Gardening's Dirty Word – Those Chitty Chinch Bugs
I'm not trying to be too silly with the alliteration in the headline, but it also helps prove the point that they are pronounced with a "Chuh." I can always tell when the "transplants" from northern states are asking questions about this bane of St. Augustine lawns, because they say "Cinch Bugs."
Fortunately, if you know what you are looking for, they can be a CINCH to take care of – he says with a punny, wink! I made the prediction on the air back in June when we were already experiencing a week of 100 degree temperatures, that if you had Chinch Bugs last year, and you haven't put in a sprinkler system, you will likely get them again this year. But as we noted from years of experience with this nasty pest, if you don't know how to diagnose them, then you are missing half the battle in their control.
Last year I was ringing this proverbial bell at the first of August, and here we are in early July, and I'm worried sick about the damage that this critters can do especially with no rain.
Translation for this week's email tip: HERE COME THE CHINCH BUGS AGAIN!
As I've said in the past, the dominant numbers of chinch bug-free lawns out there are the ones with quality irrigation systems and the most susceptible are the ones where the residents go on vacation during the summer and forget to have someone water their lawns for them while they are gone. And all it takes is one to two weeks and you can lose your entire lawn to chinch bugs if not taken care of properly. And in these oppressively high temperatures compared to the last two summers, chinch bugs can easily take hold in under one week.
Here is our permanent tip sheet on our GardenLine Webpage if you want to know the ins and outs of diagnosing these critters, and exactly how to control them once you confirm that you have them.
By the way, dead is dead, whether it's from the heat in general or the chinch bugs. And dead grass will need to be replaced, because no amount of insecticide, fungicide or fertilizer will bring dead back to life. The easiest way to tell if your grass has any life left to it, especially following the drought damage is to grab a handful of grass. If only dead blades (hay or straw-like) come out and the runners have green, then you have a fighting chance. If everything comes up with the tug, including roots, runners and dirt, then it's probably dead.
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
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