Dead turf can be caused by a number of reasons, including grubs, moles and salt damage. Finding the actual cause is key to solving these problems. You don’t want to just guess what caused your issue and move ahead with a treatment or potential solution. Not only will this be ineffective, but it will also cost you extra time and money, as well as create possible negative environmental effects.
To determine whether or not grubs are causing your dead turf, turn over the sod in a square foot of lawn area. Count the number of grubs. If there are five to 10 grubs per square foot in a lawn without irrigation, this is a high enough grub population to cause issues. Lawns that have irrigation can withstand up to 20 grubs per square foot.
Establishing a healthier lawn will help control and prevent these high infestations of grubs and the damage they cause. Grubs tend to be present in weaker turf.
Mow high for weed and grub control and allow clippings to stay on the lawn. You may want to mow your lawn as short as you can, but it really creates weaker turf that is more prone to infection by grubs and weeds. Once grubs are present, they begin to feed on the roots and then skunks are attracted and begin to dig up the grubs to eat them. Thicker turf doesn’t allow as much weed competition, so over time you will see fewer weeds within your lawn.
Also, make sure your mower blades are sharp. Research at MSU shows that leaving a taller top growth on your lawn of three or more inches develops a comparable and deeper root system. This deeper root system will make the lawn more drought resistant and better able to withstand other stressors.
Other smart lawn practices that will create healthier turf in lawns include mulching leaves into your turf, proper watering and low maintenance lawns. If you do choose to water your lawn, make sure you water in the morning rather than the evening. This insures the lawn will not have sitting water, which will be more inviting to fungal pathogens.
If you find your lawn is entirely brown and dead, this will not return to life.
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