Sunday, August 29, 2010

Leatherjacket adult = Crane Fly

Leatherjacket larvae eventually turn into an adult Crane Fly. Leatherjackets can be a lawn insect pest in Southern Ontario.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall grass

Good grass

Butterflies and moths on the Internet

The Internet is loaded with sites that provide information on moths and butterflies. The great challenge in using these sites is picking out the good ones with accurate and useful information. I’ve been exploring these for some time now, and here are my favorites for help with the identification of butterflies and moths:

by Duke Elsner, MSUE Educator, Grand Traverse County
Link to links

Fall turfgrass establishment

The weather of this year has stressed turf and there are certainly turf areas that you might need to reestablish this fall. The short term weather forecast certainly doesn’t look very cool and moist, but even though the temperatures may be high, this is still the ideal time to establish turf. Competition from annual weeds, such as crabgrass, is absent and shorter day length means less time for daytime drying. The immediate challenge for establishment is soil moisture as in many areas it has turned bone dry and, unless you have irrigation, establishment could be tricky at best.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ripening Crabgrass

Somehow, this summer has been ideal for crabgrass. Lots of it everywhere, often in lawns that have not been bothered by it for several years.
Crabgrass seed, is thus shown to have seeds that remain viable for a long time.
On the other hand, this is a reminder that good grass seed also keeps its ability to germinate after a long time. Once in a while, someone will ask, "I have a package of grass seed in the basement that's been there for years."
As long as it is quality seed, throw it on the lawn. Its viability will be lessened, but you have nothing to lose.
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Pine needle scale

These scale insects not only affect the appearance of this Scotch Pine, it can severely affect its health.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dandelion weed control

One week after Fiesta weed treatment by Turf King the Lawn Care Experts

Magnolia scale crawlers

Found these crawlers from Magnolia scale out on the leaves. The crawler stage is mobile. I suppose it is easier to feed from the leaves. Once the cooler fall weather moves in, the scales will move onto the twigs. Otherwise they would lose their attachment to the Magnolia host, once the leaves start to fall off. Wonder how they know when to make their move?

The leaves of the magnolia and the plants, lawn and walkway beneath the magnolia are all covered in a black sticky substance. This is Black Sooty Fungus. Basically, the scale insects are dripping Magnolia sap out the end of the insect. The sugars in the sap attract a fungus disease to grow.

Now is an ideal time to treat the scale insects as the crawler stage is more vulnerable to treatment. Once they have moved back to the twigs, they will form a protective shell. Treatments will not penetrate the shell very easily.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Green Meter

This lawn, while only a year or 2 after sodding, is in good shape; few weeds, good colour. It is being mowed at a height of about 3".

This helps to keep the soil cooler even though it is surrounded by asphalt and concrete.

Mowing height is so important, yet so many lawns are mowed too short. Yes, I know, golf courses do it all the time, but people pay to walk on their lawns, so they can afford to spend extra $$ on the remedies that are sometimes needed because the lawn is cut too short.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wanted Dead or Alive-Grubs

Grub treatment time is coming.
Inspected a lawn today, found chinch bugs, leatherjackets and baby grubs. 
This guy was not the smallest one I found, but the one that stayed still enough to pose for his mug shot.

Although there was a fairly large patch of dead, brown lawn, I'm sure that the damage was due to the many chinch bugs crawling around. The white grubs are newly hatched. Yes, they may be starting to feed, but, I think it is unlikely that they have caused damage that started 2 weeks ago.

Nematodes should be applied to lawns where there are grubs or where the risks of grub infestation is high. Nematodes have to be applied when the grubs are present. The difficulty for lawn care operators is that, not all grubs will hatch at the same time. In the lawn above, the various grubs were different sized. A smaller one was half the size of the one pictured above. Treating too early means some grubs may be missed. 

Please call if you have a need for a grub treatment.

Why did I get Chinch Bugs?

Chinch bugs have spread out on lawns across this area. Chinch bugs thrive during hot summer weather. And, this year, we've had a lot of warm sunny days.
People wonder why the chinch bugs attack their lawn. Why don't they go after the guy 2 doors away who never cares for this lawn, has a pile of weeds and yet doesn't have any chinch bugs?
I believe the short answer is that chinch bugs like to eat at respectable lawns where the grass is green, the turf is tasty and the lawn is lush. If you were a chinch bug,where would you go for lunch?
The reality is that chinch bugs prefer lawns that are cared for. One of the risks of taking pride in your home and lawn is that you are more likely to get chinch bugs than the guy who doesn't care about his lawn.
The reason I say this is because of where I found the chinch bugs on a lawn with a septic bed. I was at a house in the summer, out in the country. I see the lawn with brown stripes running up and down the lawn, a few feet apart.
Definitely chinch bug, I said to myself. But, let's check.
So, I wondered as I walked to the lawn, "Will the chinch bugs be in the lawn that gets fed from the septic tank lines? Or, will the chinch bugs be in the grass in between the septic lines where the lawn is drier and generally grows less?"
Well, guess what, the chinch bugs liked the nice lawn that was getting nourished by the septic tank lines.
So that's why I think chinch bugs prefer lawns that are well cared for.

*Reminds me of that old story, where the art teacher looks at the students blank paper and asks Johnnie what he's drawing. "i'm drawing a picture of a cow eating grass, Ma'am." "Well, where's the grass?" "The cow ate it all up." "Then, where's the cow?" "You can't expect to find a cow where there's no grass, Ma'am."
When looking for chinch bugs, don't look in the dead grass, look in the green grass next to the dead grass.