Did you enjoy the blooming ‘Green Cloud Senisa’ (sage) this past week? Everywhere you looked, there were lovely violet flowers. I was surprised that the white (regular) sage, the ones with the lavender blooms, had very few blooms. A long-time ‘tale’ is when the sage blooms, it will rain; very often, it does rain.
Lawns have been a real problem this spring and summer. Most folk lost grass due to the drought last summer and then the hardest freeze that we had in twenty years. Not only St. Augustine, but Bermuda and zoysia are affected.
Chinch bugs hit my yard for the first time. The infestation usually begin in areas near sidewalks or curbs, the hottest part of the lawn. The irregular dry patches are surrounded by yellowing, drying grass in spots, and patches. It increases rapidly. To test for chinch bugs, cut the bottom out of a coffee can and push the can an inch into the grass, near the edge of a dead patch. Fill the can with water. If present, chinch bugs will float to the top. Treat this infested area with insecticidal soap, like Safer soap or organic multi-purpose insecticide. Check with your favorite nursery and read the label before you purchase the item. It should have the insect listed before you can be certain it will kill the chinch bug.
Grub worms are also a problem. Cut out a 12 inch square of turf and if there are 5-10 grubs in this area, treat it the same as chinch bugs or apply beneficial nematodes (tiny worms that kill the grubs). The grubs attack St. Augustine, zoysia, Bermuda, and buffalo grass. If you can pick up a dead clump of grass, roots and all, you will have grub worms. The best time for treatment is June and July, after the June bugs have laid their eggs. Keep this area well watered.
The Monarch butterflies have been visiting our area for three to four weeks.