A woman came in to the nursery last week with an unfortunately common problem in her back yard. After competently caring for her lush yard in the same house for over thirty years, she returned home from a 10 day vacation to find the grass was almost completely dead except for a few green patches.
Finding the source of all this type of lawn destruction in your own yard should be easy with a little investigation after reading this post. Homeowners lose their grass primarily for three reasons so you can usually pinpoint the problem.
Step one, look at the condition of the top of the grass. Determine if it is mushy or if the top of it is a crispy brown. A mushy greenish brown condition is a result of fungus problem. If the top of the grass is a crispy dried out brown, the problem is due to chinch bugs or grubs.
To test for Grubs, dig out a little horseshoe area of grass where it is still living, shake out the soil as much as possible to see if there are any little white grubs at the base of the grass. These worms eat the roots and therefore the grass blades get no nutrients and turn brown, starting at the top of the grass. Apply a product containing Dylox to your lawn. It is a granular product which is very easy to apply. Make sure you water afterwards.
If you don’t find grubs in the soil, the culprit is probably chinch bugs. They also kill the roots of the grass rendering the tops brown and crispy and it doesn’t take long for chinch bugs to devastate a yard. Use a product with Arena on grass with chinch bugs. You can read more about chinch bugs and their control.