Lawn Care Tips for February

Even during the cooler months, it’s important to understand the care your lawn needs.

lawn

Irrigation

Moisture needs are greatly reduced in the winter, but your landscape will still need irrigation in the absence of rainfall. Typically, applying 1/2″ to 3/4″ of water once a week will suffice from December through February.

Landscape Diseases and Weeds

The two primary turf problems during the winter months are brown patch fungus and winter annual broadleaf weeds. Both of these problems can be greatly affected by excessive soil moisture.

  • lawnBrown patch fungus is a disease that causes turf damage in circular patterns. Dying grass blades on the outside border of the pattern are usually vibrant yellow toorange. Fungicide applications will suppress the advancement of the disease
    and the turf will recover, but they will not “cure” the problem. New areas of activity can occur anytime weather conditions are conducive.
  • lawnWinter annual broadleaf weeds are weeds that emerge when the weather is cool.  These weeds die naturally in the spring. Winter
    annual weeds tend to be more of a problem than summer annual weeds because the turf does not compete with the weeds as well in the winter as it does in the summer.

 

Mowing

Mowing your lawn is still necessary in the winter months. Mowing is necessary anytime the grass is 1/3″ higher than the height of your mower blade. In other words, if you are mowing your lawn at 3.5″ and the grass grows to a height of about 4.5″ , it’s time to mow. Mowing is a cultural practice that can greatly influence the health of your lawn.

lawn

 

For help keeping your landscape healthy and green all year long, contact Massey Services GreenUP for a free, detailed inspection.

How Do We Effectively Handle Weeds?

Everybody loves a lush, green and healthy looking lawn, but growing and maintaining a beautiful landscape requires constant care and attention.

weeds

At Massey Services, we continuously work on eliminating or minimizing the number and types of weeds that you may commonly find in your landscape. Our focus is on growing the thickest lawn possible because the best defense against weeds is a thick, dense turf. So how do we do it? Below are just a few of the proactive steps we take to ensure you have a healthy, beautiful lawn year-round.

Steps To Maintaining A Healthy Lawn:

  1. Choose the Proper Type of Grass: We’ll first identify the species and variety of turf grass presently growing in your landscape. Some varieties do best in semi-shaded areas while others need full sun areas to survive. This is important because a grass poorly suited for shady locations will be thin and susceptible to chronic weed infestation.
  2. Managing the Health of your Soil: Using soil pH testing and our years of experience in managing soils, we apply a customized fertilization program that balances the need for high lawn quality and color while maintaining the healthiest root system possible. The end result is a thick, green and healthy lawn.
  3. Recommendations for Proper Mowing: Different grass species have different mowing height requirements. When your lawn is mowed too low, the grass will become less able to promote growth. A scalped or closely mowed lawn will allow weed seedlings to receive the light and space required to root in your lawn. It’s important to mow with a sharp blade and often enough to not remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in a single mowing.
  4. Watering Only as Needed: Many weed problems that develop in your lawn are symptomatic of over-watering or another irrigation problem. As a general rule, you should water deeply (3/4 to 1 inch of water per session), but infrequently (no more than twice a week in most cases).
  5. Controlling Pests: By reducing the amount of insects and diseases active in your property we will reduce the number of thin turf areas where grass weeds can develop.
  6. Stopping Weed Seeds Before They Germinate: We’ll apply pre-emergent herbicides in the spring and fall to manage weed seeds before they germinate. While good turf management practices and pre-emergent herbicides are an effective way to manage many types of weeds, they cannot guarantee that weeds will never develop in your lawn. Once a weed is established, there are four ways to eliminate it:
      1. Wait for it to die of old age
      2. Crowd it out with a thick lawn
      3. Mechanically remove it by hoeing/hand pulling
      4. Treat it with a post-emergent weed control product (part of your GreenUP Landscape Services program)

Now, let the Experts of Massey’s GreenUP Landscape Services make your  Lawn the Best on the Block

weeds

We know no two landscapes are alike. That’s why before we develop a customized program or provide you with a price, we perform a detailed landscape analysis to understand exactly the type of care your landscape needs. Once our landscape analysis is complete – we develop a customized program for YOUR landscape to ensure it remains healthy and beautiful.

Contact us today for a free landscape inspection!

Give Your Lawn And Landscape The Right Attention

right attentionProper mowing and watering dramatically impact the health of your lawn. Give your lawn and landscape the right attention with the following tips:

  • Mow frequently. Don’t remove more than 1/3rd  of the leaf blade height in any single mowing. Mow at least once per week during the growing season.
  • Mow high. During the heat of the summer, you should mow your lawn at the highest recommended cutting height to help grass retain water.
  • Water deeply and infrequently.  Our Florida sands dry out quickly so set your sprinkler system to run twice per week to deliver ¾ inch of water per zone.  Clay soils may not need to be watered as frequently. Check your local extension service for recommendations or contact us for a free inspection.

foot prints in dry lawnLook for signs indicating your lawn is too dry:

  • A dull bluish-gray coloring to your grass
  • Foot tracks that seem to remain in the grass
  • Leaf blades that are folded in half or wilted.

The key to a healthy landscape during dry periods is a balance of proper irrigation and proper maintenance. Either too little or too much irrigation can lead to an increase in weed, pest and diseases. For help keeping your landscape healthy and green all year long, contact Massey Services GreenUP for a free, detailed inspection.

First Day of Fall – A Beneficial Time for Landscapes

halloween-decoration-in-fall-871287575948rvtwIt’s the first day of fall. Along with the many reasons that we welcome fall — cooler temperatures, football, fall festivals, harvest colors and pumpkin spice lattes — are the benefits our lawns can experience from the change in seasons.

Fall is a great time of year for lawns. You don’t have to mow them as often, and turf and shrubbery thrive without the stress of the summer heat.

Here are a few of the climatic changes that benefit turf and shrubs in the fall.

  • Cooler Temperatures. Plants, like people, prefer our fall temperatures over the sweltering heat of summer. Turf and ornamentals just naturally look better and have more energy for good root development when they are not wilted and stressed by the heat.
  • Shorter Days. The number of daylight hours changes the growth habits of plants (especially turf). Leaf growth is excessive in the summer. As a result, plants expend a tremendous amount of energy in order to keep up with the leaf growth that is stimulated by the extra hours of light. Turf in the shade is especially affected as it grows excessive leaves reaching for light. All of this energy for leaf production is taken from energy that would otherwise be used for root production. In the fall, the available energy is redirected to enhance root growth, which creates a stronger turf that can withstand pests, weeds and disease.

Fall is a great time for our landscape to recover from the damage done by summer’s stress. You will start to see the brown areas that were caused by disease, drought and heat stress begin to fill in much quicker now. Turf begins to lie down and use the extra energy to crawl and spread.

Take advantage of the fall conditions with seasonally focused nutrition and fertilization and pre-emergent weed treatments. To schedule your free landscape inspection, contact Massey Services today.

Prepare Your Lawn for the Summer Heat

Massey Services GreenUpEveryone wants a beautiful lawn, but the secret to having a thriving landscape through the heat of summer lies in the lawn care techniques you implement before the heat sets in. By applying a systematic approach, you’ll develop a resilient lawn that’s resistant to the effects of the sun, weeds, pests and heavy foot traffic.

Massey Services offers the following tips to help keep your grass green and prepare your lawn for the summer heat:

  • Water your grass at the first signs of wilt, but abide by local water regulations. Run the system long enough to apply 1/2 to 3/4ths of an inch. Spot watering of localized dry spots may be necessary. No irrigation system is perfect and areas where the root system is shorter will need water more frequently.
  • Follow label directions carefully whether treating your lawn with fertilizer or for insects, diseases or weeds.
  • Test your soil pH. The pH of your soil determines how well fertilizers will benefit your lawn.
  • Micro-nutrients, such as iron and manganese, will not be available to the plant when the soil pH is too high. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are not readily available when the soil pH is too low. Amend the soil pH as needed.
  • Aeration is very beneficial to your lawn, even in Florida’s sandy soils. Aeration allows water and oxygen to better penetrate thatch and soil to reach the root system. It also benefits our environment by helping to prevent nutrient runoff.
  • Mow your lawn at the highest recommended height for your grass type. Different types of turf have different recommendations for mowing height. Standard varieties of St. Augustine should be mowed at 3.5 to 4 inches. Seville is a dwarf variety of St. Augustine and should be mowed at 3 inches. Empire Zoysia should be mowed at 2.5 inches. Bahiagrass should be mowed at 4 inches.
  • Mowing should be performed whenever the grass reaches a height that is 1/3rd higher than the recommended height of cut.
  • Sharpen mower blades frequently for a nice clean cut without ragged edges, which give the lawn an overall gray appearance.
  • Scout for insects such as chinch bugs, sod webworms and other lawn caterpillars as well as mole crickets. Look closely just above the soil surface for chinch bugs and lawn caterpillars.
  • Pouring soapy water over an area suspected of insects will irritate the insects and cause them to come to the surface where they can be seen.

Knowing what to look for is half the battle when it comes to keeping your lawn in great shape. Check your lawn on a regular basis to catch problems early and prevent excessive damage and the potential need to resod.

If you’re looking for expert care for your landscape, contact us for a free inspection. We’ll perform a complete, thorough inspection of your lawn and landscape and develop a customized landscape program specific to your lawn.

 

Massey Services Wins Two Categories in 2015 Orlando Sentinel’s Best Bets

Massey Services received top honors in two categories, Best Lawn Maintenance and Best Pest Management Company, in the 2015 Orlando Sentinel’s Best Bets listing. This marks the third consecutive year that Massey Services has won the Best Pest Management category and the first year to win the Best Lawn Maintenance group.

“To be recognized as the Best Pest Management and Lawn Maintenance Company is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our entire Massey Services team here in Central Florida,” said Harvey L. Massey, Chairman and CEO of Massey Services. “We are extremely thankful to receive these honors and appreciate everyone who voted for our company.”

This is the ninth anniversary of the Orlando Sentinel’s Best Bets listing and all winners were selected by Orlando Sentinel readers as well as via online submissions.

Fall is Here – and Our Landscapes are Happy!

The fall season is reminiscent of many things – beautiful fall foliage, football, cooler temperatures, shorter days, trick or treaters…the list goes on and on.

And while we all look forward to fall for many different reasons, did you know that your plants and grass also look

Lawn, Tree and Shrub Care

Lawn, Tree and Shrub Care

forward to the cooler weather?  Below is an explanation on a few of climatic changes that benefit turf and shrubs in the fall.

  1. Cooler Temperatures. Plants, like people, prefer our fall temperatures over the sweltering heat of summer. Turf and ornamentals just naturally look better and have more energy for good root development when they are not wilted and stressed by the heat.
  2. Shorter Days.  The number of daylight hours changes the growth habits of plants (especially turf). Leaf growth is excessive in the summer. As a result, plants expend a tremendous amount of energy in order to keep up with the leaf growth that is stimulated by the extra hours of light. Turf in the shade is especially affected as it grows excessive leaves reaching for light. All of this energy for leaf production is taken from energy that would otherwise be used for root production. In the fall, the available energy is redirected to enhance root growth, which creates a stronger turf that can withstand pests, weeds and disease

Fall is a great time for our landscape to recover from the damage done by summer’s stress. You will start to see the brown areas that were caused by disease, drought and heat stress begin to fill in much quicker now. Turf begins to lie down and use the extra energy to crawl and spread.

Plus, now is the time for fall fertilization and weed pre-emergent treatments to be done on landscapes. To schedule your free landscape inspection, contact Massey Services today.

Florida-Friendly Landscapes

Ever hear the term “Florida-Friendly Landscape” and wonder what exactly it meant?  It’s actually a very detailed approach to creating and maintaining an environmentally responsible landscape!

So what exactly is it? 

Florida-Friendly Landscaping is a trademarked concept created by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services (UF/IFAS) with support and cooperation from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.landscape slider
The primary goal of Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) is to protect our natural water resources by conserving water, reducing waste and pollution, creating wildlife habitat and preventing erosion.  The FFL concepts include proper plant selection and care as well as overall landscape design.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping is based on nine principles designed to create and maintain landscapes that are visually attractive as well as attractive to wildlife and reduce environmental impacts.  The 9 principles are:

  1. Right Plant – Right Place:  Certain plants will flourish based on the conditions in the areas they are planted.  Make sure the plants you select will thrive in the areas natural conditions where you are planting.
  2. Water Efficiently:  Irrigation is key to maintaining a beautiful lawn and landscape.  Check your irrigation system regularly to ensure it’s providing proper coverage.
  3. Fertilize Appropriately
  4. Mulch:  Utilize mulch in open areas of planting beds to protect against erosion, maintain soil moisture and inhibit weed growth.
  5. Attract Wildlife:  Tree-sized shrubs provide a nesting place for birds and those with berries provide a food source.
  6. Manage Yard Pests Responsibly:  Overuse of one particular type of plant stimulates an increase in pest problems.
  7. Recycle
  8. Manage Storm-water Runoff
  9. Protect the Waterfront

All Massey Services Landscape Team Members are trained on the Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL) program and its concepts. If you would like to have a Florida-Friendly Landscape for your home, contact the experts at Massey today and schedule a free inspection!

The Facts on Chinch Bugs

The most damaging insect pest of St. Augustinegrass is the chinch bug.  And depending on the location, one to several generations of chinch bugs can occur each year.

Their damage is caused when they suck the juices from grass blades and inject toxins back into the leaf blade. Chinch bug activity often starts during the drier part of the year in many southern areas and is often first noticed in water-stressed areas such as along sidewalks or in poorly irrigated areas. Therefore, conditions such as poor irrigation design, insufficient watering, or both, help to exacerbate the problem.

Chinch Bug Identification

Adult chinch bugs are about 1/5 of an inch long and black with white patches on the wings.  The white patches can sometimeslandscape-invaders resemble the shape of an “X” on the back.

The young nymphs range from 1/20 inch long to nearly 1/5 of an inch.  The small nymphs are reddish with a white band across the back, but become black in color as they approach adult size.

Chinch Bug Biology

Adult chinch bugs will sometimes hibernate in the winter.  All stages of life are present year-round in most of the state of Florida due to the warm climate, but the primary time of activity in most states is April through October.

Their eggs are laid in leaf sheaths or pushed into soft soil and other protected places.  In the summer, the eggs hatch in 10 days and the young develop to adults in three weeks.  It takes about 20 chinch bugs per square foot to cause damage.

What Does Damage Look Like

Symptoms appear as irregular patches of lawn that resemble drought stress.  These areas gradually turn yellow and then brown.  The dead turf will have a yellowing on the outside margin and the growth of the yellowed grass will be stunted.  Weeds will also begin filling in the dead areas.

If you suspect you may have chinch bugs, call a professional for an inspection immediately.  If left untreated, the damage will continue to spread throughout your lawn.

The Importance of Aeration

Roots need more than just water and fertilizer to survive – they also need oxygen! Roots do not absorb water or 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 your lawn’s ability to reach water and other nutrients deep in the soil. This makes your lawn more resistant to heat and drought.core-aeration

There are 10 key benefits as a result of core aeration. These include:

  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!

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