Controlling Speedwell: Why Is this Pretty Weed a Problem?

Controlling Speedwell: Why Is this Pretty Weed a Problem?

Sometimes used in gardens or as a decorative ground cover, speedwell is a perennial plant with pretty blue flowers that perk up a property in the spring. Unfortunately, its competitive nature and ability to rapidly reproduce makes it an unwelcome weed before too long. Find out about controlling speedwell before it overpopulates your property.

How to Identify Speedwell

Also known as veronica or gypsyweed, this invasive plant blooms from early spring on with small four-petaled flowers that range in color from white to blueish purple. Petite scalloped leaves and thin stems make up the rest of the speedwell plant. Heart-shaped seed pods hide beneath the flowers. Thriving in shaded areas and moist soil, the creeping plant grows low to the ground.

Why Is this Pretty Weed Problematic?

Speedwell is infamous for its ability to reproduce rapidly. The plant’s slender stems take root at the nodes as it creeps over the ground, eventually forming a dense mat. Thick carpets of speedwell choke out your grasses and plants. Thinning grass and bare patches are especially vulnerable. Once established, the weed’s fibrous root systems are difficult to eliminate.

Controlling Speedwell

There are several species of this weed, and each vary slightly in appearance. Many have the ability to take over your lawn if you don’t take controlling speedwell seriously. The easiest way to prevent an invasion is to maintain a thick healthy lawn that won’t let in any intruders. Follow a proper routine of regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing. When mowing, raise the blade to allow for taller grass. This gives the weed less room to thrive. Also, add aerating and overseeding to your maintenance schedule during the fall, to give your grass a healthy boost. As soon as you identify speedwell in your yard, mow grass immediately after the first flower heads appear. This prevents the plants from setting seed.

If speedwell invades your garden, follow the same approach for watering and feeding and add in regular hoeing and weeding. Mulch helps smother weed growth when applied to the bare areas of soil. When you weed, make sure to remove the entire root system and dispose of all parts of the plant properly. Otherwise, speedwell quickly comes back.

Often, controlling speedwell calls for a combination of natural methods and using a post-emergent broadleaf weed herbicide. The time to use an herbicide is in the spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. Carefully follow the directions on the label to apply.

To find out more about identifying and controlling speedwell or other weeds, call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone].

Spider Prevention in Your Home: Unwanted Pests or Helpful Guests?

Spider Prevention in Your Home: Unwanted Pests or Helpful Guests?

Despite what some horror movies would have you believe, spiders enter homes in search of food and shelter, not to terrify the residents. Whether you are afraid of them or not, no one likes an infestation of these eight-legged creatures or the wispy webs they leave behind. Find out about spider prevention and whether they are creepy predators to be feared or just benign bugs providing a household service.

What Is a Spider?

First of all, spiders are not actually insects. They are members of the largest order of arachnids and have two body segments and eight legs. Insects, on the other hand, have three body parts and six legs. Appendages in their abdomens produce silky, sticky webs that create a net for catching meals. These predators feed on insects and occasionally other spiders. All spiders have fangs. In order to catch their prey, some spiders inject venom to paralyze or kill the unsuspecting insect.

Unwanted Pests

Most of the spiders that find their ways into our homes are not dangerous. They come looking for food and shelter. But we still need to be careful. Although humans aren’t on the menu, some species bite people to protect themselves if they feel threatened. Fortunately, the amount of venom they produce isn’t enough to be harmful. But there are a few types of spiders that have strong enough venom to harm humans if bites go untreated. These include the brown recluse and the black widow spider.

Helpful Guests

Here’s something to consider before you become an advocate of spider prevention. Although we may not like them hanging around inside our house, these predators provide free and natural pest control services. Spiders feed on common household pests like flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, moths, and other disease-carrying insects.

Spider Prevention

There are plenty of ways to keep these creatures outside where they belong. But no matter how much you do, you may still get a visitor here and there. Follow these tips on spider prevention and you’ll keep the majority outside, while leaving a few persistent spiders to provide pest control services inside.

Seal up cracks in the foundation, gaps near windows or doors, and torn screens. Inside, clean up crumbs or food remnants that attract the pests they feed on. Keep food stored in sealed containers and remove garbage regularly. Routine vacuuming gets rid of cobwebs, egg sacs, and the spiders themselves. Keep your home as clutter free as possible.

Outside, trim bushes and trees so they are not up against the house. Make sure wood and compost piles, as well as garbage cans, are not too close to the house. Repair damaged siding or window and door frames.

If spiders are frequent guests in your home, it could mean that they’ve located a food source. Call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] we’ll help you keep your home pest free.

Pretty Purple Flowers or Destructive Weeds? Preventing Henbit and Purple Deadnettle

Pretty Purple Flowers or Destructive Weeds? Preventing Henbit and Purple Deadnettle

There are many look alikes in the world of weeds. For example, henbit and and purple deadnettle have many similarities. They both feature lovely purple flowers in the spring. But these pretty posies also pose a threat to your landscaping. Make preventing henbit and purple deadnettle a priority this season. Here’s why.

Common Characteristics

Both henbit and purple deadnettle are winter annuals in the mint family. Growing close to the ground, these broadleaf weeds thrive in the same locations, making their homes in fields and meadows. Unfortunately, they also thrive in areas where the soil has been disturbed, such as gardens and thinning grass. Their life cycle starts in the fall. By early spring, flowers appear and attract bees and other pollinators. The plants set seed in late spring and early summer. Their most obvious shared traits are squared stems and small, tubular purple flowers. Oddly enough, both henbit and purple deadnettle are edible and actually nutritious.

Differences

There are ways to tell these two look-alike weeds apart. Mainly, the leaves are distinctly different. Purple deadnettle leaves are slightly pointed and hairy. Toward the top of the plant, the leaves gradually get smaller and have a purplish tinge. Henbit leaves are a little bit smaller, rounder, and glossier, plus they feature scalloped edges. Gaps between sets of leaves on henbit expose the stem, while purple deadnettle leaves overlap and mostly cover the stem.

Why These Weeds Are Worrisome

Although these weeds produce attractive flowers, the pretty sight won’t make up for the fact that they are quick to spread and take over a lawn. Each plant produces thousands of seeds after it flowers. Preventing henbit and purple deadnettle is important because once these invasive weeds set seed, it’s hard to stop them. A few plants this year turn into many more each following year, especially if the environment is right. Patchy grass and thinning lawns are prime for takeover.

Preventing Henbit and Purple Deadnettle

Keeping your turf healthy and well-maintained is the best way to stop weeds before they start. There’s nowhere for them to grow in a thick, lush lawn. Setting up a proper lawn maintenance schedule is the first step in preventing henbit and purple deadnettle. This includes regular watering, mowing, and fertilizing. Call in an expert to keep your turf in top shape. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll help you build a strong, healthy lawn that wards off weeds.

What Is Anthracnose? Identifying a Common Tree Disease in Ohio

What Is Anthracnose? Identifying a Common Tree Disease in Ohio

Foliaged focal points in our yards, trees are often so tall and strong looking that they seem indestructible. But this is not the case. Like all living things, they are susceptible to disease. A common tree disease in Ohio, as well as other parts of the eastern United States, anthracnose harms the health of these large landmarks in our landscapes. Find out more now.

What Is Anthracnose?

Anthracnose is a broad term for illnesses caused by a variety of fungi. This destructive disease often develops in damp weather during the spring and thrives in moist conditions. The malignant fungal spores are spread by wind, rain, and insects, affecting plants, shrubs, and vegetables, as well as trees. Spotted leaves, sparse foliage, and branch dieback are all characteristics of anthracnose. While the disease itself won’t cause permanent damage or death, the symptoms weaken the tree and make it easy for pests or more deadly diseases to destroy it.

Signs and Symptoms

A wide range of symptoms makes anthracnose difficult to identify. Symptoms first appear as yellowish to brownish irregular spots sometimes located close to edges of leaves or the veins. As the disease spreads, the spots darken and expand to cover the majority of the leaf, and can even take on a scorched appearance. Also, look for curled or distorted leaves. Symptoms are often misidentified as heavy insect feeding. More serious symptoms include premature leaf drop, cankers, and branch dieback.

Prevention and Management of Anthracnose: A Common Tree Disease

Anthracnose thrives in damp environments, so be sure never to overwater. Skip watering when the weather calls for rain. When planting new trees, pick disease-resistant varieties. For instance, white oak is very susceptible to anthracnose, while red oak is more resistant. Plant new trees in well-drained soils. Never compost infected leaves. Instead, destroy them properly. Always clean pruners or shears after cutting away diseased branches. Most importantly, learn to identify a common tree disease like anthracnose early, before it spreads.

We Can Help

Being able to identify a common tree disease before major damage or spreading occurs helps you keep your landscape healthy and makes it easier to maintain. If you suspect that a tree is infected with a serious disease, or if you are uncertain, call in a professional right away. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll help you keep your trees healthy and beautiful for years to come.