Lawn Commonproblems 800 451

Weeds, pests and diseases are a normal part of your lawn’s life cycle.

Don't despair though, it's easier than you think to stop them taking control!

Lawn Weeds

Weeds are very easily dispersed, so they're almost impossible to eradicate completely. Fortunately, just cutting your lawns a little longer encourages a dense growth habit, and helps grass to outperform weeds. Well-aerated soil is a much better option than compacted soil to prevent weeds getting a foothold.

Weed seeds can be transferred on shoes, in manure, by birds and animals, or even the mower. Many weed types can be removed by hand, but often a selective weedkiller (one that targets weeds but doesn't harm grass) is a more efficient option. Common lawn weeds such as dandelion, clover and creeping oxalis are all controllable with selective weedkillers. 

Always check the suitability of the product you're using for the weed you are trying to remove. It's also a good idea to check the product is suitable for your lawn grass, especially if you have a kikuyu or couch lawn. 

If you have questions about Yates Weed'n'Feed, our Yates Weed'n'Feed FAQ page will help you out. We've compiled answers to the questions we're asked most frequently, along with troubleshooting suggestions.

Weed Identification

Onehunga (Prickle) Weed

An annual weed which looks like a small ferny rosette about 20mm in diameter, best known for the irritating prickles that stick into bare feet.

Broadleaf Lawn Weeds

Marshmallow, dandelion, cat’s ear, lamb’s tongue, chickweed, plantain, fleabane and dock are some of the common broadleaf weeds found in lawns and gardens.


An annual weed with rosette grey-green succulent leaves, and yellow daisy like flowers with black centres. Capeweed is also known as Cape Daisy.


A perennial weed which has leaves with three leaflets, and creeping stems that set roots wherever they touch the ground.


A perennial herb with a very long tap root; mid-green and deeply divided leaves; and yellow daisy-like flowers.

Moss Algae Lichen

Algae (a green or black scum) and moss are usually problems in shaded, over-wet or badly drained and compacted sections of the lawn and garden.


Oxalis and Creeping Oxalis have heart-shaped leaves in clusters of three with yellow, pink or white flowers. A bothersome weed in the lawn and garden.


A tough, broad-leafed perennial grass with deep longitudinal veins and caterpillar-like black, sticky seed heads.


Tough perennial weeds which have a tap root, leaves forming a rosette and tall stems, which carry flowers followed by fluffy seeds.

Poa annua - Winter Grass

A tufty, soft, light green grass with produces masses of seeds in winter. If left unattended, weeds can become a real nuisance. Poa is also known as Winter Grass.


A tough and invasive lawn weed. Leaves are quite tiny, usually about 1cm across, spreading through lawn grass on creeping ‘stolons’ or root-forming stems.

Lawn Pests

The most common lawn insect pests in New Zealand are grass grubs (the larvae of beetles), porina caterpillars and lawn armyworm.

Grass grubs feed on grass roots just below the surface, causing the lawn to turn yellow, then brown and die. A classic symptom of grass grub infestation is if the lawn can be rolled up like a carpet.

Both porina and armyworm are caterpillars that strip grass foliage, causing rapidly expanding bare patches. Other symptoms of of grub or caterpillar infestations are birds pecking and scratching in the lawn.

You can control surface lawn pests such as armyworm, African black beetle and billbug by applying Yates Insect Killer for Lawns (before it has a chance to lay eggs). Apply in mid to late summer and autumn to control lawn armyworm.


Pest Identification


If the lawn is looking brown, dead or bare in patches, it's likely to be the work of the Cosmopolitan armyworm. If your vegetables are being devastated, the offender will be Tropical Armyworm, or possibly Fall Armyworm. Here's how to identify and control armyworm in your lawn or garden.

Black Beetle

If your lawn is browning or your plants are suddenly dying, it may be the work of the black beetle or its larvae (grass grubs). Here's how to identify and control black beetles in the lawn and garden.

Grass Grub

Grass grubs chew on the lawn, causing it brown and die. Here's how to protect your lawn from grass grubs.


Porina caterpillars chew off lawn grass at ground level, causing it to brown and die. Here's how to protect your lawn.

Lawn Diseases

Common lawn diseases include brown patch and dollar spot, which appear as dying spots and patches in a lawn.

Diseases can be more likely in lawn areas with compacted or poorly drained soil, in shaded areas, areas that remain damp overnight and underfed lawns. Only water lawns in the morning, so the grass has the chance to dry before nightfall. Keep the lawn healthy and well fed, to encourage disease resistance.

Lawn diseases like dollar spot and rust can be controlled with Yates Fungus Fighter Fungicide.

Disease identification

Brown Patch

Brown Patch is a fungal disease of lawns which usually strikes during late spring, summer or autumn during warm, humid periods.

Dollar Spot

Dollar Spot is a fungal disease that usually occurs in late spring, summer or autumn while the weather is warm and humid.

Fairy Ring

Fairy Rings form a ring of green grass surrounded by an outer ring of dead grass with mushroom-like growths appearing occasionally in the affected area.

Fusarium Patch

Fusarium Patch is a fungal disease of lawns which usually strikes during late autumn, winter or early spring while the weather is cool and especially wet.

Lawn Rust

Lawn Rust is caused by fungal pathogens. It usually occurs between early summer and late autumn, while the weather is warm and wet.

Leaf Spot / Melting Out

Leaf spot and melting out are different stages of the same fungal disease. It mostly strikes while the weather is cool, consistently humid and sunlight hours are limited. Lawns that remain wet for extended periods are at greater risk.

Red Thread & Pink Patch

Red Thread and Pink Patch are lawn diseases, encouraged by a combination of cool temperatures, consistently high rainfall and high humidity.

Related Articles

Weed problems at the end of winter

Early spring is a great time to tackle weedy invaders, before they turn into an eyesore. Here are some tips on how to deal with some of the usual suspects.

Weed control in lawns

Control weeds effectively in your lawn with the expert advice and guidance of the Yates team. Ask your questions and find out more garden information below.

Weed'n'Feed FAQ

We answer some frequently asked questions about Yates Weed‘n’Feed Hose-ons.