COMMON LAWN PROBLEMS FOR TEXAS HOMEOWNERS
Any homeowner or business owner is familiar with some of the common lawn problems we face in Texas. Oftentimes, we find troublesome brown patches. This is actually pretty typical for any lawn, and it’s normal to see this from time to time. So long as you identify the issue before it spreads across your yard, it’s easy to minimize the effects and make your yard healthy once more.
SHADE STRESS IN SHADY AREAS
Shade stress commonly occurs when areas of your yard do not receive enough sun. Often, you’ll see the grass start to thin out. Moreover, you might notice that weeds begin to fill in areas where grass should be.
When you notice signs of shade stress, an easy solution is to choose a sod that tolerates more shade. For example, St. Augustine grasses do well in shady areas. Another option is to thin out branches in the trees on your property to allow more sunlight to pass through.
Moreover, you can adjust your mower to leave the blades of grass a bit taller. This can allow the grass to stay at the height required to reach the light.
WHITE GRUBS IN YOUR GRASS
White grubs feed on roots throughout the fall and summer months. When grubs infest a lawn, it is easy to lift it up, similar to pulling up carpet. You can test for grubs by cutting out one square foot of your turf so that you can inspect it.
If you see more than 10 grubs beneath your turf, one solution is to apply nematodes to any impacted areas. Nematodes are small worms that have a fondness for attacking grubs. Once you apply the nematodes, you should also water the area heavily.
TAKE-ALL PATCH FUNGAL INFECTIONS
This fungal infection rots the root system of your grass. In turn, this causes the turf to darken and thin out. Take-All Patch typically spreads in the spring and fall because the weather carries moist, cool air.
To combat this fungal infection, ensure that your yard drains well. You should also avoid using too much fertilizer. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid herbicides that weaken the grass, such as broadleaf herbicides.
WHAT IS IRON CHLOROSIS?
This common lawn brown tends to occur in alkaline soils that have high levels of phosphorous. Typically, grass blades take on yellow and green stripes. When you suspect your lawn has this issue, it is crucial to stop using fertilizers with phosphorous.
If you spread a thin layer of compost across the yard, it can help to provide relief from iron chlorosis. Iron supplements are also known to be helpful.
DROUGHT STRESS IN TEXAS
Whenever a drought hits Texas, you can expect to see grass blades start to wilt. In some instances, they also take on a silver color. Watering will reduce the effects of drought stress. Your best bet is to water thoroughly in the mornings because the lower temperature will lead to less evaporation.
However, some areas in Texas are prone to droughts. In these areas, we recommend Bermuda grasses because they tolerate drought conditions.
Another fungal infection is brown patch. Instead of rotting the root system, brown patch attacks the blades of grass in your yard. Typically, it shows up in circular patterns starting from late fall and into early spring.
One way to address this infection is to water early in the morning so that the grass can dry out throughout the day. Additionally, you should aerate your yard once each year and avoid using too much fertilizer.
FIGHTING OFF CHINCH BUGS
Chinch bugs resemble small black beetles. They are only about ⅕ inch long, but the adults have wings. Signs of an infestation include irregular patches of yellow grass. Typically, you’ll notice these near a curb or paved path.
When you want to test for these bugs, cut out the bottom of a coffee can. Near the edge of a dead patch of grass, push the can into the turf about one inch. Next, fill the can with water. If you have chinch bugs, they should start to float to the surface.
To fight off these pests, irrigate your lawn effectively and avoid using lawn chemicals. These chemicals tend to drive off natural predators, including other insects as well as birds. An insecticidal soap can help to treat infested areas, and you can also find other minimally toxic alternatives.