Count grubs before treating


Q: My lawn care guys told me that they saw grubs in areas where the fescue had died. How should I treat for them? David Jackson, email

A: I would first ask the guys to show you the grubs. White grubs are tiny and hard to see at this part of the growing season. It is important to actually see them and count them because if you have 10 or fewer per square foot there is no need to treat for them. For light infestations, natural phenomena like disease and dry soil kill most small grubs. In my opinion “grubs in the lawn” is a convenient explanation when someone can’t figure out what is actually causing a patch of dead grass.

Q: My zoysia had quite a crop of crabgrass. I put down a pre-emergent in February but someone said summer rain made the pre-emergent less effective. Bob Andretta, Marietta

A: Your friend might be right but there is another possibility as well. If you made your application in early February, the chemical might have “worn out” by June. But rains in summer made perfect conditions for more long-dormant crabgrass seed to germinate. If you have ever had crabgrass in your lawn, the seeds that were formed can last up to five years in the soil. That might explain why you have such a fine crop of weeds now. You probably would have gotten better crabgrass control if you had put down a half-strength application in February with another half-strength application in June. Do not exceed the rate on the bag’s label. But going back to your situation, you didn’t know at the time what the weather would be for the summer. Next year, apply a split application in March and May. That should give you better control.

Q: Do I still have time to plant potatoes? Quinton Sanders, Monroe

A: Planting potatoes in fall in North Georgia is not usually successful. Sometimes you can get a crop if we have a warm fall and late frost but typically the soil cools off too much for potatoes to grow very well. The best time to plant is in February when the soil is warming up. I have a great list of Georgia gardening resources at bit.ly/UGAveg.

Q: My banana trees are really big. If I decide to try to bring them into the garage, would I need to dig the whole ball up with them or would it be possible to just pull them up without so many roots? Jimmy Bruce, Hampton

A: Of course, the best idea is to pot up some of the pups that are growing near your mother plant. But they are usually too small to have any chance of blooming the following year. I dug one similar to yours several years ago and was surprised how small the root system was. After shaking most of the dirt from the roots, I stuffed the bottom of the plant into a paper yard waste bag. The stem and leaves stuck three or four feet out of the bag. Without all of the soil, I could carry it pretty easily to my basement. There, I dumped in a bag of moist potting soil, which covered most of the roots. Over winter, the leaves turned a yellowish green but were still on the stem in April. I kept it in a shady outdoor place for a week and then planted it in the sun. It was huge by the end of the summer but still did not bloom for me.

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips.



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