Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Home and Garden

Timely tendings: Deal with pests, diseases early and often

Deal with pests and diseases early and often

Dingy brown moths flying around grassy areas are often an indication that eggs are being laid in your lawn by the sod webworm. These eggs will hatch into small green caterpillars in about five to seven days that primarily feed at night and remain in a curled position on or near the soil surface during the day. Injured grass has notches chewed along the sides of the blades. The foliage may be completely stripped in patches.

A soap flush is a good way to detect sod webworms. Mix 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in a gallon sprinkler can. Fill with water and drench a 4-square-foot area. Observe the area for about 2 minutes. Soap is an irritant causing insects to surface.

Pesticides labeled for sod webworm control are Bacillis thuringiensis (Bt, Dipel, Thuricide) and Carbaryl (Sevin). Bt is a bacterial product that will cause the caterpillars to stop feeding and die without harming beneficial insects (except butterfly caterpillars), wildlife, pets or humans. So, it is a more environmentally friendly choice.

Sod webworms may re-infest the lawn within one to three weeks after treatment. Continue to examine the lawn and re-apply pesticide as required.

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Azaleas, pyracanthas, sycamores and other woody ornamentals may show signs of lacebug damage this month. Their feeding causes a gray, blanched, or stippled appearance on the upper surface of the leaves.

Spray plants with paraffin based horticultural oil, fish oil, neem oil, Malathion, or other approved pesticide. Follow the label carefully and be sure to spray the undersides as well as the tops of the leaves.

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When croton leaves lose their color and appear blanched or faded, the cause is usually a thrips infestation. This sucking insect removes the juice from the leaves and plants often completely defoliate. Spray affected plants with insecticidal soap, neem oil or paraffin based horticultural oil.

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Leaf spots on ligustrum are usually caused by a fungal disease called Cercospora. Spray plants three times at 10-day intervals, then once a month until spots stop appearing on new the growth.

The old spotted leaves will not improve. Use a fungicide labeled for ligustrum and carefully follow the label directions.