Turf pest management begins with correct identity 03-19-07
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Fertilization, mowing, and watering all are key factors in keeping our lawns beautiful, but lush attractive lawns often entice insects and diseases.It is important that we learn how to identify their presence and select management strategies that will prevent them from causing major destruction to the lawn.
Insect damage is often diagnosed as a disease, or vice versa. And applying an insecticide for a disease problem, or a fungicide for an insect problem, will not only be ineffective, but also a waste of time and money.
As your lawn begins to break winter dormancy develop a few scouting routines that will help you better control lawn pest this summer. At least once a week take the time to walk your lawn looking for subtle signs of turf turning off color, thinning, or ragged leaf tips. Bend down closely to the ground or even get on your hands and knees and part the turf canopy looking for small critters such as caterpillars, small bugs, dying leaf blades, etc. Notice if leaves have chewed ragged edges, tiny lesions within the leaf blades, soggy decaying tissue or whether the damage is in circular patterns or uniformly across the entire lawn. If you find any of these symptoms then identify the pests or collect a sample and have someone identify them for you then treat appropriately. The Extension Web site has several good publications that will help you properly identify your lawn pests and give recommendations for their management. A good start would be Establish and Manage Your Home Lawn.
Published March 19, 2007
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org