Seven Worst Lawn Problems in North Texas – Part 2 This is a continuation of the article at Seven Worst Lawn Problems in North Texas Chinch Bugs Circular brown patches in the midst of your St. Augustine in middle or late summer are signs of chinch bugs. To find out if this is the case, try this trick. Cut both ends off of an empty coffee can, then push one end into the center of a dying brown patch. Fill the can with water, then watch. If you see small black bugs and larvae rise to the surface, then you likely have a chinch bug infestation. Perhaps their most disturbing feature is their mouth, which is specially shaped for sucking. They attach themselves to the base of glass blades and feed voraciously. As is the case with many pests, chinch bugs are dormant in the winter but become active as temperatures warm up. They can produce approximately three to five new generations each summer, enabling them to spread damage to your St. Augustine grass with surprising speed. This is another time when calling a lawn care professional is probably necessary.
They may recommend a turf builder, remove excess thatch or suggest other remedies. Wrong Choice of Turf grass Generally speaking, Bermuda grass is a great choice if you’ve got a sunny yard. Bermuda loves full sun exposure all day, every day. Most varieties of this grass are heat and drought tolerant, which makes it a great choice for north Texas landscapes. It doesn’t require a lot of watering it even during the hottest months, though basic hydration is still a necessity. However, if you’ve got Bermuda grass in a spot that gets less than four hours of direct sunlight every day, then you may have problems. That’s not enough time for it to properly photosynthesize. Less energy means weak growth, making the turf more susceptible to drought and disease and less tolerant of temperature extremes. If your yard is shady, then St. Augustine grass may be a winner for you. It tends to grow well under trees and in other protected areas.
However, St. Augustine still needs a few hours of sun exposure every day. If your once-thriving St. Augustine is now faltering, try cutting back or thinning your trees, as they may be blocking the sun’s rays from reaching the grass. Thatch buildup. Thatch is more than just old grass clippings. Usually, it’s a combination of dead turf grass crowns, dead roots and other debris. A layer of less than one-half inch of grass clippings is beneficial to your lawn, but more than that can inhibit growth. Thatch also harbors pests, mildew and diseases. Before you know it, your lawn is just barely surviving. If you’re dealing with excess thatch in a very small, contained area, try using a dethatching rake. Your problem may be solved with aeration and checking your soil’s pH balance. However, a larger yard or a more widespread problem will require a call to your lawn maintenance professionals. Improper pH Included in the seven worse lawn problems in soil pH. Is improper pH holding your lawn back from growing? Most lawn fertilizers contain nitrogen and sometimes also phosphorus and potassium. The amounts of each component are listed on the fertilizer label with numbers like 20-5-10 or 20-0-0. These numbers indicate, respectively, how much of the three ingredients are included in a particular formula.
If you have not tested your soil’s pH to know where you currently stand, then you don’t know if your lawn is effectively using the fertilizer you are putting down. Even if the nutrients are there, your lawn may not be able to take the nutrients up and use them. This can easily lead to giving your lawn too much or not enough of a certain component, which can lead to damaging to your grass. Any of these seven lawn problems can ruin the look of your lawn and cause it to require insect or disease treatments. Call us if you think you have any of these seven lawn problems and we will get you started on a program to bring your lawn back to health.