Sod webworms are big problem this September

From KTRH NewsRadio GardenLine with Randy Lemmon

I’ve been getting a lot of email in the past two weeks about “worms” and “caterpillars” in listeners’ yards.

I also received messages and a few phone calls on last weekend’s GardenLine show about moths hovering about in the early morning hours. And I’ve been looking at a few turf samples in my consulting business that obviously weren’t damaged by chinch bugs, take-all patch or brownpatch.

So, if you know grass damage is not from chinch bugs, grub worms or fungal diseases (yet), then the problem in late September and early October is most likely cutworms or sod webworms.

The larvae of several kinds of moths, such as sod webworms and in some cases cutworms, feed on grass leaves and can damage turf extensively. The insects can be distinguished by their feeding habits and injury symptoms.

Sod webworms and cutworms are night-feeding caterpillars. Both feed around a small burrow or tunnel in the grass and carry the leaf blades into the tunnel. Silken threads can be seen in the early morning covering the tunnel of a sod webworm.

The cutworm is often found on golf greens after the greens are aerated. The aeration holes provide an ideal habitat for the cutworm larvae during the day, and they feed around the hole at night.

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