This time of year, in the middle of summer, many people’s lawns start to go brown and die, in this post, we answer the common question of “what’s killing my lawn, and is it pest related?”
Is it over-hydration or under-hydration?
Proper hydration can be the difference of your lawn dying or staying a lush green all summer. There are several factors that come into play for determining if your yard will become either too hydrated or under-hydrated.
Of course, over watering or excess rain can cause over-hydration. In addition to that, it may be caused unintentionally by over-watering by the natural slope of your yard.
For example, you may have a dying part of your yard that is at a slightly higher elevation then the rest of your yard causing water to naturally flow away from that point. This could cause the higher elevation grass to die from lack of water as well as cause other points to die from excess water flowing from other high points.
If you are experiencing these issues, you may need to add some soil in various places around your yard to flatten it out to avoid dead zones.
Are your pets to blame?
Ever wondered why your pet’s urine seems to kill your lawn? Well there are a lot of different myths and remedies out there, but the major cause of this phenomenon is from excess nitrogen in your pet’s urine.
This is a similar effect that can occur if you put too much fertilizer on your lawn. The reason your pet’s urine kills the grass is that their urine has such a high concentration of nitrogen, not that their urine is acidic and burns through the grass or anything like that.
For example, if your pet was overly hydrated, the urine wouldn’t be so concentrated with nitrogen and it would cause less issues. Some remedies that are suggested include feeding your pets different things which sometimes can work, but it’s more from them drinking more water than any special food or liquid you may feed your pets.
You can make things worse if you have pets and are fertilizing your lawn in addition to your pet’s brand of fertilizer. A solution that could help would be to water grass spots after your pets go to the bathroom to thin out the concentration of nitrogen.
Other factors that could be killing your lawn
We briefly mentioned that too much fertilizer can cause your lawn to become damaged, and too much herbicide is another thing that could end up killing your lawn.
Proper aeration of your yard can be another reason why your lawn might not be as green as you want. Aerating your yard will cause nutrients and water to properly get deep into the soil and can cause your lawn quality to improve.
On top of that, you may also have bugs, grubs, or other pests that could be destroying your lawn as well.
What pests could be destroying your lawn
There is quite a variety of pests that can do damage to your lawn and yard, some of which include moles, voles, and grubs. Each do their own unique kind of damage to your lawn.
Grubs can be common pests that will feed on the roots of plants and grass. These can be dangerous to both your lawn and garden as they can eat roots in both areas.
Moles are responsible for creating tunnels around your yard and can destroy your lawn. Moles don’t eat your lawn like other pests, but they do feed on mainly earthworms, but also insects and small rodents. The damage occurs from the lawn being lifted upend separated from nutrients and hydration. If you kill one food source for moles, they will feed on something else, so mole control should be directed toward the moles specifically.
Voles on the other hand do actually eat plants and grass around your yard. These critters also do damage by tunneling through your yard or simply surface feeding lengthy trails into the lawn.
A good way to keep voles out can be adding fencing around your yard and garden, or burying gravel or mesh netting where you want to keep voles out. Some species of voles tunnel underground, but they aren’t as good of diggers as moles so by adding thicker soil or roadblocks it can help you prevent vole issues before they happen. For the non digging voles, having the mesh netting extend above the ground can be a good barrier to specific plants, trees or susceptible areas of grass. Other methods of control for voles include trapping and poison baits.
Identification is key
If you aren’t sure what is killing your grass, you can dig up small sections of the dead patches and see if you spot grubs or other insect activity. Identification of the found pests is key since they all call for their own unique treatments.
One of the biggest causes of yard damage can be treating for the wrong thing. Often people attempt to do their own pest control and lawn care and can end up doing more harm than good using improper treatments. You shouldn’t just assume you have a certain pest problem and treat for it without being certain of what issue you have, as this can lead to more problems.
It’s best to leave lawn care and yard pest control to the experts as they have proper equipment for trapping and treating for a variety of pests. Having a professional pest control service treat your yard can save you time, money, and keep your yard looking it’s best this summer.
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