Winter Is Here

When Winter comes, and the temperatures fall, so does our daily to-do list. But that doesn’t mean the Turf Care team isn’t keeping busy this Winter!

When the temperatures dip below freezing, the lawn and plants go dormant for the season. Regular maintenance isn’t necessary, and watering is obviously not recommended. Winter may have just arrived, but our team is already preparing for Spring and Summer.

We love the Omaha community, and when our workload slows down during the colder months, we are grateful for the opportunity to spend some time giving back. During the winter, our dedicated full-time technicians typically spend a day each week volunteering at the Food Bank for the Heartland. While they love their jobs and they work hard throughout the year, and value the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way.

Our machinery and equipment work hard all Spring and Summer, particularly in a year like this when we experienced mild temperatures through November. We take advantage of the colder months to evaluate all our equipment and make any necessary repairs, or order replacements. We place orders for seeds, insecticides, fertilizers, and treatments so we are ready to go as soon as warmer temperatures return. And of course, we are ready for snow removal for our snow clients, when the flakes start falling.

For us, sharing our talents with an organization that is dedicated to helping families in need in our community. The time we spend volunteering during the Winter recharges us, and it is one of the things we are most proud of as a company. You can learn more about the volunteer needs at the Food Bank here.

So, we may not be seeing you in your yard for the next few months, but we are busy preparing and recharging for warmer weather. We wish you and yours the very best of the season!

Winter is Coming!

The calendar tells us the end of the year is just a few weeks away, but the temperatures are making it hard to believe! These mild days have been like a gift, and we have some advice for how to take advantage of them!

  • Water plants: If you stopped watering the lawn and plants several weeks ago, consider giving your perennials another good drink before the hard freeze. Proper hydration throughout Fall and early Winter will ensure healthier plants in the Spring.
  • Water trees & shrubs: Just like perennial plants, trees and shrubs will thrive in Spring if they were watered through early Winter, especially this year because we have experienced drier conditions. Evergreens in particular will thrive if they go into Winter well-hydrated.
  • Take care of the leaves: It’s ok to leave some leaves on the lawn (in fact, we encourage it!), but you should remove piles of leaves on the lawn or near the foundation of your home, which can trap water later and lead to mold or leaking problems.
  • Fertilize: If you haven’t treated your yard with Winter fertilizer, do it now before the first freeze!

Take advantage of the mild weather now to complete these simple steps and you will be rewarded in the Spring with a beautiful lawn and healthy plants, trees and shrubs! Give us a call.

Ask the Expert — When Should I Make the Final Cut to My Lawn?

Your lawn may still be green and healthy-looking. But despite some nights that have already dipped below freezing, your lawn still needs your attention and maintenance. If you have been mowing your lawn to control the fallen leaves – that’s good, keep it up! Your lawn is still growing, although more slowly in cooler temps, and it is normal for it to continue growing well into November. It is not good to leave your lawn long over the winter, so if it’s been a while since you last mowed, take advantage of the warmer temps this week to do that final cut.

As far as mulching goes, I encourage it any time we can.  Keep in mind that leaves and lawn clippings break down with microbial activity and microbial activity slows with cooler soil temperatures. Consider mulching the leaves that have fallen on your lawn as opposed to bagging. It’s less work, and it’s good for your lawn!

Mother Nature hasn’t helped in recent weeks with precipitation, so consider one last watering on your lawn. Wait until the temperatures are above freezing of course, and don’t forget to disconnect the hose from the house after you are done to avoid problems when the temperatures dip below freezing again.

As with most things when it comes to lawn care, there is not one answer that fits every situation. Common sense is the best policy when it comes to making decisions about what is best for your lawn.

As always, our team of lawn care professionals is ready to help address any concerns you might have. Give us a call.

Ask the Expert – What Should I Do With the Leaves?

The leaves are just beginning to change colors and before long your yard will be full of fallen leaves. We get calls all the time from customers asking what to do with the fallen leaves in their lawn. Before you pull out the rake and leaf blower, here are some things to consider.

We all like the look of a clean, well-manicured lawn. If clean lawn is your top priority, then removing the leaves on a regular basis is a good choice for you. It is important not to wait until the leaves become wet. A layer of wet leaves left on the lawn can form a mat that become impenetrable and can suffocate the grass and breed mold and fungus.

However, if you wait for the fallen leaves to dry you can mow the leaves into tiny pieces with your lawn mower and leave them on the lawn. The leaves can serve as mulch for trees, shrubs and gardens, and if left on the lawn they may actually help impede weed growth.

If raking feels like an overwhelming task, don’t wait for all the leaves to fall from the trees. Regular raking of mowing with the bag attached to the mower will make the task more manageable and prevents opportunities for the leaves to become wet from rain or morning dew.

There are some other important things you can do to your lawn now to ensure you have a beautiful lawn in the Spring:

• Continue mowing and watering your lawn, both are required less frequently during the Fall

• Aerating your yard now will allow oxygen, water and fertilizer to easily reach the roots

• Fertilizing your lawn now will help your lawn grow deep roots and maintain essential nutrients

• Repair damaged or bare spots now

• Fall is the most effective time to fight weeds with a herbicide because it will be absorbed and the weeds will not return in spring

Caring for your lawn in the Fall will lead to a healthy, beautiful lawn in the Spring!

As always, our team of lawn care professionals is ready to help address any concerns you might have. Give us a call.

Time to Winterize Your Sprinkler System

It’s officially Fall and that means Winter will be here soon. Although we have been enjoying warmer than average temperatures, the National Weather Service advises that the first freeze could arrive any day.

Now that temperatures are cooler and we’ve received additional rainfall, we recommend that you reduce watering times and frequency. Scaling back on your watering now will allow healthier growth in the spring as your lawn and plants are adjusting to the cooler temps and growth is curtailed or done for the season.

If you have a sprinkler system for your lawn, now is the time to prepare it for winter. Water left in your sprinkler system during the Winter can damage valves, pipes, pipe fittings and other system components when the water freezes to ice and thaws. This can lead to damaging cracks and leaks and non-functioning systems in the Spring, when the sprinkler system is needed.

Winterizing your sprinkler system is a job that is best left to the professionals. Our friends at Millard Sprinkler can prepare your sprinkler system so you can avoid costly damages. They will close the main valve and use compressed air to completely drain any remaining water from the pipes. They may also insulate any above ground pipes, further protecting your system from the elements.

As always, our team of lawn care professionals is ready to help address any concerns you might have. Give us a call.

Ask the Expert – Late Heat

How should I react to the late heat wave this year?

We experienced a nice later summer break from the heat of summer, and the cooler temps allowed our lawns the opportunity to bounce back and green up, leaving them looking green and healthy. But the recent heat has brought some brown back and left many of us wondering what to do about our lawn as we prepare for Fall and Winter. We’ve been hearing a common question: Should we continue to water, or let the lawn go dormant until Spring?

The answer is yes – continue to water your lawn until the first freeze, it is a good idea to keep the soil beneath your grass moist through the Fall. We have experienced very little precipitation over the last few weeks. In order for your lawn to achieve optimal health, it needs an adequate water supply for proper nutrient uptake during growth periods. While you may have noticed that your grass is growing much less, and it isn’t necessary to mow as often, your grass is still growing! In fact, your grass will continue to grow through Fall, but the growth is happening underground! This underground growth is essential as it is a period of repair from the long, hot summer.

So, if you want a healthy, green lawn in the Spring, keep watering now until the first freeze! Keep it green.

The team at Turf Care is always ready to help. Give us a call.

Time for Seeding

Labor Day is fast approaching. And like many others, you might be eyeing this three–day weekend as an opportunity to get out in the yard and do some work. We don’t blame you—it is a perfect time to take stock of your lawn and take steps to maintain its health through the winter. We’ve compiled a few tips for this time of year.

1. This time of year is perfect for patching any spots on your lawn that are showing signs of wear and tear. Over seeding is highly recommended in the fall months. The cooler temperatures allow the grass to develop a good root, which helps come the post-winter thaws.

2. Aeration can help replenish the health of your lawn. Aerating allows your lawn to recirculate nutrients and helps grass develop stronger roots. The fall is the best time to aerate, and we recommend this service to all of our customers at this time of year.

3. Labor Day is a great time to start fertilizing your lawn. By this point in the summer, any weeds you have are fighting with your grass for nutrients. Helping the grass out with a fertilizer treatment can help prevent the weeds from running amok.

4. Keep the mower blade high. Now isn’t the time to drop your blade lower when mowing. Since grasses need this time of year to help develop strong root growth, you want to avoid damaging that effort by cutting too close to the ground. Keep the blades until the lawn starts to go into its dormant phase.

5. Late Summer, Fall, and Winter months are a good time to take examining areas in your yard that might be helping mosquito’s breed. Finding, and eliminating, any areas with standing water or poorly draining soil can help reduce the amount of mosquito’s in your lawn.

The team at Turf Care is always ready to help. Give us a call.

Ask the Expert — Why is My Lawn Turning Brown?

Why is My Lawn Turning Brown?

If you have been watering your lawn regularly but still seeing dry brown patches, you are not alone. The extended period of hot temperatures, coupled with low precipitation and drought conditions, have taken a toll on lawns throughout the area. The extended periods of heat following a wet Spring have taken a toll on our lawns.


Blue grass, a common grass in the area, thrives when temperatures are in the 70’s. It can tolerate 80 degree days, but when temperatures reach the 90’s, it begins to suffer. Additional conditions such as humidity, drought and weeds cause significant problems for blue grass lawns, and can lead to the dry, brown appearance you may be seeing now. As the ground temperatures increase, bluegrass will prune off some of the root system so consider more frequent watering during these periods.

Fescue varieties of lawn are a little more tolerant to the heat than the blue grasses, but they still need regular watering and mowing. Fescue will not go dormant, but they will die if they are left unattended in these conditions.

But the heat and drought alone are not to blame for the condition of your lawn. The dry brown patches in your lawn indicate a combination of drought and disease has injured your lawn. The disease is brought on by the stress of drought, heat and high humidity for an extended length of time, as we have been experiencing.

brown lawn

The disease needs the perfect environment to thrive – the existence of the pathogen, a susceptible host and the correct environment. When these conditions exist together, the disease, in the form of a fungus, will develop and present problems in your yard.

So what can you do now if your lawn has dry brown patches? You can eliminate further stress on your lawn by maintaining a regular watering schedule until the weather changes and cooler temperatures replace the heat and humidity. It takes a significant amount of attention and care to maintain a flawless lawn in summer conditions like we have been experiencing.

If insects are to blame for the damage to your lawn, they should be treated now in order to prevent further damage. If a disease, or fungus, is the cause, consider adding a fungicide to your lawn treatment for next year. Now is the optimum time to schedule an aeration and seeding for the Fall. The Turf Care team can help return your lawn to a healthy, green condition!

Call the Turf Care team today!

Ask the Expert – Japanese Beetles

I’ve noticed a ton of Japanese Beetles in my yard. Should I be concerned?

You may have spotted Japanese beetles in recent weeks. If you have the beetles in your yard, you already know how destructive they can be to your yard, trees and plants. The beetle measures about half an inch and is recognizable by its metallic head and copper back.


There is no preventative treatment for Japanese beetles, which are relatively new to this area, having arrived within the last five years. When an insect is new to a geographic area, the population typically soars within the first few years, but steadily declines after reaching its peak.

There are many misconceptions about the best options for getting rid of the Japanese beetle, and unfortunately there is no option to eliminate them completely. Japanese beetles lay eggs in the summer months, which overwinter as larvae. Completely eliminating the larvae, which appear as a white grub, is an unrealistic goal. However, the grubs can be controlled to the point that they don’t destroy the turf in your yard.

japanese beetle life cycle

Controlling the Japanese beetle after you see an adult population is more realistic, but takes time and diligence. An adult female Japanese beetle emits an odor that attracts males, who can fly in from as far as 6 miles away. Eliminating the beetles in your yard is a temporary fix as more are likely to continue to arrive. Using traps with synthetic hormones to attract and capture the beetle is ineffective as they generally only capture about 10% of the beetles in the vicinity, and may actually attract more beetles to your yard.

japanese beetle trap

The most effective treatment is to spray your plants and trees with a registered insecticide. You can spray smaller plants and shrubs with a hand sprayer, but multiple applications within a period of a few weeks will be necessary to reduce the population. If you have larger trees such as a birch or linden, which are favorites of the Japanese beetle, you will need the help of a professional, and multiple applications will be necessary.

Japanese beetles attack plants in groups, and can be extremely destructive to turf, trees, crops and plants, particularly those in the rose species. But with diligence you can control them to the point where they are no longer destructive. And there is more good news. Within the next few weeks, the Japanese beetles will lay their eggs and die soon after. Of course, the egg-larva-pupa-adult cycle will perpetuate, but you will be free of destructive pest for the remainder of the summer!

Call the Turf Care team to help eliminate the Japanese beetles in your large trees today!

Ask the Expert – Emerald Ash Borer

Ask Jay, The Lawn Care Expert

I’ve heard a lot about the Emerald Ash Borer—should I be concerned?

Experts have been warning the community about an infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer insect making its way to the Omaha area, and the insects have in fact been found in trees around the metro. The leaves are back on the trees, so now is a good time to consider the best treatment option for your tree.

Look for signs of infection, such as die-back from the top, or tiny exit holes in the trunk, which can be difficult to see. These are signs that your tree may be infected and it should be evaluated by a professional.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Once a branch has been infected, it may be too late to save the branch, but not necessarily too late to save the rest of the tree.
  • If the vascular system of the tree has been infected, it will be difficult to save the tree.
  • A soil drench is a possible treatment. This is where the soil is drenched with the treatment, and the chemical travel up the vascular system of the tree. This is may not be effective now that the insects are in the area.
  • The most effective treatment for the emerald ash borer is annual injections done by a professional.

Injections have been effective in saving some trees in other cities that have been infested with the emerald ash borer insect, but there is no guarantee that it will work on all trees. Here are some things to consider before choosing this form of treatment:

  • Injections are effective at providing protection from the bore and preventing them from spreading to other trees.
  • Annual injections are needed in order for this form of treatment to be effective.
  • Cost should be a consideration. Cost of removal as well as cost of the treatment. Also consider the relative value of the tree. Consider removing a young or an old tree, but middle-aged and healthy trees are good candidates for injection treatments.

The window for treatment is relatively wide as long as it is treated annually. So don’t rush into any decisions. The professionals at Turf Care can evaluate and treat your tree if treatment is warranted. Call our office!