Category Archives: Shrub Spraying & Fertilization

Chinch Bugs

Chinch Bugs

Hot and dry weather is ideal for pests like chinch bugs. A few small dead areas in the lawn can quickly spread, killing large sections that are costly to replace. If you have a St. Augustine lawn, you likely know that the southern chinch bug is a big problem. Most people tend to overlook them because they are so small. Adults are about 1/5 inch long and are black with white patches on the wings. The nymphs range from 1/20 inch long to nearly adult size. Small nymphs are reddish with a white band across the back, but become black in color as they grow.

Chinch bug nymphs and adults can cause significant feeding damage. They remove plant fluids and inject a toxin that causes the grass to yellow, turn reddish brown and eventually die. Damaged areas often join together into large patches of dead, brown grass. These injured areas are more prone to injury because they are in hot spots along concrete or asphalt paved areas or in water-stressed areas where the grass is growing in full sun.

The majority of damage occurs from April through September. Left untreated, these areas get bigger as chinch bugs span out in search of their next meal. The suggested economic threshold (the density of a pest at which a control treatment will provide an economic return) for the chinch bug is 15 to 20 insects per square foot. Though chinch bugs prefer St. Augustine grass, they will also feed on other grass species.

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/chinch-bugs-in-home-lawns

http://jacksonville.com/entertainment/home-and-garden/2015-07-23/story/garden-help-those-unwelcome-lawn-tourists-are-back

The Call of the Wild Grub

The Call of the Wild Grub

If you have a lawn, they live in it, feed on it, and burrow underneath it.  Grubs eat the roots of grass and therefore can do a lot of damage before they are spotted.  Brown patches of dead grass will be the first sign of grub infestation.

But they can also do damage more indirectly, by attracting raccoons and skunks to your back yard.  These rodents will dig through the grass in attempts to secure an easy and delicious grub-centered meal.

To keep the rodents away, the best approach is to discourage their presence.  To make your yard inhospitable, dangle shiny CDs above the area, use loud noises, spread ammonia-soaked rags, or disperse the urine from predatory animals.

Most home care businesses will supply a variety of products to repel rodents.

Controlling the grub population may be necessary if there is a serious infestation (four or more grubs per square foot), but using grub pesticides can have adverse consequences for other, beneficial soil organisms.

A better approach to rid the lawn of too much digging is to spread a generous coating of Milorganite, which will dissuade rodents from digging.  To repair damage, re-seeding can begin in the fall season.

Fruit-Eaters Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Fruit-Eaters Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Summer is here and fruit trees are nearer to producing their delicious cornucopia of juicy, sweet delicacies ripening in back yards across Florida.  Yet humans are not the only creatures waiting.  An amazing number of insects enjoy fruit just as much as we do.

Aphid, whiteflies, scales and psyllids are potential threats to your trees, and knowing what to look for can save not only the fruit but, sometimes, the tree itself.

Aphids are tiny insects that come in green, reddish-brown, black or gray.  They are identified by their small size and tendency to infest the bottom of tree leaves.  If your tree has aphids, you will likely see a sooty mold that precipitates a white sticky substance called honeydew.

The whitefly is another scourge to be on the lookout for, and are very similar to aphids in behavior and result.  Their presence, in large enough numbers, will also produce mold.  They are identified by their diminutive size and white appearance.

Like aphids and whiteflies, scales also produce mold.  In Florida, where fruit trees abound, there are three types:  wax scale, purple scale and soft brown scale.  Their presence leaves trees weakened and leads to a fruit of low quality.

 

Regular maintenance of your trees requires observation, which should happen weekly.  In most cases, once a problem is identified, it is often manageable with swift and appropriate intervention.  Asian psyllids are another issue altogether, however.  This invasive species attacks all types of citrus and once identified, the tree must be destroyed and removed.

Hungry Grubs Call for Three-Pronged Strategy

Hungry Grubs Call for Three-Pronged Strategy

Lurking in your turf may be a large white grub.  You can see its signs by noticing holes and brown patches in your lawn, and it may need to be treated.

Before trying an insecticide, there are two other approaches to contain these hungry critters.  But first, you must understand them.  They are in larval stage as white grubs, but grow into a brown beetle in adulthood.  They are a golden brown but with darker heads and about three quarters of an inch in size.  They lazy their eggs in the ground (that is, your yard!), the grubs generally hatch in late summer then feed on roots of turf, until winter puts them into a hibernation-like state.

In Spring the grubs rise again, eating their fill until they reach pupation in early or mid summer.

If you spotted signs of the grubs, your approach should be to first determine the extend of the infestation.  Steps must be taken if you find more than six of these critters per square food of lawn.  First, aerate.  Next, try using beneficial nematodes.  Only as a last step will you want to treat with insecticides.

Helpful Lawn Care Tips

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly Control

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly – Customer Information Sheet

The most noticeable symptoms of an infestation of this whitefly is the abundance of
the white, waxy material covering the leaves and also excessive sooty mold. Like other similar insects, these whiteflies will produce “honeydew”, a sugary substance, which causes the growth of sooty mold. The actual effect of an infestation on the health of a plant is unknown; however, whiteflies in general can cause plant decline, defoliation and branch dieback.

Free Spiraling Whitefly Inspection

South Florida has new variety of whitefly referred to as Spiraling whitefly. This fly can affect a wide variety of Florida’s beautiful tropical plants such as:

  • Gumbo Limbo
  • Banana
  • Black Olive Trees
  • Mango trees
  • A wide variety of Palms
  • Live oak, some shrubs such as copperleaf, cocoplum and wax myrtle
  • And many others