Dryer Weather Can Cause Brown Spots in Your Lawn

While some parts of the country are dealing with excess rainfall, other regions have been especially dry. The dryer weather can make the slightest irrigation deficiencies or root system deficiencies show up as wilted, browning areas of turf.

dryer weather

For the next month or two, dry soil is a likely cause of brown spots in turf; dry soil is not the only potential cause, but it is a highly likely cause.

Determining if dry soil is the cause of brown areas of turf can be simple, but is commonly overlooked. Landscape professionals will dig through the turf and determine if the soil is dry in the root zone area. They will also look for other potential causes, such as chinch bugs or grubs. Then, they will check the irrigation system to determine if there is a deficiency.

The only soil moisture that benefits a plant is the soil moisture in the root zone area. Moisture below the root zone does not benefit the plant. If the root system is short, watering will need to be done more frequently. Many factors can inhibit good root growth. It could be a problem for the entire lawn or just localized areas. If the soil moisture in the root zone area is depleted, wilting and brown spots will be the result. With dryer weather, localized dry spots can occur even with the best of irrigation systems, and spot watering may be needed.

Moisture Needs Of Your Lawn:

  • dryer weatherPlant use of water is called transpiration. The vaporization of water from the soil is called evaporation. The combination of the two (evaporation and transpiration) is what causes moisture in the soil in the root area to be used. The combination of transpiration and evaporation is called evapotranspiration and is often referred to as “ET”. At this time of year (warm dry spring and in an open sunny area), it is common for ET to deplete about 0.15 to 0.2 inches of water from the soil per day.
  • Sandy soil will typically hold ½ inch of water in 6 inches of soil. If the plant’s root system is 6 inches long, the plant has access to ½ inch of water. If the plant’s root system is 3 inches long, it only has access to about ¼ inch of water.
  • Turf begins to wilt when ½ of the plant available water is depleted.

So, if “ET” is 0.15 inches per day and the plant has a root system 6 inches deep, ½ of the plant available water (0.25 inches) will be depleted in just under 2 days (0.25 divided by 0.15 = 1.67). With the same amount of soil moisture and the same “ET” rate, a plant with a root system depth of only 3 inches would deplete the plant available water in less than one day.

 

dryer weatherHaving a good understanding of this rather complex issue is important to keeping your lawn healthy and green. For additional information or for a free landscape inspection, contact Massey Services today!
Ask about our Super Savings Event taking place April 6th and April 7th, 2017.

Pest Spring Cleaning Tips

Now that Spring has sprung and warmer weather is on it’s way, its good to prepare for an increase in pest activity around your home.

spring

There’s so much to get excited about as the spring season approaches: Flowers begin to bloom. Birds start to sing. New life and color begin to emerge at every corner of your neighborhood. Unfortunately, that rule also holds true for pests. Due to the fact that many insects are dormant in the cooler months of winter, spring is when many homeowners realize that they may have a problem with unwanted guests.

Use these tips and tricks to help reduce the chances of pesky intruders creeping into your home during the spring season.

Pest Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Look for leaf litter that may have built up in the garage during the winter. Spiders love to hide in this kind of debris. Take an afternoon or weekend to clean up leaves behind stored items in your garage, back patio or shed.
  • Ants are going to begin to build their colonies outside, make sure to prune all vegetation at least 6 to 12 inches away from your home to prevent them from getting inside.spring
  • Check seals around all of your doors. As doors age, grommets can be damaged or may shrink. Regular inspection, resealing and repair will go a long way toward preventing pest entry into your home. Seal all obvious gaps around your home.
  • Clean up any food, crumbs or mold from around your dishwasher and compactor, under your sinks and around your home. This will prevent residues from attracting crawling pests or small flies.
  • Inspect your air conditioner and replace the filter. Make sure your system is regularly maintained and is prepared to handle the increasing temperatures.
  • If you feed pets outside, bring the food inside until next winter to prevent attracting roaches and ants. If you must feed them outside, bring everything in at the end of the day, clean up the area and place fresh food out the next morning.

If you have any questions, schedule a Free Inspection, or call us at 1-888-2MASSEY (262-7739).

Homeowner Tips to Fight Fleas

Spring has officially arrived and as the weather begins to warm up, pests that we usually encounter outside may soon be attempting to make their way indoors.

fleas

For the most part, these pests are mainly bothersome to us humans but some can also make our pets crazy!  With loyal customers stretching across from Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina to Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, Massey Services reminds homeowners that fleas are common outdoor pests that can make your home their own by traveling on our pets.

Tips to Get Rid of Fleas:

  • Remove and wash pet bedding in hot soapy water or replace.
  • Thoroughly vacuum all rugs, carpeted areas, baseboard areas and closet floors. Also vacuum under beds, furniture, as well as between and under furniture cushions. Special attention should be given to common pet resting and sleeping areas. Vacuuming removes flea eggs, feces (food for the larvae) and some adult fleas/ticks.
  • fleas

    Quick Stats on Fleas by National Pest Management Association

    Vacuum and then mop all vinyl, wood and concrete floors. Special attention should be given to cracks along the edge of walls.

  • Be sure to discard the vacuum bag or empty the canister into a plastic bag that can be tightly closed and place in a trash receptacle outside of the home.

It’s important to keep fleas out of your home, not only because their bites cause severe itching, but they can cause diseases in humans and animals. Fleas can transmit cat-scratch fever, typhus and plague. If you suspect you have a flea infestation in your home or want to protect yourself from potential attacks, call a professional service for proper control methods.

fleas

The experts at Massey Services can conduct a thorough inspection at no charge and provide you with a detailed report of their findings. They will also recommend a customized abatement program that’s right for your home.

The Importance of Lawn Aeration

Roots need more than just water and fertilizer to survive. They also need oxygen!

Aeration

Roots absorb neither water nor fertilizer unless oxygen is also present in the soil. Aeration dramatically reduces soil compaction by removing plugs of soil from the lawn and leaving holes which allow oxygen to reach the roots, creating growth pockets for new roots. This practice intensifies rapid and healthy root growth.

A healthier root structure improves the lawn’s ability to reach water and other nutrients deep in the soil. This makes your lawn more resistant to heat and drought.

Benefits To Core Aeration:

  1. Helps conserve water
  2. Enhances heat and drought stress tolerance
  3. Enhances soil water uptake and use
  4. Reduces water runoff and puddling
  5. Reduces soil compaction
  6. Improves air exchange between the soil and atmosphere
  7. Improves fertilizer uptake and use
  8. Improves turfgrass rooting
  9. Improves resiliency and cushioning
  10. Enhances thatch breakdown

Essentially, aeration lets your lawn eat, drink and breathe!

aeration
If you would like to learn how you can have your lawn aerated, schedule a Free Inspection or call Massey’s GreenUP Landscape Services at 1-888-2MASSEY (262-7739).

Be Prepared for Bed Bugs on Spring Break

With the clocks “springing forward” last week and the first official day of spring arriving next week that means many of us are looking forward to Spring Break – a week-long break where you can head out of town and spend time with family and friends!

spring break

If you’re planning to head out of town for Spring Break, be aware of bed bugs so you’re not bringing home uninvited guests. Below are a few tips on what to look for and what to do if you suspect you’re staying somewhere that may have a bed bug problem.

Tips For Bed Bug Prevention:

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are tiny, oval, brown and wingless insects approximately 1/4″ to 3/8″ long (5-9 mm).spring break

Is There Really A Huge Outbreak?

Bed bugs have made a comeback in the United States over the last few years. The largest outbreaks have been reported in large cities with high rates of tourism.

Where Are Bed Bugs Typically Found?

Bed bugs are most frequently found in hotels. They travel by hitching rides with unsuspecting guests by crawling into clothing and luggage. All hotels are susceptible to bed bugs – from motels to five-star resorts.

What Can I Do To Protect Myself?

When checking into a hotel room or after visiting guests have left your home, you can perform a simple bed bug inspection of the room.

  1. Pull pillows and sheets down about 1/3 of the way from the top of the bed and look for reddish-brown or black spots on the sheets near the bed’s headboard.  You may not see the actual bugs themselves but they do leave a trail of spots.
  2. Look for spots on mattresses, pillows, headboards and walls behind headboards.
  3. Check the inside of dresser drawers for insects and black spots.

Contact Guest Services immediately if you’ve found any signs of bed bugs during your inspection.

If I Suspect I Was In A Room With Bed Bugs, What Should I Do When I Return Home?
  1. Isolate the items in your travel bags from other items in your home – the garage is a great place.
  2. Put clothing and other heat tolerant items into your dryer for a minimum of 20 minutes – the heat will eliminate bed bugs.
  3. After thoroughly heating the items, wash as normal.
  4. Check all luggage before storing it away.  Vacuum out luggage and clean the exterior surface.
What If I Have Guests Staying In My Home?

When welcoming family and friends into your home who have been staying in hotels or on a cruise ship, be aware that bed bugs may have hitched a ride with them.  After your guests leave, carefully inspect guest rooms for any signs of bed bugs.  Wash all bed linens as soon as possible. Contact Massey Services for a free bed bug inspection of your home!

Old Faithful – Quite The Sight, But Not For Your Front Yard!

We see it so often driving down the road; some poor homeowner that’s left for work has their own geyser in their front yard from a broken sprinkler head.

old faithful

Unfortunately that broken sprinkler head can lead to several problems: increased water bills, dead grass, weeds, disease and the list can go on!

So before spring rolls around and you get caught with your own national monument, you should have your Irrigation System inspected by a professional. Make sure they check your:

  • Timer box – is it set correctly for the type of sprinklers you have, watering restrictions and the amount of water your landscape needs?
  • Zone pressure – is there enough pressure to each zone to ensure water is covering the entire zone?
  • Sprinkler head type – do you have the right sprinkler heads for the type of watering your landscape needs?
  • Rain sensor – is your rain sensor working properly?  Do you have one installed?
  • Zone coverageare your sprinklers covering the entire zone?  Are they misdirected? Do you need risers installed?

Don’t stop there though!

Irrigation systems require ongoing maintenance and should be maintained and monitored more than once a year.

Leave Old Faithful where she lies!

Not Sure Where To Start?

old faithfulContact the experts at Massey Services for a free inspection and recommendations on an irrigation maintenance program that’s right for you.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here at Massey Services we pulled together some interesting facts from a variety of sources about this popular green holiday!

St. Patrick's Day

Facts on St. Patrick’s Day:

Did You Know…
  1. St. Patrick’s color is actually a very light shade of blue.  The color green only became associated with the big day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century, according to Mental Floss.
  2. St. Patrick’s was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970, according to Catholic Online.  Aside from the color green, the activity most associated with St. Patrick’s Day is drinking. However, Irish law, from 1903 to 1970, declared St. Patrick’s Day a religious observance for the entire country meaning that all pubs were shut down for the day. That meant no beer, not even the green kind, for public celebrants. The law was overturned in 1970, when St. Patrick’s was reclassified as a national holiday – allowing the taps to flow freely once again.
  3. Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage. Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century. Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors, according to History.com.
  4. The St. Patrick’s Day parade was invented in the United States, according to Care2.  On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English army marched through New York City. The parade and accompanying music helped the soldiers celebrate with their Irish roots, as well as reconnect with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.
  5. The original Irish name for the leprechaun is “lobaricin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.”  According to History.com, belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic believe in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil.  In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies.  Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.
  6. According to Scientific American, the odds of finding a four leaf clover on your first try is 1 in 10,000.  Good Luck!

Get Your Kids Into Insects

When reflecting on the interaction of kids and bugs, you’re reminded of how fascinating these little creatures can be – not only to adults, but especially to children.

insects

Unlocking the door to a miniature universe of wonder can be as simple as just poking around under a rock or in the grass. Collecting insects can be a rewarding and educating experience for both you and your child as well as a great opportunity to bond and build a stronger relationship.

You and your little explorer can try these fun ideas, courtesy of Scholastic:

  1. Listen! Catch a non-stinging insect that makes noise in a paper cup. Crickets and flies are good candidates. Cover the cup with waxed paper and hold it on with a rubber band. Now place your ear against the paper and listen.
  2. Plant a butterflyinsects garden. In a sunny spot out of the wind, plant blooming varieties like geraniums and hydrangeas, plus plants that provide food for larvae such as Mexican milkweed. Find out what else the butterflies in your area need at butterflywebsite.com.
  3. Do the worker-bee waggle! Honeybees “dance” to communicate the location and distance of a nectar stash to the other bees. Talk with your kids about this fascinating communication, and then make up your own version.
  4. Take an umbrella out on a sunny day. Place it open upside down under a leafy, low-hanging branch. Shake the branch like you mean it — then identify what lands in your umbrella with an insect book or online.

Tools for the Trade
These items will make your child feel like a real scientist:

  • Butterfly net
  • Tweezers (only for dead specimens)
  • Observation jar (punch holes in the lid of a clean jar)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Notebook for recording thoughts and sketches
  • Bug and spider identification book like Simon & Schuster Children’s Guide to Insects and Spiders (Simon & Schuster, $23; ages 9 to 12) or Don’t Squash That Bug: The Curious Kid’s Guide to Insects (Lobster Press, ages 4 to 8, $15)
  • Referencing Massey’s Bug Database
insects

As part of our CFHLA Adopt-A-School program with Killarney Elementary School, we brought displays and educated students on a variety of insect species!

Massey Services provides pest prevention services for residential and commercial properties, but not all insects are harmful.
Have fun exploring!

 

Mowing Smart for Your Lawn

As the warm weather arrives and our grass starts growing rapidly again, it’s important to make sure you’re mowing smart.

mowing smartMowing plays a critical role in the health of your landscape and if done incorrectly, can leave your lawn exposed to weeds, insects and diseases. Here are a few mowing tips that will help ensure that your mowing is adding to the health and beauty of your landscape.

Tips To Mowing Smart:

  • Mow Frequently:  You should mow at least once per week during the warmer months and once every 10 – 14 days during the cooler months.
  • Mow at the Proper Height:  Different grasses require different mowing heights that vary from 1-4″.  Mowing too low will cause the grass to turn brown and possibly take weeks to recover.
  • Use a Sharp Blade:  A dull blade will “rip” the grass rather than make a clean cut.  This leaves the grass exposed to disease and the ripped tips will turn brown leaving your lawn unsightly.
  • Avoid Mowing Wet Grass:  Wet clippings can clog your mower, reducing its efficiency to effectively cut your grass.
  • Leave Clippings, If Possible:  Grass clippings return vital nutrients to your landscape.

For more tips like these from our professionals, or to find out how our GreenUP Landscape Service can make your lawn beautiful, schedule a Free Landscape Inspection or call Massey’s GreenUP Landscape Services at 1-888-2MASSEY (262-7739).

Daylight Savings Time and Irrigation Settings

As we all know, the clocks “sprung forward” an hour this past Sunday.

daylight savings

Many of us have already changed the clocks for Daylight Savings in our kitchen, our bedrooms and our watches. But did you remember to adjust your irrigation sprinkler timer? This is an important clock to change to Hunter pro-c Controllerwater your lawn and landscape properly.

In addition to changing the time, daylight saving time may also mean changes to your watering restrictions. Make sure to check your local Water Management District’s website so you are aware of any changes and can adjust accordingly.

Irrigating your lawn and landscape properly is critical to ensuring your lawn remains healthy and beautiful all year; however sometimes this can be easier said than done. If you see any of these signs in your lawn, this may mean your system is not functioning correctly:

Signs Your Irrigation System Is Not Functioning Correctly:

  • A dull, bluish-gray coloring to your grass
  • Foot tracks that appear to be embedded in the grass
  • Leaf blades that are wilted and folded in half
  • Dry, crumbly soil around the roots of your grass
  • Brown areas within the lawn
daylight savingsAs we head into spring, it’s highly recommended to have a Complete Water Management Audit done on your irrigation system.
Contact Massey Services to schedule a free inspection today!
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