Destroying lawn bit by bit.

Asked October 19, 2017, 11:44 AM EDT

I have patches of dead lawn first and then in several days it appears that something is getting into these dead spots and turning up the lawn and dirt. It is not tunneling like a mole would due. First appears like grub activity and then something at night is roughing up the soil into clumps Is it some animal that is feeding on these ground insects? I thought it was grubs that I saw but maybe it is sod webworms or something else. Looks like I have two problems insects killing the grass and then something eating at the insects.

Montgomery County Maryland

2 Responses

This digging damage sounds like the work of a skunk going after grubs. It's common behavior. Since the weather is staying so warm, you may have success reseeding if you do so immediately.

There are always some grubs in the soil. To determine whether the dead patches are caused by grubs or something else, do a test first before wasting time and money on a grub control product. A test is simply to lift about a square foot of sod with a shovel and look for grubs. A large number of grubs--plus drought-- leads to dead patches of lawn. Around 10 per square foot is a true grub problem. (Normally, grass roots grow faster than grubs can eat them.) For control info, read this, then follow the link at the bottom of this webpage:

When weather stays warm in fall, grubs continue to eat instead of burrowing deeper in the soil to escape the cold.

Also, grubs like to lay their eggs in moist soil. In dry periods, they will be attracted to the lawn with irrigation. Another good reason not to irrigate lawns.


The last sentence should read: Beetles like to lay their eggs in moist soil.