VIDEO: Gainesville Lawn Pest of the Month: Crape Myrtle Aphid

Crape myrtles are very popular plants, and you may have them in your Gainesville lawn, due to their beauty and low maintenance requirements. Planting and maintaining crape myrtles according to recommended procedures will give them the best possible chance at warding off lawn pests. A stressed crape myrtle is more susceptible to damage by insects and diseases.

Are moths causing brown spots in my lawn?

When we have extreme weather in Florida, we usually find that a few things really like the conditions.  This summer it has been the moths and the 'Tropical Sod Webworm,' which just love the wet yards we've had.
 
It has been so prolific that our phones have rung with people asking what they are and how to they get rid of them.  Perhaps you've seen some fluttering around in your lawn?
 
How are moths and webworms connected might you ask? Great question! Much like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, the webworm turns into a moth, and the webworm is what does so much damage to Gainesville lawns. 
 
How do webworms create the brown spots in the lawn? They chew the grass down to the roots as it's primary source of food, causing a similar effect on the lawn as if it were scalped with a weedeater or lawn mower. 
 
The chewed or affected areas typically look...

VIDEO: Why are moths in my Gainesville lawn?

Moths are the parents of a Gainesville lawn pest known as the Tropical Sod Webworm. Do you know how caterpillars go into a cocoon and transform into butterflies? Sod webworms do the same thing, except they become moths. 
 
Webworms eat the tops of St. Augustine and Zoysia grass down to the tougher stolon, which causes a scalped look, typically in wet areas of the lawn. They also leave behind green pellets, which are the remnants of the lawn after the webworm has digested it.
 
Here are some quick notes about webworm damage in lawns:
  • Moths are typically noticed fluttering in the early morning dew of the lawn when you walk through it.
  • They are typically swarming when the heavy rains of summer/fall begin, which in Gainesville is anywhere between late June and October. 
  • The webworms are translucent green, and about 1/2" long. They're easily located in the morning dew, but they stay in the thatch during
  • ...

VIDEO: How can I know Chinch Bugs are in my Gainesville lawn?

Today's Quick Tip on Gainesville lawns is about Chinch bug damage, and how to decipher it from drought stress, webworm damage, fungus, or other common yard issues. There are three main things to look for:

  1. Where is the damage? Typically, chinch bugs attack Gainesville yards close to concrete, asphalt, and in areas that are in full sun. 
  2. What do the damaged areas look like? When chinch bugs attack lawns in Gainesville, they leave a clear trail. The dead grass looks dark brown (compared to a the typical greyish color of dead grass) and is typically very patchy. Also, weeds typically thrive because chinch bugs do not damage weeds - just the grass.
  3. Is there a yellow ring? To be clear, there can also be a yellow ring around fungus, too. However, chinch bugs and fungus attack very different St. Augustine grass. Chinch bugs attck drought-stressed grass, so the yellowed turf would be in typically dry soil (
  4. ...

July’s Gainesville Lawn Pest: Fire Ants

When and where is this lawn pest the most prevalent?

Although native to South America, they are very prevalent in Gainesville lawns throughout the year. They typically become bothersome in spring and summer due to more lawn-related activities - but they are active year round.

How can I identify this as the problem in my lawn or landscape?

Fire ants are very different from crazy ants, in that they are typically reddish-colored, and swarm. Crazy ants can be seen running aimlessly in circles, which is where they derive the 'crazy ant' name.  

How do they occur and how can I prevent it?

Fire ants naturally arrive in most all Gainesville lawns. Prevention is only offerent by a licensed lawn pest prevention service, like The Master's Lawn Care. 

What can I do to resolve the issue?

If you...

June's Lawn Pest of the Month: Crapemyrtle Aphids

When and where is this pest the most prevalent?

Aphids are prevalent on Crape Myrtles anytime they have leaves - which for our Gainesville lawns is from April through October. Typically, their remnants (the black sooty mold) is not seen until late summer, though. Aphids also attack other trees and shrubs in Gainesville yards as well.

 

How can I identify this as the problem in my lawn or landscape?

The quickest way to know if your Crape...

5 Most Common Gainesville Lawn Diseases

Turf diseases are not usually as common a threat to a Gainesville lawns as Turf pests and weeds, but they are still a concern in certain seasons. Occasionally an outbreak will occur after an extended period of heat and humidity but for the most part, a lawn will remain relatively disease free as long as it is irrigated properly.

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Quick Tip: How can I get rid of ants in my Gainesville lawn?

In the past few weeks, I've had multiple clients ask about how to control the number of ants in their lawn. The combination of a fairly dry winter and the extremely dry spring this year has created outstanding conditions for ants to expand their population and build more nests. This is the reason why you may feel like you're seeing more ant beds this year than normal. For most people, the bite of an ant is just a painful nuisance. For children, pets, and people with allergies- they can be far more dangerous.

May’s Gainesville Lawn Pest: Chinch Bugs

When and where is this pest the most prevalent?

Chinch bugs are most prevalent from late spring to mid-fall and are typically found in St. Augustine lawns, although they are occasionally found in Zoysia yards as well. They love hot, dry soil and will almost always start damaging the grass near concrete. They like to start by a sidewalk or driveway and work their way out into your lawn.

How can I identify this as the problem in my lawn or landscape?

Chinch bugs can be tricky because they love to attack yards already weakened by drought stress, and their damage looks very similar to drought stress. Many people assume their lawn is just dry and just increase their irrigation settings when in reality they need a lawn insect control application to control the chinch bugs. 

This is especially important as we experience...

April's Lawn Pest: Drought Stress

Although the word 'pest' is typically used to describe an insect such as chinch bugs or webworms, the term is actually used to describe anything that is unwanted. (Perhaps you remember what you may have called your little sibling growing up?) In this case, a lawn certainly is not improved by being pestered with a lack of one of it's three basic needs)
 
When and where is drought stress the most prevalent?
Imagine filling a gallon bucket with water and setting it out in your yard. When you check your bucket a week later, you’re going to find it still has water, but you’ve lost an inch or so from evaporation.  That’s what happens to your lawn and landscape plants if the evaporation isn’t replaced by rain and/or irrigation. If you had the bucket of water in full sun, it would experience more evaporation than one in the shade....

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