The Q&A Archives: Dethatching

Question: I have 2 questions, One: I have some vegetable plants and there are these little white looking bugs or flies on the underneath of the leaves and on top, they seem to suck the life out of them. What can I use to keep them off? I put in a Floratam St. Augustine lawn in last July, someone told me I need to thatch the lawn, what is that and what do I need to do??

Answer: If your lawn is new, you won't need to thatch for a few years. Thatch is a build up of dead stolons, stems and leaves. All lawns have thatch but when the thatch layer gets too thick it can slow or stop water penetration. When the thatch reaches 3/4 of an inch, it's time to dethatch. That won't be for a few years. The insects you describe sound like white flies. You can control them with sprays of insecticidal soap. For best results, spray in the early morning or at dusk when most of the pests are resting. Be sure to spray both the upper and lower leaf surfaces. Repeat sprays will be necessary. Best wishes with your garden.

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