Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer lawn problems noted

REEVES: Summer lawn problems noted

By Randy Reeves

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's that time of year again — time for another season of hot summer lawn problems. As if being able to put out enough water wasn't hard enough, now we add being able to afford to have a high water bill!

Through the first part of September, we will probably start seeing more damage from chinch bugs and grub worms.

Chinch bugs thrive in hot, dry weather and feed primarily on St. Augustine grass, but can also damage centipede, Bermuda and zoysia grass. They prefer areas of the lawn that absorb heat, like areas near driveways, sidewalks or a foundation of the house.

Chinch bugs are thought to insert a toxin that kills the grass while they are feeding. They feed on stems and nodes near the base of the plant, leaving brown patches of dead grass that will continue to grow if left untreated.

Chinch bugs are small. Adults are black with white wings that will show a triangular spot on the back. If you suspect chinch bugs, look at the outer edge of the infected areas and part the grass with you hands. You will have to look quickly, though, because they move fast. Yes, you will have to get down on your hands and knees to achieve this feat!

Some folks claim that they can use a coffee can. With both ends cut out, slip the can on the ground and fill it with water. The insects will float to the top. Well, when I do this, everything floats to the top — soil, small sticks, dead grass and everything but the chinch bug!

Your next question is what to treat with if you have chinch bugs.

There are several products on the market that do a good job — Carbayl (Sevin), Acephate (Orthene) and Bifenthrin (Talstar) to name a few. The first two should be readily available at local farm supply stores in the area. As always, be sure to read and follow the label instructions on mixing and applying these products.

White grub damage can also be one of the causes. Damage from grub feeding is easy to diagnose. They feed on the roots, and the grass will easily pull up like a carpet due to the lack of a root system.

For chemical control for grubs, you can use the products listed above. Products that contain "Merit," which is one of the newer target-specific products, will also work well on grub worms.

If you select and use a granular product, you will need to be sure and water the lawn well to move the product into the root zone where the grubs are feeding. This is another reason the read and follow label directions.

Another problem we are seeing in the area — and I have been to a few home lawns to see this — is our old friend the "Take-All Patch." This lawn disease or fungus infects the roots on the stolons of lawn grass. St. Augustine and centipede grass are the main targets here.

The disease will attack the roots and weaken the turf. When we have a dramatic change in the weather, like 102-degree days and lack of rainfall, the grass is stressed and will show signs of damage.

One method of controlling this disease is to lower the soil pH to a level that the disease finds hard to survive.

One way to do this is to make an application of peat moss at a rate of one 3-cubic-foot bale per 1,000 square-foot area now, then make two to three applications of an appropriate fungicide 14 days apart in the fall.

Fungicides that will or should do a good job are Myclobutanil (Immunox), Fenarimol (Rubigan), Azoxystrobin (Heritage) or Propiconazole (Banner Maxx). Some of these fungicides listed are really expensive and you may get a case of sticker shock. Immunox is readily available, works well and is one of the less expensive ones to use.

For further information on Extension programs, call us at 903-935-8413 or visit us on the web at http://harrison-tx.tamu.edu.

IIf you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care- get The KING OF GREEN:

or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)
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Physical Ways to Avoid White Grub Infestation

Physical Ways to Avoid White Grub Infestation
By Jackie Tyler Platinum Quality Author

A healthy lawn can endure grubs feeding on it. The damage will not be as apparent as on a lawn that is weak or stressed. Such lawns can prepare themselves. Try to provide the best environment possible for your lawn, such as proper drainage. When moisture levels in the ground are elevated, more damage will result. Proper drainage for your lawn includes removing thatch, which can't be done manually with a rake or with a dethatching machine. This will help to aerating compacted soil, aiding in proper drainage.

The eggs that the beetles lay, generally in late July or early August, are done so in a short lawn. Therefore, it is advisable to raise your lawn mower in order to lengthen the grass and discourage egg laying on your property. The optimum height for grass should be between 21/2 -- 3 inches. Other benefits that come with longer grass shards are less watering, because the soil maintains hydration longer, reducing water consumption, hence, reducing costs.

With that said, water your lawn deeply once per week only. What you are trying to achieve is water going beneath the roots to encourage deep grass roots. If you are unsure as to how much water is enough, this tip will help: place a container near your sprinkler to collect water; once the container fills with about one inch of water, that's enough.

Clean your lawn in the fall, thoroughly. Don't allow it to winterize with dead leaves or weeds. Use a rake to remove the thatch as this can expose the grubs to animals that want to feed on them.

You can physically pick beetles by hand as well, although most of us don't have the time or the desire to do so. If you notice grubs, you must understand that they will and are feeding on the roots of your grass, therefore, apply fertilizer with high potassium and seed in those areas in order to keep grass healthy.

Another method to control grubs in your lawn is by applying milky spore. This literally kills them and it is an environmentally safe product which is a bacteria.

Does your lawn look like a tank drove through it or some people played golf on it while you were sleeping? If so, your lawn is probably infested by white grubs. You must act quickly, before they take control of the turf. Don't miss the optimum time to get a hold of the situation. Get all the information you need about treating white grubs at Milky-Spore, it has the solution.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jackie_Tyler

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care- get The KING OF GREEN:
or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)
If you would like more information, please Contact us
Follow us on Twitter  http://twitter.com/turfkingofgreen
Join our Facebook page  

Copyright 2009 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.