The Playbook

The opponents: Turf pests (chinch bugs, white grubs, et al.)

The coach: Dr. Jason Fausey, weed scientist for Nufarm

The game plan: Following an all-hands-on deck approach to spring and summer, lawn care operators should try not to tire out as peak season comes to a close. Instead, stay the course and make proactive fall chemical applications to ensure that your turf is healthy going into winter. After all, the best time for maintaining a healthy lawn is in the fall.

Also integral to your end-of-summer lineup is staying hydrated while being efficient with your water use. The reality is that the topic of water continues to grow as a concern nationally for a lot of LCOs. While many key areas of the country were fortunate to see significant rainfall this past year, in those regions where it’s still dry, water conservation remains top of mind.

Remember the old adage that the toughest thing to do in professional sports is win back-to-back championships. Despite the amount of moisture you received this year, establish good water use practices in order to ensure quality turf even during unpredictable weather conditions.

In order to best prepare your turf for the time of the year when weather becomes cooler and plants go dormant, make sure the following tactics are incorporated into your overall strategy:

1) Late summer is the time to plan for fall applications. One of the main areas in which a landscape company may be making insecticide applications is for grub control. A lot of times, LCOs have grubs that will cause damage not only to the turf, but also as a secondary penalty, they’ll see skunks, raccoons and other animals come in and feed on those grubs. As those animals forage, they’re digging and tearing up the turf.

For quick knockdown of white grubs in the fall, consider Arena Insecticide. Arena works as both a preventive and a curative, for outstanding control of white grubs and a broad spectrum of other turf and ornamental pests with a single application.

2) Don’t forget about incorporating fall fungicide applications into your program. Coupled with fall insecticide applications, it’s important to make fall applications of a fungicide as well to promote strong and healthy turf growth leading into the winter months. Especially in cases where LCOs have snow mold or other diseases at the end of the year or in early spring.

A broad spectrum product like Tourney Fungicide would be an excellent choice for LCOs to adequately control both existing disease and provide protection from certain spring diseases that become established late in the year. Preventive fungicide applications for snow mold are only achieved when applied in the fall and maintain disease protection throughout the winter.

3) Your best defense is a good offense. With heat and water restrictions, usually at this point in the season, LCOs are waiting for cooler weather to come so that the turf can naturally start to rebound. One best practice at this point in time is to eliminate or reduce any of the other potential obstacles that you’re going to have.

Under heat stress conditions, turf tends to slow down its growth and become weak, but fortunately it’s still going to be there and come back the following year. Therefore, it really does become essential – particularly in the fall – to manage other aspects, like weed control, insect control and disease control. Continue to maintain those systems to help the turf recover when it does encounter better growing conditions. And don’t forget to scout and monitor for weeds, insects and diseases. As part of your overall management plan, be proactive in monitoring your turf regularly.

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