How to fix lawn problems is what keep many landscape companies in business. Just by learning how to rectify the dilemma can save you lots of money. If you’re having the same trouble year after year then there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. Following an organic lawn care program prevents a lot of turf issues.
Types of Lawn Problems
As a sign of spring, one of the first lawn problems is the appearance of weeds. Green grass dominates and all of a sudden a dandelion reminds us of the constant care needed for a nice lawn.
Lawn weeds Are An Indication of Soil Problems
- Dandelion – Low in calcium
- Clover – Low in nitrogen
- Plantain – Compacted soil
- Ground Ivy – Poor drainage
For every lawn weed there is usually an underlying issue with either the soil or cultural practices. Having a soil test done will show you where and how to fix lawn problems.
Lawn issues includes eliminating turf weeds and it can be solved by have thick dense grass. Instead of fighting the weeds every year, wouldn’t it be easier to over seed your lawn a couple of seasons and be gone with the weeds for good?
Plus, you have the benefit of having awesome grass.
Corn Gluten is Overrated in Solving Crabgrass
- It’s not that effective
- Timing has to be perfect
- Adds too much nitrogen to environment
- Too expensive!
Organic herbicides are a good tool to eliminate any existing broad leaf weeds before you over seed. They are non-selective so they will damage any vegetation it touches so use on a non-windy day.
Organic herbicides are generally made with horticultural vinegar and it will burn your eyes, so be very careful. You may need to apply a couple of times to rid the turf of all the weeds but it is certainly better that using synthetic herbicides.
Over seeding your lawn in the spring with an annual rye grass is a good preventive against crabgrass. Generally a full over seeding of your turf should be done in late summer or early fall and it helps to fix lawn problems.
Fix Dead Grass Easily
First, let’s define lawn thatch. Grass plants spread by stolons and rhizomes and that is what causes thatch. It is not caused when leaving grass clippings on the lawn while mowing.
Having good fungal properties in your soil prevents thatch build-up. Using chemical fertilizers and pesticides damage fungi in the soil. Healthy organic lawns do not have thatch issues and helps fix lawn problems naturally.
Thick thatch can:
- Harbor insects
- Prevent water and nutrients reaching the soil
- Stop lawn plants from spreading
Some thatch is good as it cools the soil surface but if your lawn’s thatch is 1/2 inch or more than it should be removed.
A thatching machine will solve the issue immediately and are available to rent for about $50 for the day. Just go back and forth like you mow the lawn and if need be, do it twice the second time perpendicular to the first direction. Rake it up or blow it into a pile and remove. Removed thatch is pretty light in weight so it isn’t a big job depending on your lawn area.
Some grass types do cause more thatch than others but if you stop using chemicals on your lawn you will generally prevent build-up of thatch.
Here you can read more about lawn thatch.
Compact soil is considered the most common lawn problem. Whether it’s overused chemical fertilizer or just too much traffic, soil compaction can wreak havoc in a yard.
- It’s tough for lawns to grow
- Water and nutrients can’t get down to the roots
- Air cannot get into the soil
- Some lawn weeds love it
A mechanical aerator is effective in plugging holes into the turf and soil, relieving some of the negative effects of soil compaction. Good soil structure is important if you want to have a nice lawn and fix lawn problems.
Soil Structure Should Be:
- 45% Mineral
- 25% Air
- 25% Water
- 5% Organic matter
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are a cause of poor soil structure. They damage the biology in the soil, which allow for a balance of structure. Having an abundant amount of earthworms create tunnels in the soil allowing air, water and nutrients to enter.
A mechanical aerator can be rented for under $70 for the day. They can be difficult to maneuver so hire someone if you are not physically able to do it. Leave the soil plugs on the lawn as they help break down any excess thatch.
Constant use of a lawn can sometimes not be prevented. Whether it’s a human, dog or vehicles some lawn problems can’t be prevented.
Visit us here where we talk lawn aerating.
Moss is generally a sign of neglect of turf and soil. You can tear it up but if you do not remedy the soil, lawn moss will come back. It may start in a small area of your grass but if it goes unchecked it will spread and dominate your yard.
What causes moss?
- Acidic soil
- Low fertility
- Soil compaction
How to Fix Moss Problems
- Do a soil test and adjust the pH accordingly
- Aerated the grass area
- Remove any low-lying branches causing dense shade
Moss can certainly be troublesome especially if you can’t prevent a shade area or if the moss is mixed in with the grass. Your best bet is to try to get it early and stay on top before it dominates.
Our lawn moss page goes deep into the subject.
Most Lawn Problems Are Preventable
Identifying lawn trouble is the most important thing one can do. No sense in spending money on insect damage if it is a disease issue.
Whether you hire a knowledgeable professional or use the many resources available here, identifying the concern is a must. With the millions of different insects in this world it can be tricky.
Some insects you may want to read more about:
- Chinch bug
- Web worm
- Bill bug
- Army worm
I have to reiterate, having good healthy soil and grass prevents most headaches. If there is a good balance in the “soil food web” then the whole system keeps each other in check preventing one species from dominating.
Don’t assume you are going to have insect issues. As contrary to what the chemical pesticide companies tell you during their advertising, grubs and other insect damage is not your inevitable doom.
A quote from Dr. Sarah Little:
“Over 97 percent of the insects you might find in a grassy area are beneficial. They perform, free of charge, such essential services as pest control, pollination and soil aeration.”
Disease can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between other turf issues. Identifying the issue is how to fix lawn problems.
Questions you should be asking if you think it is a disease are:
- Is the issue an ongoing situation or is it sudden?
- Any other plants in the area affected?
- Is it a recurring issue every year?
Lawn disease requires three different situations:
- A pathogen
- A host
- The right environment
Pathogens are present everywhere and so isn’t a host. Like preventing insect issues having a good balance in the soil food web is important to avert an outbreak of turf disease.
Some common turf grass diseases:
- Brown Patch
- Dollar Spot
- Fairy Ring
- Fusarium Blight
- Powdery Mildew
- Red Thread
- Snow Mold
Jump on to our lawn disease page where we go in-depth about this issue. Remember, having healthy soil and thick grass will fix lawn problems naturally.
I’ll end this web page off with a quote:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”