Posts Tagged ‘brown spots’

Chinch bug alert

Published by mrgrass on August 13th, 2013 - in Lawn Pests, Bugs & Insects

We have noticed elevated chinch bug activity in NH this summer, especially in the New London area.  Any unusual browning surrounded by healthy green grass is suspect and may have chinch bugs.  Brown spots may appear as small pockets or larger patches and they will slowly grow in size.  If your lawn has unusual browning that just does not look right, please give us a call or e-mail for a free consultation.

A healthy green lawn surrounded by defined brown patches can spell trouble.

A healthy green lawn surrounded by defined brown patches can spell trouble.

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July & August can bring out the worst in a home lawn

Classic mid summer crabgrass outbreak

Midsummer weather can put even a great looking lawn into a slow dive of despair without careful attention.  As the heat kicks into high gear, soil temperatures reach their smoking point and crabgrass seeds begin germinating in earnest, popping like corn in a microwave.  Limey green crabgrass plants appear virtually overnight exposing vulnerable areas along driveways, patios, walkways, mailboxes among others.  Where did they come from?  How can they grow so fast?  Ah, the games have just begun!

If you have not watered and your lawn is cut short, now is when your thin lawn becomes choked out with crabgrass plants the size of small cars.  During hot, humid weather, cool season grasses will stop growing, sitting idle while crabgrass seemingly grows an inch an hour, basking in the searing July heat.  A weak or thin lawn, or those lacking a pre-emergent crabgrass barrier, are now at high risk for a crabgrass invasion that will only cease when school reopens.  While post-emergent sprays do exist, spraying at this stage is like using a garden hose on a house fire: it’s best just to let nature take its course.  Measures should be taken in the fall such as aeration, overseeding, lime, and turf thickening fertilizers to help prepare the lawn for the following spring.  A healthy lawn resists this invasion, and although areas may see some crabgrass, it will not be to the point where one could harvest the greenery for salads.

Damaged lawn

A casual glance toward the interior of your lawn may reveal disturbing patches and blotches of varying sizes and colors ranging from brown to white.  How can this be?  What went wrong?  Like a good CSI episode, it is time for the facts to speak and rule out the guessing.  These issues generally fall under environmental stress such as heat, sun scald, or some other non-pathogenic source.  Ruling out diseases can be very tricky depending upon the weather, timing, and location of injury.  This summer has seen a significant upswing in disease-related damage ranging from pits and scars, to unusual patches.  Preventative measures can be taken to help clean up your lawn with either traditional or organic treatments.  Insects are perhaps the easiest to detect given their predicable nature and timing during the season.  Now is a perfect time to treat for grubs, sod webworm, and chinch bugs using either organic or traditional materials.

Doing some simple things properly for your lawn during the next 6 weeks can reduce unsettling issues arising from disease, insects, and environmental stress.  Summer is generally not the best time to spray for difficult to control broadleaf weeds like ground ivy and violets since high heat and low soil moisture content reduce product effectiveness.    If you think you have an invasion at your house, get it checked out and maybe there is a solution to either stop the problem or slow the damage.  Don’t let your lawn scare the neighborhood children – plan ahead and keep it clean and green!

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July lawn tips, what to do when you take a vacation

A few easy steps can save your lawn during summer vacation

July is a month where your home lawn can be easily neglected due to many New Englanders seeking out the beach or mountain lakes on summer vacation.  There is a short checklist that can prevent some issues and provide peace of mind while you are away enjoying those early morning beach walks.

Before you depart, make sure your lawn is cut the day before you leave if possible.  If you have a mowing service, the task of mowing is not really an issue.  If you mow yourself, a cut the day before will normally give you a solid 7 to 10 day time frame in which to return without the lawn having grown too long.  In fact, during a hot July period, it is better to go 2 weeks without mowing if the air temperature is in the 80’s and rainfall is absent.  If you return and your grass is really tall, such as over 6”, removal of your clippings is recommended or be sure to rake up the rows of cut grass.

Have your lawn inspected for insect activity; left unchecked, under ideal weather conditions you can lose a lawn in days without curative action.  I have seen a number of lawns with sod webworm damage with the characteristic tan moth taking flight as you walk near.  These small patches are fist size in nature and can coalesce into larger stripes or patches if not treated during the summer months.

Although this season has been on the humid and warm side, promoting diseases over insect activity, a professional lawn evaluation is worth the peace of mind.  If your lawn has confirmed disease issues, it may well be worth a fungicide application to “clean things up” during the July/August period where serious injury can occur.  Summer diseases can easily appear to be drought or insect activity.  Hot weather and warm nights can bring on blotches and spots in mere hours without you realizing the culprit.  You may awake and look out the kitchen window only to ask “Those patches were not there yesterday, were they?”  Thatchy lawns are particularly prone to summer patch diseases, manifesting as scars and pits when placed under stress.

Irrigation or lawn watering is helpful during dry periods but is not necessary during a standard summer vacation.  If you have a sprinkler system or a friend to water, be sure to water in the am or day versus late afternoon, thus minimizing disease issues.  As always, infrequent deep watering is preferred over frequent light watering to promote deeper root systems and minimize disease.  A 1hr watering every other day is generally preferred over a daily 15 minute watering.  Don’t let your lawn stop you from enjoying a great July summer vacation.

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