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Springtime is the Time of Year for Lawn Hitchhikers

Mar 31, 2021 8:00:00 AM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in lawn and garden


Having a beautiful lawn is a challenge, because of the climate, sandy soil, and pests. For many of us, it is almost like a war—you are either battling too much or too little water, the bugs, weeds, and fungus. Time and money will not ensure a beautiful lawn, because of all the lawn hitchhikers that are thumbing their way to destroy your lawn. Every homeowner must take action to prevent lawn hitchhikers from invading their yard.

The first and most common mode of transportation for lawn hitchhikers like weeds, fungus, and bugs is the traveling lawnmowers from lawn service companies. Many seniors do not cut their own grass for three primary reasons: physical ability, desire, and lack of space to store lawn equipment. There are a lot of lawn service companies throughout Central Florida and many of them are built for speed. The quicker they complete the work, the lower the price. Therefore, many of them will hit your yard like a jackrabbit. Be honest, for most homeowners it is more about the price and less about quality.

The problem with the quick-hitting traveling lawn service companies is that many of them do not properly wash and clean their lawnmowers in between yards, and many times they will take special jobs involving unkept properties with overgrown landscape. That lawnmower that is cutting your grass today could have been cutting the yard of a foreclosed property full of weeds, bugs, and fungus just a few hours ago. Just like the spread of COVID-19, all of those things that the mower was exposed to in the yard of the foreclosed property are now being spread throughout your yard. This is why you will start to see weeds you have never seen before popping up in the middle of your yard. It is imperative that your lawn service company washes their equipment down to prevent the spread.

Birds also pick up and transport lawn hitchhikers that create problems for your yard. Yes, the beautiful birds you feed in the back yard are known for picking up hitchhikers like weeds and pests. Birds can travel miles and their best food source, other than your bird feeder, is an overgrown grassy area with chinch bugs and weeds. If you have a lot of birds around your house, expect a continuing battle of the lawn.

The next carrier of lawn hitchhikers are other plants and grasses. The spring season ushers in the time of year for planting and the rebirth of your yard with many homeowners rushing to buy plants and grasses to spruce up their yard. From nurseries, to big-box stores, and flea markets it seems everyone is selling plants and grass because they are easy to produce. The challenge for this industry is poor regulation. Most of the bigger, established plant and grass nurseries will ensure their products are in good order by properly spraying for pests and weeds. However, many of the smaller ones are just into producing plants with little concern about their long-term viability. Plants that are properly treated to protect against unwanted hitchhikers cost more. Instead of looking at things like the health, longevity, and viability of the plant, homeowners only notice a 30 percent savings. When you buy plants and grass for your yard, make sure they have been treated for bugs, weeds, and fungus.

Hitchhikers can also make their way to your lawn by means of stray animals and pests. If you are one of these dear souls that feeds every stray cat or dog in the neighborhood, expect them to bring unwanted hitchhikers to your yard. Plus, having unkept areas encourages rodents or pests, which can create real issues for your lawn. Try to eliminate stray animals and pests from wanting to call your lawn their home.

Unfortunately, when you go for the lowest cost lawn services and products, you give up quality, and this encourages lawn hitchhikers. If you want to win the war on your lawn this spring, send the hitchhikers down the road to another lawn.

Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House.

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Tips for a Green Lawn during Winter

Oct 21, 2020 8:00:00 AM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in lawn and garden


Very soon we will be enjoying our Central Florida weather, as the days are getting a little shorter and the temperature is dropping somewhat. Unlike the northern winters, which used to welcome many of our new residents, wintertime in Central Florida is normally cool and damp. Overall, the winters are pleasant, and the reason people move to Florida.

The transition from a hot, wet summer to cooler temperatures with periods of limited rain can disrupt lawns. Without proper care, your grass can quickly become ugly and unmanageable. The most important aspect of lawn care in Central Florida is the method by which you care for your lawn in July is totally different from how you care for your lawn in January.

Here are some tips to help keep your lawn looking great during a Central Florida winter.

Do not over water or under water. During the winter, irrigation must be reduced to one day per week and it is imperative that your system is properly timed and working well to fully water your lawn. Allowing your irrigation system to fall into disrepair or not be timed properly will cause dead spots in the yard while over watering fuels the growth of winter weeds. It is a fine line in winter irrigation because of the area’s sandy soil. Take some time to do it right by really measuring how much water is being disbursed on your lawn during each cycle.

Even during Central Florida’s cooler winter, the grass will go dormant. Do not fertilize your yard like you did in July. Fertilizers will boost growth, especially during warmer times in the winter, and then a sudden freeze will wreck your grass. Yes, this area is susceptible to light frost and freezes, which damages grass that is over fertilized. Seek the help of a professional to understand how to properly fertilize your yard.

Weed and pest control for your lawn is a must during winter. After a light frost, drive around the various neighborhoods and you will see brown grass with big, beautiful green weeds throughout the yard. Wintertime is what I call weed time in Central Florida. Once again, before dumping a bunch of herbicides on your lawn, talk with a professional because some herbicides will kill or damage your grass if you utilize the wrong one. Many of the weed and feed items from big box retailers are ineffective and not good for your lawn. Identify the type of grass and weeds you have in your lawn and then purchase the correct product which targets just the weeds. For example, the weed killer for Bermuda grass will kill St. Augustine grass.

Many of our new northern friends are used to bugs and critters going away during the wintertime, but not here in Central Florida. Chinch bugs, mole crickets, and army ants continue to destroy your lawn during the winter. Just like with the issue of weeds, it is imperative you identify what is causing the problem and then target the pest. Blindly spraying pesticides on your lawn is not only bad for your lawn, it is terrible for the environment.

Damp, cool days also bring out fungus. St. Augustine grass is susceptible to Brown Patch Fungus, which looks like the grass is dying from being underwatered. In fact, in most cases, homeowners will add a special sprinkler thinking there is watering issue to only fuel the spread of the fungus. Brown Patch Fungus is almost impossible to resolve, and you really should contact a professional to help you find the best solution.

If you understand that lawncare in Central Florida changes with the season and work hard to identify what the problems are instead of guessing, you can have a beautiful lawn throughout the winter months.

Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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Cordless Technology Helps Homeowners in the Yard

Jul 8, 2019 8:13:39 AM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in home improvement, Using Power Tools, lawn and garden


Growing up, the worst aspect of working in the yard was getting the gas, checking the oil, cleaning the spark plug and praying with each pull of the rip cord that your mower, trimmer or edger would start. Sweat rolling down your face as you tried to figure out, “Do I pull the choke in or out?” Because of the hassles and unreliability of lawn equipment, many people — especially the elderly and ladies — conceded to the expense of hiring someone to do the work for them.

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