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Termite Treatments

Termite Treatments:  Bait Stations vs Liquid Applications

Termite season is officially here and several people will have to deal with this issue.  When you start to get estimates you need to also consider how your home will be treated and what products will be used.  Generally speaking you have one of two choices:  bait stations or liquid applications.  We install and only recommend bait stations for several reasons but here are some basic facts so you can make your own decision.  Bait stations are installed approximately every 10-15 feet all the way around your home.  Inside of the station is a product that is designed to attract termites to the station vs your house.  Once they start feeding on the bait it is carried back to the colony to be shared with the other termites.  Since all the termites feed on the bait it will cause the entire colony to collapse and die.  With liquid you spray a barrier around the base of the house.  The termites are not attracted to it rather if they come into contact with the barrier it will kill them.  If there are gaps in the coverage then you could have an issue where termites get to the house and start to feed.  The theory is that you are only killing termites that come close to the house only.  Another issue we see with liquid treatments is you can not see the product once it is applied.  This means it starts to deteriorate over time you will not know.  You are also at the mercy of the applicator trusting that they did in fact apply the correct amount of product.  With bait stations you can at any time see if the bait is being fed on and know if there are active termites in the area.  If the bait starts to break down you will also visually be able to see this and get it replaced.  All of the stations are pre filled with the specific amount of product needed so there is no guessing if the right amount was applied.  For us we go back to the first and main point we made.  Termites are attracted to the bait stations and they will lead to the collapse of the entire colony.  We hope this helps make you more informed.  If you have any questions feel free to let us know!

St Augustine Runners

Have you ever noticed long pieces of your St Augustine grass on the surface?  Sometimes these pieces of grass can be 12-24 inches long.  We refer to them as “runner” because it looks like the grass is running on top of the surface.  Your entire lawn is actually made up of a woven mesh of these long runners called Stolons.  We tend to see this more in the Spring when the grass is coming out of dormancy.  Typically a few are normal and you should just mow over the top of them.  After a few weeks the issue will correct itself and go away.  It is happening in most cases because the grass is growing and looking for new areas to weave into and form the thick mat St Aug is known for.  Some things you may be doing to make the matter worse are:

1:  Mowing to short-when this happens the grass is not allowed to grow up and the stolons are exposed and can now be seen.  Just raise the deck and mow around 3-4 inches.

2:  Compacted soil-when the grass is compacted and hard the new runners have a hard time “pegging” into the ground.  Usually watering more to soften the ground helps and depending on how bad it is aeration may be needed.

3:  Thatch Build Up-if the thatch layer is too thick the runners can’t make it to the ground to root themself.  Depending on how thick the layer is, de thatching may be needed.

 

You don’t need to be worried about your grass dying and typically this is a harmless issue that will fix itself in a short amount of time.  Just make sure you’re following all the proper steps to give the grass the best shot possible to thrive and your all good!  

Sunk Pump Drain

 

With all the rain we get in our area it can cause serious problems for homes.  One of the biggest hurdles people often face is where to take the water.  Several yards do not have enough slope of fall to drain the water away and off their property.  Typically french drains and catch basin collect the water and they carry it away in an underground pipe.  When the area is too flat or you don’t have the needed slope to carry it away you may need to consider using a pump.  What you can do is install the drainage system like normal and have all of the water directed to the lowest spot on the property to be collected.  Then you bury a 55 gallon drum or some other large collection tub.  Inside of the drum is an electric pump with a hard pipe leading to the street or some other area you want the water to go to.  All of the water dumps into the drum and is then pumped away.  It is a very effective way to get rid of water and fix all of your drainage issues when there are problems with the grade.  Most people want to add dirt and try to alter the grade of their lawn when they have drainage issues.  It is often cheaper and more effective to just install a drain.  Hope this helps!  

Dying Palm Limbs

Do you have any palm trees?  Ever wondered what to do with the dead limbs?  They actually need to be trimmed off but how you do it is important.  With most palms like this one you can see that the old limbs make up the look of the truck.  You need to be careful with how close you trim them to the trunk of the palm in order to keep the look the same.  Be Careful though because most palms are full of thorns and will cause pretty deep cuts.  All you need is a good set of loopers and just make a clean cut.  Dead limbs are a natural and normal part of the plant’s life cycle so there is no need to be concerned!

Take All Root Rot vs Brown Patch

Take All Root Rot vs Brown Patch

There are several different types of fungus in our area but when it comes to grass 2 causes the biggest issues.  Both of these can be present in the Spring and Fall but each has its time of year.  Take All Root Rot is most common and destructive during the spring time and early summer.  Brown Patch is most common in the fall.  Both can be deadly to your grass but Take All is hands down the worse of the two because of the way it affects the grass.  It affects the roots system of the grass first and will cause death of the entire area.  Your first sign typically is a bright yellow or lime green look to the grass.  This is the grass starting to die because the root system is being affected.  Brown Patch on the other hand affects the actual blade so you see the fungus earlier and therefore can get it treated faster.  With both it is super important to act fast and apply a fungicide to kill the active spores.  Usually with Brown Patch you just need to give the grass time to grow back.  With Take All you oftentimes need to dethatch the area in question depending on how much death and destruction has been caused.  The most frustrating part of any fungus is you typically don’t realize you have it until you have it and damage is being caused.  Most products used to kill it are only active for 14-21 days so it can be cost prohibited to constantly spray your lawn.  Some best practices would be to avoid quick release fertilizers, allow your lawn to dry out if you’re running sprinklers and be careful on how low you cut the grass.  Thatch can also be a big contributor too fungus when the layer is allowed to get very thick.  Under the thatch layer can get and stay very wet which is a prime environment for fungus.  If you think you have a fungus remember that Brown Patch is usually in round circles and affects the blades of the grass.  Take all affects of the roots and you will start to see random dead spots throughout the lawn.  We want to avoid making a blanket recommendation on a type of fungicide to use.  It really depends on the fungus you have, grass type and time of year.  We can help you figure all this out if you need it though!  Just send us a picture!  Have a great day!

Take All Root Rot

A very common fungus you will see this time of the year is one called Take All Root Rot.  It has several other name such as Dead Patch, Die Off or (grass name) Decline but they are all the same thing.  Sometimes it will show up in the fall but is most common in the Spring and early summer.  The first signs you will typically see are a lime green yellowish color on the grass blades.  There will also be some dead or dying patches of grass in the area.  The fungus affects the roots and is in the thatch layer so this discoloration and dead grass is usually a delayed sign of an already present and active fungus.  When these signs show up it is important to act fast because with Take All there are deadly consequences for the area in question.  We take about several things that cause this issue, ways to handle it and ways to treat it.  Let us know if you have any questions or need any help identifying a possible fungus in your lawn.

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Pine Straw Makes A Good Choice

Pine straw is a great alternative to using mulch in your landscape.  Both are pretty close from an expense standpoint so it really comes down to your personal opinion.  Pine straw tends to not wash away in your beds as easy once it has settled and matted down.  The layer also offers a good weed barrier and helps insulate the beds during the winter.  Another thing to consider is the type of trees in your area already.  If you have several pine trees in your yard then it would make sense to use pine straw.  You would end up with mulch beds that just get covered once the needles start to drop.  Just like mulch though, pine straw will fade and break down over time and need to be replaced.  At the end of the day however it is just your choice and what you think looks best.  

Crappy Looking Grass

Are you wondering why your grass looks so crappy right now?  It’s a battle we have been fighting this year all over.  Everything has been done correctly but your yard looks bad.  The truth is that even if you have done the right things, we are still dependent on the weather.  While the temps outside have been pretty amazing they are not ideal for aggressive grass growth.  Think back just a week ago and we had night time lows getting into the 30’s and 40’s.  For grass to grow properly we need these night time lows in the 60’s.  These temperature swings can also create issues when like a month ago we had a week of ideal conditions that promote new growth followed by the cool down.  All the new tender growth is prone to fungus and other issues.  Looking at the extended forecast however there is relief on the way!  We feel confident that warmer temperatures are almost here and will stay helping the grass kick into overdrive and really take off.  If you have any questions let us know!   

Mulch and Weep Holes

Are you going to install some mulch at your house? Did you know if you put to much against the slab you could flood your house? It’s true! Watch this and you will see what we are talking about. There are weep holes which are voids in the brick. If there is not enough space to water can drain into these holes and get inside. Hope this helps!

Flowerbed Drainage

It’s almost time to start planting you summer time flowers and you need to make sure there is a good plan in place.  One of the biggest issues you can experience with your flowers is proper drainage and making sure the roots don’t rot.  This is ever more true when you get all of the rain we have recently experienced. In a case like this one, the edge of the bed is boarded with bricks that prevent the water from draining fast enough.  As it builds up it causes the roots to stay wet and the plant ends up dying. The answer would be to pull the dead plants for now and next time don’t plant the flowers as close to the edge. You could also consider pulling some drainage in the edges as well.  The most important thing though is to always take a step back with looking at your issues and think outside the box. Sometimes the answer is easy and obvious. Hope this helps!