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July 2009
Summer Brings Fungus & Insects!

All indications are that the summer of 2009 is going to be one very intense fungus season. The unusually cool weather and excessive amounts of rain have created the perfect breeding ground for fungus on lawns. The rainfall of the past few weeks will also potentially bring a bumper crop of insects. This year, the chinch bugs have hatched early. They already have been through one generation in many areas. Generally, there are two generations of chinch bug in our area, but a third generation occasionally occurs. If untreated, every generation brings a dramatic increase in population - millions more to eat and damage your lawn!

You need to take action now!
Examples of Lawn FungusFungus
Most fungus damage occurs from May through September. Fungi are microscopic, thread-like organisms and when the environment is favorable and a susceptible host is present, disease develops, much like in the human body. The spores of these parasitic forms of plant life are spread by wind, air, water, animals, people, insects and lawn mowers. Some of the most damaging lawn fungi spread by traveling from leaf to leaf via Mycelia, which looks like "spider webs" on your lawn. This can be seen early in the day, but melts away in the late morning hours. While lawn diseases are not always easy to diagnose, spots on leaves, leaf color, growth characteristics, time of year and temperature help to narrow the list down to a few possibilities, allowing proper treatments.

  • Red Thread  - spring/fall - bright red thread-like strands near grass tips or cut surfaces
    of blades
  • Summer Patch  - July/August - yellow patches 6 - 12 inches big, forming rings around
    healthy grass
  • Dollar Spot  - June-Oct. - 2 - 3 inches of straw colored patches with bleached centers & orange borders
  • Brown Patch  - July/August - patches of discolored, wilting, and dead grass
  • Leafspot  - spring/fall - grass blades exhibit oval, purple spots with some yellowing and thinning of overall turf
  • Stripe Smut  - spring/fall - blades become pale green and stunted with long, black stripes of spore pustules, infected leaves curl, then die and become shredded
If your lawn has a fungus, there is hope. My Jonathan Green Lawn Fungus Control controls over 20+ diseases, including the few mentioned above. If your lawn has a fungus history, it is a good idea to  apply Lawn Fungus Control as soon as possible to inhibit the inevitable spread of fungus through your lawn. A preventative application will help the appearance of your lawn through the summer; once the fungus hits, you will have to apply more Lawn Fungus Control.

When your fungus problem is under control, you need to work on growing a lawn which is able to withstand stress. Choose quality and appropriate grass varieties for the conditions under which they will grow; Kentucky bluegrass is good for sunny areas. Tall fescues and Perennial ryegrasses perform in shady areas, and mixtures that combine these different kinds will provide species diversity. The diversity means that if one species does get wiped out by a disease, the other grass species will hopefully live so you can avoid losing your whole lawn.
Grub, Tick, & Chinch BugsLawn Insects
Most of the time, when you have a lawn with an insect problem, you have a lawn that is in stress for some reason. Insects will attack weak lawns that are susceptible to damage. To solve an insect problem, you must deal with two things. First you must manage the immediate problem; the insects attacking your lawn. Then, just like the situation with lawn fungus, you need to determine why the grass was distressed enough to invite the pests.

We are in the season of bluegrass billbugs, grubs, ticks, ants, sod webworms, chinch bugs, and various other unwanted pests. The potential harm they can bring varies from chewing on your grass, to wilting, thinning and yellowing the blades, to killing your lawn, to biting you, your family and your pets!

  • Unusual bird activity on your lawn. If suddenly there's a lot of birds are on your lawn - THEY'RE EATING SOMETHING!
  • Suddenly appearing brown spots. This is where it gets a little tricky, be careful not to mistake an insect problem for a fungus problem and vice versa!
My Jonathan Green Summer Survival Insect Control plus Fertilizer, my Jonathan Green Lawn Insect Control, my Jonathan Green Pest Kill or my Jonathan Green Grub Control all control a wide variety of lawn insects. You have ample choice as to which insects you are trying to contain and whether or not you want to give your a lawn a gentle fertilizer as well.

There are some cultural steps you can do to control the insects, depending on the bug. High mowing helps with bluegrass billbugs, grubs, and sod webworms; while low mowing helps with ticks and ants. This is one of the reasons why it is important to correctly identify your problem. As with lawn fungus problems, a good insect cure is to prevent problems from happening with a healthy, strong turf. When you choose quality, growing condition appropriate grass seeds, be sure to use seed mixtures containing endophytes. Endophytes produce defensive chemicals that are toxic to certain insects and make the grass taste bad to insects, making the grass naturally insect resistant.

With both insect and fungus problems, you need to address your lawn's resistance to these attacks. Remember, your lawn is only as good as the quality of grass seed you grow.Quality varieties are the key to a healthy lawn in the long run. The best defense from fungus, weeds and bugs is a healthy, thick growing lawn that can withstand heat and drought stress better than poor-performing, common grass seeds.The other thing to be careful of is diagnosing your problem correctly, so you can take the appropriate action and not harm your lawn more than it already is by applying unnecessary products on it.

In Summer, the days are longer, children are out of school, and the swimming or garden beckons - now is the time to enjoy your lawn.
kids enjoying summer

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