Crabgrass Not Dead After Recent Frosts/Freezes

Despite some recent frosts and freezes across certain spots in Indiana, crabgrass remains unaffected and was not killed. Although crabgrass was not injured, other cold sensitive plants were such as volunteer tomato seedlings in my garden and my Japanese maple.

Recent cold air temperatures cooled down our soil temperatures. Temperatures will be mild for the next 10+ days. When they being to rise again in the next couple of weeks, expect the second flush of crabgrass germination to begin in late April.

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New Publications on Tree Selection, Planting, and Diagnosis

The following new publications about tree selection, planting and diagnosis might be of interest to you. See below for more details.


Why is My Tree Dying?

This publication explains how trees can be injured and die from damage suffered during construction projects. Author: Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist.


Tree Installation: Process and Practices

A helpful how-to guide on choosing, planting and maintaining trees. Includes a 12-step planting process, Indiana native tree and utility-friendly tree charts, Midwest Hardiness Zones and Tree Planting Detail graphics and photographs. Author: Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry. Specialist.


Construction and Trees: Guidelines for Protection

This publication provides information on protecting trees within or near construction sites and home building projects from damage or death. Author: Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry. Specialist.

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Early Spring Insect Update

Not surprisingly, the early spring warm-up has resulted in a frenzy of early season insect activity. We were out in the field earlier this week to get a handle on just how far ahead insect activity may be this year and we were somewhat exasperated by what we found…


Billbugs are out in full force in West Lafayette and I’m certain they have already started to deposit eggs into stems. Some of those eggs have probably started hatching which means the larvae are already actively feeding inside plant stems. For those who have been challenged by billbugs in the past, the time to apply chemical controls is NOW! At this time, we would lean toward the neonicotinyls (chlothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid or thiamethoxam) or Acelepryn® (chlorantraniliprole) because the systemic activity of these compounds will provide control of larvae inside the stems. If you are also thinking ahead to white grub control later in the season, make sure to use the highest labeled rates or risk losing the benefits of residual grub control later in the season (expect white grub season to start earlier this year too).

This may be one of those years when we experience two full generations of billbugs even in the northern part of the State, so good control of the first generation will be extremely important. Our turf will be able to tolerate a fair amount of damage from the first generation since growing conditions will likely make recovery less challenging. However, a second generation with damage occurring in the hot dry months of July and August can be much more problematic ¾ just ask anyone who regularly deals with hunting billbugs in Southern Indiana and Kentucky.

Speaking of hunting billbug… experience would indicate that these insects have been out and about for some time now in Southern Indiana and it is very likely that most eggs have already hatched. As with the other billbug species, target the larvae inside the stems at this time using one of the previously mentioned insecticides.

Sod webworms

Overwintered sod webworm larvae have also begun feeding and the birds have, no doubt, keyed in on this activity. If you are experiencing damage related to sod webworms or birds foraging for these insects on short-cut bentgrass, an application of any of the pyrethroids (bifenthrin, beta-cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin etc…) should remediate the insect problem. If birds are actively foraging in these areas, try to avoid using granular materials and do not water-in liquid applications.

Cutworms and Armyworms

As Dr. Gibb has pointed out, substantial numbers of adult black cutworms and armyworms are already present and laying eggs in the turf ¾ the larvae will not be far behind. Keep an eye out for indications of damage and treat accordingly. Remember that a tablespoon of lemon-scented dishwashing detergent in a gallon of water can provide an effective and simple sampling tool for these insects when poured over a square yard of turf. A few short minutes of observation after a soap flush can clarify if treatment is required.

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Black Cutworm and Armyworm Moths Are Early Arrivals in 2012

The mild winter experienced throughout the midwest has affected the arrival of our early season moths. Recent reports of both armyworm and black cutworm adults throughout the state signal an early arrival of the caterpillars. The first order of business for these moths is to mate and lay eggs.
Golf course superintendents and athletic field managers are advised to pay close attention to moth activity, current temperatures, and future weather conditions as they begin to search for caterpillars and associated feeding damage. The decision to treat should be based on this scouting activity, caterpillar damage and the potential threat of cutworms and armyworms to sensitive turfgrass areas.

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