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
Ask the Expert: The Perfect Length for a Lawn

Ask the Expert: The Perfect Length for a Lawn

Barefoot and Associates is a local expert for those in Apex, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Johnston County, Wake County, Wake Forest or the surrounding areas, who are seeking answers on all lawn care questions. Every week we are asked a wide variety of questions from customers and others in the area. We are confident that if you have a question, we will be able to answer it to your satisfaction.

One of our most common questions: 

What is the proper length to mow one’s lawn?

North Carolina is in a transitional zone between northern areas that use more cool-season grasses and southern areas that rely more on warm-season grasses. This means property owners use a wide variety of turfgrasses with different recommended lengths.

Each of these grass types does have a “healthiest” length for cutting, however. Cutting below that length can be damaging to the lawn, exposing it to heat and disease. After finding the recommended length for your particular species of grass, it is best to err on the longer side of that number when you mow. During hotter months this is especially true. In cooler months it is not as harmful to cut in the lower end of the recommended length.

Grasses that are kept shorter (between ¼ inch and an inch) include bent grass and bermuda grass. The middle range (one to two inches) include zoysia, centipede, and St. Augustine. Longer grasses that should stay above two inches include tall fescue, buffalo grass, and bahia grass.

If you’re unsure what grass makes the most sense for your lawn, or how to best care for it, give us a call.

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.