Pest Issues that affect your lawn by Seamus Dillon

For those of us that have properties to maintain in Muskegon and Ottawa counties, there is a new pest called, “hemlock woolly adelgid or HWA”. This is a tiny insect and feeds on the sap of the hemlock trees. These small creatures can kill a hemlock in only 4 years. The best way to recognize an attack by this pest is to look for a white cottony mass attached to the twigs at the base of the needles. It is best to check with your local Landscape expert for more help or proper diagnosis or go to www.michigan.gov/HWA #ihatepests

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Where did this Fungi come from? by Seamus Dillon

There are two general ways this can happen. Primarily Fungi visit our landscape beds and lawns due to weather conditions. Secondarily, however the lack of nutrients, organic matter, air and water proportioned in the proper percentages can accelerate the Fungi. Lately in Western Michigan, we have had ideal conditions for Fungi to grow. The best way to combat this and keep your expensive landscape protected is to use protective treatments that prevent Fungi to grow. Also, it is best to keep the immune system of the tree, shrub or plant as healthy as possible. Insect infestation can hurt the immune system as well causing the susceptibility of a disease. Overall it is best to take all of this into consideration when caring for your lawn. #Fungitakesover

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How much mulch do I really need? By Seamus Dillon

Well, first we need to determine if it is best to use bark mulch or dyed wood chips. It really depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you simply want to suppress weeds and have your landscape look new all the time, then likely you’ll want bark chips spread twice per year. The first time to lay them would be early spring and then again in early fall. This can get expensive however. An alternative that can look nice all year is to use Premium hardwood bark mulch. There are mixed reviews on the best time to spread it, but overall it will decompose faster and has many more nutrients for your shrubs and plants. Typically, a 2 to 3-inch base is sufficient, then each year an inch to spruce your landscape beds are really all you need. #barkmulch

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Over watering your lawn can encourage mosquitoes? by Seamus Dillon

If you have many dry spots in your lawn and assume a simple increase in watering will solve all your problems, you will want to be careful. If you water too much and too fast, you could cause water to pool. When temperatures cool just a bit from the dog days of summer, this could encourage significant mosquito breeding. Mosquito larvae typically is on the surface of standing water, even as little as a quarter of an inch. #ihatemosquitoes

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Are grass clippings good for your lawn? By Seamus Dillon

If you mow your lawn every two weeks, then likely you have piles of grass clippings scattered around your lawn. If you mowed carefully with some strategy perhaps you have a few large clumps in specific areas of your lawn. Many studies show that it is actually better to leave the clippings and not remove them. The grass actually contains the necessary nutrients it needs to stay healthy. You will save on fertilizer, water if you use irrigation and time raking. The catch is you need to mow more often and keep your lawn around 2 ½ and 3 inches long. So to take advantage of this natural fertilizer, keep an eye on how fast your lawn is growing and start mowing more frequently. #lovemylawn

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When is the best time to water your lawn and landscaping? By Seamus Dillon

Watering at night when you get home from work may seem like a convenient time, but doing so invites fungus and mildew. The optimal time is in the morning, this way it has all day to dry out. Setting your sprinklers during the day can also be wasteful due to wind and evaporation. So to keep your lawn healthy and hydrated, set your sprinklers for early in the morning. If you don’t have irrigation, then it makes sense you aren’t going to water before work. A good alternate time is between 4 pm and 6 pm, so as to allow enough time to dry. #healthylawns

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Simple tips to care for Hydrangeas by Seamus Dillon

These can be a tricky and difficult shrub to manage, however, by following some simple steps you can have beautiful flowering Hydrangeas every year. There are many different varieties, but there are only two types of flowering processes. There are those flowering on New Wood and those that flower on Old Wood. For those that flower on the old wood, it is important to leave the stem. The flowering for these happens one year early, so the flowers you currently see were grown the previous year. It is best not to prune these at all. Those that flower on new wood will flower each year and on the new stems. For these it is best to prune in early Spring. There are three ways your Hydrangea that flowers on old wood can be damaged; Pruning aggressively or at the wrong time, animals eating them or the weather. The weather is the most dangerous. The crucial time is when the weather warms after winter in early Spring, then a frost passes through. This is the most common way your plant is damaged. As for the Dead Wood, when you see woody stems be sure there isn’t any green inside. If there isn’t, it is best to cut at the bottom as far down as possible. Be sure to check every few inches however, because if the green is cut, this could cause the stem to not flower thus losing a year. Hope this helps. #pleasebloomformethisyear

Hydrangea-Landscape

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How to solve your pruning problems By Seamus Dillon

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the shrubs and perennials in your landscaping? Have you trimmed them all back and noticed they all didn’t flower the next year. Pruning can be very problematic if you do not know what you are doing. Each plant has different needs and can be stressed if cut back too far. Plus, it can be unsightly if the stems are too woody. The best option is to fully research the type of plant(s) you have and prune them in the proper season and in the proper way. Landscaping is expensive and is important in supporting the value of your real estate. Be sure to take the time to learn how to do it right or you may be spending a small fortune replacing what was damaged. We at Dykstra Landscape Management specialize in servicing complex landscapes, feel free to contact us for a free quote. #pruningisnoteasy

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Do you have horsetail problems? By Seamus Dillon

Well, it may not be the horsetail you are thinking of. This is actually an invasive weed that can overrun your rock bed or any other landscaped bed for that matter. They thrive in low oxygen, so there are some traditional remedies to remove weeds that will not work and may actually support their growth. They contain millions of spores and release them into the soil, so simply attempting to pull them by hand can causes the spreading of these spores. This can make eradicating these small weeds nearly impossible. A couple of tips that will help remove these hardy weeds are to remove the first layer of your bed where the horsetail is growing and place them into a trash bag for removal from your property. It will also help to plant many more shrubs and perennials in the area where the horsetail was thriving as the plants will rob the resources the weed thrives on. This should help you in your desire to have a beautiful landscaped property free of weeds. #horsetailweedseverywhere

Weed-Removal-Landscape

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What is that gross blob in my landscaping? By Seamus Dillon

Slime mold is actually healthy for your landscaping. They come in over 700 varieties and are in a class of themselves. They consume pathogens and bacteria and are officially known as Fuligo. They can grow and move a bit as well and are unfortunately rather unsightly. If you attempt to remove it, it may come back within days and will likely come back the following year. The conditions of moisture and heat need to be right, but once it dries out it will disappear. It is not worth trying to spray any chemicals as this will not kill the slime mold and may affect the surrounding plants and grass. The best option is to rake it and allow it to dry out. So no worries, it is not dangerous and your lawn is not being attacked by a strange disease, rest assured nature is just taking its course in an undesirable location. #lovemyslimemold
Slime-Mold

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