Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Things to Do in August to Prepare Your Soil, Garden

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Things to Do in August to Prepare Your Soil, Garden

Article excerpt

Byline: Wayne Hobbs

As the wet weather continued through July, many garden plants remained happy, even as the temperatures elevated throughout the month. With the doldrums of August headed our way, there are some major items to keep an eye on within your landscape.

AUGUST TIMETABLE

- With the extra rainfall and warm, humid temperatures, continue to keep an eye out for fungal disease in turfgrass. If you cut back on irrigation during these rainy days and continue to look for symptoms, you can get ahead of issues and hopefully limit damage. For help with these issues contact your county UF/IFAS Extension Agent or see the "Turfgrass Disease Management" fact sheet at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh040.

- With the current humid weather, you may also see fungal issues on ornamental plants, especially leaf spots. There are many different species of fungi that can cause leaf spots and some plants, such as hydrangeas, will usually suffer. For control, keep dead plant material away from the specimen, remove infected leaves, and apply preventative fungicides to slow the spread of the disease. However, many of these pathogens do not cause major damage to the host and may be a "grin and bear it" situation.

- Another pest to look for in your turfgrass at this time of year is the tropical sod webworm. Often first noticed in August or September, this caterpillar will attack every species of turfgrass common in our area. Look for uneven heights within your lawn but also the distinct damage of the different larval stages, with younger larvae causing "window-paning" and later chewing on blades. The larvae will hatch from eggs after 3-4 days and then can be found as larvae and pupae within the grass for anywhere between 21 and 47 days, feeding at night. You may also observe the adult moths, which are triangular shaped, flying in your sod when disturbed. Control can be achieved by planting resistant varieties, using chemical insecticides, biological insecticides based on bacteria, nematodes, fungus or predatory insects such as parasitoid wasps. When using any chemical or insecticide, be sure to follow all instructions on the label and for more information consult edis. …

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