As spring approaches an end and turns into summer, homeowners in Madison County, Decatur, and Huntsville, Alabama, will love to go outdoors for a picnic, a garden party, or a barbecue with their friends and family. The weather becomes warmer and enjoying the tranquil landscape of a well maintained garden is one of most relaxing experiences one can go through, this time of the year. However, the beginning of the warmer season can also spell out some trouble for homeowners who care about lawn care and landscaping. These are the three most common summer issues Turf King staff has come across, in servicing lawns and gardens, both commercial and residential, throughout Alabama.
- Summer bugs
When summer comes to Alabama, so do the bugs that thrive in warmer weather. Not all of them are a genuine nuisance, but some can truly damage your lawn, and, in our experience at Turf King, it’s usually chinch bugs, armyworms, or sod webworms. Chinch bugs, for one, have been known to ruin otherwise properly maintained lawns. That’s because they are rather difficult to get rid of, they thrive in some of the most commonly encountered species of grass, and they will also survive throughout the seasons, in particularly warm years.
If the turf on your lawn has started to clump up in any particular spot, you should definitely investigate those spots for chinch bug colonies, because they are perfect sources of nourishment for these insects. Other telling signs include damage caused by chinch bugs in their quest for food close to your driveway, but also smack-dab in the middle of your lawn.
Homeowners who have attempted to get rid of these insects themselves found they are not easy to get rid of at all. That’s almost in spite of the fact that the market is full of commercially available products for disposing of these bugs. However, in time chinch bugs have altered their structure and, in some areas of Alabama, pyrethroid-resistant specimens have been identified. That’s why it’s important to act against them as soon as you realize that your property may have been infested. The Turf King team will inspect your lawn for signs of feeding damage during the warm season (from May to November) on a weekly basis, because that’s when chinch bugs are active. We will thoroughly check for patches of brown grass, inspect along the driveways, and also check out the sunnier spots in your yard. Sunny days are perfect for spotting chinch bugs feeding at the root of the blades of grass.
- The effect of droughts on turf
Many homeowners in Madison County, as well as elsewhere in Alabama choose to plant St. Augustine grass in their yards, because this species is easy to maintain and looks great. Its unique color makes lawns look intensely green, with blue streaks, and the fact that St. Augustine grass can be planted in salty soils makes it a wise choice for Alabama. However, St. Augustine grass is not at all drought resistant. The arrival of the warmer season can have the turf dry up, go yellow and then brown, and eventually die because of low humidity levels during drought season.
What contributes to the drought dry spell are the municipal water regulations, which restrict access to irrigation during the warmer months in Alabama – from early spring to the end of the summer. To avoid having your lawn ruined by St. Augustine grass drying up, you can call Turf King for professional irrigation services. During our weekly service visit, we will soak up the soil in one inch of water, leaving it wet throughout most of the day. We also provide irrigation early on in the day, when the temperatures aren’t that high yet and the water isn’t as quick to evaporate in the air. To boot, we will also fertilize the soil in your yard with nitrogen-based products, which help keep St. Augustine grass well nourished, even during drier spells. Nitrogen is depleted from the soil during droughts, but it’s essential for the proper and timely recovery of this species of grass.
- Drought-induced fungi
Alabama scientists have discovered that, come summer, many lawns in Alabama become infested with various types of fungi, which also bring about diseases and can eventually cause the complete destruction of a yard. One such disease is brown patch, which particularly affects St. Augustine grass and zoysia. While this disease is prompted by the arrival of warmer weather, its effects are most easily noticeable during the colder season, when the level of humidity in the air increases and temperatures during the day drop below 80 degrees. From November till May, the excess moisture in the air causes the apparition of brown patch – in turn, this fungus will eat up each blade of grass from the root. The effects are easy to spot and to smell, too: the leaves of grass start rotting at the base and their color darkens (hence the name of the fungus) and they give off an unpleasant scent.
Eventually, the turf that has been affected by brown patch will turn yellow, then brown, then will eventually dry up and die because of the putrefaction. Commercially available fungicides can be used, in attempts to fend off the issue, but they are mild solutions, compared to a comprehensive treatment that the Turf King team could apply in your yard.
The most important thing to remember, in addressing summer-specific lawn maintenance issues, is that they need to be taken care of in a timely manner. By hiring Turf King to take care of them for you, you would be avoiding delays, which, in time, might come to cost you your lawn. We will vigilantly inspect the state of your lawn in the early days of summer and we are also experienced enough to recognize them right away, when we see them.