What are Ground Pearls?
Ground Pearls are members of a unique family of scale insects, and several species exist in the United States. They are known to cause damage to a wide range of warm-season turf grasses including St. Augustine, bermudagrass, centipedegrass, and zoysiagrass. Centipedegrass is the one turf species that suffers the most damage from Ground Pearls. Ground Pearls are found from the Carolinas in the east all the way to the west in southern California.
Ground Pearls live in the soil and damage turf by attacking the roots of the turf grass. The immature ground pearls suck plant juices from the roots, causing the plants to turn yellow, then brown and the turf usually will die in the fall and winter. It is likely that the ground pearls inject a toxin with their saliva that may also contribute to the death of the plant. Turf that has been stressed due to drought rarely recovers from ground pearl damage.
The life cycle of Ground Pearls is fairly simplistic. There are three stages egg, nymph and adult. Adult females are pink, almost sac-like small-scale insects that have fore legs enabling them to move around in the soil. The female lays pinkish white eggs in small clusters. The eggs are covered with a white, waxy substance and when they hatch into the nymph stage they are called the crawler. Later stages of the nymphs are a yellowish tan color with a hard round "pearl" shape. Not much is known of the exact timing of the ground pearls life cycle and timing of the stages can vary with in the same lawn. In general the females will appear on the lawn in the early spring or early summer. At this time the females may be noticed crawling on the surface of the grass or soil. Females can reproduce with out mating and can lay up to 100 eggs which will hatch in 9-15 days. The nymphs hatch and begin feeding on the roots and will develop into the adult stage in a year. In some cases it may take longer if conditions are not favorable.
Proper fertilization is 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 also important follow Weed Man's proper watering instructions to help prevent Ground Pearls on your turf! 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.
Weed Man Arkansas-NW, AR Can Help
Your Arkansas-NW, AR Weed Man is a trained professional and will be able to recognize a Ground Pearls infestation. If you see at any time indications that you have a Ground Pearl problem Weed Man Arkansas-NW, AR will inspect your property FREE OF CHARGE! Just call us at (479) 935-2335!