September 1st, Lawns Stressing Solutions

Can you believe I am taking the time to discuss turf care (lawns in stress). If so many people are interested in their lawns, here I am writing about it.

First things first. Many people get a surprise attack from grubs and fungus, two problems that can occur within a similar window. Before I go any further, I must highlight two specific points on these two different issues.

#1 Fungus occurs when water, heat and light collide in a full sun environment. Monitoring your irrigation systems and knowing that watering needs to dry out at least 1 hour (on the grass blades) after direct light hits it. SO, a coordinated watering practice throughout the growing season is key to reducing the amount of fungus that can develop in our lawns.

#2 Grubs – Timing is very important. You don’t need to treat for grubs every year. The idea behind any control is to keep insect populations at a manageable level. If we kill all the bugs in our environment we are destroying the beneficial insects with the damaging insects. This can be very dangerous over time (as research has demonstrated).

Generally, times suggested for application of insecticides to kill and control White Grubs in lawns are in the period beginning in mid-June and ending in July. Due to temperature variations in the northeastern part of the United States the times for applications might differ for your part of the country. NOTE: if weather dictates, we in the northeast can set down the grub preventative in the first 2 weeks of August.

Treatments for Grubs

Newly emerged grubs that have just left their egg stage begin to feed on organic material near the surface of the soil.  This is the stage that is easiest to control.  The grubs are tiny and very close to the surface, two points of interest when applying grub control insecticides.These grubs continue to feed until temperatures begin dropping.  By late September and early October, most of these grubs begin to migrate deeper into the soil where they will hibernate for the duration of the cold winter months. At this time of year, soil applications of pesticides for grubs (or grubacides) will not be very effective and the practice is discouraged.

Treatments for Fungus

The greatest thing you could do organically for fungus is put triple phosphate in the lawn to grow out the fungus. There are fungicides, we only need to be considerate of how much to put into the lawn (chemicals in our environment around our children and animals can be dangerous to their health). Timing for the fungicides as a preventative is tricky. Due to rain fall, your personal watering maintenance habits and the temperature, your timing has to be in a very tight window (fungicides are expensive).
All we need to understand is how much the environment and our interaction in the environment effects how the insects and the chemicals work. The less you manage your property the greater the pendulum swings. I am not saying good or bad because there are many factors involved in lawn and garden performance.
Whatever you choose, I promise you it is an ongoing challenge that should never get you frustrated. We are dealing with nature and it’s continuing evolution around our manipulation of the environment.

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