Brown grass could be drought or grubs at this time of most years. This year, however, we have had enough rain that drought should not be a problem. So, if your grass has brown spots, check for grubs.
The effect of grub attacks begin showing up in August. Grubs leave brown patches as they eat the roots, killing the grass plants. To find out if you have grubs, and how many, cut several one square foot pieces of green sod and roll it back. Count the number of grubs. If there are six or fewer, they are not present in sufficient concentrations to really harm your lawn. If there are seven or more, you should either spread grub killer on the lawn or call us to do it.
Most of the grubs we see in our area lawns are the European chafer. The larvae, which are white, crescent-shaped creatures, overwinter deep in the soil. In spring, they continue to feed and then pupate. In early summer, the adult beetles emerge from the soil and begin flying around looking to mate. We know these adults as June bugs – those big, brown beetles that fly into houses and cars. They are harmless to us, but soon lay their eggs in our lawns and begin the cycle all over again. August and September is the best time to treat; grubs are still small, living and feeding near the surface, and are more susceptible to control material.
If you have brown grass that doesn’t re-green after grub treatment, the first thing to do is to rake out the dead grass. If the area is small, the healthy grass will fill in the open space over time. If it is larger, you will have to re-seed. Be judicious in your fertilization, water and mow high.