Weed Control in Spring Time

Now is the time!

Here’s the skinny…while we’re not calling an end to winter – the weed seeds on your property are saying it right now. The weather is unusually warm and this means all of us in the Truckee Meadows need to step up our weed control programs considerably.

quotess2Beautiful landscapes begin by eliminating weeds before germination

Lawn maintenance requires attentive weed control.

The most effective way to control weeds is to apply pre-emergent herbicide early in the year to prevent unwanted growth from appearing. Call our helpful weed-pros to schedule your treatments this week – before the seeds on your property germinate.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL Professional Pre-emergent Application + Turf Aeration Service – Save 10% on any service this month up to 3,000 square feet!

Call Julie to schedule a free weed control consultation (775) 827-LAWN (5296)

  • Weeds hurt the healthy and vibrant plants in the landscape stealing water, nutrients and light.
  • Many people are allergic to weeds and can suffer skin reactions or breathing difficulties.
  • They’re unattractive additions to any property and can cost thousands of dollars to eliminate if left untreated.
  • The aesthetic factor: weeds hurt the look of a landscape.

Timing Weed Control

Pre-emergent herbicides only work if they are applied to your lawn before the weed’s growth period. Weeds are persistent and crafty, and managing them really is a matter of outwitting, outplaying them, and outlasting them. They come back every season, twice a year. According to garden experts across the U.S., pre-emergent fertilizers should be applied so that they activate before seasonal weeds make an appearance.

Avoid ‘Brown Patch” on Turf this Summer

Spotting Brown Patch

Brown patch symptoms can vary depending on the grass variety, the soil as well as climate. Once it takes hold, the disease can spread quickly and begins to appear with 24 – 36 hours after infection. In the early morning on close cut turfgrasses, a dark smoky ring may appear at the periphery of the patch. This smoky ring transforms as the day progresses into a uniformly light brown or straw color.

Typically, brown patch causes rings or patches of blighted grass that measure from 5″ to more than 10′ in diameter. It also causes leaf spots and thin rings with brown borders around the diseased patches. Under close examination of the blades, irregular spots may be noticed that is bordered by a darker margin.

brown patch rottingAfter the leaves die in the blighted area, new leaves can emerge from the surviving crowns. On wide-bladed species, leaf lesions develop with tan centers and dark brown to black margins.

Brown patch favors high humidity and temperatures over 85 degrees during the day and not below 65 at night. On warm season grasses, this disease can be very active in the spring and fall. It also occurs in areas that receive more than 10 hours a day of wetness for consecutive days.

Brown patch infestation is more severe when the grass is cut to a height less than the optimum for the variety of grass.


The best prevention for brown patch is to aerate often, reduce shade to effected areas, and follow a fertilization schedule to help prevent fertilization with excess amounts of nitrogen. Avoid irrigating late in the day. Do not over-fertilize.


The most common fungicides used on Brown Patch are: benomyl, and chlorothalonil. The brown patch fungus will survive in thatch and turf debris between periods of activity. Chemical controls are available, but should only be applied by licensed applicators. Contact your local lawn care provider for additional information.

Lawn Diseases are Easier to Prevent than to Cure

Here are a few ways we can work together to keep some lawn diseases out of your lawn:

  • Signature Landscapes’ lawn fertilization program controls unhealthy bursts of turf growth that can attract disease.
  • Regular core aeration helps nutrients and water reach roots and breaks up thatch, which is one place diseases like to breed.
  • Deep, infrequent watering in the early morning, keeps moisture from remaining on the grass surface too long, which attracts disease.
  • Mowing frequently, at a high height and with a sharp mower blade, further helps to keep disease out.
  • Overseeding with disease-resistant grasses is another option you can consider.


If you suspect your lawn has any type of lawn disease, contact the Signature Landscapes team about treatment services immediately. Quick action can make a big difference to save your lawn.

To learn more from the pros… you can visit these links:

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has a great brochure about your turf. It’s not always a disease! It’s worth the time to download and read!
Click to view PDF

Jim Stanhouse Attends Pesticide Regulations and Products Workshop

Jim Stanhouse, manager of Signature Landscapes’ pest control division attended the Sacramento Workshop for pest control professionals. The educational program emphasized two tracks in the field of pesticide management: Understanding the Rodenticide Mitigation Label Changes and  Regulatory Updates, which focused on reducing children’s exposure to rodenticides, protecting wildlife from primary and secondary poisoning, and reducing home-owner miss use.

dprlogoThe second track was the highly acclaimed Integrated Pest Management for Home Gardeners and Landscape Professionals program, focusing on maintaining a healthy, vigorously growing lawn as the best way to prevent disease outbreak in turfgrass.

Stanhouse is a licensed pest control professional with more than 10 years experience in the application of pest control or pesticides. His licenses include the following:

  • Ornamental and Turf Control – The control of insects, weeds, vertebrates and plant diseases and the use of plant regulators on ornamental and turf in urban areas.
  • Industrial and Institutional – Control in and around industrial complexes, institutional complexes and dwelling units.
  • Aquatic – The control of insects, weeds and vertebrates in aquatic areas.
  • Right-of-way – The control of weeds in the maintenance of rights-of-ways, public roads, power lines pipelines and railway rights-of-ways.
  • Maintenance Gardener Pest Control Business – Authorizes the use or supervision of the use of pesticides in work as a maintenance gardener.

Understanding all facets of the pesticide industry is critical in Signature’s operation and the company strives to ensure education is one of the most important tools to manage today’s challenging pest control operation.

What Can Landscape Managers Do to Help Honey Bees?

Most people have heard about the decline in honey bees during the last several years. Are there things that landscape professionals or home gardeners can do to help?

Better Nutrition, Fewer Pesticides


(c) Kathy Keatley Garvey

The actual cause of the honey bee decline is still uncertain. What is known is that a number of factors are probably involved. For instance, honey bees are in their most robust condition and able to best contend with stresses when they are well fed. In addition to water, honey bees require nectar sources for carbohydrates and a varied mix of pollens to provide proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, sterols, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Pesticides can also be involved in bee decline, especially when applied to plants when they are in bloom and bees are foraging. Many insecticides are highly toxic to bees including virtually all organophosphates, carbamates, and pyrethroid materials.Drought, flooding, and conversion of former foraging grounds into large agricultural monocultures, highways, airports, developments, and so forth have led to honey bee malnutrition in many locations. Also, in the last 20 years beekeepers have been encountering a series of previously exotic pests that invade the hive and kill bees, such as the varroa mite; new honey bee diseases, including Nosema ceranae; and many RNA viruses.

If not killed in the field, pollen-foraging bees can collect residue-contaminated pollens and bring them back to the hive for immediate consumption or long-term storage. There are serious concerns over the chronic, sublethal effects of these residues on the physiology of immature and adult bees.


(c) Kathy Keatley Garvey

A newer class of insecticides, the nicotinoids, which include imidacloprid, clothianidin, and dinotefuran, also pose hazards for honey bees. These products are systemic materials that move through the plant and will be included in nectar and pollen of flowers when they bloom. Although the neonicotinoid residues may not kill bees immediately, they may have sublethal effects, such as the suppression of immune and detoxification systems, that cause bees to be more sensitive to other stresses.

Use Plants and Pesticides Wisely

There are several ways landscape managers can help protect bees. When designing
or replanting a landscape, consider honey bees and other pollinators in your plan. Include plants honey bees prefer, and try to ensure that several bee-friendly plants will be blooming throughout the year.

Also, avoid applying highly toxic insecticides, especially when plants are in bloom. Be aware that neonicotinoids tend to be stable compounds that can remain in the soil and in plants for months and still be present when the plants bloom.

Even when plants aren’t in bloom, use nonchemical management methods or pesticides with little or low toxicity to bees whenever possible, as pesticides may leave toxic residues or there may be flowering weeds or other blooms nearby.

For information about relative toxicity of pesticides to bees, consult How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PDF/PMG/pnw591.pdf. Toxicity of many landscape and garden pesticides to bees is also listed in the UC IPM landscape and garden pesticide active ingredient database at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/menu.pesticides.php.


Many thanks to the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources for this wonderful article. Specifically, 

—Eric Mussen, Entomology,
UC Davis, ecmussen@ucdavis.edu

Special thanks to Kathy Keatley Garvey for the beautiful photos in this article. Kathy works at the University of California, Davis, with Eric Mussen, Extension apiculturist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology