St. Augustine GRAS - Knowledgebase Question

Orlando, Fl
Question by dor1jec
August 3, 2010
Little bugs (like tiny butterflies) fly all over when walking on grass. The lawn is dieing and I do not know what to do. My husband died three months ago and he always had as beautiful lawn but I do not know how to take care of it. Thank you.


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Answer from NGA
August 3, 2010

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What you describe sound like sod webworms. The adults are moths and fly away but before they turn into adults they spend time as little caterpillars which feed on the grass. A large population can kill the grass. You can use a product such as Ortho Bug B Gon Max to take care of the pests.

Lawn care can be intensive. To grow lush and thick it needs to be put on a regular schedule of watering, mowing and feeding. Good lawn care can be summarized in three cultural practices: mowing, watering and fertilizing. If you will do these three properly, your lawn will be the best on the block! Frequent mowing is better than infrequent mowing. Mow on a 5-7 day schedule, removing no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade with each mowing. While many homeowners like to water 15 minutes a day, your turf will benefit from a good soaking applied less often. Apply 1/2 to 1 inch of water once or twice a week. A coffee can makes a good rain gauge to test out how long it will need to be run to apply an inch. Frequent wetting promotes disease problems and a shallow rooted turf. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings and the grass will develop a deep root system and do much better. Fertilize with no more than 1/2 to 1 pound of nitrogen in spring after you have mowed the grass twice, again in June, another feeding in September and again in late November. Apply a product with a 3-1-2 ratio of nutrients as this is roughly the ratio of nutrients grass takes in. So, for example, if you purchased a 15-5-10 fertilizer (15% nitrogen), you would apply about 7 pounds per 1000 square feet (1 pound / .15 = about 7). If you purchased a 21-7-14 fertilizer (21 % nitrogen), you would apply about 5 pounds per 1000 square feet (1 pound / .21 = about 5). Healthy turf will choke out most of its weed problems. When the turf is thin and soil is exposed to the sunlight, weeds will sprout and you have a battle on your hands. So first concentrate on the above 3 cultural practices and you will be amazed at the results.

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