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If you’re noticing brown spots, weeds, and sporadic grass growth in your lawn, chances are some pesky pests are the culprit. Insects and even microbial organisms can create a lawn’s downfall. Identifying what kind of critter is wreaking havoc on your lawn is the first step to keeping your lawn healthy and looking its best.

1. Chinch Bugs

Appearance

Chinch bugs are small (1/8 inch) and dark gray with white wings. The young ones of this species are reddish-orange and almost impossible to spot.

Damage

Chinch bugs spread quickly and populate in large numbers. They damage the grass by sucking out the moisture from the blades and injecting toxins. This leads to the wilting of grass and eventually death.

Solution

The best way to eradicate chinch bugs is by using specific insecticides available in the market. Make sure to follow the instructions on the container for proper application and safety measures.

2. Armyworms

Appearance

Armyworms are caterpillars with a dark green body which are approximately 1 – 2 inches long. The larvae of this species have stripes along their body with a reddish hue.

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Damage

Armyworms start to feast on grass blades as they grow, and can strip entire large areas of grass fast. The telltale signs of armyworm damage are usually branches and stems chewed up to the crowns, leaving just the stolon.

Solution

You can use an insecticide specifically designed for armyworms and other caterpillars, making sure to follow the directions carefully. Additionally, a biological pest control like Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is also an effective control for armyworms.

3. Sod Webworms

Appearance

The adult sod webworm is a light-brown moth with feathery antennae. The larvae are cream and yellowish-green 1/2 inch worms with a dark head and striped body.

Damage

The sod webworms start to feed on the grass blades, leaving small light patches on the lawn. This continues till the entire grass is devoured.

Solution

Using an insecticide specifically designed for sod webworms works best as it not only kills the worms, but also the eggs. Applying an insecticidal soap also works for smaller populations of the pest.

4. Grubs

Appearance

Grubs are white or yellowish-white, curl up in the “C” shape and are usually 1/2 inch to 1 inch long.

Damage

The larvae of these beetles eat the roots of grass, leading to the grass drying up, especially during drought or hot summer.

Solution

By using a lawn insecticide spray such as neem oil, you can control large populations of grubs. You can also use beneficial nematodes to get rid of grubs in your lawn.

5. Ants

Appearance

Ants are usually small, brown or black in colour.

Damage

Ants usually cause damage to your lawn by tunneling through the grass, leaving small holes, or by foraging for food, which can leave your lawn looking patchy and dry.

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Solution

The best way to eliminate ants from your lawn is to use an insecticide specifically designed for ants and to follow the instructions on the label. Baits can also be used to control ant populations.

6. Moss and Algae

Appearance

Moss is thick green grass-like vegetation grown on the ground. Algae are dark green plants that can acquire a slimy feel.

Damage

Excessive moss and algae growth happens in moist and shady areas where grass has difficulty growing. This growth can block out light, strangling out grass from receiving enough sunlight and take moisture away from the soil as well.

Solution

Making sure to keep your grass dry and providing adequate sunlight should help in reducing moss and algae growth. There are also fungicides available specifically designed for moss and algae.

7. Fungi

Appearance

Fungi grow in caps on dead and rotting matter, such as leaves and branches. They usually have a slimy texture with an earthy smell.

Damage

Fungi can cause diseases which can result in the browning of grass and leaving patches of it completely dead.

Solution

You can use fungicides to effectively manage diseases caused by fungi, but make sure to apply the fungicides when the fungal infection is first noticed.

8. Nutgrass

Appearance

Nutgrass are small, light-green plants with dark yellow flowers. They have an underground tuber that can spread quickly.

Damage

Nutgrass can establish rapidly, forming vast underground systems that compete for nutrients, moisture, and space with the grass. It is also difficult to get rid of nutgrass as it easily spreads from the roots.

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Solution

You can try to get rid of nutgrass by manually digging out the tuber from the ground. Applying a selective herbicide can also be helpful.

9. Weeds

Appearance

Weeds are wild plants that often have bright, showy flowers and are extremely hard to get rid of.

Damage

Weeds often take over the grass, robbing it of all the nourishment and leaving it looking sparse and patchy.

Solution

You can use herbicides to control the spread of the weeds. Make sure to apply the herbicide when the weeds are actively growing. Additionally, regularly mowing your lawn and watering it adequately can also help combat weeds.

10. Insects

Appearance

Insects usually have two sets of wings and three sets of legs, depending on the species.

Damage

Insects feed on the grass blades, making the lawn look dry and patchy.

Solution

You can use an insecticide specifically designed for lawn insects and make sure to follow the instructions for proper application and safety. Additionally, you can apply beneficial nematodes to control the spread of the insect population.

People Also Ask

What is the most common lawn pest?

The most common lawn pests are grubs, chinch bugs, and weeds.

How do I keep pests off my lawn?

To keep pests off your lawn, you can use insecticides and herbicides designed specifically for these pests. Applying beneficial nematodes and regularly mowing the lawn can also help.

What causes spots on lawn?

The most common causes of spots on a lawn are typically insects and weeds, but fungi and over-watering can also cause damage to the grass.

Can too much water cause spots on a lawn?