Chinch bugs are a major problem for St. Augustine lawns. They live in the roots/thatch and suck the juices out of the grass. Since they like hot, dry, sandy soil areas… here are some tips to help protect your lawns.
- Don’t apply a quick-release fertilizer. This creates a flush of growth that attracts chinch bugs. Slow-release fertilizer is the way to go.
- Water the lawn deep and infrequent to encourage a deep root system. Water only when needed.
- Mow at 4 inches or higher to encourage deep roots.
- Mow with sharp blades so you don’t damage the leaf blades and stress the grass.
- Trees or shaded areas can help protect grass. Chinch bugs love sun.
Chinch bugs can usually be identified by spreading the grass blades and root system open. They are about 1-6mm long. Here are 3 stages of what chinch bugs can look like, along with a picture of a damaged area.