Prevent armyworms from invading your lawn

Different grass types reduce need for pesticide

The armyworm is a pest that eats away at lawns and crops.
The armyworm is a pest that eats away at lawns and crops. (The French Alternative Energies and Atom)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Creepy green armyworm centipedes love to munch on your lawn leaving a trail of costly damage, and now there is a fix.

Scientists at the University of Florida have found a way to help eradicate the herbivore pests feeding on St. Augustinegrass without using environmentally harmful chemicals.

The tactic requires mixing different grass varieties of St. Augustine grass to fend off the fall armyworm infestation, according to new research.

Over 80% of warm-season lawns in Florida are the Floratam cultivar, which provides little defense against armyworms when used alone as a monoculture.

Combining various cultivars like Seville, Palmetto or Bitter Blue made turfgrass less appetizing to the point where centipedes lost weight and males died. 

Although females fared better, overall lawn feeding decreased with the mixed grasses.  

While no single St. Augustine grass cultivar rises above the rest in resisting infestation, you may want to mix different varieties to reduce bugs next time you go to lay sod.

Not only will it help prevent the bugs but mixing warm season grass species increases a lawn’s tolerance to disease, weed invasion and holds up better to foot traffic.

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