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Category: Insects

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Warm-Season Grass

(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Last week I got a lot of good feed back on the Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses so I decided that it would be good to go ahead and get the warm-season lawn calendar out there for everyone that is manageing zoysiagrass, bermudagrass or buffalograss.

The following is a lawn calendar for zoysiagrass and bermudagrass. Buffalograss, also a warm-season grass, but we will cover that separate because the management of buffalograss is a little different then zoysiagrass and bermudagrass.

Zoysiagrass and Bermduagrass Lawn Calendar

March
Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees F or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.

April
Apply crabgrass preventer between April 1 and April 15, or apply preventer when the eastern redbud is in full bloom. This year we are getting a little warmer sooner but remember this cold snap that we just had would have killed any crabgrass if it had germinated. If using a product with prodiamine (Barricade), apply two weeks earlier. Crabgrass preventers must be watered in before they will start to work.

May – August 15
Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application. Follow the recommendations on the bag. More applications will give a deeper green color, but will increase mowing and may lead to thatch buildup with zoysiagrass. Bermudagrass can also have problems with thatch buildup but thatch is less likely with Bermuda than zoysia. Bermudagrass – Use two to four applications. Zoysiagrass – Use one to two applications. Too much nitrogen leads to thatch buildup.

One Application: Apply in June.
Two Applications: Apply May and July.
Three Applications: Apply May, June, and early August.
Four Applications: Apply May, June, July, and early August.

Remember to look and see if you are using a quick release nitrogen source or a slow release nitrogen source.  If you use a quick release source then it is immediately available but only lasts a couple weeks.  Thats why you would have to make a couple of applications like it is listed above.  If you are going to use a slow release source it will tell you on the bag how long the product will last.  Therefore, you might not have to make as many applications.

So generally you want to use a total of 2 to 4lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for bermudagrass and 1 to 2 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year for zoysiagrass.

June
If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid by mid July. Imidacloprid can be applied as early as mid May if there are problems with billbugs or May beetle grubs. These products kill the grubs before they cause damage. They are effective and safe but must be watered in before they become active. June is a good time to core aerate a warm-season lawn. Core aeration will help alleviate compaction, increase the rate of water infiltration, improve soil air exchange and help control thatch.


Late-July through August
If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer. If Imidacloprid has been applied, this should not be necessary. Grub killers must be watered in immediately.

Late October
Spray for broadleaf weeds if they are a problem. Treat on a day that is at least 50 degrees F. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use the rates listed on the label for all products mentioned.

 

Buffalograss Lawn Calendar

Buffalograss has become more popular in recent years due to its reputation as a low-maintenance grass. Buffalograss does require less water and fertilizer than our other turfgrasses but often has problems competing with weeds in eastern Kansas. Remember, buffalograss is a low-maintenance lawn and not a “No”-maintenance lawn.

Buffalograss is an open growing grass that will not shade the soil as well as most of our other turfgrasses. Weeds are often the result. A regular mowing schedule can reduce broadleaf weed problems as most broadleaves cannot survive consistent mowing. Those that do either have a rosette growing pattern (dandelions, shepherds purse) or are “creepers” (henbit, chickweed, spurge). Annual grasses such as crabgrass or foxtail can also be a problem. A good weed preventer (prodiamine, pendimethalin or dithiopyr) may be needed prevent problems.


March

Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. The most important treatment for broadleaf weeds should be in late October to early November well after the buffalograss is dormant. Treatments are much more effective then than in the spring as the weeds are smaller and the weeds are sending energy, as well as the herbicide, to the roots. Treatments in March are to take care of any “escapes” missed in the fall spraying. Spray early enough in March that the buffalograss is still dormant. Look at the base of the plants to make sure there is no green. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees F or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.  Use a combination product such as Trimec, Weed-B-Gon or Weed-Out. Weed Free Zone is also good and will give quicker results under cool conditions.

April

Apply crabgrass preventer between April 1 and April 15, or apply preventer when the eastern redbud is in full bloom. If using a product with prodiamine (Barricade), apply two weeks earlier.  Crabgrass preventers must be watered in before they will work. Avoid using broadleaf herbicides as the buffalograss is greening up as injury can result. The buffalograss will not be killed but growth will slow making the buffalograss less competitive with weeds.

June

Fertilize with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet during June. More applications will give a deeper green color, but can encourage weeds. If it is felt that a second application is needed, apply in July.

If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid by mid July. Imidacloprid can be applied as early as mid May if there are problems with billbugs or May beetle grubs. These products kill the grubs before they cause damage. They are effective and safe but must be watered in before they become active. Again, I would only treat if grubs have been a problem in the past. Note that the whole area may not need to be treated. The beetles that lay the eggs for the grubs are attracted to lights and moist soil and those areas are most likely to be infested.

Late-July through August

If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer. If imidacloprid has been applied or if grubs have not been a problem in the past, this should not be necessary. Grub killers must be watered in immediately.

Late October to Early November

Spray for broadleaf weeds if they are a problem. Look carefully as our winter annuals such as chickweed and henbit are small and easily overlooked. Use a product that contains 2,4-D as it increases effectiveness on dandelions. Treat on a day that is at least 50 degrees F. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use the rates listed on the label for all products mentioned.

It is as simple as that!  Enjoy!

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Where did winter go? Or was it even here?  Depending on where you lived in Kansas you could have had a cold winter, warm winter, or a mild winter… But now it is getting warm and quick.  So before we get left behind lets prepare your cool-season turf for the year.

Homeowner Do-It-Yourself Lawn Calendar for Cool-Season Grasses
The following suggestions are for cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue. Zoysiagrass, bermudagrass, and buffalograss are warm-season grasses and require a different maintenance regime.

March
Spot treat broadleaf weeds if necessary. Treat on a day that is 50 degrees or warmer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness.

DSCN0010April 
Apply crabgrass preventer (Or maybe even a little bit sooner this year) when redbud trees are in full bloom, usually in April. The preventer needs to be watered in before it will start to work. One-quarter inch of water will be enough to water in any of the products mentioned in this calendar.  Remember that a good, thick lawn is the best weed prevention and may be all that is needed.

May
Fertilize with a slow-release fertilizer if you water your lawn or if you receive enough rainfall that your turf normally doesn’t go drought-dormant during the summer. If there are broadleaf weeds, spot treat with a spray or use a fertilizer that includes a weed killer. Rain or irrigation within 24 hours of application will reduce effectiveness of the weed killer, but the fertilizer needs to be watered in. If you are using a product that has both fertilizer and weed killer, wait 24 hours after application before watering in.

June through Mid-July
Apply second round of crabgrass preventer by June 15 – unless you have used Dimension (dithiopyr) or Barricade (prodiamine) for the April application. These two products normally provide season-long control with a single application. Remember to water it in. If grubs have been a problem in the past, apply a product containing imidacloprid during the first half of July. This works to prevent grub damage. It must be watered in before it becomes active.

IMG_0563Late-July through August
If you see grub damage, apply a grub killer that contains Dylox. Imidacloprid is effective against young grubs and may not be effective on late instar grubs. The grub killer containing Dylox must be watered in within 24 hours or effectiveness drops.

September
Fertilize around Labor Day. This is the most important fertilization of the year. Water in the fertilizer.

November
Fertilize. This fertilizer is taken up by the roots but is not used until the following spring. Water in fertilizer. Spray for broadleaf weeds even if they are small. Broadleaf weeds are much easier to control in the fall than in the spring. Spray on a day that is at least 50 degrees. Rain or irrigate within 24 hours reduces effectiveness. Use label rates for all products!

Always remember to READ THE LABEL for the correct rate, turfgrass tolerance, and specific instructions before application!!!

***Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for identification purposes and does not imply recommendation or endorsement, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned by Kansas State University.***

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KSUTurf.

Also, visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/KSUTurf

They’re back!!!! – ITCH MITES

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

For the past couple of years, when the leaves start to change colors and fall, we begin to complain about these itchy bits.  Well last year was a bad year and I feel like the year before was as well.  Well they are back.  I was mowing the yard yesterday and afterwards I found about 5 bites on my arms and legs.

itch-mites

We have lots of posts from previous years about itch mites; what to do, what are they, and more.  I will list them below.  But spread the word about itch mites.  Be cautious of children that may be playing outside during the day or your self.  These things really itch!

Got unexplained itchy bites?

Hot Holiday Weekend Didn’t Slow Down the Oak Leak Itch Mite

Not so mysterious “Itching” (Oak Leaf Itch Mite)

Itch mites!

Who has oak itch mite bites? I do! 🙁

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twig girdlers

This post is from Ward Upham, originally on the KSU Hort News.

twig-girdlers

We are starting to see damage from twig girdlers as evidenced by fallen twigs up to 3 feet long. The beetle Oncideres cingulata is most likely the culprit. Host trees include elm, oak, linden, hackberry, apple, pecan, persimmon, poplar, sour gum, honey locust, dogwood, and some flowering fruit trees. This insect is distributed throughout the eastern United States from New England to Florida and as far west as Kansas and Arizona. Adults are long-horned beetles with a grayish-brown bodies that are stout and cylindrical. The larvae are also cylindrical with small heads and shiny exteriors. Larvae can be up to an inch long and are light brown to brownish-gray.

Girdled twigs often remain on the tree until a strong wind blows them down. Large infestations can result in a high percentage of girdled twigs. Though this may reduce the vigor and appearance of the tree, the overall effect on the tree’s health is not severe. Twigs are unsightlyand do not fall all at once, so clean up is a drawn out process.

This beetle has a one-year life cycle. Late in the growing season, the female deposits eggs in small scars chewed through the bark and then chews a continuous notch around the twig, girdling it. The notch is cut below the site of egg deposition apparently because the larva is unable to complete development in the presence of large amounts of sap. Girdled twigs die and fall to the ground where the eggs hatch.

Girdled twigs look like a beaver has chewed on them, only in miniature. The outside of the twig is smoothly cut, but the center of the twig appears broken. The larvae begin feeding on dead wood inside the twigs the following spring and continue through most of the summer. Pupation takes place inside the feeding cavity. Development is completed during August when the adult emerges to repeat the cycle.

Though adults feed on the bark of host twigs, damage is minimal until the female starts girdling. Chemical control is impractical, so gather and dispose of fallen twigs in the fall or spring to destroy the larvae inside. Often, natural mortality is high because fallen twigs are excessively dry or carry too many larvae per twig.

The 2016 Turfgrass Research Reports Now Online!

(By Jared Hoyle: KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Every year we create new turfgrass research reports.  This year we have lots of new information from the release of a new zoysiagrass to unmanned aircraft systems for drought monitoring.

photo contest

Listed below is a list of topics and links to the 2016 reports.  Enjoy!

  1.  Release of KSUZ 0802 Zoysiagrass
    J. Fry and Ambika Chandra
  2. Nitrous Oxide Emissions and Carbon Sequestration in Turfgrass: Effects of Irrigation and Nitrogen Fertilization (Year 1)
    R. Braun, D. Bremer, and J. Fry
  3. Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Detect Turfgrass Drought
    D. Bremer and Deon van der Merwe
  4. 2013 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program Bermudagrass Test: 2015 Data
    L. Parsons, J. Griffin, and J. Hoyle
  5. 2012 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program Tall Fescue Test: 2015 Data
    L. Parsons, M. Kennelly, J. Griffin, and J. Hoyle
  6. Influence of Glyphosate Timings on Conversion of Golf Course Rough from Tall Fescue to ‘Sharps Improved II’ Buffalograss
    J. Reeves, J. Hoyle, D. Bremer, and S. Keeley
  7. Late Pre-Emergent Control of Annual Bluegrass with Flazasulfuron & Indaziflam
    J. Reeves and J. Hoyle
  8. Evaluating the Effects of Simulated Golf Cart Traffic on Dormant Buffalograss and Turfgrass Colorants
    E. Alderman, J. Hoyle, J. Fry, and S. Keeley
  9. Preventative Control of Brown Patch with Select Fungicides
    E. Alderman, J. Reeves, and J. Hoyle
  10. Development of Cold Hardy, Large Patch Resistant Zoysiagrass Cultivars for the Transition Zone
    Mingying Xiang, J. Fry, and M. Kennelly
  11. Evaluating Zoysiagrass-Tall Fescue Mixtures in Kansas
    Mingying Xiang, J. Fry, and M. Kennelly

Lawn Problem Solver

(By Jared Hoyle; KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)

Do you have an unwanted weed or a disease that you can’t figure out what it is or how to control it?  Check out the Lawn Problem Solver at the KSU Turfgrass Website.  Is has information about how to identify those pesky weeds, diseases, insects and more.

Also, for homeowner extension questions please locate your local area or county extension agent here – http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/about/stateandareamaps.html 
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Geraniums and Petunias Beware of the Tobacco Budworm

By Dr. Raymond Cloyd

Have you noticed that your geraniums and petunias are not blooming (flowering)? Well, the “critter” or culprit causing the problem may be the caterpillar or larval stage of the tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens).

Figure2TobaccoBudwormLarva-1iswlrs

 

Click “continue reading” to learn more:

Geraniums and Petunias Beware of the Tobacco Budworm

Or click HERE if the above “read on” link does not work.

 

That’s not a disease! (Lacebugs on cotoneaster)

(Megan Kennelly, KSU Plant Pathology)

Brown spots are not always a disease.

We had a cotoneaster sample last week that looked like this:

damage-lacebug

The undersides of the leaves looked like this:

lacebug-frass-cotoneaster-branch

The submitter thought this might be a disease, but upon closer inspection we found these guys, lacebug nymphs. The shiny black stuff near them is frass (insect poop).

Slide3

Lacebug eggs:

Slide1

But, what else did we find?

Slide2

This is a laceWING egg. Lacewings are predators (good guys!), and they love to eat lacebugs!

I called my awesome colleague Dr. Raymond Cloyd to discuss this, and he confirmed that in general, lacebugs will not severely damage the plants. The damage is primarily aesthetic. And, the good guys (lacewings) were clearly in the area, doing their job. Dr. Cloyd’s advice was to let nature take its course. One “soft” option might be a hard spray of water to remove/reduce the lacebugs. That would also remove the lacewings, but the lacewings would come back.

Lacebugs (and many other insects!) are described in our publication: Tree and Shrub Problems in Kansas: Diseases, Insects, and Environmental Stresses. To get a copy of that publication, you can find the pdf HERE or you can order it by calling the K-State Research and Extension bookstore at 785-532-5830 where you can order a print copy for $9.70 + shipping.