In Bloom

<< Back to Articles

Ask Burton: Q: I have a St. Augustine lawn and it looked terrible by the end of last year. I had large dead patches across my front yard, and the strip between the sidewalk and the street looked like I’d sprayed it to kill it intentionally. Small parts of my lawn are starting to green up now, but those patches look like they’re not likely to come back. What should I do? And how do I stop it from happening again?

Posted on March, 15

A: You almost certainly were visited by chinch bugs last year. St. Augustine lawns are their favorite meal, and they did a lot of damage last year. And yes, they do make your lawn look like you haven’t watered it in ages. Chinch bugs suck sap from your grass, and worse yet, they inject a poison as part of their feeding that blocks the turf’s ability to move moisture throughout the leaf blades and runners; thus, the dried-out turf.

Chinch bug control is best achieved by a combination of proper mowing – keeping the turf mown short and regularly – and chemical control as needed in warmer weather. Keep your St. Augustine mowed to a 2″ height, and mow weekly if possible. Over-tall grass builds thick thatch, conducive to chinch bug infestation. Have your lawn aerated if the lawn thatch is thick to help break up thatch layers.

If necessary, and you should probably consider it necessary this year if your lawn was badly damaged last summer, apply our Bonide Insect & Grub granular insecticide starting in mid- to late May. Smaller areas of damage will eventually grow back together. Larger areas will likely need fresh sod added to look good again in a useful length of time.


Adult Chinch Bug (Tiny)

Life Cycle Of The Chinch Bug