Monday, September 19, 2011

Things to Consider

For the new readers of the Horticulture Hotline, my To Do Lists are designed to help you target a few activities in your yard and in your home that will benefit you in the future. These lists are not designed to interfere with high school, college, or professional football games, sunset boating, shrimping, hunting, golfing, eating chicken wings at a local sports bar, oyster roasts, collecting oysters or clams from the local waters, or watching NASCAR on the couch with closed eyes! This is not designed to be a “honey do” list.

Do you have your preemergent product of choice on your lawn or in your beds? Prevent winter weeds now, so you will not have to fight them all winter and spring, taking time away from above activities.

Have you prepared your turf for the winter? With our fluctuating temperatures winter kill can be very devastating in this area. One day the temperature maybe 80 degrees and that night it could be in the 20’s. Centipede is particularly susceptible to winter kill. Manage your thatch levels, cut the grass at the right height for the species of grass (on the low end so the leaf blades do not trap the cold air around the crown of the grass plant), and correct any drainage issues (wet, low areas tend to winter kill the worst.)

Are you changing out flower beds for winter color? Be sure to till in plenty of Back To Nature’s Flower Bed Amendment. Flower Bed Amendment will add cotton burr compost, composted cattle manure, feather meal, cottonseed meal, and alfalfa meal to your soil. Talk about some good organic matter! Many gardeners in the Lowcountry swear by it (in a good way) and would not consider planting without it.

Have you thought about planting bulbs this fall for spring color? Now is the time to get your orders in. Early blooming bulbs are always a welcome sight after a long cold (?) Lowcountry winter. When planting bulbs, remember to add a little Flower Bed Amendment, bone meal, and/or 04-04-04 Sustane to the hole.

Do you plant ryegrass for that green grass all year? Be sure to check the amount of weed seeds listed on the seed tag, so you are not sowing more than you bargained for. If you put a preemergent herbicide in your beds just prior to seeding with rye, you can avoid unwanted ryegrass strangling your shrubs. Have you ever considered green paint as an alternative to ryegrass?

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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Perimeter Pest Control

After sending out our five star alerts on sod webworms, I had several people thank me for the “head’s up.” They were able to catch the damage early and have the grass recover from the munching very quickly.

We are still getting calls about this pest, so keep scouting your yard for areas of grass that look mowed; even though, you have not mowed them. Look for a high population of moths in your yard at dusk as well. The moth will fly up from the ground in a zigzag pattern and land again very quickly.

With the cooling weather, the time is right for killing roaches, spiders, and other nuisance invaders with a perimeter spray of insecticides around your house. I really do not like killing spiders because like snakes most of the spiders are considered beneficial. Unfortunately, spider and snakes get classified as “the only good one is a dead one” around here.

Establishing a barrier will keep unwanted guest out of your house as the weather cools. There are several products on the market that will nail these roaches (along with many other pests). Bifen, Viper, Cyonara Lawn and Garden, Tirade, Niban (“green”) and EcoPCO WP X (“green”) are a small sample of many products that are available.

Generally, treating the perimeter involves spraying 3 to 10 feet out from your house in the mulched areas. Apply plenty of water with the product to carry it down into the mulch where the pests are hiding. You could also use a granular product in these areas.

Also spray about 3 feet up the side of your house, around windows, porches, lights, garages, eaves, garbage areas and other areas where pests may be found. Read and follow label directions for the specifics of doing a perimeter treatment for the product you choose to use.

There are many new laws about the packaging and application of rodent killing products that went into effect this year. So if mice or rats have been an issue in the past, expect a change in your old favorite bait and how you apply it.

If you are not a “do it yourselfer”, there are a bunch of great Pest Management Professionals in the area that would love to do this treatment for you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sod Webworms

On Friday (09/02/11) we sent out a “Five Star Pest Alert” to our email subscribers at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. In nine years, we have sent out less than 4 pest alerts, and I do not remember any being “5 Star”. We try not to abuse your email address; however, with the holiday weekend, we wanted to give you a head’s up before you had so uninvited guests munching on your yard while you were out of town or munching on some barbeque.

From me to the stores, “Please send this five star pest alert to email list.

Sod Web Worms are munching! Look for areas that appear to have been
mowed with a lot of brown grass pushed up to surface. Leaf blades are
chewed. Moths are visible and so are the worms.

Sevin, Bug Blaster and Tirade will easily control. You can use very
low rates, so it is not too expensive. Plan to apply twice.

Sod Web Worms can do a lot of damage at a time of year that the grass
will be slow to recover.”

The recent cloudy, rainy weather from Irene must have been perfect for the sod webworm to hatch and the larva begin to munch.

Moths in your lawn indicate sod webworm. The moths are the adult form of the sod webworm and they lay eggs in your grass. When these eggs hatch the worm-like larva stage of the sod webworm begins. The worm-like larva is the part of the life cycle that damages the turf. The sod webworm is a voracious eater that can damage large sections of your lawn very quickly. They feed on cloudy days and at night, so while you sleep, they eat.

One good thing is that they are very easy to eradicate, since their entire body is in contact with the ground. If worms of any type (sod webworm, army or cut worms) are attacking your grass it will appear that you have mowed your grass with a very dull mower blade at a slow speed and a low cutting height.

You can see the worm if you get into the border between the good grass and the munched on grass and spread the grass blades apart. The blades of the grass are tattered and have been chewed, so they are missing parts of the leaf blade.

If you see damage, be ready to apply control product, or they will do a lot of damage very quickly to your turf. Bt, EcoEXEMPT G, EcoPCO WP and Spinosad are organic controls that are very effective against young sod webworms. Sevin, Bug Blaster, Cyonara and Tirade will easily control the voracious chow-hound.