Gainesville Lawn Pest of the Month: Large Patch Fungus

In your Gainesville lawn as fall comes into town, your grass may begin showing brown circular spots that seem to be struggling. This is typically large patch disease, commonly called brown patch fungus - especially in St. Augustine and Zoysia lawns. 

This turf disease is active when nighttime temperatures range from 60-75 degrees and daytime temperatures don’t exceed 85-90 degrees. These temperatures are usually seen in the Spring and Fall. Like other fungi, Large Patch also requires adequate moisture in its environment to thrive, so be careful with your Gainesville irrigation settings.

This disease affects the blades of the grass and typically will not kill the entire grass plant. It begins as small patches that discolor, yellow then brown, as the grass blades die. An interesting display of Large Patch fungus in a lawn is the “donut effect” it may create. In...

Quick Tip: Have You Noticed Moths in Your Lawn?

For the past few weeks, we've gotten a couple e-mails asking about large numbers of small moths flying around Gainesville lawns and beds. Although the moths themselves pose no danger to landscape plants, the presence of the moths is a legitimate cause for concern.
 
It's not that moths damage the lawn though, they're just a symptom of the actual problem - which is an infestation of the Tropical Sod Webworm

How are moths and sod webworms related?  Very similar to a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, the tropical sod webworm turns into a moth. 
 
Sod Webworms damage your lawn by chewing the grass down to the leafbud as it's primary source of food, causing a similar effect on the lawn as if it were scalped with a mower in random spots. If there's anyhitng St. Augustine grass does not like, it's being scalped - which causes it to turn brown. ...

Quick Tip: Why Does my Lawn Have Brown Spots this Summer?

In this dry summer we are experiencing this year, there are typically only two factors creating brown spots in your Gainesville lawn - drought stress or chinch bugs. The two are actually related as well, because chinch bugs prefer to attack struggling lawns that have been stressed from dry weather. 

DROUGHT STRESS

When explaining drought stress, the common response many homeowners have is, 'How can that happen if I have a sprinkler system?' It's a valid concern. Most of our clients have irrigation systems that are running properly and are following the watering restrictions - only running them 2 days per week and watering early in the morning. So, why is their lawn struggling? It's not about whether their irrigation system is running, but how long and often it's running that matters.

Picture a bucket filled with water and left in the middle of a sunny lawn. If you were to check it a week later you’d see it probably lost about 1” of water. That...

Why are Gainesville Chinch Bugs so dangerous for Gainesville grass?

From May until the cooler weather of October is officially Gainesville's Chinch Bug Season – the most dangerous season for your St Augustine lawn. Why?  First, Chinch Bugs like it hot and dry – or at least they like their St Augustine turf hot and dry. Nothing is more inviting to a chinch bug than St Augustine grass dry from the lack of irrigation and baked all day under the hot Gainesville, Florida sun.  Second, Chinch Bug damage is so complete and so fatal to St Augustine turf grass that there is no recovery – your lawn is officially dead! So what are Chinch Bugs? and how do you prevent Chinch Bugs from destroying your beautiful Gainesville lawn?

WHAT ARE CHINCH BUGS?

Chinch Bugs are not only lawn pests, they are predators. Their prey is weak, suffering St Augustine turf grass – preferably St Augustine turf grass that is weak and suffering from drought stress. As a predator, their role is to remove the weak to make room for the strong. In a lawn that...

Quick Tip: Chinch Bugs are Coming to Gainesville Lawns

This is the time of the year when we start getting a lot of calls and emails from customers worried about dry dead spots they are finding in their yards, and they seem to be growing. Typically, this is chinch bug damage, especially if it's between April and October.

The concern is valid because chinch bugs can cause all wreak havok in Gainesville, Florida lawns.

It is important to know that chinch bugs do not die in winter. Which means In our area many think they are chinch bug-free once they go dormant in winter, but then are surprised when they have a mass invasion again the following spring if not treated properly with a Gainesville Lawn Insect Control.

Another problem is that Chinch bugs are attracted to drought stressed grass. What does that mean? It means when we have a dry spring (like this one), chinch bugs are much...

Are Fire Ants Ruining Your Gainesville Lawn?

Your home can be considered your castle, and your lawn is a major part of that kingdom. But when your Gainesville landscape is covered with pests like fire ants, it sure doesn’t feel that way. Instead of enjoying a blissful stroll through your front and back lawn, you may feel like you are walking through a minefield. Fire ants will attack your feet, ankles and legs in no time at all with one simple misstep. Their bites sting, and can often cause severe reactions—especially for those who are allergic. Even for those not allergic though, they certainly cause pain, frustration, and small infectious sores.

There are a few reasons why ants can be such a nuisance to the lawn. For one, they aren’t always easy to notice. One minute you are pulling the hose across the lawn to water the plants, and the next minute you are desperately trying to hose the pests off of your legs. When they attack, they attack in large numbers—and once they settle in they multiply quickly.

Of...

Quick Tip: Why Gainesville Chinch Bugs Aren't a Cinch to Control

This time of year, we have clients call several times a week about cinch bug infestions in their lawn. The call usually goes something similar to this:

"I have a chinch bug problem in my St. Augustine lawn. I bought the granular pesticide from Lowe's that guaratees to kill chinch bugs, but it either is not working or the treatment isn't working fast enough because my brown spot is still growing. I don't want to resod just because of lawn pests. What should I do?"

Chinch bugs are the most destructive lawn pests we have and are also the most difficult to control - especially without the right equipment. The heat of summer really brings them out. They damage the grass by sucking the plant's juices. Normally, we first see the damage to the grass in the hottest and driest areas of the lawn first - many times near the

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Quick Tip: Is Nutsedge Driving you NUTS?

When we have record-breaking rain in Gainesville, Florida we usually find that a few things really like the conditions.  This summer it has been nutsedge which must love the flooding rains because we’re seeing a large crop of it in lawns this year.  It is so prolific that our phones are ringing with people asking what it is and how to they get rid of it.  Perhaps you’ve seen some in your lawn this year?  

Nutsedge is a dark-green leafed weed that looks a lot like grass that is sticking straight up.  Typically, it grows taller than most Gainesville lawn trufgrasses so it becomes very obvious a couple days after mowing. But nutsedge isn’t a grass, even though it can be mistaken for a grassy weed.  This often confuses other lawn pest control technicians because they treat it with a grassy weed product  instead of a sedge control product.  If you look closely at, or feel nutsedge, you’ll notice the leaf isn’t flat, its triangular – that’s what makes it...

A Tool to Identify Common Gainesville Florida Lawn Weeds

Weeds are simply defined as plants out of place, or anything growing where it wasn't wanted. Technically, St. Augustine grass can be a weed in a Zoysia lawn, or vice versa. Here is a list of the most common Gainesville lawn weeds that can be found in our area.

Yellow Woodsorrel – Oxalis stricta
Annual to short-lived perennial, upright, with a single taproot, spreads by seed. Leaves of three, heart-shaped, pale green and bitter to taste due to the presence of oxalic acid. Bright yellow flowers have five petals. Prolific seed producer, pods will scatter seed for several feet when touched.

Bull Thistle – Cirsium vulgare
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Are you fighting weeds in your lawn?

This time of year our phones are ringing off the hook and when those calls are about a client's lawn, there are two questions I hear all of the time. The first is "What can I do about the weeds taking over my lawn?" and second,  "Why isn't my lawn as healthy as the others in my neighborhood?".

 

While I wish I had a quick and easy answer to these common concerns the truth is that are a myriad of factors from the type of turf and mowing height to micronutients in the soil and drainage that need to be taken into consideration. There are, however, some common themes I find when a client's lawn isn't where they would like it to be.  In simplest terms the health of your lawn comes down to its most basic needs being met - Sun, water, and ...

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