Summer has never been easy for lawns, with periodic disease outbreaks mirroring one other. Today we will look at the infamous lawn grub damage vs fungus, which has been a concern for many homeowners, as both appear patchy and browning.
I recall taking a walk on our lawn with my father one evening, and there was this awful area on our lawn that he couldn’t figure out what caused the damage, even though he had recently treated the lawn for grubs. My father had to call a lawn specialist immediately, and I overheard him explain that it may be fungal damage.
Most lawn grub and fungal damage appear as a yellow, brown, or dead sickly-looking spot in your yard. Most of my clients are caught off guard by grub damage and fungus grass problems, and they usually only realize the damage when it is too late.
Even at that stage, they can’t discern the difference between lawn grub and fungal damage.
Lawn grub damage vs fungus
What is a lawn fungal attack?
Lawns serve as a home for various species and microbes, and fungal spores are no exception; they can even be found in healthy lawns. They’re like quiet adversaries waiting for the appropriate moment to do devastation on your landscape.
Fungi are small organisms that cannot produce food, so they rely on your lawn for living and are spread by fungal spores. Fungal illnesses occur when fungi attach to your lawn using microscopic feeder tubes, sucking the life out of your grass.
The fungal spores are usually beneficial; they decompose organic matter until there is excessive heat and humidity, stimulating the nasty effects on your lawn.
The fungal disease manifests in various forms, but the usual is the brown or dead grass appearance. Despite the wide variations of lawn fungal attacks, they all smell the same.
What is grub damage
Grubs are baby beetles, and the most frequent and dangerous to our lawns are the masked chafer and the Japanese beetle.
The larvae have white bodies with tiny legs near their heads. When threatened, their soft bodies curl into a c shape. These critters devour the roots of your lawn, destroying it and giving it a grimy appearance.
In July and August, the adult beetles lay their eggs. The larvae become active at the start of the warm season and then go dormant during the winter.
What does lawn fungal damage look like
Fungal lawn attacks can be difficult to identify since they come in a range of hues and textures.
However, separating them from grub attacks can be difficult because their timing is so close. As a result, you must be able to tell the difference between a fungal infestation and a grass grub infestation.
Lawn fungal damage manifests itself as dying grass with yellowing, browning, or reddish patches that grow in size every day. The edge of these patches is slimy and may appear flour-strewn on your lawn.
Mushrooms in your lawn are an indication that there is a fungus in your lawn. Mushrooms are well known for their caps and stalks, which generate spores when ripe.
When spores fall onto a moist surface, they form a fungal colony. The mushroom is a warning sign of a fungal problem in your grass. However, some mushrooms are harmless to your grass.
The presence of mushrooms on your lawn may not be an obvious indicator, but the smell of fungal on your lawn is.
Despite the numerous forms of fungal infections on our lawn, the smell of mold is a characteristic shared by all of them. As the diseases deteriorate, the smell progresses to decay.
See also: Liquid vs granular fungicide
What does lawn grub damage look like
Grub damage, like fungal infection, will give your lawn a sickly appearance of browning or yellowing of the blades due to the root damage they cause when they chow them down.
See also: Treating lawn grub attacks
Grub damage manifests itself by making your grass soil appear dry, and when you dig it, you will find young beetles.
By chopping the roots of your grass, your lawn will not be able to absorb enough nutrients and water, resulting in stunted growth and thinning. Furthermore, the lawn will be bouncy; thus, it will spring back up immediately when you walk on it.
Another sign of grub damage on lawns is the frequency with which backyard creatures such as raccoons, birds, and voles visit because baby beetles are their favorite delicacy. When you notice birds pecking at your lawn, it’s a good idea to check for grubs.
How to tell the difference between lawn Grub Damage Vs. Fungus
Most homeowners’ inexperienced eyes confuse fungal lawn damage and grub damage, although the two are fairly easy to distinguish because they attack various portions of your grass.
The grubs feed on the roots, while the fungus feeds on the blades. So, if you reach down on the infected sections of your lawn and it easily comes out when tugged, you know you have grub damage, but if the grass stays put, you know you have fungus.
An even more tell-tale sign is the scent; as previously stated, an area of your lawn suffering from the fungal infection will have a moldy odor that escalates to a rotten odor as the condition worsens. The grub attack, on the other hand, has no odor.
Although the timing of both diseases coincides, they prefer distinct spots on your lawn. The grubs prefer a sunny location with warm soil, whereas the fungus prefers a shaded location with moist grass.
See also: Which fungicide is best for lawn rust?
During the summer, insect damage and turf illnesses frequently resemble one another. When you notice your grass becoming weak or dying, it might be difficult to determine whether the cause is fungus or grubs.
Fortunately, this article demonstrated a major difference between fungal and grub damage, allowing appropriate medication to be provided earlier.
When you stroll across your lawn and notice brown spots, knowing the difference between lawn grub damage and fungus attack will help determine how soon your grass recovers.
Purdue University: Tuft Grass Insects
University Of California Agriculture: Lawn Disease