Summer is finally here! The warm weather and long days are great for enjoying time with friends and family, but it also brings along three unwelcome guests to your backyard festivities – disease, weeds, and insects.
From brown patch to crabgrass to grubs, Westlake Ace Hardware offers these tips to identify and treat some of the most common pests that plague lawns during the summer.
Dollar spot is one of the most common diseases that plague lawns every summer. Easily identified as small, silver-dollar-sized patches of brown grass, dollar spot affects nearly every type of turfgrass – including fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass, bermudagrass, and zoysiagrass. The disease tends to occur from late spring into autumn, particularly after periods of heavy rain or humidity and evening temperatures above 60 degrees F.
In addition to keeping mowing heights around four inches and not over-watering the lawn during periods of excess precipitation and humidity, dollar spot and other turf diseases can be prevented and cured throughout the growing season with monthly (every four weeks) applications of a fungicide like BioAdvanced Granules.
Powdery mildew is another common fungus that affects a wide variety of landscape plants. It’s easily identified as light gray or white powdery spots on leaves. Like dollar spot, powdery mildew thrives during periods of high precipitation and humidity and warm evening temperatures. Though rarely a fatal disease, it is unsightly and can rob plants of valuable nutrition – which causes weak stems, slow growth, and fewer blooms. To help prevent powdery mildew, thin out and relocate susceptible plants to improve airflow, make consistent applications (according to label instructions) of a copper fungicide like Bonide, and remove dead or diseased foliage (making sure to disinfect the tools afterward).
When it comes to common summer weeds, crabgrass is king. Found in all types of lawns, it gets its name from the stems that radiate out from the main clump – which resemble crab legs. It loves hot and dry weather, can spread quickly, and leaves thousands of seeds in the ground that can germinate in the spring. Though it is far easier to prevent crabgrass growth in the early spring with one or two applications of a “preemergent” that both feeds the lawn and forms a barrier against weed germination, homeowners can also spot treat for it throughout the summer with a ready-to-use product like Ortho WeedClear.
Insects like grubs, mosquitos, fleas, Japanese beetles, and ticks can devastate lawns and plants – and cause health issues for humans and pets alike. One of the best ways to prevent pests from ruining backyard summer fun is to avoid creating the right breeding ground for them. Regularly remove, replace, and clean all sources of water such as birdbaths – where pests like mosquitos can lay their eggs. Keep the grass cut and the landscape tidy, as overgrown areas make the perfect homes for all kinds of insects.