Integrated Pest Management is the process of continually scouting for lawn and landscape related pests and injury. Pests can be defined as a weed, disease, rodent or insect that can cause injury. When managing the health of your lawn and landscape it is very important to understand the goals of Integrated Pest Management. The two primary goals of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is to protect the environment and provide economical pest control up to the economic and aesthetic thresholds that you the property owner specifies. It is very important to be able to identify what exactly a pest is, if the pest is susceptible (or non-susceptible) to control and if a pest is injurious to the desirable managed plant or not. There are four primary control measures that are routinely used in IPM; Cultural, Mechanical, Biological and Chemical. Cultural control involves growing the desired plant to be healthy through proper fertility, planting, plant selection (less susceptible plants), mulching and mowing. Mechanical control is physically eliminating a pest by cultivating, pruning, hoeing and weed pulling, hand picking or burning and burying. Biological control utilizes living organisms such as predators (lady beetles, spiders, insect-feeding birds), parasites (parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, etc.) and diseases (B.t. bacteria, Beauvaria fungus). Lastly chemical control features the use of pesticides that are primarily quick, effective and short-term. It is highly recommended to consider non-chemical methods first. When applying pesticides you will need to consider any/all environmental impacts, proper timing and location of application. Resistance can be experienced from continual use of same mode-of-action pesticide. Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for professional lawn related care in the greater Chicago and surrounding northwest suburban area. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and we look forward to being of service to you in the very near future!
If you maintain a lawn that happens to benefit from full sun exposure (not shaded) and has become weakened from heat and drought stress you need to be aware of sod webworm and the damage it can cause. This small sod webworm caterpillar (5/8″-1″ in length) can chew off leaves and stems of your cool-season grasses including Kentucky bluegrass, most fescues, perennial ryegrass and bentgrass. It will cause general lawn thinning, followed by small patches of brown and finally leaving behind closely cut/cropped areas. A lawn that is healthy and well irrigated will often tolerate and recover from sod webworm scalping. Weak or drought stressed lawns that have been clipped short by sod webworm may be killed via sun exposure to the crowns of the plant. Adult sod webworm moths (lawn moths) are small whitish, dull gray or tan colored moths that hover over turfgrass at dusk. As these small sod webworm moths flutter across the lawn females drop eggs during flight that settle in the upper thatch layer of your lawn. As many as 500 eggs are laid during a life span of usually less than 14 days. Depending on temperatures, eggs hatch in 4 to 20 days and the larvae develop through usually 6 to 8 larval stages in 4 to 7 weeks. The larvae are beige, gray, brown or a greenish color (depending upon species) with a brownish head. The older larvae chew down foliage around their burrows mainly at night. Most sod webworm have two generations per year. Sod webworm are fairly easy to control on a curative, as-needed basis. Insecticide controls are directed against the feeding larvae, not the moths. A healthy, vigorous turf, balanced fertility and adequate irrigation during dry periods will enhance your lawn’s tolerance to sod webworm feeding. As always, be sure to contact a local lawn professional to help identify sod webworm, evaluate treatment options and analyze if lawn repairs will be needed.