How to win the battle against fleas and ticks.

fleatick

Blood-sucking fleas and ticks pose potential harm to your family and pets. Besides having an irritating bite, they also spread diseases. Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are just a few tick-borne diseases.

A single flea can lay up to 500 eggs in a matter of months, while a female tick can lay up to 3,000 eggs. They can survive weeks and even months without food just waiting for a host. Controlling fleas and ticks in and around your home can be achieved by following these recommendations.

First, if your pet has fleas and ticks, consulting a veterinarian should be your first step. They can recommend the proper treatment needed for your pet.

Secondly, controlling the fleas and ticks inside your home can be done by vacuuming your carpets several times, and washing dog bedding with hot water.

Finally, treatments outside your home should also be done.

Control fleas and ticks in your lawn with these simple tips.

  • Mow it right: Both of these insects hide in longer grass. Mowing your lawn at the proper height reduces flea and tick hang-outs.
  • Avoid overwatering: Fleas and ticks prefer moist environments. An overwatered or poorly draining lawn can extend an invitation to these insects. Ensure you’re watering your lawn properly. If you have a drainage issue, aerating may help. For moist, shady areas on your property, follow the tips below to limit the attraction for fleas and ticks.
  • Keep it clean: Neatness counts when it comes to eliminating habitats for fleas and ticks to hide and lay eggs. Remove yard debris, such as piles of lumber, bricks and stones. Keep shrubs pruned and bed area cleared.
  • Check pet hang-outs: Flea and tick larvae remain within 50 feet of your pet’s favorite resting areas. Clean and treat around any cool, shady spots your pet favors, such as spaces under decks or porches, beneath low-hanging shrubs or along fence lines. Don’t forget to treat dog runs and kennels too.
  • Protect your home: Establish a barrier around your home with a perimeter pesticide treatment. This treatment can prevent fleas and ticks from migrating into your home, although they can still hitch a ride on you or your pet.
  • Let the sun shine: Both fleas and ticks like shady, moist areas. Prune trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight to enter your landscape.

Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. offers a one-time Flea and Tick Treatment or an Annual Perimeter Pest Control Program. Our one-time Flea and Tick Treatment treats your lawn, where fleas and ticks hide, along with a perimeter spray around your home. Our Perimeter Pest Control Program involves routine pest inspections along with an insecticide barrier around the exterior of your foundation. We place four bait/monitoring stations around the perimeter of your home and spray the entire perimeter, including around all entry points where insects could enter the home. We also treat fire ant mounds and place bait around your landscape to greatly reduce the number of fire ants on your property. Monthly (12 applications) and Bi-monthly (6 applications) service plans are available.

Call Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. (850)897-3073 Niceville  (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach and ask about our Flea and Tick Treatment or Perimeter Pest Control Program.

 

Perimeter Pest Control

Ant-individual-Florida has always been known as a “buggy” place by many people. Now it’s confirmed. In a recent national survey among homeowners conducted by Infogroup, Florida received the unwelcome distinction of being the state with the worst bug problems. Cockroaches, ants, termites – they’re all very comfortable residents of the Sunshine State.

The good news, these pests can be controlled and even prevented from infesting your home. With routine pest inspections and proper applications of baits and insecticides, anyone can have a pest free home. Perimeter Pest Control is the best option to prevent pest infestations inside your home. If you can control the invading pests on the outside you don’t have to deal with them on the inside.

So what is Perimeter Pest Control?

Perimeter Pest Control is an outer barrier protection plan to reduce bugs from entering your home and foundation. Since the treatment is performed outside, perimeter pest control is a safe method, since no chemicals will be applied inside your home. In fact, most perimeter pest control treatments do not require anyone to be present inside the house.

At Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. we offer a Perimeter Pest Control Program that involves routine pest inspections along with an insecticide barrier around the exterior of your home. We place four bait/monitoring stations around the perimeter of your home and spray the entire perimeter, including around all entry points where insects could enter the home. We also treat fire ant mounds and place bait around your landscape to greatly reduce the number of fire ants on your property. The common pests controlled with our Perimeter Pest Control Program are ants, spiders, roaches, millipedes, centipedes, fleas, ticks, crickets, earwigs and many other insects that can crawl into the house. Monthly (12 applications) and Bi-monthly (6 applications) service plans are available.

Just because we live in the state with the worst bug problem, doesn’t mean we have to live with those bugs in our homes.

Call Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. (850)897-3073 Niceville  (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach and ask about our Perimeter Pest Control Program.

Mosquito Control

600x250_mosquitoMosquitoes are not only annoying, they are also the deadliest creatures on Earth. They transmit diseases like, West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever and dengue. They can even transmit heart worms to your dogs.

There are about 200 different species of mosquitoes in the United States, all of which live in specific habitats, exhibit unique behaviors and bite different types of animals. Despite these differences, all mosquitoes share some common traits, like their life cycle. All mosquito species go through four distinct stages during their life cycle:

  • egg – hatches when exposed to water
  • larva – “wriggler” lives in water; molts several times; most species surface to breathe air
  • pupa – “tumbler” does not feed; stage just before emerging as adult
  • adult – flies short time after emerging and after its body parts have hardened.

The first three stages occur in water, but the adult is an active flying insect. Only the female mosquito bites and feeds on the blood of humans or other animals.

  • After she obtains a blood meal, the female mosquito lays the eggs directly on or near water, soil and at the base of some plants in places that may fill with water. The eggs can survive dry conditions for a few months.
  • The eggs hatch in water and a mosquito larva or “wriggler” emerges. The length of time to hatch depends on water temperature, food and type of mosquito.
  • The larva lives in the water, feeds and develops into the third stage of the life cycle called, a pupa or “tumbler.” The pupa also lives in the water but no longer feeds.
  • Finally, the mosquito emerges from the pupal case after two days to a week in the pupal stage.
  • The life cycle typically takes up two weeks, but depending on conditions, it can range from 4 days to as long as a month.

Different species of mosquitoes prefer different types of standing water in which to lay their eggs. Some examples are old tires, buckets, toys, potted plant trays, gutters, around air conditioner units, etc.

Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. can control your mosquitoes to make sure your family stays healthy, and is able to enjoy the outdoors comfortably. Our Mosquito Control Program treats your landscape, where mosquitoes hide, along with areas where they breed, like standing water in gutters, retention areas, water features, etc. Each visit we inspect your yard for breeding and harborage areas and treat not only the adults, but the larva as well. Monthly (10 applications February – November) service plans available. We can make your backyard enjoyable again with our mosquito control program.

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Call Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. (850)897-3073 Niceville  (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach and ask about our Mosquito Control Program.

 

More on Watering Your Lawn.

spinkler-systemHeading into summer, we always get the same question, “How much should I water my lawn?”

That question is not an easy one to answer, because every lawn and every irrigation system is different. According to many experts, 1/2 to 3/4 inch is needed for replenishment of moisture every 2 to 3 days during warm periods of active growth, and every 10 to 14 days during less active growth periods. This water can come from rainfall or an irrigation system. However, no irrigation system can provide the uniform coverage needed like Mother Nature. This is because most systems are poorly designed (inadequate coverage, lacking head to head coverage, etc.) and/or over time sprinkler heads can get clogged, need readjusting, the flow rate of your pump may change, etc. A few other factors that affect how much water your lawn needs are, sunny areas require more water than shady areas and sandy soils need more than clay soils.

The best way to water your lawn is on an “as needed” basis. The easiest method to determine whether your turf needs water or not is to use the “footprinting” technique. If you step off the grass and you can still see your footprints there after a few seconds, your turf needs water. Another way to tell if your turf needs water is to look at the leaf blades. Dry leaf blades will fold in half making your turf look spindly. The turf will also take on a blueish grey color. If you see any of these symptoms in your turf, it’s time to irrigate.

Irrigation systems need constant monitoring due to rain events and environmental conditions. “Set it and forget it” should never be the method used. Even if you hire a professional irrigation company to monitor your system regularly, you as the homeowner, should work with that company to keep your lawn healthy.

A general rule is to irrigate your lawn 45 minutes for rotor zones and 30 minutes for spray zones 3 days a week during the summer months in the absence of rain. However, as stated above, that may or may not be what your turf really needs. For more information about Irrigation visit the University of Florida IFAS Extension.

Call Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. (850)897-3073 Niceville  (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach for all your Irrigation needs. We have a Licensed Irrigator on staff.

 

Consider redoing your old weedy lawn.

downloadSome people use herbicides to control weeds in an old, declining lawn. Then, with all the weeds gone, the lawn’s owner suddenly realizes that he or she has no lawn left.

Sometimes the best solution is to start over. Many older, thinning, declining, weedy lawns need to be reestablished. As lawns decline and thin, the weeds move in. When you reach the point where there is less than sixty percent desirable turf coverage, reestablishment should be considered.

In the process of redoing a lawn, attempt to determine why the lawn declined and correct mismanagement practices that were contributing factors in the lawn’s demise.

 

 

Common causes for lawn decline:

Soil compaction – Mowing equipment, vehicles and foot traffic (from adults, children and pets) all result in the soil becoming compacted within a lawn. Compacted soil results in less water and oxygen getting to the lawn roots and less than favorable growing conditions for the roots.

Nutrient imbalances – Routine fertilization can result in some fertilizer elements building up to excessive levels while other elements may be lacking. It’s common to find high levels of phosphorus in older lawns. Phosphorus does not leach readily even in our sandy soils. Other elements such as potassium leach readily. Over time, we’ll end up with too much of some nutrients and too little of others, which contribute to growth difficulties and possible decline in our lawns.

Tree competition – Trees and larger shrubs can compete with a lawn. As a tree gets larger with time, it becomes more competitive with lawn grass. The tree’s demand for water and nutrients increases as it becomes larger. Its root area becomes more extensive and it progressively produces more shade. Lawns usually thin significantly in association with older, large trees and shrubs.

Soil pH- pH levels that are too acidic (below 7) or too alkaline (above 7) can have negative affects on your lawn. Nutrients can bind up in the soil making them unusable to the turf.

Root pests numbers may slowly build to damaging levels as a lawn ages. Some common examples include nematodes (microscopic roundworms), soil inhabiting fungi such as Gaeumannomyces and ground pearls (a scale insect found in soil).

Improper lawn maintenance practices may be a contributing factor in the decline of an older lawn too. Common contributing factors to a lawn’s demise include routinely mowing too low, excessive fertilization and improper irrigation.

Sometimes herbicides are only a “band aid” approach when dealing with an old, mismanaged lawn.

Call Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. for a Lawn Consultation today. (850)897-3073 Niceville  (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach

Why hire a professional to work on your lawn, landscape, or plant care project?

Many homeowners don’t realize what a landscape professional can do to help them improve their living environment. Landscape professionals can offer a variety of services, including lawn and shrub care treatments; installation of plant and hardscape material, such as patios, decks, retaining walls, and irrigation systems; and maintenance of your property based on your specific needs and requests. Many firms have landscape architects and designers on staff, who have the expertise to create and orchestrate the complete design, installation, and maintenance of the most complex landscapes.

For commercial enterprises, the advantages of a professionally installed and maintained landscape go beyond “curb appeal” right to the bottom line. A well-designed landscape invites everyone — employees, customers, vendors — in, resulting in higher occupancy rates, increased rentals, and lower vacancies. However, the benefits go beyond occupancy when you consider that the proper selection and placement of plant material can lower heating and cooling costs by as much as 20 percent while creating a healthier environment. The use of landscape to lower noise levels and enhance unpleasant views are economical alternatives that add up to increased profits.

When choosing a company to handle your lawn, landscape, or plant care needs, be sure the company you hire has Landscape Industry Certified individuals on staff. This gives you confidence that your job will be completed with a commitment to a higher standard of knowledge and execution.

Basic RGBThe National Association of Landscape Professionals offers an INTERNATIONAL certification program designed to raise the standards of the green industry. The program recognizes professionals who have taken their experience, skills, and desire for excellence to the next level by studying, testing, and becoming certified. They stay on top of their game by maintaining their certification through required continuing education.

When hiring a landscape professional, it can be difficult to wade through your choices to find a service you can trust. Looking for the Landscape Industry Certified logo makes it easy!

A Standard of Quality

Hiring a Landscape Industry Certified professional gives you peace of mind in knowing that you are choosing someone with a distinguished level of professionalism and technical knowledge to care for your landscape, lawn, or indoor/outdoor plants. A company with a certified staff member is invested in offering you:

• BEST PRACTICES – the proper management and care of your property.

• BEST PERFORMANCE – Skilled execution of top-quality work.

• A DEDICATION TO SAFETY – An emphasized attention to safe handling of equipment and application of products to your property.

• SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE – An up-to-date, ongoing education on current tools and techniques to enhance the technical skills used to improve your project.

An Easy Choice

By choosing a lawn care, landscape, or plant care service, especially one with Landscape Industry Certified individuals on staff, you are getting:

• A CUT ABOVE THE REST – Certified individuals have taken their experiences, skills, and desire for excellence to the next level by studying, testing, and becoming certified.

• A SELECT INDIVIDUAL – Certified professionals represent an elite group, demonstrating a commitment to technical expertise and industry knowledge to better serve you and your needs.

• AN ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENT – Certified individuals have a thorough understanding of land stewardship to offer quality results on your property.

 

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Hire a Landscape Industry Certified professional today.

Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. proudly employs Landscape Industry Certified individuals. Call Today (850)897-3073 Niceville  (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach 

 

 

Watering your lawn.

irrigation-systemThe most important thing any lawn needs to maintain good color and health throughout the year is water.

On average, your turf requires one inch of water per week. This includes any rainfall that occurs. When you water, early morning is the best time. This allows the grass to dry quicker without losing evaporation like you would if you watered during the hotter parts of the day. Watering at night is also bad for turf because the grass stays wet longer which promotes turf diseases that can harm the plant. Water your lawn deeply and infrequently. Try watering a third of an inch three times per week when there is no rain.

The best way to water your lawn is on an “as needed” basis. The easiest method to determine whether your turf needs water or not is to use the “footprinting” technique. If you step off the grass and you can still see your footprints there after a few seconds, your turf needs water. Another way to tell if your turf needs water is to look at the leaf blades. Dry leaf blades will fold in half making your turf look spindly. The turf will also take on a blueish grey color. If you see any of these symptoms in your turf, it’s time to irrigate.

Many irrigation systems are poorly designed, which can cause problems for your landscape. Improper sprinkler head placement and adjustment is the number one reason for poor irrigation coverage. You should have your system checked, at least once a year, to make sure it is running properly. The lack of rainfall this time of year, makes identifying irrigation issues much easier. Hot spots in your lawn will develop in areas that are not getting the coverage they need. Adjustments and/or repairs may be needed to solve these issues.

Improper watering can have devastating effects to any lawn. There is no quicker way to loose a lawn than improper watering practices.

Call Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. (850)897-3073 Niceville  (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach for all your Irrigation needs. We have a Licensed Irrigator on staff.

 

When to fertilize?

181184_399661083404378_783776269_nWith our warm season grasses (Centipede, St. Augustine, Bermuda and Zoysia), it is best to wait until the grass has completely greened up in the spring before applying any fertilizer. This is usually mid April in our region. Fertilizing too early (before green up) can result in turf injury and leaching of fertilizer nutrients.

Centipede is a low fertility grass. It grows at it’s best, with fewer problems, when fertilized only once or twice per year. Once after green up and possibly a second application during the summer.

St. Augustine might also get by on one spring application; however, it is more common to apply a second application during the summer. Bermuda and Zoysia will require fertilizer applications 2-3 times over the growing season. Over fertilization promotes thatch, turf decline, pest problems and degradation of the environment from leaching of nutrients that can end up in our ground water.

In order for our lawn grasses to efficiently use fertilizer, consistently warmer nights are required. Fertilizing a lawn before soil temperature is adequately warm results in waste of fertilizer and possible lawn injury.

Despite the fact you can force a lawn to turn green early with high nitrogen fertilizers, it’s a false sense of accomplishment. That new green growth is dependent on availability of other elements, some of which are poorly available under the cool soil temperatures of late winter and early spring. Iron, for example, is not readily available when the soil is cool. This is exactly what happens when your lawn begins to turn bright yellow after being fertilized too early. You induce or cause a nutrient deficiency by fertilizing too early. It’s a matter of the soil being too cool to allow the roots to take in needed iron to support the new growth caused by fertilizing too soon.

There are other needed nutrients, such as potassium, which are not readily available under cool soil temperatures. Waiting to fertilize during more favorable soil temperatures allows for more efficient use of the fertilizer and less waste. It’s best to wait until mid April to fertilize your lawn.

Reference: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science/Okaloosa County Extension

Did you know, anyone who applies fertilizer commercially, must have a Limited Commercial Fertilizer Applicators License? They must be trained under the Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. took the initiative, and was one of the first companies in our area to get our people trained and Licensed. As professionals in the Landscape Industry, it’s our responsibility to minimize the negative impacts to the environment whenever possible.

Get a Quote Today

(850) 897-3073 (Niceville)

(850) 832-4212 (Panama City Beach)

 

May/June Newsletter

Want more in-depth information about proper watering techniques and lawn care practices? Check out our blog Grass Roots Blog. Interested in finding out more about our new fire ant and mosquito applications? Visit our website grassrootslawn.com. If you have a specific topic you would like to see addressed on the blog, send us an email and let us know. If you have a lawn or landscape-related question please use our Q & A Facebook Page Ask Turf Pro.

Lawn Maintenance

Is it hot enough for you?  Extreme heat is stressful for your turf. To combat this you might notice that your maintenance crew is mowing your turf higher than usual during periods of drought. This is also the time of year we also experience periods of excessive rain, so please be aware that your service day may change due to severe weather or if your yard is so wet as to prevent mowing.  The health of your turf is always our first concern when determining how we service your yard.

Irrigation

Proper irrigation is of the utmost importance during this time of year.  The best way to determine if your lawn needs water is to use the “footprinting” technique.  If your footprint is still visible a few seconds after stepping off, your lawn needs water.  If you notice that the blades of your grass are folding in half, or that your lawn has taken on a bluish-grey color, it is time to irrigate.

Lawn Care and Shrub Care

For the health of your lawn, our lawn care technician will be applying more granular fertilizer to your turf for the next few months.  We continue to monitor and spray as necessary for mole crickets, chinch bugs and weeds.  Our shrub care technician is spraying a preventative insecticide for scale and other ornamental insects along with monitoring for fungus and diseases.

Landscaping

If you haven’t already installed a fresh layer of mulch this year, now is a good time.  A 2- 3 inch layer of mulch helps to moderate soil temperature and retain moisture in the soil for the health of surrounding plants. This is also a good time of year to meet with our landscape designer to create a plan to redesign your landscape or enhance existing plant beds before the end of the season.

claytonEmployee Spotlight

Meet the Grass Roots Irrigation Team: Clayton and Arturo. They perform irrigation checks and adjustments for our irrigation   program customers. They are skilled at installing new systems, modifying existing systems,and troubleshooting and making any necessary repairs.

Get a Quote Today

(850) 897-3073 (Niceville)

(850) 832-4212 (Panama City Beach)

 

Why is my northwest Florida lawn not thriving?

There is no magic cure for lawn problems. Most people will experience frustration with their lawn at some point in time in northwest Florida. Some people are continually frustrated with the condition of their lawn. There are many reasons why our turf grasses are, at times, difficult to maintain. In the Southeast it is possible for a lawn to look picture perfect one year and decline the very next year. The causes of problems in our lawns can be complicated by environmental conditions such as, pests and poor maintenance. To appreciate the difficulties of maintaining a lawn in Florida, it may help to understand our Southern turf grasses.

There are four main types of grasses used in home lawns in Florida. All four are not native to the United States.

Bermuda

This turf produces a vigorous, medium green, dense turf that is well adapted to most soils and climates found in Florida. It has excellent wear, drought and salt tolerance. Bermuda establishes rapidly and is available in seeded varieties. However, it requires high levels of maintenance, and has poor tolerance to many insect, disease and nematode pests.

Centipede

This turf variety is well adapted to the climate and soils of central and northern Florida and is the most common turf type in the Florida Panhandle. It has fair shade tolerance and survives drought conditions. Centipede can be established from seed, sod or plugs. However, it is prone to chlorosis (yellowing of leaf blades) and has poor cold tolerance. It is also very susceptible to nematodes, ground pearls and centipede decline caused by Gaeumannomyces.

St. Augustine

This turf produces a green to blue green dense turf that is well adapted to most soils and climatic regions in Florida. It has relatively good salt tolerance and certain cultivars posses fair shade tolerance. St. Augustine establishment from sod is usually quick and easy. However, it is highly susceptible to chinch bugs and many diseases. It also has poor wear, drought and cold tolerance. Excessive thatch buildup is also common.

Zoysia

This variety of turf is extremely dense which resists weed invasion. It has good shade, salt, wear and insect tolerance. Zoysia also repairs itself quicker than other turf varieties, because of it’s aggressive growth habit. However, it can be slow to establish and builds up heavy thatch. Other disadvantages are poor growth on compacted soils and poor drought tolerance.

All of these grasses have been studied extensively and in most cases plant breeders have developed improved cultivars which we commonly use today. It’s surprising to some to learn that our lawn grasses are not native. It’s important to understand this in order to appreciate and better understand the difficulties of growing these grasses in our landscapes.

To better understand our lawn problems, it also helps to know that northwest Florida was not designed to be a “grass growing area.” If you study the natural vegetation of north Florida, you will find primarily a densely wooded area comprised of a combination of various pines, oaks and other trees, a tremendous variety of shrubs, vines, wild flowers and other vegetation.

A common practice in our modern landscapes is to remove many of the natural or native plants and replace them with these foreign grasses. We then expect these grasses to provide a picture perfect lawn in a foreign environment created for trees and shrubs.

While it’s not impossible to have a thick lush lawn in northwest Florida, it’s definitely not easy.

Give Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. a call for all your Lawn Care needs. (850)897-3073 Niceville  (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach

 

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