Gonna Be A Bumpy Winter

I have seen more adult crane fly this fall than you can shake a stick at. Most of you are probably familiar with these insects. The adults look like over sized mosquitoes. They fly around, annoying you when you're mowing, hang around your house and show up in ( sadly, all too few numbers) your outdoor spider webs.

These pests have mostly mated by now and the females have laid their eggs in your lawn. Sometime around early December we will, depending on the weather conditions, see the first hatching of larvae. Once these larvae hatch they begin to feed on the roots of your grass and, of course, they rarely bother with any of the nasty, invasive native grasses in almost every lawn. Oh no, they go right after your rye grasses and rescues.

We will be monitoring our different routes for evidence of damage in all our client's landscapes. If you are already on our crane fly control program, rest easy. We will be applying the proper control at the proper time to control this pest. If you are not on the control program we will notify you if we noted adults in your landscape this fall, and advise you of the need for preventative measures.

If you are not on the control program and notice distinctive thinning, discoloration or heavy bird activity in your lawn, you quite possibly have a crane fly larvae problem. If you are unsure, we are always just a phone call away.

Now, if we can just avoid the Great Snow Mold Debacle of last winter . . . ah, but that's the stuff of a future blog .

Feed Your Trees and Shrubs This Fall

But why, you might ask, fertilize in the fall? Aren't my trees and shrubs going to be dormant over the winter?

The answer is yes, they do go dormant, but this dormancy is not a complete "shut down". Their metabolism, energy consumption and growth all slow down, but (and this is the key), they do not completely shut down.

By feeding your trees and shrubs in the fall, we are providing them with essential nutrients and micro-nutrients to carry them through the winter into spring. True, many of these nutrients are already in the soil, but the plants are unable to access them. We give em what they need, in a form they can readily use.

Nitrogen (not much and mostly slow release), phosphorus, potash, magnesium, sulfur, boron, copper and iron are all included, in exacting measure. This special blend is formulated specifically for our Northwest winters, providing your trees and shrubs with exactly what they need to thrive throughout our sometimes crazy winters.

The benefits of fall feeding include; increased root development, resistance to frost and freeze damage, improved general hardiness and a store of energy that is available if needed for prolonged winter weather.

So do your landscape a favor and get this service done! we have seen really amazing results in the trees and shrubs of our client's who take advantage of fall and spring feeding. See for yourself what a difference Tuff Turf can make.


Funky looking brown spots? Uneven growth? Lawn looks bad even with extra watering? Tis the season for leaf spot fungus in the dreaded melting out phase. And our applicators are starting to see this bad boy in lawns from Camas-Washougal, into Vancouver and out into the surrounding areas of Ridgefield, Woodland and all points in between.

Leaf spot is a very common turf disease, found in our Clark County lawns year round. Normally it can be easily controlled with proper fertilization. However, when conditions are right, leaf spot progresses to the very destructive melting out phase.

Our cooler, wetter stretch of weather in mid June, followed by temperatures climbing into the 80s has created optimum condition for this menace to your lawn.

If you notice irregularly shaped, discolored patches in your lawn with small areas of green healthy grass in them (frog-eye), check your soil. Just dig in a couple inches with a knife or screw driver and see if the soil is moist. 

If the soil is moist, it is highly probable you have this disease.Stop watering and get the proper fungicide to stop any further damage.

Or better yet, call us and let Tuff Turf take care of the problem for you!

Check out our cool photos of this nasty disease


Pink Snow Mold affects Vancouver, WA Lawns

Are you seeing matted, discolored “dead spots” in your lawn?

 Our applicators have been noting various degrees of damage in our client’s lawns throughout Clark County, north into La Center, Ridgefield and Woodland and south into Portland. We are finding matted, circular areas, 3 to 6 inches in diameter with grayish or pinkish edges. In many cases, grayish white mold is also present.

This damage is Pink Snow Mold (Microdochium Nivale) that has been caused by the unusually high number of heavy frost days we have experienced this winter. The good news is there is no need to apply fungicide to stop this disease. The bad news is the damage has been done.

So what now? The single most important thing you can do to aid in your lawns recovery is to use a blower or lawn rake to “fluff up” the damaged areas. This promotes air movement and improves turf appearance. 

And while you’re out there, it’s a great time to remove as much lawn debris (leaves, displaced bark or mulch and limbs and twigs) as possible. By regularly removing this debris you will prevent smothering damage to your turf.

Mowing, if the turf is dry, can also aid in recovery. But be sure you are not leaving heavy clippings on the lawn that can hinder air movement and cause smothering problems as well. 

Having your lawn aerated this spring is highly advisable. This helps relieve soil compaction, aids drainage and can stimulate new grass growth. In the more severely damaged lawns, over-seeding may also be necessary.



Proper fertilization of trees & shrubs is the most overlooked, and yet one of the most important aspects of a total plant health care program. The benefits of feeding your trees & shrubs in the fall include: increased root development, greater resistance to damage from severe cold and frost, greater ability to withstand storm damage and overallincreased hardiness.

We custom blend our fall fertilizer for our specific area, creating the ideal balance of nitrogen and micro-nutrients to provide your trees & shrubs with optimum nutrition for up to six months.

This custom blend is injected into the soil around your trees & shrubs by our highly trained applicators, making it readily available to the feeder roots of your plants.

Over the years, we have noticed a big difference in landscapes that are fertilized and those that are not. The general health, beauty and vigor of a properly fertilized landscape is easily discernible, it just looks better!

If you aren’t taking advantage of this important service, take a moment to call our office and get a quote.  Most of the time we can give you the price over the phone.

Give your trees & shrubs the feeding they need to remain healthy and beautiful all through the winter months.

The return of Fall AND the Crane Fly!

Now that the rain is here, it is a reminder that it’s fall. In the Vancouver, WA area (including Washougal, Camas, Fisher’s Landing, Cascade Park, The Heights, Downtown, Minnehaha, Hazel Dell, Felida, Salmon Creek, Ridgefield, La Center, Woodland, Amboy, Yacolt, Battle Ground, Brush Prairie, Orchards and all other parts of Clark County), that means the adult Crane Fly are actively laying eggs in the lawns.

So what does an adult Crane Fly look like? Very simply put, they look like a “giant mosquito.”  You may notice them on the side of your house or flying around in the lawn. They generally prefer more shaded, well-irrigated turf, but can be found in almost any lawn.

The adults do not damage your lawn. But they are laying eggs now, and the resultant larvae that hatch in the winter, feed on the roots of your grass. These larvae can cause significant damage (distinctive thinning of the turf), and in large numbers, severe damage, or destroy the turf.

We have seen instances of unchecked Crane Fly larvae leaving nothing but dirt and tufts of undesirable native grasses where a nice, healthy lawn was before.

What can you do to protect your lawn? If you are already on our two-spray Crane Fly Control Program, then no worries! We will apply the proper pesticide at the proper time to control these larvae. If you are seeing large numbers of these adults now, just let us know and we can get your lawn on the Crane Fly Control Program as well.

If you are unsure if you are already on the crane fly control program, you can check online or call the office. Remember, Tuff Turf is here as a resource and a partner to you for all your landscape needs and concerns. Answering questions and providing solutions is what we are all about.