It’s October….time for trick and treat. No not trick or treat but a landscape “treat” compliments of yours truly and then a “trick” nature plays on us. First for the treat to save you time and money.
Fall is a time the natural rainfall can be quite variable. During dry spells you can minimize insect damage (namely grub damage) to your lawn by simply raising the deck on the mower to 3 to 3.5 inch mowing height. Grubs do the most damage to lawns that are dry and stressed by low mowing heights. This damage often happens late in the season. Raising mowing heights helps improve root mass and the denser the root mass the better able the turf can withstand grub activity in fall and spring. It’s an easy, effective no cost “treat” for your turf that will improve your green…..both in your wallet and with your lawn.
Now for a nuisance “trick” in the landscape….Oak Skeletonizer. This insect when abundant will “skeletonize” the foliage on your oak trees. Not a “biggie” because the foliage is about done for the season anyhow. The bigger issue is the people problems it causes. Greenish caterpillars that dangle down from thin threads of silk crawling on people and decks and the tiny whitish cocoons (look like rice) that mess up the landscape, patio furniture, grill and your car parked in the driveway. Fortunately the insect is native and not an invasive foreign insect so the populations are cyclical and vary from heavy to “crashed” from year to year. Oak trees are majestic but also susceptible to a host of insect problems (Gypsy Moth and the resultant black rain anyone?) so I recommend an annual imidacloprid drench at the base of the trees. This will help systemically control the ebb and flow of leafminers, tent caterpillars, loopers, skeletonizers, rollers and worms that seem to party in an oak tree.
Some years are worse than other meaning you may have to grin and bear this “trick” of nature.