Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lawn is still Brown

i am one of your customers, and am a little disappointed in the results of my lawn.  it has a large brown patch.  we seed the area regulary as suggested by your company, however the lawn is still brown.  we have been told we have cinch bugs, however the lawn doesn't seem to get better.  Is there anything we can do to improve the situation ?  My neighbours do nothing to their lawns, but they seem to be greener then mine.

Thanks for your email.We appreciate hearing your concerns and about your lawn but are sorry to hear that you are have some concerns.

Chinch bugs can be a tricky insect. There used to be a product that could be put on early in the summer. Once applied, your chances of having a chinch bug problem was reduced to about one in 50.

Nowadays, with the organic type products, applications are not of any value unless chinch bugs are present. In other words, prevention is no longer possible. Putting on a product before the chinch bugs appear on the lawn will not prevent them. Once chinch bugs get on the lawn, the organics will reduce their population to the point where damage should stop.

However, depending on how much damage has been done to the lawn, the lawn may or may not recover from the damage. Chinch bugs suck the sap from the grass plants. If the damage is minimal, the plants will recover and turn green again. If the damage is severe, the lack of sap can cause the death of the plant. Then even when the chinch bugs have been treated, the dead grass will not turn green.

This year with the severe drought in July, the grass plants were being stressed on 2 fronts. Drought and insects.

If there are patches that are slow to recover, the best seeding time of the year is just ahead. Late August  through to the end of September is the ideal time to improve the lawn by seeding. The nights are cooler, the morning dew is heavier, and if we do get rain, it is less likely to evaporate as quickly as it might earlier in the summer.

There are a number of different way to overseed. Many people will spread a thin layer of black soil on the damaged or thin areas in the lawn. Then spread the grass seed on the soil. Rake the soil lightly to disperse the seed so it is just under the surface. Water 1-2 times daily for 2-3 weeks. 

Make sure to use a high quality grass seed mix. Even better, make sure that the mix contains endophytic perennial ryegrasses that will resist chinch bug damage.

Another way to seed the lawn- (and this is the way we would do it) is to do a core aeration on the lawn and then overseed. The seed falling in the aeration holes is protected from drying out as quickly. It will almost certainly germinate. This method is less labour intensive and therefore less expensive that spreading topsoil around.

As to why you have chinch bugs and your neighbours don't- see

We will send out someone to take another look