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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Care and Maintenance of your Lawn

There are more and more areas of our country that face water shortages. The cause can be from either Mother Nature in the form of a drought or from the booming real estate market where water supply cannot keep up with the demand. Because there is less water to go around, homeowners should start adjusting their landscape maintenance habits, even if they have not yet been told to restrict their water consumption by their local municipalities.

There are four major areas of lawn maintenance that will help you train your turf to flourish with less water consumption. Let’s start with the most obvious:

  1. Expectations – Everyone wants their lawn to look like a golf green, but most people are not willing to invest either the amount of time or money that it would take to have that nearly perfect lawn. I think most everyone would be quite happy with a lawn that looks nice and is functional, without all the intensive fertilizing, mowing and watering.
  2. Fertilizing – By adjusting our own expectations for that golf green lawn, you can start to maintain a healthy lawn with less fertilizer. When reducing the amount of fertilizer, for example there will be less growth and thus less demand for water. If you use a slow-release fertilizer, the turf growth will be more constant or even. Proper maintenance of your turf should keep your lawn healthy and by doing so, this should cut down on the amount of water requirements and you should have fewer weeds and insect problems.
  3. Mowing – Raise your mower to the highest acceptable level. This should encourage deep rooting. Avoid the urge to drop the blades down as you run the risk of scalping your lawn. Scalping your lawn at the wrong time of year can lead to crabgrass. When you scalp your turf, you open up the turf canopy; the soil becomes warmer faster allowing the crabgrass to germinate. During times of drought, the heights should be at or near three inches. The more green you have on top, the more roots you have below.

    When cutting, it is recommended that only one-third of the leaf blade be removed at a time. Give back to the land by mulching. Mulch mowing returns nutrients to the soil (by decomposing), does not cause thatch build-up (unless you only plan on mowing once every two weeks!) and reduces landfill waste.  It is important to ensure a mower’s discharge chute faces toward the lawn during the first couple of passes to avoid clippings from accumulating on adjacent sidewalks, driveways and streets. Keep those mower blades sharp!!!! A sharp mower blade will cut the grass cleanly and not shred it. Ripped grass blade edges turn brown rapidly and make your turf look think it needs to be watered.
  4. Watering – A lot of landscape problems are from poor watering practices. Did you know that people who water with hoses over-water by 10% while people who have automatic sprinkler systems over-water by 20 to 30%! Automatic sprinkler systems have the potential to be very efficient, but only if the schedule is adjusted frequently to apply the amount of water the lawn truly needs and of course if the system is properly maintained!  Check those sprinkler heads, make any adjustments required and fix those leaks. Studies have shown that providing 20 – 25 per cent less water than amounts listed with your system may actually be ideal for your lawn.

    Become your own Water Manager. How can you do this? By observing how the lawn is doing and monitor the signs of a thirsty lawn.

    What you need to watch for:
    1. Foot Printing – After someone has walked across the lawn, the foot prints are still visible an hour or more later.
    2. Color Change – The grass color changes from a lush green to a bluish-gray color.

    If you see either of these signs, it is time to water. The lawn will recover quickly, do not delay as it could cause the lawn to become dormant and turn brown. Do not apply more water than the soil can hold in the grass root zone. Depending on the type of grass and the soil preparation prior to sodding, most of the grass roots will be about 4 to 8 inches deep (in clay tope soils). If you can push a probe (example: screw driver) easily into the ground to the roots then there is enough moisture, if you can’t then you will need to water more.
Posted by Perfect Landscaping at 12:10 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zone Maps

We recommend that you click on the maps below to get a better understanding of the climatic, eco, and agro zones. This will ensure that the plants, shrubs and trees that you select will be appropriate for your region.

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climatic  map 
Posted by Perfect Landscaping at 12:05 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Winter Injury

What does Winter Injury mean?

The term "winter injury" has been traditionally associated with a variety of forms which are related primarily to meteorological events, although some are more directly caused by inherent turfgrass weakness, man-made events, and disease and insect pests.

Winter Injury in turfgrass

Cold or  freezing - Soil temperatures below tolerance temperature levels which will cause winter kill.                                                   

Crown hydration - Excess water, ice covers, and poor drainage contributing to cold temperature injury and winter kill.

Desiccation injury - Wind exposure, or soil drought, which create "wind burn" injury.

Discolouration of leaves - Grass types that have poor low temperature colour retention during the winter months.

Freeze-thaw injury - Alternating temperatures, or frequent that's, that contribute to cold temperature injury.

Fungal diseases - Snow moulds, such as Typhula blight and Fusarium patch.

Late Spring freezing injury - Fatally cold temperatures after Spring snow melt, at a time when grass is most subject to winter kill.

Mechanical damage - Frozen turf damaged by traffic, such as vehicles and people.

Poor Winter hardiness - Cold temperatures will cause winter kill first on more susceptible grass species such as the ryegrass and tall fescue.

Road salt injury - Salt spray drifting from adjoining road or highway treated with de-icing products will cause winter kill to nearby grass.

Rodent damage - Mice will tunnel between snow and ground, and moles, will dig up turf looking for food in the Spring.

Seeding injury - young grass not yet mature for winter hardiness will be subject to cold temperature injury and winter kill.

Submergence or flooding injury - Excess water, flooding, poor drainage, and low areas contributing to cold temperature injury and winter kill.

Urine damage - Domestic dogs, as well as various wildlife such as deer and elk, will deposit fatal amounts of material on turf.

Winter kill - Winter kill is the result of injury caused by cold temperatures, desiccation, crown hydration and other factors. Cold temperature injury is the major factor.

The most serious form of Winter Injury - Winter Kill

Winter Kill occurs when the crown tissues are fatally injured, resulting in the death of turf. Winter Kill is the most damaging result of winter injury because the crown - the heart of the plant is irreversibly injured. Once the crown has been killed, the adjoining plant parts, such as leaves and roots, will also die.

To the unaided eye, winter kill may appear as blackening of the crown. In more advances stages, the adjoining leaves and roots will perish as well, and also appear black or brown.

A low level of winter kill may occur when the crown tissues are discoloured with a brown or tan colour, however, the inside or the crown may still remain white. It can be observed that small crown tissues will be killed more easily than large ones.

Winter kill is the result of injury caused by cold temperatures, desiccation, fungal disease and crown hydration. Overall, cold temperature is the major factor affecting the winter survival of all turgrasses in Canada.

Poor Drainage and Winter Kill

Poor drainage is one of the most critical causes of turfgrass winter kill. This fatal injury is basically caused by excess standing water or flooding , whereby turf succumbs more easily to cold temperature.

Posted by Perfect Landscaping at 12:00 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Diseases that affect Trees and Shrubs

Plum Trees

Plum Bladder (or pocket) Brown Rot Fruit Fungus

Turns fruit into a dried-up reddish-brown pepper-shaped fruit. It creates a moldy surface with a grey powdery surface. Along with damaged fruit, distinct discoloration (red, yellow, orange and brown) can show up on the leaves causing them to drop prematurely.  Both diseases can be on the same tree.

Treatment

Diseased fruit should be removed from the tree and collected from the ground as soon as possible.  Rake up fallen, diseased-looking leaves on a regular basis.  Discard all plant material directly into the trash. Treatments start in middle to late April the following year by spraying dormant lime sulfur fungicide on the entire tree, followed up with a three-part spray treatment of copper fungicide spaced about every 10 days starting at the time of bud (usually late May) and continuing into June. Never spray within 24 hours of any rainfall.

Fruit Trees (such as Cherry, Plum and/or Apricot)

Bark Damage – Systemic Disease

Thin barked fruit trees are susceptible to lawnmower and weed-eater bark damage. The damage caused by these every day tools create openings near the ground for a group of fungus diseases that move through the tree in the conducting cells that transport sap, called systemic disease. Letucostmoa and Cytospora are the most common of these diseases. They cause splitting of the trunks and main branches which can extend all over the tree, causing a slow death of the infected parts of the tree. Apple, pear and crab trees area also affected by this disease. Sometimes these diseases cause dark, gum-like fluids to ooze out of the small linear silts in the bark of the lower parts of the trunk.

Treatment

There are no fungicidal treatments available for systemic woody plant diseases. Keep the grass from growing up the base of the tree and be very careful when working around the tree.

Rose, Apple, Crab, Pear, Mountain Ash, Hawthorn, Cotoneaster Spirea and Ninebark

Fire Blight

This is a bacterial disease that shows up in a few locations on the tree, usually unnoticed in early to late June. It is typically spread by bees and wasps when they are gathering flower nectar. Either the flowers or the early immature fruit or both will show the signs of the disease along with a few nearby leaves. The flowers look crushed and are brown in colour. The immature fruit is usually black-brown and moldy. The nearby leaves are a distinct chestnut-coloured brown and wrinkled in apples and pears. As the disease progresses through the summer, the terminal twig near the infections turns a dark colour, often quite black and with a distinct curl. Resembling a long, thin burnt match stick.

Cotoneaster hedge shrubs – Their leaves turn yellow, orange, or red-black and fall from the plant. The infection often occurs in separate, distinctive patches in the hedge characterized by dead twigs and stems. The disease if spread by contaminated hedge shears.

Treatment

If it’s advanced – fire blight is very difficult to control. The tree or shrub needs to be removed as soon as it is noticed. In all other cases – remove infected portions with sterilized tools at least 30 centimeters into good branch wood. Make the cut at a branch or twig junction. Sterilize the tool with diluted bleach, denatured alcohol or methyl hydrate after each cut (otherwise the disease can be transmitted to a new location). Treat removed twig/branch areas with copper spray fungicide immediately.

Spruce trees

Cytospora canker (white blister) and Sirococcus tip blight

The presence of both of these diseases weakens the trees and makes them susceptible to the spruce spider mites (the pest responsible for needle loss). New white blister infections will show up on branches as amber fluid weeping out of slits in the bark on branches, stems and exposed roots that have popped out of the grass. Older blisters turn resinous white and eventually different dark shades of brown and finally black. This disease will suddenly cause the death of an entire branch. Tip blight appears on the ends of the twigs and result in a slight to prominent curl in the twig with a gradual loss of all the needles. Spruce needle cast can also shop up on the needles growing in the damp shade of other branches. The needles become distinctly grey green and by using a hand lens look for black spots. The spots are a fungus stage of this disease.

Treatment

Treating the many diseases and pests of spruce trees is very complicated and requires a treatment program that needs to be acted on for at least the next two years. Contact your local garden centre for complete instructions on the treatment.

Please Note

It is never a good idea to plant a tree or shrub in the exact same spot that you have removed a diseased tree from.

Posted by Perfect Landscaping at 11:58 AM 0 Comments