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Lawn Problems

Lawn Pests

Lawn pests can make extra work in the yard. Knowing how to identify and control lawn pests will make your life much easier when it comes to lawn care. Use the following charts to help with pests that attack ground turf and ground cover.

Use the following chart to help you identify and control pests attacking your ground turf.



­ Control

Lawn becomes spotted with yellow or brown patches in late spring or summer. The patches become large if left untreated.

Black insects, 1/4 inch long.

Apply insecticide in spring and when larvae are feeding on stems. Water lawn to wash insecticide into the soil.

Round or irregular yellow patches in turf during hot, dry summer weather. Dead patches rapidly become quite large.

Chinch bugs.

Apply an insecticide labeled for chinch bugs as soon as symptoms appear. Re-treat lawn at three-week intervals until control is obtained.

Stunted clumps of yellow grass appear throughout the lawn.

Downy mildew.

Apply fungicide labeled for downy mildew in early spring or when symptoms appear. Mow lawn when grass is dry.

Patches of dead turf appear in early spring and again in late summer.


Apply soil insecticide labeled for use for grubs in turf in early spring and late summer. Control adult beetle population in trees, shrubs, and flowers by handpicking or with recommended insecticides when they appear in late spring and early summer.

Hollow, long, trailing ridges of soil across the lawn, followed by decline of turf. Holes that lead to underground tunnels are visible.

Moles and voles.

Control soil insect population to deplete food source of moles. Use spike-traps when pests are active.

Large patches of St. Augustine grass decline and turn yellow; individual leaves become mottled with yellow. Turf becomes thin.

St. Augustine Decline (SAD).

Plant SAD-resistant varieties of St. Augustine grass. Control aphids, which transmit the virus. Keep lawn-cutting equipment clean.

Patches of yellow or brown turf appear as winter snows melt. Deteriorating grass mats together, turning pink or gray, while white, cottony growth develops.

Snow mold.

Apply a fungicide in early spring to prevent spread. Reduce water and fertilizer in the fall to prevent recurrence.

Small patches of dead grass in spring, enlarging throughout the summer. Grass blades appear to have been cut off in affected areas. Small tunnel holes are visible in affected areas.

Sod webworm.

Spray with insecticide in the evening when feeding larvae are out of their tunnels. Repeat applications until adult moths, larvae, and symptoms disappear.

Use the following chart to help you identify and control pests attacking your ground turf.





Growing tips become distorted. Leaves curl and begin to wither. A clear, sticky substance appears on leaves that may attract ants.


Wash insects from plants with a strong jet of water; or apply insecticidal soap or insecticide labeled for control.

Ajuga, English Ivy, Turfgrass.

Leaves turn yellow, and tiny, elongated white bumps appear along stems and leaves. Small, round, brown bumps also appear. The plant becomes stunted and loses its leaves.

Euonymus scale.

Use a dormant oil spray in early spring for prevention. Cut out severly infected parts, and spray with recommended insecticide until signs of insects are gone.

Euonymus sp.

Plants show decreased vigor, and leaves become speckled from loss of color. The undersides of leaves are covered with small black specks.

Lace bugs.

Spray the undersides of foliage when symptoms appear. Use an insecticide recommended for lace bugs. Apply three times at seven- to ten-day intervals.

Azaleas, Cotoneaster.

New growth is distorted, and foliage is covered with white, powdery substance.

Powdery mildew.

Spray with a lime-sulfur fungicide at 10- to 14-day intervals.

Ajuga, Candytuft, Euonymus, Periwinkle.

Foliage has irregular-shaped holes, especially near base of plant.

Snails and slugs.

Pick pests when visible; lay a board near the infested areas for slugs and snails to hide and collect them during the day. Shallow pans of beer will lure the pests and drown them.

Ajuga, Daylily, Hosta.

Leaves lose their green color, speckled with white. A fine white webbing appears between leaves and stem, especially on young tips.

Spider mites.

Spray with an insecticidal soap; or apply a miticide three times at three-day intervals.

Cotoneaster, English Ivy, Juniper.

Now you have the information you need to identify pests, and plant the healthy lawn you've always wanted.

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