In my business I often preach to my customers concerning “proper cultural practices”. It’s rather simple to properly care for a lawn but it seems that very few follow the rules. Mainly, cut at the proper height for the type of turf, cut at the proper frequency for the conditions and keep your blades sharpened.
The picture attached shows two lawns. The one on the left is maintained by me while adhering to these three simple rules. The one on the right is self-maintained by the neighbor with poor mowing habits. He mows too low, not often enough and I have no idea the last time he sharpened his blades.
There is no fertilization on either lawn, the only difference is proper maintenance.
Due to the unprecedented amount of snow over the winter you may see slimy gray patches on your lawn. While it is caused by a fungus, it is commonly known as “snow mold”.
It can be treated with fungicide but this is largely unnecessary and since most fungicides are short lasting if the temperatures don’t exceed approximately 68°F the symptoms will most likely reoccur. Common practice is to rake the area to remove most of the diseased tissue and fluff up the lawn to allow the affected plants to dry.
One treatment that I do not recommend is quick release, high nitrogen fertilizer that can be used to “grow out” the trouble spots but can also contribute to succulent growth which causes the lawn to be more susceptible to not only the snow mold we are seeing now but also other lawn diseases.
At this time of the year many lawns can show the effects of hairy chinch bug infestation. Small, dead brown patches in turf grass are the result of their feeding.
Damage is caused from the bugs feeding on the sap in the grass blades. Grass blades turn yellow and then become brown and die.
Adult chinch bugs have a very distinct marking caused by the coloring on their wings. It looks like a small, about 4mm in size, black insect with a white “X” on it’s back. Immature chinch bugs will look red with a white stripe.
As the chinch bugs mature and breed, more and more turf may become brown and die. They thrive in hot temperatures and prefer full sun. You may see the damage stop at a shade line but they will progress into the shade. If left untreated they can and will kill an entire lawn. Common hosts are bluegrass, fescues, bentgrass, and zoysiagrass.
If you think you may have chinch bugs in your lawn please call (724) 698-5515 and set up an appointment to diagnose and treat your issue.