The Q&A Archives: Dead grass

Question: Large patches of dead grass are showing up in my St. Augustine lawn. Someone suggested it might be caused by chinch bugs. How can I determine if it is true and what can be done to correct this problem ?

Answer: Chinch bugs feed on the roots of the turf so try peeling up the affected turf to see if there are any roots left. Just cut a straight line with the blade of the shovel all around one of the dead patches and then try rolling up the sod. If you can peel it away, the root damage is most likely from chinch bugs. A product such as Spectracide should work to control the pests.

A well fertilized and nutrient-rich area can withstand a chinch bug attack. Thus, good lawn care is the best prevention against chinch bug damage. Understanding chinch bugs, the conditions they favor and their life cycle is very helpful in control. Keep the lawn well fertilized and take caution not to add too much or too little nitrogen. Use proper mowing techniques which include cutting grass two inches high, removing thatch, maintaining proper moisture levels, avoiding water buildup, aerating the lawn if it is compacted.

Best wishes with your lawn.

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