Reducing Chemical Control

Reducing Chemical Control of Pests and Diseases

in the Jacksonville | St. Augustine | North FLorida Lawn:


Reducing Chemical Control in Lawns may be easier than you think

Proper watering, fertilizing, scouting and mowing techniqes are all effective solutions for reducing the need for chemical control in the lawn and landsacpe. All of these things are considered to be cultural control methods for preventing bad insect and disease infestations. Following these simple quidelines reduces the need for chemical control of problems in the landscape by reducing the frequency and severity of those problems and sometimes eliminating them from ever even happening to begin with.



Reducing the Need For Chemical Control

by Scouting Frequently

To reduce the need for chemical control in the landscape frequent scouting or checking for bugs and sighns of plant damage is needed.

Every time you mow you should scout out the lawn to see if damage is occurring and be on the look out for the presence of beneficial organisms in the turf. They are the first and best line of defense against excessive pest populations.

 If you already have beneficial insects at work chemical control should be avoided at all cost. Regimented spraying routines throw natures system of checks and balances out of whack by destroying beneficial insects along with pests on plants.

In addition knowing why the grass is yellowing or browning in spots is important before applying insecticides.

There are a lot of factors that can cause damage to turf that have nothing to do with insects at all.

Spraying an insecticide when the lawn has been damaged by disease, nematodes, drought, or fertilizer deficiencies won’t help the lawn at all, it will hurt it by unnecessarily taking out populations of beneficial organisms.

Proper pest identification is vitally important.

The first step is checking for bugs in the lawn, there ares everal ways to uncover hidden bugs that you may find helpful.

     The next step then is to identify those bugs and the quantities present to see if there are beneficial bugs doing your control for you along with the bad bugs.

Finally if no beneficials are present and numbers are high then see if cultural controls can help the situation. Check out the available information for the present insects, often there are ways to avoid having a favorable environment to particular pests.


Reducing Chemical Control by not Over Fertilizing with High Nitrogen in Large Quantities


To reduce the need for chemical control of lawn pests in the Jacksonville | St. Augustine | North Florida area be sure to apply a spoon feeding technique to fertilizing your lawn. Spoon feeding is where you take the yearly fertilizer requirements for your type of grass and spread it out over time using more frequent applications to achieve the same yearly dosage.

 This is a particularly effective teqnique for reducing excess growth from nitrogen sources and benefits you in several ways including less frequent mowing, less thatch buildup and less outbreaks of insects and diseases.

Avoid using large quantities of water- soluble nitrogen that produce rapid soft green growth that wil actualy attract insects.

 Using large doses of these chemicals repeatedly in the landscape is the equivalent of sending an invitation to local insect populations for your new green grass all you can eat buffet.

 Use slow release nitrogen sources in a complete fertilizer at more frequent intervals instead of arger doses less often. This can help keep your lawn healthy without causing that rapid flush of growth that insects love.

Reduce Chemical Control By Avoiding and Removing Thatch Buildup

Thatch buildup in ornamental lawns makes a cozy little home for root feeding insects like chinch bugs and even lawn caterpillars. It also reduces the effectiveness of chemical controls by reducing chemical water mixtures percolation down from the grass blades we spray and into the soils.

As if increased insect populations werent enough, excess thatch also reduces water and air movement in the soils and provides a disease breeding ground in our lawns.

Avoid thatch buildup due to over watering and improper maintenance and remove thatch buildup by scalping or vertical mowing when thatch is found in the lawn an inch thick or higher.

Reducing the Need For Chemical Control

by Watering on an ‘As Needed Basis’


Watering on an as needed basis can greatly reduce the amount of chemical controls needed for insects as well as diseases in the North Florida lawn and landscape.

This means watering only when more than 30 percent of the lawn begins to turn a gray green color, grass blades begin to fold together or footprints remain on the lawn after walking acoss it.

When the lawn begins to show sighns of water stress its time to water again, apply 3/4 of an inch of water through your irrigation system or rotary sprinkler and a hose. This will saturate the soil to a depth f 8-12 inches.

Repeat this procedure each time your lawn begins to show water stress. Within just few watering cycles you will become an expert at spotting water stress on your lawn.

Watering on an as needed basis not only prevents excessive grass blade growth, thereby preventing insect infestations and reduced thatch buildup but it will keep the grass from becoming a fungal disease breeding ground.

Reducing the Need For Chemical Control

by Watering in the morning

Watering your lawn in the evening and at night allows the lawn to stay moist for elongated periods of time thereby creating the conditions needed for pathogens to infest the grass.

Irrigating in the morning after sighns of drought have been spotted allows sun and wind to grass to dry out the grass surface before evening, reducing the surface moisture needed for the spread of disease.