|Ilive in Lithia, Florida. I am doing my own lawn care this year and would like advice on products to use and when to apply them, including treatment for chinch bugs. I have St. Augstine grass.|
|Chinch bugs are a royal pain, and they are difficult to control. Here's a list of effective products but be sure to read the labels for application timing. For instance, a summerguard product should not be used in the fall.... Scott's Lawn Pro Insect Control with Fertilizer; Scott's Turf Builder with SummerGuard; Gordon's Liquid Dura-Spray Carbaryl Insecticide; Bayer Advanced PowerForce Multi-Insect Killer; Bayer Advanced PowerForce Carpenter Ant & Termite Killer Plus; Southern Ag Mole Cricket & Chinch Bug Lawn Insect Control; Spectracide - Triazicide Once & Done! Insect Killer; and Permethrin Spectracide Bug Stop Insect Control Granules. You can rake to remove the dead grass and your St. Augustine will eventually fill in the bare spots. Or, you can take plugs or sprigs from a healthy part of your lawn and plant them in the bare areas for faster fill in.
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.
Good luck with your lawn!