22 Oct 2015
Controlling Brown Patch

Controlling Brown Patch Disease

Brown patch disease is a very common problem for property owners across the country and right here in the Triangle area. North Carolina experiences a lot of it because of our hot, humid summers. When temperatures rise, the fungus Rhizoctonia solani finds fertile ground for growth. The disease begins to develop when night temperatures exceed 60°F, but is most severe when low and high temperatures are above 70°F and 90°F, respectively.

The fungus is especially aggressive when the air is humid or if the lawn is damp at night. The brown fungus can infect turfgrass that has been continuously wet for 10 to 12 hours. Poor soil drainage, lack of air movement, shade, cloudy weather, dew, over-watering, and watering in the late afternoon can increase the likelihood of the disease affecting the area.

You may be able to catch and treat the growth of brown patch disease early if you see brown spotting on grass blades. When these spots connect to turn entire blades brown, and then entire patches of grass brown, it’s likely caused by this fungus. There will also be a darker edge to the brown patch that surrounds the dead and brown grass. If you have concerns about brown patch disease and live in Apex, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Johnston County, Wake County, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas, give Barefoot and Associates a call.

LAWN TIP: DO NOT water at night or late evening! Leaving the lawn damp at night will encourage fungal growth.

20 Oct 2015
Using leaves as mulch

The Benefits of Using Leaves as Mulch

Why Leaves?

Using leaves as mulch on Raleigh lawns makes sense on so many levels:

  • It is completely free if the leaves come from your own lawn
  • You don’t have to worry about transporting anything to or from your lawn
  • Leaves have important trace minerals that the tree pulled from your soil and can be recycled back in
  • They decompose quickly and don’t grow fungus as readily
  • Leaves prevent evaporation, keeping better soil moisture

It is common practice among lawn experts to shred their leaves and use them as a mulch. That is because many of these benefits cannot be said of whole leaves. So, what additional benefit comes from shredding the leaves before using them as mulch?

Why Shred Leaves?
Actually, there are many reasons shredded leaves make much better mulch than full leaves. For one, full leaves block in so much air and water that it can suffocate the lawn’s growth. The excess moisture cannot evaporate and fungi form. There is also a possibility of matting as they bunch together. Whole leaves do not disintegrate as quickly, either, so they cannot improve lawn fertility as readily.

For best results, gather your leaves and find a way to shred them as finely as possible. There are leaf mulching machines that are specifically designed for the job, but others use their lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Overall, finely shredded leaves are a perfect mulch for around flower beds and trees because of the low cost, convenience, and effectiveness they provide.

Those in Apex, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Johnston County, Wake County, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas, can rely on Barefoot and Associates as local experts in mulching and fertilization.

16 Oct 2015
10 Ideas for Landscaping Property Lines

10 Ideas for Landscaping Property Lines

North Carolina is a quickly growing state. You likely have many new neighbors moving in, and, as the saying goes, “Good fences make good neighbors.” With that in mind, we will discuss 10 great ideas for how you can landscape your property lines. For many of these ideas, you should make sure to discuss them with your neighbors so the border between your properties is satisfactory to both of you. Boundary disputes with neighbors are always best to avoid.

  1. Wooden fencing – The white picket fence is a classic look, but there are many other wooden fencing options, as well.
  2. Chain-link fencing – This is not as aesthetically pleasing, but it is still a very popular option due to its price and strength.
  3. Stone wall – Stone is perhaps the oldest building material. It has a timeless quality of style and permanence. Stone walls can be a bit pricy, but they’re well worth it.
  4. Vegetable garden – Many people are getting back into vegetable gardening. It’s a fun hobby, and raised beds are a great way to line your property line.
  5. Flower garden – Having a well-maintained flower garden along your property boundary is not something your neighbor is likely to complain about. They are beautiful, classy, colorful, and fun to care for.
  6. A path or driveway – Long driveways make good property markers, especially out in the country. A stone or brick path can also run the length of a property line.
  7. Structures – A shed can be a good marker of the precise corner of a property. It will create a line of sight in both directions where the edge can be easily seen. Gazebos and pergolas are other structures that may work, depending on the context.
  8. Hedges – A tall hedge is an excellent way to create a natural barrier between properties. They take some upkeep and trimming, but are sturdy and there are many varieties of shrub or bush that can be used.
  9. Ornamental grasses – Similarly, certain tall grasses create a natural look. These are not as sturdy as a hedge, but they provide a unique and elegant look.
  10. Tree line – Trees are not usually as efficient in forming a wall, like a hedge might be, but they are often used to show the property boundary. Having a line of identical trees evenly spaced is an impressive statement. 

If you’d like to give your property line a new look, contact us today and we can find the right option for you!

15 Oct 2015
What You Can Grow In Shady Spaces

What You Can Grow In Shady Spaces

Grass, and most other plants, thrive in sunlight. They use it to get a lot of their energy, so if they are not placed in a well-sunned area, they may suffer. If grass has an average of four to six hours of sunlight a day, that is enough to survive. What if you have an area of your property that cannot provide that, though? Fortunately, there are other options for Triangle-area property owners.

Shade-tolerant grasses

One possibility is simply to plant a more tolerant strand of grass in that part of the property. Grasses that are known for being able to do a bit better in the shade include:

  • Cool-season grasses: tall fescue, fine fescue, rye
  • Warm-season grasses: St. Augustine, zoysia

Alternate ground cover

As it turns out, turfgrass is not the only possible ground cover. Certain other plants can be used as ground cover and are much more tolerant of not receiving direct sunlight. Ajuga, pachysandra, golden star, and sweet woodruff are all good options, among many others.

Leafy vegetables

Vegetables like green peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers that grow from a blossom do not do well in the shade. Root vegetables do a little better, but still do not thrive. Leafy greens, though, like spinach and salad greens, actually prefer growing in more shaded areas. Consider planting a vegetable garden in the shade using these plants.

Consult Barefoot and Associates

When in doubt, consult the experts, though. Flowers, vegetables, alternative ground cover, and shade-tolerant grasses are only some of the possibilities – we can find the best option to fit your needs. If you live in Apex, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Johnston County, Wake County, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas, give Barefoot and Associates to discuss your options for growing plants in a shady area.

22 Sep 2015
Crabgrass control at Barefoot and Associates

How to Get Rid of Crabgrass for Good

Crabgrass is a nemesis of lawn lovers everywhere, including here in the Raleigh area. It’s scientific name, Digitaria is a warm, seasonal plant that grows annually that many people consider a weed. The reason behind the name “Crabgrass” comes from its characteristic of sharing a common and shallow root system that appears to be spread out like a crab across the lawn.

How does Crabgrass emerge?
When the weather warms, the soil in the earth gradually warms as well. This is when crabgrass starts to grow.
Once the temperature of the atmosphere reaches around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, Crabgrass seeds left by plants prior begin to grow; the seeds that never germinated the year before now begin to do so.
These germinating plants quickly grow and emerge onto the exterior surface.
Crabgrass plants create thousands of seeds every year to be left in the ground to produce more Crabgrass the following year.
However, come fall, Crabgrass stops producing seeds and the cold weather kills off the rest of that year’s plants.


How to eliminate Crabgrass from your lawn

The best way to eliminate Crabgrass is to focus on preventing it from emerging at all. Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied to kill the soon-to-germinate Crabgrass seeds before they ever have a chance to sprout. In addition, it is best to maintain a healthy, full lawn as a defense to Crabgrass.

For example, if you water your lawn less frequently and more deeply, the shallow root system of the Crabgrass will not be able to use this resource. Though, your turfgrass will.
Another method of Crabgrass prevention is to mow your lawn a little longer than normal so that the Crabgrass does not receive the direct sunlight it needs in order to produce more plants the following year.


Barefoot and Associates can eliminate your Crabgrass invasion

In reality, winning the war against Crabgrass is a difficult task. The timing for laying down pre-emergent herbicide, for example, has to be very precise. You can do this by taking soil temperatures, followed by applying the herbicide at just the right moment. Barefoot and Associates have the Crabgrass prevention process down to a science. Call us at 919-934-3554 if you’re in Apex, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Johnston County, Wake County, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas and are interested in our help on dealing with the aggravating problem of Crabgrass, once and for all.