The cold temperatures have begun to slow down the growth of many lawns. In an effort to provide the proper nutrient level in your lawn and to help reduce the stress caused by low temperatures, we will be making an application of Liquid K (liquid potassium) on this final Turf Quality Management (TQM) treatment for 2014. This application will also include spot treating for weeds and disease as needed. The term “winterizer” means different things to different people. However, potassium is the nutrient needed by the lawn at this time of year and this is our “winterizer” fertilizer application.
Potassium fertilization at this time of year promotes root growth and thicker cell walls without promoting plant growth. This strengthening of the root system will improve your lawn’s ability to handle the stress of cold temperatures during the winter and provide the proper foundation for a healthier lawn in the spring. Please water in this application.
Winter shrub treatment
We have had many calls regarding scale insects on shrubs in the past few weeks. Due to the amount of active scale we are now beginning our Winter Pro Shrub treatment. This application contains Horticultural oil to help control many shrub damaging insects. If you are planning to do any landscaping at this time please consider the change in weather. Some of our commonly used ornamentals are not able to tolerate freezing temperatures. With colder temperatures the plants may require extra care such as protecting from frost with frost cloths or blankets.
Minimizing Winter Damage in Our Lawns
Most warm season grasses, such as St. Augustine Grass, have poor cold tolerance ratings. In North Florida lawns will go dormant or semi-dormant during the winter depending on the temperature. If we have several cold nights and cooler temperatures during the day followed by light frost, the lawn will be conditioned to survive. However, when sudden or extended periods of low temperatures and heavy frost occur, the damage to St. Augustine lawns can be severe. Cultural conditions that favor cold injury to turf include: poor drainage, compacted soil, excessive thatch, excessive nitrogen fertilization, and mowing to closely.
To help in minimizing winter damage to your lawn we recommend the following: 1. Winter Watering – lawns require less water in the winter than during summer. DON’T STOP WATERING however because the root systems still need adequate moisture. One application of 3/4 inch every 7 to 14 days should be sufficient if we do not receive adequate rainfall. If the lawn receives more than this amount of water, diseases such as a Large Patch may develop. 2. Mowing – mow at a height of 3 to 4 inches to create longer leaf tissue and heavier canopy for a warmer microenvironment for the roots. This will encourage root growth. 3. Thatch – lightly rake out heavily thatched areas and add 1/4 to ½ inch of topsoil before winter cold arrives. Doing so helps to prevent the roots/runners in this area from freezing. 4. Soil Compaction – Call and arrange for our Lawn Aeration Service. To learn more go to our YouTube channel. 5. Fall Lawn Renovations – any sod or plugs that were put down in the last several months will require extra TLC as their root systems will be shallow and more susceptible to cold injury. If possible wait until Spring to repair any damaged areas as the money and time you spend now will be wasted by damage from the cold. 6. During a Freeze – Don’t water the lawn during a freeze this may do more damage and cause ice to form on sidewalks creating hazards. Keep off any turf that has Frost or is frozen, traffic from people, pets, or equipment like lawnmowers can cause severe damage. Wait until the sun thaws out the grass.
Aeration and Lime Service
Peninsular is currently providing our annual lawn aeration service to help with nutrient uptake and compaction issues along with many other benefits. We will begin to provider annual lime application in January. This application helps to adjust the pH of the soil to maximize usage of nutrients within the grass plants.
Removing any standing water in your yard is one way to control the mosquito population because, without water mosquitoes cannot reproduce. Sometimes it is impossible to remove a water source so, it may be necessary to spray the area for the adult mosquitoes. Mosquitoes rest during the day under the leaves of bushes and are therefore easy to find and eliminate. Since we are often at work during these hours, asking for professional help with this service is a great idea. Peninsular Pest Control has a mosquito suppression program that is designed to eliminate the adult mosquitoes while making recommendations regarding standing water sources that you can monitor yourself.
While surveying your lawn for cold damage you may also find areas that contain grassy weeds. Now is the time to dig out these areas or use a non-selective herbicide to kill the crabgrass. Also, rake out the area and loosen the top 3 inches of soil to allow healthy new root growth.
These areas will need to be resodded after 10-14 days per the label directions on herbicide. It is important to watch these areas closely as weed seeds may be contained in the soil and may germinate after sod is put down. Pull any new emerging crabgrass by hand and give the new sod the proper water it needs and these areas should re-establish into a healthy lawn with no crabgrass.
Preparing for the spring, we are currently making a liquid pre-emergent herbicide application to all areas of your lawn. We will also be spot treating any broadleaf weeds present at time of the application. This pre-emergent treatment provides a barrier to weed seeds germinating over the next six to eight weeks. When applied prior to weed emergence, it effectively controls approximately 30 different broadleaf and grassy weeds. Also it is important to note that the areas we are treating are only in the sodded portion of your lawn and outside the drip line area of any shrubs or small trees.
This lawn treatment we are applying Barricade® pre-emergent herbicide to help prevent the germination of winter weeds. In addition, we are applying the microbial inoculant Quantum Growth® which enables the turf to better utilize nutrients and water. With cooler temperatures we are applying liquid herbicide for the control of broadleaf weeds. Herbicides alone will not control 100% of the weeds in any lawn therefore some may have to be pulled by hand.
Adequate soil moisture is necessary after this application; apply at least ½ inch of water within 10 days to maximize its effectiveness. When the weather warms your lawns water needs will increase. Now is a good time to check your sprinkler system for any broken or clogged heads and any broken pipes from freezing weather.
Spring lawn tips are important and here are several things you can do to help your lawn recover in spring. The first spring lawn tip is to use a leaf rake to remove any dead grass or thatch. Remember, your spring lawn has been dormant during the winter and it will welcome the help. New growth needs sunshine to flourish and removing old dead grass will help. Your new spring lawn will apreciate your extra effort.
Next, add a layer of topsoil to help promote new growth. And if needed transplant healthy grass from other areas of your lawn to the areas that are bare. This can easily be done with a post hole digger. Just punch out a small grass plug from any area of the lawn that is healthy and tranplant it over to the bare area of the lawn. Remember your initial spring lawn tip and make sure the dead grass or thatch has been removed.
The next spring lawn tip is to add fertilizer to the lawn to prepare for the green-up that is about to occur. Quantum Growth® is a fertilizer application which includes nitrogen and potassium which stimulate root growth. Water it in properly so the roots can absorb the nutrients but, don’t overwater because too much moisture will cause disease and encourages weed growth.
Be sure to check your mower blade to make sure they are sharp. Dull mower blades cause an uneven cut which can lead to disease issues like fungus. An even cut allows the grass to heal more easily and your lawn will look better as a result.
Finally, test the pH level of your lawn because it will tell you which nutrients are lacking. Not everyone has a pH soil meter so, calling on Peninsular Pest Control for that test is not uncommon.
He is worth his weight in GOLD, so it’s appropriate that we celebrate the Golden 25th Anniversary of George Richardson, Technical Director for Peninsular Pest Control. George started with Peninsular in the Termite Service Department by assisting Peninsular as they field tested the Sentricon® Colony Elimination System for DowAgrosciences. He then moved into sales and management positions. Anyone who has ever worked with him or welcomed him into their home (or yard) knows that George has a natural talent for thorough examinations and for exploring all options! For years, George’s loyal “fan base” has grown and includes several local personalities and prominent community leaders. And, for the past several years we have all had the opportunity to see his acting ability in action with some of the near infamous YouTube videos he has starred in. A fan favorite seems to be the “Mosquito Elimination” video which has had over 20,000 hits! Thanks for your 25 years of Service, George… you really are The CritterGitter!
Nutrients are necessary in order for the lawn to grow during the spring. People often question why they need to fertilize when the grass appears to be brown and dead. It’s important for you to know that although the grass appears to be brown, the roots are still very much alive.As many of our customers are aware we have been applying pre-emergence weed control throughout the winter to help control the weeds as the spring comes around. I’d like to share some additional inexpensive things a homeowner can do to their lawn to make it look better this spring.
These suggestions will help maximize the growth of the grass in your yard this spring:
1. Rake out the dead areas of your yard. This process is called thatching. Over time, lawns develop a thatch of dry, dead grass at the base of the grass blades. Thatch stops sun and water from reaching the roots of the grass and impedes growth. Most lawns benefit from a springtime dethatching so that the grass has time to recover over the summer.
2. Resod the areas of your yard where the grass missing. You can either buy grass sections from your local retailer or use a post hole digger to transplant grass from the edge of your yard to these bald patches.
3. Aeration of your yard is also very important. This is one of the most important cultural practices that a homeowner can perform, or have performed, on their lawn. You obviously can’t just plow up your yard like a farmer would do, so the only cultural practice that can be performed is aeration. This core aeration helps relieve compaction and allows for better penetration of water and the better absorption of nutrients. Our company performs this service for our customers through March and then we will start back up in November. In summary November to March is the time that we do our aeration in preparation for the spring green up and it’s my suggestion that you do it during that time as well.
Let’s talk about Nutrients The major nutrients that lawns need are: nitrogen and potassium and in some cases phosphorus. Phosphorus has been in the news recently as one of the pollutants that get into our water supply so therefore its usage has been limited to only a ¼ pound of application per thousand square feet of lawn, per year.
One of the things that we as a company is require all of our technicians go through the Green Industry Management Practice classes and they are certified by the state as a GIBNP. This certification is a requirement that will be in place January, 2014. It basically states that any person applying fertilizer will have to have a certification by the state and be required to pass a course. They will then be required to take continuing education on the subject. All of our technicians are are already in compliance with this new law.
Colder weather brings out pests that we have not seen during the warmer months like rodents (mice and rats), which are all active during the winter and rodent removal in Florida is needed. Since rodents are warm blooded mammals they are tend to seek shelter in warm dry homes and as outdoor temperatures drop they may also be looking for food in a warm place with the intention of giving birth. For this reason, early rodent removal, before matters get worse, is important.
Tips to Them Out
Rodents can enter structures by crawling along wiring, fence stops, and tree branches that touch the home. Seal any openings larger than 1/4 inch. Utility pipes entering buildings should be sealed tightly with metal or concrete. Do these things to keep your home secure and you should not need rodent removal in Florida: • Keep doors and garages closed, as well as any other doors that allowed entry to the house. • Put food away, sealed in plastic containers and clean up any spilled food that might draw a rodents’s attention. • Remove structures that a mouse could live in. This includes trash, tall grass and wood piles. If you have a fireplace, store your firewood at least 12 inches off the ground. • Set traps around areas that mice are likely to run through these can include cupboards, attics and closets. Check the traps on a regular basis and remove dead mice as quickly as possible to avoid germs and odors.
Rodent removal by Peninsular Pest Control involves discovering where the rat or mouse is located, baiting for them and full removal from your property.
If this doesn’t do the trick, call Peninsular Pest Control and a member of the Critter Gitter team will gladly come out and handle the problem for you!
The Best Way to go about eliminating mosquitoes is to control the environment around your home and in the yard. Mosquitoes need water to breed and if you eliminate that source, they simply must move on to exist. Here are some simple tips that many homeowners don’t notice in and around their yards:
1. Clean out eaves, and gutters. 2. Remove old tires or drill holes in those used for playground equipment to drain. 3. Turn over or remove plastic pots. 4. Pick up broken, unused, or discarded toys to help control mosquito breeding sites. 5. Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water in pockets or indentations. 6. Pump out bilges on boats.
7. Replacing the water in birdbaths at least twice a week will help with eliminating mosquitoes. 8. Replace water in pet or other animal feeding dishes or troughs at least twice a week. 9. Dispose of broken or unused kiddie pools. 10. Pick up plastic wrappers used for food or other products; mosquitoes can breed even in a discarded potato chip bag that has collected water. 11. Don’t leave garbage can lids lying upside down so they can collect water. 12. Change water in bottom of plant containers, including hanging plants, at least twice a week is a great tip for eliminating mosquitoes. 13. Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.
Peninsular Pest Control has programs to eliminate: Termite Service/Guarantees, Sentricon®, Termidor®, Interior Pest Treatment for: bed bug control, spider extermination, carpet beetle pest control, cockroach extermination, silverfish extermination, cicada control, ants, ghost ants, fleas. Lawn and Turf Insect Treatment, Lawn aeration, weed Control, Pre-Emerging weed treatment, Mosquito Control, Wasp Control, Flea treatment in lawn and home, Grub worms, sod webworms, chinch bugs, mole crickets, fungus, Shrub Treatment, Carpenter Ant control, Rodent removal.
Serving all of the following areas in Northeast Florida: Amelia Island, Atlantic Beach, Baldwin, Bryceville, Callahan, Elkton, Fernandina Beach, Flagler Beach, Fleming Island, Fruit Cove, Glen St Mary, Green Cove Springs, Hilliard, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Jax Beach, Keystone Heights, Macclenny, Mayport, Middleburg, Neptune Beach, Orange Park, Mandarin, Ponte Vedra, Ponte Vedra Beach, St Augustine, St Johns, Sanderson, Yulee