Lawn issue: weird brown areas and nightly digs
This summer we had an unusual array of brown areas in the lawn; that is, not just drought and heat affected areas in full sun but patches and wide strips of browning and dying. We reseeded the areas (in very late August), and although there has been some growth, much of the seeding is disturbed by many, many holes from an animal digging. I believe the digging is occurring at night (yes, we have lots of wildlife here, from possums to raccoons to foxes and the usual deer and groundhogs), and I am wondering if something is digging for insects, perhaps insects that are killing our lawn. I have seen grubs in our soil for years, but they have never caused such problems. I should also say that this is the first autumn that I can remember when the lawn has not be criss-crossed liberally with the tunneling of moles and voles. How can I tell 1) what is killing off the grass and 2) if the problem is insects, are there safe methods of controlling insects? We have hundreds of songbirds that we do not want to hurt through insect controls.
From your description,it appears that you have a high population of grubs living in the soil. The evening digging by skunks or fox is also a good indication of their presence. As the soil temperatures drop, the grubs will go deeper into the soil to overwinter. The attached publication will provide information on the timing of the application and the recommended products to use.http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/grubs-lawns