What’s wrong with my lawn? A beautiful lawn saves you time and money. We all want to have the healthiest lawn on the block.
Keeping your lawn in prime condition can not only increase your curb appeal but ensure that your grass and plants remain in good health throughout the year. Additionally, feeling confident and taking pride in the way that your lawn looks is important when you are already investing in your property.
However, it may be difficult to determine how to cure unhealthy grass or how to determine if your lawn is healthy in the first place. Our Timberline Turf Experts have listed some common lawn issues below. We cover how to spot them so that you can remedy your grass quickly and no longer need to ask “What’s wrong with my lawn?”
What A Healthy Lawn Looks Like
In Colorado, healthy grass should have a deep, rich color and typically has a thick texture, without thinning segments. It should also have a plush, springy texture so that as you walk through it, you don’t leave visible footprints as you move.
There should be an adequate layer of thatch (the layer of organic matter that accumulates on the base of your grass) on top of the soil – about a quarter of an inch. Thatch that is thicker than this will cause lawn problems if not addressed.
Dead brown patches on your lawn or large areas full of spots, rings, and slime indicate a problem. Fungal diseases in your grass can vary and quickly take over if not treated.
Many are caused by your lawn not being watered properly and can be treated by aerating your lawn or by watering your lawn in different ways. Some forms of fungal turf diseases and how to cure them include:
Mold Rust –
- This fugal turf disease typically occurs in the late summer or early fall in dry weather
- Occurs in slow-growing turf grasses
- Identify this rust by pulling a couple of blades out of the grass
- If mold rust affects the blades, the blades will be coated with orange-red to yellowish brown dust or spores
- This causes the affected grass to become thin and weak
Fairy Rings –
- Fairy rings occur when rings of grass are formed by the release of nutrients from fungus living in the soil
- A circle of mushrooms usually develops around the edge of the infected area
- Fairy rings can cause serious damage to your lawn
- Produce a thick layer of fungus that prevents water from reaching the roots
- Once the soil becomes dry, it becomes harder for it to absorb water and the grassroots die
Preventing and Treating Fungal Turf Diseases
Control diseases on your lawn by:
- Watering your lawn earlier in the day: Watering in the afternoon sun will cause the water to evaporate quickly, leaving your grass under-watered. Watering in the evening will cause water to sit on the lawn without absorbing, leading to mildew and fungal disease.
- Keeping your grass at a moderate height: The shorter the turf, the shallower the roots run which encourages disease. Long turf will have thick, strong roots causing the grass to be more drought and stress tolerant. How often you mow your lawn will play into keeping your grass strong and healthy.
- Cleaning and maintaining your lawn equipment: Make sure your mower blades are always sharp and free of rust. Making sure that your irrigation system is free of leaks and pointed towards your lawn will ensure adequate watering is taking place.
- Make sure your lawn is clear of objects: Leaving heavy items on your grass prevents it from breathing. It will also prevent water absorption and cause stress.
- Testing your soil pH: A soil pH between 6 and 7 is ideal. Anything significantly above or below that can stress your lawn. This will result in a number of turf problems including weeds, diseases, and dead spots. Treat soil slowly with a fertilizer that will bring it back into balance. Treating soil too quickly with too much fertilizer will do more harm than good.
An effective way to keep your lawn watered properly and prevent mold is the cycle and soak method. Cycle and soak irrigation is the process of watering your lawn in shorter cycles, preventing water run-off and better preserving its’ health. This method involves scheduling several shorter watering cycles in the same day, allowing 30 minutes or more in between for the water to soak in.
Weeds and Other Overgrown Plants
Weeds and overgrown plants are another common lawn problem. There are many ways that you can kill weeds for good on your property. There are multiple common weeds and plants that can grow due to watering issues.
Broadleaf weeds are some of the most common types of weeds that can cover your grass. Common types of broadleaf weeds include dandelions, plantain, and chickweed. Broadleaf weeds are caused by improper lawn care and lack of fertilization. These weeds can be cured with weed killer and fertilization can prevent them in the future.
Moss and mushrooms can also be problematic for turf. They are typically caused by overwatering. Preventing these intruders from invading your property can be solved by the cycle and soak method.
Other Common Lawn Problems
- Dog urine
- Insect infestations
- Thick thatch
Some lawn issues come from sources that you wouldn’t typically expect. For example, did you know that the urine from your family dog could be the source of damage to your grass? Making sure that your grass is regularly watered/rinsed if you have a family pet can help you prevent pet urine issues.
Additionally, insect infestations can cause serious damage to your landscape. Ensuring that an exterminator is treating your lawn as harmful insect issues arise can protect your lawn in the long term.
Another common turf issue is thick thatch. Thatch is bits and pieces of grass that have died and gathered just above the soil. It is organic material that is broken down by microbes in the soil, so a little bit of thatch can be good for your lawn.
Occasionally, however, thatch builds up too fast for natural processes to break it down. It forms a barrier, keeping moisture and air from going where your grass needs it. A half-inch or more of thatch can weaken your lawn. Aerating your lawn commonly cures this.
There are many different reasons that your lawn may be damaged – and they are not always easy to spot. Fortunately, our lawn care experts can help you determine the source of your problem and help you effectively heal your turf. For a consultation with our specialists, contact us today.