Monday, September 24, 2018

Fall Time - Are You Ready? Is Your Yard Ready?

Horticulture Hotline 09/24/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

I think fall officially started, but for me when I pulled in my driveway the other day and I was met with the wonderful smell of the sweet tea olive, fall had started. Nothing is like the smell of the sweet tea olive in the Lowcountry in the fall, except maybe shrimp bait balls. Football is taking up most of the week, NASCAR is going full speed, the three Possum stores are filling up with ryegrass, deer season is underway, and the cool mornings. The cooler temperatures make yard work much easier; however, mosquitoes are trying to ruin the fun.

Your fall applications of preemergent weed control should be in the ground and protecting your lawn and beds against weeds. If you have not applied a preemergent product, go ahead and use one now. You might have missed a few weeds, but many more will germinate before the winter is over. You can always use a post-emergent product to control what you missed. Weeds germinate pretty much year round in the Charleston area, so never feel like you missed chance to control them.

Thirty days after you have applied any fertilizer product is a good time to take soil test and prepare for 2019. Usually your beds are cared for differently than your turf grass areas, so consider taking a sample in both areas. If you call Possum’s (to find a store near you look at, they can walk you through the proper steps to take a proper soil test for your lawn and beds.

Okay, I waited until the fourth paragraph. Armyworms are munching on grass across the Lowcountry. Between driving through, riding my bike through, or walking Ol’Boy – the almost 16 year old pound hound, there are people’s yards that are getting devoured! Your grass should not be brown yet! Spots of your yard should not be brown yet! This cooler weather should have your yard looking as green as it has been all year.

The dry weather has kept the ‘worms’ generally in the well irrigated yards instead of the woods. The ‘worms’ like the succulent grass better than the dried out grass. If it was iceberg lettuce, they would like the inner leaves not the dried out outer leaves.

With army worms and sod webworms, plan on more than one application. Cyonara, Bug Blasters, and Talstar Verge, and for a change of chemical class, Sevin and Dylox are good products to rotate. I have had to treat my yard one time this year, and I have treated my mother’s yard four times and it looks like it may need a fifth treatment. I get about 10 to 14 days control at her house. As long as you see moths in the lawn in the morning or evening, plan to treat.

Brown Patch  / Large patch fungus is usually very active right now. A good rain event will probably get it going.  As your grass goes to sleep, this fungus attacks the crown of the plant. The crown of the plant is where the roots go one way and the leaf blades go the other way. Hold off on watering as much as you can.

Brown Patch  / Large Patch is a soil bourne fungus; therefore, usually shows up in the same areas in the spring and fall. These areas are usually wet, thatch, or poorly drained areas.

Using a fungicide is always best if you can apply it preventatively (before the disease is active – like a flu shot for humans). There are many good systemic fungicides available on the market today, just be sure to rotate chemistries. T-Methyl, Fame and Prophesy are a few of the better ones to rotate. Plan on more than one application.

With Halloween approaching, remember to control fire ants in your yard. Fire ants can be deadly, and you would not want to ruin a little ghost or witches night. Do kids still dress up as ghosts and witches? Also clean up any other potential hazards (palm fronds, hoses) and control the mosquitoes.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.