chinch bugs in lawn

CarlaKMB(8)September 4, 2012

Any suggestions on how to save my lawn that seems to be infested with chinch bugs that have killed large areas of grass. I live in Austin Tx so have drought problems and severe watering restrictions. I am trying to gradually switch from grass to low water requirement plants, but need to keep grass until can complete transition due to limited funds and time. Thanks for any help.

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PKponder TX(7b)

We had them really bad last summer. The most effective thing that we used was Orthene. Really stinky and strong but knocked them down when applied every two weeks for a total of three treatments. We tried a couple of organic products that lasted a week or less. It may have been the cooling temps last fall that ultimately helped. We lost at least half of the lawn last summer and are currently looking to replace the St Augustine to avoid this pest going forward. They do an amazing amount of damage for a critter that you can barely see. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Bryan Scott

Carla,
See link below for a start.

After that, please answer the following:
What kind of grass do you have?
Watering Schedule?
Mowing Schedule and mowing height?
Fertilizing Schedule?

Also, do you know about the lawn conversion program that Austin is doing right now? If you are on Austin Water Utility like I am, there are rebates for converting your turf areas to native beds and such.

Here is a link that might be useful: Austin Grow Green website for lawn problems

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:19PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

I was thinking that Chinch bugs only feast on St Augustine. They love the heat and drought too.

Informative website, by the way. I see that they like bermuda and zoysia also.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Bryan Scott

I believe you are correct, but wanted to confirm she has St. Augustine. Chinch bugs love sunny, over fertilized, under watered, drought stressed lawn areas. Hopefully the op will respond to my questions above and we'll see if the lawn care regimen is adequate or lacking in those areas.

About the link- Austin has really taken the Grow Green initiative to a high. All of the GG materials are printed for free, and are available online or at just about any nursery down here (and also the City's Development and Water/WW offices). What they are promoting are principles such as what we find on this website, like deep and infrequent watering, non-toxic pesticide or organic fertilizers, ect. They are also pushing for native landscapes, offering rebates to convert water hogging turf to what they call Waterwise Turf such as bermuda and zoysia, or mulched native beds with pathways of crushed granite.

I will eventually (pending if the powers that be on this website will let me), post the Grow Green program links. Like I said, their sites mirror the same ideas and concepts that are found on this site, from lawn care to tree care.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 10:48AM
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