When it’s growing great – with lush, emerald green tufts that draw the eye from what seems like miles away – your lawn can be one of the most inviting parts of your landscape. When it becomes brown, dry, and starts to die, however, it loses its appeal and rapidly becomes an eyesore.
Sometimes, this is caused by environmental issues that can be tough for you to control or to prevent. In other cases, though, your sod might be looking a little under the weather because it’s being plagued by insect pests.
How do you know if it’s insects to blame? You’ll notice brown spots along with bits of grass that seem like they are dead or dying. The blades might seem wilted and you could even see bite marks on the blades of grass themselves.
Of course, the most telltale indicator of a pest infestation is seeing the insects on the actual lawn!
Here are four of the most common lawn pests and how to deal with them so you can restore your lawn to its former luster.
4 Common Lawn Pests – and How to Deal With Them
There are many kinds of grubs that can wreak havoc on your lawn. One of the most common is the white grub (Phyllophaga) which is technically the larval stage of many kinds of scarab beetles, like Japanese beetles and masked chafers.
These pests appear in the spring, summer, and early fall. They’ll feast voraciously on the roots of your grass, just below the soil surface. You probably won’t see them unless you dig up a section of lawn, but you’ll notice the damage. The blades of grass will start to wilt and the bits of turf that are damaged will be easy to lift off the ground. You may even see birds hanging out more often on your lawn, as they’re feasting on the grubs.
To deal with them, you’ll need to use a biological control (like an insecticide). Preventing grubs can be tough without applying a preventative biological control product.
Ants don’t technically damage the lawn – they just live there. However, ants can seriously affect your ability to enjoy the lawn, particularly if it’s a fire ant infestation you’re dealing with.
You can use insecticides to get rid of ants, but an easier way to prevent an infestation is to combine 15 drops of peppermint oil with a tablespoon of vodka. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and apply liberally wherever you suspect ants might be a problem.
Leatherjackets are the larval stage of the crane fly (daddy longlegs). They are most common in alkaline soils so putting down an acidic soil treatment, like iron sulphate, can help prevent a serious infestation.
4. Sod Webworm
Sod webworms are turf-damaging larvae of sod webworm moths. They are only about an inch long but will eat entire grass blades and stems. They leave behind brown grass in their wake. As with other larval pests, you’ll notice more birds hanging out on your lawn.
Prevent them by watering and fertilizing regularly to keep your grass healthy and consider using Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural bacterial control method, to get rid of them for good.
An Ounce of Prevention…
…is worth a pound of cure. Or so they say!
Take the necessary steps to prevent pests rather than spending all of your free time working to combat an active infestation. By being proactive in your approach, you’ll likely find that problems with pests and even with diseases are a thing of the past.
Kym Preslar is a bit of a gardening and home improvement fanatic. She’s been working on her garden for over 5 years and loves writing about everything landscape-related. Whether it’s keeping care of sod or the greenhouse, she’s been there and done it all. Currently, she’s enjoying her time working at SodLawn as their Content Manager.