Five of the most common lawn problems lawn care enthusiasts may encounter during a typical year include lack of sunlight, crabgrass, thin or patchy grass, grubs, and bald spots.
Scratching your head and wondering how to fix these problems, but doing nothing about them isn’t going to make things right. Perhaps knowing how to handle these problems before they even come up will encourage you to take action when they do finally occur.
Here are the fixes.
Lack of Sunlight
In this case it may be the good Lord plus unlucky configuration of your plot of land that makes a fix necessary. Many have tried such solutions as changing the turf to a more shade-tolerant species or pruning trees bare so that the sun can shine through.
Some times you have to know when to give up and seek other solutions. Trying to find new turf species is not going to end the problem. Grass is grass and grass needs sunlight. Pruning trees bare will only ease your frustration, but won’t do anything to help your lawn. In fact, you may be damaging the tree if you prune it too much.
The answer is to use ground cover vegetation. Such species as bishop’s hat or sweet woodruff might work well. The ground cover is lower maintenance than turf, so it can still thrive in the shade. In addition, it provides vegetation that cover bare ground, so it looks natural.
The appearance of crabgrass can present a number of problems from creating an eyesore to assisting in soil erosion when it dies at first frost. There are herbicides that can handle the
problem, but they provide a new set of problems. Many knowledgeable lawn care do-it-yourselfers have spread corn gluten meal on their lawn. It’s natural and in the early spring it can assist in restricting the predicament.
You should then follow up with fertilizer. Then when the mowing season arrives, don’t cut the grass too short because it can lead again to more crabgrass. To assure that you don’t cut the grass to short set your lawn mower deck to about 3-1/2-inches. If you have a mower that has notches, then you may have to do some trial and error to find the proper setting.
Thin, Patchy grass
If you see spots in your lawn that are thin or patchy, the problem is not the turf. The problem could be the soil. Knowledgeable lawn care aficionados know that you should test the soil to see if it has the proper balance of nutrients. It will cost only $10 to $15 and you can even do it yourself. Many home and garden stores sell do-it-yourself kits.
You can also seek help from a local cooperative extension of the United States Department of Agriculture. They can send a representative out to you to perform a soil test that will show the soil’s pH level and identify what nutrients are missing. The representative will also suggest ways to treat the issue.
Some of those fixes could include spreading limestone on the lawn if it is acidic or applying sulfur if the soil has too much alkaline.
It’s a good idea to perform a soil test every three or so years. However, if you just moved into a new home, you may want to perform the test yearly until you achieve the proper results.
If you see grubs on your lawn, then you’re going to want to get rid of them. Their milky-white larvae will feed on grass roots, which can result in dead spots in the lawn. They can also attract
moles and raccoons.
A few grubs may not cause problems. However, if you see 10 larvae per square foot of lawn, then you really need to do something about it.
Consult with a representative from the local cooperative extension on how to treat the problem. The treatment will depend on the type of grub you’re dealing with.
The representative may suggest using preventive insecticides in the spring and restorative treatments in the fall.
If you notice a bald spot in the turf, then deal with it quickly or the weeds will. A fix can take place in the spring when the weather is cool and wet. That time is favorable for growing many different types of turfgrass.
Begin by digging out the damaged spot plus an additional 6-inches of the healthy lawn that is surrounding it. Dig down about 2-inches, then level the soil and add a little bit of soil amendment. A plant-based compost will suffice. Also include some starter fertilizer.
You can use seed or sod to perform the fix. Although sod may be best, it is about 10 times more expensive than seed. Cut a section to fit the patch, press it into place, and water frequently until it takes root.
If you use seed, cover it lightly with straw and keep the ground moist until sprouting.