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How can I tell the difference between grass diseases and pests?

Posted by: Irrigation Outlet
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Green and brown grass

Brown spots on your lawn are not only unsightly, but they can be a frustrating issue to handle. When you diligently water your lawn, use the right fertilizers, and cut your grass to the right seasonal lengths, the last thing that you want to deal with are grass diseases or brown spots from pests. But how can you devise a treatment plan when it is hard to tell the difference between the two?

Identifying The Cause Behind Brown Spots On Your Lawn

Before you can decide if pests or a grass disease is attacking your lawn, you must first rule out any large animal or human damage. To do this you should complete the following checklist:

• Are your mower blades properly sharpened and set to the correct height for your grass?
• Have you recently tried using new chemicals on your lawn?
• Is your lawn overdue for a fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide treatment?
• Is your lawn turning yellow or brown? If it is turning yellow, then chances are that it is from a large animal, such as a dog, or other animal that likes to mark its territory. I Yellowing can also be caused by over watering, so check to make sure your sprinkler system is set to run properly. However, if your lawn is turning brown, then it is most likely from pests or diseases.

How To Tell The Difference Between Pests And Grass Diseases

The following types of grass diseases and pests can be easily identified as the culprit for your dying grass:


• Thatch —
Thatch is a buildup of decaying grasses. This buildup occurs when you cut your lawn and let the grass blades sit on the surface for too long. The leftover grass blades can block nutrients, water, and sunlight from reaching the lawn. To remedy this situation, simply remove the thatch if it is more than one inch thick.

• Grubs —
There are several types of grubs that can wreak havoc on a lawn from mid to late summer. These grubs are easily identified when you pull or dig up a portion of your lawn to see if you can identify the grubs that are eating the roots of your lawn and subsequently preventing healthy new growth.

• Chinch Bugs —
 Chinch bugs are another common summer pest, particularly in areas of the country with long periods of warm conditions. These bugs are identifiable as small black and white adults that will stick to your shoes as you walk through the grass. Chinch bugs are resistant to many types of pesticides, so be sure to use the appropriate product to target the chinch bugs.

• Fall Armyworms-
These pesky little creatures can devastate an entire lawn overnight. They can be found in stressed areas of the turf and will be brown to black in color with a distinctive “Y” shape on their heads. They may be hiding in the thatch layer, so look closely.

With these helpful tips at the ready, you should be able to more easily identify the pest or grass disease that is causing your lawn to transform into a patchy brown or yellow mess. For additional tips or advice on choosing the right lawn care products, contact the experts at Irrigation Outlet.