1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Ground pearls.

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Ben Harris, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Ben Harris

    Ben Harris LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    This is a lady representing the HOA with 16 lawns, she has some issues.

    All the lawns are centipede, she has a horrible ground pearl problem and whoever is applying their fertilizers/pesticides now are doing a horrible job. After inspecting the dirt it looks like the developer just dropped fill dirt loaded with rocks in there with no top soil.

    I know there is no insecticide for them, just wondering if anyone has plugged/seeded bear spots with centipede damaged by ground pearls and had success? Or a cultural approach to get rid of them.

    It could just be the guy maintaining them now, their lawns look like our customers who do not pay for spray/fert.
  2. holmesgts

    holmesgts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    There isn't anyway plugging is going to work for ground pearl. Some sod farms claim to have resistant strains of zosia I personally haven't seen any that really work it just takes a little longer for for the zosias to die. The only thing that works is to sterilize the soil with heat. I have been using super heated steam and it's working. I've been working with a scientist from NC State for the past couple years and the results have been very encouraging. The process is pretty labor intensive and somewhat costly, however it is affordable it actually cost about the same as putting in shrubs and mulch which is a popular option.
    If you operate a landscape company in southeastern NC you will be doing yourself and your clients a huge favor to become familiar with this problem. And to take steps to avoid transferring infested soil into ares that are not infested, either from place to place on one property or from one property to another. You should always avoid running core aerators, stick edges and trenching machines etc, in infested areas.
  3. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,718

    I have actually had pretty good results using Merit in combination with a wetting agent.
  4. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,000

    What's your timing on that application? Not that I have seasons. Merit + wetting agents have become a standard application for me since the loss of Diazinon, Sevin, and Turcam. Sevin? If you read the label, spot applications only on residential lawns. I have to ask who spot sprays a 2000 sq ft lawn for grubs or bilbug.
  5. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,718

    Greendoctor, I try to apply it within about a month of green up here. In my location, green up is around the middle of March. So, I usually apply in April or early May. When using imidacloprid, I try to apply when the plants first begin to really grow in the Spring(Turf or Ornamentals). I feel like the plants are the most active then and my hope is that since it is a systemic, it will spread through the plant much quicker at that time. I might be all wrong about that though. Just my little theory on it. The wetting agent helps the Merit hang in the soil for a longer period or so I gathered from the article I read on this treatment for ground pearls a few years back. The article said it was experimental at that point so I figured "What the hell, I'll try it". In my experience, it works.

    Other than this, I think your only other choices for ground pearls is fumigation of the soil with Methyl Bromide or as someone else stated here, deep steam injection into the soil...
  6. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,000

    The wetting agent allows the Imidacloprid to go deeper into the soil. That is my take on it. Then again, it allows a lot of things to go deeper. A tank mix of Imidacloprid and a "thrin" applied in enough water has caused white grubs to jump out of the ground. I have seen a lot of things that are not supposed to be possible when an insecticide is applied at 10-20 gallons per 1000 at 400 PSI through a boom. My boom for doing that application is not the PVC and Quickjet bodies you see on the forum. It is the old school metal pipe and brass threaded nozzle bodies. Because I have no seasons, by the time I find out, the lawn is already hurting. That is on new accounts that have not been on the 1 application at max rate per year. My regulars get it in the liquid fertilizer. I am doing well if I can reduce an existing insect infestation and keep the turf protected for the next several months. I would like to try Zylam based on how well it works for scale and mealybug on trees. Imidacloprid is sometimes not soluble enough to get a good kill.

    No more methyl bromide. Telone and chlorpicrin are still allowed as fumigants in turf areas not within so many hundred feet of occupied buildings. Basamid and Vapam are under the same rules.
  7. holmesgts

    holmesgts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Listen guys YOU ARE WAISTING YOUR TIME USING CHEMICALS ON GROUND PEARL NOTHING WORKS!!! The absolute best kill rate ever achieved with chemicals was 50% and that was with some crap you will never be allowed to put on a lawn and 50% does not solve the problem.
    The difficulty with ground pearl is the fact they spend most of there life covered as a waxy cyst underground, this makes it hard to get chemicals in contact with them and there are no systemic insecticides that work. In the late spring females will emerge from the cysts to lay eggs, the females look kind of like a little pink maggot and the egg sacks are powdery white about 1/8". Here in south eastern NC This process usually starts the second half of May and goes on up till August. The females and the newly hatched nymphs are more prone to treatment than the cysts. Not all of the cysts will emerge in any one particular season. Also keep in mind all of this can be taking place one foot under the soil surface which makes it real hard to get the chemicals to them.
    The best best thing to do educate your clients about the problem and to be very careful not to transfer infested soil around.
  8. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,718

    Well, it has been my experience that at the very least, I am seeing suppression and in a couple of cases, I have seen elimination after a couple of seasons of treatment( I have taken shovels full of soil down 8-10 inches on the perimeter of affected areas and done thorough inspections of root systems to see for myself). That's a helluva lot better than I do trying to control Fairy Ring which is a far worse problem around here.

    However, I do agree with you on doing our best to prevent the spread of this troublesome pest. For all intents and purposes it is a subterranean scale latching on to the roots. A systemic control product is the only form of(practical) chemical control that I can think of that would offer results...and seems to...for me.
  9. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,000

    The research reports I found on ground pearl all talked about using high rates of either Temik, Thimet, or Di-Syston. Those are all old school cholinesterase inhibitors that are highly systemic. None of those products ever were labeled for turf. Not even in the anything goes 1970s. The researchers got commercially acceptable results from treating with those products. However, I could not imagine allowing human contact with the treated turf for at least 30 days. There would be enough in the grass to kill you just by skin contact. Never mind what would happen if a dog or baby put grass in its mouth. Diazinon and malathion were also used, however they did not compare to two applications of Temik G 14 days apart. Malathion used to have a label for ground pearls. But the latest RED took that off the label.

    Because bees do not visit turf, I have few reservations about applying the likes of Merit or Zylam at high rates. Again, if the target is not in the first 1/2", a 1/2-1 gallon/1000 spray will not make it. 5 gallons per 1000 is still barely getting anything in. I also have my doubts about how well such an application can be watered in on a heavy clay soil. My chips would go on a very high volume treatment including a wetting agent designed for enhancing water penetration through soil. This might be a good place for those $150 a gallon silicone based surfactants. In the pre Merit years, I used to spray lawns with 25 gallons per 1000 when treating for insects. Expensive, time consuming, slow. Yes. In those days, sod was still around $3 a sq ft. In today's money $3 a sq ft sod is not doing that bad.
  10. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,391


Share This Page