Seven Worst Lawn Problems in North Texas – Part 1
Throughout North Texas, homeowners’ lawns take a beating. The sources range from weather extremes and over or under watering to using improper fertilizer and the invasion of lawn-destroying bugs. When you see your lawn turning yellow or brown, it’s important to correctly diagnose the problem, and handle it properly. Sometimes the solution requires nothing more than a few simple steps. Other times, a professional is needed.
Persistent brown patches have several potential causes, and pinning down the correct source can prove challenging.
The clumps of dying grass may well be caused by a fungus disease appropriately called brown patch. In that case, the Rhizoctonia fungus is the likely culprit, and it can attack with surprising speed. It’s most aggressive in the summer, but it can affect your lawn when temperatures hit 65 degrees. Between 80 and 85 degrees and combined with high humidity, brown patch accelerates, destroying your lawn quickly. Worse, several patches can appear simultaneously, exacerbating your yard’s demise.
While the Rhizoctonia fungus appears to pop up overnight, it probably spent the winter dormant in thatch. When temperatures rise and the lawn gets mowed, the fungus emerges from hibernation and makes its way into the grass’ leaves. When homeowners first notice the problem, it appears as a brown circle that is bordered by a darker ring. Called a smoke ring, this outer boundary is usually more noticeable in the morning, especially amid dew.
Diagnosing the Rhizoctonia fungus is difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat. Solutions range from modifying mowing techniques to a proper balance of fertilizer. Often, a lawn professional is needed to handle the problem.
Under watering your lawn can produce hot spots. Proper hydration typically, means watering between one-quarter and one-half an inch every two to four weeks. More rain means less watering of course, but be cautious if you’re going through a drought. You’ll have to be particularly vigilant about maintaining and maybe even increasing your watering schedule. Early morning watering minimizes evaporation, which increases watering efficiency.
Some homeowners think if a little fertilizing is good, then a lot must be better. However, over fertilizing can result in nitrogen burn, doing more harm to your turf than not fertilizing at all. Excessive fertilizing literally burns your lawn, creating brown patches, or worse. Fertilizer burn doesn’t always kill your lawn, but it can cause enough damage that can take weeks or months to correct. A brown lawn probably cannot be saved. However, if your lawn is just a bit yellow, recovery is more likely.
If your lawn has widespread dry patches you suspect is due to nitrogen burn, then use a metal rake to lift the grass and inspect the roots. If the roots are intact, the grass will probably not need replacing and will recover with adequate hydration. The raked areas will need irrigation to leach away the fertilizer that is causing the dry patch. If the patches are small and isolated, then the nitrogen in the family dog’s urine might be the culprit. The problem is exacerbated when the lawn is under watered.
You may want to consult a lawn care professional who can help you develop a fertilizer schedule and create the right mix for your yard.
Seven Worst Lawn Problems in North Texas
Read the rest of this article here Seven Worst Lawn Problems in North Texas Part 2