Friday, July 29, 2011

Can Chinch Bugs be Eradicated

Hi Gerry
Thanks for your payment.
You asked: "This is the second year that we have had to treat the lawn for chinch bugs. How do we eradicate?"

Chinch bugs are impossible to totally eradicate.  And especially so with the products available today. Even in the old days, chemicals would knock out a lot more, but I'd hesitate to say that they totally eradicated them.

Adult chinch bugs overwinter under the shrubs, along the house or garage- anywhere it is a bit warmer or protected. They return to the lawn in May-June. They mate and start laying eggs. A female chinch bug may deposit 500 eggs over a 2-3 week period.

Even if all the chinch bugs on your lawn were controlled, the adult chinch bugs that overwintered on a neighbour's lawn could come over to your lawn and start laying eggs. So sometimes chinch bugs can be a problem for several years in a row.

Do mow your lawn at 3" high. Chinch bugs like warm, sunny conditions. A little bit extra grass blade will shade the soil and keep it a touch cooler. This may not prevent chinch bugs altogether, but it does help to tilt the balance in your favour.

When overseeding, make sure to use a mixture that contains a Perennial ryegrass that contain an endophyte. These endophytes help to deter chinch bugs.

Question about Quackgrass

Question about Quackgrass

We notice that the grass areas are being over run with "Quack Grass".  Seems to be a problem throughout Millcroft.  Is there a lawn maintenance product that can take care of the problem ???  Would you please advise me about the "quackgrass."
Hi Dennis

First, is to determine what it is. Quackgrass, crabgrass, bentgrass?

If it is crabgrass, this is an annual weed, comes up from seed, dies every winter. Nowadays, only application is to put a seed germinating preventer on before crabgrass germinating season.

There are also a couple of other annual grasses, foxtail, barnyard grass. Treat more or less as you would crabgrass. This time of year- manual removal to reduce the seed production. Then cultural practices to help fight it. Mowing height is especially important.

Quackgrass, on the other hand is a perennial grass. It doesn't die in the winter. Crabgrass preventer products may reduce germination, but do nothing for existing plants. Normally quackgrass doesn't go to seed in regularly mown turf.

The only product that will control quackgrass is a non selective herbicide like Roundup. This product is not legal to be used in this manner under McGuinty's current Pesticide Ban legislation.

So, if it is quackgrass, digging it up is possible, but the underground stems or rhizomes can be up to 12" deep. A small piece of the root (as small as a few inches long) left behind in the soil has the ability to grow into a new plant. These rhizomes on an established plant can grow sideways and pop up a foot away from the original plant. This is why it is hard to eradicate by digging. You may dig up the mother plant as well as the daughter plant, but if the underground rhizome connecting the two is left behind, it will re-infest the lawn.

Quackgrass tends to grow more upright, while crabgrass tends to grow more horizontally (which does allow the seedheads to develop below mowing height and produce thousands of seeds per plant.)

Quackgrass tends tio grow faster than the regular grass. After the mowing, the quackgrass will be up above the rest of the lawn in a day or two.

Cutting the lawn more often will help the lawn to better compete against quackgrass. This is not something can be done for a couple of months and make the quackgrass disappear. The problem is that a hot dry summer allows quackgrass with its deep roots to survive better during drought conditions.