Lawn & Yard Care
By Jane Milliman
Grass looking less than stellar? You might need some critter control. Follow these tips if you think your lush lawn may be at risk.
Japanese Beetle Grubs
One of the most common lawn problems is the threat of Japanese beetle grubs—which just so happen to be commonly loathsome across your yard, as they turn into ravenous devourers of every rose in a garden when they hit adulthood. As if the brown patches and hungry grown-ups weren’t enough, grubs are a favorite food of moles, birds and other creatures that will tear up your lawn to get at them. The triple-threat of pests, Japanese beetles are rampant in the entire Northeastern and Midwest United States, and as far southwest as Alabama.
Don’t even think about using pheromone traps to catch the beetles—all they do is attract more of the pests to your property. Treatment options vary from region to region, but consult with your local extension agent or knowledgeable garden center employee about what might be effective for you. If you do end up treating your lawn with an organic pesticide, something like the Gilmour Foamaster Cleaning Sprayer is going to be the best bet for application. Fully adjustable with dosage ratios, it hooks right up to your hose to operate on water pressure. Easy!
On the topic of varmints: If they’re getting into new seed or digging up your bulbs—at my house the squirrels are the culprits—lay chicken wire down over the soil after seeding or planting. Mulch can be added over bulbs to provided added protection.
Snails and Slugs
If snails and slugs are a problem, try setting out saucers of beer around your yard. As they try to drink it down, they’ll drown before they enjoy the fruits of your lawn labors. It’s thought that coffee grounds will deter the creatures just as well, but the jury is out on that one—some scientists say the grass actually has to be sprayed with a caffeine solution in order to be protected. I say it’s worth a shot. A more reliable, non-beverage go-to is diatomaceous earth sprinkled on the ground. This talc-like powder is safe for humans, but damages the snails’ and slugs’ soft tissues as they try to cross it. Just remember that the product must be reapplied after a rain or overhead watering.
Fungi cause the most common—and confusing—lawn diseases, such as leaf spot, dollar spot, summer patch, red thread and snow mold. Prevention and treatment are basically the same: Set your mower blade to three inches or higher, aerate and fertilize regularly, and water no more than twice per week. An inch of water per week is recommended. Again, if it’s been raining or overcast, this isn’t necessary—it’s more of a summer chore than a spring or fall one. Preventing and curing fungi calls for bringing out the big guns, like Gilmour’s Adjustable Pattern Master Circular Sprinkler. How do you know how long it takes to reach an inch of water? Set out a coffee can marked at the correct height and let it collect water along with the grass.
Lawn invaders don’t have to keep you from enjoying a lush, healthy lawn. Prevent and eliminate them so you can get back to Betterdays!
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