Summer is here, and we are starting to get some afternoon showers after a dry May. Still, you should make sure you are watering your lawn and plants. (Please note the request of Beaufort Jasper Water & Sewer Authority to cut back on irrigation. See the story on page 1A of this issue.)
It is better to water heavy and less often, as this will help you grow a better root system for your lawn. Watering during the night or early morning is the best time to water.
Insect issues during the summer for lawns include chinch bugs, mole crickets, sod webworms, and grubs. Chinch bugs damage St. Augustine lawns especially in the mainly sunny areas near the pavement.
Mole crickets can damage all turf types by eating the root system. Top Choice is an insecticide that controls mole crickets and fire ants for 12 months. Sod webworms and army worms usually start in July or August and come from moths that lay eggs on the lawn. The worms/caterpillars feed on our turfgrass.
Tree and shrub insects are also most active during the summer months. We deal with aphids on crape myrtles, lace bugs on azaleas and lantana, spider mites on juniper and Leyland cypress, white flies on viburnum, and scale on several varieties of plants and trees. Powdery mildew is a disease that affects crape myrtles and is recognized by a greyish residue on the leaves, this can be controlled with a fungicide.
Disease problems on lawns consist of grey leaf spot on St. Augustine, dollar spot on Zoysia and Bermuda, and brown patch on most turf types. Over-watering or too much rain is the cause of most disease problems.
When mowing your lawn, remember to set the proper mower height for your grass type. This is a very important practice: Bermuda: 1.5 inches; Centipede: 2.0 inches; St. Augustine: 3.5 inches (minimum); and Zoysia: 1.5-2.0 inches (maximum).
Keep up with these chores for a beautiful yard all summer long.
Mark Deloach is the owner of Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.