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Lawn Maintenance: Helping Your Lawn Fight Drought, Weeds, and Insects

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

Unfortunately, many varieties of insects and weeds tolerate sporadic rain and prolonged heat better than your lawn does. Unless you prepared ahead of time for drought maintenance, solutions are few and far between.

Herbicides and fertilizer are pretty much powerless in these conditions, as they have a tough time penetrating an already thriving weed. Besides, the best time to apply fertilizer and control weeds is in September and October, long after the summer high season.

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Lawn Maintenance During Droughts

In some states, heat-loving insects like Cinch bugs are thriving, too. Cinch bugs are rice-sized insects that eat grass blades. According to Entomologist David R. Smitley, many lawn owners don't realize their lawn is infested because the damage done looks exactly like drought damage.

Fighting Lawn Insects

One way to find out if you have a Cinch infestation is to go through a brown patch on your lawn as you would the coat of a dog looking for fleas. This is especially recommended if your lawn browning isn't uniform. Drought damage usually affects a lawn completely, not in patches.

"Part the grass with your fingers," said Smitley. "If you find little black insects, about an eighth-of-an-inch long, you have Cinch bugs."

Maintenance and Fertilizer Procedures

Another way to search for insects is to remove both ends of an empty coffee can and hammer one end into the soil, about an inch deep. Do this in an area where the lawn is ailing. Add water to the can and if you have Cinch bugs, they'll float to the surface.

By using fertilizer correctly in lawn maintenance procedures, it's possible to prevent damage done by weeds and insects.


About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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