Category Archives: Lawn Care and Maintenance
From choosing the right plant or turf grass for the right space, to the limited and proper use of lawn fertilizers and pesticides, the experts at Pro-Lawn-Plus can ensure your lawn care program works with the environment, and not against it.
Disease pathogens are present in most lawns and can be triggered when lawns are stressed and weather conditions are right. Typically in warm, humid weather. Prevention is the best strategy for managing lawn diseases. Proper mowing, fertilization, improving poor drainage and increasing air circulation will help fend off serious problems. Fungicides can be applied preventively but will not ‘cure’ the disease. They suppress the symptoms so the disease does not damage the lawn. Cooler temperatures often help lawns recover from disease naturally. If by the fall the grass has not recovered the dead areas should be reseeded. Red thread and brown patch lawn disease are the two main diseases affecting Maryland lawns
Red thread disease is a turf disease that likes cool, wet spring weather. It likes temperatures in the 60’s and low 70’s with high humidity and in soils with high moisture content. It is an interesting lawn disease because of the red fungal mycelium (strands) that are visible to the naked eye.
The disease develops in circular or irregular patches from 4 inches to 2 feet in diameter. Affected leaves within these patches are tan or bleached-white in color. From a distance, the patches usually have that reddish appearance, due to the presence of thick, red strands of fungal growth emanating from the affected leaves. It is through the production of these “red threads” that the fungus spreads to healthy plants and survives unfavorable conditions. After prolonged periods of disease development, the patches may merge to produce large irregularly shaped areas of damaged turf.
Soils that have little or no topsoil and organic matter and don’t hold nutrients are susceptible to Red Thread and Pink Patch as well. Generally, only in the worst cases of these two lawn diseases is it necessary to spray fungicides. There would need to be a prolonged period of cool weather to necessitate control products. A few hot, dry days usually will eliminate the symptoms. Here is a fact sheet from the University of Maryland that explains the disease in more detail – http://hgic.umd.edu/content/documents/TT-24.pdf
Brown Patch Lawn Disease
Brown Patch lawn disease occurs in Maryland during warm, humid weather. The combination of daytime temperatures that are over 85°F and nighttime temperatures that stay above 65° F with little air flow leaving the grass moist for over eight hours is the perfect condition for this turf disease. You can identify Brown Patch by its symptoms. Light tan lesions with dark brown edges across the middle or tips of the grass blades are signs you might have Brown Patch. On mornings with abundant dew, you will actually be able to see the signs of the fungal mycelium which look like cottony structures.
It is mainly a problem on improved varieties of Tall Fescue. If you have a variety that is especially susceptible to Brown Patch disease and the ideal environmental conditions are expected for an extended period of time, you might need to have your lawn treated with a fungicide to prevent having to reseed the lawn in the fall. However, if a cold front is expected within a few days to lower the humidity and nighttime temperatures, it may not be necessary to spray. Brown Patch can disfigure a lawn but the disease does not kill the crown of the grass and recovery is possible provided we are not in the middle of a drought.
If you suspect you have Brown Patch disease, avoid nighttime watering if you can. Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on a humid night set up the ideal conditions for Brown Patch disease. Preventative fungicide application can be used to suppress the disease as well. More information on Brown Patch UMD
Spring is finally here, and along with the beautiful weather and green lawns come the inevitable pests. Per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pests cause more than 200 million dollars’ worth of turf damage annually! One of the main culprits? White grubs, inconspicuous pests that do their damage under cover. Don’t let your lawn be part of the statistic; learn a little about this pest to limit your chances of serious lawn destruction this season!
Know Your Sneaky Pest
Grubs are the larvae stage of several types of beetles, two of which are well-known to most of us as the Japanese beetle and the June bug. Both prefer sunny lawns with moist soil and are especially attracted to lawns that are watered regularly during the hot and dry periods. During mid and late summer, the beetles are ready to lay their eggs underground, leaving them to hatch into young grubs amongst the grass roots. This allows the hungry little grubs to feast on your lawn’s succulent roots. What’s good for the grubs’ growth is detrimental to your lawn! They continue feasting through the fall, and that’s when they do the most damage. As winter approaches, they dig down as deep as one foot, escaping from the cold and becoming inactive for the winter. In the spring, they become active again, and continue to dine on your lawn’s roots. This seasonal cycle continues for three years until the grubs reach maturity. They then become beetles and fly into your garden for a different type of meal, and so the cycle continues.
Evidence of Grub Damage
If you have wildlife (such as racoons and skunks) digging up your lawn at night, they may be after a yummy snack of grubs. Once grass roots are gone, they don’t grow back, causing dry brown patches of grass. These brown grass areas may feel spongy when you walk on them. You can investigate further by checking the root zone of the sod. Peel back the sod: if it lifts easily, that’s never a good sign, but it may not mean you’re infested with grubs. You’ll need to look for them closely; they’re white and about a half-inch in length with a dark head and legs, and when disturbed they curl into a C-shape. If you find one or two just below the lifted sod, go a little further, digging down another one to two inches. If you find more than three or four grubs within a square foot area, your lawn is infested, and you’ll need help! Once you see the damage, it’s far too late to control. Additionally, the damaged area will not recover because the root system is dead.
Successfully Treating a Grub Infestation
You found grubs, so now what? Many homeowners attempt to treat the problem themselves, with varying degrees of success. The process can be quite demanding; treatment of grubs is ongoing, not a one-and-done pesticide application. Treatments applied by professionals tend to be much more successful, and there are various pesticides that can be used. Our licensed and experienced professionals know lawns and the pests that infest them. You can rely on ProLawnPlus to choose the correct treatment for your lawn, and we always keep your children and pets’ wellbeing in mind.
Weeds that appear in hot summer weather are some of the toughest to control. They germinate when your lawn is under stress from heat, humidity and drought and thrive under these conditions. Some summer weeds are grass like and are not susceptible to ‘normal’ weed control measures. Here are some of the weeds you will be seeing during these hot summer months.
If a bright, yellow-green, grass-like weed is detracting from your lawn’s beauty, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with nutsedge. Nutsedge is a yellow-green warm season perennial. It has upright, grass-like leaves with a glossy upper surface and dull lower surface that emerge from the base of the plant. The leaves are 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide, up to 3 feet long, and have parallel veins with a prominent midvein. Its flat topped, burr-like flowers occur July to September and are affixed to the end of a stout triangular stem. It grows in all soil types, especially moist ones, but does not tolerate shade.
Nutsedge is a perennial weed that is hard to eliminate, mainly because it reproduces itself from tubers beneath the soil. If you hand-pull nutsedge, the tuber is usually left behind and will regerminate. Nutsedge grows quickly in low, wet soil. Left unchecked, it will grow as tall as 2-3 feet! Pro-Lawn-Plus’s 5 Treatment program includes a summer weed spray, that helps control nutsedge. But in lawns with an abundance of nutsedge, it is usually necessary to add one or two supplemental treatments.
Dallisgrass is a light green warm season perennial. It spreads upright forming clumps with leaves that are about 1/2 inch wide. It germinates in 60 to 65 degree soils, and although it thrives in the hot and humid south, it can be found all the way up to Maryland. The best way to remove this plant is by pulling out the clumps with your hands or a small garden tool since no herbicide is currently labeled to selectively control it.
Spotted Spurge is a summer annual that produces seeds in 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. From a central taproot, it grows a flat, extensively-branched mat up to 2 feet in diameter. The stems leak a milky sap when broken. Its leaves are small, oval and up to 3/5 inch long. They can be purple spotted and hairy. Flowers occur June to October and are small and cup shaped. It is found in thin, drought-stressed soil in hot climates and closely mowed grass. This weed is resistant to many weed control products. To minimize Spotted Spurge, water deeply,, fertilize in autumn and avoid close mowing.
For information about these and other weeds, visit the Difficult to control weeds section of our website .
ProLawn Plus’s Exclusive Five Treatment Lawn Care Program will leave you with the best looking lawn on the block! Add to that our tree and shrub care and perimeter pest control services and you have the best lawn care and landscape service in the area. Contact Us
Though we can’t control mushrooms directly, there are management practices that can reduce them.
Mushrooms in your lawn call for different measures than standard lawn weed control. Mushrooms are classified as fungi, rather than weeds. Most mushroom-producing fungi in lawns are actually beneficial, because they break down organic matter, releasing nutrients that promote plant growth.
Mushrooms found in lawns often grow in areas where there are dead tree roots, excess thatch, or other organic matter. These mushrooms are usually harmless to grasses, but some people don’t like the look of them in the grass or want to get rid of them because children play in the area. Many of these mushrooms are associated with over irrigation, poor drainage or excess thatch. Removing excess thatch and aerating the soil to improve drainage as part of a lawn care program may help. There are many different types of fungus and molds. Have you ever seen the lovely sight of the “Dog Vomit Fungus” growing in a mulched area ? Click for more info
Extensive areas of fungi in your lawn, with or without mushrooms, may require more aggressive management. Give ProLawn Plus a call today for a free lawn care estimate. We will provide a complete lawn analysis and recommendations to rid your lawn of mushrooms and other fungi, allowing your lawn to be able to grow to its full potential.
ProLawnPlus provides professional lawn care and tree/shrub services for Maryland residents in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, in addition to portions of Harford and Carroll Counties.
Brown Patch disease (Rhizoctonia spp.) occurs in Maryland in warm, humid weather. The combination of daytime temperatures that are over 85°F and nighttime temperatures that stay above 65° F with little air flow leaving the grass moist for over eight hours are the perfect conditions for this turf disease. You can identify Brown Patch by its symptoms. Light tan lesions with dark brown edges across the middle or tips of the grass blades are signs you might have Brown Patch. On mornings with abundant dew, you will actually be able to see the signs of the fungal mycelium which look like cottony structures.
It is mainly a problem on improved varieties of Tall Fescue. If you have a variety that is especially susceptible to Brown Patch disease and the ideal environmental conditions are expected for an extended period of time, you might need to have your lawn treated with a fungicide to avoid having to . However, if a cold front is expected within a few days to lower the humidity and nighttime temperatures, it may not be necessary to spray.
If you suspect you have brown patch, avoid nighttime watering if you can. Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on a humid night set up the ideal conditions for Brown Patch disease. More information on Brown Patch UMD
A healthy, well maintained lawn has many benefits. It’s not just about getting a green lawn. Properly timed and applied fertilizer actually protects the Chesapeake Bay by providing dense root mass that stops soil erosion and leaching of the fertilizer. A healthy lawn is an excellent sequester of carbon, provides noise and dust reduction and a safe playing area for kids.
Did you know that a lawn area just 50-ft square absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and releases enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe? Or that the grass and trees along the U.S. interstate highway system release enough oxygen to support 22 million people! That green patch of earth under your feet is not only beautiful, it’s environmentally beneficial.
Scientific research has documented the many benefits of turfgrass to our environment. Today’s improved turfgrass varieties are very effective in reducing pollution. A thick healthy lawn traps and removes dust and dirt from the air. It also acts as a natural filter, reducing pollution by purifying the water passing through its root zone. The clean gentle strength of turfgrass is the most cost-effective method for controlling wind and water erosion. A thick, healthy Pro-Lawn-Plus lawn absorbs rainfall and prevents major run off.
Another often overlooked benefit of a healthy lawn is its tremendous cooling effect! On a hot summer day, lawns will be 30 degrees cooler than asphalt and 14 degrees cooler than bare soil. The front lawns of eight houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning. That’s amazing when the average home has an air conditioner with just a three or four ton capacity. The cooling effect of irrigated turf reduces the amount of fuel that must be burned to provide the electricity which powers air conditioners.
A well maintained lawn can also enhance the “curb appeal” of your home, adding as much as 15% to the value, while providing a natural and safe setting for fun and games. The soft resilient surface of turfgrass is the safest and least expensive place to play. From backyard games to the NFL, athletes of all sizes prefer the green cushion of turfgrass. A healthy, thick lawn quietly adds to the beauty of our lives and even our mental and physical health. As you can see, the satisfaction of creating a beautiful lawn can be rewarding for you and the environment.
Spring Lawn Care
After a long, cold winter we are looking forward to getting started on spring treatments next week. Time to start thinking about spring lawn care! ProLawnPlus provides expert lawn care services including lawn fertilizer, lawn weed control, crabgrass control, flea and tick control, aeration and seeding. For more than 35 years we have served Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County in Maryland.
We’re locally owned and operated.
This local “flavor” allows us to get to know you and your lawn so we can customize your treatments as needed. Want us to call a day before we come out? We can do that. Do you want an Organic Lawn treatment? We can do that. We’re your neighbor, so we want what’s right for you.
Our environmentally friendly lawn care programs will help you get a thicker, healthier lawn.
ProLawn Plus’s Exclusive Five Treatment Lawn Care Program will leave you with the best looking lawn on the block! Add to that our tree and shrub care and perimeter pest control services and you have the best lawn care and landscape service in the area.
We take pride in providing you with the best looking lawn and best customer service possible. We also have numerous lawn care videos and educational documents on grasses, weeds and lawns available to help you understand how to care for your lawn.
It may not be as fun as it use to be to rake leaves in your lawn. But it is necessary to get the leaves off your lawn as soon as possible. If you wait until all the trees in your yard are bare, it could be too late. The leaves will become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form an impenetrable mat that will suffocate the grass below and possibly breed fungal diseases. An alternative to raking leaves is to use a lawnmower fitted with a collection bag or vacuum system. Regardless of whether you use a rake or a lawnmower, just be sure to remove the leaves before they turn into a soggy, suffocating mess. Another alternative is to mulch the leaves into the lawn.
If you’ve got a large yard and you use a riding lawn mower, try leaf mulching. When the leaves are dry, drive over them with your lawn mower. The mower chops them up and returns the smaller leaf pieces to the lawn. Leaf mulching with a mower doesn’t negatively affect turf performance, and it is a time-efficient way to get rid of those leaves, which can damage your lawn. Maintaining a leaf-free yard this fall can help assure a healthy lawn come spring. It may seem like a thankless task, the leaves just continue to fall, littering your lawn with more leaves. But come Spring, your lawn will be thanking you!
Taking care of your lawn doesn’t stop when the weather cools and the leaves begin to change color. Fall is an important time for turf to “heal” after a stressful summer, especially if it has been worn down by traffic or suffered from disease or insect problems. Not only can you repair summer damage to the lawn in the fall and over the winter, but you can also improve the turf so it will be healthier in the spring. Here are some fall tips to improve the health of your lawn.
Lawn watering is often stopped in early fall. Conventional thinking is that because evapotranspiration (ET) rates are low and the turf isn’t growing much, it is OK to stop watering. While mowing isn’t needed as frequently during fall, the turf DOES continue to grow – but in ways that differ from spring and summer. Turfgrasses form tillers (side shoots) and rhizomes that increase the density of fall turf. Fall watering is essential for late season nitrogen applications to work most effectively. Fertilizer applied to dry turf is less likely to enhance fall rooting and increase energy storage.
It may not be fun but it is necessary to rake leaves from your lawn as soon as possible. If you wait until all the trees in your yard are bare, it may be too late. The leaves will become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form an impenetrable mat that if left unmoved will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases. An alternative to raking leaves is to use a lawnmower fitted with a collection bag or vacuum system. These methods are particularly effective if you have a very large yard with many deciduous trees. Regardless of whether you use a rake or a lawnmower, just be sure to remove the leaves before they turn into a soggy, suffocating mess.
According to turfgrass scientists, the best time to fertilize lawns in Maryland is the fall. This is the time of the year when the grass recovers from summer heat and drought stress. Fertilizer applied from late August through early October promotes increased density of the turf without promoting excess shoot growth. Late fall fertilization from mid-October through early December promotes increased root growth. It also increases carbohydrate storage for the grass to survive the winter and prepare for the following spring’s new growth.
Fall is also the best time of year to control perennial broadleaf weeds – dandelion, clover, plantain, and thistle, to name a few. Fall herbicide applications are more effective when applied to healthy, green, actively growing weeds. The herbicide is more easily absorbed and translocated to weed roots resulting in better control.
In most home lawns, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during excavation of the basement or footings, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is more compact, higher in clay content, and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn. Aeration can help relieve soil compaction and increase the air circulation needed to help your grass to grow deeper roots and make more efficient use of water and fertilizer.
Contact Pro-Lawn Plus today to get your FREE no obligation estimate. Let us help your lawn get the start it needs today, to be the lawn you’ve always wanted tomorrow. Pro-Lawn Plus is a local lawn care company. We provide as well as tree and shrub services for Maryland residents in Baltimore, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, in addition to portions of Harford County and Carroll Counties.
Grubs can cause severe damage to turfgrass in Maryland. They are the larvae of several species of beetles but the most common here in Maryland is the Japanese Beetle grub. Their life cycle takes one year to complete. The beetles emerge from the soil in late June/early July and feed on trees and shrubs. During July and into early August, they mate and lay eggs in the soil. The eggs hatch in August and begin feeding on turfgrass roots, especially when there is adequate soil moisture.
Most grub damage occurs in September and early October. The optimal time to prevent grubs is from late April through mid-July. Curative treatments in August through October are less effective and require immediate irrigation for effective results.