Lesson Learn or is it from Lack of Rain !!!!

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by propst71, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. ShaneysLawnCare

    ShaneysLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 186

    I am in the New London, Wi area well based but travel all over and sod webworm is something you need to check into very big I have applied over 800,000 sqft of crosscheck now. Those little buggers are everywhere literally! The biggest issue this year with insects are high heat low precipitation levels.
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Eversince I've read this post I've taken note of little white butterflies/moths that appear as I'm mowing... no significant damage as my lawns look just fine inspite of the brutal summer... question is: Now that the butterflies are out does that mean the season is over or does that mean the season is about to begin??? Do they chew on the turf until next year??? or do they come back and lay eggs in the Spring???

    Harrell done well under pressure, I thot... :)
     
  3. georgialawn88

    georgialawn88 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    mow ed,
    Go pack Go!
     
  4. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Here is a quick quote from Ohio State University on sod webworms.

    The bluegrass, larger and striped sod webworm usually have two generations per year with the summer generation of larvae causing the most damage. The other species have a single generation per year. All the sod webworm larvae spend the winter as a partially grown larva buried several inches deep in the soil. At the approach of warm weather in the spring, the larvae move upward and begin feeding on the lush spring growth of grass. The bluegrass, larger and striped sod webworms finish their feeding in late May to early June. At this time they burrow deeper into the thatch or soil to pupate. After 10 to 14 days, the new adult moths emerge at night to mate and lay eggs. Mated females lay most of their eggs on the second night by randomly dropping the eggs into the turf. The larvae from these eggs feed through July into early August before pupating again. The second generation of adult moths appears in late July through August. Since the turf is usually slowly growing at this time, sod webworm feeding can cause considerable damage. The second generation of larvae feed in September until October but damage is rarely detected because the turf has begun to grow rapidly again.

    Figure your control strategy accordingly. Have the customers keep it irrigated in the hot summer and things will not get out of control. We all know how customers are. They probably won't spend the 20 bucks on watering and complain to us that we caused the damage. A little information is your friend. Once the lawn is effected it is possible to mask the damage and regrow grass but it isn't an overnight solution.
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    So essentially, there is always webworm larvae feeding on the grass... whenever I see those moths I should assume that they are just there to lay eggs, creating more grass eating larvae... interesting...

    I'll have to do an image search and see if I can spot any of the little buggers...
     
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Most times the lawn can outgrow the damage in the spring or fall because of wetter and cooler growing conditions. Moths present dont always mean damage as they can fly for a distance. The obvious problems come during/after drought when the lawn is stressed and then attacked. I would suggest a preemptive strike of your insecticide application of choice in July and water it in if granular to take them out early. If damage already occurred then focus on fertilizing now and mowing higher to help recovery. A little overseeding and soil doesn't hurt also. These little buggers cause lots of strife.

    sodwebworm2.jpg

    sodwebworm1.jpg
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    We haven't had any problems with them that I know of, I'm just curious if I can find them and estimate a population level... our turf is a lot of shade and we actually survived the heat very well... it was the TGCL wannabee lawns that looked like death all summer...
     
  8. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Heres the way to do a check of an area:

    If you still suspect sod webworm activity but are unable to find the larvae or their frass, use a soap disclosing drench. Simply mix up two gallons of tap water with two tablespoons of liquid dishwashing detergent. Sprinkle this mix over a one square yard of the affected turf. Within a couple of minutes, the flesh-colored, spotted larvae will wriggle to the surface. If you get 10 to 15 larvae in a one square yard of turf, treatment is warranted.

    I guess you have to suspect or actually see the damage occurring so if you are looking for a way to generally say there is a problem and you don't see one I would say you don't have a problem. When there is a problem its real visible.
     
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I'm trying to think of where I saw the white butterflies now... I'll have to bring the mix along in the truck, so next time I see one I can investigate... thanks...
     

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