For many homeowners, a well manicured lawn is a source of great pride. It takes a lot of work to maintain a lush and healthy yard that is perfectly edged and free of weeds. However, even the most diligent homeowner can experience faded or dead grass patches in the yard from time to time.
Sometimes the cause is obvious. Sometimes it’s a mystery, a real whodunit. The Hurst Farm Supply team is here to help you crack the case. Keep reading to find out what could be causing your grass to die in patches and a few ways you can fix it.
The Usual (& Unusual) Suspects
Diagnosing bald or dead patches in your grass could be as simple as checking your sprinkler system to ensure you have adequate coverage. If your home has a sprinkler system, monitor the next watering cycle and look for any missed spots or malfunctioning heads. If you use a garden hose sprinkler, take the time to make sure you’re getting uniform coverage of your entire yard.
Pets or Wild Animals
A family pet, wild animal, or stray cat could also be the culprit. In this case, you’ll see small patches of yellow or brown grass. A dark green halo effect around the edge of the spot is usually a dead giveaway. Urine from animals can burn your grass and create these eyesores. If you catch an animal in the act, you may be able to prevent the burn by watering the area thoroughly to wash away the urine.
Grubs and Other Pests
A much sneakier perpetrator could also be the root cause of dead patches in your lawn– grubs. These are larvae from beetles, like the everpresent June bug. Grubs live under the grass and eat away at the roots, killing the grass. If you tug at the dead spot and the grass easily pulls up, you’ll know that you have a grub issue. Once you’ve dealt with this pest, you can seed or sod the area. (Keep reading, we’ll cover these remedies below.)
Dull Mower Blades
Dull mower blades can also have negative impacts on the color of your grass. When you mow the lawn with a dull blade, the tips of your grass are shredded rather than sliced. This makes it harder for the grass to repair and creates a dull, yellow look at the tip, similar to split ends on long hair.
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Finally, certain chemicals, like pesticides or herbicides also have potential to harm your lush green grass. Always read the label on your lawn chemicals and take extra care not to spill or apply too much to your yard.
How to Fix It
Now that we’ve identified the perp and solved the case, you can begin to repair the grass in your yard. Use these guidelines to fix your lawn.
Prep the Area
First, clear the area. Rake away any dead turf and get rid of all debris such as weeds and rocks. The new grass will take best if it’s applied directly to the soil. Before laying seeds or sod, loosen the top layer (about two to three inches) of soil and work in compost or organic matter.
Seed vs. Sod
Knowing when to use seed versus sod to fill in the spot depends on the existing type of grass. If you have St. Augustine, you’ll need to purchase enough sod to fill in the space. With many other types of grass, you can re-seed the patches.
Food & Water
Your newly seeded or sodded areas will need to be watered daily to keep the top of the soil moist. Keep in mind any drought restrictions in your neighborhood or town. Once the area reaches mowing height, you can continue with your regular watering schedule. A good rule of thumb for newer grass is to give the lawn a deep soak once or twice per week instead of daily, short watering.
And don’t forget to feed your lawn regularly. Applying lawn feed every six to eight weeks will give your yard a steady stream of nutrients and help the grass withstand heat and drought, as well as normal wear and tear.
You’re well on your way to earning “Yard of the Month” in your neighborhood, we can feel it! Looking for more tips? Get your copy of our Free Lawn Care Guide to keep your lawn looking healthy throughout the summer and well into the fall season.