Saturday, July 13, 2013

Know problemo

With the increasing heat and humidity, not to mention excessive downpours we've experienced, it is no wonder we are starting to see problems on the lawns.

Identifying the issue and knowing what to do are the most important elements.

Seeing spots?

Because of this specific weather mixture turf disease has been more prevalent than in recent years, dollar spot, brown patch and leaf spot leading to melting out have all caused lawns to lose uniformity.

Really, fixing these issues are quite easy. A shot of nitrogen from fertilizer and growing the area out is the best way to deal with it. Just be careful to dial back the application otherwise you run the risk of burning the lawn. Also annual aeration is a good preventative measure.


I am now starting to see damage from Chinch Bug nymphs. There hasn't been a lot of activity but what I've seen thus far has been enough to advise treatment.

Chinch love the heat and as a top feeding insect will procreate in your lawn's thatch layer while sucking the juice out of the grass blade, reducing it to a straw-like appearance. Often this damage is mistaken for drought until it's too late.

The insects are easily spotted in the morning sun by getting on your knees and parting the grass blades on the edges of the infected area. It is here you can see them scurrying about.

Treatment these days, is more preventative than target specific since "Sevin" is no longer available. Annual aeration and over-seeding with endophytic grass like Eco Lawn is key. STAY AWAY FROM KENTUCKY BLUE GRASS! However, soap flushes and products with eucalyptus do help and can convince the insect to pack-up and leave.

Feeling crabby?

Remember when I told you earlier this year to raise your mowing height, but you still wanted that golf course feel and ignored me? Well, you should now be seeing crabgrass germinating on the edges of your lawn and perhaps in the sunniest areas of your turf as well.

Like chinch, crabgrass loves the heat and has exploded seemingly overnight.

The reason I recommend a higher setting for the mower is to keep the grass drought tolerant and the soil temperature cooler so crabgrass germination is less likely.

Perhaps you'd feel better to know that even with my mower on it's highest setting I still have crabgrass on some edges of my lawn near the pavement, but it is minimal and easily pulled.

Some will preach corn gluten as a pre-emergent in May, but I am not one of those people.  Having used this product in various forms, I am here to tell you, it simply isn't effective enough and in my opinion a waste of money.

Your best plan is to either pull it out now, or wait until this annual weed dies in the fall. Then reseed the area with predominately perennial rye grasses. Personally I'm really taking a shine to a product called CPR (creeping perennial rye).

Wow, that's a lot on your plate, but remember we still have August and the next wave of grubs to deal with. Have a great summer.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen....THE BEETLES!

I'm not sure which of these is George, but let's hope this year they are both the quiet one.

Suffice it to say, this is not your parent's Ed Sullivan performance and the only screaming I've heard in recent years is that of the home owner crying to the heavens as their lawn slowly became a grub buffet.

Last year lawns disappeared faster than political approval ratings.

The good news? With the cooler weather this year, insect development is a month behind schedule. However, vigilance is key and you should be on the lookout for excessive night flights by the European Chafer and Japanese Beetle as they prepare to mate and lay eggs...yes, in your lawn.

Now, four grubs per square foot is no big deal and damage will not be evident until you hit the 10 psf threshold. At that point treatment is highly recommended.

Although there are new controls on the horizon, currently your only defense are nematodes and believe me, I'm not happy about it either.

As stated in previous posts, mid August to the end of September is your best window of opportunity to allow second generation nematodes to do their thing and hopefully eradicate up to 70% of the larvae before they can over-winter in your soil.

But you must remember timing isn't everything in this case.  UV, expiration dates, proper storage until use and water, water, water must be taken into strong consideration when applying.

As far as damage is concerned, you should see it come August. Look for circular bled patches of grass that do not respond to watering. In time, these patches will snake outward and the grass will lift quite easily like a carpet.

The best advice I can give you, if you see this damage don't Let it Be, otherwise your turf will have a Long and Winding Road to recovery.