Ask the Lawn Care Expert

All about Army Cutworms (Miller Moths)

lawn army cutworm

I have heard of army worms, I have heard of cutworms, but I have never heard of army cutworms, until our lawn care franchise owner in Olympia, WA , Mike Bell, sent me a picture of a caterpillar he had not seen before. There are several turf damaging caterpillars, such as sod webworm , army worms and cutworms, but they are generally not a serious pest problem in the Pacific Northwest. I told Mike that it looked like an army worm as it has the characteristic “inverted-Y” on its head. […]

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All About Ash Flower Gall Mites

ash flower galls

I received a picture the other day from our lawn care franchise owner in Fulton, IL , Don McLuckie. Don asked if what he was seeing was normal to see on an ash tree. I had seen these on ash trees in my neighborhood. I always thought the fuzzy-looking balls were some type of seed pod. That was the answer that I sent to Don, but I wasn’t 100% sure. After doing some investigating on the Internet, I discovered that my diagnosis was incorrect. What I was seeing on the […]

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Winter Weed Control in the South

winter weeds 185 x 165

While the northern parts of the US are in the process of hunkering down for the winter, the milder temperatures of the southern states are providing the ideal temperatures to control many troublesome weeds in what soon will be dormant lawns. Even though these lawns may be dormant, many weeds are just starting to become active in the fall. These weeds are known as winter weeds. They can be annual, biennial or perennial in regards to life cycles, and these winter weeds can be very difficult to control. The Different […]

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How and When to Separate Hostas and Other Perennials


In keeping with the recent theme of fall gardening projects, now is a good time to divide perennials if you haven’t done so in several years. Most flowering perennials benefit from being divided or thinned out to allow for more room for the roots to grow and better develop. This is a practice that should be done every three or four years, depending on the plant. If the plant flowers in the spring or summer, fall is the best time to divide them. Conversely, if the plant flowers in the […]

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Fall Yard Chores: Get a Head Start on the Spring

leaves piled on a lawn

In my last blog post, I wrote about pulling up annual plants, judging which ones did well, cutting back perennials and mulching instead of raking your leaves. Here are some other chores to finish before winter sets in: If you have a sprinkler system and haven’t had it blown out yet, time is rapidly running out. Apply one more fertilization for the fall. For warm season grasses, you want to use a fertilizer that has very little nitrogen in it. For cool-season grasses, you want to apply a fertilizer that […]

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Sometimes You Have To Take Advantage of Nice Weather When You Can


We are enjoying some terrific weather this fall throughout the Midwest. This fall, there’s only been one day that I actually saw any frost on the grass. Even then, it only occurred in a few low spots. In fact, this entire week has been close to or above 70 degrees, which is great, but definitely not the norm for northern Illinois in the first week of November. I was able to take advantage of the great weather when I took a vacation day. I started pulling up all of the […]

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Why You Should Call the Pros to Winterize Your Sprinkler System

watering your grass

There are fall tasks that everyone needs to complete, such as raking leaves and stowing outdoor furniture. If you own a sprinkler system and live in an area where the ground freezes, you need to get the water blown out of the pipes. This process is often referred to as winterizing your sprinkler system. It is already the end of October, so this task needs to go to the top of the list. Why Can’t I Do It Myself? Winterizing your sprinkler system is not something that most homeowners can […]

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Dormant Seeding: Is There Still Time To Seed Cool-Season Turfgrasses?

Green Grass

Even though much of the northern US has been enjoying a warmer than normal fall, it will soon be turning cooler in the next couple of weeks. If you are still planning to seed, you may want to consider dormant seeding at this time of year. When Can I Begin Dormant Seeding? Dormant seeding works best when the soil temperature drops below 50°F or when the ground is frozen, providing that snow is not covering the lawn. If soil temperatures are too high, it can result in the seed germinating […]

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Spring-Green Helps Out the Healthy Turf Healthy Kids Project

Project Evergreen at Boak Park in Chicago

On Thursday and Friday, October 1 and 2, the Illinois Professional Lawn Care Association joined Project EverGreen in its Healthy Turf Healthy Kids initiative to renovate green spaces to promote better health for children. Project EverGreen is an organization that is dedicated to preserving and enhancing green spaces in our communities. The project took place at Boak Park in North Chicago. On the first day we applied a broadleaf weed control and fertilizer to the park and on the second day, we core aerated and overseeded the entire park. Several […]

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Do You Really Want to Do This Yourself? (Winterize Your Sprinkler System)


Sadly, summer is officially over. Fall is upon us and that means there are a number of projects that need to be taken care of before winter arrives. Even those people that live in the southern states, there are a few winter projects that need attention. For the rest of us, fall is the time to take stock of the successes and failures in regards to the plants in your yard. It is also the time when we have to winterize equipment. If your yard includes a sprinkler system, a […]

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