Now is the time to put out preemerge products in the lawn and beds to prevent those small seeded annual weeds. Henbit, chickweed, Poa annua (annual bluegrass), cudweed and lawn burweed are a few of the winter weeds that would like to occupy your lawn and flower beds. Poa annua (the green grass that is very visible in February and March) and lawn burweed (the prostrate growing weed that develops a sticker) are usually the most hated of the winter weeds. Some people use profanity while describing them at the counter of Possum's!
If your yard has thatch, drainage or compaction issues, now is a great time to aerate your lawn (and beds where possible) before you apply your fall preemerge. Aeration is a great cultural practice, which will among other things help your roots grow throughout the winter giving you a head start for the spring.
Although we had a mild winter, the cool wet spring made it rough on predators and disease that usually keeps army worms in check, and the results have manifested themselves across the Lowcountry. If you have a Bermuda grass lawn or pasture, you may want to take a look and see if you see any army worms. Although bermuda grass is their preferred dinner, you might want to investigate your own lawn. They will eat other grasses.
A friend of mine who grew hay used to say he could hear army worms munching on the grass as they crossed the fields. Since army worms eat the green leaves off the plant, he would lose big dollars to this worm. 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.
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) and Spinosad are organic products that will also work well if you get them while the worms are small. Since the population of worms was 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. These rainy overcast days are perfect for them to hatch out and begin to eat your grass. 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.
In my travels this week, I saw brown patch (large patch) fungus in several yards, and the "nasty rascal the chinch bug" is still sucking the life out of many lawns. Thanks to all the rain and high humidity gray leaf spot is still alive and doing well.
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 Mount 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 possumsupply.com. You can also call in your questions to " The Garden Clinic", Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m., on 1250 WTMA, The Big Talker.)