Organic Lawn Problem Solver

Our lawn problem solver offers up safe solutions for lawn weeds, pests, and diseases.

By Gretchen Roberts

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Yellow Grass
This may simply indicate wear and tear, an iron or nitrogen deficiency, or that the grass is going dormant. Before attempting to treat one of these pest infestations, get your soil tested to determine whether organic soil amendments will green up the grass.

What Causes It

Billbugs
Billbugs lay eggs in grass, and their larvae feed on stems, causing yellow circular patches that appear drought-stressed.

Fast fix: Add organic matter and water deeply in spring to discourage billbugs.

Prevention: Reseed or overseed the lawn with resistant endophyte-enhanced grasses. (Check seed package labels for these special varieties.)

Chinch bugs
Chinch bugs suck the sap from grass, which causes yellow circular patches to develop.

Fast fix: Water the lawn well for three to four weeks to a depth of 6 inches.

Prevention: Reseed or overseed the lawn with resistant endophyte-enhanced grasses.

Bare or Ragged Patches
Heavy foot traffic or dog waste may be the culprit. If armyworms are truly the cause, you'll be able to see the pests eating your grass.

What Causes It

Armyworm larvae
Armyworm larvaechew grass blades down to the crown, especially during cool, wet weather.

Fast fix: Apply a solution of parasitic nematodes to the infested area; then water well. Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) is effective when the larvae are small.

Prevention: Rake out dead grass and reseed with endophyte-enhanced varieties.

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