How to Identify Chinch Bug Damage on Your Lawn

How to Identify Chinch Bug Damage on Your Lawn

There are many reasons your lawn suffers in the hot, dry days of summer. Drought, diseases, and pests cause wilted grass, yellow or brown patches, and dead areas in the lawn. But it’s difficult to fix the problem unless you know the cause. Read on and find out if the reason your turf took a turn for the worst is due to chinch bug damage.

Identifying the Pest

Most active during droughts and dry times, chinch bugs set their sites on the sunny places in your lawn and suck the life out of grass blades. One way to determine that the destruction is indeed caused by chinch bug damage is to locate the bug itself. You may need a magnifying glass, because these tiny pests are often less than a quarter of an inch long. Look in the damaged areas at the base of the grass blades, close to the soil. Although orange in color when they are young, adult chinch bugs are black with white wings folded across their bodies. They also have antennae and a piercing mouthpart.

Take the Tin Can Test to Determine If It Is Chinch Bug Damage

If searching for these pests is problematic, there’s a method to make them come to you. Create a tube by removing the top and bottom from a metal can. Or, use a small part of plastic tubing. Push the can a couple of inches into the soil where there is grass damage. Keep filling the can with water until the level stays almost full. (This takes about five minutes or so.) Eventually, chinch bugs float to the top for easier identification. More than a few bugs indicates a problem. A healthy lawn tolerates a smaller number of these pests.

Is Chinch Bug Damage Really the Cause of Your Lawn’s Distress?

Because chinch bug damage mimics drought stress and a variety of lawn diseases and other pest damages, it’s often difficult to identify. When in doubt, call in an expert. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll find out exactly what’s ailing your lawn and make it healthy again.

How to Choose the Best Lawn Sprinkler for Your Yard

How to Choose the Best Lawn Sprinkler for Your Yard

Keeping your grass green throughout the scorching summer months is a challenge. A labor intensive task when done manually, watering requires time, consistency, and the proper amounts. A simple sprinkler system makes this task less of a chore. But choosing the best lawn sprinkler for your landscaping needs isn’t always easy. We’ve simplified the process by identifying some common types of sprinklers.

Benefits of Using a Lawn Sprinkler System

Installing the best lawn sprinkler takes away the worry of watering, making it a great investment. Automated sprinklers water efficiently and evenly while taking the pressure off of you to do so manually. If you set your system to water overnight, or at least when the sun isn’t at its strongest, it conserves water. Watering the lawn during the daytime hours when the sun is the strongest means that most of the water is evaporated before it sinks into the soil. You can also adjust these systems to water more or less depending on the amount of rainfall.

Types of Lawn Sprinkler Systems

Lawn sprinklers come in a variety of designs from simple hoses with holes to automated in-ground systems. In order to choose the best lawn sprinkler, you’ll need to know these types and some terminology.

Rotary sprinklersfeature spinning arms with spraying nozzles at the end of each one. Once turned on, water pressure makes the arms rotate sending spray in a large circular area. This type is an economical choice for watering large areas in a consistent manner.

An oscillating sprinkler’s design features an arched metal or plastic tube. The tube is punctured by a series of holes and moves back and forth, spraying a fan of water. Look for one that features at least 15 holes along the tube and that moves rapidly to deter puddling. Metal tubes are more durable than plastic. A large, square-shaped lawn benefits from an oscillating sprinkler.

A pulsating sprinkleris easily installed anywhere in the yard. Its rotating head shoots pulsating streams of water in a circular pattern. Although these are great for irregular-shaped yards or large circular areas, avoid using on gardens with delicate flowers or foliage. The high-pressure spray adjusts to great distances and stays low to the ground so there’s not a lot of evaporation.

Easy-to-use and economical, stationary sprinklerscome in various shapes and sizes to suit your needs. These sprinklers are good for smaller areas and usually water in one preset pattern. Make sure not to leave it in one place for too long or it leaves behind soggy grass and puddles.

Best for longer, large areas, traveling sprinklersmove along the ground from the power of water pressure. They require firm, level ground and sufficient water pressure to keep moving, and water deeply and evenly. Never use these on newly seeded lawns.

We’ll Help You Pick the Best Lawn Sprinkler for the Job

Installing an irrigation system reduces the need to worry about watering your grass properly. But with so many varieties available, picking the best lawn sprinkler system for your yard is a challenge. Let us help you. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at 866-373-3777 today!

Prevent Poison Ivy from Ruining Your Summer Fun with These Safe Removal Tips

Prevent Poison Ivy from Ruining Your Summer Fun with These Safe Removal Tips

Poison ivy quickly takes the fun out of summertime picnics, playtime, and gardening. Common throughout the United States, this invasive weed causes an itchy rash when one comes in contact with it. And scratching that itch only makes it spread. To prevent poison ivy from sucking the fun out of your summer activities you’ll need to properly identify it and safely remove it. Read on to find out more.

Proper Identification

The fact that this weed looks different depending on the season, plant’s age, and variety makes it hard to identify. Oval glossy leaves in clusters of three are the main characteristic of poison ivy. Unfortunately, many other plants share this trait, like box elder and Virginia creeper. Each poison ivy leaf comes to a point at the top. The central leaf in the cluster often has a longer stem than the side leaves.

While no leaves line the vine in the winter, springtime brings a variety of red and orange shaded leaves. The leaves are green in the summer months and sometimes share the vine with little greenish-white flower clusters. By autumn, they turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Waxy white berries join the leaf clusters.

Tips for Safe Removal

Although it’s difficult to prevent poison ivy when hiking or camping, there are ways to remove it from your yard if you are very careful. All parts of the plant contain the toxic chemical that causes the rash, so grabbing the vine alone won’t keep you safe.

First and foremost, dress appropriately. Keep completely covered with gloves, long pants, and long sleeves. It’s smart to wear goggles and a mask as well. Your clothes require immediate washing afterwards before they come in contact with anything else. Hose off boots or shoes plus any equipment you use with soapy water. Dispose of gloves.

Once you are dressed for battle, grab your shears and cut the vines off at the ground. (Never rip the vines out. This can release toxins into the air.) Then, dig out the roots with a shovel, making sure to go deep enough to get the entire root. Place vines and roots in garbage bags. Be sure to completely seal them up and dispose of them properly. Never burn or compost the removed plants!

Prevent Poison Ivy and Other Invasive Weeds

Don’t be discouraged if you have to repeat the removal process more than once. You may also need to use an herbicide on remaining stubs and plants. There are many herbicides on the market to prevent poison ivy and other invasive weeds, but use them with care because they kill other plants as well. Pick one containing glyphosate or triclopyr and apply on a dry, windless day.

If you prefer to keep your distance from poison ivy and other invasive weeds, call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone]. We’ll get rid of it for you, so you can enjoy a carefree summer.

How to Treat for Sod Webworms

How to Treat for Sod Webworms

A common lawn pest, sod webworms are caterpillars that feed on your grass at night. They do this by living in the thatch above your sod and weaving a web (hence their name) in the grass. They feast on the grass leaves, leaving brown holes in the lawn that eventually become large patches of dead grass. Though their damage can be devastating, they can be dealt with effectively to protect your lawn. Here’s how to treat for sod webworms.

Treating for Sod Webworms

  • Give your lawn about 1″ of water per week and fertilize on a regular basis to promote a healthy, less vulnerable lawn.
  • Take away their home by reducing your lawn’s thatch. Use a dethatcher to rake up this layer of dead grass, leaves, and organic debris at least once a year.
  • Aerate your lawn on a regular basis, too. Try to aerate in the spring and fall every year.
  • Apply a dry granular insecticide like Bacillus thuringiensis throughout your lawn when the sod webworms are still in their larval stage. Many insecticides are useless against adults. Be sure to check the label to ensure that the product is effective on sod webworms. Avoid using broad spectrum insecticides as they can potentially kill beneficial animals that prey on the pests in your yard. Spray the insecticide in the early evening, just before the sod webworms begin to feed, so they’ll be sure to consume the poison as they eat. Apply the insecticide on a weekly basis until your sod webworm problem is gone.
  • When replanting your lawn, opt for these seeds for their resistance to sod webworms: fescue, ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass.

Call the Pros

Contact your local lawn care experts today at [company] to find out about our Perimeter Pest Control program.  You can reach us at [phone] to schedule an appointment.