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Kenley Sweet
Kenley Sweet
Kenley Sweet's Blog

5 Common Pests That May Be Destroying Your Alabama Lawn
5 Common Pests That May Be Destroying Your Alabama Lawn

Bugs are a part of life - especially in the warm heat of South Alabama. We work to keep them out of our homes, but keeping them out of our lawns is harder. After all - that’s where they live, right?

 

There are a few pests in Alabama that dig in and destroy your lush, green grass - and they’re more common than you think. If your lawn is drooping, dry, or even dying, you could have a serious infestation that needs treatment. Read on to learn about 5 common pests that may be destroying your lawn - and what to do about it. 

 

Spittle Bugs

 

When you look at your grass, do you see thin red lines down the middle of the blades? Are there large patches of foam at the base? If so, you may have a spittlebug problem.

 

Spittlebugs are common pests in lawns that have Bermuda or centipede grass. These small insects resemble leafhoppers -- they’re about ⅓ inch long, with tented wings in a V-shape. Those big foamy patches on your grass protect the babies from pesticides and predators until they reach adulthood. That’s when they use their piercing mouths to feed on a range of plants, from grass to ornamental perennials. 

 

Heavy infestations are rare, but they do happen - and they can cause yellow, curling, or dead patches of grass in your lawn. Keep a regular mowing and de-thatching schedule to encourage a healthy lawn. Spittlebugs thrive in wet, humid conditions, so avoid over-watering your grass. If seen, remove spittlebugs by hand or spray them with a powerful stream of water - that foamy coat protects young spittlebugs from pesticides.

 

Mole Crickets

 

Those crickets chirping outside of your window aren’t just keeping you awake - they may be destroying your lawn, too.

 

Mole crickets live underground for most of the year, but they come out in droves during the spring and fall to mate and wreak havoc on Alabama lawns. These noisy pests dig tunnels underneath your grass, destroying the shallow roots. They also eat turf, including the shoots and roots.

 

There are a few ways to tell if you have mole crickets before they damage your yard. Small tunnels on the lawn, patches of dry or dead grass, or a host of predators digging for grubs all indicate a mole cricket infestation. If you still aren’t sure, try pouring soapy dishwater on a 4’ square foot of your lawn. If you have crickets, they should float to the top for air.

 

The problem is that by the time most of their damage can be seen - typically in mid to late summer - mole crickets have retreated underground until the fall, so proactive treatment is essential. A targeted pesticide during late winter - early spring is the best way to treat a mole cricket problem.

 

Fire Ants

 

If you live in South Alabama, you’ve surely felt that intense stinging that comes from a fire ant bite. Though the name comes from their distinctive red color, it’s a pretty fair description of their fiery bite, too.

 

Fire ants aren’t just a nuisance to your family - they can also cause real damage to your yard. Ants don’t eat your grass like other pests, but they amass large colonies on your lawn that can damage the root system and smother healthy grass. If you have several large fire ant beds on your lawn, you can bet they’re disrupting the delicate balance beneath.

 

The best way to combat fire ants is with a targeted pesticide spray over your entire lawn.

 

Chinch Bugs

 

Chinch bugs love to feed on the warm summer grasses in Baldwin County, especially varieties of St. Augustine grass. These tiny lawn-dwellers are only ⅙’ long - smaller than your pinky nail - but they can inflict damage on your lawn.

 

Chinch bugs are multi-taskers. They use their pointed mouths to suck nutrients from your grass while injecting it with poison at the same time. Both the adults and the larvae feed on turf and they’re most active during the mid-summer months. They often cluster together in sunny areas to feed on grass and lay eggs.

 

Chinch bugs wipe out a lawn quickly. If you have a chinch bug infestation, your lawn may turn yellow, then brown, then begin to die in large patches during the summer. Pesticides are the best form of attack against chinch bugs, so be sure to call your exterminator if you think you have an infestation. Regular mowing and dethatching - especially if you have St. Augustine grass - is a good way to protect your lawn from chinch bugs.

 

Grubs

 

If you’ve ever seen a lawn grub, your first response was probably something like “oh, yuck!”.

 

Grubs are the larval form of a variety of scarab beetles like Japanese beetles, June “bugs”, or European chafers. These tiny pests are white, often oozy, and curl into c-shaped balls in the open air. Buried in the soil, they feast on grassroots and organic matter, causing large sections of your lawn to die.

 

A long, cyclical life cycle makes lawn grubs a problem year-round. Around August, beetles emerge from the soil to feed on your plant life and lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch in October, grubs begin feeding on your lawn. They hunker down during the winter but awaken in the spring to feed on your grass and turn into beetles, starting the cycle again.

 

To determine if you have a grub problem, keep an eye on your lawn in the spring. If sections of it don’t turn green, you may have grubs underneath. Lift a section of your turf - if it rolls up like a carpet or the grass doesn’t have roots, you probably have a grub infestation. You may also notice birds, raccoons and armadillos digging in your yard.

 

Grubs are most vulnerable when they’re young, so pesticides work best in late summer or early fall. A professional lawn service company like Krob Landscape can treat your grub problem and use prevention products to keep your lawn grub-free throughout the year.

 

No matter what type of pest is destroying your lawn, the best way to handle it is by contacting a professional. At Krob Landscape, our professional lawn specialists are trained in diagnosing and treating insect damage with the industry’s best pest control products. If you have an Alabama pest wreaking havoc on your lawn, contact us today!


Lawn Care, Lawn Maintenance, Landscaping - What’s the Difference?
Lawn Care, Lawn Maintenance, Landscaping - What’s the Difference?

So much goes into maintaining your yard. From mowing your grass to trimming your trees to planting new flower beds, keeping your outdoor spaces healthy and beautiful can be a full-time job. Many property owners turn to professionals for help. But with so many companies available, it can be hard to know which to choose!

 

It’s not always enough to know what you need. Some lawn companies call themselves lawn care specialists. Others market as lawn maintenance companies, while still others provide services in landscaping. To muddy the waters even further, many of them provide the same services! You know you need help with your lawn, so what’s the difference? We’re here to make it clear. Read on to learn about the differences between lawn care, lawn maintenance, and landscaping.

 

Lawn Care

 

As the name suggests, lawn care involves taking steps to improve and maintain a property’s lawn. Lawn care companies specialize in creating lush, green grass that is attractive, healthy and resistant to drought or disease. In this way, you can think of lawn care as caring for a property’s lawn without dramatically changing its structure or design. In fact, one of the defining features of lawn care is that you are caring for a lawn or turf that is already there.

 

Common lawn care services include seeding, fertilizing, performing pest control, aeration, and others. For this reason, lawn care specialists need to be highly experienced and, depending on your state, licensed to apply chemicals. Krob Landscape provides expert service in lawn care including weed and pest control as well as nutrient/water management.

 

Lawn Maintenance

 

The difference between lawn maintenance and lawn care is subtle, yet important. Lawn maintenance also involves improving and caring for an existing yard, but it includes services to maintain the entire landscape year-round (rather than just the turf). These often include things like mowing, trimming, edging and weed eating.

 

Somewhat confusingly, many lawn maintenance companies include lawn care services. It makes sense - a well-maintained exterior includes an attractive and healthy lawn, so maintenance companies often take care of both. For example, Krob Landscape provides total lawn packages that include turf management as well as full-scale lawn maintenance.

 

Landscaping

 

Unlike lawn care or lawn maintenance, landscaping involves the creation of new outdoor spaces through construction, planting, and design. Landscapers focus on creating outdoor designs that complement, improve, and functionalize your home’s exterior. There are two main categories of landscaping: softscaping and hardscaping.

 

Softscaping involves the live elements of your landscape - plants, shrubs, trees, grass, and other vegetation. Landscapers use these components to create vibrant outdoor areas full of color and life. Seasonal planting, flower bed designs, and the addition of trees or shrubs are common examples of softscaping.

 

In contrast, hardscaping uses man-made materials to improve the look and function of your home’s yard. Walkways, patios, retaining walls, driveways, and boulders are commonly used in hardscaping a property. Hardscaping can be done to up your curb appeal, create outdoor spaces for entertaining or relaxation, or improve the use and function of an area.

 

Although softscaping and hardscaping are different, both are necessary to create a well-rounded landscape, and most landscaping companies offer both. Krob Landscape offers a full range of landscaping services to design and create a pleasing outdoor space you can enjoy for years to come.

 

Ultimately, which lawn company you choose is up to you. Whether you need lawn care, lawn maintenance, or full landscaping services, knowing what is provided by each will help you make a decision to fit your needs.

 

No matter what your lawn needs, Krob Landscape can help! Our expert staff can assist you with turf care, lawn maintenance, landscaping, and more. Visit our services page for more info and contact us today!


Everything You Need to Know About French Drains
Everything You Need to Know About French Drains

Do you find yourself with a soggy yard after a hard rain? Even worse, do those first drops make you run for the shop vac to dry out a flooded basement or garage? If so, you have a drainage problem, and a french drain may be the solution. But before you start picturing croissants and funny mustaches, read on to find out everything you need to know about french drains.

 

What Is A French Drain?

 

A french drain isn't French at all. It was invented by an American named Henry French in 1859 when he noticed that farmland was destroyed by too much standing water. It's primarily used to redirect surface water and groundwater away from an area. This prevents flooding, runoff, and pooling water from damaging your yard or home. It can also distribute water (like for a septic system) or relieve ground pressure behind a retaining wall.

 

The concept is relatively simple. It's done by digging a trench and inserting a perforated pipe along the bottom. Gravel is spread over the top to filter water down, and the pipe then guides it to a better outlet. There are two main types of french drains. Shallow Drains are dug approximately two feet from the surface and are best for fixing excessive surface water in your yard. Deep Drains are dug much deeper and placed around the perimeter of your home to help keep your basement or cellar dry during heavy rain. You can also install a french drain in the interior of your home.

 

Do I need a french drain?

 

If you need a french drain, there are virtually no other solutions that will fix the problem. Only you can decide if you need a drainage solution. But a french drain may be needed if:

 

  • Your yard is sticky and spongy after rain or has a permanent damp spot
  • Your basement or garage is wet after a heavy rain
  • Your driveway is constantly washed-out
  • You have a mold or mildew problem in the lower levels of your home

 

Can I Install My Own French Drain?

 

Hardware stores and intense DIYers will tell you that you can install a french drain yourself. But letting a professional do the work is always the best option for drainage solutions. A professional will have the tools and knowledge to find the right angle and depth, place the drain in the right place, and do the dirty work. And when properly installed, french drains can last for decades without needing maintenance.

 

Krob Landscaping can give you a perfect french drain to solve your flooding problems - while saving you the back pain that comes from hours of trench digging.

 

Rain cleans the air, fills rivers and streams, allows plants to grow - it's a beautiful resource that we can't live without. But it can be hard to see the beauty in it if all that water is turning your home and yard into a swamp. If you think you may need a french drain, contact us for an evaluation! We can provide a variety of draining solutions to help keep your home and yard dry even in the strongest storms.


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