Collecting autumn leaves for composting

As summer is winding down and we look forward to fall, it’s time to pay attention to your lawn and landscape.

September is a great time to apply an insecticide that controls armyworms and sod webworms. You will see most activity from these pests between July and October.

We have had sufficient rainfall during July and August; if this pattern continues during September and October, fungus will be very active. It is best to consider a preventative fungicide now and re-apply in 28 days, or per instructions on label.

When fungus is present, it is best to hold off watering the lawn for five to 10 days (based on rainfall) and delay mowing for  seven to 10 days. If leaf debris or pine straw needs to be removed, you can do so with a blower or a rake.

Using a blower allows for easy removal of thatch and leaves without disturbing the fungus or grass root, while simultaneously adding airflow to reduce excess moisture. Using a rake accomplishes the same task, but requires a little more work.

It is best to keep lawn free and clear of all debris to allow the sun and airflow to keep the lawn dry. Disease problems are most active when night time temperatures are in the 60s and daytime temperatures are in the 80s. The risk will be substantially greater if we are getting excessive rainfall.

It is pre-emergent time! If you have not already applied this weed control solution, now is the time to do so. This application will minimize weeds from germinating.

Poa annua is one weed that should be treated with a pre-emergent. This problem weed can be present in our lawns until May. It is also advisable to apply a secondary pre-emergent in January as well.

Fall is the perfect time to apply horticultural oil to all trees and shrubs that are prone to scale and other insects. This treatment will take care of any over-wintering insects.

The magnolia tree is one example that exhibits hard to control scale. This treatment should only be applied when our temperatures are less than 80 degrees.

Now is also a perfect time to take a look at the landscape bedding areas. It is time to remove weeds and top-dress the mulch material. When doing so, keep plenty of airflow around the tree or plant base. Too much mulch applied over root ball or resting against the trunk can cause problems. Some problems associated with improper mulching can include girdling. Too much mulch can hide problems like decay or dead spots, and can cover weed trimming damage, and lead to retention of moisture.

For best practice, keep mulch 12 to 18 inches away from base of plants and trunks.

Mark DeLoach is the owner of Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.