Having a lush green lawn can give some life to any household. Whether you want to admire it from the peace and comfort of your home or spend your time working hard on growing plants and flowers, a healthy lawn is the basis of a good garden. However, it can also be prone to damage, disease and some unwanted creatures, making it difficult to maintain.
Garden maintenance is important for ensuring your green lawn stays healthy and full of life. It can be hard to know what needs doing when it comes to grass, and more challenging to be aware of when you have made a mistake. Fortunately, your lawn often leaves certain hints to make sure you are on the right track. By looking through eight of these hints, this article should guide you on what problems your lawn may be suffering from, and how to notice them.
8 Common Signs Your Lawn Needs Work
One common gardening problem is when your lawn starts to develop brown patches. In some worse cases, these could even be patches of dead grass appearing. A lot of the time, these spots will be the result of obvious causes, such as a ball or toy being left there for a period of time. Sometimes, it isn’t so obvious, and there are a couple of options as to what your lawn is suggesting you do.
It could be that the soil in these areas is too acidic, in which case you should use a pH test kit, which you can find in your local garden center, and apply the correct treatment. Certain nutrients like lime and sulfur can be used to balance out the acidity level.
If there doesn’t seem to be a problem with the pH level of your grass, it could be the result of using herbicides incorrectly. Alternatively, you may find rocks under the brown patches, which could stop water from reaching the roots. In these instances, you will have to do a bit of digging to solve the problem. Of course, before starting any of these processes, it is a good idea to check if you simply aren’t watering that area enough.
Sometimes, rather than patches, you may find that your lawn has changed color in streaks. Instances like these involve long rows of grass appearing in different shades, from a light yellow or brown up to a rich, dark green. This is your lawn’s way of telling you that you have been applying fertilizer inconsistently.
As a result of improper fertilizing, rows of grass have turned a rich green color as these are the areas that have received the majority of the fertilizer. Contrastingly, streaks which are yellow have likely been missed, and so aren’t growing to their full potential. If the streaks are brown, it is likely that this is dead grass, and may need to be removed.
Try watering evenly and substantially across all of the grass, to encourage it to grow together. It is unlikely that an immediate change to your fertilization routine will be useful, so it’s best to wait until the next season before fertilizing again. This time, make sure it is consistent and even.
Another common problem is wilting grass. If your lawn starts to turn brown, but not necessarily in patches or streaks, it simply means it has been under-watered. When a lawn suffers from drought, this brown color is the result. All that you have to do to resolve the problem of wilting grass is to water it deeply.
If you tend to water quite frequently and find yourself cautious about how much water to apply, this could be the problem. The best method is to water deeply but less often. This will encourage the roots to grow stronger. You should also water early in the morning so that the grass can dry during the day. One trick for testing if your grass is watered enough is to push a long screwdriver into it and see if it is still damp a few inches below the surface.
Clumpy grass is a problem that normally suggests there are some pests damaging your lawn. If your grass comes out in clumps at a simple tug, much like if you had left grass trimmings after mowing your lawn, then it is likely that the roots are not strong enough. The usual reason for this is that grubs will have started eating away at the roots in the soil.
These grubs are short and worm-like, and they are normally easy to deal with. At your local garden center, you should find some grub killer. This can easily be used to eliminate the problem, and hopeful your grass will begin to grow stronger again.
The matted layers of dead grass that can appear as part of your lawn are thatch. Of course, this thatch can be a result of regular walking across the grass or children playing on it, for example. However, if your lawn is generally well-kept, or has a strict ‘no walking’ policy, then it is probably a fungal problem.
This doesn’t sound very pleasant, but it is a very common issue that occurs when there is improper watering or other maintenance issues. If you water at night, your grass may be more prone to fungi growing because the blades of grass stay wet for longer, which creates a micro-climate.
To check if it is fungus, you should have a close inspection of the grass closest to the thatch. If it is fungus, this grass will be the next to change, making it useful for examination. Often it will turn a darker green before turning brown, and you may find some spots or dew hanging on it. If you do, you can use fungicide across the affected area to stop it.
Fairy rings are another problem generally caused by fungus. A fairy ring is another name for a circle of discolored grass on your lawn. This does not mean aliens have landed. More likely, your grass is trying to tell you that a fungus has appeared in the soil. Normally, this fungus will thread its way through the soil and make the grass turn a brighter color of green. This is due to the extra nutrients resulting from the decaying grass.
Eventually, fungi will starve the grass and leave it dead in these circle shapes. Again, the first thing to do is to apply a fungicide. This should get rid of the problem, but if your grass does not start growing healthily again, you should dig up the circles and restart the process.
Not growing under trees
One of the most challenging parts of growing a healthy, green lawn is the areas lacking in sunlight, such as under trees. Having large trees in your garden can be an obstacle between your grass and the sunlight it desperately needs, meaning you’ll often have brown, matter grass here if anything at all.
This lack of growth is a clear sign that there isn’t enough sunlight, but, frankly, there really isn’t much you can do about it. Unless you are willing to trim down the branches of your tree so that light can reach the ground underneath, there is no real hope.
The problem is furthered because pines that drop from the tree onto the grass will likely damage it further and prevent growth. Once you have taken this into account, there seems to be little point in trying to force the grass to grow, as you would likely have to lose the whole tree. The best way is to focus on having a healthy tree and leave the grass alone.
The final sign that you have issues with your lawn is an increase in the population of insects. When it comes to gardening, nothing is worse than seeing a load of beetles, bugs and worms squatting on your grass, as it causes a wide range of further problems. Not only do the insects cause problems, but they are attracted to those patches of grass which are already vulnerable, escalating the issues caused by under watering and a lack of sunlight.
In this sense, insects can be a sign that the area of grass they settle on is suffering from heat stress or disease. However, before you can treat it properly, you need to identify the insects which have settled there. Certain insects are more likely to feed off your grass and kill it. Once you have identified the insect, you can find an appropriate insecticide for that species and eliminate it.