A well-manicured lawn completes the overall look of your landscape. No matter how gorgeous your garden is, if it’s surrounded by a patchy, uneven bed of grass, it really spoils the scenery. Lawns see a lot of action and get a great deal of foot traffic, and the growth processes can get interfered with by a number of factors. We’ve outlined a list of common lawn problems that occur in the summer and some simple ways you can fix them.
Every gardener is well-acquainted with the tedious task of pulling weeds, but there are definitely a few things you can do to prevent them from popping up and spreading. For starters, it’s a good idea to start taking care of your lawn as soon as the snow melts. It’s probably a bit fatigued after a long winter, so making sure it’s hydrated and healthy will help prevent weeds from sprouting from any weak spots in the grass.
While mowing your lawn is definitely a necessity, it’s a good idea not to cut it too short. When the blades are left to grow a little longer, less sunlight will reach the soil, making it harder for weeds to develop. If you find your lawn is starting to become totally overrun with weeds and is becoming difficult to keep up with, you may need to resort to using weed killer and then reseeding your lawn afterward.
Watering your lawn generously once the weather starts to heat up is always a good idea— just be careful not to overdo it. There’s really no need to water it more than twice a week max. Too much water not only creates a perfect breeding ground for fungus, but it’s also a pretty attractive environment for unwanted pests.
To see if your lawn is oversaturated with water, walk across the grass. If the blades don’t immediately go back upright or the soil is feeling soggy and spongy, chances are you need to let it dry out a bit.
Strangely, a lot of the signs of an under-watered lawn are pretty similar to the signs of an over-watered lawn. The footprint test should tell you if conditions aren’t ideal, but you can also check by inserting a screwdriver into the soil. If it penetrates the soil easily, it’s well-hydrated, but if you’re struggling to break the surface of the soil, you may have a thirsty lawn on your hands. Dry soil tends to shrink down, so another sign of dehydration is bare patches around your lawn’s perimeter, near sidewalk edges and driveways. Fix it up by giving it a good watering.
White grubs are a common lawn pest that gobble up the roots of your grass, resulting in unsightly patches with stunted growth. They lay their eggs in the springtime, and by mid-summer, they’re hatched and hungry, ready to wreak havoc on our yards. To check for white grub infestations, rip up a chunk of the struggling grass (damaged grass pulls up easily since the roots have been munched). Dig around a little bit, and if you see about ten or more C-shaped grubs, it’s time to do some damage control.
Grub killer solutions like GrubEx can be sprinkled onto your lawn, and the formula will activate as soon as you water it. It works best if applied in the spring or early summer. Follow up by reseeding the bare patches of your lawn. Although grubs do thrive in moist lawns, trying to dry out your lawn could actually do worse damage, so don’t go down that route. Also, don’t panic if you see a couple of grubs here and there. So long as your lawn isn’t overrun by them, everything’s fine— it’s normal for grubs to hang out in your lawn, and birds are happy to gobble them up.
Dog owners are no stranger to those unsightly yellow patches in the lawn. As we all know, this is caused by Fido relieving himself on the grass. The high concentrations of nitrogen in dog urine causes the grass to burn, the same effect as applying too much fertilizer. While it isn’t exactly easy to repair this kind of damage, there are a few things you can do to help the cause.
Go outside with your dog when they’re out for a bathroom break. Keep an eye on where they go, and then quickly hose down the area to dilute it. Keeping your dog well-hydrated by always keeping the water bowl filled will help to reduce nitrogen concentration. You could also consider designating an area of the yard for your dog to relieve itself that isn’t covered in grass. Try laying down some river stones in one corner, train your dog to go in that area, and spray the hose on the rocks regularly to keep them from getting funky.
There’s a long list of different diseases and fungi that can spread in lawns, particularly those that are too moist. With Jonathan Green Lawn Fungus Control, not only can you eliminate these diseases, you can prevent them from showing up at all. Apply it onto a dry lawn and then water it to activate. You can seed your lawn at the same time too, so why not kill two birds with one stone and apply some new grass seeds while you’re at it?
There are loads of different varieties of grasses, and some are a little trickier to maintain than others, so if you find yourself fighting a losing battle against lawn problems, consider reseeding with a more low-maintenance variety. Alternately, if you want to get creative, you could opt for some decorative groundcover plants, some fragrant clover, or even landscaping alternatives like a rock garden. There are plenty of options out there, so sometimes you just need to do a little trial and error until you find the right fit for your lawn.