Suffolk County Landscaping & Lawn Maintenance
B & B Maintenance Services, Inc.

A Suffolk County Landscaping & Lawn Care Maintenance Company. Office: (631) 567-0631 Cell: (631) 335-4056

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Below is a list of helpful tips to improve your landscape setting, along with new legislation and news reguarding the 'Green Industry'.

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5 steps to a lush, almost perfect lawn

Posted by B & B Maintenance on January 3, 2010 at 3:44 PM

While there is no magic pill to achieving a better lawn there are some basic steps you can follow that will go a long way in giving you a lush, healthy lawn you'll be proud to walk over. Here then are the 5 basic steps to help anyone achieve a beautiful lawn.

  1. Get the mowing height right for the right time of year.
    There's a lot more to mowing than just cutting the grass every Saturday. One of the most fundamental steps to a perfect lawn is getting the mowing height right for your type of lawn and for a particular season.

    Most grasses can survive with a length of 2" - 3". This applies for spring and early fall. In the summer, if possible, set it a little higher*. Never go below the minimum recommended height except for the last mowing of the season which should be around 1.5" for most turf grasses. There are exceptions to this, but if you have a lawn that requires that exception, you already should know your mowing height.

    Mowing height is important because the length of that grass blade is the part that absorbs sunshine which the grass blade then miraculously converts into food! Imagine if you were a blade of grass and got hungry, all you had to do was stand outside and soak up some rays!

    There are many that think fertilizer is lawn food, but that's not true. Plants actually make their own food using sunlight. it needs to grow and develop into a healthy plant.

    In fact, fertilizer isn't even absorbed by the plant as it's put down on the soil. In laymen's terms, the fertilizer that gets put down on the lawn must first go through the digestive juices of a lot of tiny microbes that live in the soil. Only then is it in a form that can be absorbed and used by the plant, not as a food, but as building blocks to build more cells and carry on the process of converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.

    Never remove more than 1/3 at any one mowing. This may mean you'll have to mow more often during prime growing times (usually spring and early fall).

    Leave the clippings on the lawn after you mow. This not only saves time and energy, but the clippings decompose and add vital nutrients back into the soil. Grass cycling recycles plant nutrients back into the soil. Clippings contain the same beneficial nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium nutrients as that expensive bag of fertilizer. In fact, clippings can provide up to one-third of the annual feeding requirement for your lawn.

  2. Use a sharp blade.
    The type of mower doesn't matter, but the blade's condition does. A dull blade tears at the grass. Take a close look at a grass blade a few days after mowing. If the blade is dull you'll notice a jagged brown line across the tip of the cut grass. This is a good indication that your blade needs sharpening. Professional mowers sharpen their blades about every 8 hours of use. For most homeowners, twice a year is recommended.

    The jagged edges caused by a dull mower blade make it more difficult for the grass to fight off pests and disease.

  3. Regulate the water intake
    Over watering your lawn causes more damage than a lack of water. Most turf grasses can handle dry spells, but not flooding. Most grasses require 1" - 1.5" of water per week. This is enough water to moisten the soil to 4" - 6" below the surface for clay soils and 8 - 10" for sandy soils.

    Don't guess at how much water your lawn is getting. For measuring Mother Nature's contribution, invest in a rain gauge. If at the end of the week she's contributed enough, hold off adding more. If she comes up short, you'll want to add some supplemental watering. Again, measure how much water your sprinkler is putting down.

    You'll have to follow local regulations when there are watering bans, but just remember that less water is acceptable and grass is a very resilient plant. When the rains do return your lawn will come back with a little encouragement on your part.

  4. Give your lawn a regular, balanced diet ; just don't over-do it!
    Don't over-fertilize your lawn with too much of a good thing. 4 balanced fertilizer applications a year is plenty: spring, summer, early fall and after the first frost. If you're in drought conditions, skip the summer application. Never skip the fall application. It’s important to use lawn products by following label instructions. Get the best results by following the directions. Over application will not improve performance. As mentioned above, fertilizers are processed through their interaction with tiny microbes before they can be used. Over-applying fertilizers can create unfavorable conditions for those microbes, even killing them. When that happens, the soil becomes sterile and the grass won't grow.

    How do you know if you're over applying fertilizers? Get a soil test first. Soil tests should be required before applying anything to your soil.

  5. Prevention is the best medicine for a healthy lawn
    Preventing problems is better than having to correct them. Consistent maintenance is the key. Repair bare spots as needed. Spot treat for weeds with the right herbicide following label directions. Use pre-emergent herbicides for most grassy-type weeds like crabgrass.

    Soils can become compacted in high-traffic areas or in areas that have mostly clay soils. Have your lawn aerated once a year, preferably in the fall when soil temperature is around 60 degrees.

That's it. Pretty simple actually and easy to follow.

Insects and Firewood: Some Facts

Posted by B & B Maintenance on October 24, 2009 at 12:07 AM

Insects and Firewood: Some Facts

Table of Contents

  • Do the insects cause any damage to the firewood?
  • Will firewood insects attack wood in the house?
  • Should I spray logs to avoid insect pests?
  • What insects attack firewood (or any type of wood)?
  • When are insects active?
  • What can I do to avoid large numbers of insects?
  • How should I store firewood?

With the increased interest in the use of wood as a home-heating fuel, many people are beginning to notice the insects that periodically emerge from firewood.

RECENT INVASIONS OF INSECTS THAT BORE INTO THE WOOD OF LIVING TREES, INCLUDING THE EMERALD ASH BORER, ASIAN LONGHORNED BEETLE, AND SIREX WOODWASP, HAVE PROMPTED STATE OR FEDERAL QUARANTINES, RESTRICTING THE DISTANCE WHICH FIREWOOD MAY BE MOVED FROM WHERE THE TREES WERE CUT DOWN.  PLEASE DO NOT TRANSPORT FIREWOOD TO CAMPSITES AWAY FROM YOUR HOME, AND BE AWARE OF THE SOURCE LOCATIONS WHEN PURCHASING FIREWOOD FOR HOME USE.

For further information on firewood in New York, contact your Cooperative Extension Office.

Do the insects cause any damage to the firewood?

We do not feel there is any real damage associated with insects in firewood. If the seasoning (drying) operation is done properly the wood will dry before the insects complete development, and they will not survive. Although one may observe small piles of sawdust on or near the woodpile, which indicate insect activity, most of the woods used for fuel in the northeast are hardwoods, and little real damage occurs.

Will firewood insects attack wood in the house?

For the most part insects are only nuisance pests in the house. However, if the house has the correct conditions for an insect infestation, firewood could be the source of damaging insects. One example might be carpenter ants. If one brings in wood infested with carpenter ants, and stores it in a basement or garage containing some wet structural wood, perhaps already starting to decay, carpenter ants might move into it as the logs dry out and establish a nest. This is the exceptional case, rather than the rule.

However, while dry structural wood in the home is rarely attacked by firewood insects, be aware that the beetles or wasps that emerge from firewood can, and frequently do, seek out nearby living trees to lay their eggs.  This can not only damage the trees, but is one of the ways that invasive insect pests reach new areas, whenever firewood is transported between regions.

Should I spray logs to avoid insect pests?

We do not recommend spraying firewood for any reason. Proper cutting and storage can reduce insect pests.

What insects attack firewood (or any type of wood)?

There are four main groups of insects that can damage wood (see above). They are bark beetles, ambrosia beetles, woodborers, and wood wasps (horntails).  Bark beetles burrow between the bark and sapwood. Ambrosia beetles bore through the bark and into the sapwood and/or heartwood, while woodborers can be found either between the wood and bark, or in the heartwood or sapwood.  Wood wasps (horntails) bore into the sapwood and heartwood of living trees, and can be found in cut firewood.

When are insects active?

Most insect activity occurs during the growing season in New York State from April to October. During this time adult beetles are actively looking for favorable woods on which to lay their eggs. From November to March insects hibernate and few, if any, adults are present.

Bark beetles and ambrosia beetles are active during the entire growing season and may have five or more generations during this time depending on the climate. With the woodborers, activities are more restricted often to a certain few weeks of adult activity. In order to determine the periods of activity, you will have to know what types of wood you will be cutting and then learn the activity cycles of the various insect pests.

What can I do to avoid large numbers of insects?

Cutting firewood at the right time of the year (during the dormant season) will help avoid some pests. Pile the logs soon after they are cut, either off the ground or under cover so that the inner bark dries rapidly and thoroughly before the beetles begin to fly in the spring. If logs are cut during the growing season, remove them from the forest as soon as possible. Even a few days exposure when insects are active may be enough time for an infestation to begin.

How should I store firewood?

Firewood should be stored out of doors, under cover and near the house so that valuable space in the house is not used, but the wood is still nearby. Insects are kept outside this way and the dirt problem is reduced.

Store wood under cover to keep it dry.  Storage places might be a woodshed, unheated garage or utility building, or under a sheet of plastic or sheet metal roofing. Be certain to keep an air space between the wood and any covering.

If wood is dried quickly, few insects are likely to survive. The greater the surface area of wood exposed to air, the more rapid the drying. Stacking wood in loose piles raised off the ground as well as splitting or sawing will accelerate drying. This is especially needed with logs greater than eight inches in diameter or longer than four feet.

Firewood placed in an open area will dry rapidly and deterioration will be prevented. Put a cover over the top tier of wood, clear plastic sheeting can be used. Temperatures under the plastic covering will rise higher than outside, warming the wood and evaporating the contained moisture. Water vapor either escapes or is condensed on the plastic; therefore, some arrangement for ventilation is needed.

1/1980, Prepared by: Carolyn Klass
Sr. Extension Associate
Department of Entomology
Cornell University
5/2002, Revised by:
Updated 12/2008
Carolyn Klass
A program of Cornell Cooperative Extension in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University
Page last updated: December 11, 2008


Firewood Regulations

Posted by B & B Maintenance on October 23, 2009 at 11:47 PM


Firewood and Invasive Insects

Don't Move Firewood - You Could be Killing Our Trees!

FIREWOOD ALERT - "DON'T MOVE FIREWOOD"

A NEW REGULATION is now in effect that prohibits the import of firewood into New York unless it has been heat treated to kill pests. The regulation also limits the transportation of untreated firewood to less than 50 miles from its source.

By transporting firewood, you could be spreading diseases and invasive insects that can quickly kill large numbers of trees. Help STOP THE SPREAD and obey the Firewood Regulation:

  • It is best to leave all firewood at home - please do not bring it to campgrounds or parks.
  • Get your firewood at the campground or from a local vendor - ask for a receipt or label that has the firewood's local source.
  • If you choose to transport firewood within New York State:
    o It must have a receipt or label that has the firewood's source and it must remain within 50 miles of that source.
    o For firewood not purchased (i.e. cut from your own property) you must have a Self-Issued Certificate of Source (pdf, 100kb), and it must be sourced within 50 miles of your destination.
    o Only firewood labeled as meeting New York's heat treatment standards to kill pests (kiln-dried) may be transported into the state and further than 50 miles from the firewood's source. Acceptable firewood heat treatment must raise the core temperature of the firewood to 71 degrees C, or 160 degrees F, and hold it there for at least 75 minutes. Most "kiln-drying" processes that reduce the moisture content to less than 18% achieve this sterilization standard.
    o For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions for Firewood Regulation. For additional questions regarding this regulation, please call this toll-free number: 1-866-640-0652 or e-mail: [email protected]

don't move firewood poster
click on the above poster
for a larger image
New York's forests are under attack from numerous invasive exotic insect pests. In years past, we have been hit with Chestnut blight, European gypsy moth, Dutch elm disease and Beech bark disease, all with devastating results. Recently, we have discovered Asian long-horned beetles, Hemlock wooly adelgids, Pine shoot beetles and Sirex woodwasps infesting New York's urban and rural forests and killing thousands of trees. Other, potentially devastating insect invaders such as Emerald ash borer and Asian gypsy moth loom just over the horizon.

ash tree killed by invasive insects
Invasive insects transported on firewood are killing
trees in our favorite campgrounds

One common way many of these insect pests are moved around the country - beyond their natural rate of spread based on biology and flight potential - is on firewood carried by campers, hunters and other users of our forests. This firewood may come from trees killed by insect pests and taken down wherever the visitors came from. The users are frequently not even aware they are moving eggs or larvae of these pests, which may be hidden on or under the bark or buried deep within the logs. A casual observation of boaters and campers checking in at any campground will reveal trunk loads or boatloads of firewood being brought in, often from far distant states.Once transported to new locations, eggs may hatch, or larvae may mature and emerge to attack host trees in and around the camping areas. Too often, these new infestations are not detected until numerous trees start to die, and the infestation has spread beyond our ability to eradicate it or control it effectively.

A vehicle transporting fire wood.
Vehicle transporting firewood which may contain
tree-killing insects

In the Lake States, the exotic, invasive Emerald ash borer (EAB) has caused great destruction of all native species of ash trees (which are also common across New York). In Detroit alone, over 70,000 city trees have been lost. This pest has also spread throughout Michigan, and into Ontario, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In numerous occasions, this pest has shown up far removed from previous known infestations, in "outlier" occurrences, at or near campgrounds and forest recreation areas. New York State is now less than 150 miles from the nearest EAB infestations.

Federal emerald ash borer quarantine regulations restrict the movement of ash wood and trees from regulated States (MI, IL, IN and OH), in an attempt to limit the spread of this one pest.

The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was first confirmed in New York State in 1996. Areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties are also under Federal quarantine which prohibits the movement of firewood and wood products of all hardwood species out of these regulated areas.

In addition, several other states and the province of Ontario, have bans or regulations in place concerning the importation or movement of firewood, of any species, as a means to prevent introduction or limit spread of any of the insect pests known to live in or on cut firewood. In addition, many States and Federal agencies, including United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and USDA Forest Service, have begun extensive outreach and public education campaigns to explain the dangers posed to forests from the movement of firewood, and encourage recreational users to "not move firewood." Many of these States and Federal agencies have found it necessary to take stronger measures to protect forest resources and have imposed bans on firewood movement.


More about Firewood and Invasive Insects:

  • Frequently Asked Questions for Firewood Regulation - Questions and answers to help the public to understand the new regulation prohibiting the importation of untreated firewood into New York State and restricting the movement of untreated firewood within New York State.
  • Don't move firewood poster large image - Invasive insects could be spread by moving firewood.


http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html

Frequently Asked Questions About Firewood

Posted by B & B Maintenance on July 18, 2009 at 9:52 PM

Q: How does burning firewood effect our environment?

Answer: According to Chimney Safety Institute of Americathat unlike the burning of fossil fuels like gas or oil, which many believe tobe upsetting our climate for the worst, burning firewood releases no moreharmful greenhouse gases than would be produced were the wood to simply rot onthe forest floor. If we are responsible in the ways we select, cut, and burnour firewood, wood burning can actually be the correct choice for theenvironment too.


Q: How do I properly start a fire?

Answer: To start a fire you should start byplacing some crumpled newspaper on the rack, then place some kindling wood surroundingthe newspaper. Light the newspaper, allow it to burn itself out while catchingthe kindling wood on fire. As the flames progress place a log in the fire, tryto use thinner logs at first then build up to the larger pieces.


Q: How do I build a better fire?

Answer: The easiest and best fire for either astove or fireplace is achieved with a mixture of softwoods for easy ignitingwith hardwoods for longer burning and good coaling qualities. A cardinal ruleof fireplace management is to keep a thick bed for glowing coals that dropthrough. The coals yield a steady heat and aid in igniting fresh fuel as it isadded. Keep the fire burning by adding a small amount of wood at regularintervals. A small, hot fire is much better than a large, roaring blaze becauseit burns more completely and produces less creosote.


Q: Should the wood be covered?

Answer: No, covering the firewood traps moisture,promotes mildew and attracts insects. Covering the wood should only bepermitted if it will rain.


Q: Where should I store the wood?

Answer: You can store the wood outside orinside. It is best to let the fresh air get to the wood to keep it dry; onlycover the wood if it is going to rain. If you can not store it outside that isO.K.! Storing wood inside will keep the wood dry as well as insect free.


Q: How long are the logs?

Answer: Generally 12 - 18 inches.


Q: How often should my chimney be cleaned?

Answer: A minimum of once a year isrecommended to eliminate creosote buildup.

 


Good Suffolk County Firewood

Posted by B & B Maintenance on July 18, 2009 at 9:05 PM

Good Firewood 


The key to successful wood burning Whether you burn wood in a fireplace, stove or furnace, good quality firewood is the key to convenience, efficiency and safety. Wet wood and pieces that are not the right size and shape for your wood burner can be frustrating, burn inefficiently and deposit creosote that can fuel a dangerous chimney fire. Good planning, seasoning and storage of the firewood supply are essential to successful wood burning.


Measuring firewood quantity and comparing prices


The first challenge in buying firewood is to measure quantity so you can compare prices. The cord is the standard unit of measurement for firewood. A cord measures 4 x 4 x 8 ft. But nobody burns four foot long pieces, so some dealers sell fractions of cords, often called “face cords”, which are piles of wood 4 ft high and 8 ft long and as wide as the length of the individual pieces, usually between 12 in and 20in. The price of firewood sold in fractions of cords can be compared by calculating the volume of wood sold as a unit and comparing its cost per full cord. T


Tips on buying good firewood


  • Ask friends and neighbours who burn wood for recommendations on reliable suppliers.
  • Shop around and select the dealer who seems most reliable and comes with the best recommendations.
  • Do not order wood by phone. Go to the storage area to inspect the wood and take a tape measure to check piece length and pile size.
  • Look for wood that is clean. Sand and mud on firewood makes it less desirable.
  • Do not buy randomly piled wood. Only stacked cords can be counted.
  • If possible, get the wood in spring and stack it in your own yard so you can control the seasoning process.


What are the best tree species for firewood?


All wood is chemically similar, regardless of species. It is the density that influences its behaviour in the fire and its value as firewood. Dense hardwoods like maple and oak have a higher energy content per cord and so release more heat per firebox load. They also produce long-lasting fires and coal beds. Softer woods like pine, spruce and poplar are less dense, burn faster and do not produce a long-lasting coal bed when burned.

Traditionally, hardwoods were the preferred firewood, but softer woods make excellent fuel for spring and fall use. The newer advanced technology wood stoves, fireplaces and furnaces can function well with a wider variety of wood species because of their better control of the combustion process than older conventional stoves.

 

Length


The length of the pieces must be suitable for your stove, furnace or fireplace. Shorter pieces are easier to handle and preferable to pieces that are too long for the appliance. Pieces that are even slightly too long can make fire stoking difficult or impossible. For stoves and furnaces, pieces should be at least 3 in shorter than the fire box size. Even if a stove firebox is big enough to take firewood as long as 20 in, shorter pieces are usually more desirable for ease of handling and fire maintenance. Good quality firewood is a consistent length. Lengths varying more than 2 in are a sign of poor quality and may cause problems in loading the appliance. For convenient handling and stoking in most wood stoves, firewood is best cut into pieces 14 to 16 in long. All pieces should be about the same length


Diameter


Most commercial firewood is not split small enough for effective fire building and maintenance. Big firewood pieces tend to smoulder longer when placed in the fire, whereas smaller pieces ignite quickly. Small pieces are better for small fires in mild weather. Even in cold weather each load should be made up of a few small pieces that will ignite quickly and some larger pieces that will burn steadily for several hours. Ideally, the wood should be split to a variety of sizes ranging from 3 in to 6 in measured across the largest cross section. Expect to pay more for wood that is split smaller and into a variety of sizes. Small firewood pieces are often better than large pieces for convenient stoking. A range of piece sizes is best.


Tips for stacking and storing firewood

  • Stack the wood in separate rows in an open location where the summer sun can warm it and breezes can carry away the moisture.
  • Do not stack unseasoned wood tightly in an unvented storage area.
  • Do not allow firewood to lie on the ground for more than a couple of days before stacking. Mould and rot can set in quickly.
  • Stack the wood up off the ground on poles, lumber rails or pallets.
  • The top of the pile can be covered to keep off rain, but do not cover the sides.
  • Softer woods like pine, spruce and poplar/aspen that is cut, split and stacked properly in the early spring will be ready for burning in the fall. Extremely hard woods like oak and maple, and large pieces of firewood, may take at least a full year to dry enough. Drying may also take longer in damp maritime climates.

 

How to tell if wood is dry enough


There are a few ways to tell if wood is dry enough to burn efficiently. Use as many indicators as possible to judge the dryness of the firewood your are considering.


  • Checks or cracks in the end grain can be an indication of dryness, but may not be a reliable indicator. Some wet wood has checks and some dry wood has no checks.
  • The wood tends to darken from white or cream colour to grey or yellow as it dries.
  • Two dry pieces banged together sound hollow; wet pieces sound solid and dull.
  • Dry wood weighs much less than wet wood.
  • Split a piece of wood. If the exposed surface feels damp, the wood is too wet to burn.
  • If in doubt, burn some.
  • Dry wood ignites and burns easily; wet wood is hard to light and hisses in the fire.
  • Checks in the end grain of seasoned wood.


In the fall, move the wood to winter storage


When the firewood has dried in the sun and summer breezes, move it to winter storage. The area should be dry and fully sheltered from rain and snow. Ideally, this area is close to, but not inside the house. Large amounts of wood should not be stored inside houses because of the risk of mold growth, which can contaminate the indoor air with spores. However, a small amount of wood stored inside can give it time to warm to room temperature before burning. Look for firewood produced using sustainable harvesting methods Try to buy your wood from someone who uses good forest management practices. Environmentally sound woodlot management involves thinning out dying and damaged trees and less desirable species. To support sustainable forestry practices, use wood from a blend of species. Burn the softer woods, such as pine, poplar and aspen, in the spring and fall. These are the ways you can help to ensure that wood is a sustainable energy source for home heating.

 

Why is there no standard price for firewood?


Here are some of the factors that can affect the price of firewood:

  • Energy content:  Very soft woods like poplar and spruce have about half the energy content per cord of very hardwoods like white oak. Based on energy content, they should cost about half as much per cord. However, processing, transportation and storage costs are the same regardless of species, so while the price of softwoods may be lower, expect to pay considerably more than half the cost of hardwoods.
  • Location:  Because of shipping and storage costs, firewood sold in urban areas can cost at least double the purchase price in rural areas.
  • Dryness:  Fully-seasoned firewood usually costs more than green, unseasoned wood because it has been stored for longer.
  • Piece size:  Firewood processed in shorter lengths and split smaller usually costs more because of the additional handling and labor involved.
  • Amount purchased:  A bag of firewood purchased at a convenience store will cost more per cord equivalent than the purchase of a full cord or more.
  • Delivered or not:  Delivered wood is more expensive than wood you load, transport and stack yourself, especially if it is stacked by the supplier.

For all these reasons, firewood can range in price from less than $150 for the equivalent of a full cord to more than $300. Paying a little extra to get good quality seasoned firewood that is the right length and split properly is a good investment because of increased convenience and efficient burning.
 


Dollar Spot Lawn Disease

Posted by B & B Maintenance on June 14, 2009 at 6:31 PM


Dollar spot disease is a kind of lawn disease that kills and infectsdifferent kinds of grasses. This disease grows in distinct, small circles around the size of a small pancake or a silver dollar. It is easy to take the dollar spots lightly because they do not look dangerous but they can cause serious damage to the lawn.


Dollar spot disease survives during winter in the soil and thatch and it begins to start again as the temperature gets to sixty degrees. Aside from temperature, other factors that cause the disease include low fertility of nitrogen, low moisture in soil when humidity is high, too much mowing during hot climate, and too much thatch. A quality program is needed to provide the lawn proper mixture of fertilizers in order to prevent dollar spot. In addition, lawn should be mowed and watered regularly.


You can identify dollar spot disease in your lawn in two ways. The first way is through the size and shape of the area that is damaged. Usually, individual spots are very distinct and circular in shape, which are only a few inches in diameter. Another sign of dollar spot disease is the appearance of lesions on grasses. The disease can cause bands in hourglass shape across the grass blade, which is light tan in color with a reddish-brown edge. It can kill the entire grass and your lawn needs reseeding or renovation to control the disease.


It is necessary to saturate your soil regularly because grass diseases including the dollar spot occur in soil with low moisture. However, make sure to avoid watering frequently during the lateafternoons or evening. Use proper mixture of fertilizers in correcting the nitrogen fertility during the times of the disease activity.


You can apply treatments such as fungicide in getting rid of dollarspot disease. However, fungicide is not required in residential lawns if the levels of nitrogen fertility are managed properly and other cultural stresses are lessened. Dollar spot disease has different degrees of fungicide tolerance and there are some strains of dollar spot that have become resistant to fungicide, so a particular fungicide may be effective to one disease but not to another. In addition, the use of fungicides can increase disease and insect problems in the future because they can affect the soil organisms such as microbes and earthworms, which help in the decomposition of thatch. In addition, earthworms and other soil organisms improve the health of the grass and help aerate the soil.


You need to have a balanced nitrogen fertility program to control the disease because dollar spot disease is known to be most severe on nitrogen-deficient soil. With a balanced nitrogen soil, the outbreak of the disease will be delayed in the spring and the severity of outbreaks will be reduced. In addition, the performance of fungicide will improve and the recovery of turf will be faster.


Proper scheduling of irrigation is necessary to control dollar spotdisease. This is due to how fast the period of dew is relative to theinfection extent, so the prolonged practice of irrigation will greatlycontribute to the outbreaks of the disease.


Brown Patch Lawn Disease

Posted by B & B Maintenance on June 14, 2009 at 6:26 PM


Brown patch is a very common lawn disease that is caused by the fungusRhizoctonia solani. It is very prevalent in warm and humid areasattacking all different types of grasses like St. Augustine grass andKentucky bluegrass. The disease appears in circular patches of deadgrass sometimes in diameters of many feet. Using a quick-releasenitrogen fertilizer can cause the grass to be susceptible to brownpatch. When the disease becomes severe, it will attack the plant crownsand kill the grass.


How to Treat Brown Patch on Lawns

You can cure brown patch by using a contact fungicide. It isimportant that you treat the disease as soon as possible and continueto apply fungicide for several weeks after or as long as humid, warmweather persists. There are plenty of fungicides at Lowes or Home Depotthat are marked as being able to treat brown patch disease.


How to Prevent Brown Patch

Lawn DiseaseWatering infrequently can help keep the grass as dry as possible.Also, try to water only early in the morning to prevent wet grass inthe evenings. Control thatch by dethatching or aerating your lawn andmake sure to follow a good annual fertilizer program. Stick withslow-release nitrogen fertilizer and try not to fertilize during heavyrains when the lawn is most saturated.


Red Thread Lawn Disease

Posted by B & B Maintenance on June 14, 2009 at 6:22 PM


Have you ever had a brown patch with a reddish tinge on your lawnand wondered what it is? If it's not spray paint or your kid'spaintball gun, it's probably red thread lawn disease. Red thread is notthe deadliest lawn disease, but you don't want to take it lightly.Severe cases of this disease can kill the grass completely.


Red thread lawn disease is common in red fescue grass and perennialryegrass. Bermuda, bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass are sometimesaffected.


Laetisaria fuciformisTheaffected areas appear in irregularly-shaped patches of a reddish orpink complexion. It is difficult to identify red thread disease untilthe more advanced stages of disease development. This stage is whenbright coral pink fungus mycelium reaches a length of 1/16" to 1/4" atthe tip of the damaged, thin and wiry leaves. This fungi spreads by moving mycelium or infected leaves to newareas. These fungi can also be transported by your lawn mower becausethe mycelium on grass is easily broken loose. The ideal development ofred thread occurs between temperatures of 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.


How Do You Get Rid of It?

Get out your fertilizer. Adding more nitrogen to your lawn usuallyreduces red thread disease. However, having a higher level of nitrogencan cause other disease damage such as leaf spot and brown patch. Inmost cases, a fungicide treatment is unnecessary, but wet weather cansometimes cause severe damage. In this situation, a fungicide wouldhelp reduce symptoms.


Using a Lawn Care Contractor to Improve Your Lawn

Posted by B & B Maintenance on June 11, 2009 at 8:54 PM

When it comes to looking after the lawn, a lot of people decide to seek the help of a professional to make the lawn look healthy as well as attractive. A contractor will be doing lawn care services as a profession and so their reputation will be at stake and they will have to provide excellent services. This is why it is relatively easy to find a reliable and fair contractor to take care of your lawn and to provide a high class service.


Looking for a Guaranteed Service from a Lawn Care Contractor


When you are making an enquiry with a lawn care contractor, you should ask them if they can guarantee exactly what is needed in order to provide the best possible lawn care. You will need to find out certain things such as:-


• Will they repair any damage that they have caused during working on your lawn if needed?


• Will they only give you a guarantee if you hire their full services?


As well as finding out about the guarantees of a contractor, you will need to find out about how good of a service they provide. This will involve doing some research and asking around your friends or family. You may want to find out exactly how many customers they have and how many of them continue to use their services. Something else that you can ask the contractor is how fast is their response times for when problems arise and whether you have to pay for any mistakes that the contractor makes.


Something which you may have never thought about before is the minimum call out charge that contractors chargetheir customers. So you should ask about this before you hire acontractor to look after your lawns. By knowing this in advance, you will know if it is affordable and whether you will be getting a good service or not. As well as this, you should enquire whether they change their prices throughout the year as this is always a good thing to know.


You should also ask if the contractor has a written contract and if so you should see it before you agree to their services. In the contract it should detail everything from the services that are provided to the charges and the guarantees. You should never get a contractor in without seeing and signing a contract as there will be no comebacks if things were to go wrong.


As you can see, there are a few things to do before you hire a contractor to look after your lawn. You should not rush in and accept the first contractor that you see because it may not be the best choice for what you need.

 


How To Hire A Lawn Care Maintenance Company

Posted by B & B Maintenance on June 11, 2009 at 8:16 PM

When money is no object, time sometimes is, and a professional lawn service will take care of many of the time consuming chores of landscape maintenance. With professional help taking care of fertilizing and weeding the lawn, protecting it from insect damage, and sometimes even mowing the grass, home gardeners are free to turn their attention to other tasks that are more interesting to them. Hiring a professional is no reason to neglect learning about lawn care, though, for without some knowledge about lawns it will be difficult to select a company that can provide you with good, safe service.


Your first decision when selecting a lawn care company is whether you want lawn care or lawn maintenance. For general maintenance such as mowing and trimming, a neighborhood teenager may be the cheapest solution, and with a little initial supervision will probably do the job as well as you would yourself. For fertilizer and pesticide application, it pays to hire trained professionals who know when and how to apply these chemicals in a manner safe to you, your neighbors, your plants, and the environment.


When you are satisfied that the company you are considering is reputable, have the representative come to your house to thoroughly discuss the services you require, the services the company can provide, and the prices involved. Walk together around your yard, noting any special problem areas and discussing how the company can treat them. Find out what the basic care package includes and the cost of additional services. Check into the fertilizer and pesticide schedule, and find out what chemicals are applied. The representative should be knowledgeable and answer your questions in a straightforward, concerned manner.


Make sure that the company follows good lawn care procedures. Discuss timing of weed control. The representative and the workers who perform the lawn care should show a healthy respect for and knowledge of the chemicals used. Proper application is necessary for proper results and for the safety of surrounding plants, neighboring property, and the environment.


Lawn service companies in Suffolk County are beginning to address homeowner concerns over excessive use of pesticides and pesticide drift with alternative lawn care programs. They offer such options as a fertilizer-only option, a limited pesticide option which involves spraying pesticides only when a problem is evident, and a dry option which uses granular fertilizers and pesticides which will minimize drift onto neighboring property. Some now use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, with chemical controls as a last resort. Find out if you can obtain similar options from the company you select. Lawn care services use low pressure sprayers which reduce the likelihood of drift, but extra care is never wrong when dealing with pesticides. And, of course, there is no need to apply pesticide to a nonexistent problem.



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