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Category Archive: Lawn Care

Is Your Florida Lawn Stressed Out? Give it a Break

special2Florida’s semi-tropical climate brings forth rapid growth in many plants, including lawn grasses. Sometimes, however, lawns become stressed from environmental and human factors. As a leader in Tampa lawn care services, we have seen and dealt with every type of lawn stressor out there. Read below to learn how stressors affect Florida lawns and how to prevent some of these stressors from occurring.

  • Moisture: Abundant and long-term rain may pose a major stress for grass, and the fungi associated with moisture oftentimes cause grasses to look ragged and discolored. Excess mulch holds surplus moisture and may harm your yard. Keep mulch to a minimum by aerating your yard frequently.
  • Mowing Height: Many homeowners prefer lawns that resemble well-kept baseball diamonds or golf courses. Short-cropped grasses are not able to photosynthesize as well as grasses with longer blades, and cutting your lawn too close to the ground causes roots to be as shallow as the grass blades are short. By moving your lawnmower’s blade to its highest setting, you will ensure less frequent mowing and keep your grass healthier since it will contain less mulch, will photosynthesize better, and the roots will dig deeper.
  • Fertilizers: When fertilizers are used appropriately, your lawn looks pristine. Many homeowners mistakenly believe that with fertilizers, if a little makes the lawn look nice, a lot will make it look fantastic. Think of your lawn as a teenager: if you gave a teen a hamburger, he would gladly eat it. If you gave him ten hamburgers and told him he had to eat them in one sitting (this is what you are telling your grass to do when you overfertilize), it would make him ill. Fertilizing in the fall before your grass becomes dormant over the winter stimulates growth at a time of year when grass should be storing carbohydrates. With depleted carbohydrates, a lawn is not able to battle diseases and pests rapidly.

Browse the rest of our blogs to discover more tips and tricks on keeping your lawn healthy and vibrant, or call one of our Tampa lawn care specialists at (866) 675-4070.

Nematodes: It’s Time to be the Boss of Your Lawn

summer-lawn-care-guide-1Nematodes are a type of primarily microscopic roundworm present in almost every carbon-based life form in the world, including trees, animals (including humans), and lawns. In fact, if all matter in the world suddenly disappeared and only the nematodes remained, the shapes of almost all marine and land forms would still be discernible. Fortunately, most nematodes are beneficial since they feed on bacteria and fungi. Others, however, are not so lawn friendly. Orlando lawn care experts, Apex, presents some facts on nematodes.

  • The Ectoparasitic Nematode: This species can destroy your lawn quickly since they exist in such high numbers. These nematodes puncture cells within plant tissues, then insert a digestive enzyme that breaks down plant tissue so it can be easily siphoned from the plant for a tasty nematode treat.
  • The Endoparasitic Nematodes: This kind of nematode bores holes into plant roots and physically move in, picking up nutrients the plant brings in through its roots. When their access points are blocked, the roots, and eventually the blades, will die.
  • Evidence: Roots damaged by nematodes are considerably shorter than normal or may appear darker or black because the tissues are dying from lack of nutrition.
  • Contributing Factors: Environmental stressors, such as drought or excessive temperature for an extended length of time, will cause turf infested with parasitic nematodes to appear yellow or brown, wilted or thin, or it may kill large sections of lawn.
  • Fight Back: The nematicides used in the past have proven to be quite ineffective in clinical trials. However, nematodes can be controlled using new technology, such as Nortica and MustGrow Invest. Nortica contains the bacterium Bacillus firmus strain I-1582. This strain enters the plant’s root system and acts as a protective barrier to invading nematodes.

Because nematode invasion is similar in its outward appearance to many other lawn problems, your wisest choice is to contact the experts at Apex Pest Control to determine the correct course of action. Our Orlando lawn care team can be reached at (866) 675-4070.

Florida’s Lawn Saboteurs: Time to Take Control

special2A green, lush lawn is important to most Florida homeowners. The dream is often not possible with the many diseases that can affect lawns and the destruction from yard pests. For proper Orlando lawn care, follow this short list of suggestions.

  • Rhizoctonia Solani: This causes a brown patch fungus that presents during the winter when rain falls for several consecutive days. High humidity, which is typical in Florida, and excessive irrigation will also exacerbate outbreaks of R. solani.
  • Green Leaf Spots: Floridians love St. Augustine grass as much as green leaf spot does. Resembling Rhizoctonia solani in many respects, green leaf spots distinguishes itself in the condition of the leaf: it is not rotted at the base and the blade and base do not appear dark as it would if the R. solani fungus was present.
  • Helminthosporium Leaf Spot: Bermuda grass falls prey to this leaf spot, as do several other warm-season turfgrasses. Thriving on excess moisture, this fungus causes elliptical spots on the lower grass leaves, generally during fall and winter when moisture levels rise. Uncontrolled, these spots migrate to the upper portion of the leaves. Spraying with a fungicide alleviates the symptoms.
  • Pythium Root Rot: This type of problem appears after significant amounts of precipitation occur in a poorly drained area, or if a lawn is overwatered. It affects both the crowns and roots of grasses, and from a distance, gives the lawn a yellow or orange splotchy appearance. Fortunately, this problem is alleviated once the area is drained and the damage is rarely permanent.
  • Critters: Several invertebrates, such as the chinch bug, mole cricket, and sod webworm thrive on specific varieties of turf. These yard pests damage the lawn by destroying roots and leaving a concave surface, or destroy the stem and leaving the yard looking brown and dead. Their damage is extreme and extensive.

Orlando lawn care experts, Apex Pest Control, are familiar with these lawn situations and more. Please contact us if your lawn is not meeting your standards. Our team is trained to deal with any problem your lawn is having, and we would love to assist you in bringing your lawn to its full potential. You can call us at (866) 675-4070 or fill out our contact form.

Fight That Brown Patch Fungus Attacking Your Yard

animal-2800_1280You fertilize, mow, and maintain your lawn regularly, yet one morning, you step outside to be greeted with large brown patches of dead grass. How did this happen? The likely culprit may be Rhizoctonia solani, or brown patch fungus. R. solani is the most damaging disease in grass, affecting primarily St. Augustine, zoysia, and centipede grasses. Read below for signs and symptoms that your lawn may have fallen prey to R. solani and is in need of Orlando lawn treatment.

  • The Perfect Conditions: Like most fungi, R. solani grows in a specific temperature range and thrives in damp conditions. For R. solani, the temperature range is Florida’s typical fall and spring climate when daytime temperatures linger between 60° and 80°F and precipitation increases.
  • Sign of Brown Patch Fungus: Beginning as small, circular, brown spots, the areas increase in breadth, often merging to form irregular patches. Spreading is rapid and may quickly destroy large portions of your yard. The inner circle is brown with a perimeter of yellow grass surrounded by unaffected grass. The yellow grass is easily pulled from the ground and looks as if it is water damaged.
  • Solutions: Treatments should begin as soon as the yard is symptomatic. Pretreatment with a fungicide is not recommended because of fungicide costs and occurrence of chemical tolerance. Therefore, as soon as symptoms arise, treat with a fungicide until grass shows obvious signs of recovery.
  • Better Protection: Proactive yard maintenance may prevent brown patch fungus. Aerate your yard by puncturing the turf at intervals to separate roots, and give the soil a chance to grab nutrients from above. Aerating also helps water drain more quickly, reach deeper into the soil and helps thatch to decompose.

If you diagnose your yard with Rhizoctonia solani, call Apex Pest Control at (866) 675-4070 to bring your lawn back to the healthy green color you expect with a professional application of an Orlando lawn treatment. Our team can formulate a plan to quickly remove all signs of fungus from your yard.

Florida and Her Afternoon Storms: Prep Your Lawn

lightning-583713_1280Florida’s weather is predictably unpredictable. A sunny morning does not indicate sun all day, and many summer ventures are cut short by the afternoon rainstorms here. These short, intense storms may damage fragile new grass or seedlings, or cause major damage to much larger natural and man-made structures. Below are a number of Orlando lawn care tips to keep your lawn better protected from Mother Nature’s fickle forecast.

  • Trim Those Trees: Trees are undoubtedly one of the largest items on your lawn. Inspect your trees and remove any dead branches or twigs. Large limbs may need to be professionally removed, while smaller limbs may require a simple pair of loppers. Removing the dead branches not only spruces up your yard and keeps your trees healthier, it removes potential ammunition for occasional tornadoes and hurricanes.
  • Native is Best: When planting new trees in your yard, keep in mind that local vegetation is better able to withstand the pummeling winds and rains of Florida. Natives often say the safest thing to grab if you are stranded during a hurricane is a palm tree; they are renowned for standing tall and enduring the most damaging winds. Trees planted next to your house are fantastic for beating Florida’s heat, but tall, brittle trees will snap during punishing storms. Choose a shorter, native tree to plant close to your home and the taller trees for farther out in the yard.
  • Think About Projectiles: Potted plants or hanging baskets are easily knocked about during a strong storm. Either bring them inside or securely anchor them to protect the plants, and keep them from becoming missiles that can shatter glass windows and doors.
  • Secure Furniture: Lawn furniture should be moved to a safe location, such as a shed or garage, during a wind- or rainstorm. If you have neither a shed nor garage, pile the furniture together, and bring it inside or place it against the house. Turn the table upside down to keep the wind from picking it up and smashing it against either the house, vehicles, or yard.
  • Wind Chimes can Turn Dangerous: Wind chimes on a pleasant day are a mellifluous garden ornament. In a storm, however, they become an ominous projectile. Bring them inside for the sake of safety.

If you would like to request a visit by one of our Orlando lawn care experts for advice on your lawn, call Apex Pest Control at (866) 675-4070. You can also browse the rest of the Apex Pest Control’s blog for additional lawn care and safety tips for Florida homeowners.

Florida Lawn Destroyer: The Chinch Bug

prettylawnandtreesThe Chinch bug (Blissus insularis) is a form of beetle that adores St. Augustine grass. Their healthy appetite and ability to quickly reproduce make them a serious problem for many Florida lawns. Chinch bugs love dry, sunny lawns, which describes most summer lawns in the state of Florida. If you note your lawn has scraggly islands of St. Augustine surrounded by a sea of dead grass, but you have been watering your lawn regularly, you may have a chinch bug invasion. Below is a short list of how to recognize if your lawn is a dinner table for chinch bugs and requires an Orlando lawn treatment to get rid of them.

  • Look at your neighbors’ lawns, nearby deserted tracts of grass, golf courses, or croplands. If the grass has a bedraggled appearance with large brown spots, your lawn may be next. Chinch bugs fly and can attack nearby patches of grass in record time.
  • On a sunny day, go outside and stand on your lawn. Slowly drag your foot through the grass or soil and observe any chinch bugs that may crawl across your foot.
  • Cut both ends off a coffee can and place the can on your lawn. Press down hard to drive the coffee can into the ground approximately 2-3 inches. Fill the can with soapy water and wait five minutes or so. If you have chinch bugs in your lawn, they will float to the surface of the water within the can.
  • If you suspect chinch bugs, but are unsure, take a picture of your lawn, wait a day or two, and take a second photo. Compare the two photos to see if your lawn has changed significantly. Check any areas that show a strong line of demarcation between yellow spots and green grass. These are also indicative of chinch bugs.
  • Remember, if your lawn is not St. Augustine, it is not necessarily chinch bug-free. While they prefer St. Augustine, they are also fond of zoysia, centipede, bahia, bermuda, and other grasses.

Call Apex Pest Control with any questions or concerns about chinch bugs or any other lawn or home pest problems at (866) 675-4070. Our lawn care specialists will be happy to help in assessing your lawn problems and applying the best possible Orlando lawn treatment to rid your lawn of any type of bugs.

10 Tips on How to Create a Beautiful Yard in Florida

7F2A3895One of the cool things about having a home built for you is that you get to make your lawn, shrubs, and flowers look exactly the way you want. Of course, as with many endeavors in life, you’re likely to be happier with what you come up with if you plan before jumping in. If you feel overwhelmed, contact the Orlando lawn care experts at Apex. While you ponder, consider these ten tips for creating a beautiful yard in Florida:

  1. Figure out the grass first. It’s usually best to decide up front how much of your property you want to dedicate to grass. Be sure to take into consideration how much effort and time you’re willing to dedicate to maintaining that lawn.
    1. Apex Tip: This site can help you figure out the right plant for the right place: Right Plant, Right Place
  2. Choose your plants and flowers. When starting from scratch, decide if you want the plants, flowers and grass to all need the same amount of watering; that cuts down on both maintenance and choices.
    1. Apex Tip: Use this guide to help you pick plants and flowers for your yard.
  3. Choose your grass type. There are several different varieties of grasses that grow well in Florida, but each has different positive and negative attributes. Try to pick the one that suits you and the amount of work to keep it looking beautiful.
    1. Apex Tip: Here is a great site from the University of Florida that can help you pick the best type of grass for your location: Your Florida Lawn.
  4. Aerate the lawn. Right from the get-go, it’s important to get into the habit of aerating your lawn. Doing so ensures that fresh air is available to the small life forms and the microbes under the soil.
    1. Apex Tip: Need information on how to aerate your lawn? Here is an informative site that can help you get started: DIY Aeration
  5. Figure out the best chemicals to use. Whether it’s fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides, talk to neighbors and Orlando lawn care experts (hello Apex!) to find out what will work best for your particular yard before buying anything.
    1. Apex Tip: The University of Florida has complied a list of chemicals best for your type of lawn: What Chemicals to Use on Your Florida Lawn
  6. Use fertilizer. Because we live in a semi-tropical part of the world, it is essential that you use fertilizer on your grass, shrubs, and flowers. Going without will yield haggard looking plants that won’t make you proud.
    1. Apex Tip: Need help figuring out what and when in regards to fertilizer? Talk with our lawn care specialists to get the best tips!
  7. Establish a good schedule for watering. Once you have your grass, flowers and shrubs in place, keep them happy by giving them the right amount of water.
    1. Apex Tip: Can’t decide when to water your lawn and for how long? Here is a site with great information: How to Water Your Florida Lawn
  8. Mow your lawn. The grass must be mowed, or it will become a jungle. Generally, it’s better to mow it at a reasonable height, rather than cutting short, and do it more often.
    1. Apex Tip: Different kind of grass calls for different heights and schedules, in regards to mowing. Here is your guide: Mowing Grass 101
  9. Apply ample amounts of TLC. Lawns and gardens that get lots of attention tend to wind up looking the best. Over time, learn to look for signs of thirst, infestations, or other problems so that they can be addressed right away before things get out of hand.
  10. Sit back and enjoy. Don’t forget to go out and admire your planning and handiwork!

These are just a few tips to help you create a beautiful Florida lawn. For more advice and expert assistance, contact the Orlando lawn care professionals at Apex at (866) 675-4070. We can help you get the lawn of your dreams, and keeping you proud of it all year long.

6 Tips for Properly Watering Your Florida Lawn

7F2A3895Well, spring has sprung, and now we’re running fast into summer, which means homeowners will be ramping up efforts to keep their lawns looking lush and happy. But how much is enough, or too much, or too little? It can get confusing here in Florida because of the unpredictable weather, and because unlike us humans, your lawn won’t knock on the door and ask for a drink of water when thirsty, or make that choking sign if it’s had too much.

To get the best expert advice around in regards to Orlando lawn care, contact the professionals at Apex. In the meantime, here are six tips that, if followed, should help you apply just the right amount of water to your lawn:

  1. Learn to Read the Signs of a Thirsty Lawn: When your grass needs to be watered, it will start to take on a blue-gray color, before turning brown. Also, if you take a casual stroll across your lawn, and see your footprints, that’s another sign your grass is begging for some water.
  2. Start Keeping Track of How Much Rain Falls on Your Yard: They sell rain gauges, so try putting one in your yard where you’re sure it will be accurate, and then follow the suggestions on grass seed packages for your grass type. Also, note that Florida law requires that irrigation systems have a rain sensor to stop watering if it rains.
  3. Adjust Watering to Reflect the Season: Your lawn needs a lot more water in the summer than in winter. Start to add more as spring rolls into summer and gradually reduce in the fall.
  4. Choose the Right Grass and Plants: When you buy grass seed or plants for your yard, try to choose the kinds that don’t require so much water to thrive.
  5. Get and Use a Rain Barrel: A rain barrel is any kind of bucket, bin, or any other sort of watertight container that collects rain water when it rains. Use that water to irrigate your lawn during dry spells. It’ll help save money on your water bill.
  6. Find Out What Type of Grass You Have: Water needs vary greatly between different types of grass. You’ll have a hard time figuring out  a watering schedule if you don’t know what type of grass you have.

Giving your lawn the right amount of water is crucial if you want that lush green look that is so prized in our area. For more Orlando lawn care tips, or to get help in making your lawn look its best, call the lawn care experts at Apex at (866) 675-4070. Your lawn will thank you for it.

Your How-To Guide to Buying and Installing a Lawn Sprinkler System

city-87343_1280For many people, the hassle of having to set out and move hoses and sprinklers, all while remembering to do it all when the lawn needs it, makes installing an automatic sprinkler system worth the cost. What many people may not realize is that the cost of installing such a system can be reduced dramatically if you’re willing to install it yourself. The cost and difficulty in doing so depends mostly on how big your yard is, and how sophisticated you want the system to be, but the overall approach is the same: after deciding what you want, consider your yard (draw a picture, including shrubs), and then go look at sprinkler systems for sale at your local home improvement store—they’re sold as a kit.

If you’d like some lawn care tips, call the professionals at Apex at (866) 675-4070. We can tell you everything you need to know about Orlando lawn care and help you get the lawn of your dreams.

  • Get into Your Zone: Generally, different parts of a home’s property requires different types of watering devices. Pop-up sprinklers are mostly used in the yard, and high-rise heads are used to water shrubs and other major plants. Bubblers, or tiny spray heads, are used where flowers grow to prevent damaging delicate petals. You need to figure out where all the lines and sprinklers should go, or take the easy way out and send a picture of your yard to one of the kit makers. They’ll send you back a kit based on the unique layout of your yard.
  • Formulate a Plan: Before you start digging, you need to know where everything is going to go, where buried utility lines are, and what the local zoning rules require (about an eighteen inch depth for supply lines). You need to establish how and where the system will hook into your home’s water supply, and if you’re going to have something sophisticated, you should an idea of how you plan to tie into your home’s electrical grid.
  • Time to Dig: Digging trenches is not fun. It’s best to rent a trenching tool, but lay down your path with lawn paint first. It’s harder than it looks to dig straight trenches by just eyeballing it.
  • Time to Lay the System: You might want to do some research on plumbing to make sure you get your pipe and sprinklers connected so they won’t leak. Also, you may want to consider a professional when it comes time to hook into your home’s plumbing and electrical systems.

Orlando lawn care is a 365-day-a-year job, requiring specialized tools and treatments. Take the guesswork out of lawn care–contact Apex and let us take care of your lawn. Call us today at (866) 675-4070. We’re always here to help.

Four Lawn Care Tips for the Lazy Homeowner

Not everyone is all gung-ho about doing lawn chores. A recent Consumer Reports study found that one-third of people would rather visit their in-laws than work on their lawn, and almost twenty percent said they’d rather go to the dentist. Those are not good numbers. If you are among those who prefer to avoid lawn chores, call the Tampa lawn care professionals at Apex because we love working on lawns and would love to do some of your chores for you. In any case, here are some tips for those homeowners looking to keep their lawn looking nice with a minimal amount of effort:

  • Save Time Watering—a brown look in the winter is not always a bad thing, at least regarding grass. It just means your lawn has entered a dormant stage and is conserving nutrients. Skip watering in the winter unless you are experiencing a drought.. Also, consider putting in an automatic sprinkler system for the rest of year.
  • Fertilize Less Frequently—most lawns are able to thrive with no more than a couple of applications of fertilizer a year; a good rule of thumb is Memorial Day and Labor Day. Both are ideal times because they occur during a period when the grass is waking up, and just before it goes to sleep again. Of course in Florida, because it gets warm so early, most homeowners can do the first application a week or two early if they want, so they won’t have to think about it again for six months.
  • Mow Less Often—most domestic grasses can thrive with up to half of the blade removed during mowing, so feel free to let the lawn grow to about five and a half inches in height before you mow it. On the other hand, you really need to make sure your mower blades are really sharp, otherwise the grass tips will get ripped off instead of being sliced cleanly, which will result in brown tips and an unsightly lawn.
  • Mulch, Don’t Bag the Grass Trimmings—get a mulching attachment for your mower so that finely cut clippings will fall back onto the lawn below. That will save you time because you won’t have to rake or bag the cut grass. This also adds nutrients back into the soil, reducing the need for artificial fertilizer by up to thirty three percent.

Of course, the most obvious solution for any homeowner wishing to avoid lawn chores is to get somebody else to do it for you. Apex would be happy to be your Tampa lawn care company by providing lawn pest control. Call us at 800-929-2847 and we’ll send someone over to set up a plan with you and get your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.

Service beyond
the expected.

The tech was exactly on time and very friendly not to mention extremely knowledgeable! He answered all my questions and was very professional.
Heather F, Orlando