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Catching up after bad sod webworm infestation

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by lep, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. lep

    lep LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 52

    In late September, a majority of our front lawn (St. Augustine) was wiped out by a terrible sod webworm infestation. After treating with bifenthrin (topical) and Bayer Complete (systemic) one month later to stop their cycle, the recovery back to a thick turf is much slower because it is cooler now.

    Is there anything you would recommend in terms of N-P-K ratios or certain products that could stimulate growth during the cooler season to achieve a thick turf in a short time period?
     
  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,946

    Lep

    Cooler Nights and shorter hours of sunlight this time of year sure put St Augustine in a Semi Dormant state. Recovery can be real slow. Ground temperature because of Cooler nights is a big factor.

    Try Milorganite, and apply it heavy. It helps hold moisture as well as a slow stead feed for about 6 weeks. You can't apply too much unless you dump on and cover the turf.
     
  3. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 720

    That's great advice from Ric, but be patient. Turf has really slowed down here in TX, and will come to a halt in the next couple of weeks. If you're south of a line from Corpus Christi to Laredo, you may see a response, but otherwise, it's real close to "bed time" for lawns in TX.

    St. Aug can hang on to it's green color (but not the vibrant green) during the winter, but with the cool nights and shorter days growth pretty much stops after Thanksgiving.

    In the winter, we're a lot drier than Florida. The very dry air heats and cools quickly. After Thanksgiving, we routinely get hard freezes at night here in TX, with wild temperature swings during the days. It's not uncommon for us to get down into the 20's at night and warm into the 70's during the day.

    But a good dose of sewage sludge now will pay dividends in the spring. Hit it with a 1-0-1 ratio fert at green-up.
     
  4. lep

    lep LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 52

    Thanks for the tips. LEP
     
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,946

    Yep Quite

    I am South of Brownsville Texas and on the Gulf. Even here St Augustine grows so slow in the winter we might only cut it once a month and then only to get the high spots near the warm roads or buildings. Many years Crab Grass doesn't die out
     
  6. Looks like you are spending money instead of making money!
     
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,946

    Tim

    I only wished I could be on full time vacation in Mexico. But I was talking about my location in Florida compared to Texas. I do get out of town on occasion for some fun. But at my age I am becoming more of a home body.
     
  8. lep

    lep LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 52

    I put Milorganite down today, and the full 36 LB bag (we are about 2000 sqft - so no problem). The store only had one bag left, and with piles of other stuff, it may be that Milorganite is being put down by a lot of landscapers here in Houston. I do like Microlife (http://www.microlifefertilizer.com/) but its cost is going up tremendously.

    Let's see how Milorganite does over the winter, and at least by Jan-Feb when it's like summer in Houston, the turf should be healthy enough to spring back after a little weed and feed. Actually, with global warming of late every time I waited for Valentine's Day to weed and feed, it seems it was like summer (at least >80F) for a long time before that. Thus, weed and feed and compost dressing in Jan wouldn't hurt.

    Another thing is that you have to stay vigilant on is insects, because if you don't, by the time you recognize the problem you will way behind the power curve and half your turf will be gone. About every 4-6 months I am going to switch out and apply either Ortho Max (topical) or Bayer complete (systemic). Obviously, I would choose organic if there was a reliable insecticide, but they're not tough enough. Synthetic insecticide use is the tradeoff for maintaining an investment in turf that would cost $$$ to replace if wiped out by insects.
     
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,946

    Lep

    Organics have their advances as do synthetics. Use the best of Both Worlds. Look into BRIDGE Products.
     
  10. lep

    lep LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 52

    Today, 2 days after applying Milorganite and Miracle Gro, my lawn is very dark green and actually returning to a rich growth since the sod webworm attack that wiped out a lot in late Sept. Therefore, I would think that the suggestion that Milorganite can turn a lawn dark green in a day or two is true. A forum for banana growers suggested that Milorganite+Miracle Gro provided "Jack and the BeanStalk"-type results, and I am confirming indeed it spikes growth and dark green color in St. Augustine in November.

    Thus far, I have compiled a list of lawn treatments:

    Corn meal (organic fungus prevention)
    Insecticide (Ortho Max or Bayer Complete)
    Fungicide (Spectracide Illuminox)
    Brown Patch
    Milorganite
    Winterizer
    Herbacide
    Spring Weed & Feed

    Are there any rules of thumb about when not to apply any of the above? I read that applying fert when it's hot e.g. Jul-Aug-Sept is not recommended.
     

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