The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) reported today that the unusually warm weather that the country has been experiencing has posed a challenge for many homeowners. PLANET is the international organization representing lawn care and landscape professionals worldwide.
With the warm weather, plants are growing and blooming ahead of schedule while, at the same time, the weather is bringing out a large number of pests, molds, and fungi, and the accelerated growth of weeds.
“Some of the problems may not be discernable to the eye of a homeowner,” explains Gerald J. Grossi, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, president of PLANET. “The best way to eliminate lawn and landscape problems now is to have a professional take an inventory of your yard and identify areas where there are potential problems.”
Homeowners are already reporting problems with fleas. “In some areas, fleas have been particularly bad this year,” Grossi reported. “And ticks are expected to be on the increase this year as well.”
An increase in the number of ticks, particularly deer ticks that can carry Lyme and other diseases, could mean an increase in Lyme disease. PLANET, the Centers for Disease Control, and several other organizations have teamed up on a project to minimize ticks. “Many landscape professionals have programs to eradicate ticks in your yard,” said Grossi.
Tips from PLANET include the following:
Remove debris which may harbor ticks and other pests in your yard. Keep woodpiles, grass clippings, and composts away from your house.
Check your lawn and landscape for pests by digging in small areas of your garden beds and lawn to see what is living below the surface. Look for grubs, which are worm-like larvae but should not be confused with earthworms, which are very beneficial for your lawn and garden. Check tree trunks to see if there is insect activity. Evergreen trees are particularly susceptible to fungi and disease. Large numbers of ants on trees and shrubs indicates aphid infestation. Look for areas in trees and shrubs where leaves or branches are dying or turning brown.
Also check your lawn for weeds and remove them before they grow further. Once they take hold, it can be very difficult to effectively remove them from the yard and they will interfere with grass growth. The healthier the grass, the fewer weeds as the grass will form a thick mat and choke out weeds. Since the environmental benefits of grass outweigh weeds, it’s important to remove the weeds and allow the grass to fill in.
Remove dead limbs which may harbor molds or fungus. These can cause stress to the plant which, in turn, can cause disease or pests to settle in.
Look for mold and fungus on your plants. This will be evident in spores on leaves, stems and branches. Plants such as roses are very susceptible to mold and fungus and will die if not treated.
Call a professional to be sure you’re on the right track and have a proactive plan in place. Professional landscape and lawn care experts will be able to quickly spot problem areas that homeowners may not otherwise find.