The best way to prevent damage from lawn pests is to keep grass healthy. Healthy lawns require few, if any, insecticide treatments. |
Good cultural practices are the primary method for managing insect damage to lawns. Growing appropriate grass species for a particular location and providing lawns with proper care are especially important. Practices such as irrigating and fertilizing have a major impact on lawn health. Physical controls, such as thatch removal, choice of mowing height and frequency, and providing grass with more light by pruning tree branches, are also important in certain situations. Naturally occurring biological control may limit some insect pests.
Insecticides should never be applied unless a pest is identified and detected at damaging levels. If insecticides are necessary, choose materials that have minimum impacts on beneficial organisms and the environment.
Insects are not a common cause of residential lawn damage, but certain species occasionally damage or kill turfgrass.Insect feeding can cause grass to turn yellow or brown, or die, especially if the grass is already stressed. Damage usually begins in small, scattered patches, which may merge into large dead areas. However, lack of proper cultural care and use of inappropriate grass species in a particular location are more likely responsible for unhealthy or dying lawns than insects. Disease-causing pathogens, excessive or inappropriate use of chemicals such as fertilizers and herbicides, and dog urine also produce damage resembling that of insects. Before taking any insect control action, be sure that it is insects causing the problem and not something else.
Insects that may cause damage include various root-, crown-, and leaf-feeding caterpillars; white grubs, which are the larvae of scarab beetles such as the black turfgrass ataenius and masked chafers; billbugs, which are weevils with white, grublike larvae; and chinch bugs, which are true bugs in the order Hemiptera. Each species produces somewhat different damage symptoms and must be managed differently. Many other insects may be observed while examining grass. However, control is rarely or never needed for most types of insects because they are harmless or beneficial. Keep your lawn healthy using good maintenance practices.
* Prevention of pest problems is the best approach to maintaining a healthy lawn: o Use correct fertilizing, liming, aeration, mowing, top dressing, overseeding and irrigation practices. o If a few weeds appear, pull them by hand. o Beneficial insects can keep pest insects in check. * Healthy lawns are: o Less susceptible to pest damage; o Less affected by drought, temperature extremes and general wear and tear; o Able to be maintained without using herbicides or other pesticides
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