This plant pest attacks a broad variety of plants, including annual and perennial flowers, many deciduous shrubs and some trees such as maple redbud and tuliptree. The twospotted spider mite is not an insect, but rather a mite, which is similar to a spider. These mites are about the size of a period on a page. Their bodies are oval with eight legs. They are greenish yellow with a black spot on each side of the body in the growing season. Eggs are white to yellow. Adult females overwinter in bark cracks or mulch. There are several generations per year.
Spider mites suck leaf juices, causing white-to-yellow stopped to appear. Stipples are where the spider mites sucked the chlorophyll, which cause the green color from the leaves. When large spider mite populations feed, the stipples run together, which cause the leaves to turn white to yellow to grayish brown and die. Some plants are susceptible to toxins from the spider mites, and low populations may cause leaves to die.
How would you know if your plants have twospotted spider mites? Look for early signs of stippling with the beginning of hot humid summer weather. Examine the underside of damaged leaves or use the “beat” method to determine if you have mites. The “beat” method consists of taking a white piece if paper and placing it among the plants leaves and branches and beat on the plant. Remove the paper, shake or lightly blow off the debris, then smear your hand across the paper. If you see green to blackish streaks across the paper, it is likely you have mites. If you think you have spider mites on your plants, then it is time to call Virginia Green Lawn Care for a free premium tree & shrub analysis and estimate.
In dry, hot, sunny locations, the twospotted spider mite may produce one generation a week. The spider mites can cause a lot of plant damage in a very short time during the summer, so it is important call a professional for help. Since the spider mite is not an insect, it important to treat them with an miticide to control their numbers. Call Virginia Green Lawn Care today for a free estimate to help you control the spider mites and protect your plants.
Root rot is a condition found in both indoor and outdoor plants with poor drainage. As the name states, the roots of the plant rot . Usually, this is a result of overwatering. The excess water makes it very difficult for the roots to get the air that they need causing them to decay. To avoid root rot it is best to only water plants when the soil becomes dry.
Once root rot is identified you must determine if the plant can be saved. If the entire root system has already become mushy, it is too late to save the plant. However, if some healthy, white, firm roots exist, try to bring the plant back to good health by replanting in fresh soil with good drainage (for house plants). Root rot spreads through the soil so the only root rot remedy for garden plants is often to remove and destroy the plant. However, you can try these corrective measures if you want to attempt to save a particularly valuable plant:
- Keep the soil as dry as possible.
- Don’t irrigate the plant unless the soil is almost completely dry.
- Pull back the soil to allow moisture to evaporate from the soil.
When it comes to identifying root rot, look at the plants. Plants with root rot can’t absorb moisture and nourishment from the soil properly. The plants often resemble those suffering from drought and stress and mineral deficiencies. Signs of root rot in garden plants include stunting, wilting and discolored leaves. Foliage and shoots die back and the entire plant soon dies. If you pull up a plant with root rot, you will see that the roots are brown and soft instead of firm and white.
The best root rot remedy for garden plants is prevention. Prevent root rot by filling in low parts of the garden and improving the soil with organic matter so that it drains freely. If you can’t improve the drainage, use raised beds where plant roots sit above the soil and don’t over water. Even when all of the precautions are taken in the garden, root rot may still occasionally become an issue. However, if you pay attention to the signs of root rot in garden plants, you’ll have a better chance of saving them.
If you think you might be seeing root rot, or would like a Free Estimate for our Tree & Shrub care, please call our office today!
Sedge can be a nuisance in the lawn, but can be equally if not more frustrating when populating your flower beds. It is very unsightly when your carefully planted annual and perennials are invaded by this tall grass like weed.
What is Sedge?
Yellow nutsedge is a perennial plant that resembles grass in our lawns and beds.
Yellow nutsedge has thicker and stiffer leaves than grass. The leaves grow in from a stiff triangular base. Growing in sets of three, these grasses will have a flat or rolled base. Nutsedge leaves are waxy and smooth, with a prominent crease in the middle.
At maturity, Yellow nutsedge will grow a spreading seed head but it primarily spreads from the sprouting tubers. Nutsedge produces tubers that grow off of the rhizomes or roots of the plant. They can grow as deep as 6 to 8 inches below the surface of the soil, were they can survive for a couple of years before sprouting. These tubers make control difficult.
As stated earlier Yellow nutsedge is a perennial, so it will go dormant in the fall but does not die. The leaves will die back but the rhizomes and tubers remain. Once the soil temperatures are favorable, the tubers will sprout new plants. You will start seeing young plants typically late April into early May depending on the site.
Managing Yellow Nutsedge starts with starts with the tubers. Once established, sedge is difficult to control so attack any populations early in its lifecycle. Avoid pulling the plants out, as it is unlikely that you will remove the tubers. The remaining tubers will sprout new plants, and you’ll be back to square one.
The best management practice is to apply a non-selective herbicide that contains the active ingredient glyphosate. Apply glyphosate when the plants are young, actively growing, and haven’t recently been mowed or cut. When applied early in the plants life it will also damage the plants ability to grow the tubers it uses to spread.
It may take you 2 applications to control mature sedge and the herbicide may not move down into the tubers.
Be careful using a nonselective herbicide around your sensitive plant material. Overspray will damage non intended targets. Also, when applying any pesticides always read and carefully follow all precautions and safety recommendations given on the container label.
Competition is really heating up with our Lawn of the Month submissions! We want to thank everyone who submitted a photo. If your lawn was not chosen this month, please try again next month!
First on the list we have Heiry family in Henrico. They have been with Virginia Green for 8 years now and are currently on the Estate program. With their submission, they wrote, “Our lawn is weed free & looks beautiful. Many compliments from our neighbors.” We are happy to hear that and the lawn looks fantastic!
Next we have the Cramer family in Yorktown. They have been a Virginia Green customer since 2015. With their submission, they wrote, “Since the onset of having Virginia Green service my property the yard looks great, the service is outstanding, and we have had nothing but great results. I have nothing but good reports from the neighbors that I have referred and will be contacting a new neighbor to add to the list.” Our best form of advertising is word of mouth and we love that the yard looks so good it is getting good reports. Lawn looks amazing!
Next we have the Wolfrey family in Fredericksburg. Being our newest market, they only started with Virginia Green last fall. They are currently on the Premium program and their lawn is looking weed free and healthy for the end of spring!
Our fourth winning property belongs to the Pierce family in Richmond. They have been a loyal customer for 10 years now! Their property is looking so lush and dark green, that they brought in a drone photo that really showcases the entire property. We love seeing such happy customers and beautiful lawns!
The Huxford family in Hampton takes the title of our next winning property. They only started with Virginia Green last fall. They received our aeration and overseeding service last fall and their lawn is really showing a beautiful, weed free turf!
And last, but certainly not least, we have the Blake family in Glen Allen. They have been customers since the summer of 2014 and are currently on the Estate program. Their lawn is really standing out in the neighborhood and looks like a green carpet!
Thank you again for all customers who submitted this month. These winning properties will receive a $75 credit to future applications and their technicians will also get recognized. If you think your property has what it takes to win Lawn of the Month, please submit a photo and why you love Virginia Green to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh what happened to those cooler days of April or those more reasonable seasonal days of May? Some folks are probably wishing for those lazy crazy days of summer. What did we get? We got hot, humid, sultry, sticky, icky dog days of June, that’s what we got.
What can we do to hydrate ourselves? Drinking plenty of liquids like water, yes water. Well our landscapes need water too. How much should we give them? When should water our landscapes?
Let start with when should we water our landscapes. The turf, trees and shrubs should be watered in the very early morning hours. Between 4 and 7 AM is ideal. This allows the water to soak into the plants’ root systems, and keeps the water from evaporating in the hot sun so quickly. Water early in the morning also makes less likely for summer diseases to attack the plants. Several diseases like hot humid days to get started and thrive. Watering in the morning makes this a little less likely and helps your water last a lot longer.
Next, let’s tackle how much we should be watering. Different scholars say slightly different things, but let’s go with what we teach here at Virginia Green Lawn Care. Water 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, 2-3 times per week, is generally sufficient. In times of excessive drought, higher amounts of water may be needed to keep fescue or bluegrass from going dormant. The total amount of water to apply is 1-1.5 inches per week.
So if you haven’t turned your water on yet, or turned it back on from the wet days of May, it is time to water your lawn the rest of the summer to keep your turf Virginia Green and healthy. As for the hot, humid, sticky, icky dog days of June and upcoming July, go jump into your local swimming pool of water.
Have you noticed your arborvitaes turning brown? Do you see pine cone like objects hanging on the branches and they appear to be moving? After closer observation, do you notice a dark brown to black caterpillar sticking its head out? What is this caterpillar?
This is no ordinary caterpillar. It is a native bagworm moth larvae. Adult male moths are about 3/4 inches long and black. They are made with females in their bags, which look like cones hanging from the host plants. The mature female larvae in their bags are one to two inches in length. The silken bags that the larvaes create are covered with plant parts from the host plant. They construct and add to them throughout their life. Silken bags of live larvae have green material on the outside of them. There is one generation per year.
The bagworm has been known to attack many types of plants when food sources are limited. Some of the more common plants damaged by bagworms are cedar, arborvitae, juniper, leyland cypress, white pine, sycamore, honeylocust, willow, oak, and maple. In high populations they have even been found on roses and perennial flowers. Only the growing larvae feed on host plants.
The damage is most serious and obvious on foundation conifers, such as arborvitae and juniper. The bagworms can completely defoliate branches of the host plant. On large trees and shrubs, exfoliation is less evident. Most people don’t notice the damage until a large branch area has browned out. By that time, it may not be too late to control the bagworms, but may be too late for the branch area to recover. How can you monitor for the bagworms?
In early June, begin looking for new bags on the host plants, especially where there is the presence of old large brown bags. First, look on the outer foliage in the full sun for bags. In the fall and winter, you can manually pull these old bags off and throw them away. Each old bag may contain up to 1,000 overwintering eggs. If there are too many bags or they are too high up in the plant to reach, call us at Virginia Green Lawn Care to put these plants on our Tree and Shrub Program. We can help you protect your valuable trees and shrubs from these devastating pest.
It’s that time of year where the temperatures outside are rising and lawn disease needs to be prevented. Disease is prevalent during moist/humid, hot weather. Brown patch, also known as rhizoctonia blight, is most active when grass remains wet and temperatures reach 80 to 90 degrees.
If your lawn gets dark, water-soaked looking grass turning into browned-out circular areas several inches to several feet in diameter, it has been struck with disease. Some green leaves may persist within the patch, and roots remain intact. In addition, blades may have irregular ash gray lesions with a dark brown margin running along one side. Disease spreads quickly and will destroy your lawn.
Our Estate Program protects your lawn from disease. Not only would you get all of the same applications that you get now, but you would also get 3 fungicide applications during the summer months with one of them including grub control, a free soil test each year and your technician on the lawn more often to detect any issues. To qualify for the Estate Program, your lawn should be well established and you must be committed to watering properly. If you qualify, now would be the time to upgrade.
Call our office now to obtain the information that you need to protect your lawn. Your lawn is an investment in your home. Like all investments, make sure you invest in the right place
The mild temperatures and moderate rainfall makes tall fescue thrive during the spring. We aerate and seed during the fall to repair any areas and help with soil compaction to provide better pore space allowing your lawn to breathe more.
Come spring in our climate, tall fescue is in its second growing season for new plants and numerous seasons for fescue plants that are well established. This also means it’s generating new growth like crazy!!
Spring mowing may often be needed every five days. It is important to not only keep your mower maintained but keep a sharp blade. Often times new mower blades are not sharpened perfect for safety reasons. The easiest way I find to sharpen my blade is a bench grinder. There are many kits you can buy at your hardware store to help you with sharpening and leveling.
What I find easiest for me is to use the bench grinder to sharpen. To level I simply hammer a nail halfway into something upward and flat and place the center of the blade where it would screw into the mower on the nail. If it sits at a 9 and 3 o’clock level I know it’s good. If one side sits lower than the other that means I need to take a little more off that side to even it out.
The importance to having sharp blades goes beyond aesthetics. When the blade is dull it stresses the plant which also makes it more susceptible to disease. When your blade is dull it makes your mowing have a white appearance and the tip is torn. How often you need to sharpen depends on the size of your lawn and how often you mow. A rule of thumb would be to monitor the up close and far away appearance. If it looks like clean even cut you will know. The pictures included is of the same lawn up close and from a distance.
Can you believe it is already time for some lawns to be mowed? To ensure that you have a successful and headache free mowing season, spring preventative maintenance of your lawn mower is the single most important aspect of your preparation. Preventative maintenance of your mower is very easy and will help to insure that your mower performs headache free this mowing season.
There are 4 very easy tasks that every homeowner can and SHOULD preform before cranking up their mower in the spring. Preferably, these tasks are taken care of in the winter before we even think about mowing the lawn this spring.
Changing the oil
Our mowers are just like our vehicles. They need occasional oil changes as well. Dirt and other impurities will contaminate your engines oil over the course of a mowing season. Changing the oil in the mower will insure that the engine will run smoothly for the next few months. Make sure to read your owner’s manual on how to safely change and dispose of the old oil.
Replacing or cleaning the air filter
If the filter in your mower is an accordion-style paper type, just removing it and blowing out the debris with an air hose will suffice. When paper filters become too clogged with debris it is time to replace them. If the filter is foam, wash it in a water and detergent solution, let it dry, and apply a few drops of oil to it. Sometimes, you may need to replace a foam filter, but most of the time a thorough cleaning will do. Again, always refer to your owner’s manual with questions.
Replacing the spark plug
Again, read the owner’s manual on how to perform this task safely. Most of the time all you need is a spark plug wrench and a new plug and you’re good to go. A new plug will help to insure that the mower starts up quickly and efficiently when you turn the key or pull the cord.
Sharpening or replacing your mower blade
Even though this needs to happen before your first mowing of the season, I’ve been known to sharpen or replace my blade up to 3 times a year. Some people with larger lawns could possibly be more. Once you witness the first signs of a dull blade, sharpen or replace it immediately. A sharp blade insures a clean cut to the turf. A dull blade can lead to “tearing” of the turf. This can open the plant up to outbreaks of disease.
Before removing the blade, be sure to detach the spark plug wire to prevent the mower from accidentally starting. Always be extremely cautious when attempting to remove the blade of your mower. Sharpening of the blade can be done with a metal file, sharpening stone, or a motorized grinder. If you need to purchase a new blade, make sure it is sharpened before attaching it to your mower. NOT ALL NEW MOWER BLADES COME SHAREPENED.
These are 4 tasks that each and every homeowner can perform on their own very quickly one winter afternoon. All these tasks are vital to the longevity of your lawn mower. Remember to read your owner’s manual before performing any of these tasks and only perform if you feel comfortable in doing so.
Cold weather injury is one of the most prevalent causes of plant injury that is seen yearly. It’s one of the most under diagnosed issues as typically the damage is not seen until the spring when the event that caused it is long forgotten. Wilting leaves and a thinning canopy may be seen in a bountiful spring, and defoliation can occur weeks after a cold snap that only lasted a day. The cause behind this injury is water. Typically as we ease into the winter plants will gradually reduce the amount of water in their systems. In a cold snap, the temperature change happens to rapidly and the plant is not able to reduce the amount of water in its system, and ice forms. This ice will draw water from the cells and damage the plant tissue. The collapsed plant cells and the inability of the plant to move nutrients and water through its damaged systems will result in injury to the plant.
This damage can be seen in almost every part of the plant, from discolored feeder roots, to leaves having what appears to be tip burn. One of the ways to minimize the damage of winter injury is to maintain a general standard of health in your landscape plants with good cultural practices. Reduce plant stress by controlling any pest and diseases that your plants may be susceptible to. Also, incorporate hardy plant species into your landscape that are zoned for 7a-7b, and are not susceptible to winter injury. Here in Richmond, we are in a transition zone and can experience extreme temperatures on both sides of the thermostat. In most cases however, the damage is not permanent.
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