18September 6, 2018
Well, September has arrived. The temperatures say that it is still summer but we need to prepare for fall. Here are a few things that you can add to your to do list for the month of September.
Over the last few years, Japanese beetles have either been a major problem in your yard or you may have asked yourself where have all the Japanese beetles gone. If the beetles were feeding in your yard, the females have laid eggs in your lawn. Even if you had only a few beetles, the females will lay a lot of eggs in your lawn. The eggs are laid during July and August and the eggs hatch out roughly mid September. The eggs turn into the dreaded grubs that feed on the roots of your lawn. In the early stages of their life, the grubs are tiny and may be gray in color until they begin to get bigger. At the early stage of their life, the grubs are easier to kill. Once they have over wintered and begin to eat in the spring, the grubs get big very quickly. Once they are really big, it is difficult to get pesticides to kill them. For this reason, it is best to treat for the grubs in the fall. Since there is only one generation of grubs per year, if you kill them in the fall, you don’t have to worry about them in the spring.
In September, you can apply an insecticide that will kill the grubs on contact. This product is distinctly different from the season long grub control. The season long control works best if you put it down in the summer. This “ kills on contact” product contains a chemical called Dylox. If you apply this product and then water it into the soil, you will kill the baby grubs in 24 hours. Timing is crucial on this product because if you put it down before all of the eggs hatch, you won’t get complete control.
There is also an organic control called Milky Spore. This product comes as a powder or as a granular. The powder is dropped onto the soil in teaspoon size quantities. The piles are dropped 3 feet apart in rows 3 feet apart. As the spore gets into the soil, the grubs ingest the spore and they are eventually killed off. This type of application is labor intensive if you have a big lawn, but 1 application can control grubs for 10 years or more. The granular form is applied with a lawn spreader. You need to make 3 applications per year for 2 years in order for the granules to be effective.
No matter which approach you take to control grubs in your lawn, doing so in the fall is the best way to go.
Speaking of lawns, the hot and dry weather has caused a lot of the lawns to fade away. In most cases the reason the lawn died out was due to the lack of moisture in the soil. The most likely cause of this was due to lack of organic matter in the soil. Before you seed those bare spots in the lawn, loosen up the soil and work some compost or topsoil into the top 6 inches of soil. If you can improve the quality of the soil you should then be able to have a lawn that will survive future hot and dry summers. It is best to get the seed in place by the end of September. This allows time for the seed to sprout and for the grass to form a strong root system before the ground freezes.
Many people have switched from using a bluegrass mixture of seed to a mix that contains turf type tall fescue. Once it is established, turf type tall fescues have a really deep root system that creates a lawn that needs less water and fertilizer to keep the lawn going. Even when the conditions are so bad that the lawn fades, once the turf type tall fescue get some water, it will put up new growth. We carry this type of seed mixture in our store.
Well that’s all for this week. There will be more “to do “ things in next weeks column.
I’ll talk to you again next week.