Lawns, fairways, and other grass-heavy areas are relatively low-maintenance, only demanding your attention before and after the growing season. But at the same time, there are a lot of things that can compromise grass health, from climate conditions to pests and other external factors.
So if you want to have lush, green grass nearly all year round, controlling these little-known factors that can affect grass health can make a world of difference.
Overwatering (Lawn Fungus)
Perfectly healthy grass can catch a disease—one of the most common being lawn fungus. This is because grass naturally contains spores, which allow the fungus to grow in moist conditions. And that’s why it’s important to be attentive to basic lawn care, such as how often you water your lawn and how much water you use.
A rule of thumb is to drench your lawn in about an inch of water per week—less when the grass takes a while to absorb the moisture and a little more when the weather is too dry. Doing so will prevent water from staying on the grass for too long, which would otherwise create the perfect condition for mushrooms to grow and cause brown patches to develop on your lawn.
It’s common to let the dogs out to do their business on the lawn every morning, but if you don’t clean up their liquid mess, you might start seeing bald spots on the turf. Dog urine is notorious for containing a high concentration of nitrogen and salts. Normally, nitrogen is a favorable element that can help make grasses greener. But in too-large amounts, it can cause chemical burns—essentially killing grass.
Prevent this from occurring by dedicating a small spot outdoors for your dog to relieve itself. Lawn experts suggest forming a mulch using natural wood husks.
Believe it or not, grass can feel a little stressed out when it’s not getting the right amount of nutrients to survive the season—especially during harsh weather conditions. As a result, it’s important to use the right kind of fertilizer in the ideal dosage to ensure optimum grass growth and health.
If you’re not sure what fertilizer to choose, it’s always a good idea to start with a soil test. It can determine the pH level of your soil, its chemical makeup, and overall health and condition, which will essentially prescribe the best kind of fertilizer to use. On that note, it’s also recommended to get a headstart with preparing your lawn for the growing season (which varies depending on the type of grass you’re growing) by fertilizing a few weeks ahead of time.
Apart from stress, using the wrong kind of fertilizer can also result in major nutrient deficiencies. There are three core nutrients that you need to feed grass to promote its health: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). They work hand-in-hand to bring out the best of any grass. But, of course, some lawns will require less of each nutrient, while others will require more. As a result, fertilizers are made with different NPK ratios to suit various needs.
In particular, if you’re wondering how to have a green lawn, you should set your eyes on nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Meanwhile, phosphorus can help strengthen your grass to withstand harsh weather conditions if you’re lacking in root health. And potassium, which pairs well with vegetation and flowers, increases crop yield.
While having green grass all year round is always ideal, it’s almost impossible for it to happen. This is because grasses go through cycles of activity and dormancy. When they’re “active” or in season, they can exhibit a brilliant green color as long as they’re fertilized correctly. In contrast, when grasses are dormant, they will naturally turn brown and unsightly. The dormant season usually happens in the colder months for warm-season grasses and the hotter months for cold-season grasses.
This phenomenon is normal, so don’t be alarmed when it happens. However, don’t try to overdose your grass in nitrogen-rich fertilizer, either, as all fertilizers have no effect during the dormant seasons. In fact, infusing too much nitrogen may only cause more harm in the form of chemical burns.
If you’ve been struggling with keeping your grass alive, paying attention to these factors might help turn the tables for your turf. Apart from the above, don’t neglect proper lawn care and maintenance, which also contribute to grass health.