By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The battle vs. love bugs is on
The Grass is Greener
Placeholder Image

It’s September, Labor Day is behind us. The love bugs have shown up and are sacrificing themselves on vehicle grills, headlights and hoods. They don’t bite. They don’t carry disease, but they do give us cause for frequent car washing.

The sticky goo that results from their collisions with our cars not only sticks them to the hood, it also eats away at the clear coat and paint. It only takes 24 hours of dwell time on an auto for love bugs to etch the finish. If your car is an old heap like mine, with battle scars and dings all around, a few more etchings may not bother you. But if you have a classic show car or if your baby is fresh out of the dealer’s showroom, you will probably want to give it a regular daily inspection and washing to keep the love bugs from marring the finish.

Wash the car on the lawn so the dirt and soap goes into the lawn and soil to be cleaned by Mother Earth rather than having it run down the driveway, into the catch basin and out into the marsh. Remember, there is no treatment plant between the curb and the ocean. What goes down the drain goes out to sea.

Sept. 15 is our traditional date to have our pre-emergent weed treatment applied to our lawns. If your main winter weed problem is annual bluegrass (Poa annua) then oryzalin (Surflan), benefin (Balan, Crabgrass preventer), pendimethalin (Halts), benefin + trifluralin (Team), benefin+oryzalin (XL), atrazine (Hi-Yield Atrazine, Image for St. Augustine and Centipedegrass) or dithiopyr (Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper) will work well on both St. Augustine and centipede lawns.

I have cautioned centipede lawn owners about using Bonus S early in spring during green-up due to centipede’s sensitivity to atrazine and putting out fertilizer too early. Bonus S carries atrazine on fertilizer, and August was the last month we should be putting fertilizer on centipede, so Bonus S would not be a top choice for centipede lawns for the rest of the year.

However, if you have a St. Augustine lawn, this is an application where Bonus S shines. St. Augustine tolerates atrazine very well. Atrazine is both an excellent pre-emerge chemical as well as an excellent post-emerge product. An application of Bonus S in September does three jobs at once: applies the last fertilizer for the year; helps control lingering summer weeds; and applies your winter weed pre-emerge treatment.

Remember to thoroughly read the pesticide label before applying any pesticide. No matter what I or others might say when advising you, the label on the product is the law on how a product can be used.

Coastal Georgia is one of the last places in the southeastern U.S. where kudzu bug has not established itself. Last year, a homeowner in Blitchton in Bryan County found kudzu bug on his wisteria. That was the first coastal county in Georgia to report kudzu bug. On Sept. 5, I mentioned to Phil Highsmith, a construction inspector for Glynn County, that I was having trouble finding kudzu in Glynn County.

Phil remembered a patch of kudzu in Brunswick just a block from the campus of the College of Coastal Georgia. In less than two minutes on site, the bug found me, alighting on the back of my hand as I searched through the kudzu. Even bugs like the beach. We need to keep an eye on our wisteria for kudzu bugs, since this Chinese bug likes soybean, kudzu and wisteria.

On Sept. 28 the Georgia Green Industry Association is sponsoring Coastal Green 2012 at the Coastal Gardens & Bamboo Farm. This all-day event should be good for about three hours of pesticide recertification credits for commercial applicators. With speakers like landscape specialist Bodie Pennisi, nursery specialist Matthew Chappell, weed specialist Mark Czarnota, forest health specialist Mark Raines and entomologist Kris Braman, it is sure to be the latest compost on what is happening on the green scene in Georgia.

To sign up, call 706-632-0100 or email me at and I will email the form back to you. Registration is $50 before Sept. 19, and $65 after Sept. 19.

From 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 19, I will be offering “Trees and Tropisms” at the Casino on Saint Simons Island. It is an overview of tree growth regulators and tree energetics with a view toward tree conservation. Registration is $15 for three hours of pesticide recertification credit in categories 24 and 27; three hours ISA Arborist and Board Certified Master Arborist hours; and 1.5 hours Utility Arborist credit.

There is always something happening on the Georgia Coast.

Gardner is the UGA extension agent for serving South Bryan County.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters