We have just recently learned of a new threat to your lawns that has come out of the south. At this point, the experts believe that the moths blew into the area about a month ago by the storm front that blew through. We have just begun to see damage from these insects since the mature moth laid their eggs after they arrived. They feed on the leaf blades of most grasses and can cause significant damage in just a few days. Some reports we have read state that they can destroy a football field in just two days.
While they do not directly kill the turf, the damage they cause exposes the crown and upper roots to the sun which is what causes the most damage. The crown and roots can dehydrate which is what leads to the loss of the entire plant. Once damage is detected, the best option is to make sure the turf does not dry out. This is best accomplished by watering the lawn using your irrigation system or sprinklers. Depending on the temperature, a watering during the day may be needed to keep the plant hydrated.
We are currently working with our pesticide supplier to identify the best control option for clients that wish to have the lawns treated. If you are interested in learning more about this option, please call Jason at 330-715-5863. He will then contact you once we have a solution. Please note that our standard fertilization program will not take care of this worm, as it is not native to our area in Ohio. As for recovery of the damaged areas, the best option is to aerate and overseed to help re-establish the turf. We will be starting this service toward the end of the month so if you would like to add this service, please let Jason know also.
If you are interested in reading more about this insect here is a link to an article from The Ohio State University, https://bygl.osu.edu/node/1859.