Common Causes of Grass Death

It’s raining, it’s pouring, and all your grass is turning….yellow? For homeowners, this combination just doesn’t sound right. A well-watered lawn is supposed to be a healthy lawn, after all! Indeed, grass needs water to grow and thrive, and a good irrigation system or a healthy dose of rain certainly helps. But, as landscaping professionals, we are well aware that there are many different causes for yellowing grass, and some are more surprising than others. As you prepare for the upcoming holiday, it is wise to keep in mind all the potential threats that might be encroaching in on your lawn. If you can recognize the risk, you can do more to keep your lawn healthy and looking its best.

Check Your Mower

Did you know that a dull blade on a lawnmower can dry out your grass? A dull blade tears at grass instead at cutting it, leaving frayed ends that prevent water and nutrients from reaching grass tips. Luckily, the fix for this problem is quick. Simply check your mower blades and, if they appear to be getting dull, replace them with new, sharp blades that can cut grass more efficiently.

Add Nutrients

You probably know that your garden plants need nutrients like iron and nitrogen to thrive. Grass also benefits from these nutrients and, without them, can quickly become yellow. Especially if you live in an area with nutrient-poor soil, consider adding fertilizer to your lawn once or twice a year to improve growth. As an added tip for those with pets, dog urine can also mess up nutrient balance in your yard and yellow your grass due to its high nitrogen content. Encourage your pups to do their business in areas with less grass or water off dog urine with a gardening hose to limit damage.

Watch Out for Soil Compaction

Do you have lawn furniture or children’s play equipment around the yellower parts of your yard? You may be dealing with soil compaction, in which soil becomes too closely packed to allow for a healthy flow of water and oxygen to grass. Aerating your lawn a couple times during the summer will help prevent this from happening.

Check for Disease

There are a number of diseases that target grass. The majority are fungal, with the most common being fairy rings, snow mold, fusarium, and smut. Apply a soil fungicide in the spring to combat mold and fungus growths in the summer. Regular (but not excessive) watering, aerating, and mowing will also defend against fungal disease.

Remove Dead Growth

If you have tried and tried again to fix a dead spot in your yard to no avail, the best course of action might be to pull up that dead grass growth and plant anew with fresh soil and seed. This area could have permanent damage due to sun scorching or a chemical spill, and thus may be resistant to generous watering. This dead patch could cause damage to other areas on your lawn, and therefore should be removed as soon as possible.


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