19September 7, 2017
Labor Day has come and gone. This doesn’t mean that summer is over but in our minds I guess it really does mean that summer is over.
Japanese beetles didn’t appear to be a big problem in most areas this summer. Some people did report that they had quite a few beetles. The reason that there may have been only a few beetles is because there were few grubs that survived the dry summer in 2016. Once the beetles lay their eggs, the eggs hatch out around mid September. The grubs that hatch from the eggs feed on the roots of your lawn in the fall and then they stop feeding until the ground thaws out in the spring. In the spring they will feed on grass routes until they pupate in June and emerge as beetles around the 4 Th of July. We had two dry summers in a row. Many lawns dried up in 2016, which would mean that the grubs had few roots to feed on. If they cannot feed on the grass roots they would soon die. This would lead to fewer beetles in 2017. One interesting fact that I learned many years ago is that when there are only a few beetles in an area, the female beetles tend to lay more eggs in a particular lawn. Lawns, on the whole, appear to be in better shape than they have been in years. If this is the case, will a handful of beetles lay a lot of eggs in your lawn? Do you need to treat your lawn this fall to control newly emerging grubs? This is the million-dollar question. If skunks start to dig up your lawn in a few weeks, they are usually going after the grubs that are in the soil. If the skunks start to dig, you should check the soil for signs of grubs. You will need to go to an area that is adjacent to where the skunks have been digging. You will need to take a knife and cut a square in your lawn and then peel back the grass. If you seed gray to white grubs in the soil, then you should treat for grubs. If you don’t see any grubs, then you can wait and see if the skunks keep digging. By the way, you can take that piece of grass, put it back in place and if you keep the soil moist, the grass will re-root. Ultimately, it is going to be a lawn by lawn question as to the need to control grubs.
Fall is a good time to apply lime to your lawn. If you haven’t applied lime in over a year, you probably need to apply lime to your lawn.
Fall is a time when your plants begin to prepare for winter. Your shrubs will need a good soaking each week until the ground freezes. This allows the shrubs to take up water and store that water in the twigs, stems and with evergreens, in the needles or leaves. When the winter winds kick in, the plants will be able to lose a certain amount of moisture to the dry winter winds that are sure to come. There are other things you can do to protect your shrubs from winter damage. I will address that in a future column.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.