drought or cinch bugs - Knowledgebase Question

Austin, Te
Question by bethans56
September 30, 2009
This drought has left 1/2 of my lawn dead. This large patch is brown and dry, with grass 'folded' over in a thick thatch. I attributed this to drought. However, we've now had rain but the brown patch seems to be growing. Now I wonder if it isn't cinch bugs or something else. There is, in spots, grass breaking through(St. Augustine). How can I save the rest of my lawn? Will cornmeal help w/ grubs?

Answer from NGA
September 30, 2009


Drought stressed lawns will go dormant and spring back to life when they get water. I suspect your lawn is not dead but has been waiting patiently for a good, deep soaking. You may be surprised at how green it will get now that fall rains are on the horizon. The more water your lawn gets, the more it will green up. Chinch bugs can cause yellow patches in the lawn and they are easy to detect - just stand on the lawn and run your shoe over the top of the lawn. Chinch bugs will jump up onto the top of your shoe. Cornmeal is a source of nitrogen and also a pre emergent weed control product. It will stop seeds from germinating and can control crabgrass and other annual weeds by keeping their seeds from sprouting. It is usually applied in the late winter or early spring to keep weeds from invading the lawn. Grubs can be controlled with a product called Grubex or Bayer Advanced Grub Control which is a slow release product. Both have specific application times so if you choose to use either product, be sure to apply according to label directions. Before treating for grubs, though, check to make sure they are even in your lawn. You can cut a square foot of turf out, pull it up and look on the soil surface and on the roots for fat, white grubs; less than six grubs per square foot can usually be masked by water and fertilizers. Populations between 10 and 15 per square foot can cause significant turf damage in September and October. Of course, populations occasionally reach 40 to 60 grubs per square foot and these levels can cause significant damage.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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