Keeping a lawn healthy and green in Texas is a challenge because of extreme climate conditions as well as a variety of destructive insects and diseases. The first step in solving lawn problems in Texas is correctly identifying the insects or diseases that are causing the problems. Quickly and efficiently identifying the source of the lawn problem will save time and money. Contact your local County Agricultural Extension Office for a list of approved pesticides and fungicides.
Chinch bugs appear in the hottest part of the summer. The problems first show up where the lawn meets a cement sidewalk or driveway. The chinch bug looks like a small stinkbug with a white dot on its back. It smells like a stink bug when smashed. To check for chinch bugs, cut both ends from a coffee can and place one end firmly in the yellowed grass and fill the can with water. The chinch bugs will float to the top of the water. Control chinch bugs with a variety of pesticides listed for chinch bug control.
White grubs are beetle larvae that feed heavily on the roots of a variety of Texas turf grasses. The presence of grubs causes wilted and dying grass that cannot be revived by watering. The grass turns yellow and dies. To check for grubs, dig up a 1 foot by 1 foot piece of damaged turf and look for grubs in the top few inches of soil. They are fat white worms about 1 inch long with a yellow or brown head. If there are more than 10 grubs in the square foot area, you have an infestation. Grubs need to be treated during the time of year when they are closest to the surface, which is different for each area of Texas. Consult your local County Agricultural Extension office for the proper times for pesticide application.
Brown patch is a significant fungal disease of Texas turf grasses. It shows up as irregular patches of yellow and brown grass then spreads rapidly throughout the landscape. Once the grass dies, it pulls easily from the rhizomes. It is prevalent during the moist and cool periods of spring and fall. For control, you need to identify the fungus properly, then consult your local County Agricultural Extension Office for a list of currently approved fungicides.
Take All Patch
Take all patch is the most serious lawn grass disease in Texas. It begins as a dying patch of turf grass that spreads throughout the lawn. It spreads from one lawn to another and on lawn equipment that is used to mow multiple lawns. Take all patch is often already established in new sod. Because it takes three to five years to completely kill the lawn, most homeowners are unaware where it came from. New sod must be treated with an approved fungicide soon after it is put down. Once again, consult your local County Agricultural Extension Office for a list of approved fungicides.