Fall Lawn Care

Fall weather is finally here, which means that lawns are going to soon start slowing their growth and going dormant. Most fall core aerations have been completed, and leaf clean ups will begin soon. Here are a few items to keep in mind as we progress towards winter:

Stem Rust in Turfgrass

Stem rust is a fungal disease that develops late in the season on lawns with older bluegrass varieties and slow growth due to low nitrogen. The obvious symptom is rust colored “powder” (fungal spores) on grass blades, shoes and lawn mower. Heavily infected turf may show some yellowing of grass blades. Fungicide controls are recommended or needed for high maintained lawns. Fall lawn care, especially correct nitrogen fertilization, along with cooler fall weather promotes turfgrass growth and rust disappears.

Fall Herbicide Applications

Now is the time to consider applying herbicide for knotweed and crabgrass control. When chemical control is justified, an application with the correct herbicide in the fall can be effective for knotweed. If both crabgrass and knotweed were serious problems this year, prodiamine can be used. It will provide control of both crabgrass and knotweed.

Mowing Tree Leaves into Lawns

Most professional turf managers mulch mow leaves. Mulch mowing can be easier and returns complex organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Some research suggests mulch mowing can even help control weeds. While this weed control benefit can be sporadic, it can help improve the health of your lawn and soil. Mulching leaves is also easier and less time consuming than bagging. Sometimes a double mowing at a slightly higher cutting height will help shred those leaves and bury them in the lawn. The ground tree leaves won’t add to thatch. Up to three inches of leaves can be mowed into turf at a time. Sometimes tree leaves come too fast and quickly pile over the lawn. You will need to rake and bag if that is the case.

Fall Lawn Fertilization

Fall lawn fertilization is best completed before Thanksgiving. Later applications are not well-utilized by turf. Late Fall is the best time to apply root winterizer fertilizer to cool season lawns. Fall is the best time of year to fertilizer your turf for deeper root growth.

Late Fall Perennial Weed Control

Herbicide applications for perennial weed control can still be made effectively while the following conditions apply.

  • Daytime temperatures are above 45°F.
  • Weeds have green leaves and can uptake herbicides.
  • Soils are not frozen.

We will begin Lawn Care Application #5 (Lawn Winterizer) and Fall Weed Control very soon. As always, we are here to help you with any lawn or landscaping questions you may have. Give us a call anytime!

LibertyLawn@gmail.com / 402.423.0061

It’s Time for Core Aerations

Now that September is over and October is just beginning, it’s time to start scheduling your fall core aeration appointment. Core aeration is a great way to help feed your lawn before it goes into dormancy for the winter in order to promote lush and full grass come spring. If your grass is looking thin or yellowed, your soil is hard to the touch or develops puddles during rainstorms, you may have compaction problems. It’s easy to test for compaction yourself with a simple test. Take a regular screwdriver and stick it into your soil by hand. It should slide in fairly easily, but if it is difficult to get the screwdriver in more than an inch, your soil is compacted. Read on to learn more about how aeration can help reduce compaction and benefit your lawn.

What is Core Aeration?

Healthy lawns all have one major thing in common: air pockets within the soil. While it may seem counterintuitive, these pockets are essential for allowing a healthy root system to develop. As soil is compacted by things like foot traffic or a thick layer of thatch, these air pockets are reduced or eliminated. This can lead to issues like moss or weed growth, as well as stunted grass growth.

Core aeration is a type of lawn aeration that relies on a machine called a lawn aerator. This machine removes small plugs or “cores” of soil from your lawn, as well as thatch, to reduce compassion in order to allow more air to get into your soil. It also creates a channel through with water and nutrients can get under your grass to feed it at the roots. While there are other ways to aerate your lawn, these methods often create cores that are too small for maximum penetration. By using a lawn aerator, we are able to remove plugs that are ½ to ¾ of an inch in diameter, providing maximum access for water, air, and fertilizer.

Performing a core aeration on your lawn can help solve many different types of common lawn problems. It can eliminate moss that is growing in areas with poor drainage due to compaction, as well as help grass regrow stronger in areas where it was previously struggling to survive.

When is the Best Time to do Core Aeration?

For the cool-season grasses most common in our area, core aeration is best done right now in early fall. If you are growing a warm-season grass, core aeration is best done during mid-spring to early summer.

If you’re ready to have your core aeration done, give us a call to set up an appointment. As always, we are here to help you with any lawn or landscaping questions you may have!

LibertyLawn@gmail.com / 402.423.0061

3810 Cornhusker Hwy, Lincoln, NE 68504 / PO Box

September Updates

The summer heat may still be here, but with October just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about fall landscaping tasks. Here’s a list of things that your lawn may need to have done in the next six weeks.

Lawn Reseeding/Overseeding

The time for lawn seeding is getting short, so it’s important to complete seeding/overseeding as soon as you can. For cool season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue, late August into mid-September is the best time for seeding. Perennial ryegrass is not recommended for use in Nebraska lawns.

The seeding window is getting smaller, but there is still time to seed. Preparing the seedbed is always a very important first step, whether doing a complete renovation or overseeding. The key to success is seed to soil contact. When purchasing seed, buy from a reputable retailer and look for blue tag certified seed to avoid planting a problem.

Lawns that have recently been seeded or overseeded some damage may be expected on newly germinated lawns if temperatures dipped below 28° F. As cool season grasses, newly germinated Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue seedlings can tolerate light frost, down to approximately 30-32° F, but hard freeze temperatures below 28° F will likely cause some seedling death if plants are less than 7 days old.

Lilac Leaf Browning

In the last few weeks, many lilacs have suffered severe leaf browning. This is caused by the fungal disease Pseudocercospora. It shows up as brown spots on the leaves, moving from the edge of the leaves inward, sometimes splotchy in appearance. The fungus is favored by moderate summer temperatures and high humidity. It is common when temperatures are around 76 degrees but the infection occurs at least 7 days before any symptoms are seen on the plant.

Because high humidity favors disease development, increasing airflow around and through lilac stems will help reduce disease severity by decreasing leaf wetness time following rain or a heavy dew. Prune affected plants by cutting out 1/3 of stems, removing the largest canes and those canes that are cankered, girdled or completely dead.

The fungus can survive for at least 2 years on plant debris, so fall cleanup of the infected leaves will also help reduce disease pressure next year. Fungicides are not effective at this time on plants already infected. Next year, fungicide should be applied in the spring when the leaves first emerge.

Perennial Weed Control

Fall is the best time to control perennials broadleaf weeds in turf. Fall applications are more effective because weeds are translocating stored energy (and properly applied herbicide) into roots and other underground structures. For the best control, an herbicide should be applied by the end of October. A second application can be made 3 to 4 four weeks after the first if targeted weeds have not been controlled by the initial application. Single applications applied later in fall can still be effective if soil moisture isn’t limited at the time of application, but control may not be evident until spring. Herbicides are most effective when spot applied to actively growing weeds that are not stressed by extreme temperatures, drought, etc.

Fall Lawn/Landscape Clean Up

Some insect pests overwinter in or on overwintering garden debris. For example, Iris borers spend the winter as eggs on old iris leaves and plant debris at the base of iris stalks. Squash vine borers overwinter as cocoons in the ground or on leaf litter, and squash bugs find shelter in the fall under dead leaves, rocks, wood, and other garden debris. As the landscape season winds down, practicing fall sanitation and removing plant debris is an important piece of the management puzzle for reducing serious pest population levels.

As always, we are here to help you with any lawn or landscaping questions you may have. Give us a call anytime!

LibertyLawn@gmail.com / 402.423.0061

3810 Cornhusker Hwy, Lincoln, NE 68504 / PO Box 29442. Lincoln, NE 68529

Late Summer Lawn Maintenance

It’s the time of the year where we here at Liberty Lawn start thinking about late summer and fall lawn maintenance. There are a few different turf issues you should be on the lookout for, as well as some maintenance tasks that should be scheduled soon.

Gray Leaf Spot in Turf

This disease primarily affects perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. Kentucky bluegrass is resistant. High heat and humidity help this disease develop rapidly. Symptoms start as small, water-soaked lesions, progressing to leaf death. As leaves die, they twist and develop a Shepherd’s hook appearance. Disease in mixed grass stands look sparse as leaves die, and can often be confused with wilt or heat stress. Gray leaf spot is most severe in highly fertilized turf, or those stressed by environmental factors (soil compaction, drought, etc.) Leaf wetness favors infection, so irrigation should be done in the morning to allow grass leaf blades to dry before evening. Strobilurin fungicides and thiophanate-methyl provide the most effective control.

Dollar Spot in Turf

This is a minor disease for most home lawns. To identify dollar spot, symptoms appear as four to six-inch, straw-colored patches of blighted turf. A bleached lesion in the shape of an hour glass is present on the leaf blade. The lesion has a characteristic reddish-brown margin. In early, dewy mornings, a cobweb-like mycelium is visible in the affected area. Applications of a lawn fungicide will be needed to control this disease.

Winter Annual Weed Control

It’s time to start applying pre-emergent herbicide to control winter annuals in lawns. Common winter annuals include little barley, henbit and corn speedwell. Winter annuals germinate in fall, survive the winter, then grow, bloom, go to seed and die the following spring/summer. Maintaining a dense turf and tall mowing height to help lawns shade out and compete with weeds, along with the use of a herbicide applied in early-mid September provides the most effective control.

Lawn Renovation & Overseeding


Late August to mid-September is the time to start thinking about lawn renovation and overseeding for cool season grasses, including Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue. Now is the time to prepare the seed areas, whether doing a complete renovation or over seeding. When purchasing seed, buy from a reputable retailer and look for blue tag certified seed to avoid planting a problem.

As always, we are here to help you with any turf and lawn questions you may have. Give us a call anytime!

LibertyLawn@gmail.com / 402.423.0061

3810 Cornhusker Hwy, Lincoln, NE 68504 / PO Box 29442. Lincoln, NE 68529

Japanese Beetles Treatments: Apply Now

With over 300 ornamental and edible plants they like to feed on, Japanese beetles (JB) can quickly become an overwhelming insect in the landscape.  Last year, one customer brought in his peach so covered in Japanese beetles that it was hard to identify the fruit as a peach!

If you didn’t have Japanese beetles last year, then hooray, you may not get any this year or if you do get them, they will be in low numbers. But if you had JB last year, chances are very good you’ll have them this year, too.

For perennials and roses, systemic products containing imidacloprid can be used in May to allow time for distribution within the plant. Topical sprays containing bifenthrin or chlorantraniliprole will keep JB populations down while limiting the amount of injury or death to bumble bees and other pollinators. This can be done when the adults emerge, usually in June.

Treating the soil for JB grubs does control this immature life stage but does not create a force field of protection to keep Japanese beetle adults from flying in from other areas.  Where there is food, the Japanese beetle will feed.

Using Japanese beetle traps is NOT a good idea because the traps are too effective at what they do. Research indicates JB traps attract more beetles to the yard than those yards that have no traps, resulting in more damage to trees, roses and edible plants.

Linden trees can be a magnet for Japanese beetles.  Treatment options are limited because it is illegal to use any systemic insecticide (one that moves internally via the tree’s vascular system) on linden trees.  Contact Liberty Lawn & Landscape, Inc. for treatment if your linden and/or other landscape plants have Japanese beetles.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns about Japanese beetles in your landscaping!

CapitalArborist@gmail.com / 402.466.0160
P.O. Box 240, Ceresco, NE 68017

Late Summer Lawn Concerns

Brown Patch


Brown Patch disease shows up as reddish-brown patches in lawns. Grass blades within or near the affected area will have tan colored, irregular shaped lesions with a reddish margin. Fungicides may be needed to reduce the disease infestation. Also, to aid recovery, maintain consistent growth; not too slow and not too fast. Try to keep grass growing about 1 to 1.5” per week. If it is below that, a summer fertilization is recommended; especially if the lawn is less than 10 years old. Water in the mornings when the wind is calm, humidity is high, and evaporation rates are lowest. Know that turfgrass does not need, and will not benefit from, “cooling” irrigation (syringing) in the afternoons.

Turf Dormancy


A tall fescue lawn should NOT be allowed to go dormant as it is not likely to recover. Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) can be allowed to go dormant for a short period to conserve water. Why the difference? KBG physiologically has the ability to go dormant (turn brown but still be alive) to escape drought conditions during hot, dry summers. On the other hand, tall fescue tolerates drought due to a much deeper root system but cannot physiologically go dormant to avoid drought. If tall fescue turns brown, it is likely dead.  Due to a deeper root system that uses soil moisture deeper in the profile, tall fescue does require less frequent irrigation than shallow-rooted Kentucky bluegrass.

If a homeowner chooses to let KBG to go dormant, remind them that during very hot, dry conditions, the lawn may need about ¼” of water a week to moisten crowns; and KBG can remain dormant for about 4 to 5 weeks only. If fall conditions remain hot and dry, irrigation should resume.

Yellow Lawns & Iron Chlorosis


While summer yellowing of Kentucky bluegrass & Tall Fescue lawns is due to iron chlorosis, the chlorosis is believed to be caused not only by high pH soil but also by a root dysfunction from hot and/or wet soils. Iron chlorosis will NOT respond to an application of nitrogen. When yellowing occurs, apply an application of iron, such as iron sulfate.

Eastern Red Cedar and Juniper Browning


Cercospora blight is a fungal disease that will cause browning from the bottom of the tree up and from the inside of the branches out. If this disease is confirmed, applications of Bordeaux mixture or a liquid copper fungicide such as Tenn-Cop 5E will effectively control this disease. At least two applications are needed for good control. The first application should just prior to initial infection (June/July). The second treatment should be made during the last half of July through mid-Aug. The second application normally gives good protection against infection for the remainder of the season. However, additional applications may be necessary during periods of frequent rains.

Turfgrass watering


Watering turf wisely during mid-summer is especially important to promote a healthy turf, reduce insect and disease pressure, and conserve a natural resource. It is much better to stay on the dry side than to over-water. Excess moisture in the root zone reduces soil oxygenation, increases soil heat retention, and increases disease risk.

Some broad advice to help avoid all of these issues:

  • Make sure your irrigation systems are working correctly
  • Adjust irrigation schedule according to weather conditions
  • Know how much water each irrigation system puts out
  • Don’t over water
  • Resist the temptation to syringe turf (water in afternoon to “cool off” turf)

Thank you for your business, please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns!

LibertyLawn@gmail.com / 402.423.0061

3810 Cornhusker Hwy, Lincoln, NE 68504 / PO Box 29442. Lincoln, NE 68529

Maintenance Updates

Here is an update on some of the concerns we are seeing in our turfs and landscape beds currently in and around Lincoln. We are actively applying to the Department of Agriculture to have access to regulated and approved products to help curb these pests.

Brown Patch in Turf

Symptoms are reddish brown circular patches, with grass blades in or near the patch having irregular shaped tan lesions with red margins.

Unlike lesions of dollar spot, these usually do not encircle the leaf blade. Brown patch may be more noticeable in tall fescue lawns but Kentucky bluegrass is also affected. Brown patch is most often found in slower growing turf, but can show up in fast growing lawns after fertilization with fast release nitrogen sources (Liberty Lawn only applies at least 50% slow release fertilizer products). Fungicide controls in lawns may be needed. Know that younger lawns, 10 years old or younger, require more nitrogen fertilization than older lawns.

Dollar Spot in Lawns

Leaf blades exhibit straw-colored dead spots with reddish-brown margins; lesions pinched at center into an hour-glass shape; 4-6 inch dead spots in turf.

The best way to manage dollar spot in lawns is with a July application of fertilizer to help it grow out of the damage and fungicide applications may also be needed.  To identify Dollar Spot, symptoms appear as four to six-inch, straw-colored patches of blighted turf. A bleached lesion in the shape of an hour glass is present on the leaf blade. The lesion has a characteristic reddish-brown margin. In early, dewy mornings, a cobweb-like mycelium is visible in the affected area.

Bagworms Hatching, Time to Control

Once overwintering eggs on trees begin to hatch, insecticide control can begin. Upon hatching, bagworms are about one-eighth of an inch long and difficult to detect. When bagworms are small, bacillus thuringiensis (kurstaki) and spinosad are biorational insecticides that can be applied to foliage to kill young caterpillars as they feed. While not the most effective means of protection against bagworm infestation, biorational insecticides kill caterpillars without causing harm to natural enemies. They must completely cover foliage and be consumed by bagworms to be effective. After the month of June, when bagworms are bigger, conventional insecticides need to be used and these may include malathion, acephate, carbaryl, bifenthrin, permethrin etc. Preventive or systemic insecticides containing dinotefuran are applied to the soil but these must be applied weeks before hatching, so it is too late to use these products now.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Have a great 4th of July, and Thank You for your business!


How to Trim Your Bushes

Though perhaps not the most popular types of landscaping plant, bushes, shrubs, and hedges are beautiful plants that add natural beauty and curb appeal to your home. Easy-to-maintain and often vibrant year-round, they make a great addition to accent your lawn, trees, gardens, and hardscapes, such as walks, patios and walls. They can also be great ways to provide a windbreak, privacy screen, or even a living fence around your yard. Keep reading to learn about the types of trimmers you can opt to use, as well as some tips on how to trim bushes yourself.

Types of Trimmers

If your bushes are left to become overgrown, however, they can negatively impact your curb appeal, making your yard look messy and unkempt. But maintaining these types of plants is actually quite simple, thanks to readily available and affordable hedge trimmers. There are three types of hedge trimmers available, depending on your individual needs and preferences:

  • Gas-powered Trimmers

These trimmers have the most powerful engines, and are best for cutting through thicker branches. They also have the advantage of not being tethered by a cord, which makes them a great option for people with large yards. They can be more expensive than other trimmer options, and require you to mix a small amount of oil with the gas in order to keep the engine lubricated.

  • Corded Trimmers

Less expensive in quieter than gas-powered trimmers, corded trimmers are a great option for those with smaller yards and are virtually maintenance-free. You also don’t have to worry about using a pull-start or a choke to get it going each time you use it. They are slightly less powerful, making them better suited to small and medium-sized bushes.

  • Cordless Trimmers

While cordless trimmers have been around for a number of years, it was only recently that, thanks to advancements in battery technology, that they became a popular option for trimming bushes. Much like corded trimmers, they require little maintenance, are easy to start, and are very quiet. While they can be less expensive than gas-powered trimmers, many require you to purchase the battery and charger separately, which can make them more expensive than corded options.

Hedge trimmers are very simple to use, though it is important to be careful as they have sharp blades. Always keep two hands on your trimmer when it is turned on. If you find a branch that is too thick to cut with your trimmers, never try to hold it still with one hand while cutting. Instead, use a pair of hand pruners to ensure you don’t accidentally injure yourself or the bush with your powered trimmers.

Trimming Your Bushes

The number of times you trim your bushes every year depends on the look you’re going for. If you want less formal, more natural-looking bushes, trim them just once or twice a year. For more formal bushes and hedges, you’ll want to trim three to four times per year.

Start trimming your bush from the bottom and work your way up, taking on a little bit off at a time. Avoid trimming the bush into a “V” shape, which discourages light from getting to the bottom branches and root system, and can make them lose their leaves or needles. Instead, aim for a shape that is slightly wider at the bottom, which allows optimal exposure to sunlight and promotes a full, lush bush.

To cut the top flat, hold the blade level with the ground and move from right to left, then left to right. Take only a little bit off at a time, guiding the blade as level as possible. For tall bushes or hedges, you can use stakes with a string tied across them as a guide to get a straight, even cut. Stop as you go to use your hands to remove cut pieces from the bush. It will likely take several passes to get the bush into the shape you want.

Make sure to trim bushes in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid sunburning the freshly cut branches. You should also avoid trimming bushes in early spring when birds are nesting. When you’re done trimming the bush, you should go through it by hand with your pruning shears to find and remove any dead or diseased branches inside of the plant.

If you aren’t confident trimming your own bushes, Liberty Lawn is here to help. We offer all kinds of yard services, including bush trimming, to keep your yard looking its best all season long. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation!

How to Fertilize Your Lawn

All plants need more than just water and sunlight to thrive, and grass is no exception. Applying fertilizer to your lawn feeds it necessary nutrients that it needs to grow thick and lush. Maintaining a thick, lush lawn helps prevent weeds from sprouting and moving in, allows your lawn to fight off disease, and helps roots retain more water during warm summer days.

Most fertilizers are only effective for 6 to 8 weeks, so maintaining a regular fertilization schedule is essential in keeping your lawn healthy all season long. Here are the steps you should take to fertilize your lawn:

  1. Water your lawn. A day or two before you fertilize your lawn, give it a good watering. Ensuring your soil is damp, but not soaking wet, helps the soil absorb the fertilizer.
  2. Pick the best spreader for your lawn. There are a few different types of spreaders, and you’ll want to be sure you have the correct one to make the application quick and easy. For small lawns, a handheld spreader can work just fine, whereas people with bigger lawns will benefit from a push-type spreader. Make sure to adjust the spreader settings. Each fertilizer product has a spreader setting on the package to ensure correct coverage.
  3. Start by applying grass fertilizer around the perimeter. It is always best to start applying fertilizer around the perimeter of your grass, as it is the easiest area to accidentally miss spots. Simply walk around the entire perimeter, ensuring you move steadily for an even application.
  4. Fill in the middle. Similar to a mowing pattern, feed your lawn by walking back and forth in straight lines, making sure to overlap slightly with each pass.
  5. Properly store any remaining product. Once you’ve finished fertilizing your lawn, return any unused product to the bag and store it for future use. Be sure to keep it in a cool, dry place away from pets and children.

We hope that this article has helped you to learn about the benefits of fertilizing your lawn. If you aren’t certain which fertilizer is best for your individual needs, or aren’t able to fertilize on a regular schedule, Liberty Lawn is here to help. We offer all kinds of yard services, including lawn fertilization, to keep your yard healthy and looking good all season long. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation!

7 Benefits of Using Mulch

When it comes to quick, easy, and inexpensive ways to spruce up your curb appeal and benefit your plants, you can’t beat mulching. Mulch comes in many different forms, from wood chips and pine needles, to recycled tires and river rocks. But did you know that mulching has many different benefits beyond just looking nice? Here are 7 different benefits that applying mulch can have for your yard.

  1. Controls Weeds

Using mulch helps to control weeds in your yard by taking up open spaces. The mulch acts as a barrier, preventing sunlight from reaching the ground and causing weed seeds to germinate. It is a great way to help prevent weeds in garden beds.

  1. Retains Moisture

Mulch helps your soil to retain moisture by absorbing water and limiting evaporation. This means that, during hot summer months or periods of drought, you will have to use less water to keep your plants healthy. This not only ensure happy plants, but also helps cut down on your water bill.

  1. Prevents Soil Erosion

Mulching not only helps to keep water trapped in the soil, it also prevents rain water from washing away your soil. Mulch helps prevent erosion creating a barrier on top of the solid that breaks the fall of the water, and lessens the force when the water impacts the ground.

  1. Maintains Soil Nutrients

Not only does mulch help keep water in the soil, it also helps to keep nutrients in the soil. In addition, if you choose an organic mulch such as wood chips or pine needles, as they slowly decompose they will release additional nutrients directly into your soil.

  1. Controls Pests

Using certain types of mulch, such as cedar bark, can deter certain pests due to the fact that the cedar bark has natural oils that act as insect repellent. To reap the full benefits, be sure to find a mulch that is very fragrant, as it will have the greatest effect on insects. Some mulches, however, can encourage insects to flock to your garden, and even your house if your mulch touches your home. Be sure to research which type of mulch will best suit your needs.

  1. Encourages Earthworms to Move In

Using organic material for mulching can encourage earthworms to occupy your garden soil. Earthworms like the damp, dark area underneath mulch, and they make a great addition to your garden because earthworms help improve soil structure and nutrient cycling.

  1. Polishes up Your Garden

Mulch can give a garden a finished look by filling in the empty spaces while being one of the easiest fillers to maintain. Grass, groundcovers, and other fillers may take extensive care, such as mowing and watering, as well as competing for resources with your garden plants. Mulch is easy to care for and never competes with your other plants.

We hope that this article has helped you to learn about the benefits of mulching in areas around your yard. If you aren’t certain which mulch is best for your individual needs, Liberty Lawn is here to help. We offer all kinds of yard services, including mulching, to keep your yard healthy and looking good all season long. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation!