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St. Aug. problem

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Stonewall, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Stonewall

    Stonewall LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    I have several clients with a St. Aug problem.

    The first indication is the areas look like they are drying out, but we've had an abudance of rain lately.

    Some places appear to have some mole activity, but whole sections will come up, like peeling back a carpet. This is standard grub symptoms, but I haven't found any and thought it would be too early for them now.

    The dirt underneath is very loose, almost like it has been tilled. There are some sections where I can stick my hand through what seems like a tunnel, but maybe that is where the moles have been.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Stonewall

    Stonewall LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    A friend in TX suggested that it may be residual grub damage from late fall activity. He suggested getting some 13-13-13 down quick to see if it might perk up before it's too late.
  3. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,253

    Take some photographs. Go to the extention agent now. I've got a little St. Augustine and it can decline quickly. Sounds gruby to me but I've only got two years on St. Augustine. No doubt you have sandy soil. Does the roots look as if they been eaten? Did you have a hard freeze? If the soil had a lot of water then it froze, the soil would have a strange dryness to it--hard to explain. But, I'd get to that agent now. Lots of variable and few people have St. Augustiine. Another thing--watch you schedule close on that stuff. It is so picky that if it were a woman--it would never catch a guy.
  4. TforTexas

    TforTexas LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Saint Augustine can suffer badly from S.A.D. (St. Augustine Decline) for which there is no practical solution. Take All Patch (But not so much) and Brown Patch. But from what you describe it sure sounds like grubs to me. Grubs are a favorite food of moles so if the moles are still active the grubs are still there. Moles will also eat earthworms. Here in Texas the last couple years we have actually had an extra generation of grubs per year. This year and last we saw alot of adults flying in Feb/March where traditional knowledge tells us to expect adults to emerge in May/June. This time of year the grubs might be coming up to feed during warmer weather and going back down deeper when it cools off. Or your friend may be right and this is damage that occured late last year and you are just noticing it now because as the rest of the lawn is coming out of dormancy the dead areas become more visable due to the contrast of the green areas.
    Step down the mole runs and see if they are pushed back up that night. if so,
    the moles are still active and its a good chance that grubs are their foodsource. Wait for a good warm day and treat the lawn with Dylox at 3 lbs per 1,000 and soak it in until the lawn is squishy. This should also get rid of the moles as you have taken away their food. If not Talpirid is a great bait that even looks like gummy worms. Step the runs down several consecutive nights until you establish the moles primary runs. (Some of the tunnels may just be where the went looking for food one time and they wont return.) But if one particular section is pushed back up each night that is probably the tunnel that leads to their den. Drop the Talpirid down into those tunnels. (Wear gloves though because they can smell you on the bait and will probably avoid it).
    Fertilize the lawn with a high phosphorus fert like 18-24-12 to encourage the lawn to re-root and keep it watered as if it were new sod. If it is too far gone you may need to re-sod.
    Hope that helps.
  5. Stonewall

    Stonewall LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 280


    That sounds just like what my buddy said about grubs over there. He talked to the "guru" (he said) at TX A&M who suggested there was a different life cycle recently of grubs. I will try the fert tomorrow. Thanks.


    We don't have a problem with the ground freezing here. Definitely not symptomatic of fungus/decline problem.
  6. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    The growing degree day cycle for grubs was adversely impacted by our warm winter this last year in the south.
    Look for multiple emergence of grubs this year and apply accordingly.
    I would recommend that you apply the curative rate now than follow up with preventative applications according to label instructions.
    A good sampling process to check for grubs is to flush the edges of the damaged areas with a soapy water solution.
    Use 2 tablespoons of Lemon scented Joy dish washing detergent per gallon of water and flood a 3' square area. Flood the edges of the damaged turf and edges of the unaffected turf, wait about 10 minutes and if any soil inhabiting insects are present they will typically come to the surface.
    A good economic threshold to determine application is if you observe two or more grubs than it is time to apply.
    Furthermore, place the grubs in a mason jar that has some Isopropal alcohol in it as this will kill the grubs. Then you can examine the rastar pattern on their butts and since the grubs are dead they wont poop all over your hands.
    This also works well in retrieving nightcrawlers from your garden when you want bait to fish with - no shoveling and the detergent acts as an aggravant so it is not fatal to the worms.
  7. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,253

    If GRUBS were the culprit, would you recommend Merit, or liquid like Dursban or Malathon...Grubs in TN are not much of a problem.
  8. bug-guy

    bug-guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,029

    i once saw armidillo damage like that they some how got under the sod and rooted like a hog
  9. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    I have had better luck controlling grubs with Merit applied in a drench than just about anything else.
    Federal Label restrictions have pulled Dursban from commercial use and I am not a fan of Malathion either.
    Bear in mind what I posted before, sample for the grubs and if you get 2 or more per sample area than it is time to treat.

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