Your Garden Mission – Eliminate Squash Bug Eggs

This week’s garden mission – eliminate squash bug eggs before they become squash bugs!

Scouting for pests in your garden on a regular basis is a MUST.  Scouting alerts you to problems before they get out of hand.  This time of the year as you scout among your squash plants you may see squash bug eggs.  They are not too hard to spot and should be in a cluster:

Your Garden Mission - Eliminate Squash Bug Eggs
Squash bug eggs appear in a cluster.

If you find an egg cluster congratulate yourself because you can now stop this pest cycle.  There are several ways to do this.  You could remove this leaf.  Or, flick the eggs off the leaf with your fingernail but you run the risk of just moving a viable egg that could eventually become a squash bug.  There is an easy way to get rid of these eggs and keep the squash leaf intact.

First, cut a short length of tape.  Clear packing tape seems to work very well:

Your Garden Mission - Eliminate Squash Bug Eggs
Clear packing tape works well.

Next,  press the tape on top of the eggs.  Press firmly and move the tape around a bit.  The eggs stick to the tape:

Your Garden Mission - Eliminate Squash Bug Eggs
Press firmly so the eggs attach to the tape.
Your Garden Mission - Eliminate Squash Bug Eggs
The tape lifts the eggs off of the plant while leaving the leaf intact.

Finally, remove the tape and fold it. Crush the eggs within the folded tape and your potential pest problem is removed.  Notice the squash leaf is intact.

If you miss scouting and missed finding the squash eggs, the eggs hatch and these squash nymphs become squash bugs:

Your Garden Mission - Eliminate Squash Bug Eggs
Eggs hatch into nymphs that are on their way to become squash bugs!

An easy chemical-free way to take care of your garden!  For more information on growing squash successfully see UGA’s Home Garden Series:  Homegrown Summer and Winter Squash.

Wishing you a squash bug-free garden.

Happy Gardening!

Tips for Managing Drought Stressed Turfgrass

Turfgrass_Drought

Tips for Managing Drought Stressed Turfgrass

During periods of hot and dry weather, certain modifications to your lawn maintenance practices will help to carry your turfgrass through periods of inadequate rainfall and reduce losses. The height of the warm-season turfgrass growing season spans May through August. Given average conditions (regular rainfall and moderate temperatures), bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, and other warm-season species respond quickly to cultural and maintenance practices such as mowing, fertilizing, aerating, topdressing, and weed management.  However, the summer of 2016 has delivered hot and dry weather with less than normal rainfall.  With August approaching, now is the time to fine tune your turf management program to salvage an acceptable appearance while minimizing growth until environmental factors improve.

The first order of business is to recognize moisture stress in turfgrasses in the early stages.  Look for areas with a dull bluish-gray cast. Additionally, take note of footprints and tire tracks in the turf that do not seem to rebound.

Dr. Clint Waltz, UGA Extension Turfgrass Specialist, suggests these tips for managing turfgrass during drought periods:

  1. Raise the cutting height within the recommended mowing range
  2. Reduce fertilizer applications until conditions improve
  3. Modify herbicide programs during high temperatures and moisture stress
  4. Water deeply & Infrequently
  5. Grasscycle
  6. Use water conserving and drought tolerant turfgrasses

Raise the Cutting Height

Turfgrass stress can be reduced by using a sharp mower blade and raising the cutting height by 1/2″ or to the tallest allowable height of the recommended mowing range during drought.  A clean cut also reduces moisture loss through wounds and minimizes entry points for disease.  Taller shoots promote deeper roots and a dense canopy can help to reduce ground surface temperatures and conserve moisture.  Grasscycling (mulching clippings versus bagging) can also help to conserve moisture.

Reduce Nitrogen Applications

Plant growth requires water.  Without water, the benefits of nitrogen are not optimized and you may be wasting product. Promoting heavy top growth amidst drought conditions increases water demand. Reduce rates or postpone fertilizer applications until environmental conditions improve to fully realize the benefits of fertilizer while saving water and reducing turfgrass stress.

Modify Herbicide Programs During High Temperatures and Drought

Many herbicides act upon plant growth processes and can be less effective during periods of drought when weeds are not actively growing. In addition, certain herbicides may cause damage to drought-stressed turf or non-target landscape plants due to volatilization and drift during high temperatures. Review your pesticide labels for specific information regarding temperature requirements, watering requirements, and proper application.

Water Deeply and Infrequently

The optimum watering schedule can be roughly determined by observing the number of days that pass between signs of moisture stress. Apply sufficient water to saturate the root zone to a depth of 6-8 inches.  Clay soils and sloped areas may require staggered watering intervals to allow time for water infiltration between cycles and prevent runoff.  Irrigating in early morning conserves water by reducing evaporation and drift.  A good practice is to align watering schedules with drought management rules so that in the event of a declared drought, the appropriate watering program is already in place.  As of July 26, 2016 there are no official declarations of drought by state or local authorities in Georgia and responsible landscape and lawn watering may take place between the hours of 4:00pm and 10:00am in accordance with the Georgia Water Stewardship Act of 2010. In the event that water resources require a drought response level 2, watering programs would need to be adjusted for the odd-even schedule by address.

Use Water Conserving and Drought Tolerant Turfgrass Cultivars

The University of Georgia Turfgrass breeding programs continue to make excellent strides in developing improved cultivars with low water use and high drought tolerance. For new installations or where turfgrass replacement is needed, look for improved certified cultivars such as TifTuf bermuda.  Visit www.GeorgiaTurf.com for more information on selecting turfgrasses.


THE LOOK AHEAD: JULY & AUGUST

DATE:TITLEDESCRIPTIONDETAILS
July 27UAC Industry Issues Lunch + Learn.

Details & Registration

Beat the Heat and Earn 2 Category 24 GA Pesticide Recertification Credits or 1 PrivateLOCATION: Snellings Walters Insurance Agency, 1117 Perimeter Center W, Atlanta GA 30338
TIME: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
COST: $20 for UAC members/$25 for visitors. Registration includes lunch.
August 4UGA Turfgrass Research Field Day

Details & Registration

Acres of Information & CEU Credits.  Discover the latest turfgrass information, products, and equipment.LOCATION: UGA-Griffin Campus 1109 Experiment Street
Griffin, GA 30223
TIME: 8:00 am – 2:30 pm
COST: Visit georgiaturf.com for Registration Details
August 9Georgia Certified Plant Professional  (Plant ID & Written Exams)

Details & Registration

The Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture Offers Achievement, Advancement, & Credibility through Professional Certification.LOCATION: Gwinnett Technical College
5150 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Lawrenceville, GA 30043
TIME: 9:30 am – 1:30 pm
COST: $165 For details, visit gcpp.info
August 31 – September 1SEGreen Landscape & Plant Conference

Details & Registration

See, hear, and make more green at SEGreen, the roadmap to the future for Southeast growers, landscapers, and retailers.LOCATION: Athens Classic Center
300 N Thomas St, Athens, GA 30601
TIME: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
COST: For details, visit segreen.org
August 31 – September 1(SEGreen Conf.)
Georgia Certified Landscape Professional (Written & Hands-On Exams)Details & Registration
The Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture Offers Achievement, Advancement, & Credibility through Professional Certification.LOCATION: Athens Classic Center
300 N Thomas St, Athens, GA 30601
TIME: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
COST: $165 For details, visit gcpp.info

July Gardening Chores for Your Georgia Garden

UGA’s Vegetable Garden Calendar gives us an idea of what we should be doing in our gardens in July.

Lettuce is a wonderful cool-season crop.
Lettuce is a wonderful cool-season crop.

July’s Garden Chores

  1. Start planning the fall garden.
  2. Keep grass from going to seed.
  3. Fallow soil to conserve moisture for germination of fall crops and to help reduce the nematode population in the soil..
  4. Clean off harvested rows immediately to prevent insect and disease buildup.
  5. Plant the following vegetables not later than July 20 to allow time to mature before frost: tomatoes, okra, corn, pole beans and lima beans. Also plant cucumbers, squash and snap beans.
Get that last planting of beans planted. - Woodstock Community Garden
Get that last planting of beans planted. – Woodstock Community Garden
  1. Water deeply and less often — as needed to prevent drought stress.
  2. Plant that big pumpkin for Halloween.
  3. Be sure to make arrangements for neighbors to harvest and water your garden while you are on vacation.
  4. Make sure the garden is well mulched to prevent weeds and conserve moisture.
Vegetables should be well mulched.
Vegetables should be well mulched.

Happy Gardening!