If you listen closely enough, your lawn soil has a lot to say.
While this may sound silly in theory, the sentiment is real. As the foundation to the health of your lawn, soil is the root of where many noticeable problems begin in your outdoor space. With each unique symptom that appears, it's your lawn's way of telling you it's in need of some tender love and care.
1. Brown Spots = Acidic Soil
Is your lawn filled with ugly brown patches? If so, these are often a product of soil that is too acidic. The lower the pH levels in your soil, the more acidic it is. You can test the acidity of your soil by purchasing a pH kit from your local hardware store or garden center.
Adding lime to your lawn can help eradicate brown spots and revive dead grass. Made from limestone, lime for lawns increases the pH of lawn soil and makes nutrients more available to grass roots.
2. Wilting Grass = Dry Soil
When grass loses water, blades tend to become less rigid and start to wilt. In the face of heat stress and drought — both common in the summer months — wilting grass tends to appear. That’s why deep, infrequent watering is especially important during this time.
To avoid the chances of evaporation or the spread of fungal disease, watering your lawn is a task best left for the early morning hours. Your lawn needs about 1” to 1 ½” of water per week, which can be distributed across one or two applications. In the harsh summer conditions, you may want to linger on the side of 1 ½” (or potentially more) so lawn soil doesn’t dry out.
3. Clumps of Grass = Grubs
Insects can take over your lawn when it’s most vulnerable from heat stress. If you notice that clumps of grass are coming up from your lawn, grubs are most likely the culprit.
Grubs are white worms that can infest your lawn. These creatures live in the lawn soil, a few inches from the surface, and live by feeding off grass roots.
Most of the in-store grub control products are preventative. The removal of existing grubs from your lawn is a different matter. Hiring a professional to apply a fast-acting insecticide is the best way to take care of these unwanted pests.
4. Brown Circles = Fungus in Soil
Do you notice brown circles on your lawn? Known as “fairy rings,” this unsightly lawn issue results from fungus infestations in your lawn soil. While fairy rings may appear dark green at first, they will eventually turn brown and starve the grass roots of water and nutrients.
To prevent the spread of existing fungal infections, you’ll want to avoid watering your lawn at night and also clean and sharpen your mower blade on a regular basis. If the problem continues to become worse, purchase a fungicide that will help treat only the affected areas.
5. Poor Drainage of Water = Compacted Soil
When pools of water sit on top of your lawn soil for days at a time, it’s not just a sign that your soil is slow to absorb nutrients. It can mean that there is not enough pore space for the water to travel through the system — in other words, the soil is compacted. Aside from the fact that your lawn is missing out on nutrients, sitting water also becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.
To check the moisture content of your soil, stick a screwdriver or pencil into the soil. If you find that it’s difficult to put into the ground, your soil is likely compacted and should be aerated.
By creating thousands of small holes in lawn soil, aeration forms pockets that boost the growth of grass roots. That’s because these holes function as pathways for moisture (as well as other nutrients) to pass through lawn soil down to the root system.
Listen to your lawn. If you’re experiencing any of these lawn symptoms, it’s time to take action before matters get worse. If you’re an Ohio homeowner, contact Weed Pro to see how we can help.