Lawn Care Services: Dealing with Common Lawn Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases are the bane of a lawn owner or its caretaker’s life. Imagine preparing a healthy, lush lawn, and then pests and diseases attack, washing away all your efforts. Your well-kept lawn is inviting for pests and diseases to attack and eat away all that is green and good. While you can work on watering, mowing, landscaping, and fertilizing to get a thick turf, controlling pests and diseases is not as simple. It entails knowing various pest symptoms, disease indications, and treatment methods. You can also opt for lawn care services that deal with pest and disease problems. However, taking care of less severe pests yourself is not difficult. If you want to take care of them, here are the common pest and diseases that can attack the lawn, along with their treatment methods you can easily follow. 

The Common Types of Lawn Pests and Diseases

There are many types of lawn pests and diseases that you may encounter. Observing your lawn conditions and checking for signs early on saves you the hassle of undergoing intensive treatments. Therefore, always look out for any signs of discoloration or weakness in your lawn. If the situation worsens and your at-home treatments are not as effective, then getting lawn care services will save your lawn’s beauty and health. The variety of lawn care services available in the market provides multiple treatment options and promotes healthy turf.  

Although if you are a practical lawn owner with a keen interest in lawn care and plants, here are ways to stay ahead of pests that destroy your lawn. You can go for chemical or organic treatments per your preferences to get rid of them. 

1. Grubs

White grubs (beetle larvae) are common and damaging pests that attack lawns. These are C-shaped white, plump larvae that attack the roots of your grass in spring, summer, and early fall. They cause irregular dead spots, brown and spongy, and the dead grass can be pulled out quickly, revealing white grubs on the surface. Crows, skunks, and moles feed on them. Hence if you see them more often on your lawn, this may be the reason. 

Solution:

The chemical treatment for white grubs is imidacloprid [1] in late spring to early summer. For organic treatment, you can use predatory nematodes. 

2. Chinch Bugs

These bugs have a variety of types that attack your grass, causing it to stop the absorption of water, which causes it to wither and die. They are black in color, hairy, and winged. If they are feeding on your grass, you will see scattered, large, irregular pieces turning yellow or brown. You will see less absorption of water when you rinse. Additionally, the grass has a reddish-purplish tint to it. The symptoms are most visible during the summers and can be mistaken for drought. 

Solution:

You can use the insecticides readily available to you. Good lawn maintenance, dethatching, and aerating can help you avoid these bugs.

3. Cutworm

Cutworm is a moth larvae that has multiple species and destroys your lawn. These are 2 inches long, grey-brown, with stripes across them. They lay eggs on the grass during spring and summer while feeding on the grass’s base. During the day, they remain underground, and at night, they come out the feed on the base of the grass. If you examine it closely on the surface of the grass, you can see its burrows. The shorter the grass, the more quickly it can attack it and leave dead spots on the ground. 

Solution:

Use insecticide with carbaryl, cyfluthrin, and permethrin [2] and apply it on the base of the grass for effectiveness. Spray during the late afternoon or evening as it is the time when they come out and get in contact with it. You can also use bran or corn meal with Monterey Bt (Bt-kurstaki) and molasses to attract and kill them.

4. Fungus Disease 

Fungal diseases hit your lawn in stressful conditions, so it can be disease pathogens or weather conditions which can lead to them. This means that your cool-season grass be hit by warmer than usual temperatures and vice versa; excessive rain, drought, and overcast can all lead to fungal disease infestation. These fungal diseases [3] may be brown patch lawn disease, dollar spot lawn disease, gray leaf spot lawn disease, leaf spot lawn disease, and many more. You see sunken dead grass, wilted and dark grass blades, and irregular patch growth. 

Solution:

Most of the time, adjusting your lawn practices can get rid of these diseases. This means adjusting the watering and fertilizing frequency and times. Additionally, aerating the soil can also help. It is better to get professional lawn care services to identify the fungus in your lawn. This will allow you to find the proper fungicide for the correct treatment. 

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5. Moles

When you have moles in your lawn, the most visible signs that you will see are mounds of soil and raised ridges spread in your lawn. Though these tunned, the moles pass quickly, searching for grubs, worms, and insects. Moles are partial to wet soil. Therefore they quickly take refuge in overwatered lawns making holes and pathways in them. 

Solution:

If you see signs of moles, take a break from overwatering and set traps for them. Apply beneficial nematodes [4], which will organically help you get rid of moles. You can also use pesticides available in the market to treat moles.

6. Armyworms

These are 1 – 2 inches long pests with different colors, from gray to yellow to pink. Armyworms transform into brown moths, which gravitate toward light. As their name suggests, they fight with your lawn, eating away the grass and leaving circular bare spots on the ground. During the day, they hide from the sun and come out in the evening to feast during the night. As a result, you are left with skeletonized leaves and sparse patches. 

Solution:

Organically you can treat them with neem oil. Make a solution with two teaspoons of neem oil, a gallon of warm water, a teaspoon of liquid, or insecticidal soap. Spay on the lawn leaves in the evening twice a week. The chemical pesticide you can use to treat them combines Bifen LP and Reclaim IT.

Conclusion

Pests and disease control are an imperative part of lawn care. At the same time, you can perform all the other maintenance tasks methodically, such as watering, fertilizing, aerating, and mowing. With pest and disease control, you need skill and expertise to identify the correct problem and its solution. Therefore, if you have severe pest and disease infestation, opting for professional lawn care services that diagnose the right problem and treat it effectively is better. Various treatments are available in the market that will enhance your lawn’s beauty and restore its health. However, you can also treat more minor and common pests and diseases, such as grubs, chinch bugs, armyworms, etc. These can be done through organic methods at home or with well-known pesticides. Pest and disease control is essential to save your lawn and efforts from being eaten away. 

 

FAQS

1. How to prevent lawn pests and diseases?

To avoid pest and disease problems in your lawn, you must take care of it properly. Hence you should aerate, water, fertilize, and mow timely and consistently. Keep a lookout for any signs of wilting and discoloration. Start the lawn treatment early on if you start seeing such signs. 

2. How are lawn diseases caused?

Lawn diseases are caused dues to fungi, bacteria, or viruses. The fungus is the most common way the various lawn diseases are caused. The fungus is caused by disease pathogens or stressful conditions on the lawn.  These fungal diseases may be brown patch lawn disease, dollar spot lawn disease, gray leaf spot lawn disease, leaf spot lawn disease, and many more. 

3. Can you treat lawn fungus organically?

Lawn fungus can be treated organically. For this, you need alkaline baking soda that helps kill fungus. You can spread baking soda on your lawn, mix it with water, and spray it on it. Additionally, adjusting your lawn practices can get rid of these diseases. This means adjusting the watering and fertilizing frequency and times. Aerating the soil can also help to promote soil health. 

4. How to identify lawn diseases?

If your lawn has any diseases, its appearance will change. It will have red or bleached-looking dry patches. Grass blades withered from the tips and red spores on shoes and tools. There are multiple types of lawn diseases. Hence carefully examine the lawn to find the right disease. 

 

References: 

[1]https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/imidacloprid

[2]https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/home-vegetable-insecticides/

[3]https://getlawnstar.com/blog/lawn-fungus-identification-guide/

[4]https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/beneficial-nematodes

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