If you have a lawn in southeast Georgia with mole crickets, you will soon be without a lawn if you do not control them.
It is not even the native mole crickets we are worried about. Two different species of mole crickets brought into the Southeast through the Port of Brunswick are causing most of the mole-cricket injury to our lawns.
If you have mole crickets in your lawn, now is the time to apply a summer control. Last season’s adult mole crickets have mated, laid eggs and died. We are not worried about them. It is the new hatch of mole crickets we want to control this month. We wait until June for all the eggs to hatch and then apply a granular insecticide that we water in. This creates an insecticide barrier at the ground’s surface that will poison the small crickets as they come up to feed on your lawn. It only takes a small amount of insecticide to kill a small mole cricket, so proper timing allows us to minimize the amount of insecticide applied to the lawn.
It also happens to minimize the expense. A June application for mole-cricket control also will control C-shaped grubs, so we get the bonus of controlling two pests with one treatment. It takes more insecticide to control mole crickets than grubs. A weak treatment that controls grubs will not control mole crickets, but a strong mole-cricket treatment will control grubs. Just because you applied an insecticide for grubs does not mean you controlled mole crickets.
You can apply treatments earlier than June for mole crickets, but then you might miss some of the hatch. Insecticide does not affect the eggs. Then, if you want the same level of control as a June application, you will have to make another insecticide application. Congratulations! You have just more than doubled the expense of control and put more poison into the environment.
Since newly hatched mole crickets are small and initially do very little injury to a lawn, some folks wait until they see turf injury in late July and August. Then the damage is done; plus, it takes a whole lot more insecticide to kill a big bug than a small bug. For the sake of your lawn, the environment in general and your wallet, smart timing of insecticides is a win-win.
If you are going to prune azaleas this year, time’s a wastin’! You only have until the end of this month to prune them. The longer pruning is put off, the fewer blooms the plants will have next year. The plants start setting buds for next year’s blooms in July on wood produced this year. Pruning after July 1 will cut off next year’s buds.
Please don’t hedge azaleas. It creates problems that are difficult to solve and expensive to control. For the traditional indica azaleas, pruning out one-fourth of the total number of canes each year is the preferred strategy. Remove the oldest (largest) canes first. Loppers are a good tool for this task. Cut as close to the base of the cane as you can comfortably reach. The idea is to keep the plant constantly rejuvenated with new canes. Once on the rotational pruning plan, the height of the azaleas is maintained, the number of blooms is maximized, and crown rots are less of a problem.
It’s summer. We all like being outside — until the gnats, deer flies and mosquitoes start biting. I went out this weekend, bent over to tie my shoe and was sweating like Bruce Springsteen in concert. Three words: sunscreen, DEET and water. Put them right by the door with your work gloves. I have already caught myself this year working outside with sweat dripping off my nose, only to realize 20 minutes later that I was still working but no longer sweating. Stop, find shade and drink. Don’t sip — drink!
Kids are especially susceptible to becoming dehydrated because they don’t know the danger and are focused on play. If the kids are outside in the heat and you are not hearing them come in to use the bathroom, start pushing fluids to them.
Don’t get sick from stupidity. Protect your skin with sunscreen and clothing, wear repellent if biting bugs are out and stay hydrated.
Gardner is an ag and natural-resources agent for the University of Georgia’s Glynn County Extension.