Drought Stress is a condition that usually occurs during the summer months when periods of high heat and reduced water-fall take their toll on turfgrass. Initially it usually begins along edges of driveways and sidewalks where the combination of the above factors and the surrounding concrete or blacktop aid in the loss of moisture to those areas. While turfgrasses are very resilient and will usually recover from moderate periods of stress, regular watering during extended dry periods are crucial to preventing serious damage from drought stress.
Mole Damage is becoming a more prevalent problem in our area today. Moles are carnivores and prefer mostly insects, grubs, centipedes, spiders, and earthworms they find in the soil. Signs of mole activity shows itself as a discharged mounded soil trail through a lawn, which is caused as the moles push soil out of a hole while looking for food or a mate. Their streamlined bodies are covered by a thick, velvety fur that is gray to blue-gray. They have large thick-clawed forepaws, which they use as their digging tools. Although moles have very poor eyesight, they have excellent hearing and sense of smell. They also are extremely sensitive to vibrations, which they detect through nerve endings in their snouts and their tails (this is one reason that mole activity around road or home construction sites may increase). Moles never hibernate, so they must find food constantly. Moles are active 24 hours a day. Because they digest a complete meal roughly every 4 hours, they eat for 4 hours, then sleep the next 4 hours, and so on. They have specialized teeth—large pointed incisors—that are ideal for helping them catch and eat soft-bodied soil dwellers such as worms and grubs. Because of these teeth moles cannot chew and eat poisoned peanuts, gobs of chewing gum, and the multitude of hard objects that are often suggested as baits. Contact our office and we can suggest the best method for ridding yourself of these damaging pests.
Mower Scorch is a condition that occurs when heat and drought conditions are present on a lawn that is ridden on by heavy equipment. Once the turf receives moisture, areas that were not traversed by the machines will green up quickly while those that were ridden over do not. The weight of the machine, coupled with the stress, cause the grass to be “crushed” beneath it. This results in a green lawn with brown streaks running throughout it. Most mower scorch will recover with regular watering.
Mushrooms sometimes called toadstools, are the reproductive (fruiting) structures of some kinds of fungi. Most fungi in lawns are beneficial because they decompose organic matter, thereby releasing nutrients that are then available for plant growth. Mushrooms found in lawns often develop from buried scraps of construction lumber, dead tree roots, or other organic matter. These mushrooms usually are harmless to grasses, but some people consider them unsightly or want to get rid of them because young children play in the area. Fungi generally survive in soil for years and only produce fruiting structures when conditions are favorable, such as after periods of prolonged wet weather. This is why during the spring, when rain is prevalent, mushrooms are common. Since mushrooms are merely the fruiting bodies of fungi, removing them does not kill the underground mycelia from which they are growing. That will only occur with time as the source below decomposes.
Vole Damage is often mistaken for mole damage. A key difference in the two is that where mole damage is the pushing up of dirt into mounds along the surface, vole damage is primarily found in the thatch layer and does not involve the dirt but rather the thatch. Typically, voles are brown or gray, though many color variations exist. Voles have beady eyes, small ears, blunt head and short legs. It digs shallow tunnels in the thatch, creating maze-like tunnels in the turf. This damage is commonly seen early in spring, as Voles venture out for food during the winter months when snow is still covering the turf. As they burrow through the thatch, these mazes are created. Because they are always subject to predators, they must use this snow cover to protect themselves from hawks and other predators. Repairing this is fairly easy. Lightly raking the excess thatch up and dropping some seed into those area during the spring will quickly repair any unsightly damage.