As we head into summer, we start to see problems with weeds, diseases and insects in the landscape and around vegetable gardens. Some of these pest problems can be solved without the use of chemicals, but if the pest population reaches damaging levels, using pesticides may be warranted. Remember that using pesticides is safe and legal but requires reading and following label directions in their entirety.
As warm-season turfgrasses continue to green up, diseases are rearing their ugly heads. The main culprit this time of year is a fungus, Rhizoctonia solani, that causes large patch disease in lawns. Large patch can infect all warm-season turfgrasses, but centipede, St. Augustine, and zoysia are particularly susceptible.
If you're seeing brown areas in your landscape trees or hedges where you should be seeing green, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension can help. Wet winters and severe weather have been causing disease and other issues in landscape plants, especially Leyland cypress and boxwood.
Fusarium wilt, caused by a soilborne fungus, is one of the most damaging diseases of watermelons worldwide. Since it was discovered in 1894, it’s been a battle for producers to manage through crop rotation and chemical fungicides.
With the fall migration underway for monarch butterflies through November, gardeners should soon start seeing the colorful creatures on their travels south. It's also time to be on the lookout for pests of common milkweed (Ascelpias tuberosa), the most popular milkweed plant grown in Georgia butterfly gardens.
Come August, the state's peanut growers will either see the payoff of their spring efforts to control for tomato spotted wilt virus, or they will be planning ways to preventatively manage this persistent virus with recommendations from University of Georgia scientists.