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How to keep your South Florida lawn  insect free

How to keep your South Florida lawn insect free

No one wants their beautiful lawn and lush landscape eaten up by insects!

Bates Exterminating professionals know that cultural practices are critical to effective integrated pest management programs.

Most home owners become frustrated with an irrigation schedule, plant selection, mowing heights, landscape design or planting. In many cases these factors set a landscaper or pest control profession for either success or a chronic struggle.

Plant stress welcomes pest problems. Some planting decisions or maintenance practices do not turn out well. Many of the insect pests that damage our lawns, trees and shrubs are responding to local environmental conditions and the stress level of their host plants. The conditions that affect these factors range from the soil to the plant species and the surrounding ground cover, as well as the amount of water and sunlight they receive.

• Planting a tree surrounded by too much landscape can increase drought stress and insect pest problems.
• Mowing a St. Augustine lawn to look like a golf course green will stress the grass and lead to a multitude of problems.

Just beneath the foliage of a turf grass lawn and above the soil surface is a thin layer of dead, decaying plant material call the thatch. This naturally occurring material provides benefits including releasing nutrients back into the soil and to the plant roots.

However, when a turf grass lawn is managed incorrectly, too much thatch can accumulate and lead to pest management challenges. Too much thatch will bind pesticides applied to a lawn, reducing the amount of product that reaches the soil or pest. Thatch is a nice refuge for pests.

Over the past few years, pest management professionals throughout much of Florida have battled the mealy bug insect in Zoysia grass. After dozens of outbreaks and failed control attempts, we have realized that common among lawns infested with mealy bug is an over accumulation of thatch.

Water is the building block for the life of your lawn and ornamentals. In many cases, too much or too little water can lead to insect pest problems. When a lawn becomes drought stressed, the likelihood of damage from southern chinch bugs significantly increases. In contrast, some insects, such as white grubs and mole crickets thrive in wet soils. They are more likely to infest and damage turf grass areas that receive too much water.
The solution to many of these problems is continued maintenance and good watering practices!

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