Gainesville Lawn Pest of the Month: Fire Ants

Fire ants are the true definition of a Gainesville lawn pest, and there are roughly 5 million Americans stung by fire ants each year. Tragically, about a dozen of these individuals die from severe allergic reactions. Even small animals, including pets, are at risk from their stings.

Here are some interesting fire ant facts...

Fire Ants were accidentally brought into this country on a cargo boat from South America. Since arriving in Alabama, fire ants have spread aggressively, though they remain primarily in the South and Southeast because northern soil temperatures make it tough to survive the winters.

Fire ants live in colonies, which can contain over 200,000 ants.

Fire ant colonies are typically comprised of female worker ants and one queen, who is responsible for laying the eggs.

Workers create underground tunnels that can extend up to 200' to 300' feet away from the mound.

Mounds are built to maintain a precise...

How does Moisture Manager help my Gainesville Lawn?

In North Florida, where drought stress in spring and summer creates problems in almost every Gainesville lawn, applying more water can't be the only solution. Especially with the Alachua county and city regulations prohibiting any watering outside of the 2 scheduled days per week to conserve our liquid resources. More and more homeowners are looking for solutions to keep enough water in the lawn to keep it healthy and green, while at the same time not wasting our natural resources.

With the added concern of drought stress making lawns more susceptible to chinch bug damage, it becomes a major concern of your lawn's health.

Moisture Manager is a blended application with formulated specifically to reduce watering needs on golf courses, landscape plantings, lawns, and are even used in agriculture.Moisture Manager is the cornerstone of a soil moisture management program whether you are maintaining existing turf and plants or ensuring the survival of new sod, seed, sprigs,...

Step 1 to a Great Lawn this Spring: Lawn Aeration

This is the first of a series of 3 blog posts about steps to a great lawn this spring. The first step is having your lawn aeration completed every spring season.

Lawn aeration is a fairly simple process. All you do is punch thousands of small holes in your turf. Whether you want to do it yourself or hire our Lawn technicians to do it for you boils down to the amount of time you want to invest and if you have the proper equipment to DIY it.

But make no mistake, you should be aerating your lawn annually. It is a vital part of your lawn's overall health, especially in Gainesville yards with our compacted soil from traffic and mowers and areas of clay soil that do not allow roots to penetrate without assistance. The longer you go without aerating your lawn the more the soil compacts. The reason this is a problem is that it makes it hard for your lawn to take in three...

3 Tips to get your Gainesville lawn ready for Spring

Late February into early March is not the best time to assess the condition of your lawn. Lawns are dormant now and certainly don't look their best. However, it is the best opportunity to be pro-active and prepare for spring. 3 things you should look at are pre-emergent weed control, aeration service, and inspecting your sprinkler system.

Is Your Gainesville Lawn Tired? Here's 1 Way to Restore it This Spring

All lawns look tired after several years of Florida's brutal summer heat under minimal lawn care. By minimal, I mean doing nothing more than the basics - mowing, fertilizing, pest control, and irrigating.

The problem lies below the surface. Minimal care slowly depletes the soil's nutrients and their fertility. Healthy soil is airy, rich with nutrients, and full of microbial activity. Good soil combines sand, silt, clay, organic matter and a host of beneficial insects to form a growing medium that supports vigorous plant roots. Rich soil holds nutrients and water longer, and makes them available to plants. It also allows excess water to drain off. Healthy soil also holds vital air pockets, providing essential oxygen to roots. It is home to millions of microbes, insect larvae, earth worms and other organisms that break down organic matter, aerate, and improve soil structure.

All of these benefits of healthy soil are started by annual aeration of your lawn in the spring...

Why is a pre-emergent lawn application important for Gainesville lawns?

It's not a question of if you need a preemergent weed control in Gainesville, Florida ; for homeowners in North Florida, it’s simply a matter of when. After all, it’s hard to be proud of a lawn that is full of weeds, such as crabgrass, torpedograss, Poa, ground ivy, or dollarweed.

Ideally, you would stop difficult weeds before they even appear, but preemergent weed control is merely one part of a quality lawn weed control program. Your local lawn application specialists know that it takes a mix of proper fertization, watering, and weed control practices in order to help guarantee a weed-free lawn.

Dealing with difficult-to-control weeds

Weeds that we consider difficult to control tend to need ongoing visits or tailored strategies for successful lawn weed control. These sorts of weeds can be either annual or perennial, and cause problems for different reasons. However, a quality pre-emergent weed control program helps eradicate these weed before they get a...

February Lawn Pest of the Month: Azalea Lace Bug

Azaleas are a popular landscaping plant due to their ease of care and their beauty, but for all their ease, they are not without a few common pest problems. One of those is the azalea lace bug, which is a common Gainesville lawn pest that we see.

These azalea insects can cause significant damage to a plant if not controlled. Lace bug damage to azaleas tends to be cosmetic, but they can ruin the look of a healthy azalea very quickly. Identifying Azalea Lace Bug Damage Lace bug damage to azaleas normally occurs on the leaves and will look like silvery, white or yellow spots that make the plant look faded and losing vigor. This is caused by these lace bugs literally sucking small sections of the leaf dry and killing that section of the plant. As these azalea leaf pests move on across the leaf, more and spots will appear causing the greyish coloring.

You will also know if you have these common lawn pests by looking at the underside of the Azalea's leaves, where the lace...

How can I help my Gainesville lawn in winter?

During the cooler winter months in Gainesville, St Augustine and Zoysia turf grass lawns are dormant – which means basically resting for the upcoming spring season. The soil microbes are still busy too, doing what soil microbes do – composting – just at a slower pace than normal.

Many are fooled into thinking the soil and grass doesn’t need fertilizer application and water in the winter just – the St Augustine turf and the soil microbes are living, growing and need food and water to stay healthy. Without an active and healthy soil microbe population in winter, the turf grass will lag in the spring, losing valuable time during it's prime growing season.

5 THINGS TO DO IN THE WINTER FOR ST AUGUSTINE LAWNS

1. Water Your Lawn Correctly
2. Apply Lawn Nutrients
3. Mow as High as the Mower will Go
4. Weed Control
5. Be Patient
Master these five activities during the winter and you’ll be rewarded with a healthy lawn this spring and...

Quick Tip: How to Get Rid of Fall Lawn Weeds

I've been getting a lot of people asking me what can be done about all the dove weed, nutsedge, and other weeds they're seeing in their lawn this fall.

The good news is most are summer weeds that will go away soon. The heavy rains from an active storm season made weeds especially prevalent this past year. The bad news is these Gainesville lawn weeds have already left their seeds in the lawn which means they will be back again next year unless something is done over the next few months to prevent them from germinating.

That's why at The Master's, our annual fertilization and weed control program includes fall and winter visits. These are some of the most important visits we make all year, because we are applying preventatives that will keep those seeds from turning into weeds next year.

On these visits we apply a pre-emergent that prevents winter weeds from coming up along with a post-emergent for any broad-leaf weeds that have already sprouted. In late winter,...

5 Tips to Remember for Your Fall Lawn Fertilization

When it comes to fall lawn fertilization in Gainesville, one size does not fit all. Lawn fertilizer programs and mixes that benefit St. Augustine lawns are wasteful and may even harm Zoysia lawns, even if they're next door neighbors. Also, soils in different areas of town may differ in terms of soil pH and plant-available nutrients such as sand and clay do, which is why we always do a soil analysis through UF's IFAS department here in Gainesville to assure our lawn spraying program is the right mixture for your soil and lawn. 

For our Gainesville DIY'ers, 5 quick tips for your lawn are:

1. Don't guess which fertilizer is best.

Read the label and know your lawn. If you don’t know what’s in the soil or the turfgrass you have, how can you accurately prescribe a fertilizer program that’s most beneficial? When in doubt rely on soil tests to show you the way, especially for new or struggling properties coming under...

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