No. 10/July 2, 2018

Last Weekly Issue
This is the last weekly issue of the Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter for this year. We will publish every other week through July, August, and September with a final issue in October. Insect, weed, and disease problems arise in rapid succession during the first half of the growing season, making weekly issues necessary.

Sod Webworm
Sod webworms are a group of grass-feeding larvae that can cause brown patches in the turf which could eventually cover large sections of a lawn. Brown patches in the turf develop as larvae chew grass blades off near the crown of individual grass plants. The larvae can also attract insect-feeding birds like brown-headed cowbirds, red-winged blackbirds, robins and starlings that can cause additional damage as they probe the thatch for larvae.

Lesser Known Weeds: White Avens
White Avens (Geum canadense) is a perennial plant of woodland and other shady areas.  Some would argue this plant is not a weed at all.  However, in the perfect growing conditions, this plant can take over the area somewhat quickly.  I have personal experience with and others have shared similar experiences over the years.  With that said, White Avens is often a desirable plant.  In fact, it is not included in any of my basic weed ID books, but it is included rather in a few of my wildflower guides.  It can occasionally be found in lawns (including my own).  Every year I get asked about this lesser known plant. 

Mushrooms Growing in Turf
Rainfall has been plentiful for much of the state. The excess moisture has created an ideal environment for mushrooms. They can form wherever sufficient moisture and organic matter is present. When found growing in turf, mushrooms tend to stand out and be unsightly to some. The fungi responsible for producing the mushrooms live off organic matter in the soil, such as decaying tree roots or buried construction debris. The fungi are not harmful to lawns, and the mushrooms will eventually disappear on their own. However, they can be picked, raked, or mowed off to speed up the process.

Why Mulch?
There are numerous kinds of mulch that can be used in the landscape from lawn clippings, leaves, pine needles (can make soils more acidic), hay, coco hulls, straw, bark chips, composted bark mulch and even old newspapers. I completely understand that lawn clippings, straw, hay, leaves and newspapers aren't as attractive, but they can easily be used in a garden to keep weeds at bay. Most home or garden stores carry bark chips and composted bark mulch in a variety of colors and sizes.