Lawn Repair: A Guide To Fixing
The Five Most Common Turf Problems
We all enjoy a lush, green yard, and every one of us runs into turf trouble. Lawn repair is easy to do; you just need to know the best way to get it back into shape. Here are the five most common problems and the lawn care know-how to bring it back to green.
1. Yellow Grass
If your turf’s blades are yellow instead of green, that means it is starving for nitrogen. This can happen even if you are applying fertilizer. Here’s your in-order-list of lawn repair to cure yellowing grass:
- Thatch is the brown dead plant matter between the dirt and the blades. When it’s more than a ½-inch thick, your grass can’t grow, so use a garden rake to pull it out, or a de-thatching liquid for easier lawn care.
- Soil Problems include ground packed so hard, it can’t breathe, and then neither can the roots. Plus, the fertilizer you apply will just run off. Hire someone to use an aerating machine, or use a liquid aerator. Using a seaweed soil booster will reactivate microbes and bacteria and replenish the soil even more.
- Fertilize with an organic liquid fertilizer as it won’t just sit on the surface, but will go down and feed the roots where it’s needed most.
2. Brown Spots / Brown Turf
Brown spots are usually dead or dying grass caused by too much nitrogen, either by too much fertilizer or animal urine. Lawn repair can be done with re-seeding, but watering away the nitrogen first is a big help. If human and animal traffic is a lawn care issue, use a high traffic blend fertilizer to revive and strengthen it.
When the whole turf is going brown, it’s due to a lack of water. Water properly, by giving an inch of water a week, to encourage deep roots and give you drought resistance.
Mowing Tips: Dull mower blades will turn the turf tips a ragged brown: get your mower blade sharpened. Keep your grass at least 3 inches high, and it provides shade for itself.
In the old days, the lawn repair chore of getting rid of weeds used to involve poisonous chemicals so harsh that it meant you couldn’t even go out on your yard! Just because we don’t use those old processes anymore, though, doesn’t mean you have to live with weeds. Taking care of weeds is a two-step process:
- Weeds that are already there are simple. You can dig them up, or you can use a paint brush and paint them with vinegar. Spraying or pouring vinegar has a tendency to kill the grass plants around the weed too, though, so stick with painting it on. Reapply after it rains, or after you water your yard.
- To prevent weeds before they start, use a pre-emergent weed killer, which dries up any seed as it sprouts. Corn gluten meal is organic, completely safe to use (it’s a food by-product), and is an excellent source of nitrogen for your yard. Now that’s a true lawn care weed and feed.
Repairing lawn with moss is not about just digging up the moss; you have to solve the underlying problem. The causes are too much water and not enough sun. If it’s a low-lying area, build it up with topsoil and compost, and plant fresh seed or sod on top. Eliminate lower branches of trees and bushes to increase the sunshine and air. Or, even simpler, don’t have grass in the area; plant a flower bed for shady plants instead.
5. Bare Patches / Patchy Grass
Lawn repair for bare or patchy turf starts the same as #1, by fixing the soil with aerator and de-thatching. Lawn care continues by adding a layer of compost and/or topsoil. Now add fresh grass seed, gently rake it in, and mist with water. This is called overseeding, and will help to fill in the whole lawn, but it is best done in spring or fall. You must never let it dry out, and keep off the area until the grass is at least an inch high.
Did you know? Healthy turf has six grass plants per square inch!
There’s your lawn care fix for the five most common grass problems. No need to panic or call a pro. Simply do your own look-see at the problem you have and complete your own lawn repair this weekend.