Why Your Lawn May Be Turning Brown This Summer Part 3

By Allyn Paul, filed under Lawn Tips.

I have been helping you guys figure out reasons why your lawn might be turning brown this summer. I first talked about lack of irrigation, and then I explained why mowing might be the cause. If this isn’t answering it for you, maybe the issue is insects; but which kind?

Grub Worms

Grub worms attack lawns from Southern Wisconsin all the way into Florida with devastating results. I have seen entire lawns completely killed by these little white larvae that look like shrimp under the lawn.

There are a couple ways to identify them and one is timing. If you are seeing brown spots in your lawn and it is mid-to-late May, then it is definitely not grub worms. Grubs attack the lawn during the summer and the damage most typically won’t appear until later August at the soonest.

Of course, you can also dig up the lawn and find the little buggers and that proves it right there.

Sod Webworm

Sod webworm can do some pretty serious damage to Northern and Midwestern lawns. You almost will never actually find the larvae worms that are feeding, but you will see the adult moths flying up from the turf as you walk through it. Sod webworms can and will do a lot of damage if left alone.


I see billbug damage in June and July mostly, but have seen it persist into August. Billbugs look very much like grubs under the turf and the grass will peel up like carpet just like with grub worm damage. The way you can tell billbugs is their larval grubs do not have legs like June Bug or common grubs.

The good news with all of these guys is that a quick application of insecticide can clear them up pretty quickly. Once you apply the product, start watering so the grass can recover.


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