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Brown Patches in St. Augustine Grass?

2242 Views 29 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  Trouthunter
My back yard started forming brown patches recently and I can't figure out what is causing it. Some of the spots look like someone poured gas on them. The spots are very defined, dark brown, totally dead and dryer than a popcorn fart. Other areas are just slightly brown and/or the blades of grass are turning yellow. I dug up a few spots looking for grub worms but didn't find any. I then sprayed some fungus stuff on the yard from Lowes last month and it hasn't helped. Can anybody recommend a product that they have had positive results from? Please hurry because it's spreading to my front yard!
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Chinch Bugs, Their Damage and Elimination

Chinch bugs are most damaging to St. Augustine grass. You may see them on grasses such as zoysia, Bermuda, and centipede, but infestations usually occur where high populations have built up on St. Augustine grass. Adult chinch bugs are about one-fifth of an inch long and black with white wings folded over their backs. The insect mates early in the season when the temperature reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The female lays eggs on roots, stems, leaves, leaf sheaths or crevices in nodes and other protected places. Eggs are laid over a 2 to 3 week period, with one female laying as many as 500 eggs.

The young chinch bugs ( called nymphs) develop into adults in four to six weeks. Nymphs are yellow upon hatching but soon turn red and have a light colored band across their abdomens. With each molt, nymphs more closely resemble the adults. There are 2 to 4 generations per year.

The chinch bugs insert their slender beak into the grass and suck the plant juices. As the chinch bug sucks the plant juices, it releases a toxin that causes yellowish to brownish patches in turf. Typical injury appears as spreading patches of brown, dead grass. This pest is a sunshine-loving insect and seldom attacks grass in a dense shady area. Discolored areas caused by chinch bug feeding that are in open sunlight several hours daily may be "hot spots" for chinch bug damage. Most homeowners will first notice dead patches of grass along a driveway, curb, sidewalk or foundation of the home, due to the heat emitted from such objects.

Because they can fly, it is difficult to keep an area free of chinch bugs if they are emerging from neighboring lawns, golf courses or nearby croplands.

Inspecting For Chinch Bugs

Scout turf on sunny days by slowly sliding your foot through the sod and watching for the bugs to crawl across your shoe. You can also determine infestations by using a large coffee can or gallon can with both ends removed. Press one end of the can about 2 or 3 inches into the soil, fill with soapy water, and watch for about 5 minutes. If chinch bugs are present, they will float to the surface. (This test will also bring molecrickets to the surface) It is very important to check areas where the yellowish spots and the green grass meet in several different locations.
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txgunrunner said:
after you treat it give your lawn 2 or 3 deep waterings per week as needed. some people make the mistake of watering too often for short periods. also water in the morning so what doesnt absorb in the soil evaporates off the grass during the day. good luck to you. peace
That's the whole key. Most people water in the afternoon and that lets the grass sit wet all night and grows fungus. Water early and alot twice a week . Make sure its a deep watering to make the root system healthy. This will help your yard big time.
Angler2407 said:
Save the Fung-away for October. If you do have any disease (which I have seen some with the rains) it will clear up as the lawn dries out.

Sounds like you have chinch bugs OR just drought stress. You don't need the coffee can to look for them. If they are there, you can see them scurrying about on the yellowing edges..

Treat your yard with bug killer QUICK!!!!
Use two to three times the recommended dosage.

Don't do this. Read the label and follow it. This is why you see more & more products up for elimination. Diazinon was showing up BIG TIME in Ft Worth's water supply years ago. They had to buy TV time to tell folks to quit using it. Now its gone too.

I have only seen a couple of bad cases so far this year. Both of them were down the street from Hulahopper in Spring Branch.
Stated like a true SPCB person! LOL where you getting your cu's from?
He's right though, read the label. Not that it will happen,but, not following the label is against the law and you could get caught. Even for a home owner.
heck treat it for both insects and fungus and save resoding cost. do it quick!
Ant bed that close use some IPM. Try this, use a shovel and get two different mounds. Put one shovel of one mound on one and then do the other. they will kill each other. Boiling water also but it will leave a brown patch. But it IPM friendly. LOL
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