Monday, August 25, 2014

The Week - Fall Armyworms

Wow, what a week. Fall armyworms decided to attack my yard and many others throughout the Lowcountry. Golf courses and sports turf fields have been getting their fair share of munching as well. Walk around your yard late in the evening, if you see a lot of moths, usually worms are close behind (moth lay eggs, eggs hatch into hungry worm).

Monday I was talking on my phone in my backyard for better cellular reception and low and behold I see a worm munching on my turf. Sod webworms usually do not hit until September / October time frame, so I took a picture of the worm’s head and with the magic of cell phones, I was able to blow it up and see the ‘y’ on its head. Not too long ago I was able to see this ‘y’ without the magic of cell phones. Anyway, this ‘y’ is an identifying characteristic of the fall armyworm.

So, I know I have worms eating my grass; however, I have a few more things that I am already committed to that I need to take care of first. I had to figure out how to get the best ryegrass from Oregon to Charleston. Was it cheaper to use rail cars or truck it the whole way? I had to meet with people that I sell product to and meet with people that sell me product to learn what is new for 2015. And the biggest thing was High School Football season was starting and I had a whole lot of fields to look at (as well as practice fields, baseball and softball fields while I’m there). As hot as it was, I knew the worms were not going to eat too much during the day.

After being outside on the phone, I realize my bathroom floor is flooded – great - and I have no idea where the water is coming from. Was it the bottom seal where the toilet connects to the floor or was it leaking from the grommets that hold the water reservoir to the toilet? A little Possum’s Blue Alert SS Dye helped diagnose that situation. The water was coming from the reservoir.

Since I have a dog, when I apply products, I like to use multiple products at once and water them all in at once.  Because I was in North Charleston looking at ball fields, I went by Possum’s North and picked up some 15-00-15 + preemerge and SeaHume.

After letting the worms eat for a few days (I had never done that before) it was time to kill them. I did watch a wasp eat one and I saw some birds eating them. Now, I needed to assist Mother Nature. I had some Bifen (worm killer) at home. I also mix in a growth regulator (Trin-Pac) so I do not have to mow or edge so often, a sedge killer (Certainty), a weed killer (MSM), a fungicide (TM – Cleary’s generic), a spray dye indicator so I can see where I have sprayed (Possum’s Blue Alert SS) and a few other secret ingredients.

By Friday night, the worms were dead, the rye grass’s travel plans were made, I fixed the toilet, my yard had a good mix of things on it, and I was watching High School Football on TV and listening to Bo Blanton broadcast on the radio. Life is good!