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Why Is My Lawn Dying? Part 2

Why are there brown spots in my lawn? Why does it look that way? Will it grow back again? What is causing all of this?

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot that can go wrong with that lawn of yours! These questions and ones like them are facing many lawn care professionals in the Delaware Valley this season. Now that summer is in full swing in Bucks & Montgomery County, our lawns may be starting to show the strain. It can fry in hot, dry summers, suffer disease plagues in wet ones, and get attacked by bugs in any conditions. There may be a number of causes, and we’ll explain some of them for you here. This Part Two of a Two Part Blog post… Read Part One


There are a handful of insect troubles that might show up at this time of year as well and cause brown spots on your lawn. The lawn care experts at GREENSKEEPER can determine the perfect solution for your insect control troubles. Whether it is a spray, combination treatment or other lawn care approach, our friendly and experienced team can find the right fix. Here are some common pests we’ve encountered this season:


Grubs are the larvae of several species of scarab beetles, the most well-known to homeowners is undoubtedly the Japanese beetle. While it’s a pretty common misconception that grubs are to blame for any and every lawn problem, grub damage is very distinctive. These beetles feed on landscape plants and lay their eggs in the soil. When those eggs hatch, they feast on the roots of your lawn. Then they burrow deep into the soil and wait until the following summer to emerge as fully-grown adult beetles.

To check for grub damage , run your fingers into the damaged section of grass like you would through your hair. Make a fist, and gently pull back:

  • If it’s grub damage, the turf will pull back like a rug – the root system will be totally gone.
  • If the roots are still attached, it is definitely NOT grub damage .

Chinch Bugs:

Chinch bugs are a very prevalent problem on residential lawns here in Southeastern Pennsylvania. They prefer to feed on fescues, perennial rye, and bluegrasses – all of which are extremely common in our area. Chinch bugs do their damage by first draining the chlorophyll from the leaf tissues. Then they inject a toxin back into the plant that causes it to turn brown and then die. Adults are only about 1/6 of an inch in size, so they’re very tiny and hard to spot. They are almost as destructive as grubs, only much smaller and harder to diagnose and control.


Another common cause of brown spots in the lawn is a grass called poa trivialis or rough bluegrass. This is an extremely shallow-rooting type of turf that deals poorly with any heat stress at all, even in a year where we’re getting a decent amount of precipitation, like this year. When it goes dormant, it is often mistaken for a Fungal Disease or Insect Damage.

Where Did It Come From? The answer is often that poa trivialis was probably in the soil to begin with and just needed the proper conditions to begin growing. Sometimes, it could have been introduced during the seeding process because the seeds are so similar to other types of bluegrass. Having the professionals from GREENSKEEPER inspect the lawn is usually a good idea if you are having trouble distinguishing the problem.

GREENSKEEPER Can Help You Achieve a Luscious, Green Lawn

While this list is not all-inclusive, these are a number of potential causes for the “browning” you might be experiencing on your lawn. Achieving a healthy lawn requires experienced, skilled, routine maintenance. Our year-round Lawn Care Service Programsconsist of applications that include seeding, granular and slow-release fertilizers, broadleaf weed control, pre-emergent crabgrass control, insect control, limestone and more. You can count on our team to deliver the results you want!

GREENSKEEPER is a trusted, local, family-owned company that has been beautifying lawns in the Delaware Valley for over 50 years. If you’d like help with a plan of action for helping your lawn recover from brown spots, click to contact us online for a professional consultation or call 215-938-8440 to schedule your no-obligation appointment today.