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AUGUST 2013 NEWSLETTER
 
THE GRASS IS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE...
We've all heard that expression, and think that it is true, but I can assure you, it is not the case. In my 40 years experience in the green industry, this has been the worst season for lawns that I can recall. Although in May and June the lawns looked great, the events up to that point, and to come in July would be devastating. I feel it is important to thoroughly explain why lawns look like they do. We have made recommendations on watering, mowing and additional applications of disease controls, however, there is not a magic bullet. These adjustments will help relieve the stresses, but not immediately repair the damage!

Even my lawn, as well as others in our company, your friends and neighbors have suffered with lawn problems this year. There is no magic, no matter who you are! Even medical professionals can get sick.

 

 
GARY'S LAWN JULY 2013

Gary's lawn July 2013

 


 

Chris's lawn August 2013

 

Bill's lawn July 2013
 

  

It seems the word "RECORD" has been in the weather news all season. "RECORD RAINFALL", "RECORD HEAT", "RECORD HUMIDITY", etc., even loss of life due to the heat was in the news (a little more severe than a stressed lawn), with most cities and towns offering cooling centers. To further complicate matters, some cities and towns restricted water use. To say the least, we were uncomfortable with the prolonged stress and strain of the summer heat, imagine your lawn and landscapes?

 

Let me review the conditions and their affects on ALL of our lawns:

 

** "RECORD RAINFALL" in May and June >

RESULT: Lush, beautiful lawns. However, the excessive rainfall caused the pre-emergent crabgrass and weed controls to wash away and virtually eliminate any prevention, allowing any and all weed seeds to germinate and develop. Weeds thrive in the heat and we didn't see the result of that until July! This was the case in lawns as well as planting beds where a pre-emergent control was applied. Now we are receiving calls about weeds you never had before.

 

** "RECORD HEAT and HUMIDITY" in late June and July> (over 20 days straight!!!)

RESULT: Crabgrass and weeds loved it, and conditions set up the "perfect storm" for turf diseases to flourish. Even with adjustments in our watering and mowing, and additional applications of disease controls, it seemed that Mother Nature got the best of everyone! Lawns did not, and will not show immediate signs of recovery after these adjustments and applications, but at least they helped keep the diseases in check so as not to totally destroy the lawn. Frustrating for all of us to say the least not to get instant gratification.

ADDITIONAL COMPLICATIONS: weed and crabgrass controls could not be applied in the heat; fertilizer rates and blends had to adjusted so as not to burn the turf; scheduling of applications was affected; appearance of brown areas caused lawn owners to panic and pour on the water, causing more disease problems; water restrictions and then lack of water; improper mowing frequency and height; improper watering; and so on... 

 

THE GOOD NEWS: Don' give up, we haven't! 
Rest assured, we are working tirelessly to respond to and resolve your problems, but it will take time. As the summer begins to fade away in late August and September, lawns will rebound quickly and begin to repair themselves, especially if you have a quality lawn program like ours! Some lawns, however, might need to be seeded. We recommend scheduling this service as soon as possible so the seeding can be done in September and early October. We will be offering our lawn program clients a discounted seeding rate this fall and encourage you to reseed with the most disease resistant varieties available in the industry. It is also very important to maintain your lawn with AERATION and LIME every year. Fall is the best time for these services. 
 
LAWNS...


The hot summer has certainly been challenging to us, as well as our lawns.  Weeds and crabgrass love the heat, and unfortunately our lawns consist of "cool season" varieties, and prefer cooler temperatures.  Our lawn technicians have had to delay treating weeds and crabgrass due to the heat.  With the change in season, and cooler temperatures, we will be able to treat most of the weed outbreaks.  Crabgrass is an annual, and will begin to fade, and die off after frost.  The continued balanced applications of fertilizer will promote healing and new grass development, a thicker turf, and deeper roots.  Diseases also prosper during the humid months, which have also been quite challenging to control this season.  Disease controls should be applied if the infestation is severe enough. 

 

GRUBS... Be on the look out for grub activity during late summer and early fall.  The grub is the off spring of the beetle.  The young grubs will feed

WHITE GRUB

on the roots of your lawn, ultimately causing severe damage or loss of the lawn.  Their activity will be most likely evident in sunny, hot exposures.  Signs of grub activity are: loose turf; high populations of birds on the lawn; damaged lawn due to digging by skunks or raccoons.  A few grubs are usually not a problem.  High populations, however, can destroy your lawn quickly!  Again, be on the look out!

 

SEEDING...      Fall is the best time for our turf's recovery, as well as the best time to seed.  If any seeding or renovations need to be done, now would be the time to prepare to get any seeding or lawn installations scheduled as soon as possible, and completed during September and early October!  A simple overseeding, combined with core aeration will upgrade the quality and density of your lawn.  In addition, all of our lawn installations are guaranteed when our "Platinum" lawn program, lime and aeraton are ordered! 

 

AERATION... 

  Fall is the time to aerate your lawn.  Aeration will enhance root development, as well  as allow water, air and nutrients down into the soil and root zone.  Routine aeration will also control thatch and promote healthy turf!  Schedule this important service now!

 

LIME...  Lime is a critical component to the success of your lawn fertilizer program.  By adjusting the pH in the soil, fertilizer is readily used by the turf for optimum health and color.  Lime should be applied annually.

 

WATERING...

Water lawns only when needed. Too much will cause more problems. A little challenging with all the rain we have had. Best rule of thumb is that less is more. Allow the turf to dry out and avoid the constant wetting of the surface.  Over watering can be just as damaging as under watering.  Adjust watering practices according to weather.  Don't be fooled by the cool air temperatures in late August and September.  The sun and wind will cause drying and stress! Be sure to water established lawns in the early morning.  Avoid day and evening watering, which will promote diseases.  Newly seeded lawns need a different watering approach.  The recommendation for newly seeded lawns is to water multiple times, lightly throughout the day, not night.  It is important to keep the seed bed moist!  For sod, it is recommended to water heavily (30-60 minutes) during the day.  This deep watering will penetrate to he soil and roots, as well as cool the sod during the day.

 

MOWING...

 

Keep mower blade(s) sharp, mow regularly, keeping mowing height at 3" until early fall, gradually lower to 2 3/4" to 2 1/2" later in September and October.  Do not allow the lawn to grow too long between mowings.  It is advised to mow regularly so as not to remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at any one time.  Be sure NOT to lower mower height drastically.  It is recommended, when lowering blades that you mow, then drop cutting height and re-mow.  This method will help prevent shocking the lawn.  Also be sure to clean your engine's air filter regularly as well as checking the oil level.  Summer dust can dramatically affect your mower's engine air flow, making it hard to start and reducing the its life.  Grease mower fittings at least every month. 

  
 
 
AUGUST'S RECIPE...

Here are two wonderful corn recipes submitted by Maureen of South Hadley, that can use up some leftover corn on the cob.

BACON CRACKLE CORN BAKE

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
8 ounces sour cream
16 ozs corn off the cob or 2 packages (16 ounce size) frozen whole kernel corn, thawed and drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat stirring occasionally until partially cooked, about 4 minutes. Add onion and cook until bacon is browned, 4-5 minutes. Drain off fat except for 1 tablespoon and set bacon and onion aside. 

 


 Stir flour, salt, pepper and garlic into reserved bacon fat. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly, 30 seconds. Stir in sour cream, corn and 1/3 of bacon and onion mixture. Pour into 1 1/2 quart casserole; sprinkle with remaining bacon onion mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley and chives. 

 

CORN SPOON BREAD 

 

 

1 cup milk

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup shredded Cheddar, divided

1 cup fresh corn or canned corn kernels, drained

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, cornmeal, and salt. Cook

over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened,

about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese, the corn, and the green onion.

Temper the eggs by slowly whisking some of the hot milk mixture into the

beaten eggs. Stir the tempered eggs into the milk mixture. Pour the mixture

into a 1-quart baking dish. Top with pieces of butter and sprinkle with the

red pepper flakes and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 25 to 30

minutes, or until center is set and cheese is lightly browned. Remove from

the oven and serve immediately. 

  
G&H LANDSCAPING'S MANAGEMENT TEAM, AT YOUR SERVICE
  
Gary L. Courchesne, Owner, Mgr.
Landscape/Hardscape/Lighting, Design and Installation
413-532-4888 Ext. 113
  
Bill Golaski, General Mgr.
Lawn Sprinklers and Mowing & Maintenance
413-532-4888 Ext. 115
  
Chris Courchesne, Mgr.
Lawn Care/Fertilizer Programs/Shrub Care Programs/Lawn Installations
413-532-4888 Ext. 114
  
Julie Godin, Office Mgr.
Office
413-532-4888 Ext. 110
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