Help with Common Lawn Problems

Help with Common Lawn Problems - SUNSEEKER Lawn Cares

Creating and keeping a beautiful lawn takes patience and maintenance. Summers are full of wandering feet and periods of hot weather. Winters can take a toll with frost damage and mold. Your best defense? Learn about common lawn problems and diseases, and how to prevent and treat them.

Common Lawn Problems

A Patchy Lawn, Discoloration and Bare Spots

When summer sun scorches your grass or a shortage of nutrients causes plants to struggle, your lush green lawn can quickly become unsightly with brown, yellow or pale green discoloration. Bare spots may even begin to form. But don’t worry — we have several tips to help you address these lawn challenges.

Tips for Treatment:

  • Dehydration is the main cause of a lawn that starts to turn light brown to darker brown. This is usually easily addressed by starting a supplemental watering schedule, especially during hot, dry spells or whenever possible. Consider the mowing height too; if in doubt, keep the grass a little longer. Dog urine can also cause brown patches, which appear as circles in the lawn.

  • Overuse Walking on grass can cause lawn damage and eventually bare patches. You can counteract this by planting the right type of grass. Some grasses can hold up to more foot traffic than others — consult your local lawn and garden center for guidance.

  • Overwatering your lawn can cause damage and even produce bare patches. Excess rainfall or overwatering, combined with dead plant material or moss, can suffocate grass. You need to scarify your lawn, which involves removing this material with a rake or MM 56 C-E YARD BOSS® with MF-MM lawn dethatcher attachment.

  • A lack of nutrients can result in grass with yellow tips and light green blades. This kind of discoloration is an indicator of inadequate fertilizing, poor soil structure with low organic content, or the wrong pH value. These deficiencies make plants vulnerable to diseases. Iron and nitrogen deficiencies can be quickly remedied by applying fertilizer to affected areas and watering regularly. Consult your local garden center for help identifying the problem and choosing the optimal blend of nutrients for restoring your lawn to good health.

Moss in the Lawn

Mosses spread between grass stems and gradually displace them, causing the lawn to become matted. Moss overtaking your lawn signals an imbalance in nutrients, waterlogging, or inadequate air flow. Your soil may also be at the wrong pH. Moss thrives in lawns that have been cut too short and amid weak plants in general, which is why moss is best cured by raising the cutting height and fertilizing adequately. Use a scarifier to remove moss from the lawn, then work on restoring balance.

Common Lawn Diseases

Snow Mold, Red Thread, Mildew, and More

When traditional lawn care methods haven't been effective in your yard or you see visible symptoms, you may be dealing with a lawn disease. The treatment will depend on the type of disease.

Consult your local garden center for help identifying the problem and choosing the correct treatment to restore your lawn.

Tips for Treatment:

  • Snow mold forms on lawns in damp, cold weather, causing grey-brown patches on the lawn with a white, cottony structure called mycelium around the edges. Snow mold usually dies off by itself with warmer summer temperatures, but if you want to tackle the patches before then, you can scarify the affected area. Sowing new seed in spring can also help. Covering the affected area with a ½ inch layer of sand can prevent reinfection, while also loosening the soil and improving drainage to prevent waterlogging.

  • Red thread gets its name from turning grass blades to a red-brown color, and its formation is due to a poorly nourished lawn. It may also suggest excessive matting. The fungus mainly occurs in areas with high humidity that promotes fungal growth. The best way to treat red thread is to rake the affected area (also known as dethatching) and apply an organic mineral fertilizer with low nitrogen and high potassium content.

  • Fairy rings, or fairy circles, sound whimsical, but indicate mycelium that lies underneath your otherwise healthy lawn. These circular patterns of mushrooms can spring up overnight. Treating this disease requires patience. You can lift the affected areas in spring or winter with a fork and loosen the turf to break up the mycelium, then water heavily and frequently. The area may be left soaking wet for two weeks.

  • Powdery mildew appears as a white, powdery layer on the surface of grass blades and is caused by warm, humid weather and keeping grass long. This disease often occurs in shaded areas. We recommend sowing new grass the following spring. You can also provide more sunlight by thinning out trees and cutting back branches. A mix of shade-tolerant and sport turf grass can be useful in these spots.

  • Dollar spot frequently appears in summer, and is characterized by brown, coin-sized patches. This fungus thrives on weakened grass that suffers in the heat of the day and forms the perfect breeding ground for spores at night due to falling temperatures and humidity. Make sure you properly water and fertilize your lawn with minerals to prevent and treat dollar spot.

  • Dieback is a condition that occurs in newly sown grass. Young blades droop and develop a light-brown color. Causes include low-quality seed, inadequate soil aeration and overfertilizing. This can be remedied by raking the lawn to remove thatch (also known as lawn scarification), using better seed and fertilizing according to lawn type.

Overall, preventing diseases and lawn fungus starts with selecting the right seed. High-quality seed tends to produce less fungus and is generally more resistant to lawn diseases. As is so often the case with lawns, the combination of lawn usage and lawn type is also important, and the two must be matched. Unfortunately, fungus can never be completely ruled out even on the best-kept lawn. However, most fungal diseases are harmless and simply detract from the lawn’s appearance.

More Tips for a Healthy, Beautiful Lawn

  • Fertilize your lawn in late summer to make the grass strong for the cold season. You can also apply lime in autumn if a pH test suggests that it is necessary. Then cut the lawn to a height of 2 inches. These preparations put the grass in better shape for the winter, prevent extensive dieback and, in the end, give you a lusher, greener lawn. Any discoloration tends to grow out quickly on a well-aerated lawn fed with organic fertilizer.

  • Don’t overfertilize. Supplying an excess of certain nutrients, especially mineral fertilizers, may lead to discoloration and dead grass: the lawn will initially turn dark-green or even a blueish color. This kind of overfertilizing can add too much salt to the soil, which in turn “burns” the blades.

  • Help prevent disease and damage by not allowing your grass to grow into an extremely dense state. Other measures you can take to help protect your lawn include staying off grass during frosty conditions, not mulching too thickly, avoiding cutting grass too short, and not allowing leaves and debris to stay on grass for too long in the winter.

Lawn problems and diseases can be caused by a number of factors and treatments can vary based on region and climate. Consult your local garden center for help identifying the problem and choosing the correct treatment to restore your lawn.





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