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Timely Tips Newsletter
July 2010
In This Issue
Controlling Summer Pests
Lawn Fungus
The History of Lawns
Sprinkler watering lawn
Controlling Summer Pests
Your poor lawn is not only trying to survive the Summer heat, but also insects which can cause severe damage.We are in the season of bluegrass billbugs, grubs, ticks, ants, sod webworms, chinch bugs, and various other unwanted pests. The potential harm they can bring varies from chewing on your grass, to wilting, thinning and yellowing the blades, to killing your lawn, to biting you, your family and your pets!


Unusual bird activity on your lawn. If suddenly there's a lot of birds on your lawn - THEY'RE EATING SOMETHING!

Suddenly appearing brown spots. This is where it gets a little tricky, be careful not to mistake an insect problem for a fungus or drought problem and vice versa!

My Jonathan Green Pest Kill controls a wide variety of lawn insects including grubs and deer ticks with the fast acting, patent pending technology of DG Pro. This advanced technology not only kills pests on the soil surface, but also below the surface.
Lawn Fungus
Most fungus damage occurs from May through September. Fungi are microscopic, thread-like organisms and when the environment is favorable and a susceptible host is present, disease develops, much like in the human body. The spores of these parasitic forms of plant life are spread by wind, air, water, animals, people, insects and lawn mowers. While lawn diseases are not always easy to diagnose, spots on leaves, leaf color, growth characteristics, time of year and temperature help to narrow the list down to a few possibilities, allowing proper treatments.


Summer Patch  - July/August - yellow patches 6 - 12 inches big, forming rings around
healthy grass

Dollar Spot  - June-Oct. -
2 - 3 inches of straw colored patches with bleached centers & orange borders like a silver dollar

Brown Patch  - July/August - patches of discolored, wilting, and dead grass

If your lawn has a fungus, there is hope. My Jonathan Green Lawn Fungus Control controls over 20+ diseases, including the few mentioned above. If your lawn has a fungus history, it is a good idea to  apply Lawn Fungus Control as soon as possible to inhibit the inevitable spread of fungus through your lawn. A preventative application will help the appearance of your lawn through the summer; once the fungus hits, you will have to apply more Lawn Fungus Control. Lawn Fungus Control should be reapplied every 3-4 weeks.

As Summer blazes on and many areas are experiencing drought conditions, be sure to pay attention to any watering restrictions in your area. If your lawn has turned brown and you are unable to water it, don't despair! Your lawn has gone dormant, and with proper care it can return to it's green state, even growing new leaves, once it receives ample water again. If you've planted drought resistant grass varieties and took good care of your lawn in the Spring, if your lawn remains dormant for 4 - 6 weeks without watering, it can still recover. Take extra care with your "sleeping" lawn to help it's ability to recover when "nap-time" is over. Try to minimize traffic on your lawn. Heavy foot traffic may kill the already stressed grass and cause bare spots in the lawn. Do not add fertilizer to a dormant lawn, since this will only weaken your grass more. Lastly, don't water your lawn enough to bring it out of dormancy only to allow it to slip back into dormancy, as this depletes the nutrients stored in the grass and will make it harder for it to recover.
The History of Lawns...
House with lawn displaying American flag
As we just celebrated our history and heritage on the 4th, let's look at the history of lawns in America. The first signs of 'grass seed' or other European native plants arrived in this country from European settlers sending it over unknowingly from their clothing, crates of imported goods or with hay or straw from farm animals as they established settlements in the land.  

Most of the land in Europe and America was used for agricultural purposes to make a living.  Old medieval castles kept trees clear and grasses at lower heights with livestock grazing so guards could see any approaching hostile visitors.  Later in England, as wealth was accumulated, there was an increasing demand for a more manicured lawn for their country estates.  The idea of sheep grazing on the land to keep the grass cut short was not attractive to the English noblemen.  If you had a lawn you had disposable income, a status symbol, showing you appreciated the finer things in life.  Funny, in today's world we feel the same as neighbors compare who has, "The Best Lawn in Town!"  We still are trying to "keep-up-with-the-Jones".    

As the interest in sport and recreation grew, the wealthy then wanted to add hunting grounds, cricket fields and lawn bowling sights on their estates too.  A well-kept lawn continued to be associated with success, order, and upward mobility.  Hiring grounds keepers to cut the lawn with scythes was expensive.  During the Industrial Revolution, factory workers started to play lawn bowling games as a form of entertainment.  
European villages where being designed with "commons", with specific beautification areas to stroll, sit or bowl as the idea of a town or city park came about.  The park gave a place for people to relax and enjoy a few moments of peace and tranquility.  Today there are parks everywhere from small towns to large cities all across the world.

In the late 1800's when Americans traveled to Europe, they liked the idea of bringing a "lawn" back to the states.  Woodrow Wilson had sheep grazing at the White House to keep the lawn looking good.  However, the real reason was to spur the production of wool which was in short supply during the war.  He auctioned off the wool from his sheep to donate to the Red Cross.  It wasn't easy to establish a lawn in America; the local general store did not have grass seed on the shelves.  The moist, mild, climate of England made growing lawns there much easier than the hot, humid areas in America.  

The suburban population sprawl of new homes over the last 100 years required many new lawns to surround quaint little houses along with animal pens and gardens.  The invention of the lawn mower allowed small areas to be cut without using big farm equipment.  Gasoline powered mowers became available around 1920.  If you used to use sheep to mow your yard, now you had a lawn mower, another status symbol!   America's love affair with the lawn had begun.   Consistent mowing looked great and reduced weed populations.  

How could we forget the impact that golf had in America as the Scottish immigrants brought this phenomenon here.  The first golf course was built in New York in 1888.   
The first improvement in the quality of lawn grasses through breeding was really done by Dr. C. Reed Funk of Rutgers University in the 1960's.  Selecting some germ plasma from Central Park, he named his first grass "Manhattan" it was a Perennial Ryegrass.  In the next 30 years Dr. Funk contributed hundreds of new varieties of cool-season grasses for us to enjoy.  As we couple these new grasses with modern lawn fertilizers and chemistry to control insects, weeds and fungus, we strive for our "little piece of heaven", our own lawn that we can walk through in bare feet, have a picnic or play ball.  Today lawns are one of the biggest crops in America and the rest is history!
When the drought is over and Fall brings cool relief, repair your lawn to get it ready for next year. Fill in bare spots with grass seed that is drought and disease resistant and contains endophytes for natural insect resistance. Growing and maintaining a healthy lawn before Summer comes again is the best way for your lawn to beat the dog days of Summer!

Stay cool!
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