20August 23, 2018

There is nothing finer than having a few cool days after a summer of hot and humid weather. However, the cool weather also gives us a cue that fall is just around the corner.

After the rainy weather of last week, many lawns have begun to green up again. Unfortunately, some of the lawns will have some brown spots that are surrounded by green grass. An insect called the chinch bug may cause those spots that you see. Chinch bugs love the hot and dry weather of summer. They usually will begin feeding near a sidewalk or a driveway. The chinch bug will feed on an individual blade of grass. Once they have sucked the juices out of the blade of grass, they will move on to the next blade of grass. The population of chinch bugs on a lawn can be huge and in short order they can kill off many blades of grass. If you think that chinch bugs may be the problem in your lawn, there is a test you can do to see if it is chinch bugs that are ruining your lawn. You will need a coffee can or a similarly sized can. You will need to remove the bottom of the can. Take the can out to your lawn and find an area of green lawn adjacent to the brown area. You will need to push or tap the can into the soil. Fill the can with water and if you see some black and white insects floating to the surface, then you will know that you have chinch bugs in your lawn. You will want to test in several areas to confirm that the insects are in your lawn if you don’t see any on the first test. There are many insecticides that you can either spray onto the lawn and there are also many granular insecticides that you can apply with a lawn spreader. Just be sure to apply the insecticide to the entire lawn. This approach will make sure that you are killing all of the chinch bugs.

The areas that have been damaged by the chinch bugs will probably need to be dug up and re-seeded in the fall.

Speaking of re-seeding the lawn, fall is a good time to re-seed your lawn. If you have dead spots from summer drought or if you just want to fix up a poorly performing lawn, September is a great time to apply lawn seed.

If the reason you have dead spots in your lawn is because the lack of water allowed the grass to die, you should dig up and remove the dead grass. At this point you will want to dig into the soil some topsoil or compost. Applying a thin layer of organic matter on top of the soil will not help you to establish a better lawn. The organic matter needs to be dug into the soil to improve the quality of the soil. Once the organic matter is turned into the soil, you can apply your seed and some type of a combination of starter fertilizer and mulch material that is sprinkled over the seed. Once you water those areas, the starter fertilizer will release into the soil and the mulch material will help to hold the water around the seed.

It is critically important to keep the soil moist at all times if you want the seed to sprout. On a hot and sunny day, you may have to water three times of more to keep that soil moist. This is why using a combination of fertilizer and mulch can make a huge difference in how often you need to water. The mulch material could make it possible that you will only have to water the newly seeded area once or twice a day. This material is commonly called Penn Mulch but there are many different brands on the market. We do carry this product in our store.

Once you get the grass seed to sprout, keep up with the watering of the lawn and soon you will be out there with the lawn mower cutting your new lawn.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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