Every year about this time, as the temperature starts to cool and the sun sets earlier in the day, pests start to look for a more permanent shelter from the cold. Insects get into your home through open doors and windows, by hitching a ride on firewood or anything else (including you) that comes in from outside. Any tiny crack or crevice is an open invitation to come indoors. Mice and other rodents can find their way in through gaps and small holes in your siding where pipes or electric wires run in and can cause some pretty serious damage to your home like torn insulation or damage to electrical wiring. The best defense is a strong offense! Sealing any potential access points and having the exterior of your home regularly treated will be your best bet!
Don’t make the mistake of trimming your azaleas this Fall! Azalea buds are set for next Spring, trimming them now will remove the buds resulting in bloomless Azaleas. It is okay to make selective cuts if needed, but not an aggressive trim!
This could be a subjective topic, but push mowers are just better and most would agree! Yes, riding mowers are fun and get the job done in half the time, but is it good for your lawn? It’s completely understandable using a riding lawn mower when dealing with a much larger lawn, but when it comes to residential lawns you should be using a push mower. Push mowers offer more control using one blade instead of multiple which result in a better cut, maintenance is easier, and they are lightweight so you are able to mow after it rains. Lighter mowers help prevent soil compaction and the all around health of the lawn.
Have you noticed your Crape Myrtles bark peeling? Are they a reddish pink? The immediate thought is that the tree is dying.. This isn’t the case. You shouldn’t worry, this is all completely normal and part of the tree’s life cycle. The bark will shed naturally or can be easily peeled without causing any harm to the tree.
Did you know rusty nails can change the color of your Hydrangeas? It’s true! The color of your plants are dictated by the pH of the soil. An old wives tale says if you put old rusty nails at the base of the plant it will change the pH of the soil thus changing the color of the plant. Overall they are a very traditional plant in the south. Remember they don’t like much evening sun or having their roots wet all the time. Typically they don’t get trimmed unless they get too big for a particular area. If you do need to cut them back then October or November is the best time for this. If yours aren’t blooming yet then get ready! It’s almost time to enjoy these beauties!
This is a video from the Fall but is very relevant with all the recent rain we have had several people call with issues. If your gutters are clogged or need to be cleaned you could actually do yourself more harm than good. We have worked with and highly recommend LA Rain Pro for a long time now. They have the ability to help clean your gutters and keep them flowing free so down pours like last night do not cause you problems. I personally have gutter guards on mine and they made all the difference in the world. I still maybe once a year though have to get them cleaned just to make sure everything is working properly. PLEASE listen to us when we say make sure your gutters are clean! If they overflow you could have major problems. Whether you do the work or you give them a call, make sure to keep your gutters in good working order.
Have you noticed your grass not growing the last week? We have taken several concerned phone calls because peoples grass was growing strong and now its not growing at all. The issues you are seeing is that last week’s cold temperatures caused the grass to stop growing. We have what is considered to be a warm season grass in our area. For the grass to grow the temperatures need to consistently be in the 60s at night. Last week we were in the 30’s and 40’s which just shut things down. An issue you do need to worry about would be fungus. When there is such a large temperature swing it is the prime environment for fungus to thrive so keep your eye out! We also encourage people to start feeding their grass even if it slowed down for now. Looking into the extended forecast we are about to be back in prime growing season and want to make sure there is an adequate food source available. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns!
Have you ever wondered how termites get into your house like little ninjas? They build what is called a mud tube that comes from underground and leads to an entry point into the house. The real issue with these tubes however is if you are not paying close attention you could easily overlook them. As you can see in the video, they are very small and blend in with the concrete color. When the tube is active you can usually knock it back and see multiple termites going back and forth. Be warned though that knocking the tubes down doesn’t get rid of the termites, they will just move down the wall and start over. They only need an opening that is 1/32 of an inch big to get access. When you see these tubes it is usually safe to assume they are already feeding in the house so you need to act fast. If you need any help identifying a possible termite tube send us a picture. Hope this helps!
Stickers or Burr Weed can be a big issue during the summer. To understand how to get rid of them you have to understand how they develop. It is actually a winter weed that germinates in the fall but grows and develops late winter/early spring. When it gets hot the weed dies. The seed heads they develop is what forms the sticker and causes you issues. The easiest way to get rid of them is with a pre-emergent in the fall. This will keep the weed from ever developing. If in the Spring you see the weed growing you need a herbicide like Speed Zone Southern or MSM. Make sure to read and follow the label. The key to kill it is to catch it early enough before the seed heads start to develop. If you wait too long then even if you kill the weed, the seed head will still get hard and cause issues. If you currently have stickers right now then unfortunately you don’t have any options. You can use a bagger mower to suck up some of them but it wont get all of the stickers. It will be important to remember though having stickers that are dead means the seed heads developed and they are in the soil for next year. You can be proactive and apply a pre-emergent in the fall or wait until next spring and kill the weed while it is young. Here are a few links to the products we are talking about. Hope this helps!
Specticle Flow Pre-Emergent: https://www.amazon.com/Spectacle-Flo-Pre-emerge-Herbicide-oz/dp/B0141EBFGI/ref=sr_1_1?crid=YIHWNUI4Y23R&dchild=1&keywords=specticle+flo+herbicide&qid=1584649317&sprefix=specticle+fl%2Caps%2C214&sr=8-1
Speed Zone Southern: https://www.amazon.com/PBI-SpeedZone-Southern-Broadleaf-Herbicide/dp/B003ORW5QI/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2LB88X1XE17PS&dchild=1&keywords=speedzone+southern+herbicide&qid=1584649364&s=lawn-garden&sprefix=speed+zone+sou%2Clawngarden%2C180&sr=1-1
A popular question this time of year…”Should I cover my plants in the cold?” Depending on who you ask you will get several answers. Not all are wrong so let us explain out position. Generally speaking, we don’t get cold enough long enough for this to be a big issue. To properly cover your plants takes a lot of work and the effort isn’t going to be worth the results. Granted we are talking about you normal everyday landscape plants. There are some instances where this information is not going to apply but they are rare. One of the biggest issues comes from ice and that’s not something we see much of. In order for covering plants to work you need to understand some basics. First it’s not the cover that protects the plant. The cover helps keep the air around the plant warm and the air is what protects it. Because of this you need to make sure the cover goes all the way to the ground and is sealed off. You can also consider putting stakes in the ground to keep the cover off of the plants. With plastic covers, if they touch the plant then you start to loose how effective it works. Some people will use a cloth cover but these can get heavy in the rain and smash the plants. Another tip we have seen used is people putting a light under the cover to help create heat. One example where covering could possibly have some benefits would be with sago palms. If there were going to be some ice or snow you could cover the plant, not to keep it warm but to keep the ice from building up on the plant. Hope this helps!