Month: August 2016

Your Lawn May Have The Sniffles!

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Welcome back to the Wonderful World of Weed Man!  As summer is coming to a close, there is still much that can be done to take care of your lawn.  One to two more fertilizers can be applied to help restore health and nutrients back to your heat stressed lawn.  Fall is literally, (yes, literally in the truest sense of the word) the best time to treat weeds.  You can also aerate your lawn as well to help open up the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to flow better where it is needed most – the root system.  As summer winds down, all the lawn problems you have been having will go away…….

That is not entirely true.  Fortunately, MOST lawn problems get out of hand in the summer.  Unfortunately, as the weather cools down and we begin to enter the autumn season some lawn issues can remain or begin to become a problem.  Primarily, lawn disease.  Yes, your lawn can get a disease.

Lawn diseases can occur at any time of the year, even in summer.  Essentially lawn diseases can be a varying type of fungus.  Mushrooms are the most common and least harmful to the health of your lawn.  There are many others though, such as necrotic ring spot that are not as pleasant for your lawn.  Some even have interesting names such as: fairy ring, pictured below.  Each is distinct in its formation; each is unique in its presence on your lawn.

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Lawn diseases can occur at any time of the year, even in summer.  However, we tend to see more disease during the fall months than any other season of the year.  This is the time of year that we seem to spend a lot of time discussing disease prevention with our customers.  To provide more information, we wanted to post a series of articles about the most common lawn diseases we encounter.

Throughout this series we will be discussing causes of lawn disease as well as solutions to wipe out the problem.  In all reality, there is not one solution for ALL types of lawn fungus.  Most of the time a change in watering can help as well as fertilizer.  However, some lawn diseases thrive on nitrogen – so more fertilizer in those instances would make the issue worse.  As stated earlier, each is unique in its formation – therefore, the solution may not always be as simple as adding more fertilizer, or spraying a fungicide on the lawn.

Since we are less than 1” of annual rainfall necrotic ringspotaway from being classified as a desert we generally wouldn’t see many of these types of fungus grow naturally in our area.  A homeowner’s unfamiliarity with proper watering and mowing techniques, or general lawn care, will not cause the disease.  However, it can create the exact environment needed for a disease to thrive!  Even in a desert climate, the spores of the fungus are present.  Stuck in the soil, waiting patiently for the perfect storm of conditions to culminate so it can flourish.  Millions of them.  Just there.  Part of nature. Waiting.

In this series we will begin with the five most common lawn diseases we encounter.  We may add to it as time progresses, but to begin with we will start with these five:

It will be too difficult to discuss all common diseases in one posting, so we encourage you to check back each week as we progress through the five most common lawn diseases we encounter.  In the meantime, if you are experiencing a lawn issue don’t hesitate to give us a call!  www.weedmanboise.com 208-888-9911 #wecareforyourlawn

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The Boring Sod Webworm

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It is another great week at the Wonderful World of Weed Man!  I am happy you could join us.  Last week we discussed the Cranberry Girdler.  Up to this point, we hope you have enjoyed the, “I Found An Alien In My Lawn!” series.  We will be finishing out the series today with information regarding the Sod Web-worm.

This lawn insect just is not very exciting.  Many times it goes unnoticed.  It doesn’t have a cool or catchy name.  It doesn’t come from an exotic land.  It lacks superpowers!  It is just the boring Sod Web-worm.

The Sod Web-worm is sometimes known as the ‘lawn moth’.  As an adult you are more likely to realize they are around as they are a dull brown/grey colored moth with a long snout extending from the head.  Generally, the adult moth will not do any damage to your lawn.  However, the larvae, that hatch from the eggs they lay will do significant damage to your lawn.

The web-worm will generally have 2 generations each year.  The 2nd generation will overwinter as a larva until April the next year.  They survive the winter in the soil and thatch in a silken tunnel.   It will transform into an adult moth around mid-May or June.  They will then hang out in the grass during the day.  In the evening they will flit back and forth across the lawn laying eggs.  The eggs will hatch in 1-2 weeks and the new generation will start the process over again.

Sod_Webworm2202The larvae, as mentioned earlier, will damage the lawn by feasting on grass leaves and stems near the soil surface.  They do this at night, and will hide during the day within a silk, webbed, burrow in the thatch layer.  Thus the name ‘web-worm’.  They do like most types of grasses, including common grasses in our area:  Kentucky Bluegrass, Bent grass, and tall/fine Fescues.  Although the web-worm is active from spring to fall, most of the significant lawn damage occurs in mid to late summer.

The damage from the web-worms will show as a brown spot the size of a baseball.  The grass stems and leaves will have been chewed upon just above the crown.  Homeowners often mistake damage from sod web-worm with dog spots.  However, the web-worm damage will not turn yellow before turning brown like a dog spot would.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Entomology has some great advice on how to investigate your lawn to see if you have sod web-worm.  “An early sign of potential infestation is sod web-worm moths zig-zagging over the turf at dusk. If a sod web-worm infestation is suspected, closely examine the turf for evidence of insect activity. Small patches of grass will be chewed off at ground level. Fresh clippings and green fecal pellets are also usually present. Examine the thatch layer and top inch of soil for larvae, silken tubes and webbing.”

There is also an easy way to visibly see the sod web-worm if you think you have them.  A solution can be made from 2 gallons of water and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap.  Pour the solution of the suspect area.  The larvae are irritated by the solution and they will come to the surface of the lawn.

Once you have discovered your web-worms, what do you do about them?  Here are some good options on resolving this lawn pest:

Natural Predators – Birds eat web-worms!  They can actually reduce the population severely by the time fall rolls around.  Nevertheless, birds dive-bombing your lawn may not be the best option for a quick or clean solution.

Biological Control – Insect Parasitic Nematodes will combat web-worms, much like other lawn eating insects.  This can be applied via a liquid spray – however it is important to pay attention to application instructions.  Nematodes need a very specific environment to be effective.  Temperatures too high or too low can influence how effective their performance will be.  Water levels in soils are important to be aware of too.

Insecticidal Soap – This is a very temporary natural insecticide.  It will irritate and remove the outer layer of the web-worms body, causing it to dehydrate severely and die.  You may have to use several treatments of this or buy a large quantity depending on the area you need to treat.

Chemical Control –  Most insecticides are safe when applied CORRECTLY.  If you are not sure about how to use insecticides safely, please contact a professional for assistance.

There has been a lot of concern about safety when it comes to insecticides.  We take safety very seriously when applying treatments on the lawn.  Weed Man uses only products for use on home lawns. They are most safely applied in the capable hands of a trained professional like Weed Man.  If you have an issue with Sod Web-worms, and would like help, please give us a call! www.weedmanboise.com 208-888-9911 #wecareforyourlawn

 

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Girdler, A Delicious Appetizer For Birds!

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Welcome back to the Wonderful Cranberry Girdler Boise.jpgWorld of Weed Man!  For those of you who missed last week’s blog, we discussed the Japanese Beetle in our article, ‘Overseas Beetle Invasion!‘  Today, we are continuing our lawn insect series, ‘I Found an Alien in My Lawn!’ with a discussion about Cranberry Girdlers!  This is the time of year that we usually begin to see them.  We generally do not see a lot of them, they are rare in comparison to other lawn pests.  However, they show up just enough to be a nuisance you want to know about.  In fact, one of our technicians found this little guy just yesterday:

Repeat after me…..’Cranberry Girdler’  It seems strange to say.  It is not a mixed drink, or an appetizer (at least for humans).  What is a Cranberry Girdler?  Where does it get its funny name?  I don’t have cranberries, why are they in my lawn?  All legitimate questions.

Cranberry Girdlers are also known as the subterranean web-worm.  They are typically a pest of cranberry plants.  They like to feast on the plant runners that cranberries spread to obtain water and nutrients.  They will remove the bark of the stem and chew on the tissues which will ‘girdle’ the stem.  This cuts of the flow of water and nutrients to the plant, which can result in death.  It is now obvious how they have acquired their name.

Naming aside, Cranberry Girdlers are not just connoisseurs of the cranberry plant.  They also like to feast upon Douglas Fir Trees and many types of cool season grasses as well.   Kentucky Bluegrass is a favorite of theirs.  Similar to grubs, Adult girdlers will lay several hundred eggs each year in turf grass blades.  The larva will feed upon the crown and roots of the grass.

The cranberry girdler will generally only go through one generation per year.  Adults emerge, as a moth, in mid-June, and will be active for about 6-8 weeks.  The female, after mating, will drop eggs during that time period.  Eggs will hatch within 9-11 days and will move down into the upper soil layer of the grass.  Once cooler temps in October arrive, the larvae will begin to tunnel deeper into the soil and overwinter until the next year.

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The girdler larvae, as they are feeding upon your lawn, will create similar damage to that of the white grub.  The lawn will pull up easily since the root system is being digested by the girdler.  It will appear from the surface as drought damage or a yellowed area.  Typically, most homeowners will realize something isn’t quite right when it does not green up with increased watering.

If you have discovered a Cranberry Girdler in your lawn, it is important to control or eradicate the insect.  Otherwise, it can damage your lawn severely when left unchecked.  Cranberry Girdlers can be controlled with the following methods:

Natural Predators – Birds eat girdlers!  They can actually reduce the population severely by the time fall rolls around.  Nevertheless, birds dive-bombing your lawn may not be the best option for a quick or clean solution.

Biological Control – Insect Parasitic Nematodes will combat Cranberry Girdlers.  This can be applied via a liquid spray – however it is important to pay attention to application instructions.  Nematodes need a very specific environment to be effective.  Temperatures too high or too low can influence how effective their performance will be.  Water levels in soils are important to be aware of too.

Chemical Control –  Most insecticides are safe when applied CORRECTLY.  If you are not sure about how to use insecticides safely, please contact a professional for assistance.

There has been a lot of concern about safety when it comes to insecticides.  We take safety very seriously when applying treatments on the lawn.  Weed Man uses only products for use on home lawns. They are most safely applied in the capable hands of a trained professional like Weed Man.  If you have an issue with Cranberry Girdlers, and would like help, please give us a call! www.weedmanboise.com 208-888-9911 #wecareforyourlawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overseas Beetle Invasion!

Beatles

It is another great week in the Wonderful World of Weed Man!  It’s been hot in the Treasure Valley recently – REALLY HOT!  When the temperatures go up, so do the bug problems.  We are continuing our bug series, “I Found an Alien in My Lawn!”  Last time we wrote about “Defeating the Great and Mighty Billbug!” This week, we will touch on a Beetle Invasion –  very similar lawn bug – the Japanese Beetle.

It is possible that you have never heard of the Japanese Beetle.  They are relatively new to the U.S.  The Japanese Beetle was first noticed in 1916 in New Jersey.  It is thought it came oversees from Japan.   Though it is a highly invasive insect, it normally is found in the eastern U.S.  The State of Idaho has been monitoring for them since 1990, but it was very rare to find them.  Unfortunately, residents of the Treasure Valley had seen an introduction of a large quantity of Japanese Beetles in 2012.

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The Japanese Beetle is very similar to a billbug in a variety of ways.  They are both beetles that lay eggs in turf grass.  The larvae will feed on the turf, then they will transform into an adult beetle.  As larvae they look very similar and the damage to lawns are very similar.  In fact, treatment of larva is very similar as well.  In general, the similarities end there.  As adults the Billbug Beetle and the Japanese Beetle differ in many respects.

While the Billbug as an adult does cause damage to plant life, it is insignificant in comparison to what the Japanese Beetle can do.  Billbugs will feed on grass blades and the damage is generally unnoticeable even in comparison to the damage its own larva will do.  Japanese Beetles, on the other hand, is very destructive.  The Idaho Department of Agriculture, has great information regarding this insect.  ISDA has sent out information regarding why it is so important to keep the Japanese Beetle from gaining a foothold in Idaho. –

“Japanese Beetles (JB) are highly invasive insects from the eastern U.S. that were unexpectedly found in large numbers in Boise beginning in the summer of 2012. In addition to severely damaging turf during their larval stage while feeding on grass roots, adult JB attack and can kill over 300 kinds of ornamental and crop plants, while consuming leaves, fruit and flowers. They especially like roses, berry bushes, grapes and fruit trees. If JB were allowed to establish in the Boise area, the entire state would become quarantined for the pest. This could result in numerous negative implications for Idaho’s plant nursery industry, for homeowners and gardeners, and eventually for Idaho’s agricultural growers and producers.”

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As you can see – the Japanese Beetle is much more damaging potentially than the Billbug – which is why we want to help educate our customers on the insect.  The ISDA is very active in helping eradicate this pest altogether.  They have had several treatment campaigns with very good success since 2012 when the pest was first found.

Japanese Beetles will only have one generation per year.  They lay their eggs in the soil during July and August, and they will hatch and feed from July to October – then they move deeper in the soil to hibernate for the winter.    This is the time of year that we can see the damage from the larva and a perfect opportunity to help the ISDA in their efforts to control this insect.

Treatment for the Japanese Beetle is very similar to the Billbug – and if you have treated your lawn for Billbugs, you shouldn’t have any issues with the Japanese Beetle.  If you have not treated for Billbugs, and have seen insect damage on your lawn, it is important to verify what is causing the damage.  If you think it might be a Japanese Beetle larva, give Weed Man a call.  We can help identify it, and bring a specimen to the ISDA to confirm.

For more information on the Japanese Beetle and ISDA’s success in treatment, visit the ISDA website on the Japanese Beetle Project.

Keep checking back every week to learn more about caring for your lawn!  You can follow us through WordPress, or on Twitter.  #wecareforyourlawn www.weedmanboise.com 208-888-9911