24 August 2010

Armyworm alert! Look out Atanta lawns

August and September each year, caterpillars do damage to lawns throughout Atlanta and North Georgia.  Typically, lawns will recover, however occasionally this damage can be devastating, especially to newly planted lawns.
Here are a few key points to remember:
  • Damage is mostly aesthetic, but
  • Newly planted lawns, however can be severely damaged or decimated
  • The biggest culprits are armyworms, especially to Bermuda grass.
  • Adult armyworm moths, active at night, lay eggs of 50 to several hundred.
  • Initial damage can first look like skeletonizing, but eventually, the entire leaf is consumed.
  • Armyworms are most active early and late in the day, spending the hotter hours down near the soil in the shade.
  • Check for worms by pouring soapy water on the grass (1/2 oz. dishwashing soap/gallon water) will bring them up quickly.
Control of armyworms and other turf caterpillars:
  1. There are several pesticides from which to choose depending on your lawn type and location.  Brand name Sevin, in liquid form is one type.
  2. Consult your local Extension Agent for recommendations.  
  3. Read and follow all label directions when using pesticides.
  4. Pesticide applications should be made as late as practical for best results.
  5. Applying 20 - 25 gallons of solution per acre will provide good coverage.
  6. Do not cut grass for 1 –3 days after treating
Call your local Extension Agent at (800) ASK-UGA1 or locate your local Extension Office at
Check out our Gardening Resource Page for more contact and resource info.
Abdurrahim is the lead designer at metro-Atlanta based, award-winning Proudland Landscape, LLC.
You can contact him with question via email at
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Anonymous said...

Hey, I like you site! Thanks for reading my quitting cigarettes blog :) My friend was "bitten" by a catepillar this weekend -- it swelled but is better now. She showed me a picture of it -- I had no idea catepillars bite! It was on a leaf -- can she spray the plant to kill any others that might be lurking? Thanks! Ginger (from

A. J. said...

Yes, spray entire plant with insecticidal soap, including the underside of leaves.