In all of these cases, the difference between good feedback and poor feedback can easily be the difference between success and failure. If you get feedback but ignore it, it’s much harder for people to take you seriously when you ask for it again.
One of the contributing factors to the reputation of the good turf grasses which we can grow in the British Isles is the fact that we seldom suffer from extremes of weather, such as excessive heat or continued drought. Although turf is a continual attraction for lawn insects, it can support a large population without serious harm particularly if it is in good condition, poor or hungry turf is vulnerable and likely to get worse.
Ants may be all over the lawn but they have nests and these can be located by sprinkling a little granulated sugar around.
Malathion or derris are suitable for this task, the latter can be used either as a liquid or powder. In most cases it is the grubs or larvae of the insect, be it moth or beetle, which damage the grass. In some areas, leatherjackets, the larvae of the daddy-longlegs, cause quite a lot of damage and there may be as many as 200 to the square metre. Worms can cause both damage and annoyance and in particular the types of worm which voids its casts on the surface. Worm casts also clog up the rollers of mowers and if you don’t want to destroy the worms then at least destroy the worm casts by brushing. Most of us, however, want a smooth weed-free lawn composed of fine grasses and anything that we can do to eliminate the worms is desirable. Lawn pests and lawn insects can be controlled, but sometimes it is just better to live and let live – some of these pests and insects are so small and do little harm ultimately.
The implications can affect our organization’s market share, our revenues, our project quality or our ability to be promoted.
However, one of the first lines of defence against lawn pests, as with all other plants, is to produce strong healthy growth. They may be controlled, without using insecticides, merely by seeing that the lawn has plenty of water applied, preferably using a sprinkler; they just do not like the moisture and move out.
What usually happens in the case of ants on the lawn is that their tunnels allow the soil to dry out around the roots of the plants, often causing the grass to die.


Wireworms, the larvae of click beetles, can cause a great deal of damage to newly-sown lawns. Where use of an insecticide is not desirable then they can often be controlled by the use of a garden roller which literally squashes the soft grubs.
They are tiny insignificant worm-like creatures which live at different depths in the soil and are thus virtually impossible to control. The control of these earthworms has been a controversial subject ever since I can remember, some people arguing that they drain the soil and should be encouraged and preserved. Worms are most vulnerable in the spring and autumn, when they come up from the depths to the surface in April and before they descend in October anything up to 2 feet to avoid the severe winter weather conditions. Their giving feedback will seem like an extra task that isn’t worth their time because you never completed the previous transaction by acknowledging the receipt. Cutworms and similar lawn pests may bite the stems through at soil level, wireworms and chafer grubs damage the roots causing large bare patches to appear whilst others may merely suck the sap from the leaves.
In practice this can present difficulties because the ground is too wet for children to play or people to sit on whilst the sprinkler is operating. This is then treated in a more concentrated fashion rather than dusting or spraying all over the lawn. They can also prevent it from germinating by feeding on the seeds or by storing them in their nests. They are sometimes found on established lawns too, usually near the edge of a flower bed from which they migrate to eat the tender grass roots.
On a fine evening on a badly infected patch you can see these larvae pop up through the soil; you can actually see the mature insects emerging and after a few minutes rest and drying out, pump up their wings and fly away.
The facts are these: the burrowing worm passes soil through its body and voids it in the form of the familiar worm casts.
Worms themselves can be encouraged by heavy dressings of organic materials such as bonemeal or dried blood which they use as part of their diet. There are several proprietary substances available for destroying worms and sometimes one can be found incorporated in fertiliser compounds. But you should always say thank you regardless of the content – especially if you asked for it.


The alternative is to use one of the various proprietary insecticides of which chlordane or carbaryl is the active ingredient. Personally I mix sugar with any of the powders I use for this purpose so that the ants can carry the insecticide down into the nest. If a powder insecticide is used, push the powder down into the hole with a little bit of stick through a small funnel and smooth out the soil. In America, where grass farms may be anything up to two thousand acres in extent, nematodes cause millions of pounds worth of damage every year to cultivated turf. In the process of being digested, toxic substances are added and for just over a week this substance is capable of killing grasses. Ornamental turf grass lawns can grow quite happily, and indeed better, without the assistance of worms. We send a work project around the team for peer feedback before submitting our deliverables. On the other hand, when you ask for feedback, people are much more likely to give it to you – in the time frame and context you want it. Be upfront about this – as well as the positive changes that have been made with feedback that was provided previously.
Where the grass is used as a play area as distinct from a purely ornamental lawn, carbaryl is probably the most desirable to use. To make the treatment more effective it pays to prick the soil with a fork to a depth of about 2 inches as they seldom go deeper than this. In the meantime, however, due to the plastic nature of the cast, air is excluded and the grasses beneath can die out over an area sometimes 3 inches in diameter.



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