Fall Armyworm

Pest Alert: Fall Armyworms

If your lawn turned brown in a short period of time you may have Fall Armyworms.  These pests feed on crops and turf and can take out a lawn in only a few days.  Fall Armyworms fly and mate at night, after which the female will lay up to 1,000 eggs in masses on suitable host plants or indiscriminate surfaces including the undersides of tree leaves or on structures near turfgrasses. These structures can include yard ornaments, fences, landscape lighting, flag posts, and mailboxes.  While they are not preventable we can treat to minimize further damage if worms get into your lawn; there can be as many as four generations a year, the largest populations occur in late summer into early fall.  Lawns that are healthy have the best chance of recover.  Armyworms prefer damp areas. Avoid overwatering the turf, and irrigate it deeply and infrequently. Where soil compaction is hindering drainage, aerate the soil. Regularly de-thatch the lawn, never allowing a thatch layer thicker than 1/2 inch to develop. These caterpillars feed on grass blades at night and hide in the thatch layer during the day. If you must mow, mow high and only remove a third of the grass blade with each mowing. 

If you suspect you have Fall Armyworms you can perform an easy Soap Flush Test.

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