Turf pests and diseases

Lawns are usually the most visible part of our landscaping. So, when lawn problems start, it makes a big impact on the appeal of our property.

Insects are not a common cause of lawn damage in California, but certain species occasionally damage or kill turf grass. Insect feeding can cause grass to turn yellow, brown, or die.

Damage usually begins in small, scattered patches, which may turn into large dead areas.

The most common turf pests are:

  • Cutworms, damage appears as chewed blades or crowns of grass. Usually begins in small irregular spots turning into dead patches.
  • Sod web worm, also known as lawn moths, damage appears as brown thin, dying grass. Beginning in small patches extending many feet in width.
  • Southern chinch bug, damage appears as yellowish irregular patches of turf, then turns brown and begins dying in the summer months.
  • Grubs, are larvae of the Beetle, damage appears as dead patches of turf.

Landscape turf is vulnerable to a variety of diseases, the most common are:

  • Dollar spot
  • Fairy ring
  • Fusarium blight
  • Leaf spot
  • Pythium blight
  • Rust/Powdery mildew

The best way to prevent lawn diseases is to employ proper cultural practices that promote dense, vigorous, active growing grass. Healthy lawns resist most major disease outbreaks; this is achieved through proper irrigation, fertilization, mowing, and thatch removal.


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