Lawn Maintenance

Winter aeration

March 1st, 2017 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Last week it was so nice I aerated my lawn and noticed that the insects were waking up from the winter.  I don’t know of any studies that show the beneifts of aerating in the winter, but somebody had to try.

Fall Aeration in Michigan

September 19th, 2016 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Dead patches in the lawn

August 15th, 2016 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

We are noticing a lot of dead patches in the lawn that are caused by the disease Ascochyta Leaf Blight.  Colorado State University published a good bulletin on this disease.  Click here to read the bulletin.

TruGreen buys Scotts Lawn Service

January 25th, 2016 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

TruGreen and Scott’s Lawn Service have merged to form a company with 2.3 million customers and $1,300,000,000 in annual revenue.  This is great for all the smaller, local companies that compete against them.

We don’t need bragging rights about the number of customers we have.  We prefer to know their names.

We don’t need to brag about the number of employees we have.  We prefer to know the spouses and children of all of our team members and be able to get together with them a couple of times a year.

We don’t need to have regional call centers where your call gets routed so that you are never able to call the branch in your own region.  We prefer our one office in the community that we service.

That being said, it is nice to have a company the size of TruGreen with deep pockets and scientists to disprove the misinformation of the anti-pesticide activists.  These activists prey on fear and emotion, which trumps science and data every time.

The downside of this merger is the many people that will be losing their jobs in cities where both Scott’s and TruGreen both have branches.

Click here to read the press release.


Now is the best time to kill weeds

October 5th, 2015 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Fall is the ideal time for controlling broadleaf weeds such as ground ivy, dandelion and white clover. Dandelions don’t often bloom in the fall, but there are in the lawn now. They are waiting for next spring so they can send up those nice yellow flowers in the lawn. Kevin Frank from MSU published a tip on this. Click here to read it.

Burned tire tracks in the lawn

August 10th, 2015 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Kevin Frank from MSU writes about the burned tire tracks in lawns. When tire tracks appear in lawns the first assumption is that the machine drove through Round Up or other pesticide and killed the grass. Kevin gives a good explanation of how those tracks occur.


Warm, dry weather causes heat tracking in lawns

Mowers and other repetitive movement can leave tracks on lawns during hot, dry weather.

For most of 2015, rainfall was ample and in many spots excessive in Lower Michigan. The story has been different in northern Michigan with much drier conditions and many unirrigated turf areas entering dormancy to survive while waiting for more favorable moisture conditions. The recent brief hot spell with temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s combined with a lack of precipitation has resulted in many instances of heat tracking damage from equipment.

Heat tracking is damage from any trafficking on turf when it is stressed from high temperatures and lack of water. Often, heat tracking is the result of mowers running over the turf when it is near the wilting point, but damage can result from any traffic, whether it’s equipment or even just enough people walking the same path. Some will misdiagnose tracking damage as being from a pesticide or fertilizer application. The resultant damage may look like Roundup was on the tires of the equipment, but it’s simply from traffic on turf when the turf is near wilting point.

Michigan State University Extension advises the only way to really avoid this damage is to avoid trafficking turf during the hottest time of the day when the turf is under stress. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell when this damage is produced. On some days and sites, tracking damage could occur relatively early in the afternoon, and on other sites it may happen later in the afternoon. Mostly it depends on soil moisture and the ability of the plant to cool itself through evapotranspiration. As temperatures rise and soil moisture becomes depleted, the plant will stop transpiring and begin to heat up. This is the time when turf becomes susceptible to tracking damage.

Although heat tracking and wilt damage can look really bad, in almost all cases the damage is not fatal. Temperatures look favorable for recovery in the next week, just make sure the turf has adequate irrigation and doesn’t dry out to ensure recovery.



Dr. Frank’s work is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.


The other side of the fence

July 10th, 2015 by Tuff Turf Molebusters


Pool cover on grass

July 9th, 2015 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Spreading a solar cover for a swimming pool on the lawn can burn the grass in a very short time when it is sunny and hot.  Covers should be cleaned on the driveway to prevent this from happening.


Pure Michigan

July 9th, 2015 by Tuff Turf Molebusters


We found this burn in a lawn at the entrance to a subdivision.  Somebody has some artistic talent to burn a spot in the shape of Michigan.

burned michigan


Summer Sprinkling in Michigan

June 11th, 2015 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

When the temperatures are above 70 degrees, cool season grass needs to be watered once a day.  When the temperatures are above 80 degrees, cool season grass needs to be watered twice a day.  We recommend watering at 3:00 AM and then again during the heat of the day.  We have heard the argument against watering during the heat of the day because it can burn the lawn.  This is only true if you water for 1 – 2 minutes per zone with rotor heads because you are barely getting the grass wet and the water droplets act as a magnifying lens.  If you run the sprinklers for at least 10 minutes per zone with rotor heads and 3 minutes per zone of pop up heads you will cool off the lawn and give it the water it needs.

I have also hear the argument about watering less frequently, but for a longer period to make the roots go deeper.  The problem with this philosophy is that it ignores the biology of our grass.  Cool season grass has shorter roots when the temperature warms up.  You cannot change the biology of the grass.  Roots are getting shorter now and no amount of water will make them grow deeper.  Watering deep can stress out the lawn more because of the extreme variances between too wet and too dry.  To relate this to a human, if you are running a marathon race on an 85 degree day, would you drink 2 gallons of water the day before the race and then not drink for 2 more days because you already had enough water for the week?  You would dehydrate at the same rate if you did not drink before, during, and after the race.