Keeping your lawn pristine
You’ve done everything you can to create a beautiful lawn for family frolicking. You’ve faithfully watered and fertilized your grass, and you cut it with the recommended mower type on a careful schedule.
But for some reason, yellow and brown patches are starting to appear in your beautiful grass. Nobody wants to frolic on it anymore — except the birds. What could be the problem?
“Birds on the lawn, grubs, moths flying … those are telltale signs,” says Sean Fong, president of Hawaiian Turf-grass. “If you see birds on your lawn, you probably have a pest problem.”
PESTS IN PARADISE
The most common turf-grass pests in Hawaii, Fong explains, are the sod or grass webworm, the lawn army-worm, several species of cut worm and the fiery skipper, which is a butterfly. Some grasses are more vulnerable to certain pests than others.
“Bermuda grasses are particularly susceptible to sod webworms, whereas Zoysia grasses are more tolerant,” Fong reports. “But they all can do a lot of damage. You should be aware of the signs.”
• Sod webworm: Signs of sod webworm infestation include grass blades with ragged edges and large quantities of silk webbing that extend to the ground.
“Because grubs are eating the new shoots, the grass will look very dry; that’s another sign,” adds Fong. “Damage caused by the webworm can be mistaken for drought stress, and you’ll sometimes see weed infestation, too.”
• Lawn armyworm: Affecting mostly Bermuda grass, and occasionally seashore paspalum and Zoysia grass, the lawn armyworm can advance as much as a foot each night.
“Damage by the lawn armyworm manifests as a denuded circular area with a sharply defined front of undamaged turf,” says Fong.
• Cutworm: Cutworms look like caterpillars; they burrow into the ground by day and emerge to feed at night, shearing off seedlings and new shoots at ground level.
“Their feeding causes browning in turfgrass,” Fong says. “Even a small population can really hurt a lawn.”
• Fiery skipper: This butterfly likes Bermuda grasses. Its larvae grow slowly on Zoysia and centipede grasses, and are rarely seen on St. Augustine grass.
“It lays eggs on the underside of grass leaves, and they hatch a couple days later. One fiery skipper will eat the grass from a 1or 2-inch round spot. But if you have lots of them, the spots combine into larger dead patches.”
DEBUGGING YOUR LAWN
Luckily, most pest issues are easy to treat with broad-spectrum insecticides.
“There are multiple ways of dispersing it — granular, foliar, etc. — and you should see results almost immediately,” he says. “Depending on how infested your lawn is, all the grubs are going to start coming up from the ground because they got poisoned. You might see more grubs than before, or even more birds.”
Once the grubs have been eliminated, he adds, the grass will be able to recover because it’s not being eaten.
ONLINE SHOPPING FOR A BEAUTIFUL NEW LAWN
Though no turf-grass is completely immune to pests, grasses sold by Hawaiian Turfgrass are bred to have improved characteristics and traits, including better disease and drought tolerance. With five grasses at different price points, Hawaiian Turfgrass offers a lawn for every budget. The company provides site prep and irrigation services as well.
“Remember, some grasses are more susceptible to pests than others,” says Fong. “And a little preventative maintenance, like periodic insecticide spraying, goes a long way!
Hawaiian Turfgrass offers complete turnkey lawn services: site prep, irrigation, delivery and installation. Call 808-371-0527 and order your new lawn (minimum 500 square feet) by Aug. 25 for a $500 installation discount. Prefer to install your new lawn yourself? Visit hawaiianturfgrass.com to place your order and arrange for pickup or curbside delivery.
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
ADDRESS 94-840 Lanikuhana Ave., Mililani