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5 Common Lawn Pests

Avoid these bad guys or they might get your lawn


5 Common Lawn Pests
photo © Kelly Burke

Lawn pests come in all forms, whether it's invading weeds, opportunistic lawn diseases, or root-munching insects. The roll call of potential lawn pests is as extensive and varied as the ways of controlling them. Always start with an Integrated Pest Management program even if it's very basic. These five lawn pests vary in the damage they cause, but are so common that almost every lawn owner has had to deal with at least one of them.

Crabgrass - Weeds are indeed pests and crabgrass is among the most popular and prolific of them all. Opportunistic crabgrass will invade bare areas, loves compacted soil, and can take over an entire lawn if left uncontrolled. The best way to control crabgrass is to take away it's advantage and grow the healthiest lawn possible, pre-emergent herbicide is also popular for season-long suppression of crabgrass. Read more...

Dandelion - Another popular lawn weed that can be quite persistent. For centuries our ancestors have been using dandelions for food, drink and medicine, now it is little more than a common lawn weed. Instantly recognizable by it's jagged leaves, yellow flowers turning to puffball, and stubborn tap-root, it can be controlled by hand-pulling or spot-sprayed with weed killer. Read more...

Lawn Grubs - These guys can sneak up on you, eating the roots of the lawn for weeks until one day birds and skunks destroy the lawn in a huge grub feast. As with most lawn pests, maintaining a healthy lawn is the best way to avoid lawn grubs. If you discover grubs in the lawn, be sure they are present in high enough numbers to warrant using insecticide. Lawns can also be inoculated with nematodes or fungus to provide natural predators rather than harmful insecticides. Read more...

Brown Patch - Lawns become susceptible to diseases like brown patch during several consecutive days of high humidity, high night-time temperatures, and excessive moisture. A lawn is even more threatened by disease when it is under various other stresses. While you can't control the weather, it is important not further stress the grass by aerating, de-thatching, mowing too low, or over-watering. Read more...

Red Thread - Not an overly harmful lawn disease, red thread is usually just an indicator of low soil fertility. It can look a little like brown patch so take a closer look and try to find tiny red, cottony, threads within the damaged turf. Red thread tends to show up in early summer as the grass is using the last of the available nitrogen in the soil and desperately needing more. Rather than treat red thread with pesticides, it will fade away once the lawn has been fertilized. Read more...

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