What to do About Those Helicopters Falling From the Trees

If you have a maple tree in your yard, or near your yard, you’ve probably noticed that the whirlybirds are back. Depending on the size and proximity of the maple tree, whirlybirds, also known as helicopters, can blanket your yard, driveway and sidewalks, and deck and patio areas.

maple-helicopters

Their real name is samara, and they contain seeds from the trees. They are most common on Maple trees, with silver maples being the biggest offender. Samara take flight as they fall from the trees, thanks to their lightweight tails that allow them to spin as they fall.

Their aerodynamic tails also help them to plant themselves. The heavier seed end lands face down and when stepped on, the tail will break off and the seed will plant itself. Don’t be surprised to see seedlings trees popping up in your yard, gardens and sidewalk cracks.

Helicopter_leaves

Short of cutting down the tree, there isn’t much you can do to eliminate the fall of the helicopters in the spring. Sweep them up from the driveway, sidewalks and patio areas. If they call in a planting zone such as your yard or gardens, use a rake to get as many as you can. Regular mowing and lawn maintenance will help, and you call always pull seedlings from the ground.

On the bright side, you will enjoy several weeds of shade this summer from the tree the helicopters fell from, until autumn when the leaves fall and the clean-up begins again!

What Can You Do About Those Dandelions?

We love that Spring is finally here. The grass is green, buds are on the trees, gardens are filling in with tulips and perennials. It all looks great – until you notice those bright yellow spots in your lawn. Dandelions!

dandelions

The dreaded dandelions are some of the first weeds to appear in the season. The broad leaf perennials are hearty and can grow almost anywhere, as long as they have sunlight. When you see the distinctive yellow flower, it is time to act.

Even the best cared for lawn can have dandelions. They are difficult to control. Pulling them out of the ground will not get rid of them, unless you get the entire roots, which can be as deep as 2-3 feet.

As the yellow flowers mature, they turn to the white, fluffy “flowers” that kids love to blow – but homeowners hate! The white puffball contains seeds that spread in the wind, resulting in more dandelions!

A spring pre-emergent herbicide is the best way to control dandelions, and other weeds, in your lawn. Applying it now will help control any dandelions that have already popped up, and prevent additional one from sprouting.

A thick, healthy lawn will also choke out potential dandelions and other weeds. Keep your lawn well maintained, and mow on a higher setting.

If you have dandelions or other weeds in your yard, call the experts at Turf Care today.

 

Reminders about Japanese Beetles

japanese beetleWe have shared information with you before about the Japanese beetles. The flying beetle with metallic wings travels in groups and feast on a variety of trees and shrubs, including many fruit and shade trees and roses and boxwoods. If left untreated, a tree or bush that has been infested with Japanese beetles will slowly die.

Japanese beetles don’t become problematic until they reach adulthood. There is a common misconception that if you control grubs in your lawn you will control the Japanese beetles because the grub is the larva stage of a Japanese beetle unfortunately, an adult beetle can fly up to 6 miles, so unless you control the grub in a 6-mile radius of your home, you won’t be able to control the Japanese beetle at the larva stage.

The female adult Japanese beetle has a congregating hormone which is why they tend to swarm on particular bushes. Some spray treatments can be effective but short-term, so repeat treatments may be necessary during periods of high population of the pest.

Systemic insecticide can be used as a preventative method to control Japanese beetles. However, we need to be mindful of any flowering plants and the effect an insecticide may have on bee populations, so extra care and caution is needed during application.

This particular species of beetle is new to our area. When a new insect species moves into an area, the population tends to spike. This will drop over time and level off and we will have more of a consistent, manageable problem.

If you are concerned about Japanese beetles in your lawn, or have questions about lawn care, contact the professionals at Turf Care today!

Preventing Infestation of Grass

Here in the Midwest, we see a variety of different types of grasses. We enjoy a hearty growing season in spring and summer, which is conducive to many different types of grasses. The most commons grasses in the area are Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescues (cool season grasses).

For some homeowners, the type of grass is a matter or preference based on things such as color, feel, growth and thickness. There are some grasses in the Midwest that are not popular with some homeowners, and we get a lot of questions about how to get rid of them (Warm season grasses).

· Zoysia: There are two camps when it comes Zoysia grass – some people love the thick, green grass, but others dislike its short growing season and pervasive nature. Once it’s established, it takes over an area and can be difficult to eliminate! The best method to get rid of it entirely is to pull it out by the roots, or cover it in darkness to prevent sunlight. In a large area this may not be feasible, and chemicals might be required to get rid of it.

· Bermuda: While it does well in the south it is considered a weed in Nebraska. We get less frequent calls about Bermuda grass. This grass grows quickly, but does best in hot, dry conditions. It will go dormant in the winter and turn brown, and typically greens up later than other types of grass because it does best in hot, dry conditions. Not a good choice for a lawn in Nebraska.

· Buffalo: Although native to Nebraska it is mostly seen in the western part of the state. Buffalo grass is very low maintenance. Requires very little fertility and mowing. Buffalo grass is also drought tolerant, but it does better with cold resistance than other grasses. Buffalo grass is very hard to establish. Because it is a warm season grass, it will turn brown earlier and green up.

If you are happy with the type of grass in your lawn, and want to prevent an infestation of Zoysia, Bermuda, Buffalo or other types of grass, the experts at Turf Care have some tips for you:

o Keep your grass well-maintained with regular raking and mowing

o Routinely apply fertilizer and weed control products designed to prevent undesirable types of grasses

o Construct a boundary between your yard and a neighboring patch of the other grass

The Turf Care team can help you keep your yard maintained to prevent an infestation of unwanted grasses, or help you establish a lawn with the grass you prefer. Give us a call today!

Spring Yard Care

April is Lawn and Garden Month – the perfect time for Jay to share lawn care tips with the Omaha Executives Association (OEA).

OEA card

OEA was established in 1924 and continues their mission to provide Omaha executives an avenue to network and develop business and personal relationships.

Jay presented helpful tips for Spring lawn care with the group – and we want to share those with you as well:

· Be patient with your lawn. Some patches may look better than others. That is normal!

· If you plan on overseeding your lawn this Spring, do that now, before May 1. Don’t fertilize the newly seeded area. Call Turf Care to discuss when it’s safe to apply.

· Pay attention to the weather. You want the seeded area to stay moist, be careful not to overwater.

· Don’t be too eager to start mowing. Some patches of grass may be growing taller than others, and you may be tempted to mow. Waiting until the grass grows a little longer will help your lawn establish healthy roots. When you do mow for the first time, just cut the top third and bag the clippings to help spur healthy growth.

lawn mowing

We are anxious for consistent warmer weather – especially after the long winter. While we may still experience some cold snaps, the good news is that warmer days, green grass, and blooming trees and flowers are here.

Take time now during Lawn and Garden Month to prepare your lawn for a green healthy season!

What Should I Do About the Brown Spots from Fido in My Yard?

The snow has melted and we are finally starting to see green poking through on our lawns. Spring is finally here! But, if you are a dog owner, you may be seeing brown spots like this and wondering what to do.

dog spots

You’re not alone. Dog urine is the leading cause of dead spots in lawn due to the high amounts of soluble salts and nitrogen in the urine. Now that the snow has melted and the grass is starting to turn green, the brown spots are even more noticeable. This is especially true if your dog has a favorite spot in the lawn.

If the brown spot is relatively small – the size of your fist for example – leave it alone. The surrounding turf will fill in thee spots. Rinse them with water to remove any salts and let the lawn take care of it.

You may need to do some repair work in your dog’s favorite spot where the brown spots are larger, or clustered together. Spring is the best time to do this. Start by gently raking the dead grass and removing the top layer of the soil. Water the area for a few days to reduce the soluble salts in the area and then overseed the area, making sure to keep it watered over the next several days.

Using a fertilizer with nitrogen will help green up your lawn, particularly brown spots damaged by dog urine. Don’t fertilize where you have seeded until grass is mature.

While you are repairing the area, discourage your dog from using the spot. In fact, it is ideal to train your dog to use an area with gravel or mulch, or an area with longer grass that isn’t mowed. When that is not possible, thoroughly rinsing the area with water after your dog urinates will reduce the amounts of salts and nitrogen that reach the soil, reducing the damage to the lawn.

We are all looking forward to enjoying the outdoors – including our dogs. These few simple steps should help you all enjoy a green, healthy lawn this season!

Spring Meltdown

We extend our thoughts and sympathies to all of those who are affected by flooding.

Unfortunately, conditions were ideal for significant flooding– mild temperatures, heavy spring rains, saturated soil on top of a frozen ground, snowpack and a thick ice covering rivers and waterways.

The problem is that the ground was still frozen and the melting snow and falling rain had nowhere to go.

You may be looking at your own lawn and wondering how long it will be before it is green, dry and healthy. Don’t worry – it will be soon!

Here are a few tips to help your lawn endure the spring thaw:

  • Stay off your lawn as much as possible. Traffic on the grass while the soil beneath it is still frozen can damage the roots below. Avoid walking on it as much as possible until it dries out.
  • Get rid of any snow mold. If you notice grey patches of grass, particularly where large snow mounds were, it is likely snow mold caused by the snow sitting on the lawn for too long. Gently rake the area to help with the drying process.
  • Aerate your lawn. Call the experts at Turf Care to schedule an aeration of your yard when the ground thaws. This will help speed up the flow of water to the roots of your grass where it can do the most good.
  • Repair damaged spots from salt. As the grass dries, gently rake areas damaged from winter salt. If they are beyond repair, we can help!

There isn’t much we can do right now other than begin clean-up, we just have to wait for Mother Nature to continue to do her job! Eventually the ground will thaw, the water will be gone and we will be enjoying beautiful lawns.

Call Turf Care now to add your lawn to our spring service list.

 

Don’t Worry About the Snow on Your Lawn!

It feels like we are stuck in a snow globe with all the snow we’ve had – in fact it’s been a record-setting year for snowfall. According to the National Weather Service, Omaha has already received over 40 inches this winter, up from the average 19 inches!

You may be wondering how all this snow affects your lawn. There’s actually a silver lining in this. We have experienced some extreme low temperatures this season, and the heavy blanket of snow on our lawns actually acts as an insulator, protecting our grass from the extreme cold and subzero wind chills. The insulation allows the roots to continue growing and the soil microbes to continue improving your turf.

snow grass

The snow layer serves as a slow-watering method for your yard. As it melts, it slowly feeds your grass underneath, pulling your winter application down to the roots with it. The snow also pulls nitrogen from the atmosphere as it falls, and that nitrogen feeds and fertilizes your lawn as the snow melts.

Here are a few ways to minimize the damage from the harsh effects of winter:

  • Keep ice melt off your lawn. After the ice has melted, sweep it up so it doesn’t wash into your yard.
  • If your yard is damaged by a snowplow or other vehicle, don’t worry! It will bounce back in the spring, and if the damage is more significant the experts at Turf Care can repair it in Spring.
  • Avoid walking on the lawn when it is bitterly cold as it can damage brittle cold grass blades.
  • When you are snow blowing or shoveling, keep the snow on your yard and out of the street. Your lawn will thank you – and so will drivers!
  • While you’re shoveling the snow don’t forget to clear around a fire hydrant that is in your yard. It’s your responsibility as a homeowner.

And finally, here is some really good news – the heavy snow fall, coupled with extreme low temperatures we have experienced, have likely reduced the insect population. So come Spring, we should have fewer insects to deal with.

So don’t get too upset about more snowfall – the benefits will pay off in the spring with a beautiful, healthy lawn. And spring will be here soon!

New features, same great service.

Once again we would like to thank our customers for your continued business! We sincerely appreciate your confidence in choosing Turf Care as your lawn care provider and all the referrals over the years.

We are currently transitioning to new software. You might notice some changes to our spring customer letter and should also expect our invoices to have similar changes. In addition your customer number will likely change with the new software. Turf Care continues to make every effort to give you the best possible lawn at a reasonable price. As we head into 2019, we would like to present a few recommendations to keep your lawn healthy and beautiful. Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions and be sure to “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TurfCareInc for an opportunity to win free lawn services and other useful information throughout the season.

Turf Care was established in 1982 by Ed Arnsperger and has proudly remained a family owed business ever since. When Ed’s son Jay took over full management of the company in 1987, Jay’s focus was twofold: retain elite customer satisfaction and maintain a healthy lawn while being a steward for the environment. This continues to be achieved with strategic agronomic decisions, using fewer chemicals, with lower rates when they are used. This is good for both our customers and the environment, so rest assured that lawn care is only getting safer!

 

Use Ice Melt in Moderation

Recent snow storms in the area have started with a period of freezing rain, followed by snow. The freezing rain leaves a layer of ice on surfaces outside, making sidewalks and roads icy and unsafe. Deicing agents that we use make sidewalks and driveways safe, but they can have lingering effects that are damaging to grass and plants.

Deicing products contain salt which can be toxic to grass and plants when it dissolves in water. The rock salt absorbs the water that the roots of plants and grass need, leaving them dehydrated and stressed.

This is kind of an out-of-sight out-of-mind problem right now, but we will see the impact in spring. As the snow melts, you may notice a brown strip or patches in the lawn along the driveway, sidewalk or street where the deicer met the grass.

Deice-Driveway

There are some steps you can take to minimize the damage of deicers on your lawn and plants:

  • Follow the label direction carefully and don’t over-salt. Use only as much as you need!
  • Consider a barrier, covering or fencing to protect sensitive plants or your lawn, particularly along the street to protect against the street deicing used by the city crews.
  • Shovel ice and snow as soon as possible in order to avoid unnecessary reapplication of an ice melt product.
  • Sweep ice melt or rock salt off grass and plants as soon as possible.
  • Avoid using agents that contain salt in extreme cold as they function best when temperatures are just below freezing.
  • Avoid pushing or shoveling snow that may contain a deicing product onto the lawn when possible.
  • Sweep up rock salt that is visible when the snow melts. Some products that are designed to work best in extreme temperatures can be hard on cement so sweeping it up as soon as you can is a good idea.

Despite these precautions, you may still notice damage to your lawn in the Spring. In most cases, the lawn should recover. Rain and adequate precipitation should flush the salt from your lawn. You may need to reseed the damaged areas if they don’t bounce back within a few weeks.

We can’t control the weather, but we can take steps to keep our plants and yards safe from chemical damage. As always, our team of lawn care professionals is ready to help address any concerns you might have. Give us a call.