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Many people struggle with the common problem of lawn pests. Some of the most common pests include moles and voles. These pests both live underground, but inflict different types of damages to your lawn and plants. Moles mostly eat insects or grubs living underground. The majority of the problems that they cause is due to the loosened dirt their tunneling creates in your lawn. This loosened dirt, however, when mixed with the excess rain that Western North Carolina experiences during the summer can make for a ruined and uneven landscape.

Voles are a little bit more dangerous to your lawn and plants because unlike Moles, they are plant-eaters. They enjoy grass and flower roots and will eat seeds and bulbs.

There are different ways to control Moles and Voles that range from relocation to killing. To identify where exactly the Mole or Vole is living, tramp down on some of the visible tunnels and wait a couple days to see where the ground raises again, that way you know where the active tunnel is. There are a variety of traps and techniques you can use to kill or trap a Mole ranging from homemade traps to traps installed and executed by a professional.

Controlling Voles is best done with an animal such as a cat, but if you don't have a pet cat, we’ve got extra tips in our arsenal! Voles are smaller than Moles in size, so traps made for rodents such as mice will work to catch a Vole. We also might suggest digging sharp materials such as Permatill and Soil Perfector into your soil, or even mixing some gravel into your soil to make it uncomfortable for the Vole to tunnel.

Soil pests can be the death of a perfectly good garden, but with our tips and a call to a specialist, you might be able to salvage your hard earned lawn and garden. These pests are not only summer nuisances, so make sure that whatever work you do to rid yourself of them, you keep an eye out for them to reemerge!
Roses bloom on and off from spring through the fall. The summer is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of a rose. But as the saying goes, every rose has its thorn, and in some cases that thorn might be potential disease that could wipe out your plant.

In some pest and disease situations you can use natural intervention before turning to chemical intervention. Observation can be your best key to keeping your roses healthy. If you notice mites or aphids on your rose bushes you can use water pressure to knock them off while also giving your roses a nice drink. Making sure the plant stays clean is great prevention. If you must use chemical intervention, make sure you’re selective in what you use. Using them strictly based on the instruction is important to ensure that you don’t kill or damage bugs that can help to protect your plants.

Some diseases that can commonly infect roses include Black Spot, Powdery Mildew, Stem Canker and Dieback and Botrytis Blight to name a few. Many of the diseases commonly found on rose plants include some type of fungus and can appear in different forms such as: gray-brown fuzzy growth, grayish white powdery substance on the surfaces of leaves, shoots and buds, circular black spots on leaves with yellow outer ring.

Keep an eye out for these symptoms for diseases as some can arise after long periods of wet environments, and with our typically rainy summers in the Mountains, it is something to think about!

Western North Carolina seems to experience a rainy season starting in May. Our afternoons are full of showers that help your grass grow at accelerated rates and your garden, hopefully thrive, even without the help of an irrigation system. But how do you ensure that your garden continues to thrive and not become overgrown when the rain may inhibit you from working out in the yard as often as you’d like? We’ve got some tips on how best to take advantage of the rain.

When the soil is wet, it is much more flexible and pulling weeds is actually easier. You have a better chance of being able to pull the plant out, including the roots if you weed when the ground is wet. For weeds like dandelions and thistle especially, you can avoid regrowth by successfully pulling the roots out whole.

Summer is the perfect time for fresh lettuce. Picking your lettuce when it has been raining is beneficial for a few reasons. One, lettuce thrives in the moisture, so your picking will be plentiful. And two, thanks to the moist and typically cooler conditions that rain brings, the lettuce will be sweet and tender in flavor and feel.

If you are growing Mint, rain is a gift. Mint loves moist soil. You can utilize Mint in a variety of recipes and can even use it to make fresh Mint tea!

If you need to install any supports, cages or stakes, when the soil is wet is easiest. The structure pushes into the dampened soil much easier than a dry, hard soil.

Do be careful during rainy times that you are not tromping over the same ground too often. You could kill the grass or plants by accidentally squishing them when it has been raining. At TPS Landscaping we can help. The installation of a rock path is helpful to let everyone know the best path to walk to preserve the life of your precious grass and plants! Give us a call for a quote today.

Cicadas provide the sound of summertime evenings here in Western North Carolina. A specific genre of cicada is known as the periodical cicada. These cicadas are not typically a threat or worry gardeners, but this year Western North Carolina is expecting a hatching of them. These insects are unique because they all emerge at the same time and have a longer lifespan, of about 13-17to go from egg to adult.

Once these cicadas hatch, their lifespan isn’t very long despite the long maturation period. What harms trees is when they begin to mate, just days after hatching. The female cicada makes slits in the branches of trees to lay her up to 600 eggs.

Healthy, mature trees can withstand this damage, but if you have newly planted trees they can be protected by covering them with bird netting or a cheesecloth, securing it around the trunk. The specific types of trees that these cicadas favor, but be on the lookout for scars on your tree branches to indicate the laying of periodical cicada eggs. To read more in depth about this issue facing Western Carolina, click here.

Brown Patch is a disease mostly found effecting lawns and golf courses during the hot and humid summer months. In this post we will discuss the development factors, symptoms and treatment options for lawns suffering from this disease. 

 

Develpopment factors

Brown patch is most severe during extended periods of hot, humid weather. The disease can begin to develop when night temperatures exceed 60°F, but is most severe when low and high temperatures are above 70°F and 90°F, respectively. The turfgrass leaves must be continuously wet for at least 10 to 12 hours for the brown patch fungus to infect. Poor soil drainage, lack of air movement, shade, cloudy weather, dew, over-watering, and watering in late afternoon favor prolonged leaf wetness and increased disease severity. Brown patch is particularly severe in turf that has been fertilized with excessive nitrogen. Inadequate levels of phosphorus and potassium also contribute to injury from this disease.

Symptoms

The symptoms of brown patch vary according to mowing height. In landscape situations, where mowing height is greater than 1”, brown patch appears as roughly circular patches that are brown, tan, or yellow in color and range from 6” to several feet in diameter. The affected leaves typically remain upright, and lesions are evident on the leaves that are tan in color and irregular in shape with a dark brown border. When the leaves are wet or humidity is high, small amounts of gray cottony growth, called mycelium, may be seen growing amongst affected leaves. In close-cut turfgrasses (1” or less), brown patch develops in roughly circular patches, ranging from a few inches to several feet in diameter, that are brown or orange in color. Distinct foliar lesions are not visible and mycelium is typically not present, but a black or dark gray ring, called a smoke ring, may surround the brown patches. The smoke ring is evidence of active disease development and is only present when the turfgrass leaves are wet or humidity is near 100%.