Lawn Maintenance

Annual Bluegrass Causes Blotchy Lawns

May 3rd, 2013 by Tuff Turf Molebusters








Annual bluegrass is beginning to seed right now. Grass that is seeding is always a lighter color than the rest of the lawn. This makes it look like there are white weeds all over the lawn, giving it a very “blotchy” appearance for the next several weeks. Get your annual bluegrass under control today!

lawns under water

April 12th, 2013 by Tuff Turf Molebusters


April 11th, 2013 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

We are setting up our lawn rolling routes and are planning on rolling on Monday, assuming that we don’t need floats on the roller.

Our Client’s Luscious Lawn

December 12th, 2012 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Thank you, Nancy, for allowing us to show off your lawn. Nancy did a great job watering it this summer! Consistent lawn care definitely pays off.

Time to Turn off Sprinklers

October 8th, 2012 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

With the cooler temperatures, shorter days, heavy dew, and the return of rain, we can finally shut off our sprinklers for the season.  The grass is still growing fast, so I suggest mowing it at 3″ and gradually lowering it to 2.5 inches by the end of the month.

Watering tips for Grand Rapids in late summer

September 3rd, 2012 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Grass Going to Seed

May 10th, 2012 by Tuff Turf Molebusters
You might be noticing your lawn is more blotchy and spotted now than normal.  A lot of grass is producing seed right now.  Different varieties of grass produce seed at different times of the year.  As the grass produces seed it uses all of its energy on the seed so it loses its color.  Not all varieties of grass are seeding right now, which is why there is a large contrast in color between the varieties that are seeding, and those that are not.  This is what makes the lawn look spotty.  This a natural process and no amount of fertilizer will darken up grass that is seeding.   In fact, fertilizer may make it appear worse since the rest of the grass will turn darker and grow more and this creates more contrast in color.
Make sure your mower blades are sharp.  Cutting through seed heads and thicker stalks of grass will dull your mower blades fast.  Mow on a regular basis because the seed heads can make it very difficult to cut if you let them grow too high.  Keep you mower blade set high, preferably 3 inches or higher.

The red shapes are hilighting individual blades of grass going to seed.

Frost Damage to Landscape Plants

May 10th, 2012 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Remember how nice March was?  We are seeing the consequences of record setting heat that caused trees and shrubs to bud out too early.  Heavy frosts in April damaged the buds and now leaves are curling, turning brown, and even falling from trees.  The frost damage looks bad, but it will not threaten the tree.  The trees are healthy despite their appearance.

Hydrangea with frost damage

This Japanese Maple had no frost damage on the left where it was under a large tree. The right half had lots of damage.

Crabgrass in Early Summer

April 10th, 2012 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

This Spring I have been frequently asked how the hot temperatures we’ve experienced in March will affect our crabgrass control. Now that we have finally returned to “normal temperatures” I can better answer this question.

Spring accelerated from snow on the ground on March 3 to 62 degree soil temperatures on March 18. Crabgrass germinates when soil temperatures are at 55 degrees for 3 consecutive nights. We had over a week of soil temperatures above 60 degrees. Forsythia were blooming the 3rd week of March, which usually happens in mid-April. Crabapple trees were blossoming the next week, this usually happens in late April or early May. The grass was growing the last week or March, this usually does not happen until late April. We managed to rocket through 8 weeks of climate change in 3 weeks.

I struggled with the decision to continue applying crabgrass control knowing that it was too late to be effective. I had many discussions with other lawn care professionals and even professors at MSU. We were in unchartered territory and nobody knew what to do.  History and logic told us that “this cannot be happening”, but it was.  80 degree temperatures in March are not uncommon.  However, sustained high day time and night time temperatures are unprecedented.  The temperatures usually plummets 40 degrees after an 80 degree day in March.

I made the decision in mid-March to continue applying crabgrass control with the hope of a frost. A frost would kill any crabgrass that germinated and our pre-emergent would then be effective stopping more crabgrass from germinating.  I am glad I made that decision because this week we finally received that frost.  Hopefully our weather is back to “normal” and we will have effective crabgrass control.  Rest assured that if we applied your crabgrass control and you get crabgrass this summer, we will take care of it.

Warm Temperatures and Your Landscaping

March 12th, 2012 by Tuff Turf Molebusters
With a mild winter we might expect to see less damage to plants this spring. However, prolonged exposure to temperatures above average means that plants are beginning to de-harden early. We see several signs of this already, such as witch-hazels blooming in protected locations and sap in maple trees running two to three weeks ahead of normal.  While other trees and shrubs may not show any signs of coming out of dormancy,  They are softening up every day. Despite the lack of winter temperatures, there still is the risk of a hard frost.  A severe cold snap can cause considerable damage to developing buds on trees and shrubs and cause shoot die-back, bud-kill or death of newly-emerging shoots. We will not know if we have any injury until late May or early June.