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Pearl scale in my tiff....

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Sargosailor, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. Sargosailor

    Sargosailor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    My lawn is Santa Ana tiffgreen but it now has Pearl Scale in it. A lawn service has been treating the spots with Merit and sulfur for three years but I cannot see any improvement. I "think" my best solution is to overseed with a grass that is less susceptible. I am not familiar with other varieties other than "common bermuda". I have one recommendation of Riveria. I would appreciate any suggestion for treatment.
    Sammy (Chandler, Az)
  2. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Its odd to see a post now about pearle scale that is typically a problem noticed in August. There is no cure for pearle scale. Try to think of it not as a disease but as a critter that you have put up a welcome sign for. Pearle scale is in most lawns it is only when the populations become so great that they begin to cause problems, Like the Mexicans hanging out at home dope looking for work. Toss the chemicals and get your lawn healthy. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer not just ammonium sulfate and nitrate, Don't over-seed the lawn for a winter or two and when you do wait until mid Oct to seed and be sure the rye is dead by May 1st. Topdress the lawn with compost, Aerate the lawn and don't verticut for a while and when you do be sure its in June/July so the turf can recover. Get on a good irrigation schedule not 10 minutes every day. Nature works well unfortunately you have a cycle of turf abuse that has lasted many years. Don't take this personal but I call Pearle scale cheap guy disease because I usually see it where people are using inferior lawn service, using guys that don't know much more than green is good. You are too far for me to service but if you want to call I can give you more info but I need to get to work, away from this computer. 602-750-0574
  3. Sargosailor

    Sargosailor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I think you nailed it:) . I confess I am the cheep guy. I have never overseeded with any winter grass in 27 years I've lived here. I am on flood irrigation, every 2 weeks in the summer (first run this year at 3AM this morning...mutter, mutter). Also, I have only power raked once years ago because it was too much work. Same reason I have not done any of the other things you mentioned. I have about 20,000 square feet of lawn! However, I am tired of it looking so bad so I am going to try your suggestions this year. What fertilizer do you recommend?
    Thank you for the reply,
  4. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I apologize you are not cheap guy. I am surprised you have P/S with flood irrigation and no over-seeding. Are you sure they diagnosed it correctly? I would be using a balanced fertilizer like 21-7-14 slow release
    • 1st # is Nitrogen promotes vegetative growth and green color
    • 2nd # is Phosphorus promotes root growth and flowering/seed production
    • 3rd # is Potassium this helps with disease and drought resistance as well as repairing damaged tissue
    As you can see if you are putting down 21-0-0 you are making the turf look good but denying the overall health of the plant.

    Don't do anything aggressive with the turf until it is actively growing so it can recover quickly, this includes veticutting, scalping, or aerating.
    Cutting with a sharp blade will reduce the water loss and speed up recovery after mowing. Never cut more than 1/3 of the blade when mowing. I would wait until mid May or June to aerate. Probably 2-3 days after the flood goes down. After you aerate cut up the dry cores with old blades on the mower then spread about 1/2" of compost, not mulch, over the whole lawn you can use a drag mat behind a quad or mower to get it smoothed out. Call T&B soils for good compost get the "fines" the # is 602-405-6756

    Pearle scale is found in unhealthy turf. Get and keep the turf healthy and it will eventually go away. Stay away from high nitrogen fertilizers. If you have a thick mat/thatch layer you probably have other problems. That may require verticutting and scalping but lets tackle one thing at a time.

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