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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%.

We talked earlier in the spring about planting bulbs in preparation for the warmer months. Well the warmer months have arrived! As we embark on the summer you should be enjoying the fruits of your labor in the form of beautiful blooms.

Because annuals only last one season, you don’t have to worry about long-term care. For the not so green of thumb, this can be a blessing. Some annuals include geraniums, impatiens and marigolds.

One thing to remember when planting annuals is the necessity of mulch. Not only does it make your flowerbed look neat and finished, but mulch provides helpful benefits for growing a successful flower garden. Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, so on hot dry summer days mulch can help you to avoid having to water your garden more often. Mulch helps to prevent soil erosion, so not only is it helping to keep your soil moist, it’s helping to avoid rain water from washing your strategically placed soil away from your plants! And finally mulch helps to protect your plants against weeds and other pests. Depending on the type of wood that is used to make the mulch, your garden might be come much less attractive to certain types of pests, and because mulch adds and extra layer of resistance, weeds have trouble thriving in a garden laid with mulch.

 

We know you're excited for the summer, everything is blooming, gardens are ripe and the the more time spent outdoors the better. Summer in the Mountains is even more exciting, because everywhere you look, there is a Blue Ridge Mountain view waiting to be seen. The best way to take in this magnificent climate and these breathtaking views is through an outdoor living space customized to your personal needs. 

 

At TPS Lanscaping we would love to help you dream up the outdoor living space of your dreams. Between constructing patios, pergolas, retaining walls, water features and fire pits, our arsenal of skillsets is sure to impress. In recent years fire pits have picked up in popularity, allowing homeowners to enjoy the outdoors almost all year! They're great for a spontaneous s'mores night with the family, or a stargazing evening. Give us a call today to hear more about what we can do to make your outdoors even more liveable.

It’s officially springtime, which means that weeds are about to make their grand entrance into your yard if they haven’t already. Although weeds do add a bit of green, they could be seriously damaging your grass so that when they are gone, only dirt patches remain. Here are some helpful tips at fighting those pesky weeds to maintain a healthy yard.

When you see weeds sprouting in your lawn or in your garden, the first instinct is to pull them out of the ground by hand. However, if you pull the weeds out by hand their roots can remain intact and sprout new weeds. The best practice is to use a a product that both feeds your lawn, while also killing the weeds. Another product to think about using is a pre-emergent weed killer to take care of some of the pests that emerge during the summer months.

As always, maintaining healthy lawn care practices is key in protecting your yard against weeds. Making sure your lawn stays hydrated and not just on the surface level is important. At TPS Landscaping we have just started to offer irrigation systems that come with a control panel, so that ideal watering time doesn’t have to interfere with your sleep schedule. Your lawn mower blade should be set high, setting it too low to your grass will result in it dying. You can also use a fertilizer that helps to feed your grass to maintain it’s health throughout the spring and summer.