Brown Spots In Lawn

by Tony

More problem than I start over?

I had about twenty spots where either grubs or chinch bugs attacked my lawn. I dug up the brown spots and replaced this with scotts seeding soil. Grass comes up nicely in about seven days but after a couple weeks of alternate day watering the new grass turns brown and looks like it did before. What should I do?

Brown spots in your lawn can be caused by grubs but the areas often appear in irregular patches. If these areas are more like spots it is likely to be what is known as "dollar spot" lawn fungus (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa) aptly named because it is about the size of a silver dollar.

When you dug up these areas before, did you get a good look at the roots? If it is grubs you will see where they have been feeding. If you don't see any root damage and then it is another indication of a fungal problem.

Now I know that you have probably read that you should not be watering at night and avoiding over watering because it encourages conditions for fungus to propagate, so let me get down to it.

Diseases are anaerobic in nature and caused by a deficiency in nutrient, element or mineral and every combination in-between.
Start by mixing a solution consisting of 8 ounces 3% hydrogen peroxide and 8 ounces of white sugar per gallon of water. You can use a sprayer or a sprinkler can and apply it early in the morning under dew conditions. Repeat this every other day a for a couple weeks. That will treat the disease portion of the problem.

To help nourish the lawn and establish good bacteria and fungi, mix a batch of “green tea”
( ¾ of a 5-gallon bucket of horse manure covered in water that has been steeped for at least 3 days) and apply it liberally. By that I mean I would literally pour it over the affected area (This is great for the rest of the lawn as well)

If you reasonably sure that the damage is caused by grubs mix 4 ounces of castor oil and 4 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce per gallon of water and apply that once a week for two weeks. Do the entire lawn. Moles and voles have extremely sensitive receptors and this will send them running for the neighbors lawn. To kill the grubs, purchase a package of Nematodes from your local lawn and garden center and follow the directions.

There is really little concern about over application for any of the above mentioned remedies so don’t worry about second guessing yourself. This is also a good time to consider a top dressing of organic matter (compost) to your lawn. As always I encourage everyone to get a soil test done to get an accurate picture of what the current soil chemistry is. You can find soil testing information in the left column navigation area on every page of this website.

Al the best,

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