Everybody dreams of a clean, lush lawn to look out to every day (and to show off to the neighbors). In theory, lawn maintenance isn’t so hard, right? Just water, fertilize, and mow. Simple!
But anyone who’s ever tried to take on their own lawn work knows it’s not that simple. There are plenty of factors just waiting to sneak under your nose to destroy your lawn. They come by night, they come by sun, they come by rainfall. Let’s take a look at some of the most common, and most frustrating, lawn maintenance problems.
Too Much Lawn Maintenance
The biggest source of lawn maintenance frustration isn’t a notorious fungus or pesky critter. According to the University of Florida, the top cause of a lackluster lawn is mowing too short. That’s right, you may be actively keeping your grass from looking its best. Of course, not mowing certainly isn’t the answer (we’ve all seen what that leads to!) There are a lot of variables that go into grass height. If you don’t know how to spot which kind of grass you’re growing, different levels of shade, and the ideal length for each type of grass, your lawn maintenance may be doing more harm than good.
Beware the fallacy of trying to cheat your grass! Many homeowners think they can mow very short, letting them only mow a few times a season. Again, depending on the type of grass you’re growing, this often results in an unhealthy lawn.
You may be surprised to know that brown or yellow patches are usually not caused by heat. In
the summer, poor watering and poor mowing can cause unhealthy grass that may turn brown. But the small brown patches that grow into larger brown patches are actually a particularly species of fungus.
Homeowners doing their own lawn maintenance often mistake these patches for simply unhealthy grass. Their solution? Water! Fertilize! Mow!
These are the WORST things you can do for a brown patch! If the patch is caused by fungus, water and fertilizer will only help the fungus grow. There’s nothing fungi love more than homeowners who feed them regularly. Mowing can pick up the fungus and drag it to other parts of the lawn. A professional lawn maintenance service will help you identify and deal with fungal issues.
Grey Leaf Spot
Grey leaf spot, the colloquial name for the Cercospora leaf spot disease, plagues Florida lawns in late spring and summer. It affects all sorts of leaf plants, including grass. Grass blades are small enough that the untrained eye won’t spot the spots, and will assume an area is simply a weak spot in the grass.
Similarly to brown patches, this fungus loves water. Heavy rainfall compacts soil and drops quick-releasing nitrogen onto the leafs. Again, it may look like the area is suffering from a drought, despite (and because of) heavy rainfall.
Pests can be the most frustrating lawn maintenance problem. Grubs, chinch bugs, sod webworms, fire ants… these tiny critters are often difficult to detect, and easy to misidentify. But they sure make their presence known. Chinch bugs are yet another culprit of brown patches, and webworms have earned the nicknames “Armyworm” and “cutworm” because they hide in the soil and chomp through the foundation of your lawn. A bug here or there is natural, but a real infection is difficult for nonprofessionals to identify and can cause a lot of damage right under your nose.