Posts Tagged ‘milky spore’

May is an important month for lawns

May and September are perhaps the two biggest months when it comes to helping your lawn.  May is the best month to prevent crabgrass, reduce broad-leaf weeds, knock back ticks, spray compost tea and fertilize.  Wow, did you write that down?  Unless you set aside the time, you will surely miss the golden opportunity to set the stage for a successful lawn in 2014.  Failure to address key issues in May means your lawn may certainly suffer, and in the case of ticks, your family and pets may pick one up.  Why all the fuss you say?

Dandelions in lawn
Lawns usually begin to grow in May as soil temperatures warm to stimulate new growth just like in trees, shrubs, and flowers.  Grass must grow to recover from ice, snow, and damage resulting from surface feeding of mice or moles below ground.  Just because your lawn went to sleep last November does not mean all is well this spring because winter can deal unpredictable damage.
Since preventative crabgrass control is dictated by soil temperature, May is the best month to apply a barrier to help reduce this obnoxious weed from overtaking your own little piece of grassy paradise.  May is a great month to knock back weeds like dandelions, clover, hawk-weed, violets, “creeping Charlie”, and chickweed.  Since ticks are coming out to breed, May is the best month to spray for them around your house and wood- line to help reduce your likelihood of a pet or family member picking up a tick.
Compost tea is full of beneficial micro-organisms that fire up the natural processes in the soil below your grass.  More bacteria and fungi mean more available organic matter and a greener lawn, pure and simple.  May is a superior month to spray compost tea because is coincides with turf recovery and preparing for hotter summer weather.  As a probiotic, compost tea adds organic matter and can be sprayed right up to the water in the case of public water supplies, lakes, and streams.  For more information on compost tea, use the search function on my blog and you can find more specific benefits to compost tea in past articles.
Since most turf grass requires 3 to 4 lbs of Nitrogen from fertilizer per year, May becomes a critical month to add this important nutrient to promote a dark green, healthy lawn.  Fertilizer should be provided in a slow release formulation for a consistent, extended release that can improve winter recovery.  Slow release formulations can be in a granular form or in liquids with the proper amendments.  If you are unsure, ask your lawn care provider if they use or have these products.  In my experience, very few companies that spray liquid fertilizer have them prepared in a slow release formulation, like Chippers does.
One last note of caution, many over-the-counter grub control products, such as milky spore, are setup as preventative, not curative treatments.  (Preventative = preventing grubs from becoming established while curative = curing an existing grub problem). Therefore, applying a preventative in May is generally too early and will not kill grubs you have in your lawn right now.  This is a very common mistake, confusing curative over-the-counter products to preventative materials.  Using the wrong product will waste your time and money not to mention the objectionable application of applying an ineffective pesticide.  Knowledge is power and Chippers turf division has both.  May your lawn thrive in the month of May!

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Double trouble: the Japanese beetle

Published by mrgrass on July 25th, 2013 - in Lawn Pests, Bugs & Insects

The Japanese beetle posses a double threat, both as a ravenous adult beetle chewing on ornamental trees and flowers as well as its juvenile stage as a white grub damaging lawns.  Given the unpopular disposition of this outdoor pest, it may come as no surprise that many homeowners look to reduce its damage both above and below ground.  How can a regular citizen stop sand cherries, crab apples, and roses from being defoliated by this hungry pest?  If you listen at night, in the quiet you can almost hear the crunching as the adult Japanese beetle feasts on its favorite plants in your landscape.  I almost forgot about the lawn!  White Japanese beetle grubs enjoy chewing the roots off your lawn, especially in the spring and fall.  A grub population will sever grass roots turning grass brown and attracting skunks and crows that do even more damage.  The Japanese beetle is truly double trouble above and below ground to any home owner with a sunny lawn and some plantings.

Effective control measures target the grubs in the ground, reducing them while still small in size with a variety of treatment options from standard to organic in composition.  Controlling the larvae or young version of the beetle is not only the most effective means of reducing damage to your lawn and landscape, it is also the least expensive.  Treating the adult beetle is difficult because they are strong fliers and enjoy going out to eat.  Spraying your plants after the adults emerge with successive treatments will reduce population levels and damage to your foliage.  An added benefit of treating your lawn for Japanese beetle grubs is also controlling other pests who can also inflict harm, such as rose chafers.  Even the best looking lawn is no match from the younger form of the Japanese beetle and other white grubs.

Double trouble, the Japanese beetle.

Double trouble, the Japanese beetle.

A quick word on pheromone traps, the classic “bag a bug” solution.  These things work well, real well, so well in fact that they call in adults from miles around . . . all to your property.  Like a good BBQ, they will come, eat some shrubs, mate, lay eggs in your lawn, and then fall into the trap.  If you are determined to use one of these pheromone traps, at least put it in the woods or far away from your lawn and landscape as possible.  A better solution is to consider treating your lawn or doing a few spot sprays on susceptible plants as necessary to keep them healthy and with some leaves before fall arrives.

For more information on these services and more provided by Chippers, just call or shoot us an e-mail.    

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Grubs in your lawn

White grubs in your lawn in June are very difficult to reduce successfully because they are large.  Most grubs are best controlled when they are very small, which generally means a preventative treatment from June to September in NH or VT.  Treating existing grubs which are large are very difficult to control in June.  There are about six or seven types of grubs which are immature beetles and cause turf damage.  While milky spore has some effectiveness in warmer climates, it only controls one grub type and does not do well in colder New England soils; therefore it is not recommended as a useful tool in grub management.

June grub damage in a NH lawn

Grubs at this time of year are very easy to see because they are close to the surface and are as big as they will ever be before turning into beetles.  If your lawn is green and you see patchy yellowing, such as the picture above, grab a handful of grass and gently pull upward.  If you have grubs, you may see one on the first pull as I did in the picture below on a lawn evaluation call for help.  In some cases, extensive ongoing damage may require a swift and aggressive curative treatment to prevent hundreds or thousands of dollars in renovations.  With smaller patches, it may do just to let them be and then treat the next generation during the summer or early fall. This will provide a much more cost effective control and a high degree of satisfaction.

Grub in a NH lawn

Sunny lawns are predisposed to insect infestation because heat attracts pests such as white grubs.  Grubs are one of the most damaging lawn pests and are probably the most well known in gardening circles.  If you suspect grub activity, get a professional to take a look and by no means waste time and money applying milky spore.  Remember, turf management is all about proper pest identification, considering the options, and making a decision to treat or not to treat at the appropriate time.  Don’t let your lawn get eaten underneath your feet!

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