Harmful Lawn Insects

Most insects are harmless to your lawn. Many more are beneficial to the overall health of your soil and in turn the health of your lawn. Other insects, if left untreated, can do a lot of damage— often in a short period of time. That is why at each service visit your lawn is checked for damaging lawn insects. Corrective or preventative measures will be taken if necessary.

Several insects are particularly damaging to your lawn: grubs, sod webworms, cutworms and armyworms.

White Grubs

The larval stage of many different beetles, including the Japanese beetle. The grub lives below ground and feeds on the roots of tender grass plants that soon kills the plant. They are most destructive mid-late summer, but the damage they cause may not show up until early fall and by then, it's too late.

The best time to control grubs is in early summer, just after they hatch. At this time they are very susceptible to treatment and just before they start causing extensive damage to your lawn.

If you suspect that your lawn has been damaged by grubs, give us a call. One of our trained technician can positively identify grub damage. However, like most things, prevention is the best medicine. We can treat for grubs BEFORE they cause damage to your lawn. Our specially designed lawn treatment is designed to kill grubs, and just grubs, as they begin to hatch from the eggs laid by the Japanese beetle.

Sod Webworms

If lots of sod webworm moths are observed in the evening, watch for damage in about 10 to 14 days. This is when their eggs begin to hatch into caterpillars.

These caterpillars chew off the grass blades close to the soil surface leaving brown stubble as damage. Early August is typically when we see the heaviest damage, although sometimes damage is also heavy in June. Insecticides should be applied to the surface of damaged areas.


Dull-brown, gray or nearly black caterpillars that are 1 - 2 inches long. Some cutworms are spotted, others are striped. Usually they hide in the soil during the day and feed at night. They are the larvae of night-flying brown or grayish moths. Cutworms occasionally infest lawns. They feed on the leaves or cut off the grass near the soil and may do severe damage to seedlings of bermudagrass, Bentgrass and ryegrass.


Destructive armyworms are the larval form of many moths that are commonly seen flying up from your lawn when the grass is cut. The armyworm feeds on turf grass blades, chewing them down to the ground before moving on to the next.

Several generations of armyworms can occur each growing season. If conditions are right, they can reach high populations in lawns and cause severe damage.

Lawn Diseases

Sometimes bad things happen even to healthy lawns. Lawn diseases are one of those things. Diseases are enough to perplex all of us to no end. Many lawn diseases are not easy to identify and to distinguish from other problems such as pests or poor maintenance. Much like human diseases, lawn diseases can be difficult to properly diagnose and even harder to treat correctly.

Here are some of the most common lawn diseases found in our area. If you think you might have a lawn disease please contact us at once. Lawn diseases can be hard to control, even harder to identify. Our trained technicians have been trained to identify and treat lawn diseases. Don't waste your time and money guessing at what's causing your lawn problems. Give us a call. We can help!

The best cure is an ounce or two of prevention. When that fails, it's time to call a doctor. Call Imperial Lawns. We have the experience, the training, and the knowledge to treat all types of lawn diseases. Call us today before it gets worse.

Snowmold is most common to Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescues where snow sits on the lawn for extended periods of time.

Brown Patch is most common to Bermuda, Kentucky Bluegrass, Centipede Grass, Bent Grass, St. Augustine, and ryegrasses in regions with high humidity and/or shade. Brown patch commonly starts as a small spot and can quickly spread outwards in a circular or horseshoe pattern up to a couple of feet wide. Often times, while expanding outwards, the inside of the circle will recover, leaving the brown areas resembling a smoke-ring.

Dollar spots are most common to Kentucky Bluegrass, Bent Grass, and Bermuda in humid climates. They get their name from their small silver dollar-like shape and usually look brown or straw-colored in appearance. Dollar spots tend to thrive during drought conditions with heavy dews and in those lawns with low levels of nitrogen.

Fairy Rings can grow in most grasses, and are distinguishable by circular rings filled with fast-growing, dark-green grass. Around the perimeter of the ring, the grass will typically turn brown and often times grow mushrooms. Fairy rings typically grow in soils that contain wood debris and/or old decaying tree stumps.

Rust gets its name from the orange, "rusty"appearance it gives leaf blades. Most commonly effecting ryegrasses and Kentucky Bluegrass, rust tends to flourish in conditions of: morning dew, shade, high soil compaction, and low-fertility. The best way to check for rust problems is by taking a white tissue or paper towel and rubbing a few grass blades through it. If an orange color remains, then it's usually rust.

Grease Spot can effect all grasses in humid climates and can be recognized by the slimy-brown patches that often have a white, cotton-like fungus around it. Grease Spot gets its name for the "greasy" appearance it makes while matting together and can appear in streaks across the lawn.

Red Thread is most common to Fescues, Ryegrasses, and Kentucky Bluegrasses during times of moist and cool weather. Red Thread gets its name from the pinkish-red threads that form around the leaf blades and bind them together. Eventually, the affected grass will turn brown and the red treads will be most visible when wet.

Grass looks as though it is sprinkled with flour. Kentucky bluegrass and shade areas are the most susceptible. Grass will wither and die.

Irregularly shaded spots of wilted brown grass. Cobweb-like mass of fungus on moist nights or mornings. Patches cluster to form streaks a foot or more wide.

Light green patches that spread, turn reddish brown and then die.

Brown to purple lesions (spots on blades. Irregular dying areas of grass lesions on grass in margins of dead area. Caused by excess nitrogen fertility and possibly excess thatch buildup.

Keeping your lawn properly watered

How much water does a lawn need? In general, cool-season grasses need about one to 1.5" of water per week to maintain green color and active growth. Allow lawns to naturally slow down in growth during extreme conditions. You may let the lawn go almost completely dormant in hot weather.

Many factors such as the soil and weather all have a role in the lawn's water needs. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

Decide before hand.

Decide before summer heat and drought conditions arrive, to either water lawns consistently as needed throughout the season, or let lawns go dormant as conditions turn warm and dry. Do not rotate back and forth. In other words, don't let the grass turn totally brown, apply enough water to green it up, then let the grass go dormant again. Breaking the lawns dormancy actually drains large amounts of food reserves from the plant.

When is it time to water?

The first few warm days of summer does not automatically mean to water lawns. In fact, allowing lawns to start to go under mild drought stress actually increases rooting. Watch for footprinting, or footprints remaining on the lawn after walking across it (instead of leaf blades bouncing back up). Grasses also tend to turn darker in color as they go under drought stress. Sampling the root zone soil could be another option.

Water as infrequently as possible.

Thoroughly water when you do water so moisture soaks down to the roots. Exceptions to this general rule would be for newly seeded lawns where the surface needs to stay moist, newly sodded lawns that have not yet rooted into the soil, or when summer patch disease is a problem. Otherwise, avoid frequent waterings that promote shallower root systems and weeds (e.g., crabgrass).

Water early if possible.

Given a choice, water early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. Avoid midday due to evaporation, and at night due to potential increased chances of some diseases. The exception to this guide is when you are in extremely hot weather and nighttime temperatures don't go below 68 degrees. Then it is better to water in the late afternoon or early evening, providing you don't have watering-time restrictions. Late in the day reduces the amount of evaporation that takes place during the very hot day, allowing more water to reach the root zone.

Spread the water uniformly across the lawn.

Sprinklers vary in distribution patterns, and require spray overlap for uniform coverage. Placing coffee cans or similar straight-sided containers on the lawn can help measure water application rates. Avoid flooding areas, or missing other spots. On heavy clay soils and slopes, watch for excessive runoff; it may be necessary to apply the water in several applications to allow for adequate penetration.

Water conservation.

To help conserve water, mow your lawn at a higher than normal height, avoid applying an excess of nitrogen as warm weather approaches, limit traffic over the lawn, improve turf rooting, control thatch and soil compaction, and avoid pesticide use on drought stressed lawns.