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Mosquito-Borne Diseases are Moving North

September 3rd, 2019 by ifiadmin

Connecticut Agricultural Experiment StationThe oldest known mosquito with an anatomy similar to modern species was found in 79-million-year-old Canadian amber. Ever since, they’ve been a pain in the the… well, arm, neck, hands, feet, legs, pretty much any exposed skin of human and animal alike. By the way, Tuff Turf’s mosquito program runs through October.

The female mosquito’s saliva is transferred to the host during the bite, and can cause an itchy rash. Additionally, many of the species can ingest pathogens while biting, and transmit them to future hosts. Mosquitoes are important factors in the spread of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya, West Nile, dengue fever, filariasis, Zika and other arboviruses – many of which we’ve mentioned before in other posts. By transmitting diseases, mosquitoes cause the deaths of more people than any other animal group: over 700,000 each year.
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Sprinkling in the Summer

August 2nd, 2019 by Tuff Turf Molebusters
For season grass, summer in Michigan is the worst time of the year.  Remember the heat wave 2 weeks ago with the 90 degree temperatures, high humidity, and even nights that were still 80 degrees at 10:00 PM?  Not only were we uncomfortable, but our lawns were too!  Diseases that attack grass love the heat, humidity, and grass that is under heat stress.  While we cannot control the temperature, there are a few things that you can control, like:

If you have an underground system, avoid sprinkling in the middle of the night.  You should water in the morning for about 15 minutes per zone with rotor heads and 2 minutes per zone with misters.  Water after 6:00 AM so that your lawn is not wet while it is dark.   When temperatures are above 80 degrees, sprinkle again in the afternoon to cool the lawn.  If you are watering in the heat of the day, make sure to water long enough to compensate for evaporation from the sun and wind.  For zones with rotor heads, water for 5 – 10 minutes and 2 minutes for the misters.  This will vary depending on soil profile, type of grass, amount of sun, and the amount of wind you receive.

I realize that underground sprinkling is a nice luxury and not everybody can afford it.  However, in today’s technological world, the lack of an underground sprinkler system is not really an excuse to avoid sprinkling when you are not home.  Amazon has everything you need to make your own “above ground sprinkling system”.  For less than $60 you can buy a digital timer that attaches to your spigot and has up to 4 connections for garden hoses that can be programmed to run at different times.  All you have to do is set out 4 sprinklers in your lawn.  You can even buy timers that have WiFi so you can control the timer with an app.  You would want to move the hoses every couple of days to avoid killing the grass under it.  I have seen many homes with nice systems using garden hoses, and you don’t have to blow them out in the fall!

How high should I cut my grass in the summer?

August 2nd, 2019 by Tuff Turf Molebusters
Mowing the grass too low is the biggest mistake we see people make.  No matter how many times we recommend mowing at the highest setting during the middle of the summer, many people still mow the grass too short.  I have heard that mowing higher means mowing more frequently.  This is completely wrong, in fact the opposite is true.  The rule of thumb is to never cut off more than 1/3 of the blade of grass at one time.  If you apply the 1/3 rule and always let your grass grow long enough to cut 1/3 off, you can see in the chart below that raising the mowing height from 2″ to 4″ also doubles the number of days between mowings.
I realize that letting your grass get 6″ high before mowing is long and covers your shoes when you walk through it.  It looks like it needs to be mowed when you just finished mowing.  However, longer grass will remain green longer in the heat, have less weeds, and less pressure from diseases.  Keep in mind that this is for a short time period when we are in the middle of summer and have temperatures above 80 every day.
Besides for appearance, lawns are cut too short because most home-owner mowers can’t mow higher than 3″.  The small, mowing only companies don’t understand the agronomics of mowing high, and certainly don’t like to be told how to do their job when asked to raise their mower.  We just witnessed this last week at a turf tour where a MSU professor asked a group of Grand Rapids lawn care professionals how high to mow in the summer.  All the fertilizing companies said 3.5″ – 4″, while the companies that only mow said 2.5″ – 3″.
The depth of the roots of grass are a direct proportion to the height it is mowed

Summer Sprinkling

June 24th, 2019 by Tuff Turf Molebusters
  • Water twice a day when the temperature is above 80 degrees.  If you have underground sprinklers, set the rotary heads for 20 minutes a zone and the misters for 8 minutes at 5:00 AM and 1:00 PM. I have heard the argument to not water in the heat of the day because you lose it to evaporation.  Remember, your lawn is living and breathing.  You cool down with a glass of water.  We make sure our pets have plenty to drink.  Why would you not want to cool down the grass?
  • Avoid watering late in the evening.  You want to give your lawn time to dry before the sun goes down.  If the lawn stays wet all night you are only inviting fungus and disease.  Now, before I get flooded with emails from people without a sprinkler system, I should state that watering in the evening is still better than not watering at all.
  • Avoid too much water.  I have also heard the argument to water deep and infrequently to make the roots go deeper.  This argument is not based on science.  The biological make up of cool season grass is that the roots grow deep when temperatures are 55 degrees to 70 degrees.  That is whey the grass grows so fast in the spring, and also looks great in the fall.  The roots are going to be more shallow as temperatures climb above 75 degrees, so don’t waste water trying to fight nature.  A glass of water that is full cannot hold any more water, despite how long it is left under the faucet.  Soil that is too wet will lead to diseases of the grass.
  • If you have an irrigation system, make sure to watch the heads to make sure everything is firing on all cylinders. When conditions get dry, gaps in coverage become obvious and green and brown circles indicative of poor irrigation coverage become obvious.
  • Kevin Frank from MSU made a great video on watering.  Click here to see it.

the mole won

May 23rd, 2019 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

After 15 minutes of stalking, the cat pounced on the unsuspecting mole. The mole held its ground until the cat gave up.


Talk of the Town

April 8th, 2019 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Jim was interviewed on Wood Radio’s Talk of the Town on 4/7/19.  Click on the link below to hear the interview.

Tuff Turf Molebusters turns 25!

January 28th, 2019 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Happy 25th Birthday to Tuff Turf Molebusters!  January 24, 1994 was the day Jim Zylstra incorporated Tuff Turf.  In 2000, Tuff Turf puchased a mole trapping company named Molebusters and officially became Tuff Turf Molebusters.  Jim had the unique idea to put a mole on the top of his truck in 2005.  By the end of 2006, most of trucks were topped with moles.  The bright green and orange color scheme came about in 2009 along with an updated logo featuring Digger the mole.  Tuff Turf has continued to grow and in 2018 moved to the heart of Byron Center.  Tuff Turf is proud to be celebrating 25 years in business!



Christmas Toy Drive

December 31st, 2018 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

A BIG thank you to all who contributed to our first ever toy drive. Tuff Turf Molebusters collected new toys for a wonderful local organization named Christmas4Fosters who distributes them to children awaiting placement in a foster home so they can receive a gift at Christmas. Merry Christmas!  

November Facebook Winner

November 30th, 2018 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Congratulations to Tracy Honderd for winning this month’s Facebook drawing for a free service. Tracy has won a Deer Repellent Application. Each month we give away a free service to one of our Facebook likes. Want a chance to win a free service? Just LIKE our Facebook page. No purchase is necessary, no strings attached, no fine print except that the winner must live in our service area of West Michigan and the Detroit suburbs. Congrats Tracy! http://www.tuffturfmolebusters.com/animal-control/deer/

October Facebook Winner

October 29th, 2018 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

Congratulations to Susan Harkema for winning this month’s Facebook drawing for a free service.  Susan has won a Vole Repellent treatment in the foundational landscape beds around her house.  Each month we give away a free service to one of our Facebook likes.  Want a chance to win a free service?  Just LIKE our Facebook page.  No purchase is necessary, no strings attached, no fine print except that the winner must live in our service area of West Michigan and the Detroit suburbs.  Congrats Susan!  http://www.tuffturfmolebusters.com/animal-control/voles/