Common Lawn and Garden Pests in Omaha, NE

Common Lawn and Garden Pests

Pest levels tend to reach their maximum around August or September in Omaha. If left untreated, lawn and garden pests can kill off your plants and leave your yard looking patchy, brown and withered. However, you can stop the problem before it begins to show on your plants, leaving your lawn and garden healthier than ever.

Brown Patch Disease

Brown patch disease occurs very commonly throughout eastern Nebraska annually. Caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, brown patch can be found on bluegrasses, ryegrasses, and most commonly tall fescues. Most often beginning in mid-summer, this spread will occur during the warmer months of the year, lasting all the way into mid-fall.

In order to spot symptoms of this disease, look for circular or semicircular brown spots in your grass, as well as tan or whitish irregular leaf spots on the affected blades of grass. Brown patch tends to thrive in grass conditions with poorly drained soil, excessive thatch, and evening waterings.

In order to reduce brown patch effects, ensure that you are watering your lawn in the early morning, at most two times a week. In addition, remove grass clippings from affected areas, stopping the spread of the disease to healthy parts of your lawn.

Finally, ensure your mower blades are sharpened, as a dull blade can actually damage your grasses, making them more vulnerable to the disease. If the infection is too severe, fungicide may be necessary. This should be applied in 14 to 28 day intervals, taking care to follow the instructions on your chosen solution.


Cutworms are hairless caterpillars that tend to feed on newly emerged seedlings and weaker plants at night. Their eating habits lead to their name, as the pest tends to cut or “snip” the plant off either at its stem or just beneath the soil.

In order to treat this issue, make use of a home remedy known as “cutworm collars”. These are simple: make an inch high light colored cardboard ring around your plant’s stem. This can effectively keep cutworms away from all of your garden plants.

White Grubs

These common pests can be found all across the country, and can cause major damage to any lawn consisting of any grasses. In order to check your lawn for grubs, wait until late summer, and peel back the sod on a small square of your lawn. If you can count more than 10 grubs per square foot, it is time to treat your lawn.

If you are looking for an organic solution to your grub infestation, try introducing parasitic nematodes to your lawn, a natural predator for the grub. Or, if you’d prefer to apply your own pesticides, make sure you do this between mid-August and September while the grubs are still small enough to be affected.

Japanese Beetles

The Japanese Beetle can be a devastating pest. They cause major damage to both plants and lawns. As an adult beetle, a Japanese Beetle can feed on hundreds of different types of flowers, leaves, stems and plants. As larva, the same species can feed on grass roots and devastate lawns.

Organically, these can be difficult insects to deal with. A simple, natural way to keep these beetles away from your garden is to manually pick them from leaves off of your plants and place them in soapy water.

Japanese Beetles tend to arrive in large quantities though, so this may be a difficult task. Two completely organic sprays, Pyola and Neem, can protect plants from these predators for about 3 to 7 days, but not much longer. While stronger insecticides do exist, many of them unfortunately kill pollinators as well in the area—not recommended for home use.

Whatever you choose, make sure to follow instructions explicitly to avoid unnecessary harm to your ecosystem’s pollinators. They are critically important to the environment! It’s also not recommended to use advertised Japanese beetle traps. While they do kill the captured beetles, the traps tend to attract more than they can handle to your lawn.

Need help preparing your lawn? Visit our Omaha lawn care page to get in touch with a professional!