Monday, July 15, 2019

Mid Summer Happenings In the Yard

Horticulture Hotline 07/15/19
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

As predictable as the Fourth of July fireworks, the army worm comes to attack the turf, leaving the scalped down – chowed down turf area. Athletic fields, golf courses, and home lawns lose the aesthetic value of the green grass, and the worms thin the canopy of the grass where weeds will move in if given a chance. Prostrate growing weeds like spurge, lespedeza and Virginia Buttonweed seem to come in the fastest.

What bothers me the most is you work all summer on your grass to have it looking nice, and once it starts to look good, fall army worms and then sod webworms attack the grass. Look for areas that appeared to have been mowed low and with a dull blade. You can see that the leaf blades have been chewed. Also thatch type debris will be churned up on the surface. Moths will fly low, during the day but mainly in the evening, dropping eggs across the lawn. Birds and low flying wasps are also predators of army worms.

Since army worms are in direct contact with the ground, they are very easy to control. Bug Blaster, Bifen, Sevin, Cyonara and Acephate will all put a hurting on army worms. Thuricide (Bt), EcoVia EC and Spinosad are organic products that will also work well if you get them while the worms are small. Since the population of worms is so high and hit so hard, keep your eye out for a second hatching.

For those of you with St. Augustine and Centipede, keep your eye out for the sod web worm. Watch for moths in your yard around dusk. If you begin to see a moth that gets out of the grass, flies for 6-10 feet then lands again (like a bobwhite quail for you bird hunters) you may want to consider using one of the above mentioned products. Usually sod web worms would not come out until September / October; however, with the crazy weather we are having, scouting for them could not hurt.

If your yard has thatch, drainage, or compaction issues, now is a great time to address these issues. At Possum’s we have a granular organic product (BGK 7500) that is full of microorganisms that are thatch eaters. Easy to apply with a fertilizer spreader and very effective. Some of the zoysia grass lawns really benefit from regular use of this product.

Gray leaf spot is still alive and doing well. With all the rain, fire ants are mounding up everywhere – be careful where you step! Figs are one of the fruit trees that do very well here. Be sure to wash your hands after picking. The latex sap in a fig has low doses of the same chemical that poison ivy has in it and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
The Nasty Rascal the Chinch Bug is out and sucking the life out of the grass.

With all the rain, mosquitoes are out and biting, and the grass is growing like crazy. Scout around your yard for potential breeding sites for mosquitoes. It is amazing how many areas can hold enough water for a mosquito to breed.

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

Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mt. Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at You can also call in your questions to “ The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1:00, on 1250 WTMA  (The Big Talker).