Because Spring sprung so early for us in the Midwest, with consistent warm temperatures, we wanted to bring to your attention some of the potential issues you could experience with your lawns and gardens this season:

  • Crabapple Scab and Leaf Spot:

Leaf spots appear in spring as small olive-green lesions on the upper and lower leaf surfaces. As spores form, lesions develop a velvety brown appearance. As leaves age, they turn yellow (except for the scab lesions) and fall from the tree. In severe years, susceptible crabapples and apples may be defoliated by late June. Flower parts, fruit, and succulent twigs can also be infected.  For new plantings, there are many choices of desirable resistant varieties and resistance is by far the preferred means of management. Fungicides can be used to control this disease but require multiple applications on a preventive basis, beginning when leaf buds break and repeating until two weeks after petal fall. However, under prolonged wet periods, additional applications may be necessary.

  • Insect Cycles/Sod Web Worms:

Damage will appear as scattered “brownish” areas of turf, eventually the areas will combine into one large brown area. Many of the grass blades are missing and the thatch is exposed. Close inspection reveals very short stubs of green grass blades where the sod webworm larvae have eaten off. Green, pinhead-sized, fecal pellets will be easily seen at the base of the plants. Damage may occur from spring into fall but is most common in midsummer.  The most common method of scouting is to observe when sod webworm moths are present in large numbers in turf areas. Through turf maintenance such as mowing or fertilization, the moths fly up and are easily recognized.  Additionally, you may see an influx of insect-feeding birds, particularly starlings, who feed heavily on sod webworm larvae. Close examination of the turf will reveal holes (poked into the turf by beaks) that will be 1 to 2 inches deep and almost 1/2 inch in diameter. Further turf examination should reveal sod webworm feeding damage. Sod webworms can be controlled by applying an insecticide to the turf – Sweeney’s can do this for you.

  • Increase in Bag Worms:

They look like dangling brown ornaments from the branches of evergreens.  Bagworms left unchecked can be devastating. The best time to spray for bagworms is while the caterpillars are small and actively feeding, generally late June with a second spray in early July; however, this time frame could be earlier due to the temperate winter and early spring. Insecticides are viable options for bagworm control – Sweeney’s can assist with this.  Removing the bags by hand is effective to reduce the numbers of caterpillars emerging. Every other bag is a female and each female bag can contain 300-1,000 eggs.   Wow!

  • Some lawns will require more fertilization:

Simply put, the growing season has expanded by almost an entire month, meaning your lawns may require additional fertilization due to the sheer length of the growing season this year.  Sweeney’s can assess this for you and fertilize as needed.

“A man’s children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season.”  ~Author Unknown

 Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney

P.S.  We would like to congratulate Susan on winning the $50.00 Visa Gift Card!  Thanks, Susan, for posting multiple comments throughout the month of March!