Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Home and Garden

Timely Tendings: Watch out for chinch bugs in St. Augustine

Stop chinch bugs before they multiply

Keep a watchful eye out for chinch bugs in St. Augustine grass. Straw-colored grass along sidewalks, driveways or the street is usually the first sign of this pest.

According to a University of Florida IFAS Extension publication on chinch bug management in St. Augustine grass, rapid growth resulting from frequent applications of water-soluble nitrogen fertilizers may increase southern chinch bug survival, development time and the number of eggs that the insects can lay. Responsible use of slow-release nitrogen fertilizers may help reduce pest population buildup ( edis.ifas.ufl.edu/LH036).

Young chinch bugs are red and hidden in the sheaths of the grass. As they mature and become adults they are still pretty small, only about a fifth of an inch long. Their color changes to black and white and they develop wings.

Chinch bugs can kill large areas of St. Augustine lawns if allowed to feed freely.

Bahiagrass can take a heating

Bahiagrass is one of the better drought-tolerant grasses for this area and can survive our driest month easily. It may be a bit brown, but it does not die. Bahiagrass can be started from seed or sod, but it is best to wait until the rainy season to plant or rejuvenate this type of lawn. Seeding can be done until about mid September.

Source: Theresa Badurek, Urban Horticulture Extension Agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit the website at pinellascountyextension.org. Go to Facebook to get regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas at: facebook.com/growpinellas.

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