The army is coming! Lawn armyworm (pictured below) are caterpillars of night-flying moths which lay their eggs amongst turf leaves. The caterpillars grow up to 4 cm long and range in colour from green to brown, with darker and paler stripes running along their back and sides. Adult moths are brown and attracted to lights at night. There can be multiple generations of armyworm in a year, with caterpillars being most active during summer and autumn. In large numbers, armyworm can advance like an army (hence their name), strip the turf foliage and cause rapidly expanding bare patches.
In addition to bare patches, if you see birds pecking at the lawn, it can be a sign that lawn armyworm may be present. The birds are searching for the caterpillars.
Baythroid® Advanced Insect Killer for Lawnsis an effective way of controlling lawn armyworm. It can be applied over the lawn via a garden sprayer or watering can. Apply in the late afternoon and lightly water the lawn before applying.
And providing the lawn with adequate water and nutrients will help keep it looking lush and green throughout the warmer months.
· Give the lawn several deep waterings each week, rather than more frequent light waterings. Please check your local water restriction guidelines before watering the lawn.
· Apply a liquid lawn fertiliser like Yates Lawn Fertiliser, which is rich in nitrogen to encourage a lush, green lawn in days and comes in a quick and easy to use hose-on applicator.
In the tropics and sub-tropics during summer’s wet weather, delay fertilising until the drier months arrive. Using a soil wetter and aerating or coring the lawn can help to move the rainfall down into the soil, rather than sitting on the lawn surface, which can encourage diseases.