How to Help Firefighters Protect Your Home

 

Creating a fire resistant landscape:

It’s important to create a buffer zone around your home, so in the event a fire happens firefighters have a defensible space to try and protect it.

This all begins with you.  It’s nice to live in the forest but in the event of fire, if you create areas that are non-combustible directly around your home the chances of your home surviving increase dramatically.

When building a deck or patio; consider using a concrete paver, flagstone, or rock.

Retaining walls are wonderful barriers to fire spread and help deflect the heat.  Building steps and walkways will help as a physical barrier and make it easier to access.

Mulch helps to conserve water and reduce weed growth.

Xeriscaping not only saves you money but is great for fire mitigation.  It does not mean a boring landscape!  Proper lawn care is also very important.  We have wonderful blog posts on lawn care and xeriscaping.

BLOGS ON LAWN CARE

BLOG ON XERISCAPING

More Visual Ideas:

Here are some links to Homeowner’s Wildfire Mitigation Guides:

Boulder County

University of California

Firewise

National Wildfire Coordinating Group

FEMA

Hope this gives you some ideas on how to beautify your home – but most importantly how to PROTECT IT!

XERISCAPING

Xeriscaping can be quit attractive

When planning or changing your landscape, there’s many creative ways to accomplish an eye catching design without breaking the bank.  Xeriscaping is one great way that can actually save you money while helping the environment.  Xeriscaping means reducing water waste, such as improper irrigation, and finding ways to achieve attractive, comfortable landscapes without excess water use.

It's about the type of plants, irrigation, and reducing water waste by using mulch and improving your soil. Photo found on houzz.com

According to Colorado WaterWise Council, your landscape is an investment and Xeriscaping can increase your property value by 15% and can also reduce water and maintenance costs by up to 60%.  Reduce watering by 1) improving your soil, 2) applying mulch, 3) using a balance of stone and low water plants, 4) proper irrigation, and 5) simply maintaining your landscape.

Found on yardshare.com

Always start with a plan.  Look at the natural terrain you were given.   Are you dealing with a slope or maybe it’s flatter than a pancake.   Draw a blueprint that shows the layout of your property; include your house, driveway, any existing trees and plants that you want to work into the design.  When designing your landscape, think about where it makes sense to have grass and where there’s high foot traffic create walkways.

Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to more xeriscaping links. Found on My Beautiful Garden Decors

Improve your soil by preparing it with amendments like aged compost and/or mulch to provide maximum water efficiency.  Look at the soil you have now; if it’s clay or sand you will need to work organic material and topsoil into the ground.

  • Sand is a natural draining agent and can cause your much needed nutrients to flow right on threw; it’s good to have drainage but you want the water to stay long enough to be absorbed.
  • Clay is a lot harder to work with, I recommend adding a fine mulch to break it up.  You’ll also want to add compost and topsoil, the better the water retention the more money you save in the long run.
  • If your landscape is already established, compost can be worked in by hand to existing garden areas and top-dressed to lawns.  Please keep in mind that you’ll want to spread a very thin layer of compost no more than ¼ inch over the lawn and than let it slowly sink to the soil level.
  • Another additive everyone should try is Polymer Crystals. They’re horticultural water-absorbent polymers which are organic and specifically designed to improve the capability of soils to retain water and plant nutrients.  Upon contact with water, the crystals swell, absorbing many times their weight.  When added to soil, plant roots grow directly through the polymers where they extract the stored water and nutrients as needed.  This reduces the amount and frequency of watering and fertilizing required, and improves aeration and water infiltration.

Found on designmyyard.com

Add mulch to gardens to minimize evaporation.  Any mulch will do, just top-dress 2”-3” thick.  When applied 4”-5” thick, it will reduce the amount of weed growth.  In areas where Mulch blows away due to our frequently windy days, you can apply a product called MulchGard.  It’s a professional super-bonding liquid polymer that locks fibers together to prevent mulch loss due to wind and washout events.  It’s easy to apply, easy to clean up, and helps with longevity.  If this doesn’t sound appeasing to you; a stringy mulch will “matt” together better which creates a bigger mass and will not blow away as easily (in Colorado we often refer to this as “Gorilla Mulch”).

Found on yardshare.com

Irrigate properly buy installing drip systems around the root of the plants.  Using drip irrigation can save 30-70 percent of the water used by overhead sprinkler systems according to Gardening Know How.  Learn more about the different systems by reading Irrigation Systems for Xeriscape Environments.

Go to Colorado Waterwise.org and download their Native Vegetation in Xeriscaping

When looking at plants, if you get onto the Colorado State University “Plant Talk” website, there’s an abundance of information and you can ask them questions which is always helpful.  When choosing native plants choose ones that are drought tolerant, not all native plants are suitable for xeriscaping.  Mountain plants tend to need more moisture and a cooler environment.  There’s a wide variety of interesting plants available according to Colorado State University. Features that make plants visually interesting often are the features that allow them to thrive on little water.

Click on picture to learn more about lambs ears

 

 

 

 

An example is the silver leaves of lamb’s-ears, lavender and gray santolina reflect the drying heat of the sun so the plant doesn’t lose water from its leaves.

Found on Mountain Valley Growers website - click picture for more information on xeriscaping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never forget the lawn!  Lawns look best when they’re green, so the better the soil the better the results.  Consider the type of grass best for the climate.  We live in a semi-arid environment that is prone to drought cycles.  I recommend speaking with a professional about heat/drought tolerance, cost, and the amount of maintenance needed.  We are an authorized distributor for Arkansas Valley Seeds.  You can visit their website (http://www.avseeds.com/) to learn more about grass seed.  You can also look at our website to learn more about the seeds we carry.

When buying materials in large amounts, you’ll get the best bang for your buck if you visit garden shops and landscape material suppliers (like R Rock Yard).  If you buy mulch, topsoil, or rock in a bag you’ll end up paying about three to four times more than in bulk.  There are many ways you can learn about your landscape possibilities.  To get those creative ideas flowing I find it’s best look at a multitude of pictures.  I tried to find as many as I could for this post plus links, your local library also has books that are full of ideas.  I received the information for this article from the Colorado WaterWise Council, Colorado State University, and from many years of experience.

 

Links to more info (pictures are also linked, so click on them):

Found on hgtv.com

Found on waterwiselandscapesnm.com. Click on this picture to see the beautiful pictures on their website

Found on modernhouston.net

Found on Yardshare.com

Found on houzz.com

Found on hgtv.com

 

Found on hgtv.com

The Beauty of Ponds

First thing you should do is to plan your design & decide if you want your pond to include a fountain, water fall, streams, and/or fish.   If you want fish in your pond, you need to remember that your pond must be deeper than four feet or you will fry your fish during the summer months, and freeze your fish in the winter months.  Once you have made all the decisions then you can begin to DIG YOUR HOLE.

Here’s a great step-by-step post by “This Old House” : HOW TO BUILD A POND IN 6 HOURS

Another great post we found on how to build a variety of different ponds was at Russell Technologies.

**Note:  if you don’t like snakes be sure to put moth balls around your pond … they like to swim to and will hurt your fish

Maintaining your pond during the summer:

Sunlight promotes algae growth, put a few plants outside as well as in the pond to help shade your pond area

algae

Find your balance, add some beneficial bacteria to the filter and the pond approximately 3 oz per 1,000 gallons.  Feed your fish only with a high quality wheat germ food until water temperature stays above 50 degrees.  Feed them very little and remove any uneaten food.

The only two additives you really need are chlorine remover and beneficial bacteria – as your plant life grows and changes you will need to change with it.

Some beauty to add to your pond:

Aquatic Plants

 

 

 

 

 

Lily Pads

Cattails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maintaining your pond during winter:

Start when it is still warm – early to mid fall you should net out any dead plants, algae, debris etc.  Make sure any filters or running water does not freeze, it is recommended to keep part of the surface of the pond open to dissipate the carbon monoxide.  Oxygen needs to be added to your pond during the winter, the best thing to use is a venture type of aerator attached to a submerged pump (deicers, pond heaters) designed to keep a hole in the ice open enough for carbon monoxide to escape and let fresh air in.

Pondless Ponds

www.mipond.com

In pondless pond systems the filtration is under the ground three feet.

They are on the high end and are less work to maintain.  To create a pondless pond/waterfall, the Ultimate is the only completely filtered pondless waterfall system.  It is both pre-filtered and biologically filtered.  It also utilizes a tank for the water storage instead of the impossible to clean gravel basis that other systems feature.

Pondless – means when the pump is turned off – all the water is captured and stored out of sight inside the hydrochamber.

 

 

http://ponderingwaters.com/

www.russell-technologies.com/

 Cleaning of a pondless:  Empty the leaves and debris from the hydrosieve pre-filter and hydroflush the hydrovortex.  Also do this in the waterfall filter by turning two valves. The hydrovortez filter will self clean.

 

At first the work isn’t easy but once established, the enjoyment you will get is worth all the work – to sit around your pond and relax – read a book or just the excitement of showing it off


Romantic Spots – Ideas for creating an area for two

Valentines day is fast approaching.  Obviously this is the wrong time of year in Colorado to do landscaping and you surely don’t have enough time to complete a project like this before Valentines actually gets here.  Still…  with all the hustle and bustle in our lives it sure would be nice to have a spot where you can relax and enjoy each other.

Hammocks come in all shapes and sizes

Hammocks are an easy way to add an area of interest.  The two of you can just lay back and dream of your future.  The example above is pretty extreme.  I’m assuming that everyone knows what a generic hammock looks like.  I wanted to show you that no matter what your landscape looks like, there is a way to incorporate a relaxing area for the two of you to connect.

So warm and cozy

Outside fire pits and fireplaces can also get extreme as far as price and labor involved.  We have a post from last year that you can refer to in order to get more information on that subject.  (Fire Pits and Fireplaces) The picture above shows a simple fire pit surrounded by stones.  This is something that can be accomplished very easily and inexpensive.  The seats around the fire pit in the picture (above) would be more difficult but not necessary.  Camping chairs or a nice blanket could allow you both to the enjoy each other while enjoying the warmth of the fire and the beauty of the stars.

Hidden from eyes

Maybe you have room on your lot to make an area that’s hidden.  This can be done by planting shrubs, tall plants/flowers, and/or a tree away from the house.  A simple path

Secret Garden

taking you back to your secret garden. You could place a small table with two chairs so you have a place to have breakfast or a nice after dinner drink together.

Lighting

Creating a romantic spot doesn’t mean that it has to be extravagant   Sometimes it just takes the proper lighting.  Above are mason jars, with either a candle or tea light, strung from a tree.  You can do this anywhere.  Example: hang from the deck, house, fence, or place on the ground to light a path (below).

Romantic Garden Lanterns

As long as you give your sweetheart some of your time, that is one of the biggest gifts of all.  Cheers to love!

R Rock Yard Inc – 16140 Old Denver Road – Monument, CO 80132 – (719)488-0928 www.rrockyard.com

Turf Maintenance: Winter dormancy, winter kill and winter watering.

In most parts of the country, lawn grass goes dormant in the winter. It’s too cold for any grass to grow so we wait patiently for spring – sometimes under snow cover, sometimes not. Lawn care doesn’t quite end in the winter though.

The change of seasons can be blissful. And most of us enjoy the change from the summer heat.

There are still some considerations and concerns that one should be aware of even in the winter.
• Clean it up. It is extremely important not to leave debris, leaves, or toys out on the lawn. These things can smother the grass, create disease conditions, and invite insects, mice and other damaging pests like voles that are prominent in Colorado.
• Lower the height of your mower by a notch or two (.5″ – 1.0″) the last couple of times you mow. Excessively long grass can smother itself, cause disease, and is at risk of damage from freezing and thawing conditions. However, do not cut the grass too short and scalp it thus exposing the crown of the plant to extreme conditions (the crown looks a lot like the roots, basically if you see dirt it’s bad).
• Be aware of traffic. Under snow cover, or exposed to the elements, dormant grass will tolerate a moderate amount of traffic but a heavily worn path will be slower to green up in the spring and cause compaction.
• Monitor weather conditions. Turf is very resilient and can tolerate an extreme winter but certain conditions can be harmful in the long term. It might be worthwhile to chip away a little exposed ice in a low spot if you know a winter storm or deep freeze is approaching.

Winters can often be unpredictable and may put your lawn through some extreme conditions during the course of a winter. The best thing to do is make sure the grass has hardened off which means all growth has stopped and the leaves have turned brown. Make sure you’ve done winterization properly, and monitor the weather.

Don't panic! this is a natural cycle of turfgrasses

“Winterkill” is a general term that is used to define turf loss during the winter. Winterkill can be caused by a combination of factors including crown hydration, desiccation, low temperatures, ice sheets and snow mold.

Because of the unpredictability of environmental factors and differences in other factors such as surface drainage, the occurrence of winterkill on turf is variable and can vary greatly between your lawn and even across the same neighborhood.

Crown hydration

In general, annual bluegrass (Poa annua) are the most susceptible to crown hydration injury. During the warm days of late winter, annual bluegrass plants start to take up water (hydrate). Potential for injury exists when a day or two of warm daytime temperatures in late winter is followed by a rapid freeze (exactly like October 22-25th 2012 on the 22nd it was 70 F and dry, on the 25th it was 31 F and most areas close to Monument, Co. received snow.). The most common time for winterkill associated with crown hydration and refreezing to occur is during the late winter and early spring when there is snowmelt or rainfall and then refreezing of the water that has not drained away. Crown hydration is a problem during these events because ice crystals can form in the crown of the plant, rupture the plant cells and ultimately cause the plant to die.

Getting significant amounts of snow on a non hardened lawn, then freezing temps can test the durability of your lawn.

Desiccation

Winter desiccation is the death of leaves or plants by drying during winter when the plant is either dormant or semi-dormant. Desiccation injury is usually greatest on exposed or elevated sites and areas where surface runoff is great. Winter desiccation injury to turfgrass in Colorado is normally rare, though sites similar to those described above can be prone to desiccation injury on a regular basis.

Low-temperature Kill

Low-temperature kill is caused by ice crystal formation at temperatures below 32 degrees F. Factors that affect low-temperature kill include hardiness level, freezing rate, thawing rate, number of times frozen and post-thawing treatment (fertilization or hard raking thatch). Soil temperature is more critical than air temperature for low-temperature kill because the crown of the plant is in the soil. It is difficult to provide absolute killing temperatures because of the numerous factors involved. The only way to prevent low-temperature kill is the hardiness of the seed, know the seed you have or pay the price.

Ice sheets

Ice sheets are often blamed for killing turf when, in fact, it is crown hydration and subsequent refreezing that has resulted in the kill. The reason for the confusion is that, as snow melts and refreezes, creating ice sheets, the ice sheets are often in poorly drained areas where crown hydration can occur because of the standing water. As the ice sheet melts away, the area damaged closely mirrors where the ice occurred, and therefore, the conclusion is that ice sheets caused the kill.

Many universities have conducted research on ice sheets on three turfgrass species: Kentucky bluegrass, creeping bentgrass and annual bluegrass. Kentucky bluegrass and creeping bentgrass survived 150 days of ice cover without significant injury; annual bluegrass was killed somewhere between 75 and 90 days of ice cover. They have concluded that cause of death for the annual bluegrass was most likely from toxic gas accumulation under the ice sheet. This makes it important to try and pick or chip away at an ice sheet to try and eliminate these gases.

These "bare" patches or darker spots on this lawn are actually sheets of ice. If not treated properly these same spots will die and not return in spring.

Snow mold

The two diseases commonly called snow mold are Typhula blight (gray snow mold) and Microdochium patch (pink snow mold). Gray snow mold requires extended periods of snow cover; pink snow mold can occur either with or without snow cover. If snow mold injury is a recurring problem, preventive fungicide applications are the best control option. You can refer back to my post on diseases for more pointers.

Steps in recovery

To assess if damage has occurred, samples can be taken from turf areas (fill a small pot with soil and place the turf on top), moved inside and placed in a warm, sunny area to see if the turf greens up. If there is no green-up within a couple of weeks, the turf was killed.

Reestablishing turfgrass in damaged areas can be very challenging in the spring because of the cool, cloudy conditions that often persist. Depending on the extent of damage, either seeding or sodding may be necessary to facilitate recovery. In areas where the turf was killed in a manner that left well-defined margins between dead and living turf, it may be feasible to strip dead turf and sod the area. In areas where the kill was more scattered, it may be easier to seed the area. Keys to success for renovating winterkilled areas are to divert traffic from newly seeded areas, apply light fertilizer applications to stimulate growth, and irrigate to ensure that the seedbed or sod is moist throughout the establishment period.

Winter watering

Colorado’s average precipitation for the winter months is barely a third of an inch per month. This is the minimum that turf grasses need to survive the winter and return green and hearty in the spring.

Only water by hand in the winter as your irrigation system will freeze up if used. Make sure you drain your hose well before putting it away.

Water only when air temperatures are above 40 degrees F. Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night.

Plants receiving reflected heat from buildings, walls and fences are more subject to damage. The low angle of winter sun makes this more likely in south or west exposures. Windy sites result in faster drying of sod and plants and require additional water. Lawns in warm exposures are prone to late winter mite damage. Water is the best treatment to prevent turf injury.

Monitor weather conditions and water during extended dry periods without snow cover—one to two times per month with a minimum of a quarter of an inch per watering.

Proper Mulching Techniques

Mulches are materials placed over the soil surface to maintain moisture and improve soil conditions. Mulching is one of the most beneficial things a home owner can do for the health of a tree or shrubs. Mulch can reduce water loss from the soil, minimize weed competition, and improve soil structure. Properly applied, mulch can give landscapes a handsome, well-groomed appearance. Mulch must be applied properly; if it is too deep or if the wrong material is used, it can actually cause significant harm to trees and other landscape plants.

Mulch can be beautiful and if used properly provides many benefits.

Benefits of Proper Mulching

• Helps maintain soil moisture. Evaporation is reduced, and the need for watering can be minimized.
• Helps control weeds. A 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch will reduce the germination and growth of weeds.
• Mulch serves as nature’s insulating blanket. Mulch keeps soils warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
• Many types of mulch can improve soil aeration, structure (aggregation of soil particles), and drainage over time.
• Some mulches can improve soil fertility.
• A layer of mulch can inhibit certain plant diseases.
• Mulching around trees and shrubs helps facilitate maintenance and can reduce the likelihood of damage from “weed whackers” or the dreaded “lawn mower blight.”
• Mulch can give planting beds a uniform, well-cared-for look.

Trees growing in a natural forest environment have their roots anchored in a rich, well-aerated soil full of essential nutrients. The soil is blanketed by leaves and organic materials that replenish nutrients and provide an optimal environment for root growth and mineral uptake. Urban landscapes, however, are typically a much harsher environment with poor soils, little organic matter, and large fluctuations in temperature and moisture. Applying a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch can mimic a more natural environment and improve plant health.

Beautiful forest with natural mulch ground cover

 

The root system of a tree or shrubs is not a mirror image of the top. The roots of most trees can extend out a significant distance from the tree trunk. Although the guideline for many maintenance practices is the drip line—the outermost extension of the canopy—the roots can grow many times that distance. In addition, most of the fine absorbing roots are located within inches of the soil surface. These roots, which are essential for taking up water and minerals, require oxygen to survive. A thin layer of mulch, applied as broadly as practical, can improve the soil structure, oxygen levels, temperature, and moisture availability where these roots grow.

Types of Mulch

Mulches are available commercially in many forms. The two major types of mulch are inorganic and organic. Inorganic mulches include various types of stone, lava rock, pulverized rubber, geo-textile fabrics, and other materials. Inorganic mulches do not decompose and do not need to be replenished often. On the other hand, they do not improve soil structure, add organic materials, or provide nutrients. For these reasons, most horticulturists and arborists prefer organic mulches.

Organic vs Inorganic, rock vs wood chips

Organic mulches include wood chips, pine needles, hardwood and softwood bark, cocoa hulls, leaves, compost mixes, and a variety of other products usually derived from plants. Organic mulches decompose in the landscape at different rates depending on the material and climate. Those that decompose faster must be replenished more often. Because the decomposition process improves soil quality and fertility, many arborists and other landscape professionals consider that characteristic a positive one, despite the added maintenance.

More is not always better! 

As beneficial as mulch is, too much can be harmful. The generally recommended mulching depth is 2 to 4 inches. Unfortunately, many landscapes are falling victim to a plague of over mulching. A new term, “mulch volcanoes,” has emerged to describe mulch that has been piled up around the base of trees. Most organic mulches must be replenished, but the rate of decomposition varies. Some mulches, such as cypress mulch, remain intact for many years. Top dressing with new mulch annually (often for the sake of refreshing the color) creates a buildup to depths that can be unhealthy. Deep mulch can be effective in suppressing weeds and reducing maintenance, but it often causes additional problems.

Bad techniques can kill a tree.

Problems Associated with Improper Mulching


• Deep mulch can lead to excess moisture in the root zone, which can stress the plant and cause root rot.
• Piling mulch against the trunk or stems of plants can stress stem tissues and may lead to insect and disease problems.
• Some mulches, especially those containing cut grass, can affect soil pH. Continued use of certain mulches over long periods can lead to micronutrient deficiencies or toxicities.
• Mulch piled high against the trunks of young trees may create habitats for rodents that chew the bark and can girdle the trees.
• Thick blankets of fine mulch can become matted and may prevent the penetration of water and air. In addition, a thick layer of fine mulch can become like potting soil and may support weed growth.
• Anaerobic “sour” mulch may give off pungent odors, and the alcohols and organic acids that build up may be toxic to young plants.

Symptoms of Decline

Death from over-mulching is gradual, with symptoms sometimes taking 3-5 years to express themselves. It starts with the decline of plant vigor and rate of growth.
• Off-color leaves (pale or marbled)
• Abnormally small leaves
• Poor twig growth
• Die-back of older branches
• Rotting, pealing trunk bark under the mulch.

These trees died due to root collar damage from insects at the base of the tree.

Proper Mulching

It is clear that the choice of mulch and the method of application can be important to the health of landscape plants. The following are some guidelines to use when applying mulch.

• Inspect plants and soil in the area to be mulched. Determine whether drainage is adequate. Determine whether there are plants that may be affected by the choice of mulch. Most commonly available mulches work well in most landscapes. Some plants may benefit from the use of slightly acidifying mulch such as pine bark.

• If mulch is already present, check the depth. Do not add mulch if there is a sufficient layer in place. Rake the old mulch to break up any matted layers and to refresh the appearance. Some landscape maintenance companies spray mulch with a water-soluble, vegetable-based dye to improve the appearance.

• If mulch is piled against the stems or tree trunks, pull it back several inches so that the base of the trunk and the root crown are exposed.

It doesn't matter if it is a tree or raspberry plant the technique is the same.

• Organic mulches usually are preferred to inorganic materials due to their soil-enhancing properties. If organic mulch is used, it should be well aerated and, preferably, composted. Avoid sour-smelling mulch.

• Composted wood chips can make good mulch, especially when they contain a blend of leaves, bark, and wood. Fresh wood chips also may be used around established trees and shrubs. Avoid using non-composted wood chips that have been piled deeply without exposure to oxygen.

• For well-drained sites, apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch. If there are drainage problems, a thinner layer should be used. Avoid placing mulch against the tree trunks. Place mulch out to the tree’s drip line or beyond.

What to Do?

The best way to determine if you have a mulch problem is simply to dig through the mulch layer to see how thick it really is. If it is excessive (over 4 inches), spread it out to the drip line or remove much of it. Sometimes a light raking of existing mulch is sufficient to break up any crusted or compacted layers that repel water.

Uncovering damage can be disheartening, but it must be done.

A visual inspection of the root flare zone or trunk collar (where the spreading base of the tree just goes into the soil) is the best way for you or an arborist to check the condition of the trunk for possible rot, pest chewing or diseases. If detected early on, removal of mulch to allow drying out may help curb more serious problems.

Complete root flare zone excavation may be necessary and is best performed by a professional arborist.

Remember: If the tree had a say in the matter, its entire root system (which usually extends well beyond the drip line) would be mulched.

Comparing Mulching Options

  1. Type of Mulch 
  2. Advantages 
  3. Concerns

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It may not look tidy but it is the cheapest and works well

  1. Grass clippings
  2. Is cheap, readily available, and easy to apply
  3. Decays quickly, so you must replenish often. If you use weed killers on your lawn or nitrogen-heavy fertilizer, it may adversely affect other parts of the garden; can turn slimy if you apply more than an inch or so at a time; if the grass goes to seed before you cut it, the grass seeds can germinate in your garden beds (yikes!)

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wood chips come in many colors and consistencies

  1. Wood or bark chips
  2. Looks neat and attractive; stays where you put it (except in high wind areas);
  3. Is slow to decay Pine bark mulch is fairly acidic, which you may or may not want for your garden; if you apply too deeply (over 3″) or apply a deep layer up against tree and shrub trunks, you may create a hiding spot for a bark-damaging rodent, especially during winter

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Leaf mulch if maintained well can look great

  1. Decaying leaves
  2. Smothers weeds very well; helps hold in soil moisture
  3. Is not especially attractive; if it contains seeds, they can germinate and become a weed problem; if the leaves are soft, like maple leaves, the mulch can mat; if it’s acidic (oak especially), it can lower your garden soil’s pH

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Compost mulch looks very similar to mulch but has advantages over mulch

  1. Compost Is free and plentiful if you have your own compost pile;
  2. Aadds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down
  3. Makes a good place for weeds to take hold; fresh compost (especially if it contains manure or grass clippings) can burn plants

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This picture shows peat moss in the garden bed and wood chips around them. Great way to look nice and save money.

  1. Peat moss Looks neat and tidy;
  2. Is versatile — also functions as a soil amendment
  3. Can be expensive; if dry, will repel water; becomes crusty over time

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Straw mulch, very simple.

  1. Straw
  2. Is cheap and easy to apply
  3. Is so light it can blow or drift away; may harbor rodents, especially over the winter months; isn’t very attractive for ornamental plantings

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Hay is very similar to straw just a different consistency

  1. Hay
  2. Is cheap and easy to apply
  3. May harbor rodents, especially over the winter months; isn’t very attractive for ornamental plantings; probably contains weed seeds!

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This is a great example of using stones in a garden. Weather it be larger stones or flagstone it still accomplishes the purpose of mulching.

  1. Gravel, pebbles, or stone
  2. Has a nice, neat look (though not “natural”); is easy to apply; won’t wash away easily and will last a long time; doesn’t need to be replenished over the course of a season
  3. In colder climates Can allow weeds to sneak through; provides no benefits to the soil

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Plastic does the job here.

  1. Landscape fabric (garden plastic, black plastic)
  2. Keeps weeds at bay; holds soil moisture and warmth in
  3. Watering and feeding is hard (you need to cut openings for plants); can be difficult to apply unless you’re doing an entire area at one time; isn’t very attractive

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Rubber mulch looking identical to wood chips here.

  1. Rubber (shredded recycled car tires)
  2. Very long lasting, available in many colors, looks like shredded wood mulch
  3. Can smell strongly of rubber; provides no nutritional benefits to the soil, some studies suggest this can leach arsenic and lead into the soil, not recommended around vegetable plants or fruit trees.

Turf Maintenance: Fertilizing, Aeration and fall maintenance.

Welcome back again! Fall is coming, and with how hot it has been most of us are glad! Your grass will be very happy as well.

fall "green up" can be absolutely heavenly

This weeks post should be a fairly straight foreword post as most everything I will go over is super simple.

Fertilization is a key component of keeping your lawn healthy lush and green. Since your lawn is a living being it does require food! Understanding what fertilizer to use, and when, is important since application is critical to your lawns survival and overall health.

root health vs. fertilization amount

What is fertilizer, and what is it made of? There are a lot of fertilizers on the market both organic and synthetic (man made). Knowing how to read the labels and understanding them is the hard part. First of all determine whether you want a fast release or slow release fertilizer. Fast release is typically used during the spring or fall, and slow release is usually recommended for summer and winter. Unless the lawn is struggling, you can safely stick to these guidelines.

Next is reading the contents of the fertilizer. All fertilizers are regulated using three main ingredients Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) only displayed in that order N-P-K. Often you will see this on the bag labeled like this “20-20-10”. These aren’t the only nutrients that may be in fertilizers but this is the best gauge to see what you are buying.

Nitrogen- promotes the growth of leaves and vegetation.

Phosphorus- promotes root and shoot growth

Potassium- promotes flowering, fruiting and general hardiness

Since Nitrogen is the largest promoter of growth a lot of people will stick with a fertilizer that is mostly nitrogen (i.e. 80-20-10) but you have to be very careful with this type of fertilizer because you can easily over do it. Fertilizing 3-4 times a year is what is normally recommended for a HEALTHY lawn. If your lawn isn’t quite up to par you can do more damage than good by fertilizing too much. NEVER fertilize in the dead heat months of July and August. This only promotes growth when the plant is struggling with the heat. This can cause excessive thatch buildup and excessive mowing and irrigation.

Different turf species require different amounts of nitrogen and also prefer to be fed different times of the year. If you need to do a little research on the differences the CSU website is very helpful in figuring this out. (csuturf.colostate.edu)

Generally most home owners don’t want to get too in depth with turf maintenance they just want a green lawn. So in this instance I will say sticking with a “complete” or “balanced” fertilizer is the best way of getting all the nutrients you need in a lawn. These types of fertilizers are filled with all types of nutrients including iron, sulfur, urea, and ammonium. Just remember that more is NOT always better and sticking to three to four feedings a year is plenty.

perfect example of a balanced fertilizer and all purpose plant food!

Aeration: understanding why and when we do it. When you have an established lawn that has seen many years in the heat and cold, been mowed 20 times a year and endured plenty of snow storms, the soil has been compacted from all these elements. Just the nature of the turf itself can cause compaction to happen as well.

When the soil under the turf is compacted it is much harder for nutrients to reach the roots, the roots cannot grow effectively, organisms in the soil cant breath, and thus the lawn struggles.

compaction and disease caused this poor lawn to have a bad year.

Aeration is what combats this compaction and should only be done if the soil is compacted not just because Joe-Bob is doing a spring sale. Here are some signs that tell you the lawn needs to be aerated:

• water puddling on lawn after rain
• vehicles driving or parking on lawn (this includes riding mowers)
• thatch layer thicker than one-half inch
• difficulty sticking a screwdriver or a pencil into soil
• heavy clay soil
• thin, patchy or bare grass

By piercing holes into the turf and pulling out the “plugs” also known as aerating. This naturally opens up space for the rest of the existing soil to “relax” releasing the compaction. Aeration also allows oxygen to get deeper into the soil thus feeding the tiny organisms that help feed your lawn.

great before and after side view of results from aeration.

When aerating, you may also fertilize with a good slow release fertilizer. This will allow some of the fertilizer to get deep into the soil and feed the roots even better.

Aeration should only be done during the fall (September, October). The reason why is at any other point in the year the turf faces challenges, for example during the spring the turf is “greening up” and you do not want to put extra stress on the lawn during this time. During summer the lawn is going dormant to combat the hot months. Since fall is another time for it to “green up” this is too a stressful time but not as bad as recovering from winter.

If aeration isn’t needed because the soil has stayed loose then power raking is your next best preventative maintenance option. Power raking takes a good majority of the thatch off the top layer of lawn. Thatch is the leftover stems of the grass that have grown, greened, and died after the stems resources were exhausted. This is an important part of maintenance to help rid the lawn of excess water absorption on the top layer which prevents the roots from receiving the water.

good image of thatch being raked out of the lawn.

Power raking isn’t the easiest thing to do but isn’t very hard either. Basically you want to use a leaf rake and rake the lawn in such a way as to remove the thatch. Think of it as raking up leaves but applying more pressure. You will see this golden yellow layer slowly being pulled to the top of the lawn. You do need to be somewhat careful though as to not rake so hard that you are exposing dirt. If you do expose dirt you are raking too hard or removing too much thatch. Companies do rent motorized power rakes that can remove thatch from larger lawns with ease. This is an option as well but really only recommend to the more knowledgeable home gardeners.

This brings us to basic fall maintenance. During the fall you should aerate, if needed, and fertilize the lawn (a lot of people call this “winterizing”) but you also need to tend to the grass after this process as well. Any leaves, pine needles, etc, should be raked off of the grass as soon as possible. Decomposing leaves will encourage mold spores to grow and also cause the lawn to suffocate. If you don’t know of these damaging effects refer to my post, “Diseases and summer dormancy”. This can also change the pH of your soil which can cause other underlying problems, such as weed growth and root damage.

happy fall everyone!

We can still have very dry spells during the winter. The lawn during winter dormancy still needs ¼ inch per 3-4 weeks. I will go over this in my next post since I want to cover it thoroughly.

MulchGard

Believe or not, there is actually a professional mulch binder that keeps mulch where YOU want it!!  If you live along the Front Range you know how windy it can get here.  Imagine your mulch actually staying where you intended…… sounds like a dream.

With MulchGard you can have nice and neat mulch beds.  It also enables you to install mulch in areas previously reserved for rock and gravel, such as steep slopes or next to ponds and water features.

 

  • Super-bonding liquid polymer that locks mulch fibers together
  • Prevents mulch loss due to wind and washout events
  • NON-TOXIC, environmentally safe
  • Will not harm vegetation
  • Super-concentrated, economical to use
  • Keeps mulch neatly in place
  • Gives mulch a fresher, richer color
  • Easy to apply, easy to clean-up
  • Dries clear

 

 

 

 

What is it?   MulchGard is an easy-to-apply liquid bonding agent which is applied to the surface of any mulched area.  Once cured, the revolutionary formula binds mulch fibers together to form a cohesive, flexible mulch “blanket” which is extremely resistant to troublesome wind and erosion.

Will it take away from the benefits of mulch?   Mulch fibers treated with Mulchgard are locked tightly together, yet still allow beneficial air, water, and nutrients to pass through.

Fresher mulch?   While the primary objective of MulchGard is to prevent mulch loss due to wind and washout events, you will soon discover that treated areas now look fresher, and reveal even more beautiful, rich colors.  MulchGard actually prolongs the lifespan of mulches due to its unique sealing properties.  And in most cases, the moisture-retaining qualities often associated with mulches are greatly enhanced, as a result of slower evaporation of subsurface moisture.

Economical?   MulchGard is super-concentrated and easy to use.  Simply mix with water (4:1) and apply with any handheld garden sprayer.

Vegetation already in place?   MulchGard will not harm adjacent vegetation.  In fact, while careful application techniques are encouraged, incidental contact with plants and shrubs is not harmful.  Of course, you would want to avoid directly spraying onto flowers and shrubs.

MulchGard is Non-Toxic and safe to use around animals and people when properly applied

Now, with MulchGard, you can enjoy the beauty of mulch over any area you choose, without worrying that your hard work & money will blow away with the wind or wash away with the rain.

VIDEO  (click to watch application video)

STEPS:

Step #1: For best results, mix MulchGardTM Super Concentrate thoroughly before each use. Some settling of the active ingredients will occur naturally over time.
Step #2: Mix water and MulchGard in application equipment (4 water : 1 MulchGard).  Apply MulchGardTM evenly over mulched area, saturating the top layer of mulch. For superior bonding strength, apply second treatment allowing at least one hour in between applications. – usually one application is good.
Step #3: Thoroughly rinse all application equipment immediately after each use. MulchGardTM will safely bind your mulch together. It will also bind your application equipment together for no extra charge! You’ll forget this Pro-Tip only once!
Step #4: If MulchGardTM accidentally comes in contact with an unintended surface, simply wash away with water. (You may need to use a rag with water in some instances if too much time has passed. MulchGardTM will begin to set up quickly.)

TIPS:

Tip #1: If area being treated is irrigated, shut-off designated zones during application, and for at least 24 hours after application. MulchGardTM will begin to cure quickly. Complete curing occurs within 72 hours.
Tip #2: Store MulchGardTM in a cool, dry place. Avoid freezing.
Tip #3: Be creative. MulchGardTM will allow you to install mulch in places you’ve only dreamed of.
Tip #4: Avoid application when windy, or within 24 hours of recent rain, or if rain is expected within 24 hours.
Tip #5: Avoid walking on, or disturbing treated areas.
Tip #6: Treat mulch beds prior to Autumn. When leaves fall from trees, use blower to remove leaves from mulch bed while mulch stays in place!

Yearly Turf Maintenance: Voles, Bugs and Grubs oh my!

Acres of green!

Good to see you back for another installment of turf maintenance! This week I’m going to cover, obviously, all the little critters that want to enjoy your lawn as well.

First I will start with the little itsy bitsy pests known as mites (some people refer to them as “walking specs of dust”). There are three different species of mites that are native and abundant in Colorado. All three of these mites are very similar in their eating habits and breeding habits. Two of these mites (banks grass mite, brown wheat mite) are warm season eaters and the last (clover mite) are cool season eaters.

These are clover mites as you can see they are tiny

With the clover mite you will see damage to the turf during October/November and also in May/June.  The most affected area is around the foundation of the house or shed on the south facing sides. These mites are vigorous eaters and can destroy large paths of lawn in very little time.

Clover mite damage next to a tree

The banks grass mite and brown wheat mite, being warm season eaters, prefer the summer months torturing your lawn.

The evidence of these little mites is very easy to spot and diagnose. The area will be brown patches that are typically around a tree, house, bushes or other object they can climb up on to lay their eggs (they don’t lay their eggs on the ground). The leaf of the grass in the affected area will have “silvering” or small streaks in the leaf that appear silver or dead.

Controlling these mites is fairly hard to do with insecticides but most effective are turf grass products that contain either lambdacyhalothrin or bifenthrin as the active ingredient. These are sold under several trade names.

this is a more obvious site of mite damage

The next two pests are Sod Webworms and Cutworms. These pests feast on the leaf as well and can cause serious damage if found in large numbers. Everyone has seen these guys as their adult stage hovering over the lawn in the form of a moth. Typically at night or (when most notice) while you are mowing the lawn. The moth is harmless to the lawn (besides spreading up to 60 eggs per evening) the pupae (child) and larva (teenager) are the culprits to lawn damage as they feast on the leaves of the newly sprouted lawn.

this is a cutworm moth

Both of these species lay their eggs late in the year. They hatch in early spring when things start warming up and start feeding on the lawn right away. Both also stay in the “thatch” of the lawn (the dead stems that are decaying under the green grass) and emerge at night to feed typically in a circular pattern.

The evidence of these worms is thinning of the lawn and in extreme cases dying lawn or non-emergence in the spring. The other indicator is the moths, if you see a ton of little moths flying around as you walk across the lawn or while you mow then there is a big chance you have an issue.

Another large indicator is birds. Birds love these worms to feed their young in the early spring. The birds may hang out in your lawn and eliminate these pests but the damage to the lawn is typically already done by this time.

Evidence of bugs in the lawn

There is a quick and easy way to find out just how many bad worms you have. Mix a ¼ cup of powder laundry detergent or 1 ounce liquid detergent with a gallon of water and pour the solution onto the suspected problem area. This will drive out the worms from their nests to the surface. This will not kill the worm but will show you how bad the infestation is. 12 worms per square foot is considered extreme and should be treated as the lawn cannot sustain this many worms.

Control for these worms is fairly easy. You can get insecticides that are very effective; or you can go with the natural way and purchase predators online or from a local gardening center (unfortunately we do not offer this service). I will go over natural predators in a little bit.

The last two pests I’m going to talk about are billbugs and white grubs. These pests can also cause severe damage to lawns and are abundant in Colorado. They are particularly hard on newly sodden laws as they feast on the crown of the grass (base of the plant) as younglings, then move down to the roots and rhizomes as the older larval stages begin.

These are masked chafer grubs

Some of these grubs can stay in the ground feeding on your lawn for up to three years! The damage isn’t always obvious and in most cases goes unknown unless there is an extreme case in which you can literally pull up the sod as if it was just laid. With the May and June beetle this can be as few as 4-5 per square foot. Eventually the grubs mature into beetles and continue their life laying eggs.

Detecting the grubs is not always easy, as they do spend most of their life under the sod. Most damage occurs along sidewalks or stone paths during drought affected areas (Colorado). The damaged area will be thinned grass or even dead.

Damage from the masked chafer grub

The beetle is the real indicator here. If you spot many beetles crossing your lawn or around the exterior of your house you probably can suspect any damaged or thin areas of your lawn close to a sidewalk or stone path from grubs, however they can work their way farther to the interior of your lawn as well.

masked chafer beetle

Control of these grubs is very difficult and even professionals can usually only reach a success rate of about 75%. The grubs are deep underground during the spring and fall months but come fairly close to the surface during the hot summer months; this is the best time to attack them.

Insecticides are the only way to really control these pests and thatch thickness is important when applying any insecticide. The thatch thickness needs to be less than ¾ inch for the insecticide to reach its full potential. Otherwise the insecticides will be absorbed by the thatch and not adequately permeate the soil to reach the grubs. The only other way to attack these grubs is natural predators.

Most people don’t realize that those pesky ants around your house can often control a lot of the common pests in lawns. There are also spiders and lady bugs that feast on these pests. So when you see these natural predators in and around your lawn, thank them for their continued support of your healthy lawn. You can order these predators online or at a local garden center and I know how weird it will be when you walk up to the counter and ask for “two pounds of ants please”.

Hungry Ladybug eating aphid

Natural ways of attracting these predators are aromatic plants such as; thyme, spear mint, dill, parsley, Russian sage, and purple coneflower. These plants smell great to these predators and to us as well. The benefit is also cooking with these herbs but that is a whole other blog. Spread these plants around your lawn and you will attract plenty of predators to combat the pests.

There are also nematodes which are little snake looking organisms that lay eggs inside their host and kill the subject from the inside out. These can be purchased online and are very effective in killing almost all the pests I have gone over in this post.

Lastly, and probably the most damaging and frustrating pests that you may encounter are Voles. These are small little mouse looking animals that burrow under your lawn and eat the roots of your beautiful lawn. They typically are singular (live alone) and usually are encountered when your lawn is next to, or close to, an open field. These little mammals can run rampant in neighborhoods and often work their way through a neighborhood until all food resources are depleted.

Vole damage you can see the "trails"

You will know you have a Vole almost immediately since the Voles live underground and only come out briefly, there will be holes in the lawn. The lawn will feel “spongy” where they have eaten the roots. They leave behind mounds of dirt, and after a few weeks the “trails” where the Voles passed through your lawn will show up in long dead streaks with random offshoots. Evidence of where they’ve been is heartbreaking as the trails in the lawn are completely dead and beyond recovery (these paths will need to be reseeded).

These voles can also harm large shrubs. During the winter when the roots of the sod have been depleted the voles will move to whatever resource they find. This may be your favorite lilac bush and the root damage is usually bad enough to kill the plant if the vole did not have sufficient food elsewhere.

Other damage caused by the presence of voles can be just as bad if not worse. The natural predators for voles are coyotes and foxes. I’m sure you can imagine the devastation caused by these predators digging for the vole.

This is a devastated portion of turf from coyotes digging for voles

Controlling and preventing vole damage is hard. If you do live next to a field, plan on combating these pests regularly. Putting barriers between your yard and an open field is mandatory. You can achieve this with gravel or mulch at least 6 feet wide or better between your yard and the open field. If the area is fenced get a dog and leave him out on nice nights. You might borrow your neighbor’s dog for a few days if that helps.

Poisons are not that effective on voles but in some instances are successful. You can use rat poison or they do make specific poisons for moles and voles that will work as well. Just be really careful if you do have pets as they can be poisoned as well. Traps are fairly effective in controlling voles and can usually be found in hardware stores. Laying the trap is the hard part as the voles do go in random patterns. Putting the trap near a “Y” in the paths is the most effective.

There are a wide variety of vole traps

Remember a strong healthy thriving lawn will resist most of these invasive pests. Following the guidelines for the lawn is your best combatant against these and many other pests that may find your sanctuary.

wonderful view of root system progression with greater care, and more food applied!! (fertilizers)

Yearly turf maintenance: Summer dormancy and diseases.

Hello again! I will start this week’s blog with a very widely unknown fact about all Kentucky bluegrass types. They not only go dormant during the winter they also can go dormant in the summer! During the hottest months of the year (July and August) it’s very possible to save yourself a ton of money if you don’t mind the lawn turning slightly brown and dormant.

this is a good example of summer dormancy i don't approve of the mid-day watering but this is a good example

A nice lawn in the cool season will require 2 inches of water per week, a dormant lawn can go 2 weeks on just a half an inch of water and it is possible it can go 4-5 weeks on ¼ inch of water! It is critical though to know that your turf has to be in top shape and have plenty of fertilizer (food) available to make it back after the hot summer days subside.

With all cool season grasses (Kentucky bluegrasses, most fescues, etc.) the prime growth period is during the spring and after the hot summer months.

cool season grasses growth chart

What is dormancy? While dormant, the crowns of grass plants are live but existing leaf blades become dead and brown, and no new leaves are produced. Crowns?

Let me educate you a little bit about the anatomy of grass as it actually has 4 parts.

anatomy of grass

The crown: the base of the stem, leaf, the top of the roots, and rhizome; basically this is the base of the plant.

The stem (they call it “sheath” in the picture above): the harder part of the plant that comes up through the ground and sprouts the leaf off of it.

The roots: just like any other plant these are what go down into the ground and suck up the water that feeds the rest of the plant.

The rhizome: this is the part of the plant that actually “creeps” across your lawn and starts more crowns (this is what makes the lawn spread).

Since the crown stays alive during this dormancy, the plant itself is not dead it just is naturally acknowledging that this time of year is just too hard for it to sustain leaf growth. There will be little to no repercussion in letting the lawn go dormant besides the look of a brown lawn.

Either way if you let the lawn go dormant, or keep watering it to sustain growth, mowing and traffic (i.e. Children playing, dogs, family gatherings etc) on the lawn should be minimized to lower stress on the lawn during the hot summer months.

a lawn party is fun, but can be devastating to a struggling lawn

The last thing on summer dormancy is, you do not want to fertilize during this time as it will only encourage leaf growth and make the lawn struggle even more than if you had left it alone.

 

TURF DISEASES: how to prevent them and how to combat them.

Please do not get overwhelmed, there is a lot of information and it may scramble your brain. If it is too much scroll down and I will continue with plain English.

Brown patch is a turf grass disease that is caused by the Rhizoctonia species fungus. This turf grass disease is most common in mid to late summer when there are extended periods with high humidity and temperatures.

you can see the discoloration on each leaf from brown patch

Lysobacter (Summer patch) soil borne diseases, such as brown patch in turf grass caused by Rhizoctonia solani (bacteria), the seedling disease Pythium damping-off of sugarbeet and summer patch disease of Kentucky bluegrass caused by the root-infecting Magnaporthe poae (Fungus)

a sister fungi of brown patch with wider effected areas

Pythium disease, also known as “Pythium blight,” “cottony blight,” or “grease spot,” is a highly destructive turf grass disease caused by several different Pythium species. All naturally cultivated cool-season turf grasses are susceptible to Pythium and if conditions are favorable to Pythium it can destroy a whole turf grass stand in a few days or less. Pythium favors hot and very humid weather and will usually develop in low areas or swales in the turf grass. With high humidity in early morning or throughout the day, diseased leaves may be covered with the white, cobwebby, mold like growth of the causal fungus known as mycelium.

pythium blight forms matted patches

Dollar spot is caused by the fungal pathogen Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, in the Sclerotiniaceae family. The pathogen blights leaf tissues but does not affect turf grass roots or crowns. The disease is a common concern on golf course turf, but is rare in sports turf and professional landscapes.

dollar spot is just that, it is about the size of a silver dollar and can be very patchy

Typhula blight (commonly called gray snow mold or speckled snow mold) is most commonly known as a turf disease, but can also be a problem with wheat. Typhula blight is caused by a Typhula fungus by either Typhula incarnata or T. ishikariensis. Typhula incarnata is the causal agent for gray snow mold and T. ishikariensis causes speckled snow mold. Snow molds are cause by cold tolerant fungi that require snow cover or prolonged periods of cold, wet conditions. Typhula blight is most notably found in the turf industry, affecting a wide range of turf grasses.

snow mold or typhula blight occurs from snow sitting on the lawn too long

Rusts are plant diseases caused by pathogenic fungi of the order Pucciniales (previously also known as Uredinales). About 7800 species are known. Rusts can affect a variety of plants; leaves, stems, fruits and seeds.

rusts are shown here in the orange squares

 

Back to plain English!! 

This is not a complete list of diseases by any means, this is a small fraction of possible diseases that a lawn can contract. This is however a good start at looking and diagnosing most common diseases.

Does anyone see a small pattern going on here? Fungus!! High humidity coupled with high heat and the possibility of improper watering techniques makes fungus. The root cause can also come from improper drainage for the lawn itself. Low spots, valleys, ruts from a mower or vehicle can all cause water to stagnate (pool or puddle). The problem can also come from gutter drainage coming off the house after steady, long periods of rain at night or early morning. It can also come from children playing in a sprinkler for too long of a period during the day.

Damaged or leaking sprinklers that are not maintained can cause fungus problems as well

What I’m getting at is; most all, if not all but one (Summer patch) diseases are fungus born. There are a lot of fungicides on the market both organic and man-made. R Rock Yard carries a really good organic fungicide that combats most lawn turf diseases. The hardest part of treating the disease you have is figuring out which one it is. They all do respond to different fungicides differently, some not working effectively at all.

If you do suspect you have a disease I would follow these steps.

Determine if you may have a drainage issue.

this is extreme but an issue none the less

Look very closely (magnify if need be) at the leaf of the grass and compare to pictures online.

Double check your watering times, if you have a pre-set sprinkler system to ensure you are watering in very early morning hours (5-6am to reduce dew sitting on the leaf). Dew sitting on the leaves for an extended period helps fungi spoor at an alarming rate.

If you do narrow down the disease you have, do an online search of a product that will combat it and follow the directions religiously.

This is a very good fungicide we offer at R Rock Yard

If you cannot narrow down your problem you may seek professional help. You can come in and talk to me at the yard (please bring pictures or a sample) but I may not be able to determine it either. A lot of these diseases look and even act the same and cannot be pinpointed every time. It may take lab testing to figure out what the problem is.

There are some problems with lawns that may occur that look like a disease but are actually a grub worm or animal such as a vole which are very prominent in our area due to the loose soil we have in Colorado. And I will go over this in a later post.

Vole damage is very common in Colorado we will talk about this later

In summary and above all, make sure your watering properly. Do not try and force the grass to be green you will only run into more problems. If the lawn is not green during the hot summer months it has probably decided to go dormant. Be patient and keep watering it on schedule and do not overwater. Cross your fingers and if you’ve done everything right the grass with sprout with joy as soon as the hot season subsides.