Why isn’t your lawn greening up like it should?
It seems like the grass is always greener at the neighbor’s house—but why?
A thick, green lawn is a welcome mat and it shows you care for your property. But an emerald lawn doesn’t just happen. The reality is, if you allowed anything to grow on your property, you’d find native plants and invasive groundcovers, including growth we’d identify as weeds. Lush turfgrass simply wasn’t designed to grow on our landscapes—that is, without the right soil conditions, nutrients and cultural practices like aeration.
Good grass takes work. But that’s not work you have to do yourself. You’ll find the real secret to a green lawn is to enlist in a pro that understands turf health, can identify diseases and weeds, and is well-versed in lawn maintenance best practices. The key is to get to the bottom of what’s preventing your grass from looking its best, and here are the five problems we see most often.
#1 Vitamin-Deficient Turf
You know how you can have a low-energy day where you feel blah? Then, maybe you eat a healthy salad or drink a protein shake and the shot of vitamins gives you a lift. Your turf is similar. Plants are living organisms and need oxygen, water and vital nutrients to thrive. Our environment does not provide everything turfgrass needs in order to grow green and fill into a thick lawn. So, you need to supplement.
The Fix: NPK are the vitamins your grass needs to grow strong—that’s nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Ideally, you want a customized fertilization program that will feed your turf through the growing season so you can get the green lawn you desire.
#2 Improper Soil pH
You can put whatever you want on the lawn to get it to green up, but if what lies beneath is poor soil with a pH that is too acidic, you’ll end up with diseased or dead spots. DIY lawn care usually neglects this important factor. If you want green grass, you need healthy soil.
The Fix: A soil pH test will reveal whether you need to amend soil so it is at the ideal pH for growing grass. In New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, the ideal soil pH for turf is between 6.0 to 7.0. A lime application in addition to a lawn care program will keep soil and turf on track.
#3 Matted Down Grass
Wet spring weather can literally weigh on your turf. When grass stays too wet for too long, fungus problems can occur.
The Fix: A lawn care specialist will help identify fungus issues so they can be properly treated.
#4 Dry, Brown Grass
A bad mowing job can take a toll on your turf. You might think cutting your lawn shorter—to a 2-inch height, for example—will save time and prevent you from having to mow sooner than you want. But, mowing your lawn too short can cause real damage. When you remove too much of the grass blade, that reduces the area on the grass leaf where photosynthesis occurs. That’s what promotes leaf and root development.
The Fix: For grasses in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, we generally recommend mowing to a length of 3 to 3½ inches. Also allow for uneven topography. If you set the mower deck too low, those higher spots can get scalped.
#5 A Spongy-Feeling Lawn
When soil is compacted and thatch builds up in a lawn, water and nutrients cannot reach the grass roots. Also, compaction can happen when there’s lots of foot traffic on your lawn. Or, when you simply haven’t aerated for some time.
The Fix: Lawn aeration methodically pulls out plugs of turf, soil and grass roots so your lawn can breathe. The cores eventually break down. By aerating turf, you break down thatch and reduce soil compaction. This maximizes the effectiveness of a lawn care program.