My husband returned from a business trip this week and immediately asked what had happened to our lawn. It had gone from green and lush to parched and brown~overnight. Since I had no idea what had happened, I called our lawn expert John to come take a look.
Our problem turned out to be “armyworms.” They are moth caterpillars that burrow into the ground, come up at night, and eat the top, green layer of the grass. Prevalent in Augurst and September, the moths fly in at night and lay eggs on the lawn. When armyworms hatch, they eat the green portion of the lawn, leaving it parched and brown looking.
John said that most lawns have armyworms, but usually only in small areas. Our lawn just happened to be covered with them. As John and I walked around the yard, he spotted several armyworms of various sizes (meaning the lawn had been visiting by the moths at different times). The photo at right shows a worm that was burrowing in the grass in broad daylight.
John said that armyworms become a problem in August and September, so it is good to keep an eye on any changes in your lawn.The solution is a chemical application that kills the worms. Different “hatchings” might call for additional treatments, but in some cases one will do the job.
I am hoping that the single $60 treatment John applied will take care of the armyworms in our lawn. For folks who never realize they have armyworms and never treat them, John said that the consequences are usually just a slower “greening up” in the spring. So even if you have these unwanted visitors and never know it, there is no need to panic.