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Using Organic Methods to Control Lawn Pests, Part Two

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Using Organic Methods to Control Lawn Pests, Part Two

Photo of a Grasshopper

Photo Alto Agency, Courtesy of Getty Images
Some pests in the lawn are performing tasks that help maintain a balanced ecosystem so learn to identify the good guys and protect them. The following "wanted" list is of common pests that do harm to lawns.

Mighty Mites
These tiny, 8-legged mites may be the cause for yellow grass blades and thinned, brown turf. Their sucking of the sap from the grass causes the blades to become straw colored. Mites attack poorly fed lawns during dry conditions so gardeners can prevent infestations by improving their lawn's soil fertility with compost and organic fertilizers and by keeping lawns well watered during periods of little rain.

Barnacle Billbugs
White grubs in the lawn that have yellowish-brown heads are probably billbug larvae, which feed on the grass stems and tunnel into the soil in warm weather to feed on the grass roots. In either case, symptoms of their infestations are brown shoots and yellowed turf. Watering deeply, removing thatch, aerating the soil and adding organic matter are excellent control methods in addition to overseeding the lawn with a resistant variety of grass.

Grazing Grasshoppers
Although grasshoppers chew on grass, they usually are not a serious threat to decimate a lawn. Commercial baits such as locust spores can be broadcast when the grasshoppers emerge in the spring although its control effect on the pest population may not be noticeable for a season.

Jiminy Cricket
Irregular brown streaks in the lawn may signal that mole crickets have invaded. Grass roots weaken and turn turn brown when these pests tunnel under the soil and begin feeding. Parasitic nematodes or milky disease spores can be applied as control measures. The lawn should be watered well before and after the application of nematodes.
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