Ask Danny | Ep. 1: Improving Your Lawn’s Health

Ask Danny | Ep. 1: Improving Your Lawn’s Health

This week’s “Ask Danny” guest is lawn expert Sid Sexton.

Welcome to the first episode of Today’s Homeowner’s new podcast, “Ask Danny.”

Each week, I chat with an industry friend to tackle your home improvement questions. We’ll share pro tips and practical advice to help you succeed! Plus, there’s always a unique or funny story along the way.

Today we are talking about lawn care and sodding, with Sid Sexton. Sid is the founder of Sexton Lawn & Landscape in Daphne, Ala., and is licensed in turf and ornament spraying, landscape design, and setting of landscape plants.


Sid Sexton is the founder and president of Sexton Lawn & Landscape. (Photo courtesy Sexton Lawn & Landscape)

About Sid Sexton

As the founder of Sexton Lawn & Landscape, Sid is a down-to-earth, honest businessman with a love for lawn care, landscape design, and delivering the best products to his clients.

Starting at age 16, Sid spent his summers working for a local landscape company and the local country club and golf course in his hometown of Muskogee, Okla.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in horticulture, Sid joined the U.S. Coast Guard and was stationed in Hawaii, where he met his future wife, Jourdan.

He was honorably discharged after two years and began working as an account manager for a landscape company. In January 2004, he founded Sexton Lawn & Landscape.


(Image via Sexton Lawn & Landscape, Inc. Facebook)

Sid is licensed in turf and ornament spraying, landscape design, and setting of landscape plants. He is also a Certified Landscape Professional and continues his education through workshops, online courses and other events several times throughout the year.

Keep reading for his advice on common lawn problems.


Out-of-control clover weeds are a sign that your lawn isn’t healthy. (LeslieLauren, Getty Images Signature)

Controlling Weeds

“We laid sod in our yard a few years ago and it’s held up well until recently. We’re starting to notice a lot more weeds than normal. What should we do?” 

Sid: The best weed control is a healthy lawn. Grass needs three major things to thrive — sunlight, water and nutrients, and in that order.

See if the sod is getting enough sunlight. Trim any branches that could be casting too much shadow onto the grass.

Also, think about the type of grass. Some types of grass thrive in one location and fail in another. The type of sod could not be shade-tolerant. There’s no real shade-loving turf, but there are some that tolerate a certain amount of shade.

Next, consider irrigation. Are you watering too much or too little? The right balance depends on the type of turf you have.

The last step should be fertilization and weed control. If weeds are the issue and you feel like you have enough sun, water and nutrients, contact a professional for a weed control program.


A core aerator only needs to be used on highly-compacted lawns. (stock.adobe.com)

Lawn Aeration

“Should everybody aerate a lawn, or is that in a situation when you suspect the ground has gotten more compacted?”

Sid: The answer depends on how much traffic you have on your lawn.

Do you have some mature trees and are those roots are getting larger and larger and taking up more space below the grass. Do you have dogs or kids? Is there a soccer match in the backyard every weekend? This will cause compaction.

If this is the case, you should core aerate. If it’s a sports turf, you should core aerate twice a year. 

For typical homeowners, once a year, if that, is sufficient. 

And before you aerate, mark the locations of your sprinkler heads.


To lay the best groundwork for sod, till up the soil and vegetation. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Prepping for Sod

“What should you do before sodding your lawn?”

Sid: Before laying sod, take five or six soil samples from the front and backyard.

Label them so you’ll know what area of your yard needs soil amendment. Consult with your local extension office to see what remedies you should do.

After your soil is amended and you’re ready to lay the sod, start prepping. There’s no need to eliminate all vegetation, but you do need to get rid of the weeds. 

Before laying the sod, break up the soil with a till. This will create a soft transition layer of soil that will make it easier for the grass roots to take hold. 

Then, add some organic matter to create a living soil for your sod to thrive, like Black Cow(This is an affiliate link. If you purchase this product, we will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.)


Change up your mowing pattern every so often. (MariusBlach/Getty Images)

Sid Sexton’s Mowing Tips

  • Sharpen your lawn mower blade at least once per season. A sharp blade will make a nice clean cut and won’t tear the grass blades.
  • Change up mowing patterns. Don’t mow in the same direction every time every year. It helps the grass to grow a different way and lessens the likelihood of ruts in your yard.
  • Make sure you know the mowing height for your turf type. Different grasses grow best when at certain heights. For example, the recommended height for St. Augustine grass is 3-4 inches, whereas Bermuda grass needs to be cut at an inch and a half. 

A bad lawn might not be caused by the soil itself, but by what critters are inside of it. (Smaglov, Getty Images)

Sid’s Encounter with the Elusive Ground Pearl

During the course of his horticulture studies in college, Sid learned about an insect called a ground pearl. Ground pearls live in the soil, feed on turf roots and look like a pearl, as their name suggests.

Over the years, he’s heard about ground pearls in seminars and read about them in textbooks, but he had never seen one in real life. 

“I thought it was the Loch Ness monster — something you said when you couldn’t figure out what was wrong with a lawn,” Sid says.

This changed, though, when he bought a house in 2012. For nine months, he struggled to find the cause of why the grass’ health was declining. The answer became clear when he was digging to plant a tree and pulled out a big wad of soil.

There were white and pink dots everywhere! Lo and behold, it was the elusive ground pearl.

Now, he sees them everywhere!


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Ask a Question! (Podcast)

Ask a question and we could answer it on the “Today’s Homeowner Podcast!” We also may use it on our nationally syndicated radio broadcast or on todayshomeowner.com.

Metal Roofing: Protection in All Climates

Metal Roofing: Protection in All Climates

No matter what mood Mother Nature is in, metal roofing offers your home protection.

Crazy snow and ice storms, monster hurricanes, golf ball-sized hail, extreme heat and torrential downpours. Homeowners everywhere face unique climate challenges. 

In this special Today’s Homeowner podcast, I’m talking with Renee Ramey, Executive Director of the Metal Roofing Alliance. We’re setting the record straight on how metal roofs hold up in extreme weather.


Metal roofing can withstand winds up to 140 mph — that’s the windspeed of a low category 4 hurricane! (Pgiam/Getty Images Signature)

‘Will a Metal Roof Easily Blow Away in High Winds?’

Extreme winds during hurricanes and tornados can literally tear off weaker, sub-quality roofs. Choosing stronger materials like metal roofs can improve the chances of riding out storms unscathed. 

Metal roofing can better withstand driving rain and extreme winds including F-2 tornado force winds of up to 140 mph. Since roofs take the brunt of monster storms, an investment in a higher quality roof can help save homes from sustaining major damage and will hold up better over time. 

Some metal roofing manufacturers and installers place foam under each shingle, which can help further guard against water seepage.


Metal roofs often earn a Class 4 impact-resistance rating, which is the highest possible level of protection against hail damage. (soupstock)

‘Won’t Hail Damage Metal Roofs More Easily Than Shingle Roofs?’

Quality metal roofs often earn a Class 4 impact-resistance rating — the highest level of protection against hail damage available. That means, installing a metal roof can help reduce hailstorm damage, thus preventing costly repairs and replacement. 

All roof types can sustain some cosmetic damage during a hailstorm, but studies show metal roofing performs best and is much less likely to puncture as compared to asphalt.


Some finishes of metal roofing offer a rougher texture to keep snow from sliding off. (Garrett Aitken/Getty Images)

‘Does Snow Easily Slide Off a Metal Roof?’

Finishes such as stone-coated metal roofs have a rougher surface texture. This works to reduce the danger of rooftop “avalanching” by preventing snow from releasing in large, heavy and damaging sheets.

Smooth metal roofing panels, whether painted or left unfinished, have much slicker surfaces and may require quality snow guards. Snow guards are designed to hold back rooftop snow and allow it to melt more gradually. 


Some metal roofs have a cool coating that actually helps emit heat gain. (sarajlic/Getty Images)

Basic, unpainted metal roofs will reflect more solar radiation than asphalt roofs. By choosing the proper colors and coatings, low-glare metal roofs reflect mostly non-visible, infrared and UV rays.

Modern high-performance metal roofing paints and stone-coated materials increase energy efficiency. Plus, darker colors reduce heat gain.

Cool metal roofs offer high solar reflectance and help emit heat gain. This reduces the amount of air conditioning needed by as much as 10-15 percent.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that an ENERGY STAR-qualified roof can lower roof temperatures by as much as 50 degrees.


The Metal Roofing Alliance is a nonprofit trade association that helps homeowners make educated roofing decisions and connects them with expert metal roofing professionals.

If you’re ready to upgrade to a metal roof, or just want more questions answered when it comes to a metal roof, check out metalroofing.com.


Further Reading

Keep Your Home Safe and Secure With Cync’s Innovative Systems

Keep Your Home Safe and Secure With Cync’s Innovative Systems

“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford, pictured with Paul Williams, Cync by GE's Vice President of Experiences & Professionally Installed Lighting
“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford and Paul Williams, Cync’s Vice President of Experiences & Professionally Installed Lighting

In this special episode of the Today’s Homeowner Podcast, I’m talking with Paul Williams, Vice President of Experiences and Professionally Installed Lighting at Cync by General Electric Lighting.

Smart home technology has made life at home more efficient — and safe, for that matter! And what homeowner doesn’t want their house to be secure and provide peace of mind at all times?

Cync has a wide array of smart home innovations that do just that. Listen to learn all about them!


Cync Full Color Bulb

Full Color Direct Connect Smart Bulbs

These aren’t your ordinary light bulbs — and they’re not even like a typical smart bulb. That’s because they have a library of more than 16 million color options!

It’s fun to add color to a room for celebrations, holidays or just to make any space cozy. And that’s easier to do now more than ever since you can control the bulb’s color output from any Wi-Fi connected mobile device.

Additionally, these bulbs can do a white-light balance across 2,000 kelvin to 7,000 kelvin. This means the bulb can mimic sunlight!


Cync Indoor Smart Camera

Indoor Smart Camera

Monitoring your home’s interior is just as important as keeping an eye on the structure from outside. And Cync takes the safety and uniqueness of having an indoor camera to another level.

This smart camera has a lens cover that you can slide up or down to cover the camera — and protect your privacy. In the camera, the mechanics behind it will shut the lens and microphone on or off at your discretion.

You can also store recordings on an SD card, the cloud, on the camera itself or not at all!


Cync Smart Motion Sensor

Smart Motion Sensor

Cync’s motion sensors are an essential part of home automation. When you walk into a room, the lights will turn on and when you leave the room, the lights will turn off — that’s convenience!

Smart motion sensors also are great for folks who make late-night, half-asleep trips to the bathroom.

Blinded by the usual white light? No problem — you can program the sensor to dim the light at your preferred percentage.


Want to Learn More?

Go to gelighting.com and choose the Smart Home tab. There you can find all of the awesome smart safety products we mentioned and more.

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

Weatherize Your Home With These Duck Brand Products

Weatherize Your Home With These Duck Brand Products

Danny Lipford and Brittany Lapidus for Duck Brand special podcast

In this special episode of the Today’s Homeowner Podcast, I’m talking with Brittany Lapidus, Product Manager at Shurtape Technologies, LLC. Shurtape makes all of Duck Brand’s products, which include home weatherization solutions.

Weatherization simply refers to preparing your home for extreme temperature changes that could affect its energy efficiency. All of these tasks are easy and inexpensive to do, making them do-it-yourself friendly.

Listen to learn about Duck Brand’s wide array of options to seal your home’s “envelope” and keep out the cold!


Duck Brand Weatherstripping door sealer
Prevent cold air from sneaking under your door with a Duck Brand door sweep.

Check for Drafts

When you’re looking for sources of air leaks, start with your entry door. Inspect its frame and bottom, which are the most common culprits of drafts.

Can’t tell if cold air is sneaking in? Take a flashlight and walk around your home’s exterior at night. Then, shine the flashlight around your window and door frames — if light can shine through, air can sneak into your home.

And that’s a problem, regardless of the season.


Hose faucet protector
A hose faucet protector, like this one, can help prevent pipes from freezing.

Protect Hose Bibs

Your garden hose’s bib, or faucet, needs protection during harsh winter weather. Otherwise, low temperatures could cause the fixture to freeze.

The solution is Duck Brand’s Faucet Cover, which you simply place around the outdoor faucet’s spout and tighten into position for cold-weather protection.


Black attic stairway cover installed in an attic.
An attic tent, or stairway cover, can keep warm air from living spaces out of the attic.

Insulating the Attic Stairway

Many homeowners never think about how living spaces can lose heat through gaps around the attic opening.

Duck Brand’s Attic Stairway Cover keeps heat from escaping up through your pull-down attic stairs, blocking drafts and retaining room temperature.

This product is lightweight, easy to install, position, and even re-position in case you need to enter the attic during the winter.


A man installing Duck Brand's window kit onto his windows.
Insulate your windows with Duck Brand’s Roll-On kits to efficiently prevent drafts.

Insulating Windows

Insulating your windows prevents indoor heat loss and regulates the glass’ surface temperature.

Duck Brand’s Roll-On Window Insulation Kit creates a barrier between an inefficient window that lets in outside air and your home’s living space. During the winter, this simple barrier makes your home energy efficient.


Weatherstripping product from Duck Brand
Weatherizing your home helps save you money on your energy bills!

Weatherizing Your Home

Weatherizing your home doesn’t have to be done all at once. Tackle each project one step at a time at your own pace — soon, you’ll have a more comfortable, energy-efficient home, regardless of what the weather is like outside.

Best of all, you don’t have to tackle this project every year. Duck Brand products last for many years. Just follow the product’s instructions and prepare the surfaces well for a successful, long-lasting installation.


Want to Learn More?

Go to duckbrand.com and choose the Project Selector. There you’ll find the right product for your needs and places you can buy Duck Brand Weatherization products.

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

10 Myths About Metal Roofing

10 Myths About Metal Roofing

MRA Metal roof on a home
Metal is one of the best materials to choose from when you need a new roof.

In this special episode of the Today’s Homeowner Podcast, I’m talking with Renee Ramey, Executive Director of the Metal Roofing Alliance.

We’re talking about the 10 most common myths when it comes to metal roofs. Get ready for some surprising information!


The Metal Roofing Alliance is a nonprofit trade association that helps homeowners make educated roofing decisions and connects them with expert metal roofing professionals.

Like Renee says, “We’re all about spreading awareness and making sure that people have the right information!”


1. Style and Color Options are Limited

When many people think of metal roofing, they envision a classic barn metal roof — which is one option, but there are many others.

Metal roofing can look like any other material out there, like shake, tile, asphalt or shingles. As far as colors go, there are thousands of color options out there to fit your home or aesthetic!

2. They’re Not Energy-Efficient

Because of the make and the coatings, it’s completely possible to have a ‘cool metal roof.’

This means that the coatings on the metal roof itself help emit heat and keep your home cooler in warm climates. And you’ll save money on your energy bill this way!

3. They Won’t Withstand Extreme Weather

Metal roofs actually test well against hurricane-type winds and are resistant to fire embers.

They also remain solid against hail and snow, which proves they are built tough and will last long!

4. They’re Not Sustainable

Metal is a recyclable product and a lot of the roofs today are made of recyclable material. Not only is recycling utilized in making the roofs, the roof can be 100% recycled at the end of its life. We love an earth-friendly product!

5. They’re Noisy

If quality metal roof systems are installed correctly, they can actually be quieter than other roofing systems!

6. They’re More Expensive Than Other Materials

As mentioned, metal roofing comes in a variety of colors and styles and the price range can vary. The price of one quality metal roof is equivalent to two or three asphalt roofs and it will probably last many decades longer than its counterpart.

Down the road, this adds up and a metal roof becomes the cheaper option!

7. They’re Too Shiny

A quality metal roof comes in a variety of glosses and finishes. Shininess is mitigated by the color and gloss you pick for your roof!

8. They’re Too Heavy

MRA has data that dispels this myth. They are more light in weight compared to other products out there.

9. They’re Likely to Get Struck by Lightning

If lightning does strike your metal roof, the hit of the lightning will mitigate it in a manner so it will not reach anyone or anything.

It also has the highest — class A — rating against catching on fire.

10. Difficult to Install Solar Panels or Solar Systems

Metal roofing is the best platform for solar. Solar Systems outlast the life of an asphalt roof so there’s a risk of dismantling the system.

The metal roof should outlast the life span of the solar system and there are clamps for this very purpose. Even more, the clamps do not require you to puncture the surface in order to have a solar system on your roof!


Want More?

If you’re ready to upgrade to a metal roof, or just want more questions answered when it comes to a metal roof, check out metalroofing.com.

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!