Common lawn issues & how to treat them

There’s nothing better than a well-kept lawn. A lush, green turf can soothe the soul. It can also improve property value and curb appeal. Plus, it looks fresh and clean, and can do wonders to the surrounding environment and for the people inhabiting it! Grass, similarly to trees, are like nature’s air conditioners, lowering temperatures far more than asphalt or soil. Grass is able to absorb dust and noise, preventing pollution. Oxygen generation by turfgrasses keeps us alive — a 50'x 50' plot of grass produces enough oxygen for a family of four!

Each blade of grass is small, but these narrow leaves on the ground do so much for our well-being! The problem is, grass doesn’t always take care of itself. Below are some common lawn issues, and how to best treat them.

Lack of sunlight

Whether the shade is caused by trees, shrubs, or fallen leaves, it will prevent your grass from being able to truly flourish. Typically, a lack of sunlight on a part of your lawn will mean thin or bald patches. Occasionally, moss will overtake spots that are damp.

To counteract the stress a shaded lawn is under, there are a couple of options. First, I recommend overseeding — spreading grass seeds over an existing lawn. Other options include choosing a more shade tolerant grass, mowing higher (leave two-thirds of the grass intact when cutting), and pruning the trees or shrubs causing the shade. You can always ask us for assistance if you’ve reached your wit’s end — we know how to help!

Crabgrass

If grass is the most common plant life on earth, then crabgrass must be the most common weed! Crabgrass gets its name from, well, crabs — it sprawls from a central root across the ground. It quickly becomes an issue in the warmer seasons because it thrives in hot, dry conditions. Before it dies from the frosts of fall and winter, it can spread thousands of seeds ready to sprout in the next spring.

Crabgrass can be easy to prevent and maintain. By mowing your grass at a higher level, you can discourage crabgrass from growing and germinating. Deep watering — wetting the soil to a depth of four to six inches — is also helpful. Many weeds have adapted to grow in adverse, harsh conditions. If you water your lawn deeply and less frequently, you’ll strengthen your turf’s roots and prevent crabgrass from taking over. Chemical herbicide treatments and pre-emergents, such as quinclorac, are also available. Ask us to learn more!

Other common weeds

There are a variety of other common weeds outside of crabgrass. In Massachusetts, some of the most recognizable weeds include pigweed, buckhorn plantain, lamb’s quarters, quackgrass, purslane, shepherd’s purse, chickweed and dandelions. Clearly, the names are an indication of how annoying the control of these plants can be. Landscape America offers a variety of weed control products and services, with trained staff on hand for all of your weed control questions and concerns.

Grubs

Lawn grubs, otherwise known as white grubs, are the primordial forms of different scarab beetles — the most common being Japanese beetles, June bugs or European chafers. These creatures are white with soft bodies, and are usually C-shaped. They feed on grass roots, causing sections of lawn to die. Peak grub feeding occurs in the early fall. In Massachusetts, grubs usually operate a few inches beneath the soil surface, but some will burrow up to eight inches before winter arrives.

There are many symptoms of a grub infestation: brown patches that never turn green, dead patches that appear in late summer or early fall, or a turf that has a spongy quality to it. The only way to truly know if you have a grub problem is to check underneath your turf — oftentimes, if there are too many grubs, your grass will roll up easily, like a carpet, because the roots will be gone. If you’re noticing more than 10 grubs in a square foot section of grass (that’s two to four inches deep), you’ll want to give us a call — we can help you treat and manage a grub infestation through proper identification, chemical treatments and lawn care best practices.

Can’t figure out what the issue is?

Does your lawn still look like its balding? Do you notice thin, brown, or bald patches on your lawn, but can’t pinpoint the cause? Sometimes, weeds, fungi, grubs and shade aren’t the culprits.

If you’re at the end of your rope, it’s best to call the experts. If you’re sick of trying to treat your lawn, or the contractors you’re working with aren’t able to maintain a healthy turf, give us a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, and we’d love to help you scratch lawn care off of your to-do list!