Monday, June 8, 2015

I spy...

...with my little eye, something that is yellow.

Really, there's no need to guess. I'll tell you it's Birdsfoot Trefoil.

"So what", you might say, "Big deal!"

It actually is a big deal. This is a weed that is nature's calling card for something more devious and devastating --- Chinch bug, and yes I am starting to see signs of feeding on some lawns.

Remember the last post about watering your grass? Here is another example why it is so important to keep your turf hydrated. Chinch bug don't like water. They like it hot and dry. When these conditions prevail and you don't water, your lawn is ripe for attack. If the past two years are any indication, we could be in for another rough ride in the summer of 2015.

Make no mistake, this insect's appetite is voracious and it can move PDQ though most lawns.  The damage usually occurs around garden areas, or sidewalks and paved areas. Any area of heat really. With only organic controls available, there's not much one can do to combat this foe. They hide in the thatch layer of your lawn and can be difficult to reach.

Watering I mentioned, but soapy, water-flushes to the damaged area is even better. Sunlight, or Palmolive dish soap mixed with water should do the trick. Some people prefer to cover the affected area with a tarp after watering and wait for the Chinch to cling to the surface of it before removal. However, if you find the area of affliction is of considerable size, this might not be an option.

Please don't waste your money on nematodes, or Met 52 to control Chinch bug as the results will be far from satisfactory. Especially with nematodes, I have not seen one study where these microscopic worms did any damage at all.

Ultimately, over-seeding every fall with endophytic perennial rye grass and fescue is the slowest course of action, but the most effective. Endophytes are a naturally occurring fungus in the seed that help prevent devastation from insects like Chinch bug.

Also, annual aeration to break up the thatch layer is beneficial and should be part of any lawn regimen.  

They may seem like small things to do, but if you do them, chances are far greater you won't have to deal with these small insects in the future.

As for Birdsfoot Trefoil?

So what....big deal!

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