Brown patches like these can indicate damage from grubs.

Herald/Darla Menking

Wasn’t the rainfall we’ve had lately incredible. It was so needed and will help our yards, landscaping and trees in so many ways. But not with everything.

For the past few weeks, I noticed the onset of brown patches around many yards. My guess was it was not due to dryness. These patches were random in shape and size and the runners were yellow and loose while the blades are brown.

In most cases this time of year, this damage is from grubs. While people were pouring water on the spots, thinking it was too dry, they still did not go away. This is because the grub larvae have eaten away the roots of the grass runners. If this happens in your yard, take a minute to go out, pull up the loose runners and look for evidence of the white larvae.

So, what can be done to combat this problem in turf grass? Since it’s August, these grubs can be treated pretty successfully with any product containing Trichlorfon. The recommended way to apply this product is to irrigate the area, apply the product and then irrigate it into the soil where the grubs are feeding.

You may wonder why I recommend a chemical treatment. There has not been enough success measured with organic options. But if you’re up for trying an organic route, look for milky disease spores or beneficial nematodes and do your homework to get the best results.

I usually treat grub damage in my yard by raking out the loose, brown spots down to the dirt. Then I’ll treat the area as directed on the label and fill in the dead areas with sandy topsoil in hopes that the neighboring healthy runners will have a medium to grab hold of and cover those bare spots. This has been pretty successful for us.

If you have a healthy yard, then your yard is probably where the grub damage will occur. It’s not personal, really. The more lush the grass and roots are, the more attractive this is to the egg-laying beetles. Many lawn enthusiasts will treat for grubs in the spring as a preventative measure, in order to try and avoid the unsightly brown places in an otherwise very green yard. So in a strange sort of way, it can be a compliment to your yard to have grubs — but who wants them?

Got brown patches? Check them out and look for grubs.

Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at

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