Monday, September 29, 2014

Under Attack

Wow, we are getting weather that is making it really hard to deal with some of our perennial worst situations this time of year.

Rain and night time temperatures in the 60’s is perfect weather for Large Patch (Brown Patch) disease in turf. Unless you tarp your grass like a baseball diamond, it is hard to turn off the rain. Hopefully, you have your irrigation turned off for now.

All fungus diseases must have three factors line up for there to be an active problem. This is referred to as the disease triangle. There must be a susceptible host (your grass), a favorable environment (in this case cool nights, water, grass is going into dormancy….), and the disease must be present (in the soil in this case). When all of these conditions are met, the disease strikes your grass.

The quick fix would be to apply Cleary’s 3336 or Disarm throughout the yard. Cleary’s or Disarm are systemic fungicides that get into the plant (grass) and protect the grass plant from the disease. Getting a flu shot would be a human equivalent. With weather like this, plan on multiple applications of a fungicide, rotating chemistries. Applying the product before you get the disease when you notice conditions are right, will save you money and time applying the product. You wouldn’t get a flu shot after you had the flu. Unlike the flu shot, Cleary’s and Disarm do have curative rates.

Sod webworms love to eat grass under the cover of cloudy, rainy days so birds cannot see them. I have been getting calls from homeowners to thirty plus year veterans in the industry trying to control these ever hungry larvae. Using Bug Blaster, Bifen or Sevin multiple times seems to give the best control. Like the fungus control, multiple applications are required. If you are seeing a lot of moths in your yard in the evening, be prepared for an attack of the worms.

Rats, mice and roaches like to move inside for the winter and the rain just seems to accelerate that migration. The Lowcountry is such a hospitable place, I guess we welcome rats, mice and roaches too. I was looking over some figures the other day preparing for our 2015 season at Possum’s and I was amazed at the amount of products we sell to control these pest. Granted many of them are sold to professionals; however, they are still used in this area.

Do irrigate you yard in the winter because the dry, cold low humidity air can desiccate your lawn, trees and shrubs, similar to the way your lips get chapped. The grass loses water through the runners even though it is dormant and the trees and shrubs lose water through the bark and leaves (if it is an evergreen).

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Few Things to Look For This Time of Year

Brown Patch Fungus is in the attack mode. The shorter days, moisture and finally the cooler weather has given this fungus all the conditions it likes to destroy the yard you worked hard on all summer. We are selling fungicide so quick that when Matt from Possum’s West asked me to order more, I had to ask if he got the last order in. It sold that fast!

Scout your yard for sod webworms and army worms. It is amazing with 3 stores (Possum’s) the stories you hear from lawn care people and homeowners about these worms. They can eat so much so fast it is amazing. Whether it is the professional or the DIY homeowner that has worked hard all summer to grow a uniform stand of turf, the sod webworm just doesn’t seem to care.

To scout for this varmint, look for scalped grass that has bite marks on the leaf blade. Moths flying around in a zigzag pattern in and out of the turf at dust is also a dead giveaway.

Scale, aphids, and lace bugs are still out there sucking the life out of you plants. Evergreens you could use a drench product like Dominion. If your plant or tree is losing leaves for the winter, horticultural oil might be a better choice, depending on the infestation.

Winterizing your turf and shrubs should also be considered. No one likes to go to sleep hungry! Possum Minors, 00-00-25 Sulfate of Potash + minors, SeaHume, Cotton Burr Compost and / or Excell are a few excellent options. Watch out for the national marketing campaigns that promote products that were not designed to be used in this area.

I’m sure you have put out one round of preemergent herbicide by now for winter weed control in your beds and turf. If not, better late than never. Weed seeds germinate pretty much year round here.

If you are changing out flowers in containers or hanging baskets, consider incorporating HydroStretch or Hort-a-Sorb. These products help manage water and your plants will not dry out so fast.

Fire Ants are out in big numbers after all the rain we had earlier this year. One bait product that works very good and is very reasonably price is Extinguish Plus. This product has a growth regulator in it and usually keeps ants out of an area for 6 months. Bait products or contact killers usually work best if spread over the whole yard.

I was working on an order of rat and mice control products last week and I mean to tell you, people of the Lowcountry, we have rodents! Rodents like to come inside this time of year.

Roaches, moles, fleas?

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Q) I have these insects in my bathroom that have little pinchers, and when you crush them, they smell really bad. How can I get rid of this pest?

A) When you mentioned the pinchers, I was thinking earwigs.  When you mentioned the foul odor when you crushed them, I knew for sure you were talking about earwigs! 

Earwigs like dead organic matter and moist areas.  If you have recently mulched your beds, sometimes you will see earwigs.  They are considered mainly an outdoor pest.  Earwigs feed on plant material; however, they rarely eat enough to damage plants.   

If you have a pest control company under contract, give them a call and they can get rid of this problem very quickly.  If you would rather do it yourself, the first place to start is to check and be sure you have a 12-24 inch barrier around your house that is free of vegetation and mulch.   Caulk any gaps around pipes, wires, windows, doors or any other area that might be an entry point for the earwig or any other pest (roaches, ants, etc.).  Using yellow bug lights on the outside of your house will attract fewer earwigs and other insects to your house.  Any wood piles, deep pile of leaves, or other areas that stay moist should be removed.  If you have wood for your fire place, you can stack it above ground on metal wood holders, cinder blocks or pallets.  These are all good practices to help prevent insects and to protect your house.

If these cultural practices do not take care of the problem, you may consider using a control product around the perimeter of your house and any moisture harboring areas (wood pile).  At Possum’s we probably have over 20 different products that would help you control earwigs as well as other insects.

Have you put out your preemergent herbicide for small seeded winter annual weeds?