Healthy Lawns for a Healthy Earth

Uncle says that the bottled water at the gas station is more expensive than the gasoline.  We but water tanks, water filters, water jugs and water piks.  We get our water boiled, distilled, chlorinated, oxidized and brewed.  Home, health, and industry depend on clean water.  But we overlook Mother Nature’s most important water filter.  We even walk all over it.
Thousands of billions of grass plants protect our earth and filter our groundwater.  In an average 10,000 square foot lawn, there are 8 million individual grass plants.  These tightly growing grass leaves are responsible for the photosynthesis that makes the grass plant grow, and in the process, they exchange the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for clean, pure oxygen.
Also, the tightly knit grass carpet traps urban air pollutants so that they are not recycled into the atmosphere.  The worst of these include ozone, hydrogen fluoride, sulfur dioxide and peroxyacetyl nitrate.  They are all absorbed, recycled, and made harmless by transformation of turfgrass.  Science has no filter as efficient as grass.

Below ground grassroots are even more impressive.  A single grass plant can generate millions of individual roots that weave miles of individual fibers.  Multiplied by 8 million plants, this forms a massive underground filter which traps and digests atmospheric pollutants.
This root mass is home to billions of microorganisms which work together to build up the humus and soil fertility and reduce carbon dioxide.  This complex organic system transforms lawn fertilizers and herbicides into healthy plants and good organic matter.  It is grass that filters our groundwater and regenerates the deep black soils so prized by gardeners.  The thick black soils of the world are found in our prairies, not in our rain forests.

See Related: Healthy Lawn Contributes to Cleaner Water
The rain that falls on the streets and parking lots of our cities quickly runs off to rivers and streams.  This runoff is not filtered by urban lawns but carries with it vehicle and industrial residue.  In the United States, there are some 40 million acres of turfgrass.  Each acre captures an average of 600,000 gallons of groundwater recharge every year.  In modern urban design, if we want more clean water, we need more healthy green grass.

The Emperors of China and Rome, the Mayans, and the Aztecs, the ancient Persians, the Kings of England and France, all valued turfgrass in the design of their cities and palaces.  Some modern architects and urban planners have forgotten these ancient lessons. Today there is a misguided notion that cities need more concrete and less grass. They need a little more science.  They also need to talk to more eight-year-olds. When its time to play ball, everyone would rather play on grass.

Don't Let Spring Rains Cancel Your Outdoor Plans

Spring rains make a mess of outdoor schedules. Planting the garden, seeding the lawn, sprucing up the patio, all get rained out, just like a spring baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. Wet mucky soils are hard to dig and form hard pan clods during planting. Major projects are delayed and routine chores are a mess.

Gardeners, homeowners and event planners can all take a tip from the baseball grounds keeper. Baseball infields are meant to be dry. Slippery footing is dangerous and the infield must be raked smooth. Baseball is an elegant game. It is not meant to be played in the mud.

Save the Game
On sports fields, the secret weapon in the battle against mud and rain outs is PrimeraFC field conditioner. The fine porous chips of PrimeraFC are used by professional baseball teams for infields and are tilled into the soil of grassed areas as well. Sports fields prepared with these porous ceramics will absorb moisture and be ready to play when other fields are closed for days.

On football and soccer fields, wet bare spots develop at midfield and around the goal lines. In such wear areas these field conditioners will reduce soil compaction, promote drainage and encourage root development. Parents and coaches trying to upgrade a tired public field or save a rain threatened game schedule can use the same versatile products.

Save the Picnic
Overnight rain can disrupt more than just a baseball game. In the spring, picnics, graduation parties, wedding receptions all move outdoors. Even after the rain stops, muddy ground can put a damper on these events. To get rid of muddy spots and dry out walking paths, spread the PrimeraFC over soggy ground. It will absorb moisture, dry out the soil and give guests a clean firm footing to walk on. Best of all when the party is over just broom it into the turf with a leaf rake and you are done. It is a benefit to the grass, soil and any garden plant.

Save the Carpet
When used with new seeding, PrimeraFC will hold moisture and speed seed germination by seven to ten days. Unlike garden topsoil, the ceramic medium is weed free and will not contaminate new seed with soil born weeds. My favorite use is on high traffic play areas round the dog run, yard or patio. It provides a clean firm footing and will reduce muddy foot prints onto indoor carpet. On public lawns and muddy courtyards it reduces lawn wear and tracking into polished indoor surfaces. Moms and janitors come to love this stuff rain or no rain.

Save the Garden
Healthy roots for flowers and plants need a balance of air and water. In wet compacted soils plant roots drowned and rot from too much moisture. Water logged planting beds, large containers and low spots in the garden will all benefit from these same athletic field products. Porous well drained soil is the name of the game, whether at Kauffman Stadium or your own back yard.

Ants, Fleas, Ticks and Chiggers!

Warm weather brings annoying pests like ants, fleas, ticks, and chiggers. This year the summer bug invasion will be quicker than Putin into Crimea. Just like the Russians, the threat of economic sanctions will not prevent or remove these menacing marauders from invading your lawn and ruin your picnic.

Know thy enemies

There are two kinds of insects waiting to march into your lawn. One chew on you and your pets, the other prefers to eat on your grass, shrubs and trees. The first category includes ants, fleas, ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes that bite or suck blood from warm blooded mammals including you and your pets. Besides being uncomfortable, these bug bites can spread infections like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. They can also ruin a picnic or patio party for you and your children.

Related: How to Remove a Tick

An army travels on its stomach

The second category of lawn insects is those that chew or suck on your grass, trees and shrubs instead of your legs. It’s easy to know when you have chiggers because they bite your leg. However, the unseen enemy is always the most fearsome. When sod webworms, pill bugs, crickets, grass hoppers and chinch bugs attack your lawn, it is much harder to see. Homeowners may not discover the damage until their lawn turns brown. Don’t wait until these hidden invaders have taken over your property. Draw your red line, now! De-escalate their potential for damage and restore a pest-free sanctuary in your yard. Apply Critter Gitters now!

Related: Bagworm Control on Junipers

Look for signs

The buildup of troops around your borders will begin as the bugs hatch. The first signs can be seen on the windshield of your car; another is the screen door of your patio or deck. Once you start cleaning bugs off your windshield and swatting brown June bugs, it is time to call out the rapid response team to defend your lawn from the impending invasion.

Choose your weapon

Liquid Critter Gitters such as Bifen or Cyonara are perfect for getting into those hard to reach areas, but they also should be watered in after twenty-four hours. When spraying, make sure to spray dog kennels, tall grass, bushes, low hanging tree branches and the foundation of the house. Liquid insecticides will give good general control of nuisance pests, as well as, mosquitoes. Spray in the early morning or late evening when wind drift is at a minimum.

Diverse Tactics

If liquid controls are not doable, apply granular Critter Gitter insecticides, using a broadcast spreader, Critter Gitter granules will control surface feeding insects as well as those in the crown of the grass plant. Insects continue to hatch in your lawn throughout the summer. Some good news is both categories of insects are controlled using liquid or granule Critter Gitters or in combination. Apply in late afternoon and water for thirty minutes after application.

Timing is crucial

The first application is the most important. Wait for warm temperatures to ensure the first hatch is well underway. Bugs that hatch early in the summer will continue to multiply until September. An effective control May or June can interrupt this process and significantly reduce problems later and for complete season long control an application once a month may be necessary.

Never surrender

A wise man once said, "If you are confused about what to do, it is a sign that your enemy is winning." Come on down to your nearest Grass Pad Battle Command Headquarters. Our staff can help you with an effective battle plan to defend your turf and garden.

Best Controls for Japanese Beetles and Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer
The past few years the two most talked about insects have been the Japanese beetle and emerald ash borer. If you act now, this could be the year you get out ahead of these plundering pests and control aphids, scale and sawfly larvae at the same time.
Dominion Tree & Shrub insecticide for Emerald Ash Borer & Japanese Beetle control.
Protect trees and shrubs before the beetles emerge by using a soil drench application of Dominion Tree & Shrub insecticide.  A direct soil application of Dominion Tree and Shrub provides systemic insect control with up to twelve-month residual. Systemic controls are absorbed by the plant and are held within the plant tissue. When the borer or beetle chew the plant, they poison themselves.
Japanese Beetle
Start early and apply Dominion Tree & Shrub before Mother’s Day. Be careful to read and follow all label directions.
Japanese beetles on Knock Out Rose
Protect trees and shrubs after the Japanese beetles emerge. Apply Cyonara to the leaves every week to fight off beetles.
Japanese beetles from traps.
Uncle’s tip: Do Not Use Traps! Traps will attract beetles from long distances, bringing them into your yard, where they may not have naturally found their way. Protect your lawn from Japanese beetle grub damage this fall with a July application of Long Lasting Grub Control.

Painting your Landscape for Summer Color

This is Uncle Nature’s favorite time of year! Taxes are done, robins are singing, and it’s time to paint up the landscape. A flat of annual flowers costs less than a gallon of paint and will give you bright colors all summer long.

Got Sun? Angelonia, Bronze Leaf Begonia, Celosia, Dusty Miller, Salvia, Marigold, Petunia, Lantana, Vinca and Zinnias all love lots of sun. New varieties of Sun Coleus with large fancy leaves and beautiful contrasting colors are excellent for garden beds or containers. In sunny and dry spots in your garden add Uncle’s Max Mix to the soil to help maintain moisture.

Got Shade? No problem. Alyssum, Green Leaf Begonia, Coleus, Impatiens, Lobelia, Pansy, and Snapdragons all will thrive in shade. In shady areas, make sure the soil will not waterlog in wet weather. Raise the soil surface by amending with one third Max Mix for season-long results.

See Related: Grass Pad Flower Markets

Spikes of violet angelonia bordering a bed of yellow zinnia. The use of complimentary colors is a real eye catcher. 

If there is one big mistake gardeners make first time out, it’s skimping on the width of their beds. Make your flower beds wide enough to add flowering shrubs, ornamental grass or even small flowering trees. Wider beds at least five to six feet wide are more attractive and give you more planting opportunities for that lush, layered look you’re after

A bed of red sun coleus blending orange zinnias to yellow African Marigolds. Ornamental grass makes an outstanding perennial backdrop for feature gardens.

Uncle’s Tip: The closer together, the better they look! Have you ever admired the beautiful annual beds created by professional landscapers around commercial properties? You too can have those same results. Annuals planted too far apart take all season to grow together in the bed. Plants 4” to 6” apart fill in quickly and will make you a hero.

Yellow lantana, orange zinnia and red sun coleus are a triad of complimenting colors. Shenandoah red switch grass makes an excellent backdrop.

Help them to grow, amend the soil with Max Mix, get those roots going with Uncle’s Root Accelerator and use Pine Bark mulch. Idiot Proof gardeners that are both lazy and smart keep the weeds out of their mulch beds with Grass Pad Garden Weed Preventer for the special magic, use Uncle’s all season slow-release garden fertilizer. Make a family event of it! Annuals are inexpensive, easy, and fun. Get to the Grass Pad Flower Market and make it happen. Bring your dimensions, and our Green Team will help you fill it up.

Suggested Planting Quantities