they get here? Will they ruin my trees or lawn? Wild estimates were tossed around to describe how many cicadas were expected to crawl out of the ground leading up to this year’s debut of a new generation of Brood II. Some said there would be up to 30 billion. Some said 1 trillion. Still others said cicadas would outnumber people 600 to 1. After reading this article from Freestate Nursery and Landscape News, it seems it really depends on where you are. And it looks like most of us in Maryland have nothing to worry about. I was looking forward to trying my first deep fried cicada this year too! Oh well, I know the regular Brood X cicadas will arrive in 2021.
Another bug people are talking about, not favorably, is the infamous stink bug. These annoying pests will not damage your lawn or ornamentals but can cause damage to vegetable gardens and fruit trees. Here is another great article in Freestate Nursery and Landscape News about stink bugs that you can read here.