Lawn Maintenance

Common Lawn Annoyances and How to Fix Them

Your lawn (and entire yard, for that matter) plays an important role in the overall value, aesthetics and, most importantly, the enjoyment of your home. Here’s a quick list of problems and solutions – the sooner you treat them, the sooner you can enjoy your lawn!

  • Grey or bleached spots dot the lawn. This condition is called dollar spot, which is most recognizable by straw colored areas or even cobweb-like growths that appear with the morning dew. A little TLC with a quality fungicide and fertilizer should solve the problem.
  • Weeds have overtaken. The solution, obvious as it sounds, is to apply herbicide in the fall and the spring. It’s essential to do this in both seasons, and continue fertilizing throughout the summer, as each application kills different types of weeds. It may take a handful of seasons to eradicate all the weeds if the growth is particularly heavy.
  • It looks a little rusty. Those small, orange pustules that cling to the blades of grass are actually called “rust,” and it’s relatively easy to fix this condition as well. Fertilize, water well, mow frequently and be sure to remove the grass clippings. If the condition persists, apply a fungicide.
  • Mushrooms are multiplying. Unfortunately, mushrooms are one of the few lawn issues that are nearly impossible to conquer. You can certainly pull them, but plan on seeing their replacements a few days later. The best way to fight mushrooms is to make your lawn less prone to fungi: rake up grass clippings, dethatch, replace old mulch and generally eliminate all decaying matter such as buried lumber and tree stumps.
  • Fairy rings grace the place. As lovely as this sounds, this condition actually shows its ugliness by large green circular patches of “different” grass that dies off, sometimes leaving mushrooms behind. You can send those fairies back where they came from by aerating, fertilizing, then keeping the lawn wet for three to five days.
  • It just won’t grow. The answer might be as simple as choosing a different type of grass in particular areas where only a distinct amount of sunlight exists. For example, in highly shaded areas under a tree, consider plating tall fescue if you’re in the southern climates, or shade-tolerant fine fescues in you’re in the North. If the problem area is on a slope, try laying sod or applying hydro-seed, which is plant seeds enclosed in a special material that prevents them from drying out.

Finally, if you just haven’t been able to bring your lawn to total health, dig up a patch of soil and turf and take to your local nursery or your county’s Ag-Cooperative Extension for analysis.

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