I am having a problem with my lawn and hope you guys can help. Last year most of the houses in my niehgborhood had brown areas in theri grass. Someone put out a newsletter saying that it was a grub that eats the roots of the grass and the only solution was a bug killer. I didn’t pay much attention because I wasn’t going to pour somenameless chemical on and our wasn’t too bad.

Then at the very end of the summer right before winter frost our „got really bad” and it looked like the whole lawn was going to die. We hoped it was just the cold and waited until spring. Now it’s spring and our lawn is about half dead brown yellow dandelion ridden. Then, today one of our nieghbors came over and told us that they were one of the people who had the worst time last year and they think it was bill (sp?) bugs. They poored on a bunch of diazanon (sp?) and the grass came back. This year they called ChemLawn and their yard looks great. For all the reasons you already know I can’t just POUR on the diazanon but my husband is pretty competative and he acts like he is dying not the grass.

Does anyone have any ideas? Both for the brwon grass and for dandelions. He had a local company fertalize and he says what they used was organic but he didn’t get me information on it before they sprayed so I don’t know for sure. It’s not too much or too little watering because we just had the university come and do a study of our sprinkling system. Any information you can give me to hold off my husband would be gratly appreaciated.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for you as I read about your lawn problem. I know firsthand about Northern Utah and lawns because I have lived in Morgan and Weber Counties for most of my life. I recently helped a co-worker through a lawn problem he has. Unfortunately he had BOTH the grubs and a brown spot problem (called melting out disease or leaf spot) caused by a fungus at the same time. In his case, the present problems came about from improper watering and fertilization problems from last summer. What happened to his lawn was an extremely thick, dense layer of thatch had formed. (Thatch is roots that form above ground, and not an accumulation of grass clippings on the surface.

Most people confuse the two.) The fungus and grubs are harbored in the moisture and environment of the thatch. The fungus was further encouraged by the addition of Nitrogen fertilizer. The problem could have been avoided by correct watering practices last summer. Lawns that are watered often, but shallowly, encourage root growth right at the surface of the soil. This is the beginning of the thatch buildup. But, lawns that are watered infrequently, but deeply, send their roots deep into the soil, and therefore no thatch buildup. This type of lawn is much more drought-tolerant also. My friend had to resort to power-raking his lawn to get rid of all the thatch that was harboring the grubs and fungus. I hope his lawn can now outgrow its problems. Now, I am not sure this is what is wrong with your lawn, but you can see the importance of correct cultural lawn practices in order to prevent future problems. Your problem is a little unlike my own situation, in that your husband is „competing” for a green lawn.

In my country setting I don’t have to „compete” by having a perfect lawn. Therefore my ragged lawn has never suffered any disease ever, but it doesn’t look very good sometimes. But it is a functional lawn, not a manicured carpet. It’s too bad that the manicured look only serves to INVITE problems and diseases, and accompanying that is the temptation to turn to a bottle for a magic cure. BUT…… I do have one suggestion that I would like a little feed-back from people in the group about. Your problem could be aggrivated by a common practice of many, many homeowners. You problably have a poor-performing variety of grass. This happens to many homeowners right at the time they first start their lawns. Of course they are always in a hurry to get a lawn started, and skimp on the soil preparations, BUT, just as bad, they are also always on a budget and get the cheapest grass seed available. A cheap grass will NEVER perform well, no matter how much you baby it. A good variety of grass will be a mixture of at least 3 different varieties, and the better grasses will be a blend of 5 or more varieties! This helps insure that one or two varieties will perform well in your unique situation, be it sand or clay, sun or shade, or whatever.

This is why it is such a good practice to OVERSEED your present lawn on a regular basis. This can introduce new varieties to your old varieties, and therefore take advantage of the latest-developed strains that are hardier and disease and pest resistant. Overseeding can be done by first aerating heavily, and broadcasting the seeds over the aerated surface. It helps to sprinkle some peat moss or soil pep over the seeds if heat and water conservation is a concern. After broadcasting the seeds, the lawn must be kept moist for a couple weeks, so this is best done early in the spring when Mother Nature helps with the moisture and germinating part.