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Thursday
Jul192012

Summer Vacation

We're in the middle of a rotation of vacations between me and the Whitehouse Lawns team. I had a great week of boating, fishing, wake boarding, and even a little cliff diving at Smith Mountain Lake. And then off to Hilton Head for our traditional July 4th holiday. But most importantly I just got to relax with the family and recharge. Octavio and Jose are doing the same but this might be the only time of year they get to see family, so I don't mind giving them the time off and covering routes for them.  I hope you had a great July 4th and also get to enjoy whatever family time you can get this summer.

Now back to reality... Overall we've had decent rainfall, but along with that comes brown patch fungus, nutsedge, and other grassy weed breakthroughs. We are furiously spraying fungicide for our Premium Lawn Care customers to control brown patch fungus. Spraying nutsedge and crabgrass is a little trickier. For one, the herbicide can damage the Fescue grass if its too hot. In addition, the herbicide needs to stay dry for 24 hours to really kick in. So it can be difficult to find days to spray weeds that are dry enough and not too hot right now. But that goes along with the joys of summer lawn care!

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about watering, lawn diseases, lawn care treatments, weeds, or the mowing schedule.

Thanks, Ben

 

 

Wednesday
May302012

Ready For Summer In Charlotte

I hope everyone had a great Memorial day and is enjoying the great weather. May was a very busy month for us between all the beautiful flower beds we installed, my brothers wedding, and just enjoying all the outdoor stuff going on around town. There are a couple of service items we are focusing on this month in addition to keeping up with cutting the grass.

We have started our shrub trimming schedule and will be getting to everyone who has requested shrub trimming over the next few weeks. If you would like your shrubs taken care of for a special occasion or a certain date please let me know, otherwise we will come by as you fall on the shrub trimming schedule this month.

The next item that will need special attention this month is treating lawns for Brown Patch Fungus. Its usually mid to late June when we see the first signs of fungus on the lawn, but it looks like it could start early this year with the mild weather. Heat, humidity, and thunderstorms will bring on ideal conditions for Brown Patch to thrive and we usually start seeing the lesions on the grass blades right after we get a batch of evening thunderstorms followed by a 90 degree day. Once again this could be a summer where Brown Patch could do some severe damage to lawns if not treated. Everyone on the Premium Lawn Care Program is getting a fungicide treatment at the end of May/first week of June.

Water management is very important this time of year for a few reasons. The lawn needs extra water as we get into the hot season, but over-watering is a big mistake because its expensive and will cause brown patch fungus– even with the fungicide treatments we do. Since most irrigation systems run at night or early morning, we usually don’t think about them and don’t catch issues until the damage is done. I highly suggest taking the time to audit your system every few weeks– turn on each zone and walk around checking each head or drip area. Are the heads rotating correctly? Are all areas getting covered properly with water and not watering into the street (a simple nozzle change could adjust the amount of water and distance for a sprinkler head)? Are there any noticeable leaks? Do any areas look stressed from lack of water? Doing an irrigation audit regularly can save you money on your water bill and save your plants and turf from stress. Please let me know if you find any irrigation issues you need addressed or if you want help with your irrigation audit.  

Thanks, Ben

 

Wednesday
Apr112012

Spring in Charlotte NC!

The weather does not get much better than what we've had so far this Spring, as evidenced by all the lush green grass that is growing like crazy. That said, the warm winter and the early spring weather we had could bring on a new set of lawn and landscape issues.

One theory that is building steam is that the warm winter (4th warmest winter on record!) will result in insect infestations greater than we have seen in the past. I talked about this with a buddy of mine at the NCSU Horticulture school and the experts think that insect levels will remain average, but we will see activity earlier in the season from fire ants, Japanese beetles, and other common insects we see in the landscape. So we will be on the lookout and ready to treat when needed.

It looks like weed control will be much more intense this year as well. We have gone through almost twice as much Round Up as we normally do this time of year, and I have already seen crabgrass breakthrough in full sun areas, as well as nutsedge.

We never know what Mother Nature has in store and how it will affect our landscapes. Forecasting and reacting to the changing weather patterns definitely keeps us on our toes and sometimes presents some big challenges for our industry. I've always put an emphasis on continued education for myself and my employees so we can provide the best service to our customers and stay ahead of the competition. 

I hope you can break through the pollen this Spring and enjoy your landscape. We have a big event coming up as my little girl turns 9 and runs in her first 5k race!  

Friday
Mar022012

Spring has arrived 2012

Welcome to the first electronic edition of In Bloom! Personally, I like the idea of the paper newsletter, but I'd rather cut costs and keep prices low as we prepare for gas increases this year. This will be a very important form of communication so please take a few minutes to read and click through the links (all of the articles will appear on the Whitehouse Lawns website). And of course, let me know what you think of the new In Bloom and how to make it better.

We will be starting the regular maintenance visits in March as we start to warm up and the turf enters its growing season. The grass usually does not need to be cut every week in March so we will be focusing on cleaning up the main beds of your landscape, picking up any leftover leaves, picking up gumballs (I hate em!), and any leftover debris from the winter storms. Let me know if you have any other items you want taken care of.

First off, running a regular schedule is always a challenge as we go through spring. Life is a heckuvalot easier for everyone when we can come on the same day every week. Unfortunately, it almost never works out that way in March and April. 1 day of rain will throw us off but is pretty easy to make up during the week. 2 days or more of rain can create some challenges. If we have not made it to your house on your regular day and have had frequent rain, we will usually get there on the next day (this might be Saturday if you’re a Friday visit). We will try to give you a call or email to let you know your status if it will be more than 2 days. We will settle in to your regular mowing day of the week as soon as possible. 

We are also very conscious of damaging the turf when working in wet weather. There may be times when we need to skip areas that are really wet, or use smaller equipment if time allows. I’d rather be overly cautious than damage turf at the beginning of the season.

 

Wednesday
Feb012012

Whitehouse Lawns 2012

Aside from enjoying the Spring-like weather here in Charlotte and getting a Vegas trip out of the way, I’ve been spending time this winter working on my business strategy. The “new economy” forces all of us to make adjustments with our finances, especially small businesses that require daily cash flow to operate. We have to work smarter, make better decisions, and deliver the results. 2011 was a good year, but I’ve come up with a few opportunities that will make Whitehouse Lawns even better in 2012. Strategic partnerships with other top service providers, hiring and training of key employees, and managing costs will allow us to operate more efficiently (and profitably), be more proactive with lawn care issues, and bring more value to you.

I will be making some changes to the delivery of the In Bloom newsletter. Communication is a major key to success in this business and the monthly newsletter has been a fantastic communication tool. I put a lot of time in creating content for the newsletter, printing, and delivering because I feel its important to keep you informed. However, I can’t ignore the cost of producing a paper newsletter and getting it delivered on time vs. the ease and no cost of using email. So I’d like to take advantage of some new tools available and turn In Bloom into a monthly email newsletter. This will save a lot of time and money for me and I think it will streamline the delivery process. I know it can be a pain for some to spend more time with email, but I ask that you please give this a try. I will keep the number of emails to a minimum and only include information that is important for you to know and will be of value to you.

Click here to sign up for the IN BLOOM email newsletter

The next 2-3 weeks we will primarily be pruning crepe myrtles, completing a couple of sheduled projects and make another round of maintenance visits in February. If you have an event coming up, friends or family visiting, just want the property spruced up, or if you have a landscape project in mind please let me know. This is a great time to plan and complete any outdoor projects for your property.

Thanks, Ben