Many Manitoba lawns are showing signs of drought stress. Lawns suffering from drought will of course turn brown and go into dormancy. Lawns in dormancy have a uniform browning out and usually recover when rain or irrigation water is applied. However, if you have a lawn that's looking more brown than green with brown patches that are getting larger, you may need to take a closer look. Lawns that are stressed by drought conditions tend to be weakened and are more susceptible to weed and pest problems. One of the main culprits we are seeing in and around Winnipeg at this time is Sod Webworm.
A lawn that has Sod Webworm has some tell tale signs to keep an eye out for:
-Brown patches that increase in size - unlike dog urine spots that remain the same until repaired.
-Small white/tan/ brown moths that fly out as you walk through or mow your lawn.
-Lawn with more brown that green grass and hasn't performed well since spring.
-Thinned out looking lawn.
-Increased bird activity on your lawn.
-Skunk or raccoon activity in your yard - tell tale craters dug out when they are digging for grubs.
The best protection for your lawn is prevention.
Watering your lawn deeply at least once a week is the first step in prevention.
Lawns that are healthy and receive adequate watering and feeding can typically recover from sod webworm attack. We are seeing the webworms in stressed and healthy lawns now due to the levels of infestation. Misdiagnosing sod webworm as simple drought damage has allowed them to flourish in neighbourhoods.