Fall Brown Spots Could It Be Grubs

What’s up y’all, hope you are having a great week!

Now that most of you cool season folks are out of your heatwave and actually getting into fall time, the emails on “how come areas of my lawn are not greening up?” are starting to come in.

In this case, my first reaction is always to get down in the brown spots, especially along the edges where the green fades to brown, and pull up the lawn.

If it peels up in chunks with no roots or can be rolled back like a carpet, chances are if you keep digging, you will find grubs.

Fall Brown Spots Could It Be Grubs


When I worked for TruGreen ChemLawn in NW Indiana back many years ago, I found a similar situation at a customer’s home. Check out this old video from my channel called “Finding Grubs.

In that video, shot in mid-September, 2010, the customer had called saying “my lawn is all brown since your last application and I think you burned it.”

Me being the well-trained operations manager that I was, did a little research prior to visiting the property and saw that our previous application had been mid-May and it was just a fertilizer and weed control. I also had record of where the technician had recommended a grub preventative application but the customer refused.

Now, 4 months later, as summer is coming to an end and his summer dormant lawn isn’t waking up, he decides to blame the lawn treatment technician for his own neglect. Funny thing, the guy was home while I was digging in his yard but refused to answer. So I left a bag full of them hanging on his front door with some notes. He chose to call me later and blame me (my company) for giving him grubs. (yes, he said we gave them to him).

Needless to say, this happens often and it’s actually no one’s fault. It’s just one of those problems that masks another. Even though I was the head ops manager wearing the cool white shirt and pleated CINTAS khakis, I didn’t have dominion over the Mamma Junebugs and where they chose to abandon their eggs.

Do You Have Grubs?

This summer especially, it’s been super hot and bone dry across much of the transition zone up into the midwest and east. Even if you were trying to keep up with watering, your lawn may have still stayed brown and dormant. And a brown lawn in summer looks like a brown lawn in summer no matter if it’s from lack of water (summer dormancy which is normal) or from grubs munching out your roots. In many cases, it’s both.

If you have found grubs, I assure you, you do not want to wait to get rid of them. They will continue to munch out your roots all the way until the first good frost of light freeze and then they will burrow down deep and hide all winter. Get something down now, and get it watered in ASAP.

Make Sure You Get The Right Product!

There is a big difference in grub controls when it comes to preventing vs curing. Here in the fall time, when you have verified grubs feeding on your lawn, you need a CURATIVE product that is going to stop the problem right away.

When you go to the store, look for products that have keywords on the packaging such as “Kills within 24 hours” or “Kills on Contact.” Of course, you should also read the label on the back and make sure the product is labeled to kill grubs… but use that marketing and packaging on the front to at least eliminate the products you do NOT want.

[ Looking for more quick video content? Check out my Instagram TV Station I started ]

In this case, in the fall time, you do NOT want anything labeled “season-long” or “prevents.” These products have very different modes of action (active ingredients) and take time to do their work. They are all defense, and right now, since we are at the end of our season, we need to go on offense and score some points before it’s too late!

One thing’s for sure, your local stores will have the grub control out on display big time right now. Funny how many of them advertise the preventatives right along with the curatives this time of year. Seems like they’d completely remove the preventative “season-long” controls from the shelves knowing they will do no good at all.

Now you are armed with the knowledge to get the right product, right away, and save your lawn.

Also, it’s not too late to pick up some 8-1-8 X-GReeN. Another big question I’m getting right now is “Allyn, my seeding was successful, and I’m coming up at day 35 after germination, what can I throw down?”

X-GReeN is a great choice. Set is super super low on the dial - it’s very vine and spreads easily. A little goes a long way to bring in a nice spoon-feeding of Nitrogen but also packs in potash to help those new seedlings withstand the stress of the colder days to come. Of course, it’s the bio-char infused chicken manure foundation that gives it the smell of success along with the sustained release of micronutrients. Pick up a bag of 8-1-8 fertilizer today and apply 3-5lbs/1000 for a nice fall time application that your lawn will love.

I’ll see YOU in the lawn.


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