Damaging Lawn Pests and How To Prevent Them

A well-maintained lawn is every homeowner’s dream. Your lawn gives off the first impression of your house. You want it to be nicely mowed, green, and full of life. 

While the essentials of lawn care, such as watering, mowing, landscaping, and fertilizing, are relatively simple to manage, there is one component of lawn care that is more difficult to control: pest control. 

When your lawn becomes dark and sickly as a result of pest infestation, it quickly loses its allure.

The best way to prevent lawn pests is to learn how to identify them. When you are able to catch a pest infestation earlier on, you can work towards treating it with better results. 

At Fortsmith Landscaping, we are committed to going the extra mile in servicing your individual needs for lawn care. We’re sharing damaging lawn pests and how to prevent them.

Pests That Damage Lawns


The larvae of numerous species of scarab beetles, including Japanese beetles and European chafers, are known as grubs. The larvae of the C-shaped beetle resemble small worms with legs. Most species are about 1 inch long and have milky white bodies with brown heads.

Grubs prefer to eat the roots of your plants, which includes your grass. If you have brown patches on your lawn or spongy material around the grassroots, it is a sign that grubs have infested your lawn.

Additionally, if moles are destroying your lawn, this could be an indication of the presence of grubs. Animals like moles, raccoons, and skunks eat grubs and will most likely thrash your lawn if they are present.

How To Prevent Grubs

Grub control is necessary to keep your grass growing healthy and prevent moles from invading your lawn. There are a few steps you can follow to prevent grubs from infesting your lawn. 

  • During the summer, water the lawn as little as possible to avoid attracting egg-laying female beetles.
  •  Use grub control chemicals to prevent grubs from hatching from their eggs. 
  • Tall fescue resists grubs better than other grass species, so reseed your lawn with it.
  • Fertilize your lawn to ensure strong grass growth.


Crabgrass is a perennial grass that spreads via seed and runners. Crabgrass quickly grows into ugly clusters with stalky stems and pale green, wide blades that suffocate your healthy grass.

Crabgrass dies by itself at the end of the season but leaves behind unsightly brown patches on your lawn. 

How To Prevent Crabgrass

Since crabgrass grows and spreads aggressively on a lawn, it is preferable to prevent its growth rather than cure it. Follow these steps to prevent crabgrass:

  • Apply preemergent herbicides to inhibit their formation.
  • Don’t allow the soil to dry out too much. This can cause cracks and let crabgrass sprout through the barrier.
  • Before the plant has a chance to set seeds, mow your lawn thoroughly.
  • Refrain from edging regularly as this can break the crabgrass barrier.


Doveweed is a summer annual weed that germinates later in the growing season than most other summer annual weeds, making it a problem later in the summer. Both residential and commercial lawns are inundated with dove weed.

Doveweed reproduces by seeds and grows quickly in damp environments.

If you overwater your grass or have drainage problems, Doveweed may take hold. When you mow over the Doveweed plant stems, they break, allowing them to spread to other regions of the turf.

How To Prevent Doveweed

  • To prevent Doveweed seeds from sprouting, apply a pre-emergence herbicide for the first time in the spring and then again in the early summer.
  • Refrain from excessively watering your lawn as Doveweed thrives in moist conditions. 
  • Keep the soil well aerated.
  • Avoid cutting your grass too short.

Chinch Bugs

Chinch bugs are small winged lawn insects that feed on grasses. They release a chemical that clogs the grass’s vascular tissue, effectively blocking water from reaching the leaves and finally killing the grass.

Chinch bugs promote dehydration in the grass and so the symptoms of an infestation can resemble typical drought stress. If you regularly water your grass and still notice it wilting or spot the appearance of yellow and brown patches, it could mean your lawn is being infested with chinch bugs. 

How To Prevent Chinch Bugs

Chinch bug infestations can lead to a season of dead grass on your lawn. To prevent them, you’ll have to take action earlier on in the season:

  • Apply pesticides early in April to diminish the first generation of chinch bugs in spring.
  • Refrain from mowing your grass shorter than one-third of its height, as this weakens it and makes it more susceptible to chinch insect damage.
  • To maintain your grass healthy and robust enough to prevent chinch bug damage, fertilize it regularly.
  • During the summer, water the lawn thoroughly since chinch bugs love hot, dry conditions. 
  • Dethatch your lawn at least once a year to avoid attracting chinch bugs and other pests in the first place.

Brown Patch 

Brown patch is a lawn fungal disease that spreads quickly and damages grass. It affects a wide range of grasses, although it prefers lawns that receive a lot of fast-release nitrogen fertilizer.

When temperatures exceed 65°, the fungus begins to grow, but the most active growth of brown patch lawn disease happens when temperatures reach 80-85° and humidity levels are quite high.

Brown patch damage manifests itself initially as circular regions of brown and dead grass bordered by a thin, dark ring.

If you notice the appearance of brown patches on your lawn, it could indicate the presence of this fungal disease.

How to Prevent Brown Patch

  • Refrain from using fertilizers that release a high concentration of nitrogen quickly. 
  • Grass aeration is another helpful strategy for keeping your lawn healthy and can help avoid fungus.
  • During hot and humid conditions, mow less regularly to prevent fungal growth.
  • By cutting overhanging trees and bushes, you can boost light and air penetration or movement.


Larvae of crane flies, known as Leatherjackets, feed on grass roots and leaves. Leatherjackets hatch in the early fall and feed for roughly three months before hibernating.

Leatherjackets are 1 to 1.5 inches long and resemble gray maggots. They flourish best in wet autumn weather.

A common indicator of Leatherjackets is patches of dead grass or thinning blades. The presence of predators such as moles, birds, and raccoons can also signal a pest infestation as they feed on these lawn insects.

How To Prevent Leatherjackets

  • Preventive insecticides should be used in the winter to kill overwintering Leatherjackets before they reappear in the spring.
  • Refrain from excessive yard irrigation as Leatherjackets thrive in wet soil. 
  • Follow a lawn care regimen designed for your individual grass type to keep your lawn and root system strong and mature enough to withstand Leatherjacket damage.

Contact Forthsmith Landscaping To Restore Your Lawn

Does your lawn have brown patches because of pest damage? Is your grass wilting? Are moles paying frequent visits to your lawn? At Fortsmith Landscaping, we are committed to making your lawn look it’s absolute best. If your lawn has sustained damage from pests we can help you restore it and prevent pests from infesting in the future. Contact us today to get started. 

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