Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Weather, or not?

The pesky little yellow flowers you see along roadsides and boulevards is bird's-foot trefoil.

"That's swell," you say, but what does it all mean?

It's a sign from Mother Nature and it means the promiscuous hairy chinch bug is about to go full tilt into egg laying mode. So it is time for you, the home owner, to be vigilant and pay attention to any dead pockets of grass. Usually the damage will be around gardens and heavy sun-exposed areas.

Chinch love it dry and they love it hot. If we experience these conditions expect the most severe damage in about 3-4 weeks time.

What else can you do to prevent this insect from munching through your turf?

Sadly, not much.

Any one who sells you nematodes to fight chinch, you can be sure, are laughing hysterically once  you are out of ear-shot as they count your money. I have not seen one study where nematodes had any effect on this insect. Same goes for Met 52 EC mainly because there are too many variables involved with this product. It must make contact with the insect directly and if you have a heavy thatch layer...good luck controlling anything. Met 52 also has little residual effect and must be reapplied after 48 hours. Then there's Grandevo...can we even get this stuff yet?

And that's all folks. There are no more controls currently available to the non-golf course, non-farmer, non-sod grower sector like you and I.

However, if you keep your lawn hydrated, maybe spay a little liquid dish soap and water on those stressed areas and over-seed with endophytic grass seed, the damage, if any, may be less severe. Also it is a good idea to reduce thatch by aerating annually, or dethatching in the fall.

Much of course, will depend on the weather over the next few weeks and depending on what source you use for your info; Farmer's Almanac, long-range weather models, the local news, you may get three different results.

In the end, you may feel the same as getting caught in the middle of a field in a thunderstorm...you just have to roll into a tiny ball and hope for the best.

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