Treat Common Summer Lawn Care Problems

R. L. Rhodes
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The heat of summer can be a strenuous time for you and your lawn. Soaring temperatures and unpredictable weather combine forces to create a number of headaches.

Below, we take a look at three of the most common summer lawn care problems. Use these tips to help usher your garden through the hot season and safely into autumn.

 

Drought stress

The problem: The most obvious problem affecting lawns in the summer is the combination of heat and dry weather. Turf grasses that would normally go dormant during the summer can be kept green with regular watering, but if you don’t keep up with their irrigation needs, the grass may undergo significant stress.

The diagnosis: If your grass can be easily pulled from the soil, it may be that the root base has weakened from thirst. You can also test the moisture in your soil by attempting to push a knife blade of screwdriver into the turf. If the point will not penetrate the soil, it’s likely that your grass isn’t getting enough water.

The solution: Your best bets when dealing with drought stress are water and patience. Building better irrigation habits are the first step toward reviving your grass. Just be aware that it can take up to a month before improved irrigation produces new green grass. Settle on solid watering practices and stick with them. Overwatering won’t make your grass grow faster, and it may create conditions that foster turf diseases.

Pest damage

The problem: You may see your grass primarily as an attractive ground cover. Grubs and insects see it as a meal.

The diagnosis: The simplest outbreaks to identify are those in which the pests feed directly on the grass blades. In those cases, you’ll see telltale bite marks with little more than a cursory examination. Insects that feed directly on the roots of grass result in sections of turf that can be pulled from the soil like carpet. For details on specific invaders, see our guide to common lawn pests.

The solution: An appropriately maintained yard is your best defense. If that fails, pest control solutions are available from the Home Depot.

Disease

The problem: It may seem like a windfall for your lawn when your region receives frequent summer rains, but too much moisture can breed funguses that are hazardous for your grass.

The diagnosis: Check your grass at the point where the blades attach to the stem. Brown or rotting stems are a good indicator of a fungal disease. Discoloration may also indicate a fungal outbreak. Particularly if the patches of affected yard turned yellow before going brown, disease is likely. Some fungal diseases will leave visible substances on your grass, such as the gelatinous pink growths of red thread or the chalky gray-white of powdery mildew.

The solution: One option is to wait it out. Outbreaks of fungal disease usually die off after the end of the weather pattern that fostered the outbreak in the first place. If your yard is prone to such outbreaks, consider applying a fungicide at the beginning of next season. Fungicides are most effective when used preventatively, rather than to treat an established outbreak. The Home Depot offers a number of fungicidal solutions. Also check your water practices to make sure you’re not overwatering your lawn.

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