By Pinellas County Extension Service and Times wires
Published April 10, 2004
Mole crickets damage turf grass by eating roots and tunneling through the soil near the surface. The tunneling loosens the soil so the grass is often uprooted. This thins the turf, and large sections may die completely, leaving bare soil.
Bahia grass with its open-growth habit is more severely injured than other types of grass. St. Augustine can be damaged somewhat by the tunneling. Bahia grass lawns that have been converted to St. Augustine by sodding or plugging are more susceptible to mole cricket injury. As the mole crickets mature, they become more difficult to control, so early treatment is advised.
A fact sheet is available by sending a long, self-addressed, stamped (37-cent) envelope to "Mole Crickets," Pinellas County Extension Service Office, 12175 125th St. N, Largo, FL 33774-3695.
Dethatch to give seeds a chance
Renovate thin lawns by removing accumulated thatch and overseeding. Thatch can be removed with a dethatching rake or by a machine called a vertical mower, available at rental stores.
Use a spreader to lay seed, which will grow through the existing grass. Dethatching allows a good seed-to-soil contact necessary for germination. Do not apply weed killers until the seedlings are established.
Nip crabgrass in the bud
Apply pre-emergent crabgrass killer before the annual weed germinates. The herbicide prevents last year's seeds from growing and inhibits any new grass seed. Excessive crabgrass usually indicates other problems with the care of the lawn, including mowing grass too short and not liming and feeding correctly.
- Pinellas County Extension Service and Times wires