Gerry's Blog



Chinch bugs have spread out on lawns across this area. Chinch bugs thrive during hot summer weather and this year, we've had a lot of warm sunny days.

People wonder why the chinch bugs attack their lawn. Why don't they go after the guy two doors away who never cares for his lawn, has a pile of weeds and yet doesn't have any chinch bugs?

I believe the short answer is that chinch bugs like to eat at respectable lawns where the grass is green, the turf is tasty and the lawn is lush. If you were a chinch bug, where would you go for lunch?

The reality is that chinch bugs prefer lawns that are cared for. One of the risks of taking pride in your home and lawn is that you are more likely to get chinch bugs than the guy who doesn't care about his lawn.

The reason I say this is because of where I found the chinch bugs on a lawn with a septic bed. I was at a house in the summer, out in the country. I see the lawn with brown stripes running up and down the lawn, a few feet apart. Looks the septic line bed on the lawn.

Definitely chinch bug, I said to myself. But, let's check.

So, I wondered as I walked to the lawn, "Will the chinch bugs be in the lawn that gets fed from the septic tank lines? Or, will the chinch bugs be in the grass in between the septic lines where the lawn is drier and generally grows less?"

Well, guess what, the chinch bugs liked the nice lawn that was getting nourished by the septic tank lines.

So that's why I think chinch bugs prefer lawns that are well cared for. Lawns that receive more care, including more fertilizer, more watering.

 *Reminds me of that old story, where the art teacher looks at the student's blank paper and asks Johnnie what he's drawing. "Ì'm drawing a picture of a cow eating grass, Ma'am." "Well, where's the grass?" "The cow ate it all up." "Then, where's the cow?" "You can't expect to find a cow where there's no grass, Ma'am."

When looking for chinch bugs, don't look in the dead grass; look in the green grass next to the dead grass.


There may be other reasons why chinch bugs prefer your lawn to your neighbours.

1. Chinch bugs like the sun. If your lawn is sunny, the chinch bugs will prefer your lawn to a lawn that is shady. In fact, you may find that the less sunny spots in your lawn are less damaged by the chinch bugs than the extremely sunny areas.

2. Chinch bugs live in the thatch. That's the zone between the soil and the green part of grass. If your lawn has more thatch, it provides the perfect home for the chinch bugs to live and grow and lay eggs. Regular core aerations done annually is one of the best ways to keep excess thatch under control

3. Chinch bugs prefer certain types of grass species. They never go for the thick bladed grasses like quack grass, orchard grass, or crabgrass. If your lawn has a high population of these grasses- which by the way are not the types of grasses most people prefer for their lawns, then your lawn may retain some semblance of green even if the chinch bugs have been feeding on the finer-bladed, more desirable grasses.

4. Chinch bugs seem to prefer bentgrass more than Kentucky bluegrass. They will still attack the bluegrass, but bentgrass is often left in worse condition. This may be because bentgrass is prone to having more thatch. Or it may be that the bentgrass- being shallow rooted is more likely to show symptoms of chinch bug damage.

5 Chinch bugs are repelled by perennial ryegrass that have endophytes. When overseeding make sure to use a mixture that contains endophytic perennial ryegrass.


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Wanted Dead or Alive - Grubs

 Baby Grubs have Hatched

Grub treatment time is coming.
Inspected a lawn today, found chinch bugs, leatherjackets and baby grubs.
This guy was not the smallest one I found, but the one that stayed still enough to pose for his mug shot.
Although there was a fairly large patch of dead, brown lawn, I'm sure that the damage was due to the many chinch bugs crawling around. The white grubs are newly hatched. Yes, they may be starting to feed but I think it is unlikely that they have caused the damage that started 2 weeks ago.
Nematodes should be applied to lawns where there are grubs or where the risk of grub infestation is high. Nematodes have to be applied when the grubs are present. The difficulty for lawn care operators is that not all grubs will hatch at the same time. In the lawn above, the various grubs were different sized. A smaller one was half the size of the one pictured above. Treating too early means some grubs may be missed.
Please call if you have a need for a grub treatment.

What can I do with crabgrass in my lawn?


Some suggestions and tips -

Unfortunately, there is no longer a post-emergent product that can be used on crabgrass at this time of year.

Any top killers that will kill crabgrass will burn the lawn grasses as well, which tends to leave the lawn with temporary dead spots. That can look even worse than the lawn with crabgrass.

The good thing about crabgrass is that it will die when we get cold weather in October. The bad part is that they can produce a lot of seeds for next year.

Crabgrass starting to Infest a Lawn

This year, hand pull as much as possible

Make sure mowing height is at least 3" high. Crabgrass likes warm soil temperatures. The extra blade length provides a little more shade to keep the soil cooler. Going from a 2" mowing height to a 3" mowing height may not seem like much, but that extra 1provides 50% more grass blade.

The extra shade also reduces water evaporation, reduces the chance of chinch bug problems, and helps reduce weed germination.

Crabgrass tends to grow in the weaker and warm areas. The warm areas are along pavement and patios where the hard surface transfers heat to the soil adjacent. Make sure when trimming that the lawn along the edges is not trimmed too short.

Weak and thin areas - Thin areas allow the soil to get warm - warm enough to allow crabgrass to get a foothold. When the lawn is thicker, there will be less crabgrass.

Fall is a good time to thicken your lawn with overseeding. Mid-August through September is the ideal time to increase density of lawns. The night temperatures are cooler and water does not evaporate as quickly. This is Mother Nature's grass seeding season (and when the sod farmers do their seeding, too).

 Of course, regular and professional applications of a high quality granular fertilizer three or four times per season helps to increase tillering in Kentucky bluegrass...A fancy way to say it increases density and thickness.

 Next spring, consider using a crabgrass preventer to reduce crabgrass germination. The old crabgrass preventer is now banned. There is an organic alternative. Not as effective, and more costly. The pesticide product lasted for 12-16 weeks; the organic one lasts about 4 weeks. It will hopefully reduce crabgrass germination, but is not always fool proof.


Turf King Hamilton

If you have a lawn/tree/shrub that needs some Tender Loving Care - get The KING OF GREEN – The Lawn Care Experts

Turf King Home

Click here to Request a Quote Online -

or call us at 905.318.6677 or 1.888.TURFKING (887.3546)

If you would like more information, please Contact us

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Join our Facebook page

Copyright 2010 Turf King-Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

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