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Help! My Lawn is Turning WHITE!

Over the last week or so we’ve begun getting quite a few inquiries about discoloration in our customers lawns and I wanted to take a quick moment to address the concern.

Many of our customers who have been with us for quite awhile will tell you that we make product selection a priority.  We will ALWAYS (and I mean always) err on the side of caution when it comes to the products to which our customers, ourselves and our families are exposed.  I MEAN EVERY SINGLE TIME.

When we do our first treatments of the year there are essentially two main goals.  The first is to promote a “green-up” as the lawn comes out of dormancy.   The second is weed control, both pre and post emergent.  The pre-emergent part of it is to actually prevent grassy weed seeds from germinating when soil temperatures allow.  (This is mainly for crabgrass.)  The post-emergent part of the treatment is to kill weeds that have already come up.  (mainly dandelions)

In recent years, many health advocates and environmentalists have begun to call into question the impact that chemical pre and post emergent weed controls have on people, pets and the environment. The most commonly used post emergent weed control in our industry contains several active ingredients that we simply don’t feel comfortable with and if you’d like to do your own research please do an internet search for “dangers of 2,4-d.”

Yes, it’s completely legal to use and if label instructions are followed exactly there should not be an issue.  But, we don’t like to use it.    Incidentally 2, 4-d has also been found to significantly elevate the incidence of cancer in many breeds of dog.  It seems that everybody knows somebody who (or has personally)  lost a dog to cancer and all too many times evidence points back to the use of lawn care chemicals.

While we are always searching for alternatives that are safe to use we always also have to keep in mind that you hire us to kill weeds!

Currently we have settled on product called “Tenacity” which has the active ingredient “Mesotrione.”  Instead of chemically controlling weeds by burning them with toxic chemicals, mesotrione essentially shuts down chlorophyll production by the plant so that photosynthesis does not occur.  (Think back to 6th grade biology class)   The weed slowly turns white and ultimately dies.   It is a derivative from the “bottle brush” plant and has been called “benign” or “inert” to mammals and the environment.  The rate at which it is applied, one tenth of one ounce per one thousand square feet, has allowed it to be classified as an EPA REDUCED RISK HERBICIDE.  When I compare that to the fact that 2, 4- d is considered by the EPA to be a “potential carcinogen” I find that the choice is easy to make.

One of the downsides of using Tenacity is that the mode of action is something that many lawn care customers are not accustomed to.  Not only does the product kill weeds and prevent crabgrass it also will control other non-desirable turf grass such as orchard grass, barnyard grass, nutsedge and a few others.  While our short term strategy is to kill unsightly weeds our long term strategy is to have your lawn be comprised of only desirable turf types such as blue grass, rye grass and fescue.  On occasion it will also cause a temporary whitening effect on desirable turf grass.  Remember that this is TEMPORARY and will return to it’s normal state in a week or so.

Here are a few pictures from an actual Lawnmark lawn that were sent to us by a concerned customer.

 

Tencity 2

In this picture you can see that the non desirable turf types have begun to turn white and will eventually stop growing.

Tenacity 1

This is an interesting picture because it appears that a seed mix with poor turf types was used at some point and is showing a pattern as to where it was planted.

If your lawn is showing some whitening please be aware that it means that product is actually working the way it should.  While it may be somewhat unsightly for a week or so it is a very effective long term strategy that will help build a thick, green, weed free lawn for the future.  Finally when compared to the more commonly used chemical herbicides you should feel that you are doing your own part to help not only the environment but the health of your family and pets too.

As always, your satisfaction is our ultimate goal.  If you’d prefer that we do not use “Tenacity” please let us know!

Tom

One Response so far.

  1. Matt Davis says:

    Thank you, Manchester NH resident here starting at some white blades sitting out of the Karen u just redid and spent lots of money on (and hours and hours). You put my mind at ease.

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