Monday, July 30, 2018

Rain And Drain / Chinch Bugs And Army Worms

Horticulture Hotline 07/30/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Rain, rain – I think we have had enough for a minute. Most people that I know that work in landscaping for a living welcome rain at any time; however, it is starting to get a little ridiculous. I guess it is the morning rains that I can’t get used too. The other morning I was all psyched up and ready to spread some Nature’s Blend (Cotton Burr Compost, Composted Cattle Manure, Alfalfa Meal, and Humates) in my yard. I was well hydrated, had some water on standby, had my IPod fully charged and was ready to do some serious spreading – then the rains hit. I stayed out there a while in the pouring rain because I only had a small window of time to work outside. With the threat of my neighbor to call the van with the padded interior and a few lighting strikes I retreated indoors. Lucky, after a change of clothes, I was able to sneak out a little later and finish getting one pallet spread.

All this rain has allowed two insects to flourish. The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug, is usually associated with hot dry areas; however, it is sucking the life out of some St. Augustine. Chinch bugs even during rainy weather attack the grass in sunny areas.
07-00-14 Allectus will give you good control and a little slow release fertilizer to get you to pre-emergent time.

Army worms are also out in big numbers. When it is cloudy and raining their natural predator, birds, cannot see them as easily. While writing this article, I got a call from a local school with worms everywhere – the earth was moving I believe was the description. When you have a bad worm breakout, it looks like a 1950’s horror movie – worms on top of worms crawling on top of each other and everywhere. Sevin or 07-00-14 Allectus will give you good control.

With all the rain, now is a great time to see if you need to work on drainage for your whole yard, areas of your yard, or just have some small areas that puddle.

Starting with gutters, do you have them? Do you need them? Are they clean and functioning properly? If water is running off your roof and draining under your house (crawl space), you may want to consider gutters. Moisture underneath a house can led to mold, fungus, moisture damage and termites.

If you have gutters, are the plants near the downspouts drowning? Do you need to put a piece of flexible pipe on the end of the downspout and direct the water to a place in the yard where it is not a problem? Could you collect this water in a rain barrel and store it for future use.

A large low area in the yard could be dealt with in many ways. Find the lowest point and put a drain and run the water elsewhere. If there are not any tree roots in the area, you could fill in the area with topsoil. If the area is small enough, consider using bagged topsoil, so you do not bring a bunch of weeds in the soil to your yard. If the area is real big you could remove the grass with a sod cutter and re-grade the area.

If you would like to drain an area very effectively and without having to do a lot of digging, then Turface is the way to go. All you need to do is aerate the area then apply Turface. We have worked with many customers using this product in many different situations with great results. Turface will help drain large areas and small areas. Some areas that are bigger and wetter you can dig columns and backfill with Turface. You will also save on the water and fungicide bill with this product.

Since August is approaching, I must mention preemergent time is rapidly approaching for small seeded winter annual weeds. Remember to do your bed areas as well as the turf areas.

 At Possum’s it seems that most husbands are in charge of the grass and the wives are in charge of the beds. The husband comes in and buys the preemergent product for the lawn and puts it out on the turf. In October the husband waves to his wife that is pulling weeds in the beds while he is on his way to the golf course, deer stand or fishing hole. Husbands, if you would let your wife know about preemerge, she would have more free time too.

Always read and follow product label. It is the law.