EMPIRE Turf - Late Winter Checklist
As your EMPIRE zoysia starts to green back up after temperatures get warmer, you may notice brown spots or what appear to be dead patches that aren't coming back like the rest of the yard. If this happens, there are two things you need to look out for.
The first is possible billbug damage. These insects can and will infest an untreated empire lawn even through a cold winter. You can tell by lifting up a section of the turf and you should be able to see them. The adult is a small dark colored weevil with a snout. The larve for the billbug will be in the soil and it looks like a white grub worm. If you find either one of these, you want to get on a spraying program. Apply bifenthrin products to the entire lawn....not just the dead area to kill off the adults. Then apply a chemical called midacloprid (mid-ah-cloe-prid) to kill off the larve. Even if your empire hasn't greened up yet, its ok to apply those insecticides. Billbugs can be a year round threat and you want to stay on top of things or they can do some real damage. Check out more photos at sodsolutions.com/insects.
If you don't find any billbugs in your dead area, you might have a lawn fungus called large patch fungus. You can recognize this disease by thin grass leaves that appear bleached out....and the area between healthy grass and the fungus might appear an orange-bronze color.
If you have large patch, you will want to spray with peroxide based materials like Oxidate. Then a few days later, come in with a systemic fungicide that is labeled for large patch. Oxidate cleans the lawn up...basically gets rid of the fungus, and then the systemic fungicide provides for future prevention. If you can't find over the counter peroxide based materials, call a lawncare company and they will have access to them and can apply it for you.
St. Augustine Grass Late Winter Checklist
Watching out for winter kill:
Looking at the stolons can tell you. The stolons are the running vine looking appendages of the grass. Even when the grass is brown, the stolons should be somewhat green which means the grass is probably healthy. If you tear open the stolon and it should have green inside. If the stolons are mushy and don't have much green to them, that part of your yard might have died from the cold. Winter-kill usually shows up in patches or sections of the yard...based on soil moisture.
So, if you do have find you have winter kill, there are a couple of options to get your lawn looking good again. If the entire lawn hasn't died out and there is healthy grass around the patch of winterkill, you can always wait for the grass to grow back over the dead area but it can be a long process. If you choose to go this route, leave the dead St. Augustine in place to help keep out weeds. You can encourage quicker growth by mowing the grass tighter.
Most don't have the patience for that if it's a larger area...so option 2 is to call your local grass company and re-sod that part of the lawn. The new grass will tack down and blend in quickly.