All posts by Garrett Matthews

Hawthorn Leaf Spot

Have you ever noticed Indian Hawthorns in your landscape getting very thin and losing all of their leaves?  You may even notice the leafs turning red and orange before they fall off.  Before long the entire plant looks dead and bald.  Chances are your shrubs are suffering from a disease called Leaf Spot.  It’s a fungus that attacks shrubs like hawthorns very hard.  Typically you will first notice dots or spots forming on the leafs then the plant starts to drop all of the leafs.  Once it forms in one plant it will also start to spread to the others nearby as well.  We typically see it in areas where there is excessive moisture or not much air flow.  It also is common in areas where the plants are planted very thick and form a hedge.  The good news is unless you have let the issue go on to long the plants can be treated using a fungicide.  The entire plant and surrounding plants will need to be sprayed at least once and sometimes twice depending on how advanced the issue is.  We also recommend removing all of the affected leaves that have been dropped.  Reducing the amount of water the plants get and allowing them to dry out is also a very good practice.  Here is a link to a effective product we recommend to use if you decide to tackle this project!

https://www.amazon.com/Propiconazole-Generic-Banner-Quart-nuf-010/dp/B004GTONG8/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1GT9LV4LRV54Z&keywords=propiconazole+14.3+fungicide&qid=1555950859&s=gateway&sprefix=fungicide+pro%2Caps%2C178&sr=8-3

Dethatching

Most people have heard of thatch in your lawn but do you really know what it is?  Basically it is a bunch of dead grass in your yard.  Some thatch is actually a good thing.  When it gets out of control and builds up a super thick layer is when you will start to see issues.  There are several ways you can get an unhealthy layer of thatch.  The most common is allowing the grass to get to tall in between the times you cut it.  Most lawns have a mulching mower used to help break down the grass into smaller sections.  This issues start when there is more grass to break down than time will allow.  It’s pretty easy to tell if you have a thatch issue in your lawn.  Is it hard to see the dirt below the grass?  When you walk across the yard does it feel very soft or like a cushion?  If you pull a rake through the yard do a lot of dead grass come to the surface?  These are all simple signs that you may have an issue to address.  When the layer is allowed to get to thick you will start to notice the lawn getting thin.  This thick layer prevents water from getting to the soil where the roots are.  It also makes it hard to fertilizers and other nutrients to get to the ground.  The solution can sometimes be as basic as aerating the lawn.  This can help break down small amounts of thatch.  Other times you need a more aggressive approach like using a power rake or dethatcher.  The dethatcher has several metal “fingers” that run through the grass and pull all of that thatch to the surface.  It usually surprises people when they see the amount of dead grass that gets removed.  We must warn you, don’t try this unless you have a way to haul off an excessive amount of trash and debris.  As you can see in the video there is a lot of old grass that will need to be raked up and thrown away.  If you try to take this on by yourself there are a few places to rent them like Tubbs Hardware in Bossier or Home Depot on Bert Kouns.  Bailey Bark and Material is a good place to consider dumping the trash when the job is done.  Hope this helps!

mulch, matthews landscape

Water Bubble

Have you ever seen a lawn pimple! HaHa…actually it’s just a massive build up of water under ground. It’s very common this time of year when your sprinkler system has been turned off during the winter. Sometimes there will be breaks and since they are underground you can’t see them. In a situation like this one, the root system of the grass is thick enough and the soil compacted to the point the water stays under ground. It then forms a water bed like situation in the lawn and the water builds up there. The issue ends up being you have punch a hole in the ground to let all the water out then dig around to find the break. It’s very important to find these types of breaks because it is usually a major one that is letting lots of water out. Considering how much the city charges for water you want to get it fixed! Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any questions!

aeration

Do I Need To Aerate?

To aerate or not to aerate?

Wait what do you mean aerate?

Our area is no stranger to clay soil.  That along with all of the rain and high heat can cause for very compacted soil.  To combat this soil compaction problem there is a process called aeration.  This is the process of physically removing cores of dirt which helps loosen the ground.  When the ground is not as compacted it allows for better absorption of water, proper air flow and better ability for nutrients to get to the grass roots.

The real question is how do you know if you need it?  We suggest getting it done at least once a year.  If you have never had it then lets just assume you need it!  A simple test is to take a normal screw driver and try to stick it into the ground.  If you can not get it into the ground relatively easy then you need to consider getting this done.  You should not have to lean into it and put a ton of muscle and body weight into getting the screwdriver into the ground.  The benefits are huge.  If you have any questions about how or where to do this feel free to ask any questions!

Save Money On Water!

Want to save money on your water bill this year? Lord knows the City water isn’t getting any cheaper! Think about the last time you watered your lawn and all of the water that went running down the street. What if you could have saved that water and reduced the waste which leads to money saved? It’s possible in a few ways. One like shown here is by converting your sprinkler heads to MPR nozzles. They are a much slower way of watering the lawn and reduce waste. They also just do a better job to be honest. David makes it look pretty easy but be prepared to get a little wet! The amount of money saved would vary on the size of your lawn but this one simple up grade will pay for itself and save money in the first year. Tomorrow we will talk about controller upgrades!

 

chinch bugs

Crop Circles

Do you have crop circles in your yard?  Worried that aliens may have landed?

Well I hate to break it to you but that is actually a fungus and what you need is a fungicide. Brown Patch is its name and damage is its game! It is very common this time of the year when we are getting temperatures swings of 20-30 degrees between the highs and lows. St. Augustine is the most prone of all the grasses by far. It is also very fast moving and needs to be treated pretty quick. In the example here we sprayed it within 2 days of noticing the fungus. Make sure to use a quality fungicide and apply it following the label on the bottle. Also, don’t be surprised if you need more than one application. It is also important to rotate your types of fungicides out so that a resistance does not build up. As soon as we start getting warm temperatures on a regular basis you will be able to let your guard down. Also, if you neighbors lawn get the brown patch, don’t be surprised if you get it as well.

 

Getting The Right Round Up

Grabbing the right jug could mean the difference between getting results and kill your lawn!  In today’s flooded market of products to choose from Language is very important.  For years Round Up meant one thing…kill everything.  Today they have products that are actually safe to spray on your grass and only kill weeds.  The down side to this is we have seen people think they were killing weeds and actually kill the entire lawn.  The labels on these different jugs are super important and actually the law.  Make sure you know what you are applying, how much you are applying and why you are applying it.  Also, don’t fall victim of the old saying that if a little is good a lot is better.  Not always the case!

Cleaning Your Irrigation Pipes

Each Spring we get calls about peoples sprinkler systems smelling!  Let me explain…during the winter when you winterize your sprinkler system you are actually only draining water from the vacuum breaker.  In a lot of homes there is still water left in the pipes.  It’s been just sitting there stagnate for 4-6 months now and will develop a foul smell.  When you turn your sprinkler system on for the first time it will start to flush all of this water out of the lines and also spread the bad smell.  The good news is it will go away pretty quick.  The bad news is if there was a lot of allege or dirt build up you may need to flush your lines out.  Trash as fine as sand can cause your vales and heads to not function the right way and prevent the sprinkler system from spraying the lawn in the right way.  The easy way to clean these line out would be to remove a nozzle on each zone and let the water flow freely until it becomes clean and clear.

 

Sprinkler Repair & Installation Bossier City LA

Old Stuck Heads

Have you ever noticed some of your sprinkler heads still sticking out of the grass after it waters your grass?  We typically refer to these as “stuck heads”.  It a common issue with old sprinkler systems and sometimes with lawns that are very thick.  Inside of the sprinkler head there is a large spring.  When water enters the head it causes the nozzle to pop up and water the lawn.  When it is through watering the spring is suppose to cause the head to retract back into the sprinkler.  On older systems this spring will sometimes not be strong enough to pull the head back in and causes the nozzle to still stand up.  This can be a real issue when you go to mow the lawn and hit the heads.  We have also seen dogs chew on them and kids kick them while playing outside!  The simple fix would be to just replace the spring but we actually suggest just replacing the entire head.  The cost difference is not enough to pass on up grading the entire head.  Don’t be surprised however if you find yourself replacing several of these at the same time.  If your feeling super ambitious this would also be a good time to consider upgrading your sprinkler system to new MPR nozzles and saving your self money on water use!

Boxwood Dieback

As if there was not enough to worry about…the one plant we all thought was virtually impossible to kill has a new disease that is attacking them. The LSU Ag center is actually the lead agency in discovering the fungus and running test. It’s got the most original name you have ever heard of, Boxwood Dieback disease. And as you would guess it, it causes the plant to die back. The first tall tell sign is you will notice random die back in the plant. Some limbs look well and alive while others are dead. The cause of this is a fungus. The cure at this point is going to be a fungicide however it is so new we are still running trials on how much and what kind works the best. Send us pictures if you have any questions!
Here is a quick link to learn more information.
https://www.ncipmc.org/action/alerts/boxwood.pdf