Monday, January 30, 2017

Duh moles!

Seeing some serious surface mole tunnels in January is strange. People ask, are they eating grubs??? Nope, because the ground has been thawed and we have had excellent soaking rains, that drives earthworms to the soil surface so birds and moles get a snack. Usually, the soil surface is frozen during January and moles are tunneling deeper, so you don't notice them. Its not like a "mole epidemic", its just a warm, weird, wet January. Having said that, the good news is you can easily push tunnels back down before grass dries and dies with a wheelbarrow or lawn mower wheel right after a soaking rain. Then, you need to trap the moles with scissor traps or call Keith Burgess 615-496-7004. His company us Affordable Wildlife control. He is a mole trapping guru! If you wait until warm temperatures come before getting rid of moles, you will very likely have dead runs of grass all summer. When its warm and soil is dry, the raised tunnels cause grass roots to dry and die pretty quickly. If you are a do-it-yourselfer type, Happy trapping! All other methods are a joke, trust me! I have tried them ALL.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Early Spring?

December and January have been so wet and warm that grass seed planted in the fall has actually germinated in January. This is the first time I have ever seen this in twenty years. Therefore, we will begin applying our pre-emergent herbicide in late January instead of early February. The granular fertilizer with pre-emergent is released based on soil temperature. Therefore, if it turns off cold and snows in February or March the material will not be diluted it will remain in the soil until the soil warms back up. Hopefully we will have a wet year and cool summer. Thank you for your business. Sincerely, Robert Stroud the Turf doctor

Thursday, December 15, 2016

What happens to ungerminated seed from fall 2016?

Since we basically had no rainfall from August through Thanksgiving, there was alot of seed that did not germinate. Irrigated lawns germinated very well, where coverage was good, if they followed our watering instructions. Unirrigated lawns that weren't manually watered daily, did not germinate. This is the 1st time I have seen this issue in 20 years of service. Research shows that if the seed wasn't watered and did not initiate germination, up to 90% of it will germinate in spring, once soil temps warm up (usually mid March). Some seed may wash away if on a slope, but I believe we will be pleasently suprised  by the amount of germination that will hopefully occur. I say hopefully, because I am basing this on information obtained from agronomists that have researched this situation. All agronomists I spoke to said there are many factors that effect how seed performs the following spring. We have put together a list of lawns that definitely need reseeding or at least need touch ups. Customers on that list will be fertilized only during 1st app 2016, to promote new seedling growth. Preemergent will not be applied during 1st app on lawns or spots that need reseeding. We guarantee our fall aeration and overseeding on irrigated lawns. On unirrigated lawns, we can reseed them as needed in spring. I believe the fairest way to handle this situation is to charge customers on unirrigated lawns, only the cost of seed applied. No labor charge will be added. If we need to reaerate, there will be no charge for that. If we aerated and reseeded your lawn in fall of 2016, please contact us by phone or email if you want to insure that you are on the list for spot touch up or reseeding. Thank you for your business. Look for our news letter with prepay option in early January, 2017.

Sincerely, Robert Stroud
The Turf Doctor

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Still getting "need to reseed" calls

Folks, we are still getting calls to reseed areas that aren't germinating. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE AREAS IS DRY. PERIOD. I have looked at them and ALL those spots are too dry for seed germination. If you have irrigation, it is likely that some areas don't get perfect coverage. That is very normal, as irrigation is a supplement to rainfall. Yards that have excellent coverage have EXCELLENT germination rates. If you have areas that are still dry, you need to get a hose and sprinkler at this point. Soil temps will allow germination for only about 10-14 more days, even with cold snap coming. Therefore, keeping soil surface damp during DAYLIGHT HOURS EVERY DAY is critical. If it gets too cold in mid December, the seed will lay there until about March, then most of it will germinate. We will delay preemergent in those cases where spots may need more seed in February. If you have paid your invoice for aeration and seeding, we will reseed areas that need it in the spring. If your seeding invoice has not been paid, by December 1st, you will not receive further services from The Turf Doctor. I have been in business for 20 years because we care and we make it right! However, we can't make it rain!!! If it never rains again, we won't have to worry about grass anyway. If you have not followed our aftercare watering instructions, please do so. It is my recommendation that if you have irrigation, you continue to water until we receive one soaking rain, HOPEFULLY THIS WEEKEND. Then winterize to protect your system. If we get nights below 30 before you winterize, there are 2 things you can do.
1. Wrap backflow with blankets
2. Set irrigation to run about 3-6 am. Moving water is hard to freeze!

Thank you for your business and please refrain from asking if we "have bad seed" That answer is NO, I promise.

Sincerely, Robert Stroud The Turf Doctor

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Seed Germination

Wow you the fun continues! After the "summer from hell" due to late July, early August thunderstorms, now we are in drought mode. Unless you are watering a minimum of 2x daily, your seed  is NOT staying damp and isn't germinating. The seed is tested by the state to insure it is viable = will germinate when kept moist.  ITS NOT "BAD SEED"!  In fact, to my knowledge it is the highest rated, most expensive blend sold in Nashville! Please set to irrigation to water once before lunch and once in the afternoon. You will find out how good your irrigation coverage is based on where seed does not germinate. Here is the good news. Soil temps right now are what they normally are about in mid September.  The only requirement for fescue germination is water and warm soil temps. Therefore, we will be able to germinate fescue thru Thanksgiving! I am often asked, "what if we get a frost in October". It takes SEVERAL consecutive days of forst and near freezing temps to cool soil below germination temps. I welcome a freaking frost! We still have nutsedge and other summer weeds like spurge germinating daily due to high soil temps! Even the weeds are confused. Once we have finished all aeration /seeding, AND we have had at least 2 soaking rains, we will return to reseed as needed. In 20 years, we have had to reseed some yards in spring only 1 time. ZERO customers have ever been dissatisfied with our final seeding product. We ALWAYS make it right. Do we miss spots?Sometimes. Do we fix them? Always. The reason you see seed germination in shady spots 1st,is that the sun doesn't bake the seed dry in the afternoon. The sunny areas need rain to happen, or perfect irrigation timing and coverage. We guarantee all aeration /seed jobs every year. If it never rains again, thats  the only way we will fail to reestablish your lawn! IF YOU HAVE IRRIGATION AND HAVE WATERED AS INSTRUCTED AND IT HAS BEEN 30 DAYS SINCE WE SEEDED, THEN YOU CAN CALL FOR IMMEDIATE TOUCH UP. Otherwise, wait on rain or buy a sprinkler and please be patient. Thank you for your business!

Robert Stroud The Turf Doctor

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Seeded this lawn 18 days ago. We treated with bifenthrin(granular) at time of seeding. Customer noticed grass not doing well in some spots. I picked up a handful of dead seedlings and grabbed 6 live baby armyworms! Bifenthrin effective as contact control, but the residual is not effective more than 2 weeks when watering daily for seed germination. I have NEVER seen multiple generations in same year. If we have seeded your lawn in 37205 or 37215 and you notice new grass areas quickly deteriorating, please contact us ASAP! This is major problem. Need a under 50 degree night to stop more generations. In 2017,we will have to change our program to stop this situation. A hot wet late summer year = armyworm invasion. If lawn on dry side, they won't hit you, but seed won't germinate. Very random, side by side yards we treat, 1 hit 1 not. Only difference is how wet they were when moths arrived in late August.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Armyworm theory, why me?

After looking at many yards and speaking with other turf managers in the area, we found 2 common denominators.
1.Moisture - having seen zero lawns that are dry an unirrigated that have been attacked. That tells me that when the moths fly here from "down yonder" , they lay their eggs near areas where they see succulent, soft turf tissue in wet warm soil to feed on. Would you rather eat a piece of cardboard or a juicy steak?

2.  Disease control - ALL yards that I have seen damaged so far, have been yards that had the healthiest turfgrass through late July. AKA, They had all been treated with disease control this summer and therefore had the healthiest foliage to feed on.

Conclusions - having a crappy unirrigated lawn full of weeds almost completely eliminates the risk armyworms will do damage to your lawn.

We have seen 1 case of armyworm damage in 37027. The other 11 were in 37215 or 37205. All lawns with damage have irrigation and at least 1 "overly wet" area in the lawns. My guess is these "overly wet areas" are irrigation leaks or poor drainage areas. My other guess is when the rains started coming in late July, most customers continued to irrigate on top of the rainfall.

Its just a theory......