Tips on battling back against armyworms

  • Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wow, what a week. Fall armyworms decided to attack my yard and many others throughout the Lowcountry. Golf courses and turf fields have been getting their fair share of munching as well. Walk around your yard late in the evening; if you see a lot of moths, usually worms are close behind (moths lay eggs; eggs hatch into hungry worms).

Monday, I was talking on my phone in my backyard for better cellular reception, and low and behold, I see a worm munching on my turf.

Sod webworms usually do not hit until the September/October time frame, so I took a picture of the worm's head, and with the magic of cell phones, I was able to blow up the picture and see the “y” on its head. Not too long ago, I was able to see this “y” without the magic of cell phones. Anyway, this “y” is an identifying characteristic of the fall armyworm.

So, I know I have worms eating my grass; however, I have a few more things that I am already committed to that I need to take care of first. I had to figure out how to get the best ryegrass from Oregon to Charleston.

Was it cheaper to use railcars or truck it the whole way? I had to meet with people who I sell product to and meet with people who sell me product to learn what is new for 2015. And the biggest thing was high school football season was starting and I had a whole lot of fields to look at (as well as practice fields, baseball and softball fields while I'm there).

As hot as it was, I knew the worms were not going to eat too much during the day.

After being outside on the phone, I realized my bathroom floor is flooded – great – and I have no idea where the water is coming from. Was it the bottom seal where the toilet connects to the floor or was it leaking from the grommets that hold the water reservoir to the toilet? A little Possum's Blue Alert SS Dye helped diagnose that situation.

The water was coming from the reservoir.

Since I have a dog, when I apply products, I like to use multiple products at once and water them all in at once. Because I was in North Charleston looking at ball fields, I went by Possum's North and picked up some 15-00-15 plus pre-emerge and SeaHume.

After letting the worms eat for a few days (I had never done that before), it was time to kill them.

I did watch a wasp eat one and I saw some birds eating them. Now, I needed to assist Mother Nature. I had some Bifen (worm killer) at home. I also mix in a growth regulator (Trin-Pac), so I do not have to mow or edge so often, a sedge killer (Certainty), a weed killer (MSM), a fungicide (TM – Cleary's generic), a spray dye indicator, so I can see where I have sprayed (Possum's Blue Alert SS) and a few other secret ingredients.

By Friday night, the worms were dead; the ryegrass's travel plans were made; I fixed the toilet; my yard had a good mix of things on it, and I was watching high school football on TV and listening to Bo Blanton broadcast on the radio. Life is good!

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 Road in Mount Pleasant (843-971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (843-760-2600), or 606 Dupont Road in Charleston (843-766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum's location, or visit us at www.possumsupply.com. Call in your questions to “The Garden Clinic” Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on 1250 WTMA (The Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24/7 at www.possumsupply.com.

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