With all of the time and money many of us invest into maintaining a lawn, it can be incredibly frustrating when we end up with a splotchy, patchy, dying mess. It can be incredibly confusing, too -- maybe you were doing everything right, and your grass still kicked the bucket, or at the very least started becoming dry and discolored.
However, the good news is that even the ugliest lawn can be salvaged with a bit of know-how and hard work. Read on to find out some of the most common causes of ugly lawns, as well as some of the easiest ways to fix them.
Diagnosing the Issue
Unattractive lawns can be caused by any number of issues with your grass, whether they be overwatering, underwatering, fungal infections, or weed infestations. Knowing what exactly is wrong with your lawn can help you get to the bottom of the issue as soon as possible.
Weeds are one of the most common aesthetic issues in lawns.
One way, and most efficient way, to get rid of the weeds is to dig them up by the root. Once the weeds you've dug up are gone, place a pre-emergent or preventative weed killer on your lawn to prevent new ones from cropping up.
If you're interested in preventing or killing weeds organically, the easiest path is to work on maintaining a healthy, thick, and lush lawn. While that's a lot easier said than done, many of the tips in this article can help you to grow a thick and healthy lawn that can prevent weeds from cropping up and diverting energy away from the grass.
Brown spots in your lawn are definitely an eye sore. This is most likely caused by a nutrient deficiency. Using products such as MicroMAX and Liquid Iron + can help with that by putting vital micronutrients back into your soil. Giving your lawn the desired denseness and luxuriousness that you crave of having.
Depending on the type of grass you're growing, you may be clipping the blades a little too short, leaving your grass susceptible to damage from pests and infections. While a slightly longer lawn may not be exactly what you're looking for, it can save your grass from diseases and poor growth.
Since grasses rely on their blades to absorb sunlight and create their energy, shearing them too close can quite literally cut their ability to photosynthesize in half. These cut blades will expend a great deal of their energy on trying to regrow their cut length, leaving them vulnerable to being attacked by pests and fungi.
The ideal length will vary from grass to grass, so do some research on your species of grass to ensure that you're not clipping your grass too low.
While it can seem like the common-sense choice to water your lawn frequently and in small amounts, overwatering can sometimes contribute to dead or dry-looking lawns. Small adjustments to your watering habits can help to improve the look of your lawn over time.
Instead of watering often in small increments, it might be a smarter choice to water deeply every once in a while -- longer periods between watering combined with higher water volumes can help your lawn's roots grow longer and stronger. Assess the watering needs of your particular lawn based on the species of grasses you're growing and your local climate/time of year, but a good rule of thumb is to water once a week with a full inch of water. In the summertime, you might pare that frequency down to one inch every four or five days, but the principle of watering deep with a decent amount of time between watering remains true.
Fungal lawn diseases can impact the appearance of your lawn in a wide variety of ways, and unfortunately, they can often look quite similar to other lawn issues, like underwatering or poor nutrition.
Fortunately, however, lawn diseases are mostly treated and prevented by following standard maintenance procedures with your lawn, such as making sure it's watered the right amount, it is well-fed, it is not cut too low or otherwise damaged, etc. Most molds and fungi will have different treatment procedures, so it's worth looking into how to identify them.
A great number of lawn issues are caused by poor or non-nutritious soil, and poor soil quality can happen to anyone. However, with proper maintenance, you can make sure that your lawn is well-fed with all of the minerals it needs to stay healthy.
Signs of poor nutrition in your soil can include desiccated or dry blades and changes in blade coloration, especially yellowing. Different nutrient deficiencies will have different tells -- for instance, a phosphorus deficiency may look different than a nitrogen deficiency -- so it's important to notice if you have a unique deficiency in your grass before treatment.
Organic fertilizers can help with general nitrogen deficiencies, which are among the most common nutrient deficiencies in lawn care. When in doubt, conduct a lawn nutrient test to figure out what is causing your poor soil quality.