The Science Of Lawn Care
Scientific research has made an incredible and lasting impact on crops of all types. Our ever-increasing ability to examine minute differences on a molecular level has allowed us to improve crop performance and combat a variety of pests with environmentally sound practices. To demonstrate how science has impacted the lawn care industry, lets take a look at your treatment program and how it works to encourage healthy growth while eliminating harmful weeds and insects.
Your first application of the season contains a pre-emergent crabgrass control with fertilizer. The title pre-emergent implies that the control must be applied before the crabgrass plant emerges from the seed. Emerald Acres uses Dimension crabgrass control. Dimension is unique in that it has the capability to control emerged crabgrass plants to the two tiller stage. Crabgrass seeds typically germinate when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees F (around May 10th). Dimension has a post emergent quality that widens the control window, allowing us to control crabgrass later in May. Aerating or raking after treatment has a negligible effect on control, but let us know if you're seeding. Crabgrass control will prevent the germination of desirable grasses.
Why is Emerald Acres crabgrass control better than all other companies? Simple, we use more active ingredient. Crabgrass control only lasts a certain amount of time. A strong spring treatment will dissipate by mid-summer allowing late season crabgrass to flourish. At Emerald Acres we apply a booster treatment with our second round to return the control to its peak concentration ensuring that control will last throughout the summer. It is more expensive, but we perform less service calls, spray less post emergent product, and benefit from referrals made by our happy clients!
Your next treatment contains fertilizer, a broad leaf weed control, and Merit grub control. Broad leaf weeds are those that have a main artery running up the center of the leaf. Broad leaf weeds include: Dandelion, Plantain, Violets, Clover, and many others. The biggest obstacle to attaining a comprehensive weed control is rain. The period between late April and June is the best time for treatment; it is also the rainiest time of the year. Pop-up showers and thunderstorms can rinse the control off the weeds foliage before penetration occurs, minimizing its effectiveness. Additional weed control applications are scheduled based on our inspections and customer requests.
Weed control treatment can be damaging to your lawn if applied under severe conditions. During periods of drought, or when temperatures are over 85 degrees, lawns become stressed. Since a weed control is a form of salt, it also puts some stress on the lawn. Applying a weed control to a lawn under stress can "burn" the top growth, temporarily damaging the lawn. This type of damage usually grows out in a week or two. Over-application of a weed control however, especially when it's under stress, can kill the plant completely. For these reasons we must suspend weed treatments during the mid-summer period. We begin treating weeds once again when the weather cools in September.
Another component of your second treatment is Merit grub control. Grubs are primarily the larvae of Japanese beetles. They feed on turf roots and an destroy large lawn areas. In years past it was necessary to treat the lawn with a fairly toxic chemical, strong enough to penetrate into the root zone. After repetitive use soil microbes developed an appetite for the insecticide making them completely ineffective. For several years now, Merit has provided extremely effective grub control. Usage rates are miniscule, and after years of repeated use there have been no signs of microbial degradation. The control must be applied before the nymph grub reaches a certain stage of development. This occurs in mid to late August. Merit is so effective that both Emerald Acres and the manufacturer guarantee its effectiveness. If you experience any trouble with grubs after Merit has been applied we will re-treat or re-seed as needed.
Most visits include the application of fertilizer to your lawn. Fertilizer can be applied in both liquid and granular forms. We prefer to use granular products as much as possible. Dry fertilizers are more stable and will remain in the soil for a longer period of time. Generally, the only time we apply a liquid fertilizer is when combined with a weed control. Weed controls are much more effective in the liquid form because they coat the leaf blades rather than bouncing off. With a liquid you can use less herbicide and get superior results.
Fertilizer components include Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potash. Nitrogen produces a deep green color and encourages growth. Phosphorous stimulates root development, and Potash works to increase the plants resistance to disease. The varying percentages of these components is based on University research to keep your lawn healthy throughout the growing season.
Proper soil pH is another important aspect of turf health. For this reason we have added soil-conditioning as part of our standard lawn care program. At some time during the season your technician will remove soil plugs from your lawn and bring them back to the shop for testing. We mix the soil with distilled water and test the resulting solution with an anode to find the pH. The ideal pH for turf growth is between 5.5 and 6.5. If your soil pH falls below the 5.5 threshhold we will advise you of the results and suggest an application of limestone to bring it back to the optimum range.
At Emerald Acres we are constantly looking for ways to improve our program and provide the best possible service. As new technology replaces old we will continue to modify this program to achieve our common goal of providing a trouble free and attractive turf while acting as caretakers of the environment. Your input is always appreciated. Please do not hesitate to call, e-mail or go to our feedback page!