Preventing Insects In The Lawn

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This article will teach you how to control insects in your lawn.
by Terry O'Leary · All Zones · Insects · 1 Comments · June 29, 2010 · 4,950 views

The most important aspect of insect control in a lawn is maintaining healthy turf. Grasses that are stressed or not growing under optimal conditions may be more attractive to pests or more susceptible to their damage.

Here's a simplified list of important environmental factors to consider:

Fertilizer - Too little or too much fertilizer can stress lawn grasses. Your Local Extension Service, Agricultural Depeartment can instruct you on how to take soil samples and how to have them analyzed. Proper amounts of fertilizer and other recommended nutrients can then be applied in accordance with the findings.

pH - Soil acidity can affect turf nutrient uptake and growth. Most nursery and garden centers sell pH soil tessting kits, which you can use to determine the acidity level of your soil. Different grasses thrive at different soil pH levels. Proper amounts of lime or iron can then be applied to achieve proper pH level.

Light - Many lawns are under-or over exposed to sunlight. You may need to limb up large trees to provide more sunlight to a sun-loving grass type. A shade-loving grass will not perform well in too much sun.

Temperature - Make sure to grow a grass type that can handle the temperature extremes in your planting zone.

Varietal Choice - Choose a lawn grass type adapted to your area and conditions. Choose the type you desire, but check to see if there is a turf variety that is resistant to the locally common problems. Your local nursery and garden center professional can help you determine which turfgrasses grow best in your area.

Timing - Fertilizing at the wrong time can cause a plant to grow when it should be dormant, encourage diseases, kill the plant, or be a waste of time and money. It may also benefit the insect more than the plant. Mowing at the wrong time or at the wrong height can also stress plants. Mowing before weeds bloom can greatly reduce their spread by seed. Watering at the wrong time can promote disease and attract insects. Never water a lawn in the late evening or at night. Water during the morning hours.

Thatch Management - Heavy thatch (matted lawn clippings and debris) can reduce light that reaches the soil or bases of the plants. It can keep soils too moist, reduce air movement and promote disease and insects. It can also bind to chemicals reducing their efficacy. Clippings can be collected and composted, or if you prefer to return the organic matter to the soil, mow often enough such that clippings do not clump, are not too large to breakdown quickly and will not smother grass or soil.

Organic Fertilizer - Organic fertilizers tend to grow healthier lawns. When organic fertilizers are used, such as composted manure-based products, follow the instructions on the bag and fertilize properly with regard to timing and your soil test analysis.

Diversity - In general, maintenance increases proportionally to the size of a planting. A natural environment has diversity. Huge expanses of the same plant, including lawn grasses, are difficult to maintain since it is not environmentally balanced. Consider options to large expanses of turf. The smaller the lawn area, the easier and less-expensive it is to maintain. Convert a portion of a large lawn into natural areas with a diversity of trees and shrubs that give shelter and differing bloom dates to provide pollen sources to beneficial insects.

Realistic Expectations - Do not try to grow turf where turf does not thrive. Lawn grasses are almost impossible to grow under large trees. If not the shade, the root systems of large trees will not only be in the way, but will soak up all available moisture and nutrients, starving your grass.

Terry O'Leary

Meet The Author

Terry O'Leary - Terry has been involved in golf course management since 1996. There isn't much he doesn't know about turf grass.

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Lawn, Pest Control, Insects

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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Nice article. I have always enjoyed a beautifull lawn year round, but every July and August I would get browning around the edges of my lawn. I would see evidence of lawn moth and knew the little web worm destroyers were at work again. I would both spray and cast out the insecticides and fell good about winning the war again for another year. A few years ago I realized a few spots in the lawn and around the edges along the walk ways were drying out to much in the hotter months and needed a longer watering in the morning. The last few years I have stepped up the amount of watering and fertilizing every month during the spring and summer and this has made a world of difference in the lawn. Not only does the lawn look better all summer, but I have not sprayed for a lawn moth problem again this year. I thought my lawn was healthy, but I guess the lawn moths proved me wrong. Hopefully many will read your article and determine if they too may have a pest problem that can be controlled by better lawn care. Reading your article also makes me look back and realize it is less expensive so fertilize and water a little more than purchasing those expenxive bags and bottles of good insecticides. Thanks Terry

9 years ago ·
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