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Lawn Care

Lawns are actively growing again as we say goodbye to winter dormancy and say hello to the summer growing season. As the days grow longer, the time to apply pre-emergent herbicides grows shorter.

Dave’s Pest Control is a full-service provider with an excellent lawn care program tailored for lawns in Volusia and Flagler counties. When controlling weeds like crabgrass and dollar weed, it is important to get an early start to prevent them from growing.

We provide lawn fertilization along with weed, insect, and disease control. With our knowledge and expert advice, you can expect a healthy, green, weed-free lawn all year long.

Lawn care is a billion dollar a year business in the United States. Almost every home and business in America spends money on some facet of lawn care. Hundreds of thousands of hours are spent mowing and caring for lawns. The industry is extremely competitive and employs millions of people who work very hard at achieving lush, green lawns. Since it is warm year-round in Florida, lawn care is in high demand. In our area of Volusia and Flagler counties, Dave’s Pest Control has an army of highly trained lawn care technicians with years of experience ready to work for you.

Crabgrass

We are in a constant battle with broadleaf weeds like crabgrass.
It is one of the major weeds we’re up against in Volusia and Flagler Counties. Although the crabgrass plant is technically a grass type, it is nonetheless an invasive weed.

Crabgrass was originally brought to the United States in the early part of the 20th century. It provides excellent grazing for animals like cows, goats, and sheep. Crabgrass adapts well to almost any environment, including cracks in asphalt and concrete walkways.
Crabgrass is an annual plant, producing upwards of 150,000 seeds. Although not every seed takes root and grows, many seeds do become fully grown plants. It grows very quickly and multiplies exponentially when fertilized. Because of these qualities, crabgrass was cultivated and planted to feed farm animals.

Along with maintaining a thick healthy lawn, using a pre-emergent herbicide is key to preventing crabgrass. A healthy, thick, vigorously growing lawn chokes out weeds, keeping them from taking root in the first place.

Like all plants, crabgrass needs sunlight to grow, which is why it’s found growing in areas that get direct sunlight, such as along the edges of roads and walkways where there is a great amount of heat and sunlight.

Think of your lawn as a one giant plant with many leaves. Grass blades use the sun’s energy in a process called photosynthesis. Water and carbon within the plant are converted into glucose by trapping energy of the sun.

Pre-emergent herbicides work by disrupting cell development as crabgrass grows. Without photosynthesis, plants become so stressed, they die.

Crabgrass can be identified by the three seed pods growing from its center. It is often found in areas of thin lawn that are exposed to direct sunlight.

Mowing over an area of crabgrass plants sends thousands of seeds everywhere. It is wise to use a bag attached to your mower to catch grass clippings if you have crabgrass.

Pre-emergent herbicides should be applied in the winter or right before spring. The application leaves a small, thin layer of protection which prevents crabgrass seeds from growing. The drawback is that sunlight can break down this barrier. Often this happens in areas where it’s needed the most: thin or bare areas exposed to direct sunlight.

Dollar Weed

Dollar weed, also known as pennywort, is a warm weather perennial weed that thrives in hot, humid climates. It spreads above ground by seeds and underground by rhizomes. A rhizome is a fleshy, rootlike, and usually horizontal plant stem that forms shoots above and below ground. Dollar weed rhizomes are extremely hard to pull out of the ground for removal.

Dollar weed grows low to the ground in small bunches. The leaves are about one to two inches in diameter, about the size of a half dollar coin.

Dichondra is another low growing weed, often mistaken for dollar weed. You can spot the difference by looking at the leaf. Dollar weed’s leaf is round; dichondra has a cusp where the stem meets the leaf, resulting in a more kidney shaped leaf.

Both dollar weed and dichondra grow in moist, shaded areas of lawns. It can spread to thin areas of grass and will quickly take over, outcompeting Saint Augustine grass for vital nutrients.

Dollar weed and dichondra can be treated with an appropriate pre-emergent herbicide specifically made for warm climate grasses like Saint Augustine, Bermuda, and centipede.

Plant Science

Plants need four major components to grow: sunlight, air, water, and nutrients. Without these components, plants grow poorly and easily succumb to insects and diseases.

The root system of a plant draws water and mineral nutrients from the ground like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and zinc.

The primary nutrients needed for plant growth are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Fertilizer bags containing these nutrients are labeled by the chemical symbols of N,P, and K. Other nutrients like lime help balance the pH level in the soil, keeping it less acidic and more alkaline, which aids lawns in nutrition availability. Lime is made from ground limestone and naturally contains calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.

Iron is also an important nutrient for a healthy lawn. Lawns with an iron deficiency become spotty and yellow. Iron is important for making chlorophyll, which is a green pigment essential for photosynthesis.

Keeping a healthy, green, weed free lawn can be difficult. But with a little help and some basic knowledge, you can overcome many of these difficulties.

In Volusia and Flagler Counties, the most common grass type is Saint Augustine. This grass type spreads by stolon, a creeping horizontal plant stem or runner that takes root at points along its length to form new plants. Stolon spreads across the soil just above the surface and roots itself a few feet away. The new “daughter’’ plant grows and produces its own stolon. An entire lawn of Saint Augustine grass can be many interconnected plants.

Saint Augustine grass is somewhat drought tolerant and has large, wide blades. It is a very thick, coarse grass type and is good at keeping weeds out. When watered and fertilized, it has a nice green color.

Zoysia grass is another common type in Florida lawns. Like Saint Augustine, zoysia grass is coarse and thick. This grass does well in Florida’s hot climate.

The lawns of many Florida homes have a mixture of several different types of grass including Bermuda, Bahia, and centipede grasses.

Diseases

Diseases in St. Augustine grass are extremely common.

For a plant to have a disease, it needs a “disease triangle.” This triangle consists of a pathogen, the environment, and a host.

A common disease of St. Augustine grass is brown patch fungus. It can be easily recognized by large areas of dead turf and is caused by a fungus called rhizoctonia.

Dark brown to black patches form where the grass blade attaches to the stolon. As the pathogen spreads, larger and larger areas die off and turn brown.

Sometimes you can reduce the severity of brown patch fungus by changing mowing and watering practices. Mowing at a lower cutting height will increase air circulation, reducing moisture that promotes fungi.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are an ongoing problem in Saint Augustine lawns. Chinch bugs are small insects with sucking mouthparts. They extract nutrients from grass and stunt its growth. Large brown, dead areas will develop in turf grasses that have chinch bugs.

Our technicians at Dave’s pest control are highly trained and know how to tell the difference between brown patch, chinch bugs, and many other insects and diseases.

Watering

Watering your lawn is important, especially in times of prolonged drought. It is equally important not to overwater. If you have an irrigation system, be sure it is set to go off in the early morning hours. This way the The root system of a plant draws water and mineral nutrients from the ground like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and zinc.
The root system of a plant draws water and mineral nutrients from the ground like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and zinc.
grass has time to dry out before nightfall. Excessive watering can cause diseases to flourish. Turn off irrigation systems when rain is forecasted. Watering your lawn during a rainstorm is like clapping with one hand—useless!

Additionally, overwatering your lawn will drive your water bill sky-high. Many irrigation systems have rain sensors—a worthwhile tool.

Most towns in Florida have watering restrictions as to what days of the week, what time of day, and duration of watering are allowed. Make sure you are in compliance with your town’s restrictions.

To get an accurate measurement of how much water your lawn is getting, place tuna cans or small cups in various areas of your lawn. When the tuna can is full of water, you have watered enough. Watering for ½ an hour should yield half an inch of water. This is a great way to be sure of the amount of water you are using. This will also allow you to see what areas are getting either too much or too little water.

Dave’s pest control is committed to excellence in everything we do. As a vital part of our community, we strive to help our neighbors maintain their properties with safe, reliable services and products.

Call us today for a free consultation.

Dan Coffey
Dcoffey@davespestcontrol.com

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