Just four weeks ago on August 1st, lawns in Tulsa were green and lush. What a difference in just four week with no rainfall and sudden hot temperatures. ithout irrigation, many lawns in Tulsa and NE Oklahoma are turning brown. Earlier this week I diagnosed Grubworm damage in what was a nice Zoysiagrass lawn in south Tulsa. After digging down a little into the soil, I found about 8 fairly large Grubworms in a small area, with the turf turning brown due to the worms eating the turf roots. But the really big problem now is a possible major outbreak of Armyworms in Tulsa.
The last major outbreak of Fall Armyworms was 14 years ago, and I remember it well. Most of Tulsa was covered with Armyworms, which quickly devoured many lawns in Tulsa almost overnight. Whether we are in for another major outbreak now, or just in certain lawns, we really don't know yet. We are seeing more and more Armyworms in most areas of Tulsa, and are recieving many calls. I suspect that with some rain in the forecast, we could see an explosion of worms in lawns after that. But then again, we may not. We just don't know when dealing with Mother Nature.
Armyworms are easy to kill with many common insecticides. Just read the label, and apply with a hose end sprayer. Granular insecticides are easier to apply, but may not be as effective as sprays. If I had a Fescue lawn, I would be most concerned, as Armyworms can chew it down to the ground and it probably will not recover. So, you'll need to reseed your Fescue lawn this fall. Bermudagrass is tough, so even if Armyworms chew the turf down to the ground, it will recover. However, it will look very bad for several weeks. From my experience, they don't like Zoysiagrass, but you never know. We are encouraging customers to really look at their lawn and scout it daily for Armyworms. Don't spray or have us spray just because you have a brown lawn, as it could be drought also, or even Grubworms (unlikely though). If you see worms, and if you don't want any damage, then treat ASAP or contact LawnAmerica ASAP for an insecticide treatment.
We will know alot more within a few days as to the extint of the Armyworm problem. It may just be some lawns affected for whatever reason. Or……it could be lawn care Armageddon, with millions or Armyworms chewing down turf in a span of just a few days. We are ready, and will do the best we can with being responsive to the problem. If you want to make sure to control them quickly, and we are unable to get to your home quickly, try spraying yourself or just get a bag of granular insecticide, apply, and water it in.