The beauty of the Spring season has arrived

  • Sunday, April 13, 2014

Everything is coming to life. But I'm going to write about some of the less desirable pests that come along with spring this morning. These pests may be insects, fungi or other situations in or around the landscape.

The “Nasty Rascal,” the chinch bug, is already sucking the juices out of St. Augustine grass (Charleston grass) across the Lowcountry. Chinch bugs were super bad last year, and as I write, they are damaging grass this year. When the weather is dry, a beneficial fungus that keeps the Nasty Rascal in check dies, and the chinch bug populations explode. That is why chinch bugs affect the hottest, driest part of the yard, and you rarely see them in the shady areas. Sevin granular, Tirade, EcoPCO WP.X (organic) or Aloft should give you some relief.

With the cool nights, Powdery Mildew fungus has nailed our Crepe Myrtles, Roses, Dogwoods and other plants. I have seen it on “resistant” Crepe Myrtles that usually do not get Powdery Mildew. Of course, “resistant” does not mean that a plant will 100 percent not get it. Powdery Mildew is very easy to recognize on a Crepe Myrtle. Just look right at the tips on the new growth, and you will see what looks like powdered sugar on the foliage. Neem Oil (organic), Honor Guard, Kestrel and Systemic Fungicide (Fertilome) will help control this pest. Crepe Myrtles bloom on new growth, so it is very important to control this disease now.

Termite swarms have been spotted in the area. In a stump 100 feet from your house, they are most likely not a problem. Call the pest control company that has the bond on your house, so a professional can take a look.

Gnats, oh yeah, they come out whenever the weather is perfect. Mosquito Repelling Granular (the product formally known as Gnat Scat) and Liquid Net are both organic products that should help you enjoy the outdoors a little more. Bifen, Cyonora and Cyzmic should help with gnats and other insect pests.

Leaf Gall on Sasanqua Camellias and Azaleas are affecting the new growth. At this point in time, just remove them carefully so the spores do not spread everywhere and destroy them. The old books would say burn the infected leaves, but these days the trash can will do fine.

So much to write about, so few column inches. Charleston Horticultural Society's Plantasia is coming up Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30. Check their website for more details. The Rose Society's Rose Show is coming to Citadel Mall on Saturday, May 7, from 1-5 p.m. These roses will blow your mind. Exhibit or just look at the displays.

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, 481 Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant. The Horticulture Hotline is available 24/7 at www.possumsupply.com.

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