Worrisome Weed or Pretty Plant? How to Stop Speedwell from Spreading

Worrisome Weed or Pretty Plant? How to Stop Speedwell from Spreading

Is it a weed? An ornamental flower? An edible plant? The answer is yes to all three. With around 500 species, the speedwell family features pretty little flowers in late spring. Some species work well in gardens, while others, like Veronica Americana, are edible and nutritious. But most are considered invasive. Place it in a pot or container for a delightful display, but find it in your lawn and you’ll have your work cut out for you. Read on to find out why you want to stop speedwell from spreading.

Plant Profile

All species of speedwell vary a little in appearance. Often found in neglected lawns, disturbed soil, and shaded areas, corn or common speedwell (Veronica arvensis) is one to watch. It’s also known as gypsyweed or veronica. Generally, this invasive plant features four-petaled white, blue, or purplish small flowers; heart-shaped seed pods; and numerous small lobed leaves. Slender branched stems creep low to the ground and take root at the nodes, eventually forming a dense mat. But its ability to rapidly reproduce by seed is the reason you need to stop speedwell before it gets out of control. It quickly fills in thinning, bare, or ailing areas of the lawn, crowding out grass and plants, and developing fibrous root systems that are difficult to eradicate.

How to Stop Speedwell

For starters, speedwell rarely sprouts in a strong lush lawn, and the same goes for most weeds. Weak grass won’t stand a chance against this opportunistic weed. Keep your lawn happy and healthy with a regular maintenance plan that includes mowing, watering, and fertilizing in order to ward off all weeds, including the very invasive speedwell.

When you spot one or two speedwell plants in your lawn, carefully remove the flower heads before it blooms. This prevents the plant from setting seed. To stop speedwell before it invades, apply a pre-emergent herbicide before the seeds germinate. Spot treating with a post-emergent product will help with already existing weeds.

Let Us Help Keep Your Turf in Tip-Top Shape

If you spot speedwell or other unwanted weeds in your lawn, call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone]. Let us help keep your lawn healthy and able to ward off weeds, pests, and disease.

A Guide to Spring Spider Control

A Guide to Spring Spider Control

Springtime brings a bounty of wonderful things… as well as a few things we might not like so much. Take spiders, for example. While they’re considered pests by many, these insects are beneficial to the delicate balance of nature. They act as a natural form of pest control by eating undesirable insects in and around your home. Although spiders are generally helpful, many people just don’t want them around. Here’s what you should know about spider control this spring.

Spider Control Tips

  • Spiders are predators that prey on smaller insects, like moths. Moths are attracted to light, so be sure to keep outdoor lights off at night time.
  • Apply diatomaceous earth to your yard. Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock made up of crushed phytoplankton, an aquatic fossil. This non-toxic treatment is a popular option for pest control in the yard because it is generally harmless to humans. Spiders absorb the diatomaceous earth as they crawl over it, which dehydrates their exoskeleton and kills them.
  • Overgrown bushes, grass, and piles of organic debris create hiding places for spiders. Therefore, it helps to keep vegetation trimmed and your lawn mowed regularly.
  • Clean food and crumbs immediately when eating outside.
  • Avoid stacking wood or applying mulch too close to your house.
  • Remove cobwebs from your property. Spiders use cobwebs to store their food, so it is often helpful to use a web eliminator spray that dissolves it on contact. This product can be bought from your local garden center or hardware store and can be used inside and outside. If your spider problem is outside, apply it to the exterior of your home, as well as any potential entry points.
  • Call a company that specializes in pest control, like [company]. Give us a call today at [phone] to find out how simple and affordable it can be to protect your home from unwanted pests.
Weeds 101: How to Control Henbit

Weeds 101: How to Control Henbit

A member of the mint family, henbit is a common annual weed that often winds up in weak spots of lawns and gardens across the United States. Often confused with purple deadnettle and ground ivy, this quick-spreading and aggressive plant fools many with its pretty little flowers. But you’ll need to control henbit before it takes over. Find out more now.

Why We Hate Henbit

Although it prefers shaded areas and moist soil, henbit is happy to take over your turf anywhere. At first, it’s a pleasingly pretty intruder with tiny purple flowers that appear in the middle of spring. But the real reason to control henbit is because once these flowers appear, the weed then produces up to 2,000 seeds. These seeds easily take root anywhere there’s thinning or unhealthy grass, or in shaded locations, like under a tree, where grass has a tough time growing. Once established, the quick-to-wander weeds won’t go away anytime soon. A few plants spotted this year multiplies to many by next year.

Appearance

It helps to know what you are looking for in order to successfully control henbit. The tiny tubular flowers range in color from pink to purple, while the plant’s leaves line up on squared stems in pairs. Round or heart-shaped leaves have scalloped or notched edges. Although stems reach anywhere from 5 to 16 inches high, the plant grows close to the ground.

How to Handle Henbit

First and foremost, give grass a fighting chance against this invasive weed with a proper lawn-care routine. Keep your lawn thick, healthy, and well-maintained. A lush environment leaves no room for unwanted weeds. Provide the right amount of watering, regular fertilizing, and mow grass at the right height for its species.

To control henbit, it’s imperative to find it before it flowers and kill it before it produces seeds. This requires using a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide in the spring or a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall. If you spot a few of these plants before they flower, hand weeding works, but only if you get the entire henbit plant and root system.

We Can Help Control Henbit and Other Unwanted Weeds

Now is the time to control henbit by applying treatment in the spring before the plant produces flowers. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone]. We’ll help you build a strong healthy lawn that won’t let weeds invade. We offer personalized maintenance programs that include weed control and prevention.

Identifying Tree Disease: What Is Oak Wilt?

Identifying Tree Disease: What Is Oak Wilt?

Trees provide our properties with shade, privacy, and natural beauty. These landscape landmarks seem so big and strong, it’s hard to imagine anything harming their health. But trees, like humans, get diseases. For instance, all oak trees are susceptible to a disease called oak wilt, but it’s most fatal for the red oak family, including scarlet and black oaks. Here’s what you need to know about this deadly disease.

How It Works

Oak wilt is a quick-spreading fungal disease. Sap-feeding beetles carry the fungus, Bretziella fagacearum, into the tree via open wounds or pruned areas. Once the tree is infected, one way that the disease spreads to other trees is when fungal spores travel through the sick tree’s root system to healthy trees nearby. The disease ultimately destroys a tree’s vascular system, blocking water and nutrients from traveling throughout the tree. Eventually, it kills the entire tree. The fungus, however, lives on and reproduces, and finds its way to other oaks.

Symptoms of Oak Wilt

Trees infected with the disease may die as quickly as three or four months after the first symptoms appear. Symptoms vary from tree to tree and different species, but the signs all occur in late spring through summer. First, foliage at the top of the tree wilts. The leaves begin to brown around the edges, eventually falling to the ground prematurely. Fungal spores form mats under the bark and cause the bark to split open. Dark streaks in the sapwood are another symptom that’s found by removing the top layer of bark on an infected branch. The symptoms of oak wilt are similar to other tree diseases, so it is wise to get a professional to properly diagnose.

Prevention

There is no cure for oak wilt, therefore, prevention and early identification is important. Here are some helpful tips.

  • Don’t prune oak trees from mid-April through early October, during the growing season. Fresh pruning wounds attract sap beetles that could potentially be carrying the disease.
  • Immediately paint over open wounds that occur after a storm or branch breakage. This prevents beetles from being drawn to the tree by the smell of sap.
  • Properly clean pruning tools so diseases are not transmitted from one tree or shrub to another.

What to Do About Oak Wilt

Once a tree is infected with oak wilt, removal is inevitable to prevent the spread of infection. Identifying and treating tree disease is difficult and time is of the essence. Call in an expert as soon as possible if you suspect any issues. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll help you keep your trees and landscaping healthy and beautiful.