Organic St. Augustine lawn with chinch bug

annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)June 19, 2006

We have used only organic methods for almost three years. We have about 5,000 square feet of new lawn (since January). We fertilize it with alfalfa pellets and soybean meal and it has grown nicely and is very green. In April we sprayed it with beneficial nematodes to try to prevent chinch bug. We are the only ones that mow and edge our lawn so as not to bring in disease and weeds. It is mowed at 4 inches. Recently, with the drought stress here in FL, we have seen irregular patches of yellow and brown reminiscent of chinch bug. I really don't want to spray pesticides as we have spent a long time developing natural flora. What do I do?

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Billl(z7 nc)

I'm not the yard doc, but anyway....

First, check to see if you actually have cinch bugs. The quickest way is to make an artificial mini-flood to force them to the surface. Just take a big bucket of soapy water and dump it all on the questionable spot. Toss a towel over the mess and wait a minute or so. If you have an infestation, you'll see tons of bugs on the towel and at the surface. If the infected area isn't that large, the quickest organic way to control them is to grab a shopvac and suck them up off the towel and leaf blades. You don't have to kill every bug to get an infestation under contol, just knock back the population to levels where it isn't causing much damage.

FYI - they are experimenting with a fungus that seems to attack cinch bugs, but I don't think it is commercially available (or proven effective) yet.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 4:00PM
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