This summer has been difficult. From drought to billbugs, this year has been a challenge for even the best turfgrass managers in the state. For a while, I felt like a broken record machine, just saying over and over that this year has been difficult and we need rain. Now (Finally) the time has come that our temperatures are beginning to drop, and the grass has started growing again.
The Current State of Lawn Care
During the dry periods, late May-July, we saw a lot of turfgrasses going dormant, or so we thought. A lot of what was causing the browning turf was the grass going dormant, however there were other culprits that were causing problems.
Billbugs did a number on many lawns, especially bluegrass lawns, in Ohio. These bugs were active during the same time the lawns were going dormant. A billbug is a small black bug that lays its eggs in the crown (brain center) of the turfgrass plant. The egg hatches and then the larvae will eat its way out of the plant causing often fatal damage to the plants.
As the temperatures have come back to normal, and rain has allowed lawns to break dormancy, we are starting to really be able to see the areas where billbugs were causing damage. Patches of dead grass, that seemingly have no strength are often the result of billbug damage. The best remedy for these areas is heavy aeration and over seeding.
Grubs are also starting to cause major issues to lawns. These guys hung on longer than anticipated mostly because of the lack of moisture. The recent rains have jumpstarted their activity. Grub damage is often noticed a few ways.
- Rodent damage- Skunks, Raccoons, and other rodents feed on these grubs and can tear up your lawn in search of the food source.
- Browning turf- If you have areas that are just now starting to lose color there is a chance that grubs are feeding on the roots. Grub damaged areas often can be rolled-up like carpet. Under that carpet will be “C” shaped white grubs. The grubs curl when exposed to light causing the “C” shape.
Grubs can cause fatality to lawns so if you suspect a problem, contact your lawn care provider as soon as possible.
There has also been a lot of damage just from the drought and extremely high temperatures. These areas will require seeding or sodding for proper renovation. Fall is the best season for turfgrass establishment. Use proper seeding and sodding techniques to renovate your lawn. Bare areas that are not renovated can be the perfect location for weeds to take over next spring. Look to fill these spots as soon as possible.
We can only assume that the rest of the year will be “normal” and we might just see a typical fall growing season. This round of fertilization will be crucial to determine the health of your lawn next season. Temperatures are right and root growth is ramping up, which will build a strong for next year!
Steps to a Fall Lawn Care Recovery
Weed Pro lawn care is ready to help you get your lawn back in shape! Our 5-Step Lawn Care Recovery guide will help you get your lawn looking great this fall and ready for spring next year! Click the button below to download.
Guest Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.