Publishing on Wednesdays & Fridays

Yard Problems

A homeowner’s lawn is often a point of pride, especially in the south. There is nothing like the sound of lawnmowers cranking up to start the day. Often homeowners while mowing will notice circular brown spots on their lawn. There are three reasons that can cause brown spots to appear on your lawn, including pet urine spots, chinch bug damage, and brown patch disease.

Pet urine spots are common with people who have pets because they often return to the same spot to take care of their business. The brown spot will occur because of the high salt concentrations in urine, which can damage the grass on your lawn. The way to identify a pet urine spot is by monitoring the brown spot. The original spot will not merge with newly forming spots. As the new spot forms, the old spot will start to heal. Regular irrigation and fertilization of the lawn can help with healing pet spots.

Brown spots on lawns can be caused by chinch bugs. The chinch bug is an insect that attacks southern yards during the summertime. Chinch bug damage starts with a small spot with irregular edges. Chinch bugs often spread through the yard forming new spots. In many cases the spots will start merging to form a larger spot. One way to help identify chinch bug damage is to do the flush test. The flush test requires one gallon of water and one tablespoon of lemon-scented liquid dish soap. Mix the soap into the water and slowly pour mixture on the boarder of healthy grass and damaged grass. In about five to ten minutes the insects will come to the surface. Keeping your yard and soil healthy is the first line of defense against chinch bug damage. If there is significant infestation, chemical control may be needed.

The last brown spot commonly found on lawns is brown patch disease. Brown patch disease is caused by a fungus. Brown patch spots start off as round spots a foot in diameter and can spread to multiple spots throughout the lawn. The circles in general have smooth edges and can eventually merge across a large area of lawn. The causes of brown patch disease are excessive irrigation, extended periods of high humidity, and high rainfalls in a brief period. Two of the best defenses to battle brown patch disease are proper water management and nutrient management. Watering during the hours of 4:00am-8:00am can help prevent brown patch disease. Watering during these times allows for evaporation to remove any excess water during the day. Utilizing a slow-release fertilizer in the initial stages can help your lawn remain healthy.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 318-927-3110.

It is the policy of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service that no person shall be subject to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability.