Summer Drought & Insect Control

How to tell when turf is suffering from drought stress or infestation

Now that spring is over, and we are in the midst of higher temperatures and longer days, it is important to know the signs of summer turf stress. Whether it be from drought or insect damage, it’s imperative that you and your customers know the signs. This will allow you to identify what the issue is and treat their turf accordingly.

Signs of Drought Stress

A common first visible sign of stress your customers are going to notice will be turf that is starting to turn brown. To test if this is from lack of moisture, try pulling up on a patch of brown to get an idea of how deep the roots are. If the turf does not come up easily from the soil, it is suffering from drought stress.

You can also tell if your customers' turf is lacking moisture before it turns brown by paying attention to footprints or mower lines—specifically if they are leaving imprints in the turf. Before the color change, this is typically going to be the first symptom of a lawn that is suffering from drought stress but isn't as noticeable.

To tell if the soil is dry, take a screwdriver and push it into the ground in both a brown area and a green area. If it is harder to push through the brown area, the soil is dry and suffering from drought. Pay attention to patterns and shaded areas as well. If the turf is turning brown in areas that are unshaded or not being touched by a sprinkler system, these areas may need special attention to keep healthy during warmer months.

Signs of Insect Damage

One of the consequences that can come with drought stress is turf that is more susceptible to insect invasions. Knowing the signs of insect damage will help you treat their turf before it’s too late. Here are a few things to look out for.

Some of the same techniques we talked about above will help you discover if you are dealing with drought or pests. If you try pulling the brown turf up by the roots and it pulls easily, you are likely dealing with insects and not drought. The same goes for the screwdriver test. If it penetrates the brown areas easily, your soil is not dry but suffering from some kind of insect—likely a grub infestation.

To get ahead of any pest problems, we recommend using a fertilizer ahead of time that includes surface and soil insect control—like ProScape with Acelepryn or ProScape with Allectus. If the lawn has already been fertilized and you are looking for straight insect control, try one of our insecticides.

Identifying and understanding the issues that come with summer temperatures ensures that you are able to keep your customer’s turf coming back healthy and beautiful each year.

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