Deal nat­u­rally to lawn pests

... be­ing two nat­u­ral oils I can­not see any health con­cerns, as long as any har­vested food is thor­oughly washed.

The Tribune (NZ) - - AL FRESCO - WALLY RICHARDS Prob­lems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmer­ston North 357 0606). Email wal­lyjr@gar­de­, web site gar­de­

Thanks to a bowl­ing club green-keeper, there is now ‘Wallys 3 in 1 for Lawns’.

A nat­u­ral lawn pest in­sec­ti­cide, lawn food and wet­ting agent, this Aus­tralian prod­uct now pack­aged in New Zealand, con­sists of eu­ca­lyp­tus oil, tea-tree oil and nat­u­ral plant foods in the form of ma­nures and sea­weed/fish ex­tracts.

I was in­tro­duced to this by the green­keeper who said it con­trolled grass grubs, black bee­tles, root ne­ma­todes and po­rina cater­pil­lars. It can even give the hurry-up to eel worm, cen­tipedes, root mealy bugs, ear­wigs and slaters.

The green-keeper had been us­ing var­i­ous chem­i­cal poi­sons which left residues on the greens that not only found their way onto bowlers’ footwear but also onto bowl­ing balls. Among these was the now banned di­azi­non, sold as Soil In­sect Con­trol.

This nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tive used at the rec­om­mended rate, pro­vided com­plete con­trol of the po­rina af­ter one ap­pli­ca­tion.

Once ap­plied, prefer­ably in the early morn­ing or late af­ter­noon, lightly wa­ter with the hose or sprin­kler to wash the oils down into the top 6 – 10cm of the lawn where it does its job.

The prod­uct also knocks out any gar­den slugs that emerge out of the soil and thatch to in­vade gar­dens.

Worms will hap­pily live un­der­neath the oil layer in the top­soil without any known ad­verse ef­fects. Those near the sur­face how­ever, may not fare so well.

Gar­den­ers may find in this prod­uct a tool to as­sist in the con­trol of pests such as wire worm by treat­ing the area a few weeks be­fore plant­ing new sea­son pota­toes.

Mixed at 10mls to 250mls of wa­ter in a trig­ger sprayer, I have suc­cess­fully ex­per­i­mented with it on leaf pests such as white­fly, cater­pil­lars and leaf­hop­pers, with the oils act­ing as an ir­ri­tant.

How­ever, the prod­uct is only rec­om­mended for lawn use and should only be used for the con­trol of lawn pests. But be­ing two nat­u­ral oils I can­not see any health con­cerns, as long as any har­vested food is thor­oughly washed.

As an oil-based prod­uct, it can of course burn fo­liage and grass if sprayed in sun­light.

Eu­ca­lyp­tus oil is toxic, but in weak so­lu­tions is used med­i­cally with warn­ings of pos­si­ble toxic ef­fects. Tea Tree oil should not be taken orally as it can also be toxic.

The prod­uct’s la­bel warns: ‘‘Do not feed grass clip­pings to an­i­mals and birds’’, and that would ap­ply to the first or sec­ond mow­ing af­ter ap­pli­ca­tion to a lawn area.

If the oils are washed down into the soil, any pos­si­ble harm to pets and birds should be min­i­mal.

The wet­ting agent as­pect will as­sist in the pre­ven­tion of dry or brown spot in lawns.

This is the right time of the year to treat for grass grub as the soil is more moist and the grubs are nearer to the sur­face.

If you have had grass grub prob­lems in pre­vi­ous years, you are likely to have a re­cur­rence without fur­ther treat­ment.

It’s the time of year to deal to lawn pests, prefer­ably by not us­ing toxic chem­i­cals.

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