Damage Caused by Armyworm
Armyworms feed on the grass anytime during the day and are known for their voracious eating habit. They have been seen moving en masse from one turfgrass area to the next, eating everything that is green, leaving only a few stems. Normally the damage appears as drought damage with a wilting yellowy appearance. Starlings can sometimes be an indicator of armyworm as they like to scavenge the lawn looking for the larva to feed on.
The Lifecycle of Armyworm
During wintertime, the Armyworm are in the larva or pupa stage in the southern regions of the United States. In the north, some larva may survive over winter, but most adults are blown north with spring weather fronts. In the spring, the larva pupates and/or the adults that arrive will mate and the females will lay clusters of eggs (100–300), usually on grass tips, hanging trees and shrubs or structures. The eggs will hatch into larvae and feed on the grass until they devour the entire plant and then will spread out, feeding on the grass during the day. Over a period of 20-48 days (depending on temperature) they will go through six-to-nine instars before pupating in the thatch and soil. Depending on the location there can be several generations present—usually two in the north to six in the south.
Ensure when the turf is mowed it is at the recommended mowing height for your turf species, and with a sharp mower blade when the turf is dry. Proper fertilization is also extremely important, and Weed Man’s exclusive brand of granular slow release fertilizer ensures that the turf remains healthy all year long. Adequate nitrogen levels will help the plant recover more quickly if it is thinned out. Proper watering is important, as well.
Follow Weed Man’s proper watering instructions to help prevent Armyworm on your turf!