The first order of business is to determine what’s eating your gorgeous St. Augustine. Chinch bug infestations resemble drought or brown patch, so you just need to throw down some fertilizer and water, right? Nope, that’s not going to work. You’ll need to find someone who uses the best product available and knows how and when to apply it. Could be you or could be a turf expert – the choice is yours!
Background: Chinch bugs love excessive nitrogen in fertilizer and areas of drought-stressed turf. Plus, some populations have built up resistance to treatment over the years. They are a major pest in zones 8 through 10.
Tips: The best indicator of chinch bug presence is yellow-brown, nearly dead-looking thatch patches now through late-summer. But just to be sure, place a coffee can with both ends removed around the suspicious area. Push the can into the ground, fill it with water and watch what floats up. Meanwhile, avoid over watering your lawn and remove excess thatch. Thatch, water and excess fertilizer collect near driveways, causing this insatiable critter to pull up a chair for an all-you-can-eat St. Augustine dinner.
Bottom line: Chinch bugs can be controlled with vigilance and management. Just make sure you identify the problem correctly. Disease, nutritional deficiencies and drought are commonly mistaken for chinch bug damage. Here’s more for you to chew on: Chinch Bug