Precision Lawn Care, Inc. June 2012

Spring Pests have Sprung

The 4th warmest winter on record is to blame for an early onslaught of pest this year as well as a lot of other things. The early arrival of warm weather meant an unusually early start to allergy season. Authorities say snake bites are on the rise in Georgia after the mild winter. One blogger even blamed the loss of her husband on the mild weather, seems he can't stay away from the golf course!

This spring appears to be a banner year for pests. While fire ants, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are out in force our concern as a landscape company are those insects and diseases that affect your plants. There seems to be a plethora of pests that were able to survive the warm winter. Some of the most common insects are scale, whiteflies, Lace bugs, garden aphid, Leafminers, and Japanese Beetles. Some of the most prevalent diseases affecting plants this season are black sooty mold and black spot.

We first want to assure our maintenance customers who are enrolled in our tree and shrub program that we are already on top of this problem for you! An early treatment of horticultural oil spays should have worked to suffocate many of the pests that were able to overwinter on your plants. A treatment of Systemic Insecticides will take care of most of those which escaped. Systemic Insecticide allows us to treat the soil or trunk of a tree and the insecticide protects the tree and kills invading pests from the inside out! This works great on a wide range of insect pests including white grubs, ants and even termites.

The following information is provided for identification information only, we will be posting additional information on our blog. Three older articles on the site are available to help you define and eliminate your pest problems:

AphidsAphids are the most common garden pest insect. They feed on both garden crops and ornamental plants. There are many different species of aphids that in essence "specialize" in feeding on different types of plants, everything from pine trees to your strawberries.

Generally, if you see one aphid, there are lots more to be found as well. Aphid colonies may be found on young leaves, new succulent shoots, and twigs or branches. When the number of aphids on a plant is very high for an extended period, their feeding can cause wilting and sometimes even dieback of shoots and buds. Some aphids can cause leaf curling when the insect infests emerging leaves.

Aphids feed by using special mouthparts to pierce plant tissues and suck the sap out of tender plant shoots and leaves. During this time these insects excrete large amounts of a sticky, sugary substance commonly called "honeydew". The excreted honeydew coats leaves, stems, and fruit, stimulating the growth of sooty mold. With a big enough infestation of aphids, leaves below the aphid colony begin to grow fungi from the aphid honeydew, this is black and brown in color and called sooty molds, these molds cover leaves and other objects below aphid colonies where the honeydew collects. To get rid of the sooty mold requires getting rid of the aphids.

A few of the other insects we are seeing now are:

scaleScale insects - so called because that's what they look like. They are usually immobile, with no visible legs or antennae. They feed on plant sap. Scale feeding slowly reduces plant vigor; heavily infested plants grow poorly and may suffer dieback of twigs and branches. Scales often secrete a sticky honeydew which is attractive to wasps and ants and which supports the growth of black sooty molds.
whitefliesWhiteflies - small, white, soft-bodied insects which resemble tiny snowflakes fluttering about a plant. Whiteflies also feed by sucking sap from plants and secrete honeydew, causing plants to be covered with a black sooty mold.

And Lace bugs - which actually feed on the undersides of leaves with their piercing-sucking mouthparts, but because they kill surrounding cells as they feed, they cause the yellow spots to appear on the upper sides of the leaves. Look for the first signs of damage on plants in full sun or in protected areas beginning in March and continuing throughout the summer.

If you see any of these pests on your trees and shrubs make sure to call us right away! Check our blog for additional information on these and other pests.

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June: The United States Flag, Dads, and Hurricanes

FlagJune 14th is Flag Day which is an American holiday set aside for the purpose of showing respect to our flag and the people who created and designed it. Our flag is the symbol of our unity as a nation. It leads our soldiers in battle and many have died protecting it. Teach your children the Pledge of Allegiance and explain what a pledge is and what allegiance means. A pledge is a promise from your heart, and allegiance is a dedication of your loyalty, faith and devoted support. We pledge our allegiance to the flag that stands for the United States of America, which is a Republic run by elected representatives. The United States is one nation composed of many States, all harmoniously combined together under God, which cannot be divided. We, as citizens, stand on the promise of liberty and justice for all -- not just for Americans. We pledge this to all people on our shores. When the pledge is real for each individual, then we truly are a free country, united in the just cause of both liberty and justice, for everyone.

The Pledge of Allegiance

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

FathersDon't forget Father's Day on June 17th. Father's Day was invented by a woman who was raised by her father and who thought that fathers should be celebrated just as much as mothers. He must have been a good man. Her name was Sonora Smart Dodd and her dad was the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart who was a single parent who raised his six children in Spokane Washington. Sonora wanted June 5th, her father's birthday, to be Father's Day, but there was not enough time for the organizers to make arrangements on that day in 1910, so the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. Fourteen years later, President Calvin Cooledge made the third Sunday of June official. Celebrate by doing stuff that Dad likes to do. Make him a card and buy him a tie. Feed him his favorite meal and ask him what he would like to do on this special day. Whether he is gentle or gruff, he is still your very own Dad, and will probably like that you remembered him and made a small fuss over him.

HurricaneJune first is the beginning of hurricane season on the Atlantic seaboard. Did you know that the National Weather Service has six lists of male and female names for hurricanes that they rotate from year to year? They also retire any name on the list when it refers to a particularly devastating storm, such as Katrina in 2005. There will never be another storm with that name. So if you hear different people mention a storm called "Katrina" you know each one is speaking of the same storm. The hurricane season lasts from June 1 through November 30 with August and September being the peak months although storms have happened both before and after those general dates.

A hurricane "Advisory" means the Weather Service will release storm information to the public every six hours to keep us posted of possible danger. A "Special Advisory" can appear at any time there is a significant change in the storm-related weather conditions. A "Hurricane Watch" means that within the next 24 to 36 hours it is likely a hurricane may arrive somewhere near you. A "Hurricane Warning" means it will be in your neighborhood today with sustained winds above 74 miles per hour. If you are aware of the system they use you will know when to wait and when to begin taking real action to protect yourself and your loved ones.

If you are interested in reading more about cyclones and tropical surges or storms please go tothe website of the Southern Regional Headquarters of the National Weather Service. They have a lot of interesting weather and storm information there.


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