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Category Archive: Lawn Care

Watering Restrictions Set to Change

garden-1037454_1920Hillsborough County is part of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which has jurisdiction over lawn maintenance and efficient water usage for Tampa’s lawn care. These restrictions stipulate the time of day watering may occur, the amount of water used, and which days residential and business locations are able to water their lawns and foliage. For those counties falling outside the Southwest Florida Water Management District, consult your district’s regulations, which may vary slightly from those stated below. Keep in mind that pest and lawn care by Apex Pest Control will not be compromised by these regulations.

  • Established lawns may be watered a maximum of twice per week. Addresses ending in an even number water on Thursday and Sunday between 4 pm and 10 am. Odd-numbered addresses water on Wednesday and Saturday between 4 pm and 10 am.
  • Hand watering is allowed on any day at any time.
  • New lawns and foliage face fewer restrictions to promote proper development. Watering is allowed any time on the day of planting, and watering is permitted between 4 pm and 10 am on any day for the first thirty days. The second thirty days watering is permissible three days per week: even numbers on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays while odd numbers water on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
  • Reclaimed water is subject to voluntary watering days and hours.
  • Fountains, car washing, and pressure washing are permitted at any time.
  • All water usage is to be completed as efficiently as possible. Use shutoff nozzles when hand spraying the lawn or washing vehicles, and comply with local laws prohibiting the wasteful use of water.
  • Lawn spraying for fungus, weeds, or general maintenance may be carried through without restriction. Follow the guidelines from your local lawn care professionals.

Apex Pest Control complies with all watering restrictions throughout the State of Florida. Contact one of their knowledgeable representatives at (866) 675-4070 for information pertaining to Tampa lawn care, water conservation, and pest control. Read our past blogs to learn how to properly maintain your lawn and keep it looking its best.

Florida Springtime Lawn Guide

prettylawnandtreesSpring in Florida is breathtaking as it lives up to its name, leaving a florid and fragrant path of blooms throughout the state. Flowers are not the only plants springing forth in this bountiful season: grass is spreading, flourishing, and becoming greener every day. Apex Pest Control has compiled a list of important lawn and yard tasks for Orlando lawn care.

  • Beginning: Take a soil sample to your county extension office to determine the pH of your lawn and to see if your lawn has the proper nutrients. Acidic soil dominates many areas of Florida. To stabilize your soil, add lime in compliance with the soil test results from your county extension office. Azaleas begin their showy blooms in March. Because azaleas bloom only once or twice a year, many gardeners are uncertain the color of their plants’ blooms. Take a picture while the plants are in bloom to remind yourself, or spray the trunk with non-toxic paint in the color of the blooms.
  • Middle: By now your lawn is undoubtedly tall and thick enough to begin mowing, especially if you have Bermuda grass, St. Augustine, or centipede. In the garden beds, last year’s mulch may need replacing since it is a perfect breeding ground for spores and young insects. If you have had these pests in the past, replace all the mulch with a new layer of fresh mulch, such as cedar, that will keep many insects and spores from developing. If this is not a concern, simply spread a new layer atop the existing mulch.
  • End: Fertilizing should begin at the end of spring. Because every lawn has specific requirements, fertilizing should be left to the professionals. Contact Apex Pest Control for the correct timing, amount, and chemicals. Plants and trees should be pruned after the leaves have developed. Pruning removes any winter frost damage and readies the plants for more abundant growth. Summer annuals – petunias, impatiens, salvia, and marigolds, for instance – are ready for planting, and May is one of the last opportunities to start annuals.

With so many details for your lawn and garden in the spring, it is important to plan how and when you should perform each task. This list is definitely not conclusive; check your county extension office for items specific to your area, and call Apex Pest Control at (866) 675-4070 for all your lawn and pest control maintenance. Read our past blogs for more information on Orlando lawn care, fungus control, and insect eradication.

The Importance of Native Plants & Your Landscape

prettylawnandtreesFlorida seems like the perfect location to grow almost any plant you can purchase. Placing non-native plants in your yard may be less satisfying than you imagine, however. Indigenous plant species will thrive in environments exotic plants may not be suited for, no matter how beautiful and healthy they look in the store. Below are three points of interest Orlando lawn care company, Apex Pest Control, would like you to consider before you purchase that perfect plant.

  • The Balance: Your yard is its own tiny environmental microcosm. Nature has provided the proper balance of nutrients for the soil and atmosphere, and local animals have adapted to the biological plant life within that area. Introducing a non-indigenous species of plant into the mix will upset that delicate balance by possibly bringing in additional insects not normally associated with the surrounding plants, or usurping more nutrients than the plants near it need to survive, thereby starving the native vegetation.
  • Why Do Species Matter? Invasive species of plants and animals are the second-most dangerous threat to the environment worldwide; humankind is first. All plants harbor bacteria and some viruses. Introducing these normally benign organisms into an environment where they are not acclimated may cause an infiltration that kills most of the plants within a specific distance.
  • Knowledge is Key: Most large box stores carry a vast array of beautiful, exotic plants that are unsuited for the climate where they are shipped. Shopping at a local nursery supports your local economy and provides you with knowledgeable gardeners who can tell you which local plants are best suited for your garden or yard. The plants may cost a little more, but the information and satisfaction are worth the price, especially when the health of your entire lawn or garden is at stake.

Contact Orlando lawn care professionals, Apex Pest Control, at (866) 675-4070 for advice on the perfect plants for your yard and garden, and read our past blogs for articles pertaining to plants and yard vegetation. Understanding the harmony or discord new plants can produce on an existing setting will give you a much better appreciation for the beauty of native foliage.

3 Lawn Destroyers Who Love Autumn in Florida

7F2A3895Autumn is right around the corner, and the hot, humid summer days are almost behind us. Your lawn is finally snapping out of its summer singeing and is anticipating the more pleasant weather that awaits. Your lawn looks better than it has in a long time, except those few unusual brown spots where the grass is dying. What could be causing this damage to your otherwise healthy lawn? The Tampa lawn treatment professionals at Apex Pest Control believe it may be cooler weather lawn pests such as spittlebugs, chinch bugs, or sod webworms.

 

  • Spittlebugs: Homeowners with Centipedegrass turf need to be on the lookout for spittlebug damage. Grass with telltale cream or pinkish-purple stripes running the length of the blade has been eaten by spittlebugs. Identification is easy – spittlebugs are black with two orange stripes across their wings. If you notice a few spittlebugs, don’t be alarmed; they are common and do not harm lawns in small numbers. A large number of spittlebugs must be eradicated with an insecticide on the ground surface to destroy the spittlebug larva as they rest in bubbly cocoons.
  • Chinch Bugs: Chinch bugs love St. Augustine grass, and prefer open, dry, sunny areas in summer and fall. Chinch bugs leave grass an unhealthy color. Eventually the grass becomes yellow, then straw brown. Immature chinch bugs are bright red or orange and grow to about the size of the head of a pin. The nymphs often congregate in patches along nearby plants where they are more easily discerned. Adults transform into black and white insects approximately 1/8” long. Part the grass near the border of discolored turf to see if you can spot chinch bugs. Chinch bugs do not travel far, so treatment can be contained in a 10’ perimeter around the affected area.
  • Webworms: The green or tan caterpillars curled near the soil line of your turf may grow to be sod webworms. These troublesome pests nibble on grass blades, leaving them serrated directly above the crown of the grass. Larvae can kill small, round patches – up to 6” – but the patches often overlap, leaving large areas of your yard brown and dead. Check the base of the grass stems for silken tunnels and green fecal pellets that sod webworms leave behind.

 

These autumn insects can all be controlled with the help of the Tampa lawn treatment professionals Apex Pest Control. Call Apex at (866) 675-4070, or browse their website for information on controlling dozens of lawn pests, advice on preventing infestations, and the best treatment for your type of sod.

4 Ways to Prep Your Florida Lawn for Fall

grass-666284_1280(1)You may have noticed the sun is setting a little earlier every day and rising just a bit later. Your lawn has definitely noted the difference and is beginning the transition from growth to dormancy. The climate in Central Florida tends to have warm temperatures through October. Cold days may intersperse those warmer weeks, however, and those unplanned cold days can damage your lawn. The list below gives only a few pointers for winter lawn preparation; since grasses require care specific to each type, the Orlando lawn treatment experts at Apex Pest Control can give you detailed information for winterizing the turf in your yard.

  • Don’t Fertilize in the Fall: Fertilizing your lawn in the fall seems like a good idea. After all, it looks like it’s dying. The high nitrogen content of most fertilizers spikes growth, which is fantastic in warm, spring months, but the new growth is easily destroyed with a single cold front. Although grass loses its summer green, allow it to go dormant in the winter to protect the growth you can’t see.
  • Watering Advice: If rainfall amounts are not abundant in your area during the winter months, water your lawn regularly. The amount of water need not be as plentiful as in the summer months, but make sure your grass is at least moist during part of the day.
  • What About Winterizers? Many fertilizer brands offer a “winterizer” formula for lawns. While these may help some lawns, it is wise to contact an expert to determine the best method to winterize your type of turf.
  • Should You Rake Those Leaves? Homeowners often mistakenly believe the leaves covering their lawn insulate it from cold weather. In reality, the leaves covering your grass keep your lawn from breathing and photosynthesizing. Ensure a healthy lawn by raking, mowing, or blowing the leaves off the surface of your lawn.

Give your lawn a makeover this fall by contacting the Orlando lawn treatment experts at Apex Pest Control at (866) 675-4070, or browse their website. Apex’s lawn experts offer tips on maintaining your lawn during winter months, including insect and weed control.

4 Tips for a Beautiful Lawn

grass-666284_1280(1)A beautiful lawn is not a given in Florida. It takes dedication to work through the sandy soil and scorching heat to transform native scrub into a showcase lawn. With help from Orlando lawn care experts, Apex Pest Control, and the tips below, your lawn can maintain its level of curb appeal.

 

  • Mowing your lawn is a weekly exercise. Keep your tools sharp as you mow. Mower blades, clippers, and shears with sharp edges not only cause your lawn to look neater, they keep it healthier since the grass is clipped and not torn by dull blades. If your grass’s edges are ragged or uneven, check your blades and sharpen or replace them as needed.
  • Grass requires room to grow, a direct path for sunshine, and nutrients without competition. All these are available in a properly aerated lawn. Some lawns need only an occasional raking to aerate, while thick lawns may need a twice yearly aeration with a core or lawn aerator to alleviate excess thatch buildup.
  • For your lawn, raking is like a great massage; not only does it remove surface leaves and debris, it digs deeper and loosens mulch and soil, giving roots a better chance of accessing the nutrients grass needs to thrive. Always rake before applying any lawn care product or seed since the chemicals or seeds cannot penetrate dry leaves covering the grass you are attempting to invigorate.
  • Grass is dependent on water. Being in a sub-tropical climate, Florida generally has an abundance of water. During the dry season, though, it seems it will never rain again. Watch your lawn carefully to maintain a proper water balance: too little water brings on dry, brittle, brown patches of grass while overwatered lawns suffer from root rot and abundant fungal growth.

 

Find more Orlando lawn care tips by reading past Apex Pest Control blogs here on the website, or by calling the Apex lawn care experts at (407) 292-7700.

Recent Rains Accelerate Fungal Growth

screen-fungus-238901_1280Within the past month, Florida has experienced extensive rainfall. Precipitation totals of three to six inches have plagued most of Central Florida since mid-July, and the forecast calls for at least another week of potential rain and thunderstorms. While rain is often an inconvenience for people, it can mean a dramatic change in your lawn due to increased fungal growth.

Your yard always harbors several varieties of fungus, and most of the time the plants and fungi live in harmony. Several factors tip the balance in favor of fungi, however, and increased precipitation is one of them. Use the information below to determine if your lawn is suffering from an undue amount of fungi.

  • Because fungi are varied, their appearance in your lawn will differ from one type to the next. If you note brown (or white or yellow) patches, slimy areas, rings of discoloration, or discolored threads along individual blades of grass, your yard may have already succumbed to at least one strain of fungus.
  • Fungi step up production during time of grass stress, such as when your lawn is overly dry or wet, the soil is compacted or grass is thatched, or the grass is mowed on a low setting. Our recent onslaught of rain falls directly into the “overly wet” category.
  • Homeowners can ensure fewer bouts of fungal outbreak if they turn off their automatic sprinklers if the weather calls for three or more days of rain during the week.

Other preventative measures, such as aerating your lawn, decreasing water use, fertilizing, and mowing, are nearly impossible when the weather is inclement. Therefore, the easiest way to pinpoint the type of fungal growth and how to treat it is to contact the Orlando lawn care professionals at Apex Pest Control. Apex’s lawn care specialists will inspect your lawn, determine the fungus or fungi involved, and work out a treatment plan to bring your lawn back to health. Call Orlando lawn care experts, Apex, at (866) 675-4070, or browse the rest of Apex’s website to learn more about grass fungi and treatment.

Home Irrigation: Is a Sprinkle a Day Necessary?

When the weather heats up, it seems the logical solution for your lawn is a good soaking. Is that excess water actually beneficial, though? Over watering causes fungus, especially if the watering occurs late in the evening or overnight since the water puddles on grass blades and on the ground surface. Knowing how to water is much more beneficial to your lawn than simply turning on the sprinklers with a timer. Tampa lawn care experts, Apex, explain.

  • Waste Not, Want Not: How often have you driven around the neighborhood during a rainstorm and noticed your neighbors have their sprinklers on? Using an automatic sprinkler system is wonderful if it never rains. Florida’s unpredictable weather patterns often deem a timer frivolous. Check your local weather weekly before determining how long to water, or whether you need to water at all that week.
  • Type of Sprinkler Systems: In-ground sprinkler systems are specifically designed to water your entire lawn. Some sprinklers spray long, straight flumes of water while other “pop-up” sprinklers have a much shorter, circular range. Depending on the size of your lawn, you may have several separate zones that run in a series. Watch each zone to ensure you have no broken sprinkler heads, lines, or extreme wet areas that would signify a problem.
  • Watch Their Aim: Ensure your sprinklers water your lawn and not half the road, driveway, or sidewalk since that wastes water and proves unfriendly to pedestrians. If you have a running grass, such as St. Augustine, confirm the sprinkler heads are not blocked by crossed shoots of St. Augustine. Grass can grow quickly and block a sprinkler head’s reach in between waterings.
  • Watch The Amount of Water: Use a watering gauge or a shallow tin can to measure how long it takes for one inch of water to accumulate on your lawn. Once each zone accumulates one inch of water, set the timer to transfer to the next zone in your yard.

Apex Pest Control wants customers to understand the role water plays in a beautiful lawn. Overwatering can damage grass, spread fungus, and wash away any herbicide or pesticide placed on the lawn. Keep your lawn looking its best with the proper amount of water and expert advice from your Tampa lawn care professionals at Apex. Please call (866) 675-4070 if you need help with your lawn.

 

Help Win the War on Weeds

Your lawn is an extension of your living area. Looking out at a weed-choked lawn is not what most homeowners appreciate. Orlando lawn care experts, Apex Pest Control, is dedicated in helping customers win their battle with weeds. Below are a few basic ideas you can try to prevent or eradicate the bane of your yard.

  • Weeds require sunlight to germinate. Adding a layer of mulch below grass blades or around plants will prevent weeds from sprouting. Keep in mind the type of mulch you use, though; cedar chips may sprout cedar trees and a bale of hay germinates into hay seeds. Unlike hay, straw is the center of the grass (think drinking straw) and will not contain seeds. Pine straw is actually pine needles, but either type of “straw” works very well to prevent weeds without producing unwanted sprouts.
  • Chemicals are a good choice to use in late fall or early spring. Using herbicides in the heat of summer is detrimental to your grass. Remember, herbicides cannot tell the difference between a weed and your flower garden, so spray far away from ornamentals and fruits.
  • Watering your lawn seems like the perfect way to expedite growth, which it does for both weeds and grass. Water sparingly and only when your grass shows signs of stress, such as curled leaf blades. Your grass may look like it will catch fire during Florida’s hottest summer hours, but only water early in the morning. Watering at night may cause fungus to form since the water puddles on leaf blades for many hours longer than recommended.
  • Mowing your lawn on a higher level, such as the 2.5” setting for St. Augustine or 2” for Bahia will stimulate more leaf spread and less room for weeds to infiltrate.
  • Check your mower blades before you mow. If the blades are dull, you are only beating the grass down or shredding it. Sharp blades cut cleanly, give the grass a better look, and help it grow stronger.

Read all the Orlando lawn care tips by browsing the rest of the Apex Pest Control blogs, or call the Orlando lawn care experts at (866) 675-4070 who can answer your toughest lawn care questions.

 

Florida’s Love Affair with St. Augustine Grass

IMG_6964There are many Florida lawns with St. Augustine grass. Floridians have developed a strong affinity for this bluish-green grass that seems to enjoy any condition tossed at it. It can withstand the test of time by erupting from the ground every spring in a thick, green carpet.  It is even able to return back to normal after large packages, such as roofing materials, lay on it for months on end, and still remains strong and intact after numerous hurricanes. Orlando lawn care professionals from Apex, have some information on this popular type of grass.

  • St. Augustine is the most commonly used lawn grass in Florida because it is more tolerant to saline soil conditions than other grasses. Many cultivars are also shade tolerant, able to grow under the far-reaching branches of trees.
  • St. Augustine spreads through plugs, sprigs, or sod. St. Augustine does not propagate from seed.
  • The wide blades of St. Augustine grow quickly, which requires more water than other grasses may need, especially during extended dry periods. Irrigate your lawn regularly during Florida’s hot, dry summer months to retain your lawn’s fertile, green appearance.
  • It has been noted that St. Augustine’s wide leaves are unable to withstand chemical weed sprays. Usually one application of weed killer lasts all year because the grass grows so quickly, it chokes out the weeds.
  • Chinch bugs love St. Augustine even more than homeowners. Check your lawn regularly for signs of chinch bug or other insect or pathogen invasion. Any yellow patches, dead grass, or grass with shallow roots that pull out easily may require professional help.
  • Ensure the quality of grass growth by fertilizing your lawn in the spring and possibly the fall, depending on the fertilizer you use and your lawn maintenance schedule.

Make the most out of your summer lawn by calling the Orlando lawn care experts at Apex Pest Control at (407) 292-7770 or browse our website for tips. We will be happy to maintain your St. Augustine lawn and keep it looking its very best.

Service beyond
the expected.

The technician was very professional, neat and on time. He inspected my house and found a trail of ants….NO MORE ANTS!! Thank you Apex.
Richard B, Orlando