Lawn difficulties can occur in small areas or major patches. In the worst cases the entire lawn can show damage. Sometimes the problems are due to poor growing environments, improper lawn care practices, or adverse weather conditions. Other problems can be due to inadequate water, pets, insects, pests, or diseases.
The following information is a general guideline to common lawn problems.
Frost damage – as new grass starts to try to fill in damaged areas, a late spring frost can hit the tender shoots and cause a dieback of the tips.
Water and ice damage – straw colored or rotted grass, especially where water collects in frozen soil.
Snow molds – these spots appear as matted down grass with a grey appearance.
Winter desiccation – this often occurs in areas where the grass is exposed to the weather. these areas are drier and can even be suffering from “wind burn” leaving the lawn brown and slow to recover without proper spring maintenance.
Mag chloride/road splash back damage – dead or yellow grass along sidewalks, driveways, or roads where mag chloride and or salt is typically put down.
Rake grass and fluff it up so the matted down grass can get proper air flow.
Don’t wait too long to water exposed areas of the lawn. Between winter mites and the dry soil, yards need water to recover.
In areas hit my mag chloride, water the damaged areas heavily to try to wash away salt if damage is from salt.
Reseed damaged areas: Note- if you wish to reseed putting down a pre-emergent to control crabgrass cannot be done.
A lawn care program with Mountain High can help your lawn recover from winter desiccation.
SOIL COMPLICATIONS AND REMEDIAL METHODS
Soil Compaction signs: Soil is hard. Turf is thin. Rooting is poor.
The biggest and most important thing to do with soil compaction is aeration. Spring and Fall aerations are key to yards with heavy soil compaction.
Reroute foot traffic, including pet traffic, to other areas and change up child play areas to avoid frequent packing down of soil of the same areas.
Mountain High offers aeration services. Please contact us for pricing.
INSECT DAMAGE AND CURATIVE METHODS
Mites: Mites leave the lawn dry, crunchy and bleached looking. Walking over a badly mite damaged lawn is totally different than walking over a non-mite damaged lawn. The grass is hard and straw-like after being hit by mites.
The key to getting a yard to recover from mites is water and lots of it. Mites feed on warmer areas of the lawn during the colder months. They attack the blades of grass, removing moisture. In the worst cases, mites can kill off sections of a lawn by removing all the water from the plants.
Yards with a history of mite activity along driveways, sidewalks, fences, rock walls, and yards with south and west facing slopes should be treated for mites during the winter. This is key since this is when they are doing the most damage and there is no moisture being applied to replenish what they are stealing. Winter watering is also very important even when getting mite sprays.
White grubs/Japanese beetle grubs: Gradually increasing patches of turf turns brown in irregular shapes. This damage often starts out looking like drought stress. Often times birds pecking at the lawn or wild animals digging in the damage areas signal grubs just below the surface. As damage progresses, the turf can easily be pulled up since there are little to no root structures left.
Chinch bugs: Chinch bugs are generally observed in sunny areas or on sandy soils. They are usually observed during hot periods in the heat of summer, but in the spring they can be found in hot spots. The damage from last year will be very slow to recover and the grass will be noticeably weaker in chinch bug damaged areas.
Bluegrass bill bugs: Bill bug activity is periodic in the Front Range; billbugs grubs are much smaller than many lawn grubs. The damage normally begins as yellow areas along the edges of driveways and sidewalks. Damage is usually observed in June. Much like other types of grubs, the damage they cause progresses in irregular ways and the grass can often be pulled up easily. The difference between mite and billbug damage is the overall appearance of the grass. Mites attack the grass blades, billbug grubs hit the roots. Because of this, mites leave the grass bleached and crunchy while billbug grub damage leaves the tops of the grass alone so it is still soft to the touch.
All these listed insects can be controlled with properly timed applications of pesticides. Mountain High has well trained technicians and qualified supervisors who know how to identify the problem and put down the proper pesticides to treat these damaging pests.
Improper fertilizer applications: Over and under-fertilizing can cause major problems with a lawn. A massive over application can even burn and kill a lawn. These problems typically occur because the person doing the application doesn’t know how to properly adjust the spreader the fertilizer is being put down with. A malfunction of a spreader can also result in over or under application. Brown streaks lined with extra green growth can occur in areas of application overlap. In the worst cases the lawn can be left striped with bright green, lime green, or even lines of dead grass.
Mountain High technicians have the needed equipment and experience to provide proper fertilization every time.
Dog urine: Dog spots are characterized by areas of brown, dead looking, grass with longer bright green around the outside. Aeration, Revive, and other chemical remediation can help. On a badly damaged area replacement may be the only option.
Let Mountain High provide Revive treatments and do both spring and fall aerations to help maintain the health of your yard so both you and your pets can enjoy a happy healthy lawn.
Watering is key to the success of any lawn:
In the spring it is best to water deeply a couple of times a week rather than small amounts of water more often. This promotes deeper root growth.
Watering early in the day is best so foliage will dry up quickly while the morning dew will be washed down into the soil. Night watering is not recommended during hot humid weather because of the potential for disease development.
Too little water: Will cause wilting , browning, odd patches of green closer to the sprinkler heads, and in the worst cases death of the lawn not getting enough water. Keep in mind, most lawns can survive with little water, but will not green up. Instead they will remain dormant. A dormant lawn is much more susceptible to insect and disease damage since it is not strong enough to fend off such invaders. Normally, a dormant lawn recovers when moisture returns as long as it is kept free of insects and diseases.
Too much water: Deprives roots of oxygen, stunts growth, and promotes root and crown rot. If a yard is squishy when walked on, let it dry out then water less frequently. Correct drainage problems as necessary to prevent puddling in one area all the time.
Mountain High has an irrigation division to help you with all your lawn watering needs.
LIGHT PROBLEMS AND CORRECTIVE MEASURES
Heavy Shade: Most lawns will be thin in shaded areas. Selective pruning of tree and shrub branches may let in enough extra light to promote grass growth. There are also shade tolerant turf grasses which grow better in heavily shaded areas. However, the lawn will never be as think under heavy shade as it will be in well sunlit areas.
Mountain High offers top quality overseeding and can mix and match seed types to give the lawn the best chance given the shade conditions.
Mow lawns at 2” to 3” normally and set the mower height to maximum in hot, dry weather. At all costs avoid “scalping” the lawn. Colorado simply does not have the proper weather for a lawn to flourish if it is moved too low.
NOTE: Remove no more than 1/3 of total length on any one cutting. If grass gets very long, remove grass in stages with a two to three day time span between cuttings to prevent stress.